Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Twin Cities or Bust

Wish me luck. This is my entry into a contest sponsored by the GOP. Video responses answer the question, "Why are you a Republican in 2008?"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

There are like two Chinese people in Chinatown, tops.

Oh, did I mention English, baby! is sending me to the Olympics? It's true. The Portland Tribune did a story on it. Here's my attempt to get some travel tips in Portland, starring a fake Chinese mobster.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lefty

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It may sound crude, but when someone's missing a limb, you know there's a story. Add to his stump that Lefty is loud, friendly and a guitar player and I had no choice but to do two different pieces on him. A video for English, baby! and a Q&A in The Oregonian.

Note Lefty's classic panhandler lyrics in the opening scene: "Well I'm standing on the sidewalk/ And I'm playing my guitar!/ People walk by/ They put money in my jar..."



Photo: Handed to Lefty by a fan on the street.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

OSF Video

I just got this link to an amazingly professional video the folks at eq.tv made for us at the Shakespeare Festival.

Apparently some of the folks who made this will be moving to Portland soon so keep an eye out!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Your Anchor will hold in the storms of life.

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Everyone says Danny Seim is as nice as he is tall and he's very tall and they're very right. I interviewed him over the phone about, Your Anchor, the new album by his long-running bandle, Lackthereof, and when I was done he started interviewing me! I'm going to email him next time Tragedy or Agalloch plays because he wants to check out some crucial local metal.

So check out the story. Seim's progression from non-musician to one man band and recording studio has inspired me to start recording at home as well. My first home-recorded song is the hilarious tale of a meter man who accidentally falls in love with a lizard co-written and performed with Mark B. Expect to see it here whenever he outsmarts his 4-track and can make it talk to his computer.

Your Anchor will be released July 19 at the Doug Fir and July 22 in the rest of the world. Photo by Alicia Rose.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ashland + MSC = True Love

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It was a total gamble. Even as we were setting up and the crowd was taking seats on the green, no one had any idea if the Oregon Shakespeare Festival crowd would dig the Metal Shakespeare Company. (The odd pairing is captured nicely in this localCut post.)

I was told an average crowd at the Green Show, the opening act for the evening's plays at OSF, is about 300. Ours was certainly that big, some estimated larger, and that many people seated looks a lot bigger than our usual standing crowds.

Claudia Alick, the producer of the Green Show (which, until she took over last year, was always a hanky dance show), introduced us and asked the audience to cheer if they liked Shakespeare, then to cheer if they liked metal. The second cheer was louder.

It sounds cliche, but as we took the stage, everything was in slow motion. I'm used to playing drunk with sweaty people knocking the mic into my teeth, but in the summer afternoon atmosphere, I was able to think about the music while I was playing it, plan my next dance move and look around at people's faces. They were smiling.

I don't play guitar on our power ballad, and during that song I walk around the crowd and touch people. This went over really well. I don't think people are used the performers breaking the fourth wall.

Afterward we sold about 30 CDs, most of which we wound up autographing for people ranging from age 8 - 70. A photographer ran up to me and said, "You're going to be in the paper tomorrow!" And sure enough, the third page of the Ashland Daily Tidings was devoted to us.

As a result of the article, there were a lot of people there the next night to see us. Matt said he thinks it was one of the best shows we've ever played.

Since OSF hospitality knows no bounds, we got to watch a superb country-western take on Comedy of Errors after our set. It was really elaborate and had lots of physical comedy. I was taking notes for when our band becomes a Vegas show.

In fact, Ashland was quite the taste of Vegas. We couldn't walk around without being recognized and complimented. We also partied with other performers. Othello, Desdemona and Iago closed down the Beau Club with us and I got a press quote from Peter Macon, who plays Othello and loved our show, "Zunes! Those guys fucking shred."

Photos by Thom Larkin of the Daily Tidings.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I thought the 4th of July was heaven...

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...but then I discovered that "all patriotic items" are 50% off at Fred Meyer! Such good timing with Patriot Day just two months away.

Image: My shopping cart before adding less patriotic items to it.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Great American Bar: The Kiknbque Lounge

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I like karaoke a lot. I'm not a cultist like some, but I'm a pretty regular singer of Ozzy or Twisted Sister, enough to know that a lot of karaoke bars are the same. There are some booths. You stand on a little stage. But one place in Portland has a truly unique karaoke experience.

Singing at the Kiknbaque is kind of like busking on a crowded subway. You are not the center of attention. There is no stage. You walk amongst the patrons with a wireless microphone. And the patrons are actually diverse enough to roughly equate the contents of a subway car. In fact, Ben Moral, who is a Kiknbaque regular, will tell you it's "the most diverse crowd in Portland." It was that comment that inspired this story.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Local Journalist Driven to Threat of Violence by Annoying Media Cliche

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If I see one more headline ending in "at the pump" I am going to "pump" someone full of lead. That goes double for if there's another word beginning with p in the vicinity.

Image: Today's Trib.