For most people, riding the bus is a necessary evil, merely a means to get from Point A to Point B. But sometimes, the bus can be a vessel to carry you much farther: to your destiny and maybe even your true love. It was on such a bus ride that Merrick Monroe fell in love… with the art form of comics.
Merrick is the co-curator, along with founder Kaebel Hashitani, of the Sequential Art Gallery + Studio, a Portland gallery that has featured the work of dozens of artists in its 10 years of celebrating the medium of comic book illustration. She is also the host of Merrick Has Issues, a “webshow” where she hips viewers to the coolest titles on the shelves of their local comic book store.
Merrick joined us to talk about her early years as a band geek, how visitors to the gallery might have a different appreciation for comic art on exhibit rather than in a floppy format and why it’s sometimes good to just chill and go fishin’ within the realm of World of Warcraft.
His international travel, his stand-up comedy, his experience directing music videos. These are all among the topics we will talk with the musician XUA the next time he comes on the show. Oh, he’s coming back on the show for sure, because we had such a fantastic time talking to him.
XUA (aka Joshua Lee Vineyard) is the synthesist for electronic funk/soul quintet Swahili, and he recently followed up the band’s sophomore album AMOVREVX with solo his album, Mekong Moon.
XUA also tells us about a trip he took with a young Michael Jackson… shortly after the singer’s death.
It’s an expression that you can hear comedian JoAnn Schinderle utter as an under-her-breath aside frequently during her act. But it seems like more than just a funny punctuation to her jokes and more like a mantra she’s come to after some of her life experiences. And it was more than fine for us to have her on the show.
JoAnn has performed in festivals such as Bumbershoot, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, SF Sketchfest, All Jane No Dick Comedy Festival, among many others. She is also the host Control Yourself, a stand-up showcase occurring every 1st and 3rd Sunday at Alberta St. Pub and the co-host of the It’s Not Me, It’s Me speed-dating podcast along with Barbara Holm.
JoAnn joined us to talk about what effect SNL had on her early on, why she has no problem whatsoever talking about her dating life in her act and what makes her so cognizant of her appearance before she takes the stage.
JoAnn also shared with us how being a victim of identity theft ultimately brought her much closer to her mom and how everything ended up being fine… kind of.
From Maryland to L.A., from OAK to PDX, artist Ryan Alexander-Tanner’s constant traveling companion has been his talent. That talent his taken him to a number of interesting and diverse stops on his career path: the Portland Mercury, Willamette Week, The Nib, Cartoon Movement and Dave’s Killer Bread, where he was their exclusive illustrator for many years.
Ryan joined us to talk about how his upbringing shaped his progressive, feminist views, what his relationship with Dave’s Killer Bread meant to him as an artist and as a person and why comics are such a powerful educational tool.
We also talked with Ryan about what just went wrong in his life that made him want to spend his free time reviewing every single episode of Full House.
The Mystery Box Show is a live, bi-monthly, sex-themed storytelling series that features real people sharing true personal stories about sex and sexuality. The usage of the words “true”, “personal”, “live” and “sex” in that description are probably reasons why we will never do the show. But we sure do love hearing about it!
That’s why it was a pleasure to have Mystery Box Show founder Eric Scheur and producer Reba Sparrow join us once again to give us the latest on the show, along with former storytellers Nick and Sandra Elliott. Nick and Sandra don’t necessarily define their 20-year relationship as polyamorous, but they were kind enough to give us a little “Poly-Sci 101”, a lesson that polyamory is more about trust, loyalty and love, than it is about engaging multiple partners.
Eric and Reba also give us details as to how The Mystery Box Show is about to get a lot more graphic by turning the show into a comic book series. Their Kickstarter campaign for the comic book launches August 1.
The next Mystery Box Show event is Saturday, August 8th at 7pm at the Alberta Rose Theater. For more information about the show and to get advance tickets, check out their website. You can also follow them on Twitter @mysteryboxpdx.
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.