Don’t get us wrong; Steven’s an incredibly nice guy. But he’s also an incredibly funny guy who destroys us every time we encounter him, which made this a challenging interview for us to hold together. Steven was voted Helium Comedy Club’s Funniest Person in Portland in 2014, a well-deserved honor that we know is only the start of the big things ahead of him.
Steven joined us to talk about his childhood growing up in Eastern Washington and what he had in common with Radio Raheem, the ups and downs of writing for himself and for others, and how his early love of drawing doesn’t hold a candle how he feels about comedy.
We also talked with Steven about what performing in Portland’s Funniest and the Bridgetown Comedy Festival has meant to his growth as a comedian.
Steven was just announced as a performer in Montreal’s high-profile Just For Laughs Comedy Festival coming up this month and to check out more of his dates, please visit to his website stevenstevensteven.com. You should also definitely follow him on Twitter @WilberWithAnE.
See that smile on Karl Kaiser’s face? He’s earned it. After toiling away as a machinist for over 20 years, Karl retired with the intent to pursue his longtime ambition of becoming a professional artist. He’s done just that in an unique and elegant way that brings smiles to the faces of true art lovers.
Karl’s medium of choice is encaustics, a technique where hot wax is mixed with colored pigments and applied to wood, canvas or other surfaces. Karl uses encaustics to create vivid dreamscapes, rivers of color and other images that he says are meant to soothe, rather than provoke.
We were lucky enough to (finally) get Karl out of his studio and into ours to talk about the influence of Georgia O’Keefe and Picasso (as well as his aunt) on his work, what appeals to him about working with wax and what other media he might transition to in the future.
Mia (pronounced “My-ya”) is the founder of BLVCK QVEEN, the clothing line and lifestyle brand that not only seeks to provide high-end fashion choices for all, but also aims to highlight the value of black women in society.
Mia joined us to talk about how her style developed at an early age, what she liked about the literal uniformity of the military, how the difficulties of coming out as queer strengthened her resolve as an artist and what the fashion game is missing in terms of race.
Mia also shared with us how listening to music causes her to visualize fashion designs in her mind’s eye.
For more on Mia and her BLVCK QVEEN clothing line, check out her website here.
Salvation can come in many forms. For us at the Karl Show! (starring Jason), it came in the form podcasting, and we were lucky to celebrate four years of podcasting on this episode. For Dan Weber, his Paul on the road to Damascus moment came under the lights of the stand-up comedy stage.
Dan is one of the funniest and most fearless comedians in Portland, as well as the host of the podcast Reading the Bible w/ Dan, where he breaks downs the Bible chapter and verse and explains exactly why he thinks it’s nonsense.
We had a candid and enlightening talk with Dan about how he was able to put his racist-ass upbringing behind him, how his time being homeless prepared him for life as an artist and why Christianity just doesn’t work for him anymore.
Dan also shared with us how he once planned the perfect suicide… and how comedy brought him back from the brink.
LA’s Everything Is Festival is described by its co-organizers, Dimitri and Suki-Rose Simakis, as a completely indescribable festival of fun. That description makes perfect sense if you hear the lineup of guests scheduled to appear at the Festival’s first trip to Portland May 28 – June 1: feline internet sensation Lil Bub, legendary hip-hop duo Kid N’ Play, rocker Andrew W.K., TV’s Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab, Salute Your Shorts, DJs Mix Master Mike and Dougpound and many other shows and panels discussions about comedy, comics, music, art and more.
Now in its fifth year, Everything Is Festival is an extension of Everything Is Terrible!, the found footage collective that edits together clips from thousands of VHS tapes to create some of the internet’s most insane and insanely popular videos. Dimitri is a founding member of EIT!, as well as a senior producer at BuzzFeed Films. Suki-Rose is a skilled artist working in the worlds of puppet building, clay fabrication, miniatures, sewing and much more.
It was an absolute pleasure to talk with Dimitri and Suki-Rose about the festival’s origins, what’s so amazing about Ghana film posters, why everyone should be excited to meet Lil Bub and how Jerry Maguire has changed their lives in a major way.
We also talked with Dimitri and Suki-Rose about whether or not the snake of pop culture is eating itself and, if so, what we as fans can do about it.
To check out the festival schedule and pick up festival passes, you can do so on the Hollywood Theatre’s website. Also, check out the work of Dimitri and his compatriots on the Everything Is Terrible website, check out Suki-Rose’s work on her website and you can follow them both on Twitter @ghoulskool, @e_i_t and @sukiroseetter.
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.