I work for the most amazing company. EVER. There, I said it, and I doubt any of my fellow employees that accompanied me to the Live Wire! taping (courtesy of GiftTree!) would argue. I had never heard of it, so I googled them and this is what I found, “Live Wire! is a radio variety show recorded in front of an enthusiastic live audience from the Alberta Rose Theatre in NE Portland, airs each week around the state and in SW Washington via Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), on stations around the country and is heard nationally and internationally through its pod casts. It’s music, it’s conversation, it’s sketch comedy. It’s radio variety for the A.D.D. generation.” Man, they weren’t kidding!! First, it’s in the Albert Rose theater, and for those of you that don’t know, Portland knows how to build a swanky theater, that will later be re-purposed into a swanky theater. Get it? A third of the small theater was reserved just for us. I don’t know about the rest of you, but reserved seating makes me feel important and well, warm and fuzzy on my insides. There was beer and soda flowing, music playing and then the host, Courtenay, emerged to guide us through the night with her stories, quips and hilarity.
In between some talented and humorous sketch comedy the audience was treated to some amazing guest artists starting with what may be my new favorite band, Hey Marseilles–a 7 ( maybe 8 ) piece local band with folky sounds(Seriously people, look them up!). After some more riotous readings from Live Wire!’s troupe we met Elizabeth Weil who wrote, “No Cheating, No Dying: I Had A Good Marriage. Then I Tried To Make It Better.” This lady was no joke! Her and her husband swam from Alcatraz to the California coast to help strengthen their relationship. I guess the family that swims-shark-infested-waters, stays together? May not roll off the tongue, but Elizabeth says it worked! The first part of the show was wrapped up by Ian Karmel, a comedian who got his start locally. Ian spun a tale of death, floods and Karaoke and somehow managed to wrap it all up in a LOL-inspired bow. P.S. I have had the desire to hit up seedy, Portland Karaoke clubs since that night!
Our show will resume after a brief intermission.
After we had all refilled our cups and found our seats the show was in full swing again starting with another amazing band called Blitzen Trapper. While they too seemed to be rooted in folky sounds, they also made me thinks of the awesome melodies that transpired in the groovy generations. That may account for the purchase of a new shag throw-rug… It was at this point that I realized, on stage, Live Wire had their own sound guy. And I don’t mean someone at an electrical switch board, no no–this was a guy on stage with tin cans, spare shoes and newspaper who was able to generate all the sound effects to go with the skits! My amazement was diverted shortly when Steve Jones took a seat on stage. He was introduced as the winner of the 2011 Cheese-monger Invitational. Two part question; This is a thing?! How do I get invited?! Steve then had a showdown with a member of the Live Wire! cast to see who could best describe the underlying cheesy tones with three words or less. I was laughing so hard that I missed much of what was said except one description that will stick with me till the day I die. “Goaty tang.” Please, please, please feel free to work this into your everyday conversation–you can start by offering your co-worker a wedge of cheese and describe it as having a “real goaty tang” to it. I thought that nothing could top meeting the world’s top cheese-monger, but I was wrong. The next guest was Brian Michael Bendis, the man who killed off Peter Parker. Brian lives in Portland, as do several other writers and artists for Marvel, I learned. Shock and amaze. As Brian talked about his family, his desire to have a biracial character become Spider Man and meeting his heroes, his counter part, Michael Oeming, used an over-sized art pad in the background to sketch some pictures. By the end of of his interview the sketches were done and auctioned off to help Live Wire! which is fully non-profit organization. Things got a little hairy as a bidding war erupted and ONE of the sketches went for over $600. WOOWZA! What a way to end the night!
All in all, this was a truly amazing experience. I love my co-workers and I always have a blast hanging out with them on our GiftTree field-trips. Thank you again, GiftTree, for a memorable night! Oh! And if you would like to hear the show, it will be broadcasted on March 3rd at 7pm on OPB Radio (check your local listings for channel) or you can also catch them at www.livewireradio.org. Happy listening!
P.S. Goaty tang!