I got handed an unusual gig earlier this year. Triangle Productions hired me to research Storefront, an old Portland theater company, and give a pair of lectures about it. This is a bit outside my normal wheelhouse. I am very much a local history nerd, but most of what I get into has to deal with things like problems with street numbering and terrible buildings. Diving into this kind of cultural history was new for me, but I jumped at the chance to dive into a bunch of musty old documents and do a series of interviews.
Beginning in the early 1970s, Portland’s Storefront Theater performed original work, sketch comedy, burlesque, variety shows, and sundry weird shit. One person I interviewed for this project, Bob Hicks, a critic for the Oregon Journal and Oregonian, characterized their work as ranging from“genius” to “god awful,” but emphasized that it was always different and interesting. Their first performance was a production of (Aristophanes Lysistrata, a show about women going on a sex strike to get men to stop a war) that featured copious amounts of nudity, and that very much set the tone for what Storefront was about. The theater’s original space was a tiny, cramped room in North Portland. Eventually Storefront moved to 3rd and Burnside to the Paris Theater (which now shows porn) and eventually to the Winningstad, and then dying.
On Sunday, April 19th, and again on May 17th I’ll be at the Widmer Brothers Brewery and Pub (929 N Russell, and site of the original Storefront Theater) to talk about theater history in Portland, radicalism, weird shit, and what happens when a small, upstart theater company tries to move into the more “established” world (slight spoiler: it does not go well).
The talk is free and it’s in a bar, which is objectively the best way to consume history. See you there!
Tomorrow evening is part one of a two-part conversation series I'm co-moderating with Portland Monthly's Eden Dawn at the Portland Art Museum. It's part of the programming set up to give a local context to their current major exhibition Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945 (on view through May 3).
For Part I: A Look Back, we've drawn together a panel of Portland-industry representatives to help give an overview of this city's rather long history of participation in the apparel world—you could even say that the region was founded on it, since the fur trade was thing one in these parts. We'll be talking with Vivian McInerny, longtime fashion editor for the Oregonian, who witnessed and recorded the city's early inroads to being a nexus for independent apparel design in the '70s and '80s; Holly Stalder, co-founder of the legendary Seaplane boutique, which truly brought Portland's fashion scene as we know it to the fore at the turn of this century, and current owner of Haunt; and Nathaniel Crissman and Rachel Turk, who have roots in the indie scene as the designers of Church + State, as well as experience collaborating with some of the city's long-established heritage brands—they were two of the three designers tapped for Pendleton's the Portland Collection, and Crissman is also currently working with Dehen.
Tickets to the event are $20, but I've got a fistful of pairs give away—four pairs in fact. Have at it, and maybe I'll see you tomorrow evening (6 pm at the Museum's sunken ballroom!).
The All Jane No Dick controversy continues! Ian Karmel just released this video in support of All Jane, following the news last week that the very popular, all-female comedy festival (which starts TONIGHT!) is getting protested. If you are an MRA, you are about to get stared at disapprovingly:
Also, #yesalljane is a thing on Twitter:
Best joke about a male rights activist gets 2 ticks on me to All Jane Friday @curiouscomedy for @BethStelling n friends. #YesAllJane
— shane torres (@SyrupMountain) October 15, 2014
Because no one says "I don't usually like male comics but you were hilarious!" #yesalljane
— Stacey Hallal (@staceyhallal) October 15, 2014
One time a comedy club owner asked me to bring a cake out for a table when I was on the show. #yesalljane
— Amy Miller (@amymiller) October 15, 2014
You can find our guide to All Jane No Dick (today through Sunday!) here.
Hey guys! Just a quick reminder that I'm in a very funny sketch comedy show, and the last time you will ever be able to see it ever is tonight and tomorrow! It's called Lone Wolves which is an evening of solo sketches which fall under the genre of "funny." Here are the deets:
Bad Reputation Productions has commissioned some of Portland’s funniest to once again vision quest—to take a journey inside themselves and discover what is truly smart and funny—in order to bring you LONE WOLVES III: a night of solo (and some duo) sketch comedy. And it has been made so. See brand new original pieces directed by Shelley McLendon, and written and performed by the likes of: Wm. Steven Humphrey, Janet Rivera, Paul Glazier, Tony Marcellino, Jed Arkley, Erin O’Regan, Nicholas Kessler and Shelley McLendon herself!
October 3 & 4 at the CoHo Theater
8pm, $15 presale/ $18 door
I'm not going to spoil the surprise of what I'm doing... let's just say I'm once again pushing the human boundaries of decorum and good taste. In other words, THE YOUZH. Hope to see you there!
The people behind the Bridgetown Comedy Festival are bringing one of my favorite comedians to town this Friday. Laurie Kilmartin is a writer for Conan, and a very funny comic, but you may know her from Twitter where she got a lot of attention last year for live-tweeting of her father's decline and passing. It was one of the most moving and hilarious things I've ever seen.
She's turned that experience into a standup special called 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad and bringing it to Portland.
This is not a one-person show. I don’t do that. In my heart of hearts, I’m a nightclub comic. No tears. No message. Some dick jokes.
Watching a brilliant joke writer tackle a very difficult subject will be cathartic and amazing. As if that wasn't enough, she'll be co-headlining with the very funny Dan St Germain, who's got a Comedy Central Half Hour and a bunch of other stuff.
Friday, Oct 3 @ 8pm
Tickets $15 online
[Note: I'll be performing too, but don't let that detract you. We're all there to watch Dan and Laurie.]
Next Monday my Mercury-sponsored talk show is returning for its 5th season (!) in an amazing new venue, Mississippi Studios. For our season opener, we're talking to two of Portland's coolest creative types, Hutch Harris from the Thermals and Kelly Sue DeConnick, author of Pretty Deadly and Captain Marvel among other stuff.
Plus we've got Portland's official funniest person Steven Wilber, musical guest Siren & The Sea, and a bunch of other cool stuff. I'm really proud of the work we're doing with this show, so if you could come out to Mississippi Studios on Monday that would be awesome. I know it's a weird night so we'll try to bring it in at a reasonable hour.
Remember the writer's strike a few years ago when all the talk show hosts went on each other's shows because they needed to fill time? Well, summer is kinda like the writer's strike for local theater. So I've agreed to appear on a rival talk show that is probably totally inferior to my talk show (or at least different), The Late Now for the multi-person one-man show Cannibals & Cannonballs. Host Leo Daedalus is going to ask me his totally-inferior-to-mine questions tomorrow night at the CoHo theater while, presumably, his minions go through the address book in my phone to figure out why the booking for Late Night Action W/ Alex Falcone is so much stronger (I've never had to stoop so low as booking ME as a guest).
If a rough talk show host throwdown* is something you're interested in, you can win FREE TICKETS. All you have to do is e-mail email@example.com with "Coho tickets" in the subject and something rude in the body of the e-mail** and you could win.
More info on the Facebook event.
* Correction: very civil interview
** Completely optional
Tomorrow's it, people: After three years and 11 shows, Alison and I are ending our Comics Underground reading series. Tomorrow night's show is our 12th and final Comics Underground—and we've lined up no fewer than six of our favorite Portland creators to end the goddamn thing in style:
• The charming Ben Dewey and Paul Tobin will be showing off their new book, I Was the Cat, FEATURING A TALKING CAT....
• The delightful Cat Farris will present her adorable minicomic Flaccid Badger....
• Jeff Parker is doing a whole bunch of super-fun, super-aquatic Aquaman stuff....
• Joëlle Jones has made something just for this event, and it's great, and... well, I'll just leave part of it here:
• And Matt Fraction is showing off some of his beloved Sex Criminals (please see "Bloobing," located at the the top of this post).
It's going to be a fantastic show—and Alison and I are giving away a pair of tickets to one lucky Blogtown reader! To enter to win, email me no later than 3 pm today (Wed June 11), and make sure the subject line of your email is "flaccid badger." I'll pick a winner this afternoon and email them back. The rest of you will have to pay to get in, but all of you will be able to tell your grandchildren that you went to the final Comics Underground. "You know, children, looking back," you'll say, "after that night, my life was never the same."
Comics Underground, The Jack London Bar, 529 SW 4th, Thurs June 12 at 8 pm, $5
I'm trotting out the old conflict of interest pony because the poor thing needs to stretch his legs, that's all! And for this outing we are talking about the second film in the quarterly Fashion in Film series I've been curating with my pal Eden Dawn from the Portland Monthly at the Hollywood Theater. Last time we took it back to 1989's Troop Beverly Hills, and this time we're moving it slightly further down the timeline of our fashion-influenced lives... to 1995's Clueless! Le duh!
The one-night-only screening is going down Thursday, June 19 at the Hollywood at 9 pm! We'll be there to introduce the film, and I promise that the next one of these won't take place in Beverly Hills... most likely. (Isn't it weird how many '80s and '90s films took place in flipping Beverly Hills?! Man, property rates must be going down).
This Saturday's installment of the show is technology themed: It features Andy Baio—we recently wrote about his already-successful Kickstarter to relaunch Upcoming.org—and Jean MacDonald, founder of AppCamp for Girls, which is just like the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls, but... for programming! Plus, music from Adam Shearer of Weinland, standup from Zac Toscani, and sketch comedy from Live Wire Radio.
Tickets are $10 advance, $15 at the door—or you can try your hand at winning a pair, by emailing me with "Late Night Action" in the subject line and your name in the body of the email. Contest closes at 4 pm today; I'll notify the winner at 4:15.
Late Night Action, Saturday May 17, 9 pm, $10-15, latenightaction.com
Conflict of interest alert! My boyfriend produces this show and I often help come up with guest ideas. So really I am kind of complimenting myself, here.
The Magazine has a bunch of Portland-based contributors—including me!—and some of us will be reading tonight at Reading Frenzy, to celebrate the release of The Magazine: The Book. The Doubleclicks are gonna play. It should be fun. I will be reading from an article about the Squaw Mountain Ranch nudist colony in Estacada, which was inspired by a trip I took with Courtney for her Worst. Night. Ever. a few years ago. (I owe it all to you, Blogtown.) Here's a teaser of the piece I'll be reading.
The reading is tonight from 6:30-8:30 pm. See you there maybe!
This Saturday's lineup is one of the best so far:
•TV writer/producer Bill Oakley was a showrunner for the Simpsons during its mid-'90s heyday, and he currently works on Portlandia. (He was great on the brilliant Simpsons panel at Bridgetown last year. Did you read my recap of that? You should!)
•Reliably delightful comedian Shane Torres took the Portland's Funniest Person crown at the Helium Comedy Club last summer.
WHOA, WHAT A GOOD LINEUP! Did you read all the way to the end of this post? Do you want free tickets to Saturday's show? Email me with "Yes and yes" in the subject line for a chance to win. Include your full name in the body of the email. I'll email the winner back by 5 pm on Thursday.
If you don't want to trust your Saturday plans night to the nightmare chaos realm that is my inbox, you can buy tickets advance here for $10, or pay $15 at the door like a sucker. The show's Saturday at 9 pm in the Secret Society Ballroom.
*Conflict of interest alert: Bri and Alex are both Mercury columnists, and my boyfriend books this show. We are literally in bed with it.
As if you could possibly let the cinematic event of the weekend escape your memory, here's your reminder that the Hollywood's new Fashion in Film series (curated by moi, along with the Portland Monthly's Eden Dawn) debuts tomorrow night with that most crucial of cult-classic influences, 1989's Troop Beverly Hills! In addition to the film (which still totally holds up... we checked), there will be an after-party across the street in the shabby-chic confines of Blackwell's, which will be offering happy hour prices for anyone presenting a ticket stub from the theater, so hang on to that thing!
Troop Beverly Hills screens tomorrow at 7 pm at the Hollywood, 4122 NE Sandy, $8—get your advance tickets here!
I was a big fan of the Portland Opera's Comics Night at the Opera program, where they invited local comic book artists to live sketch during a dress rehearsal. It was one of the few social media arts marketing campaigns I've ever felt remotely warmly toward—probably because it was born from a sense of experimentation and fun, rather than being a calculated marketing bid—and I loved that it fostered a sense of community and collaboration between two segments of the local arts world you don't often see in the same room. Plus, some beautiful drawings came out of it.
Portland Opera dropped the program last year, and then Oregon Children's Theatre picked up the idea and ran with it, inviting artists to sketch an afternoon performance. (Full disclosure: My boyfriend works at OCT, and helped organize this.)
OCT's current show, Zombie in Love, is a frankly adorable yet surprisingly gross musical about a zombie trying to get a date for the prom. I saw it last weekend and one of the songs—"The Zombie never gets the girl"—is still stuck in my head. The show is based on a book illustrated by popular cartoonist Scott Campbell, so a live-drawing session was a natural fit—plus, even more than opera patrons, kids *lose their minds* over good drawings. Local artists Lucy Bellwood and Mike Russell, plus Laika's Graham Annabel, joined Campbell himself in sketching the show; the results are currently hanging in the lobby of the Winningstad. OCT's got a blog post up about the experiment, with links to the artists' work.
It's appropriate that they invited Russell; he spearheaded the opera's initial live-drawing experiment, and in fact just released an ebook of his "live comics adaptations" called Opera, Drawn Quickly. I also enjoyed Lucy Bellwood's post about the experience—she was giddy about drawing alongside Scott C., whose work, she writes, she's been reading since middle school.
Zombie in Love runs through March 23; details here.
I've got a pair of tickets to give away to the Mercury-sponsored talk show Late Night Action with Alex Falcone, tomorrow night at the Secret Society.
The lineup's great—in addition to host Alex Falcone and his charming sidekick Bri Pruett, there's:
Curtis Cook, currently one of my favorite local comics
Crackerjack sketch team the Aces
Musical guest Mont Chris Hubbard and the Bonus Show Trio
Ken Forkish, of Ken's Artisan Everything fame
Naomi Pomeroy, noted meat-lover and chef/owner of Beast
I have to just screen-grab this blurb about Pomeroy from the Late Night Action website, because I'm sure not going to write anything better:
Tee hee. All you gotta do to win tickets is email me by 3 pm today with "sleepy pig" in the subject line. (Those instructions are SIMPLE, if you fail to comply with them you WILL NOT WIN.) I'll email the winner by 3:30; if you don't hear back from me by then, you should probably just buy your own damn ticket. The show's at 9 pm tomorrow at the Secret Society, $10.
Recently, the Hollywood Theatre tapped Eden Dawn—fashion editor for the Portland Monthly and good friend of mine—and I to curate a "Fashion in Film" series... so, we are! The first one is happening on Saturday, March 22, complete with an after-party across the street at Blackwell's ("roughing it"). For our first film selection, it made sense to go back to our roots as wee little 1980s girls—arguably the most fun-loving fashion era in which to be a kid—and pull out one of the first films we can remember exciting our fashion imaginations: 1989's Troop Beverly Hills! If you have not revisited this gem in a while (which of course also features appearances by Jenny Lewis, Cheech Marin, Robin Leach, and Tori Spelling), take a moment to recall how totally amazing star Shelley Long's outfits are. Not to mention the important lessons this film has to teach you about tailoring, bargaining ("It's missing a bead, you know"), and gem-identification, as well as friendship! And love! And glamping.
Tickets are available now for the one-night-only screening—peplums and polka dots encouraged.
Comics Underground, the comic book reading series that Alison and I put on, is back—it's happening TOMORROW NIGHT, Thurs March 13, at the Jack London (529 SW 4th), at 8 pm. Portland's best comics creators show up and perform their work, there's art and jokes and booze, and everybody has a great time. IT'S GOING TO BE A GOOD ONE. We've got Zack Soto (Study Group Comics, The Secret Voice), we've got Jeannette Langmead (The Animal Penis Activity Book, I Made This to Impress a Boy), and we've got Douglas Wolk (Judge Dredd: Mega-City Two). Because I am in the know and have been behind the scenes, I can tell you guys that this one's going to be super fun, and I should also tell you that if you are even remotely inclined to like Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you should be there. More info—about tomorrow night's event and the show in general—can be found here.
Admission's usually $3-5, but because Alison and I are generous and kind and care about your well-being, we're giving away four tickets to tomorrow night's show—two lucky Blogtown winners will win a pair each. Want to enter to win? Email me by 4:30 pm today, and make sure your subject line is "animal penis," just like it is for all those animal penis emails you're always sending. I'll randomly pick two winners from the emails I get, by which I mean I'll pick whoever's emails I like the best.
Winners: I'll email you back at 4:30. Everybody else: Suck it up and spend a couple of bucks to get in. You'll be glad you did. See you tomorrow night.
I get a ton of fan mail from people who love my incredibly popular talk show Late Night Action w/ Alex Falcone, which returns this Saturday at 9pm with city Commissioner Steve Novick, Grimm actor Silas Weir Mitchell, comedian Amy Miller, and intergalactic marching band LoveBomb Go-Go.
Some of it is… creepy, but such is the life of a celebrity. Here is a small sampling of the mail that showed up around Valentine's Day.
Yo, Aboz. You macking crazy on my heart, got my jungle blood going something fierce in my heart cave. You like mustangs? I have a mustang. 82. Purrs like a kitten... that’s gettin’ fucked! HAHA, you know! I put a naked lady picture on that car, and cops hassle me for it. I wish they’d hassle you to come be my only one, because you special. I’d flush my anaconda down the trailer toilet if that meant you’d come over and watch Joe Dirt with me. I’d let you use the good chair. You got a smart face, like a possum that’s not afraid of books.
Attached is a condom filled with fruit loops. Get it?
Sincerely, Joe Biden.
Dear Mr. Falcone,
How’re you doing, girl? Gosh, you’re so pretty, and funny, and special, and cute, and smart, and sassy, and sexy, and cool, and defaulted on your monthly student loan payment of $214. Please write back!
Even big celebrities write to me. It's probably wrong to include their real names, but I'm just so uncomfortable, I have to let the world know.
I know you don’t think of me. I don’t care. I love you. You haven’t written to me in what feels like decades, but every year I break into your house and leave things behind. Just for you. I’m watching you whenever I can, and if it wasn’t for my wife I’d leave this shithole job and move closer to you, just to feel you. But I gotta live the suit. No one really knows me. No one knows what I’ve done. 14 people in shallow graves, because I can. Because without you, it’s the only way to feel something.
Every night when I sit with that smith & wesson by my side, I think, this could end it all, but then I think of you. You can bring a new life for me. And I can never accept it. Time to read some fucking lists. Sincerely,
It's tough to read these every day, but it's the job. The only thing that will make it more bearable is if you come see Late Night Action w/ Alex Falcone THIS SATURDAY!
h/t: Phil Shallberger
Tonight at 8 you're going to be at Secret Society to watch Late Night Action w/ Alex Falcone. We've got a great show planned including comic book legend Matt Fraction, essayist and zinester Martha Grover, LA comedian Brock Wilbur, and musical guest Sama Dams. It's going to be awesome but only IF YOU COME. So do. Get your tickets now and I'll see you at Secret Society.
My talk show Late Night Action w/ Alex Falcone returns Thursday night at 8pm at Secret Society with comic book author MATT FRACTION plus essayist MARTHA GROVER, comedian (and Guitar Center spokesman) BROCK WILBUR, and musical guest SAMA DAMS.
Like I do every month, I'm letting you suggest questions for my interviews. What do you want to know about Matt Fraction?
This is the closing weekend of the sketch show I co-wrote. If you're looking for something that will get you in the Christmas spirit, but is much darker and funnier than you're used to Christmas shows being, than you should definitely check it out.
Friday & Saturday, December 20 & 21 at 7:30
$12 / $10 students, seniors advance, $15 at the door
The Willamette Week loves me... and the Mercury loves me, too! In fact, so many people love me... OKAY, FINE, THE SHOW I'M IN, RUDOLPH: ON STAGE!... that almost every performance in the run is already sold out. Except for the one we just added! If you would love to see a faithful and very funny rendition of the 1964 creepy wooden puppet classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer live on stage, get your tickets right now for our just added Friday, Dec 13 late night show at 10 pm!
Wm. Steven Humphrey
(AKA the "finest actor of his or any generation"—critic Thomas Ross)
Tonight, it's the return of my live talk show Late Night Action w/Alex Falcone and Bri Pruett. It's a great show (think Conan except live and focused on how great Portland is). If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to come out tonight!
Author Monica Drake
OPB host April Baer
Comedian (and Don't Be a Dick columnist) Barbara Holm
Musical guest Fogatron!
And, of course, a bitter southern Santa.
The show's tonight at 10 pm at Action/Adventure theater (1050 SE Clinton). Buy tickets now!
From the Dept. of Shameless Self Promotion:
Tonight at the Blue Monk, I'm participating in the 7th installment of the reading series Soft Show, for their "Breakfast for Dinner"-themed edition; I was requested to read some of my more controversial thoughts on breakfast food, which I will do (spoiler, I do not like it).
The show's got a fun hook: Organizers have enlisted local artists to provide live, on-the-spot illustrations for each reader, which will be project during the reading. If you saw Picture This at Bridgetown this year, same idea. I hope someone draws an anthropomorphized penis during my reading.
Readers include Perfect Day Publishing's Michael Heald, comics writer Leia Weathington, and writer Daniel Bullard-Bates; art will be provided by Lucy Bellwood, Pete Soloway, and Emily Randazzo. Fun starts at 7 pm tonight at the Blue Monk, and it's FREE! Maybe I'll see you there.
Guys! You're looking for something fun to do with the visiting family (or on your own) tonight and tomorrow, right? Consider seeing me and the most talented funny people in town in Rudolph—On Stage! It's an adaptation of the classic 1964 stop-motion animated classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. OH, SO BELOVED! And it's got all your faves: Rudolph, Hermey the (dentist) elf, the Abominable Snow Monster—and me as the snowman Burl Ives. It's a funny and faithful rendering, AND you can even bring the kids without having their ears burned off by obscenities. IT OPENS TONIGHT, and will play tomorrow as well, so get your tickets here!
RUDOLPH: ON STAGE!
House opens at 7 pm, show at 7:30 pm
Sat and Sundays through Dec 21
2257 NW Raleigh
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