Andy Mingo—who’s currently co-writing and producing the film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Lullaby, has optioned Oregon Book Award-winner Lidia Yuknavitch’s memoir The Chronology of Water.
The book has won a slew of awards and amassed a cult following for Yuknavitch’s intensity, rawness and depth of life, which includes early sexual abuse, addiction, swims with Ken Kesey and an exploration of bisexuality and S&M.
Yuknavitch is one of the few authors to receive the Oregon Book Awards People’s Choice Award for two books—Chronology of Water and The Small Backs of Children. The latter also won the Ken Kesey Award for best work of fiction published by an Oregon author. Local authors Cheryl Strayed, Chuck Palahniuk and Chelsea Cain—who all wrote blurbs for Chronology—are also big fans.
Yuknavitch and Mingo, who are married, are planning to write the screenplay together.
“If the memoir didn’t affect our marriage, I don’t think the film would. It’s totally fine,” Mingo says. “Lidia and I have written things together before, so this will be a really fun experience to collaborate. She doesn’t write screenplays, so it’ll be me bringing the structure and her brining the raw emotion.”
The film is in very early stages, especially because Mingo is currently in the middle of casting Lullaby, with production slated for 2017.
“The Chronology of Water has gotten some nibbles from agencies from L.A. for a while and nobody’s picked it up outright—and it seemed like perfect time to pick up the option, secure the rights and make this happen, especially since we’re having such a lot of momentum right now with Lullaby,” Mingo tells WW. “The Chronology of Water made so much sense because it’s a cult icon and people really love the story.”
As for who will play Yuknavitch, Mingo can’t yet say. He also hints that the film might have a female director.
“We do have a couple people in mind who are wildly popular and are also fans of the memoir,” he says. “I’m not exactly sure, but this is the type of story that may need a female director to bring in that perspective the story needs.”
Aesthetically, Mingo says he’s imagining a lot of art direction and 1980s and ’90s clothes.
“It’s a little bit of a period piece so there’s going to be that element to it and it’s going to have to be a little bit dated,” he says. “Oregon has some pretty great film incentives, so we would love to partake in that and look for every opportunity to film as much as possible.”
I’m trying to be a better person, which is why I occasionally put my spare change into that little donation jar they keep on the front counter at McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and certain gas stations.
I never read the short paragraph letting you know what the money is being used for, but I don’t have to. If you put a small container next to a picture of a sad looking child, I believe that it’s safe to assume the money’s being used for a good cause. And if I donate money for a good cause, I get good karma. And if I have good karma, I have a better chance of winning the lottery and establishing a better relationship with my ex-wife Joy Farrah Darville Hickey Turner.
But oddly enough, tossing my loose change at big issues like world hunger and childhood diabetes hasn’t been doing enough to tilt the karmic cosmos in my direction. I’m also pretty sure that the employees at Taco Bell shake the change jar every night until they get at least a few quarters to split amongst themselves. So I decided to up the ante by donating a large amount of money to an in vogue issue.
I was going to give ten whole dollars to Haiti.
In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, I thought it might be a solid idea to give towards a Haiti relief fund. That way, I would be doing a good deed, thus canceling out the bad deeds of my past so that eventually my brother Randy and I could finally use all that lottery money to get on with our lives.
Of course, I realize that people in the United States also suffered as a result of Hurricane Matthew; but you don’t get as many Karmic Brownie Points for helping out first world citizens. We live under the strict decree of a tacit social contract, and that contract clearly dictates that donating money to benefit a developing nation is worth more Karmic Brownie Points than donating to U.S. citizens below the Mason-Dixon line.
(Also, as a side note: A Florida law passed in 2015 by Governor Rick Scott allows individuals without the necessary permits to temporary conceal and carry handguns during a state of emergency–which was declared in the wake of the Hurricane Matthew. That makes some sense, as it would be irresponsible to leave an unattended firearm at home in the wake of an evacuation. I assume, though, that at least a few Floridians used this law as an excuse to drunkenly walk around town and shoot at the hurricane while shouting, “STAND YOUR GROUND!!”)
All in all, it seemed like donating money to Haiti would be a quick and easy way to boost my karma while maintaining a lofty sense of self. But after approximately two minutes of Googling research, I learned that donating money to a good cause was a little less noble than I’d hoped.
I’m not good with money, but $13 billion is a lot of cash for so few results. The United States could buy Haiti for that much money. Or better yet, we could bring everyone in Haiti to America and relocate them to Wisconsin or Omaha or someplace that doesn’t get hurricanes.
There’s only two problems with that, really. The first is that, if Syria has taught us anything, it’s that Americans hate refugees. The second is that relocating a bunch of Black people to America is how this country’s race problems got started in the first place.
Knowing that my donation may not actually be use to help those in need gave me pause. It’s frustrating to know that even when you spend your money on a cause, you still may not actually be benefiting those in need. Because, at that point, it starts to feel that all is lost. It begins to seem that there really isn’t much anyone can do for those in need save for sending thoughts and prayers. My $10 wouldn’t have been enough to save the world, but I’d hoped it would at least be enough to help someone out there. Now, though, I’m honestly not sure how to show support in a meaningful way if my money may not even reach the people it’s meant for.
That said, I still donated $10 money to Haiti. After all, I care more about looking like I care than actually helping those in need. That’s why I buy products featuring pink ribbons in October and pretend to root for the 49ers.
Kristina Wong didn’t know what it was like to be white until she spent a month in Uganda. The Wong Street Journal is part standup, part TED Talk and part hip-hop show, and centers on her Uganda visit. Wong, who is Chinese American, claims she was treated “like a white woman for three weeks,” and suddenly found herself “the beneficiary of American colonialism and privilege.”
WW: What was your background with encountering white privilege in the States before visiting Uganda?
Kristina Wong: Right before I left, I wrote these xoJane articles about white guys and Asian fetishes. I had briefly dated this white guy who argued that Trayvon Martin was as likely to be shot for being black as he was for having tattoos. I tagged this guy in the post of the article—because he was an idiot. He still doesn’t understand how he shouldn’t have equated his situation to a black kid getting shot. So, I outed him as a fetishist. But, with this show, I don’t want to stand onstage and yell at white people for what they’ve done wrong.
What was this privilege like in Uganda?
My second day in Gulu in Northern Uganda, I made a rap album. I met these boys in the street, and they invited me back to their music studio. I got pegged for a music career because they saw me as somebody who could give them publicity as a “mzungu,” or white person. One of the boys told me that he thought he deserved a mzungu wife due to his music. I had many experiences where children would gather around me and sit on my lap just so others could see.
How did Twitter play a role in your visit?
People unfriended me while I was there by telling me that my visit was “problematic.” The character I’m setting up in the show is Kristina Wong before she leaves for Uganda, but she’s this activist who’s always fighting people on her iPad. I don’t want to create a show where everybody comes after me; I want to be honest about how naive I was. I thought the best way to confront this would be by becoming the person who would protest it before it would even go up.
You recently said in an xoJane article that you thought life was supposed to be miserable as a Chinese American via Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Do you find being a comedian depressing?
I don’t want to belittle people who are actually bipolar, but doing theater is like giving birth. When women describe postpartum…that’s what it’s like. Everybody leaves the theater, and you’re kind of alone. The nature of survival in this profession can come with a lot of lows.
What’s your best coping mechanism for dealing with online hate?
You need to exercise being your biggest critic. In some countries, we’ve seen revolutions enacted by Twitter. It’s not a completely useless thing. I’ve seen a lot of activists hate themselves. That’s why I do theater—you are allowed to see the whole process of how you keep getting it wrong, and then sometimes you get it right. I think that’s what we’re missing with online activism.
SEE IT: The Wong Street Journal plays at the Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St., boomarts.org. 7:30 pm Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 20-23. $20.
By now, we all know of Kenneth Bone and the second presidential debate, which was rife with all the question dodging anyone could have ever hoped for.
It was dramatic to see how the candidates initially refused to shake hands. Then it was funny-in-a-gross-way to watch Trump attempt to defend his sexist comments from ten years ago. Then it was rewarding to see Hillary Clinton finally smile the very real smile of a woman who knows she’s about to be president. And in the end, it all perfectly culminated with Karl Becker’s closing question, which awkwardly forced two political opponents to say something kind to each other in a cordial—though not entirely genuine—conclusion.
I didn’t watch the debate when it first aired because I don’t trust live television. In fact, I haven’t seen a live, televised event since the 2004 Superbowl when two pop stars robbed me of both my innocence and my ability to trust the family-friendly values of network television.
I did, however, watch the debate on YouTube last night at x2 speed, which I heavily recommend. Not only does it make the bullshit last only half as long, but it makes it easier to pretend that two chipmunks are having an urgent disagreement about the fate of the free world while Simon (from Alvin and the Chipmunks) and Jeanette (Simon’s female counterpart from the less prominent Chipettes) do their best to moderate. Because you know in your heart that if Anderson Cooper had to be a chipmunk, he would be a Simon, and Martha Raddatz would be a Jeanette.
But as the debate wrapped up and the two opponents finally shook hands, I couldn’t help but wonder what questions I might’ve ask the candidates if given the opportunity. After a great deal of consideration, I took a pen and began to write down every question I thought befitting to ask a presidential hopeful.
Of course, some of these inquiries are political in nature. I think, though, that there’s plenty to be learned from how a candidate answers hard-hitting, personal questions. So below, I’ve included a brief list of all the things I would like to ask Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (I know that there are technically more than two candidates, but c’mon now). I believe the answers to these questions would greatly serve the American people in deciding on our 45th president, and I sincerely believe that if you ask these questions of yourself, you may learn something new about what kind of a person you truly are:
What are you going to do about Joseph Kony?
How are we going to save the bees?
Did you actually watch The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, or did you just act sad when it got canceled to maintain your liberal credibility?
Given the current state of unrest, do you plan on continuing the further militarization the law enforcement officers?
Is Gucci Mane a clone?
Do you think Jay-Z actually cheated on Beyoncé, or was it all an elaborate ruse to get everyone to download Tidal for the free one month trial period?
As diseases such as Zika and Ebola spread from the developing world to North America, what do you believe is our nation’s role in better preventing these ailments abroad before they pose any major threat to folks in the U.S.?
Which of the Koch brothers do you think has the bigger dick?
What does Marcellus Wallace look like?
Will Daesh be the last terrorist organization created by our foreign policy blunders, or do you think we have another one up our sleeves?
Does ska technically count as music?
Do you in any way believe that young voters will actually show up to the ballot boxes when it comes time for Congressional elections?
Pokémon or Digimon?
Who is John Galt?
Who’s on first?
Why does Tumblr keep deleting all my favorite porn blogs?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could Chuck Norris?
When will the Artemis Fowl book series get the credit it deserves?
Train A, traveling 70 miles per hour (mph), leaves Westville heading toward Eastville, 240 miles away. At the same time Train B, traveling 60 mph, leaves Eastville heading toward Westville. When do the two trains meet?
Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?
There are certainly more questions I would like to ask. For example, I’d like to know if Hillary Clinton enjoys her present wardrobe or if she has some dope sundresses picked out for her second term in office when, for the first time in decades, she’ll no longer have to placate the chauvinistic masses by exclusively wearing heavily starched pantsuits. I would also like to ask Donald Trump how he sleeps at night and/or lives with himself.
Okayae so IA Am wrihting this still drunk righht now.” Anb nnot like, “Oh I surr am a litl bit buzzed” drunk. But like, “oh no, Ive made a terriblae mistake” sdrunk. Like, “ I have to close aone of my eyes to tpye this” drunk. Beacduse I decided to play a drtinking game for the Presidental deabates anfd ithing s went two far And I drank alk the America Budweiser beer abd now I’kkm just sad and aloned abd have too meat a deadline .
It akl started when Ev yrine on twitter swas like”oh it’s gonna be fun to p lay these fucking drinking games duriing the debate” so I treid it becayse I It sounded like fun to makes a drinking game out of an otherwise boring event.
So teh were the riles I decided to play by 11 sipmle rules and I have copyed and pasted them hear for you to read:
1. Drink whenever you hear the word, “e-mail.”
2. Drink whenever you hear the words, “I own property.”
3. Drink whenever you hear the words, “inner city” used as a synonym for “brown people.”
4. Drink whenever Donald Trump sniffles and you can tell that he’s thinking, “Some people don’t like the drip. Okay? They think it tastes weird. But me? I like it. I think it tastes nice.”
5. Drink whenever archaic social norms force Hillary Clinton to smile even though you can tell she’s screaming inside.
6. Drink whenever Donald Trump refers to millions of dollars as a “small loan.”
7. Drink whenever two rich people discuss their plans to save the middle class.
8. Drink every time you can tell Lester Holt is struggling not to shout the words, “JUST ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION.”
9. Drink whenever either of the candidates seems at all uncomfortable to talk about race.
10. Drink whenever you want.
11. Drink twice whenever you find yourself crying in front of a full-length bathroom mirror while wearing nothing but an ugly blazer with overstuffed shoulder pads as you fight through your own choked sobs in an attempt to do your best Fozzy Bear impression while saying, “Of course she won the debate. She’s a woman. They’re great at arguing. WOCKA WOCKA!!”
Rihgt? Ok>/? So it seemed simlpe enouhg but thne they had that whole segemnt about race and sothat it was like 23 striaght minutes of chuging booze and feline bad for Lester. And now here I am, drunk in my, hous4 listening to Nikki Minaj and righting about politicalics and tweeting Lester Holt to askif he is o okay. But probably he isn’t.
None of us are okay ahnymore. None ofus will ever b ok agaian.
So it wasz illiket. Okay. So thanat;s that. And nwo that that’s that I guess that;s okjay because noow I guess maybea thi debate hass chnange some opeople’s minds’ maybe but I dont; reely think so becaus e When has that ever haoppend? You know? Like when has a debate ever made someone thing “oh ikay I guess now I have a diffeernet opijion.” It’s ujust dumb. We all jusst wasted out time reafirming opinions we alraedy had.
And of coarse the debate had to hapen on a Monda because Garfield was right. And now the hole weak is ruined. and we still haveto do two more of these.
A laste night weekend showcase of comics, mostly local stand-up comedians and Seattleites passing through. Sometimes the best part is watching Crystal Hotel guests awkwardly sidle by the stage, wearing only a swimsuit and towel, on their way to the pool behind this basement bar. Al’s Den, 303 SW 12th Ave., 10:30 pm Fridays and Saturdays. Free. 21+.
The Brody Open Mic
Twice-weekly, Portland’s most prolific improv venue opens its stage to everyone for 3-minute bits. Sign up online day of before 1 pm. Brody Theater, 16 NW Broadway, 224-2227. 8:30 pm Tuesday-Wednesday. Free.
The co-host of Almost Genius on truTV, Chris Fairbanks is a native Montanan who started driving people around in cars and filming it long before Michelle Obama slid into James Corden’s passenger seat. His upcoming comedy film Still Punching the Clown comes out this year. Until then, he’s freelance-illustrating educational textbooks and touring places like Portland. Hosted by Stacey Hallal. Curious Comedy Theater, 5225 NE Martin Luther King Blvd., 7:30 pm Friday, Aug 12. $20.
Comedy and Cocktails
Jason Traeger hosts a roundup of local comedians like Becky Braunstein and Wendy Weiss—Portland’s best stripper comedian—at New Deal’s monthly showcase. Cocktails start at 7, show at 8 pm. New Deal Distillery, 900 SE Salmon St., 503-234-2513. 7 pm Friday, Aug 12. Free. 21+.
Curious Comedy Open Mic
Sign up start at 7:15, and every comic gets a tight three minutes onstage in this weekly show hosted by Andie Main. Curious Comedy Theater, 5225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 477-9477. 8 pm Sundays. Free.
Some of WW’s favorite funny Portlanders showcase famous and not-so-famous, local and not-so-local comedians. Hosted by Curtis Cook, Alex Falcone, Anthony Lopez and Bri Pruett inside a pretty epic bike shop. Velo Cult Bike Shop, 1969 NE 42nd Ave., 922-2012. 9 pm every Wednesday. Free, $5 suggested donation. 21+.
The Hard Times Presents: ACAB
All comics are bastards, but especially these people this month: David Mascorro, Wendy Weiss (is it just us, or is she suddenly everywhere?), Kenny Calisota, Dylan Jenkins and Nicky Moon. Bill Conway and the Hard Times host a showcase of dick jokes in a former Chinese language school. Kickstand Comedy Space, 315 NW Davis St., kickstandcomedy.org. 8:00 pm Wednesday, Aug. 10. $5 suggested donation.
“Dragon Boy Suede,” aka the guy who once interviewed Zach Galifianakis for his weekly music podcast “Who Charted?,” takes a break from the strip-club circuit and Comedy Bang! Bang! to headline Bunk. Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water Ave., bunksandwiches.com. 9:30 pm Friday, Aug. 12. $15. 21+.
Ian Karmel and Sean Jordan
They moved away, then came back, then went away and returned—now, after a small hiatus from Portland, they are popping in again. If you don’t know them already, you’re probably not from around here, are you? Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St., No. 110, 503-288-3895, revolutionhallpdx.com. 9:30 pm Friday, Aug. 12, $25, all ages. 7 pm Saturday, Aug. 13, $35, 21+.
It’s Not Me, It’s Me
Lady comedians JoAnn Schinderle and Barbara Holm are bringing back their speed-dating show. They tell jokes while you drink and attempt small talk with other singles vying for prizes like free condoms. Alberta Street Pub, 1036 NE Alberta St., 503-284-7665, albertastreetpub.com. 8 pm Friday, Aug. 12. Free. 21+.
This weekly, long-form improv show combines performers from many Portland theaters and troupes. Newbies are welcome and teams are picked at random, then coached by an improv veteran before taking the stage. Curious Comedy Theater, 5225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 477-9477. 7:30 pm Thursdays. $5.
Expect lures, incense, battery packs and gym badges. There will be jokes for entertainment in addition to laughing at people running into each other with their iPhones glued to their faces. Funhouse Lounge, 2432 SE 11th Ave., 503-841-6734, funhouselounge.com. 8 pm Sunday, Aug. 14. Free. 21+.
The Ranger Station Open Mic
Sign ups start at 8 pm for a weekly open mic night hosted by Victor Johnson, set in the whiskey-heavy bar WW once compared to “a Roosevelt-era public works cabin.” The Ranger Station, 4260 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 894-8455. 8:30 pm Wednesday. Free. 21+.
Workshop students, veteran crews and groups that pre-register online perform long form improv every Sunday. Curious Comedy Theater, 5225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 477-9477. 6 pm Sundays. $5 suggested donation
Brody’s students showcase their improv, sketch and standup skills—a different class each week. Brody Theater, 16 NW Broadway, 224-2227. 7:30 pm Thursdays. $5.
Ever wanted to learn about pop culture and politics, but not take it too seriously and mock it relentlessly? Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson are here to scratch that itch. Throwing Shade is a popular podcast from the Maximum Fun network that has been selected as a top 20 comedy podcast by <em>Rolling Stone</em>, and will arm you with everything you need to be super snarky about what’s in the news, both real and celebrity. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 503-288-3895. 8 and 10 pm Wednesday, Aug. 10. $20. 21+.
Thursday Night Throwdown
Curious’ twice-monthly competition pits teams that apply in advance online against one another for a chance to compete in Friday Night Fights the next week. It’s first come, first served, and every groups gets 17 minutes. Curious Comedy Theater,5225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 477-9477. 9:30 pm every second and fourth Thursday. Free.
Author of The Todd Glass Situation, Todd Glass has done standup for more than 30 years and has all the credits to show for it: Evening at the Improv, Last Comic Standing, Preston and Steve. Recently, Glass might be best known for coming out on WTF with Marc Maron, or for hosting the off-the-wall podcast The Todd Glass Show. If you’ve seen Getting Doug With High, you know he loves weed, which should make performing five shows in three nights right above a dispensary pretty interesting. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., 888-643-8669, portland.heliumcomedy.com. 8 pm Thursday, Aug. 11, 7:30 and 10 pm Friday-Saturday, Aug. 12-13. $15-$23. 21+.
Over a year after he took the PR reins at Third Rail Theatre, company member Isaac Lamb is directing a play. In Sharr White’s tragicomic relationship drama, Emma returns to her ex-husband to pull him back from the brink of self-destruction. Ulysses is living in a trailer, alone, cooking while naked with only a dog for company. To really put audiences in this dingy world, the theater has been redesigned to create a more intimate space. Perfect for a date night with your ex, maybe achieving some catharsis as Emma and Ulysses bounce back and forth between their undeniable love and unbearable annoyance. Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave., 503-235-1101. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday and 2 pm Sunday. Aug. 5-27. $24.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Broadway Rose Theatre continues their love for Sondheim, staging Forum right after their production of West Side Story. Broadway Rose founding-General-Manager Dan Murphy will make an appearance as Pseudolus alongside Ethan Crystal—who just finished up his run in Triangle Production’s American Idiot—and Eugene native Kaitlyn Sage. This show follows a Greek slave trying to gain his freedom by helping his master get the girl of his dreams. The Deb Fennell Auditorium, 9000 SW Durham Road, Tigard. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, 2 pm Sundays Aug. 4-21. Additional shows 2 pm Saturday Aug. 13 and 20. $20-$28.
Portland’s newest theater company is jumping the gun, and we couldn’t be more glad about it. In the middle of the dull summer theater season(mostly Shakespeare in the parks), Public Citizen Theatre debuts a dark, sadomasochistic work that you’d expect at the hight of the fall arts season. This black murder mystery by French poet and criminal extraordiairre Jean Ganet is based on the real-life murder of a Madame by her housemaids, two sisters who play out sadomasochistic fantasies in their down time. Staged in this industrial warehouse theater, The Maids is primed to deliver chills in spite of the season. Shaking the Tree Theater, 823 SE Grant St., 503-235-0635. 8 pm Thursday-Saturday and 2 pm Sunday, Aug. 4-21. $15-$25.
Four year old Lucy has one fucked up imaginary friend. This is no children’s show. Instead, Mr. Marmalade is an abusive cocaine addict with a dildo obsession and a porn problem. Adding to the fuckpile, Lucy has one friend, a depressed boy named Larry who’s notorious for being the youngest kid to attempt suicide in the history of New Jersey. Twilight Theater might not be known for high-profile works or star power, but you can’t argue its stomach for black comedy. No show Thursday, July 28. Twilight Theater Company, 7515 N Brandon Ave., 8 pm Thursday-Saturday, 3 pm Sunday, through Aug. 6. $15.
The Music Man
Clackamas Repertory Theatre produces the classic musical about a traveling salesman who cons the parents of a small Iowa town into buying his instruments by promising to start a marching band. He plans to skip town before making good on that promise, but when a feisty librarian catches his eye, he decides to stick around for awhile. Clackamas Repertory Theatre, 19600 Molalla Ave., Oregon City, 503-594-6047. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, 2:30 pm Sundays, August 4-28. $10-$18.
By the Light of a Different Moon
Under the stars and trees of Mary S. Young Park, members of A-WOL Dance Collective will fly through the air on aerial apparatus, incorporating strength techniques, acrobatics and dance to an original soundtrack of Dirty Elegance’s downtempo, emotional trance beats. Every year, A-WOL’s Art in the Dark performance transforms a park into an evening of circus-like spectacle. Mary S. Young Park, 19900 Willamette Falls Drive, West Linn. 8:30 pm Friday-Sunday, August 5-14. $15-$28.
Your dream of tap dancing in Director Park is about to come true. Every August, Polaris dance company takes over this downtown square with free classes and contemporary performances from their own school and some of Portland’s top companies, like A-WOL Dance Collective. The lineup looks more diverse and funky this year. Boyeurism, the all-male revue from Star Theater, and The Circus Project will perform. In between shows, anyone can join classes in disciplines like ballet, yoga, pilates or tap. Director Park, 815 SW Park Ave., 11 am-6:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 4-6. Free.
COMEDY & VARIETY
Al’s Den Comedy Night
Mostly local stand-up comedians and Seattleites passing through combine for an hour long showcase. Sometimes the best part is watching Crystal Hotel guests awkwardly sidle by the stage, wearing only a swimsuit and towel, on their way to the pool behind this basement bar. Al’s Den, 303 SW 12th Ave., 10:30 pm Fridays and Saturdays. Free. 21+
Barbara Holm Believes in You
Your life looks less shitty at stand-up shows in comparison to comedians’ much shittier lives. But positive affirmation is the theme of Barbara Holm’s monthly showcase, where audience members win prizes and get free comedy from local guests, including Bridgetown Comedy veterans. Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E Burnside St., 8 pm every First Wednesday. Free.
The Brody Open Mic
Twice-weekly, Portland’s most prolific improv venue opens its stage to everyone for 3-minute bits. Sign up online day of before 1 pm. Brody Theater, 16 NW Broadway, 224-2227. 8:30 pm Tuesday-Wednesday. Free.
Control Yourself: A Showcase Of Funny
Joann Schinderle’s weekly showcase of traveling national comedians an local up-and-comers is followed by an open mic, making it a crowd-pleaser that has won WW’s Best of Portland readers poll twice. Alberta Streeet Pub, 1036 NE Alberta St., 9 pm Mondays. Free.
Curious Comedy Open Mic
Sign up start at 7:15, and every comic gets a tight three minutes onstage in this weekly show hosted by Andie Main. Curious Comedy, 5225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 8 pm Sundays. Free.
Curious Comedy Playground
It’s basically free time for comedians. Acts run the gamut, from improv to video and musical comedy, and you never know who’s coming out to play. Curious Comedy Theater,5225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 9:30 pm every first, third and fifth Thursday. Free.
Some of WW’s favorite funny Portlanders showcase famous and not-so-famous, local and not-so-local comedians. Hosted by Curtis Cook, Alex Falcone, Anthony Lopez and Bri Pruett inside a pretty epic bike shop. Velo Cult, 1969 NE 42nd Ave., every Wednesday. Free, $5 suggested donation.
Friday Night Fights
Curious’ twice-monthly improv competition pits teams that won last week’s Thursday Night Throwdown against one another. Curious Comedy Theater,5225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 9:30 pm every first and third Friday. Free.
Helium Open Mic
Sign-ups start at 6 for Helium’s weekly Open Mic and the line-up drops at 7:30. No guarantees on stage time, but the bar’s always open. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., 8 pm every Tuesday. Free.
John Rudnitsky is a guy people call a rising star, a featured player on Saturday Night Live and one of the prestigious “New Faces of Comedy” at the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. He also won something called The John Ritter Memorial Award for Outstanding Comic Performance. With five shows in three nights, he’s giving Portland plenty of time to decide if he’s our favorite new comedian. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., 888-643-8669. 8 pm Thursday, Aug. 4, 7:30 and 10 pm Friday-Saturday Aug. 5-6, $15-$25. 21+.
This weekly, long-form improv show combines performers from many Portland theaters and troupes. Newbies are welcome and teams are picked at random, then coached by an improv veteran before taking the stage. Curious Comedy, 5225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Thursday. Free.
The Ranger Station Open Mic
Sign ups start at 8 pm for a weekly open mic night hosted by Victor Johnson, set in the whiskey-heavy bar WW once compared to “a Roosevelt-era public works cabin.” The Ranger Station, 4260 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 8:30 pm every Wednesday. Free. 21+.
Workshop students, veteran crews and groups that pre-register online perform long form improv every Sunday. Curious Comedy, 5225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 6 pm Sundays. Free.
Brody’s students showcase their improv, sketch and standup skills—a different class each week. The Brody Theater, 16 NW Broadway, 6 pm Thursdays. Free.
Another new comedy show is staring. Hosted by Portland’s most recent Funniest person Nariko Ott, fellow Funniest finalist Caitlin Weierhauser, and newcomer Matt Monroe, You’re Welcome is going to be once a week, and it’s not to be missed. Kicking things off will be Portland’s Funniest alums Adam Pasi and Chris Ettrick, along with Barbara Holm and Yogi Paliwal. Mississippi Pizza Pub, 3552 N Mississippi Ave., 9:30 pm Wednesday, Aug. 3. Free. 21+.
Monday night, Melania Trump gave a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Melania was later accused of having plagiarized segments of her convention speech from Michelle Obama. In the wake of this news, Willamette Week contributor Curtis Cook flew back to his hometown to conduct a face-to-face interview with the possible first lady.
The two met at the Rally’s on Carnegie Avenue. Much to their surprise, the shake machine was working, which is a rarity for any Rally’s establishment. Curtis had a classic vanilla shake, though Melania opted for a strawberry shake.
Below is the unabridged transcript of their conversation. The slurping noises have been redacted.
Curtis Cook: Hello, Melania. First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. I know that you’re very busy, so I’ll just get right to it: You’re facing accusations of having plagiarized parts of a speech previously given by Michelle Obama back in 2008. Do you think this will be bad for your husband’s campaign?
Melania Trump: I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere that seems to know what to do and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe, and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our T.V.s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad. Worse than bad. They’re crazy.
Curtis Cook: That very well may be, Melania. But as a religious woman, doesn’t it bother you that some feel you were caught not only stealing someone else’s words, but also lying to the public about the authenticity of your speech?
Melania Trump: There’s this passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. ‘The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is The Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.’
I been saying that shit for years. And if you heard it, that meant your ass. I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was some cold-blooded shit to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this morning made me think twice. See, now I’m thinking, maybe it means you’re the evil man, and I’m the righteous man, and Mr. 9 millimeter here, he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is, you’re the weak, and I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m trying, Ringo. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.
Curtis Cook: As much as I appreciate your passion, I must say that I really don’t appreciate being insulted like that. I’m also going to have to ask you to answer the questions directly. After all, it’s not just the American people who are looking for answers. It’s all mankind.
Melania Trump: “Mankind.” That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!
Curtis Cook: Look, Melania, that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. Please stop dodging these questions. I flew here from Portland, and I would really like some answers.
Melania Trump: You want answers?
Curtis Cook: I think I’m entitled to.
Melania Trump: You want answers.
Curtis Cook: I want the truth!
Melania Trump:You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives…You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
Curtis Cook: You know, considering your husbands platform, it’s funny you should mention walls.
Curtis Cook: No, not that you’re funny. Just that it’s funny you would say that.
Melania Trump: What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
Curtis Cook: I think you’re misunderstanding me, Melania.
Melania Trump: You mean—let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe—but I’m funny how? I mean, funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny? Funny how? How am I funny?
Curtis Cook: Goddamnit, Melania. You know what? Let’s just finish these milkshakes and call it a day.
Melania Trump: Drainage.
Curtis Cook: What?
Melania Trump: Drainage!
Curtis Cook: Oh no. Oh sweet god, no. The milkshakes. I should’ve seen this coming. Please, Melania, you don’t have to do this.
Melania Trump: Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I’m so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake…
Curtis Cook: Please stop, Melania
Melania Trump: …and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that’s a straw, you see? You watching?
Curtis Cook: Please.
Melania Trump: And my straw reaches across the room, and starts to drink your milkshake…
I’ve always hoped that our world’s dystopia would come with zombies.
That’s not a particularly nuanced thing to say, but it’s how I feel. Zombies would just make everything easier. I don’t want to worry about cultural empathy or intersectionality or organizing protests or educating various communities or the legal complications that accompany a revolution. But I do want to fight against a mindless enemy that I can behead without guilt. I want to defeat hordes of brain-eating monsters. I want to replace one of my hands with a chainsaw and kill a bunch of undead cretins with a sawed-off shotgun that inexplicably has an unlimited amount of ammo.
And if it’s not going to be zombies, then I want robots to bring about a dystopian way of life. I want humanity to fly too close to the sun and finally invent a form of artificial intelligence that calculates some callous equation and discovers that the only way to save humanity is to destroy it. Then I want to hide underground with futuristic artillery and blast cyborgs with electro-shock thingamajigs amidst a high-tech hullaballoo. I want our society to end in a way that would make the Wachowski siblings proud and the Amish say, “We told ya so.”
Or we could have a Children of Men–style apocalypse where we riot like crazy and slowly fade away as a species. We could all devolve into seal creatures like in Galapagos. Our earth could wilt like in Interstellar. The Ebola outbreak last year had me convinced that we were headed towards a 12 Monkeys–type of society where humanity is forced to live underground like worms for fear of an invisible virus—but at least then we’d get time travel.
I always knew there was a chance I would witness some form of classic literary or cinematic dystopia in my lifetime, and I always found comfort in the notion that the end of days would at least be exciting.
Instead, it turns out I’m getting stuck with this boring-ass Orwellian bullshit where everyone gives up their rights freely and goes about life like a bunch of humdrum assholes. It’s like someone took out all the cool fire scenes from Fahrenheit 451, and now all we’re left with is an annoying wife who sells people out and watches soap operas all day. Sure, we’ve got big government, big TVs, and Big Brother. But where the fuck are all my mutant zombie robot virus shotgun adventures?
In addition to the chaos that followed the most recent acts of police brutality, it recently came to light that the hit new video game, Pokémon Go, has access to any players’ personal information. While Niantic Labs—the company responsible for developing Pokémon Go—has promised to resolve some of the privacy issues regarding the app’s access to users’ Google accounts, the video game will still have access to intimate user data.
Sure, that initially sounds like a bummer. Realistically, though, it doesn’t matter. While the mobile app’s location-tracking elements may raise an eyebrow or two, the overall idea of having personal information exposed for the sake of technological convenience is commonplace. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular sites all have access to users’ private info and profit from the sale of such data. After all, reading user agreements is for cowards.
But privacy concerns are not just online issues. Even outside of the digital sphere, rights regarding personal privacy are quickly being revoked. The Supreme Court recently ruled that any evidence found by a police officer during an illegal stop and search is admissible in court. Another federal decision made it legal for the FBI to hack your computer without a warrant. The Patriot Act is also a thing I guess, and the NSA also does stuff with phones or whatever. I have to admit that don’t really care. None of us really care, and what’s scarier than corporate and government access to citizens’ personal information is our lack of interest in our loss of privacy.
For the most part, it seems we’ve spent years passively handing out our private information for the sake of ease, personal promotion and immediate reward. And you know what? Fuck yeah. The NSA can read my sexts all day just so long as I get verified on Twitter before I die, and Facebook can sell my address to the Koch brothers if it means I can passively judge other people’s political opinions online.
I am a part of the problem, and that feels so much better than being that one kid from school who has to go over to that creepy old guy’s house every night, take off his shirt, and let The Giver touch his back so he can be exposed to memories and feelings and shit.
Keep your memories, old man. I’ve got online content to generate!
So I guess that’s it. Despite all my hopes and wishes that the world would end with a bang, I’m stuck in some dull future where everything is just as shitty as it’s always been, except I don’t have any privacy. But at least I get to be pacified with Pokémon. Because if I have to live in a world where a significant portion of the population hasn’t somehow been wiped out or eaten alive, then I guess I’ll settle for a Pikachu.
The city of Portland has a new funniest person: Nariko Ott.
In a packed house at Helium Comedy Club on Wednesday night, twelve comics who have competed for the past month performed in the finals. Because a winner had to be selected from among the twelve, the panel of judges decided that Ott had the evening’s best set.
This year’s contest drew more than 150 stand-ups, and the final lineup proved that even if some of the biggest names have moved to Southern California (or are planning to), there is still a lot of talent in Portland.
Ott was a clear stand-out, getting the nights biggest laughs. He also had the audacity to tell the evening’s lone Pokémon joke. But Ott was not the only comic who could have walked away with out-going contest winner Amy Miller’s crown.
Runner-up Bri Pruett, a Willamette Week Funniest Five alum and runner-up in last year’s contest as well, was sharp and hilarious, bringing the kind of energy that has made her one of Portland’s most consistent comics. Third-place finisher Adam Pasi, who was MIA when his name was read at the end of the show, had a more mellow set, but his bit about what night clubs must be like on the island of Samoa was one of the show’s best.
What was most impressive, though, wasn’t the excellent work of the winners. At this point, we know them. Ott, Pasi, and Pruett have all been contest finalists or Funniest Fivers or both before. The impressive thing about Wednesday’s finals was the depth of talent in the line-up. From names Portland comedy fans should already know, like Jason Traeger, Caitlin Weierhauser and Zak Toscani, to relative new-comers Dylan Jenkins and Chris Ettrick—the comics who didn’t place were nearly as outstanding as the three who did.
In the semi-finals, contenders like Gabe Dinger, Jacob Christopher, JoAnn Schinderle, Todd Armstrong, Don Frost and Jeremy Eli were only but because time and space are limited and nobody wants to sit through a four-hour comedy show, even if every single act on the bill could be Portland’s next funniest person.
Older and newer comics teamed up at the end of Wednesday’s show. As the judges votes were being counted and the performers were sweating it out in the bar, Nathan Brannon performed. Brannon claimed the title of Portland’s funniest person back in 2012, his newest album with Kill Rock Stars drops next month, and he’s leaving town basically right now.
Brannon isn’t the only Portland’s funniest winner to leave town. In fact, Ott is now the only winner of Portland’s Funniest to still live in the 503.
But that is the beauty of this contest. Not every winner will go on to fame and fortune and Conan appearances, or to record an album and move to L.A. But if Nathan Brannon is the standard barer and Nariko Ott is the heir apparent, it stands to reason the next winner of Portland’s Funniest Person is likely to be very, very funny. Lucky for us local comedy fans.