Courtenay's blog | Live Wire Radio

Stay tuned! In just an hour and a half, The Liberators' John Breen and I will begin blogging at tonight's Opera, Cosi Fan Tutte. John knows a little about Opera, I don't. Bwuh-oh. See you soon!

by Courtenay on February 5, 2010 - 9:21pm.

Cosi.jpgJOHN: What if outside the operatic world it was commonplace to repeat everything you say over and again until your point gets across as they do in Opera? What if it were commonplace to repeat everything you say over and again until your point gets across as they do in Opera libretto? What if it were commonplace to repeat everything you say over and again until your point gets across as they do in an Opera libretto? 

COURT: Okay. You made your point. We have very little time here to update...let me just say that if you've never seen an opera before...COME TO THIS ONE. It's a farce, so think opera meets "Three's Company" meets a John Waters film. The set is stunning, the costumes are fabulous and it's actually funny. That Mozart was a freakin' HOOT. More later...our seats are waiting.  I never should've peed.

by Courtenay on February 5, 2010 - 7:28pm.

COURTENAY: So here we are at opening night Portland Opera's Cosi Fan Tutte. It's my first opera, and I'm as giddy as a really, really fucking old schoolgirl.

We just got back from the backstage tour, and speaking as a chick, it's going to be a GOOD night. We got a chance to see the GIANT SILVER BOX covered in a white tromp l'oeil pattern that the entire show will take place in. Even the floors are shiny metal, which I imagine will pose an issue for the women in the show, as they prance around in their stunning 50's dresses and pumps (yet another bonus.)

"My eyes are up here, Pavarotti." 

John Breen, on the other hand, my co-blogger, apparently knows something about the arts.


JOHN: I'm bummed, can I use as infantile a term as bummed when refering to opera?, that the backstage tour didn't include a my own personal lap-sing with one of the lead sopranos. Oh, sorry, maybe you don't know as much about opera singing performance shows as I do. The soprano is the hottest singer. And the highest in pitch. Yeah, I pretty much know a lot about culture and art and the arts.


The set is stunning. But not as stunning as when Mz Hameister was in it. What, what!

COURT:  John is totes playing me. Interesting, because that fits into the theme of tonight's show, which is about....oh, crap. What's it about?

JOHN:  It's about two men professing the loyalty of their fiance's to their best buddy, who insists they're wrong, in that all women are fickle. He claims if they turned their back for one moment, their woman would easily fall for someone else.

COURT: Hello pot? It's the kettle. You're black.

JOHN: Wait - there's more. Their buddy Don Alonzo launches a plot to trick the women into being seduced by other men. The men switch partners...

COURT: Like a 1790 key party?

JOHN: Let me finish. Jesus. Women.  And all hell breaks loose when one of them succeeds and the other doesn't..

COURT: Hello!! Spoiler Alert!! That's more of the story than I wanted to know.

JOHN:  Court, that lady totally just took some of your nuts from the blogger's table.

COURT:  Hey, lady!  Those are BLOGGER NUTS!!!  Thanks for distracting me from the spoilers. I've forgotten them now.

JOHN: You're welcome. Hey - what the EFF? Over half of my pretzels are gone. Why do people think they can just walk by our blogger table, where us bloggers are blogging and grab our blogger snackies? Oh, the cultured.

COURT: I've had just about enough of them. Good thing we won't have to sit three a three hour show with them.

JOHN: No, three hours and twenty minutes.

COURT: I can handle it. I once sat through a two-season "Rock of Love" Marathon. Ooooh! Speaking of love, the opera's about to start. We better go.

JOHN: Cool. But before we go, I need to say that apparently, there's some kind of code that says you can wear any kind of hat to the opera that you want - including Zorro Hats, and Sherlock Holmes hats...but the kind from Banana Republic.

COURT: Excellent information. We'll have more after the first act, people.


by Courtenay on February 5, 2010 - 6:31pm.
We LOVE November! The candy hangover is still fresh, the city smells like newly wet asphalt mixed with rotting leaves, and the promise of overcooked turkey with strangers disguised as family is in the air.

But better than all of that, it's when Willamette Week launches its annual holiday fundraising program, the Give!Guide.


So many reasons! We employ artists, we are independent of OPB (so don't get direct funding from them), and, like all arts organizations, we rely on contributions to keep ticket prices lower. (Yes, unlike that Wings reunion tour your parents dragged you to, only 50% of the ticket price covers our costs.) 

But really, please think about what Live Wire does for this great city: an hour of smart, quirky, funny, thought-provoking, participatory, and apparently sandwich-dropping comedy, music and conversation with some of the planet's most engaging human beings. Live Wire features the best of Portland on our stage, and brings those individuals and organizations to the rest of the world through our broadcasts and podcasts.

"If you can make a farm subsidy documentarian
feel like a rock star, you're on to something.
Dang me for not sending a check
to Live Wire sooner! You guys rock."
- King Corn director Curt Ellis

Please consider donating a year-end gift to us via Give!Guide. Willamette Week is offering some great Give!Guide incentives to everyone who makes just a $25 donation.

...and Live Wire is including a few extras: 
  • Donate $25 or more, we'll give you a Best of Live Wire Music CD, featuring music from The Helio Sequence and a rare solo performance from Colin Meloy
  • Donate $50 or more, get a CD and a 2-for-1 voucher for an upcoming show*
  • Donate $100 or more, you'll get the CD, plus a pair of tickets to an upcoming show.
  • Donate $250 or more, you'll get the CD and a pair of tickets to our Anniversary show and private After-Party!
  • Going nuts? At $500 or more..wait for it...all that PLUS your name as a character in a sketch!
Your Give!Guide donation of $25, $50, $100, $250...or whatever amount works for you right now will make a HUGE difference for us in this upcoming year.

If you listen, if you come to our live show, if you've brought friends,
if you've ever said to anyone,
"Hey, have you heard of this 'Live Wire' show? It's kinda cool,"

And we hope you'll consider taking this next step in supporting us. Please find Live Wire under the "Arts" category and give whatever you can today!

<<  DONATE TODAY!!  >>

*Small print alert! 2-for-1 vouchers cannot be used for special shows, like Wordstock or our anniversary show.
by Courtenay on November 12, 2009 - 4:46pm.
Not sure if you've heard, but local radio station KUFO recently let go of some of their more popular radio personalities, including Cort and Fatboy and Rick Emerson. What they've replaced these fun, smart, nerdy-in-the-best-possible-way guys with are some pretty awful d-baggy fellows from out of town. (Oh, and Marconi, who pulled this classy move a few years ago in Portland). Mike Russell of Culture Pulp fame wrote a great blog entry about the whole thing here.

So we've written a little sketch about "local" corporate radio, and Rick Emerson has agreed to perform it, along with past 94.7 favorite (who was also fired this past summer, and partially replaced by a robot) Tara Dublin. Should be a hoot! Yes. We said "hoot." What of it?
by Courtenay on November 4, 2009 - 2:44pm.


Blogger Sara Young of 20 Dates in 20 Weekends spent her final date at Live Wire's July show. We sent her and her date out to Tastebud Farms and then asked them both to read a haiku about how the date was going. Here's Sara's final date blog post for your reading pleasure:

Date#20: Not a Moment Too Soon

The final date of my experiment was to be a momentous one.  I was to take my date, Clark, to Live Wire!; a local vaudevillian radio show which occurs monthly at the Aladdin Theatre and airs on OPB.  The people who run the show offered us a dinner beforehand at a little place across the street called Tastebud Farm and the opportunity to read our first date Haikus during the second part of the show.  I was a bit tentative because one of my previous dates had set this opportunity up for me, and I was feeling a bit guilty because I had not behaved in a sane manner in my dealings with him.    Additionally, I was filled with feelings of excitement and remorse about this, my final date.  I was very happy to be close to being finished and also a little sad that it was ending.  My experiment had been like a close friend over the past several months, and the work it provided me would be missed.  I was already trying to come up with something else to write about, but had to this point come up empty.

It was a very warm and beautiful Friday, and Clark and I had decided to meet a bit before dinner in order to alleviate some of the nervousness we were both feeling.  Of course, I arrived even earlier to freshen up, but found that I had left my wallet at work.  I knew that the show was paying for everything, but I felt like I should have money and ID with me just in case something came up.  I called a friend of mine at work, asked if she would bring me my wallet, and she happily agreed.  While I waited in front of the restaurant for her to bring it by, a bunch of police showed up with dogs.  Walking up and down the street in their dark colored uniforms, they all looked very uncomfortable and serious in the heat, and I wondered briefly if I should be worried, but instead just made a mental note to hit the deck if I heard gun shots or explosions.

My date showed up before my friend did with my wallet, so we had a very pleasant introductory conversation before we actually went in to the restaurant.  About ten minutes later, my friend showed up with my wallet, and smiling, wished me luck as she drove off in her purple Camaro.  I think almost anyone would agree that a person who would go out of her way to bring you your wallet on a Friday afternoon is a very good friend to have. 

Once Clark and I sat down and ordered, we had a chance to talk and relax a bit, but I found myself distracted by his earnest demeanor.  He was so attentive and so focused on me, it made me a bit nervous, which of course made me call into question my whole idea of what I think a good date should be.   Ironically, it created a situation where I was a bit more distracted than usual with the inner dialogue I was having with myself about how fucked up I am about whether a guy is paying too much attention to me, meanwhile not paying enough attention to the guy who was conversing with me in earnest.  Even after 20 dates, I had still not perfected, (or even close to perfected), my dating skills. 

Clark was wearing a purple undershirt which showed just a little bit above the collar of the green button down shirt he was wearing, and I think he might have had a purple handkerchief in the pocket of his shirt, but I can’t be sure.  He looked a little bit like the actor Jeremy Northam, but without the annoying English mannerism that makes you wonder just how many statements a person can conceivably turn into questions.  Clark also had curly Brown hair, a very nice smile, and a very fit body; all in all, a pretty good looking guy.

Early in to the conversation he told me that he made maps for a living, so I asked him if anyone ever sang the map maker song to him.  He of course said no, so I then began singing the map maker song to the tune of the Matchmaker song from Fiddler on the Roof.  He laughed and then corrected me, telling me what the actual words were.  It is always such a shame when someone mistakes my humor for ignorance. 

Clark was also big into bike riding, and asked a bunch of questions about my bike.  It was difficult for me to answer however because my wasband was the one who got me into the whole bike thing and had built my bike for me, so I know very little about my or any other bike.  Bike guys are always really disappointed when I tell them I would rather do something besides ride my bike for a date, but I figure, I rode my bike to get to the date, why would I then get right back on it while on the date?  The novelty has long gone out of it and you might just as well be asking me if I would like to do something like take a car ride for fun. 

The food at Tastebud Farm was very good; we had a wood fired pizza with Mascarpone cheese and Peaches on it, and to top it off, a very nice bottle of white wine.  The wait staff was also great, our server was interested in my experiment and when I told her that I was looking for something else to write about, she suggested I write about riding different Portland City bus lines from one end to the other each week.  I considered it briefly, there are some crazies on the busses, but I decided against it, anticipating the exhaustion that would come from a single bus ride across town.

Soon enough it was time to go to Live Wire, so we made our way across the street and into the Aladdin.  As we walked in, I noticed several people dressed as Pirates, which I thought was strange until I remembered that Captain Bogg and Salty, the Pirate band, was playing during the show that night.  I don’t get Pirate culture, and thusly do not appreciate it.  This is mostly because I used to live near Cathedral Park and for one or two days every summer, the place was overrun with Pirate families doing Pirate things in a very Pirate-y manner.  Why?  I don’t really know.  It seems like the whole Pirate thing is a one liner, but then again, I have never stopped to ask because I don’t care.

As Clark and I made our way into the seating area of the theatre, we looked around to find someone who could tell us what we were supposed to do.  This was when someone mentioned the name “Firiel”, a name which rhymes with cereal, and because of its unique nature, indicated to me that I knew yet another person on the Live Wire production crew in a strange and slightly uncomfortable way.  Firiel was the ex-girlfriend of an old fuck buddy I had when I was in art school, who also happened to be my roommate.  They met while he and I were active, and our “relationship” ended when they started dating.  There had been no hard feelings, I liked Firiel very much.  I just began to wonder if I might need to move to a new town because of all of the strange ways I was running into people from my past.

After we were told what to do, we sat down and talked a bit until the show started.  Of course, the show kept us from talking for the next three hours, so realistically, not the best idea for a first date, but the show was great and I could tell that Clark was having a good time.  We were both a bit nervous about our Haikus, but it was pretty easy to forget about them.  The host, Courtney Hameister, was hysterical and the musicians (even the pirate band) were awesome.  Additionally, the author on the show, Jessica Anthony, read a bit of her work which prompted me to buy her book, The Convalescent, the next time I had the money to do so.

By the time we got up on stage, I was pretty tired.  We waited in the wings for roughly 15 minutes while Courtenay interviewed Angus Maclane, animator for Wall-E and Up.  He was very funny, which was great, because it helped distract me from the fact that I was about to go on stage and read a mediocre Haiku to what seemed to be an educated audience.  I had written three Haikus and taken a line from each one to make the one I would read.  All in all, not the best Haiku, but I was exhausted:




Socially awkward
You are not a complete tool
I date way too much

Clark wrote something about being on Live Wire being a time to applaud.  Before I read my Haiku, Courtenay introduced me and asked me a few questions about my experiment.   I read my Haiku, then, a very strange thing happened.  A huge painting fell on the head of the guy I had dated earlier in the experiment.  He had been sitting on a stool to my left on the side of the stage, and it just fell on him, immediately after I finished reading.  It was bizarre timing, made even more bizarre by the fact that he had been my 13th date.  Was there no end to the torture I was going to subject this poor man to? 

After the date, Clark and I attempted to go to a bar down the street to decompress, but there was a bunch of drunken middle aged people there singing Karaoke, and it was difficult at best to not be effected by their stupor.  At this point in the night, I was starting to feel sick, exhausted, and like I had just emotionally puked all of my life force away. Clark could tell I wasn’t feeling well and told me that he found me attractive, but in a tone that sounded a bit like a consolation, and he immediately said it didn’t sound the way he had wanted it to, which made the whole situation even more awkward.  I told him that I would like to go out with him again because I didn’t really feel like this had been a very good date on my part, what with the exhaustion and being so distracted for most of it, not to mention publicly broadcasting that he “wasn’t a complete tool” to the audience and whoever else during the show. 

In a certain way, this was a perfectly anti-climactic date for what had been an arduous journey.  Almost everything surrounding the date, from my wallet issue to the strange acquaintances I had on the show, to the weird scene at the trashy bar at the end of the night, overshadowed the event itself.  Of course, I have deep, lingering questions.  I still don’t know what I am looking for, I don’t know if I am even ready for a relationship, and I am wondering if I shouldn’t be considering a move soon in order to tap into an entirely different dating pool.  But, like any good social science experiment, the research has unearthed new data which has furthered my understanding of how I interact with people and the benefits these interactions can bring.  I am happy knowing I was able to make infinitesimally small steps towards knowing myself and other people a little bit better.

by Courtenay on August 13, 2009 - 9:49am.

I was unlucky enough to miss last year's Armory show with Reggie Watts (damn you, fat camp! Damn you to heck!), but this year I'll be there to see the funny. The weird. The weirdly funny. And the musical wonder that is Reggie and his looping box. I got to see all of it when Jessie Thorn came to town to tape his show Sound of Young America at the Bagdad Theater and voila, there was Reggie.


I will say this and then I will shut up and let Reggie speak for himself: if you have a chance to see Reggie live, don't miss it. In this world of interwebbyness, it's very seldom any of us are surprised. But his performance left me flummoxed, mouth agape, and maybe even drooling a little. What I'm saying is, you should come see him at the Armory. No shit.




by Courtenay on August 6, 2009 - 9:38am.

LiveWire090724-401WEB.jpgFriday was a great night all-around! We'd like to thank our guests and our amazing live audience for coming out and acting in a couple sketches (yes, the entire audience had the opportunity to exercise its acting chops. And they were all good...except for that one know who you are.) 

First up for the night was Captain Bogg and Salty. We've been pimping their fantastic video for "Pieces of 8ight" for a while now, but if you haven't seen it yet, definitely take a look. The band is hilarious, the kids are just hugely effing charming and there's a great performance by local improv actor John Breen.


The band was just as fantastic live as we thought they'd be, in full pirate regalia and persona.


Loren Hoskins as Captain Bogg



Tyler Hughs interviews Captain Bogg in a ridiculously small pirate hat.



Next up: Sean McGrath does a spot-on impression (can't tell you who it'll have to listen) while Tyler heckles him from behind. This is a pretty standard occurrence as competition runs high in Faces for Radio Theater. I once saw Tyler shank a guy who did a better Irish brogue than him. It was ugly.



Mortified performer auGi starts off strong...



...gets surprised by Gang of Four bassist Dave Allen...



...and finishes with a song you really must hear to believe.



Captain Bogg and Faces For Radio Theater had a moment...



And the wonderful Shawn Levy, who, it turns out, knows everything about everything (we're kind of serious), illuminated us on the life and times Paul Newman.


It's a show you definitely shouldn't miss when it airs on Saturday night at 7 on OPB, 91.5. 

The podcast will be up on Monday. So you have so many opportunities to hear the juicy goodness! Were you there that night? If so, chime in! We'd like to hear from you.

All our pretty pretty show photos are courtesy of (and copyrighted by!) the talented Mr. Anthony Pidgeon.



by Courtenay on July 29, 2009 - 8:31pm.


The Velveteen Elvis Painting

Goodnight, Uranus

Charlotte's Web...OF LIES.

Little House on the Superfund Site

The Wizard of Oslow, Norway

Where the Wild Things Are Having Sex With Other Wild Things Because It's Nature And That's Where That Sort Of Thing Happens
Where the Girls Gone Wild's Things Are


Ramona The Sort of Annoying

Are You There, God? It's Me, Miley Cyrus.

Green Eggs and Other Things That Lead To Food Poisoning

A Wrinkle in Time (set in a Time Dry Cleaners)

The Lion, The Witch and Senate Bill 1407 Requiring Hospitals to Report Patient Infection Rates

Those are got some?

by Courtenay on July 28, 2009 - 11:12pm.

by Tyler Hughs
jerry lewis.jpgBad news everyone: Jerry Lewis will NOT be appearing on the July 24th Live Wire! Drag, I know, but we still have a terrific line-up.

He didn’t cancel. He wasn’t even expected.  It’s still a bummer he won’t be there.  What else is new, though. Right?
It does make a decent segue, though.

Speaking of Jerry Lewis, have you had the pleasure of knowing The Enchilada Man? It’s a spicy musical number by Martin and Lewis with Carmen Miranda, from the movie Scared Stiff (1953).  It’s timeless genius.  I want to share it with the world.



Watching this number makes you really crave enchiladas…until about 2:11.

Had I been alive then and cast in this production, I’d have been the third guy out the door in Carmen Miranda’s bit. So you want me to back out the door with my ass to the camera, then walk down three steps backwards? Whatever. No. It’s fine.)

The song was written by Mack David and Jerry Livingston.  I wonder about their writing process. I’ve watched this clip enough times, sober and otherwise, and I’ve devoted a few viewings to doing just that.  The lyrics are pretty simple and for some reason I feel like Mack was the guy typing and really laying down words.

“Come on Livingston help me out here. I make a cheese if-you-please that is positively…what, Jerry?”


“Okay. And for a treat try the meat that is absolutely…”


“Really? Okay. After you buy it and try it you’ll say it’s simply…”


“Brilliant. Why don’t you take a line, Jerry?”

“Sure. Uh. Enchiladas…I don’t know.”

“Just--just go home. I’ll finish it.”

Oh yeah, how about the creepy hand at 3:03?

A few lucky people with whom I’ve shared this have said the whole thing is racist. But how can that be? The audience is almost totally Hispanic and they go wild during the big finale at 3:41!

I’m glad I could serve this tasty morsel to you. No need to thank me, just pass it forward.


by Courtenay on July 23, 2009 - 9:39am.