Some pirates may search their whole lives for hidden treasure and never find it. We didn’t have to look too far to find gold… it just walked right into our studio in the form of the PDX Broadsides! The acoustic nerd-folk group consisting of returning guest vocalist/guitarist Christian Lipski and vocalists Hollyana McCollom and Jessica Hebert have been together for three years, performing everything from pirate shanties to parody songs to original love letters to geek culture staples such as Firefly (“Nathan Fillion Please Take Off Your Pants”) Doctor Who (“The Girl Who Waited”) and Conan the Barbarian (“Best in Life”).
Their new album Aim to Misbehave is going to be released on May 26th and we talked with the group about their grog-influenced origin story, being sticklers about Lego and how some of their songs are nerd-themed, but may impact listeners on an entirely different level. And it was a pleasure to have them perform a couple of songs live in-studio.
We also chatted with Hollyana about her work with Portland’s Alter Ego Society and with Jessica about her PhD-level work with placentas.
For more on the PDX Broadsides and their music, check out their website, look for their album on Bandcamp, check out their show coming up on June 5th at the Tardis Room and follow them on Twitter @PDXBroadsides.
Take the books of bizarro author Mykle Hansen, for example: with titles like HELP! A Bear Is Eating Me!, I, Slutbot, Hooray For Death, The Cannibal’s Guide to Ethical Living and Rampaging Fuckers of Everything on the Crazy Shitting Planet of the Vomit Atmosphere, it would be easy to assume that they’re merely goofball flights of fancy. But when you dig into the material itself, you realize Mykle isn’t just trying to make you laugh, he’s also sharing with you his world of “anger, frustration and fear”.
Mykle joined us to talk about how his mother’s eclectic taste in books and his father’s skills as a sculptor influenced his creativity at an early age, what his definition of the bizarro genre is and what it took for him to accept death as a part of life.
Mykle also shared with us why he gave himself the title of “famous author” and why it’s one he just may have outgrown.
And, if you want to start a band, you might be able to hit ‘im up under the Tilikum Bridge…
Minority Report is a film set in the near future starring Tom Cruise as the chief of the Dept. of PreCrime, a police force dispatched to stop murders before they happen, based on the precognitive visions of three mutated humans.
Though not under their jurisdiction, if the Dept. of PreCrime could envision Minority Retort, Portland’s standup showcase starring comedians of color occurring monthly at Curious Comedy Theater, who knows to what lengths they would go to stop it.
It was a pleasure to have Jeremy Eli, host of Minority Retort, join the program once again, along with the comedians featured on April’s show: Jeff Oliver, Neeraj Srinivasan and headliner Adam Pasi. (Also on the April edition was the very funny Ian Durias and Alex Rios.)
We talked with Jeff about his experience doing standup in NYC vs. PDX, with Neeraj about how he went from being a comedy fan growing up in Boise, ID to taking the stage himself and with Adam about how one of his jokes succeeds with both white and black audiences, but not for the same reasons.
Also, shots are continuously fired at Jason’s wardrobe.
Check all of these guys out on Twitter: @imjeremyeli, @jeff_oliver, @neerajpodge and @adampasi, as well as Ian Durias @idurias and Alex Rios @rioshoneybear, and come see Minority Retort every fourth Friday at Curious Comedy Theater!
Kielen is the driving force behind Star Pilot, his music project that chronicles the hip-hop fueled adventures of an interstellar bad-ass making his way through life, the universe and everything. His efforts include Star Pilot’s Lament, Star Pilot’s Revenge and the latest chapter in the saga, Star Pilot’s Demesne. The Kickstarter for Demesne was recently fully funded.
Kielen joined us to talk about what it was like to identify as black and identify as geek during his childhood in Saginaw, MI, what early influence Grandmaster Flash and Krush Groove had on his music, what responsibility suburbanites have to the greater good and how your problem with how black people use the N-word isn’t necessarily his problem.
He also shared with us how his lack of interest in the subject matter most rappers go for made it that much easier to create the music he truly cared about.
For more on Kielen and the music of Star Pilot, check out the websites music.kielenking.com and starpilotmusic.com, find his music on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, SoundCloud and many other platforms and follow him on Twitter @KielenKingMusic and @Pwn_Toney.
And you can listen to Kielen frequently on many, many shows on the Funemployment Radio Network.
Let’s face the facts; you’re not ready for the coming race war and neither are we. So why not keep it from happening altogether? Thanks to the advice and insight of a bunch of comedians, you might be able to do just that.
Joining us on this episode is Jeremy Eli, host of Minority Retort, Portland’s monthly standup showcase starring comedians of color, along with March’s featured comedians, the hilarious Bri Pruett and Jelani Greenidge.
We’re also joined comedian Zak Toscani, who we intended to have act as the white counterpoint to our guests, but we soon realize that Zak’s far too intellectually evolved to fall into our trap.
And come to the next Minority Retort show at Curious Comedy Theater, featuring Adam Pasi, Neeraj Srinivasan, Jeff Oliver, Jamie Boyd and Alex Rios, Friday April 24th at 9:30pm.
Tickets are available here!
What a long, strange trip it’s been for Diana Schutz. For over 25 years, Diana was an editor for Dark Horse Comics, helping shape such titles as Frank Miller’s Sin City and 300, Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor, Matt Wagner’s Grendel, Will Eisner’s Last Days in Vietnam, as well as Terminator, Aliens, Predator and many, many more.
By her side all along has been fellow editor, best friend and one-time spouse Bob Schreck. One of the more recognizable faces in comics, Bob himself enjoyed a long tenure at Dark Horse Comics, editing such titles as Sin City and Dark Horse Presents and Madman, he is the co-founder of Oni Press and he was the group editor of DC’s Batman and All-Star titles. Bob is now the editor-in-chief of Legendary Comics.
Diana is leaving the world of editing comics to pursue other interests and we were lucky enough to have her and Bob join us to discuss their journey through comics: how Supergirl, Swamp Thing and working at comic conventions and comic book shops helped them find their tribe, how they define the roles and responsibilities of a comic book editor, what was great about working with creators like Eisner and Miller and what’s up with Cerebus creator Dave Sim.
We also talk with Bob about why he thinks Batman has appealed to so many people for so long.
Although Diana is retiring as a comic book editor, she still serves as an adjunct instructor of comics history and criticism at Portland Community College and doesn’t have time to fool around on Twitter. You can probably meet and greet Bob at your local comic book convention representing Legendary Comics or you can find him not very often on Twitter at @bobschreck.
Jabulani Leffall has a voice that cannot be ignored. It resonates with soul, clarity and authority, and he put it to impressive use for years as a commentator on business and world affairs on ABC World News, CNN and CBS Radio. He also co-created and hosted Central Standard on Kansas City’s NPR-member station KCUR 89.3… until an inner voice told him that it was time to move on.
Jabulani is now the vocalist/lyricist of the funk/soul duo Free! Mason Jar, which he founded with musician Benjamin Evans. Their debut album While Supplies Last is a collection of cautionary tales as to the dangers of greed, apathy and forgetting where you come from.
Jabulani joined us to talk about how his childhood church choir helped him find that voice, how a chance meeting ended his circuitous route back to music and led to the creation of Free! Mason Jar and why his decision to quit his promising radio career on the air wasn’t so much a breakdown as it was a breakthrough.
To find Jabulani’s essays, check out his blog.
And be sure to check Free! Mason Jar out in Portland at the Ash St. Saloon on April 5th, performing with Mz. Etta, Brian Foxworth, Dookie Green, Glen Hoover, Donte Ames along with Her AlphaFees, LaRhonda Steele and Nafisaria Scroggins-thomas.
When you grow up surrounded by dysfunction, you have a couple of choices: drink the Kool-Aid and let that environment consume you or you can convert it into fuel and use it to blaze your own trail. Fortunately for comedy fans, Amy Miller chose the latter.
Amy was Voted Portland’s Funniest Comedian by Willamette Week in 2013 and has performed at the San Francisco Sketchfest, Bumbershoot, Noise Pop Festival, The All Jane No Dick Festival and Bridgetown Comedy Festival. She’s opened for national headliners such as Hannibal Buress, Moshe Kasher, Kyle Kinane and Rory Scovel. She hosts the monthly standup show Midnight Ma$$ and a new show called Stand Up for Yourself, during which she intends to fix everybody. She is also the host of the Sorry About Your Dad podcast and she has a column in the Willamette Week called Fresh Meat.
Amy joined us to talk about overcoming the loss of two fathers, mending family fences, finding her voice on stage, her approach to taking down hecklers and what she learned during her recent L.A. experience.
We also talked with Amy about her love/hate relationship with Portland and why a heaping spoonful of real talk could be a healthy thing for the city.
For more on Amy and her comedy, check out her website, go see her standup shows Midnight Ma$$ at the Funhouse Lounge and Stand up for Yourself at Helium Comedy Club in Portland and follow her on Twitter @amymiller.
And come see her co-hosting Movies in Black & White at the Hollywood Theatre on March 31st!
Paul Tobin’s ONI Press series I Was the Cat is about Burma, a megalomaniacal feline who relates the story of his journey throughout history and how he spent his nine lives attempting to take over the world. Here in the real world, the numbers of lives Paul’s writing career has had puts Burma’s puny nine lives to shame. Paul has written titles such as Marvel Adventures, Legends of the Dark Knight, Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, Falling Skies, Predators, Savage Sword, and Prometheus. His creator-owned work includes the series Colder, and numerous collaborations with his wife artist Colleen Coover, including Bandette, Gingerbread Girl and Banana Sunday.
Cat was edited by ONI’s Robin Herrera (following Jill Beaton). In addition to editing other ONI titles such as Letter 44 and Invader ZIM, Robin is an author in her own right; her middle-readers novel Hope is a Ferris Wheel was recently published by Amulet Press.
Paul and Robin joined us to talk to about how their respective grandmothers (and Madonna) helped to inspire their interest in storytelling, what appeals to them about writing for younger audiences and how the input of editors can be essential to help writers bring a comic book project to fruition.
Paul also shares with us what role good ol’ fashioned belligerence plays in motivating him to write.
For more on their work and upcoming appearances, you should check out Paul’s website, paultobin.net and Robin’s website, robinherrera.com. You can also follow them on Twitter @paultobin and @herreracus.
The pursuit of perfection can drive an artist into utter madness. There are times when it’s achieved and the results are breathtaking, magical… everlasting. But as the media landscape grows exponentially everyday and consumers are relentlessly bombarded with all manner of “content”, perfection can go overlooked. That’s where Geoff Todd comes in.
Geoff is the creator and curator of One Perfect Shot, the popular website and Twitter account that honors cinema’s past frame by frame, featuring perfectly composed still shots from classic films. OPS regularly celebrates the brilliance of cinematographers such as Gordon Willis, Haskell Wexler, Robert Richardson, Roger Deakins, Michael Chapman, Michael Ballhaus, among many others.
Geoff joined us to talk about why he started OPS, what make a shot perfect and how he’s able to occasionally find perfection in the worst of movies.
We also break down the nominees for Best Cinematography in the upcoming Academy Awards and Jason can’t stop himself from making his opinions known with respect to Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton and the Coen Brothers. #hater
There’s no such thing as “a break” in Hutch Harris’ world. His creative spirit is what led him to become the lead vocalist and guitarist of The Thermals, the post-pop punk band who formed in Portland in 2003 and have gone on to achieve international fame on the steam of studio albums such as The Body, The Blood, The Machine and Desperate Ground. Although The Thermals have taken some time off in recent months, Hutch’s creative spirit won’t let him rest and he’s gone from belting out tight, gutpunching, lo-fi anthems to slinging jokes on the stand-up comedy stage.
Hutch joined us to talk about the influence of his father’s music and Broadway show tunes on his singing style, how it felt to be signed to the legendary Sub Pop label and what feedback he’s gotten from fans about the religious and political commentary laced in his music.
We also talked with Hutch about why he got into stand-up and the similarities between the current comedy scene in Portland and what the music scene in Portland used to be.
For news on their upcoming record, tour dates and all things Thermals, check out their website.
And if you want laffs, you should definitely check out Down to Funny, the stand-up show at Analog Cafe co-produced by Hutch and hosted by comedian Katie Brien, and follow him on Twitter @thethermals.