Monday, October 25, 2010

Slangin' It Up with E-40 and Tech N9ne

The latest additions to the Celebrity English Lesson series over at English, baby! are my recent interviews with rappers E-40 and Tech N9ne. They played the Roseland Theater in Portland earlier this month and tore it up. I saw a guy outside with a sign offering $100 for a ticket, so you can imagine the inside was packed and rowdy. See for yourself. Not pictured: girl across the balcony from me tearing her clothes off she was so into the show (and probably drunk).

As a bonus, we got E-40 to roll out his latest slang creation, "for the energy."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mike Rice Scouting Report

TV. It's trendy to hate it. But I gotta be honest, I'm into it. As an entertainer, I love watching other entertainers. And few TV sports casters are more entertaining--for better or worse--than the Blazers' Mike Rice. I wrote a scouting report on him for yesterday's Oregonian. See what we can expect this season when he takes to the air for another season of Blazers broadcasting Tuesday.

This article is for the byline-free "Edge" column (take that, anonymity!). I also compared the upcoming DC rallies of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for the column earlier this month.

Now, how can I get paid to write about How I Met Your Mother or White Collar?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

International Singing Sensation Tony Clifton Live and In Person

As a young kid, I really liked the show Taxi. It's kind of a weird show for a 7-year-old to like. Latka was my favorite character. I named my snake after him.

Later, once I was a teenager in a punk band, I discovered that Latka was played by a man named Andy Kaufman, a performer who did all kinds of unusual things. He became one of my heroes. I read his biography, tracked down tapes of his performances and watched Man on the Moon, the movie based on his life, over and over.

The second and third albums by my punk band, Question the Answers, included me doing an impression of Andy's nasal, obnoxious lounge singer alter ego, Tony Clifton. I used to steal his bit and call clubs trying to book a show, then call back as Tony and say, "I heard those Question the Answers assholes want to play here. They're a bunch of good for nothing losers! Owe me a lot of money. You ought to stay the fuck away from them if you don't want a bunch of low lives in your club! Listen to me! I play in Vegas..."

We continued to include abrasive, confrontational elements in our live show, largely inspired by Tony Clifton. Tony was so much more punk than most punk bands. Considering Andy died about four months after I was born, I assumed I'd never get to see Tony Clifton live.

But this weekend, I finally did. How is this possible? Find out in my review of the show for the Oregonian.

There was a lot on the line here. If the show sucked, it would truly have broken my heart. Luckily, it was amazing. Near the end, my friend Jake and I sneaked up into front row center. Tony looked right at us and I worried he was going to attack. Instead, he shook our hands and said, "Thank you."

Listen to me doing Tony on the song "Holy Pubes, Batman," recorded by Question the Answers in 2000.

And if you've never seen Tony Clifton before, watch this 1982 news segment about him.

Also, Tony has a website.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall Into Darkness 2010

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This weekend, Portland's best metal festival, Fall Into Darkness, has taken over Berbati's Pan and I wrote a preview of it for the Oregonian. Unlike festivals where every band sounds and looks the same, Fall Into Darkness features diverse and creative bands with common heavy and dark elements. Last night, Fauna gave a performance that was half ritual, half concert, spreading leaves through the venue and passing out candles to the audience during acoustic interludes between black metal songs.

Influential Olympia queercore duo, the Need, also wowed the crowd last night with a really high energy set. I had never seen them before, and their music was heavier live than it is recorded, and just as sinuous. Drummer Rachel Carns pounds out some pretty awesome beats from a standing position, which gives hopes to would-be drummers like me who just can't seem to coordinate the feet.

Tonight, Fell Voices, a black metal band generating a lot of buzz in the deep underground plays around 10pm. Like many bands on the festival this year, Fell Voices features both female and queer members. I briefly spoke to drummer Michael Rekevics by phone. He offered this quote, which was cut from the piece for space: “I love plenty of meathead metal, but what I find so compelling about black metal is the trance.” When you take the macho out of metal, some interesting things happen.

Full festival lineup listed here.

Photo: Rekevics by brandi666