Monday, February 21, 2011

What year is it?

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I think I have been transported back in time to 1996. During this year, I spent a lot of time watching music videos on a weird UHF station called The Box, where for $3.95, you could call up and request a video.

The first time I heard "Tha Crossroads" by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, I liked it. Their rapping style is so musical, it's hard not to love it. But that video was by far the most requested on The Box, and soon, I grew to loathe it. I just wanted to see a Bush video! Little did I know that 15 years later, I would still be into Bone Thugs and Bush would be nonexistent and a total joke.

By far my favorite video on The Box was Weird Al's "Amish Paradise". The first time it came on, I thought I was hallucinating. It was the funniest thing I had ever seen and I couldn't believe something so funny was allowed on TV. I mean, seriously, TV in 1996 was pretty boring.

Anyhow, I recently had the joy of interviewing both Weird Al and Bone Thugs, prompting me to wonder, "What year is it?"

First of all, Bone Thugs played the second to last show at one of my favorite Portland music venues, Berbati's Pan. I reviewed it for The Oregonian.

After the show, local messiah of all things hip-hop, Cool Nutz, helped me get an interview with the band for English, baby!

Everyone was pretty loose, so we talked for a bit. Here's some bonus footage of some cool slang Layzie Bone wanted to talk about that was too advanced for the English, baby! audience of international students.

Finally, here is my interview with Weird Al, also for English, baby! and in promotion of his new book for children. I also sort of reviewed the book, which is pretty neat and surprising, at the Ebaby! blog.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Juwan Howard Has Got Your Back

Last year, I loved watching Juwan Howard play for the Blazers. Anytime there was a disagreement on the court, he would step up and defend his teammates while making amazing faces. So, when I got the chance to go to a Miami Heat practice to get some Celebrity English Lessons for English, baby! (I was told I could approach anyone but the big 3), I asked him to teach the phrase, "I got your back".

...and talk about basketball shorts.



I also recruited ┼Żydr┼źnas Ilgauskas. He is a great injury comeback story, so being in the process of rehabbing from major knee surgery myself, I kind of identify with him. We talked about second chances.



This interview was also used by a Lithuanian outlet to create a news story. It's pretty cool. You can kind of read it in Google translation, enough to tell it uses quotes from the video in the typical newspaper style. Pretty neat.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Get Bent

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Strangely, I've written a couple of articles lately involving the verb "to bend." I made my first great local music discovery of the year writing an Oregonian review of the first night of the Portland Oregon Hip-Hop Festival (which also happened to be my 27th birthday) in the form of Rose Bent, a group fronted by three female MCs and backed by live instrumentation. I also had fun at the second night of the festival, although nothing got bent.

Then, just a couple of weeks later, also for The Oregonian, I wrote a preview for the Slabtown Bender, which was definitely the most impressive event put on by the venue since it assumed its current ownership 4 years ago. Now, I just need to get assigned something Futurama-related.