American Idol 2010 Interviews

American Idol 2010 Tour Interviews
American Idol 2010 Tour Interviews

The American Idol Tour in 2009 made Portland the first stop on the trip. The buzz and excitement of Adam Lambert, Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta hitting the stage for the first time was palpable. This time around the American Idol Tour hits Portland as it is winding down. Rather than have all ten of the 2010 American Idol Finalists come out and talk to journalists, they picked five to represent the American Idol Tour experience.

The five interviews include Didi Benami, Crystal Bowersox, Casey James, Aaron Kelly and Tim Urban. Interestingly, the topic of a country album came up with many of the Idols (with Aaron Kelly on the road to making a country album and Casey James signed to Sony Country). Acting was also on the minds of a few of the American Idols, with Didi Benami and Tim Urban both considering careers in film and television.

Interview Theater

Interview with Josh Kornbluth – Ben Franklin Unplugged

Josh Korbluth in Portland
Josh Korbluth in Portland

In 2002 I picked up a copy of the film Haiku Tunnel. It was described to me as “Office Space” if Woody Allen had directed it rather than Mike Judge (a pretty spot on description). It was hilarious.  Since then I’ve followed the career of Josh Kornbluth (the star of the film), as he’s established himself as one of the nation’s most sought after monologists.

Over the years, through Josh’s email list, I’d hear about his many shows in Berkley, California and wonder what it would take to get him to perform in Portland?  When Portland Center Stage announced that Josh was bringing his show Ben Franklin: Unplugged to Portland for a seven week run, I couldn’t contain my excitement.

Josh Kornbluth’s monologues are a unique mix of history, biographiy and observations. His disarming style sucks you into his world and leads you along on a fantastic trip.

Josh Korbluth’s Ben Franklin: Unplugged runs at Portland Center Stage September 29 to November 22, 2009. It’s a rare opportunity to see one of the nation’s best monologists in one of his most acclaimed works.

Watch On Portland’s Interview with Josh Kornbluth:

Josh Kornbluth on Ben Franklin Unplugged from On Portland on Vimeo.

For more information on Josh Kornbluth:

Events Interview

Professional Bull Riders in Portland Interview – Ross Coleman

Professional Bull Riders in Portland
Professional Bull Riders in Portland

It takes a lot of guts to be a professional bull rider. Over a season with 30+ stops a bull rider takes a tremendous amount of physical damage (including broken bones, dislocated shoulders and a ton of bashes and bruises).  Somehow these bull riders pick themselves up and hop back on those bulls for another ride.

On Portland had the opportunity to speak with Ross Coleman, a 12 year vet of the sport, from Molalla Oregon who is set to ride this weekend as Professional Bull Riding comes to Portland in the Professional Bull Riders Invitational (Friday Oct. 2nd & Saturday Oct 3rd).

Ross gives some insight into what it’s like being a bull rider and what it takes to tame some of those monstrous beasts.

Watch our interview:

If you needed other enticement, Go Daddy Girl, Erin Kalin will be singing the National Anthem at the event. Tickets start as low as $10.

For more info on Professional Bull Riding in Oregon:

Interview Theater

Mike Daisey Interview – The Last Cargo Cult

Mike Daisey
Mike Daisey

Mike Daisey is a breath of fresh air. In an era where there is so much derivative work  appearing on stage (look no further than Shrek The Musical, Legally Blonde or Xanadu),Daisey reminds us why we go to live theater in the first place – to see something happen, in the moment.

Unlike many other notable monologists, Mike Daisey does all his performance extemporaneously. His monologues are never rehearsed and the only guide he uses is a set of notes which he amends at the end of every performance.

I’ve had the opportunity to see Mike Daisey perform on three occasions:  21 Dog Years (doing time at in 2005,  Monopoly! and If You See Something, Say Something which Daisey performed at the 2009 TBA festival.  It’s been an amazing experience to see Daisey grow as a performer, and so I was extremely excited to discover that PICA was bringing him back to Portland to workshop his latest work The Last Cargo Cult (which he performs on August 1st at 8pm in the Wieden + Kennedy Atrium 224 NW 13th Ave)

Here’s our interview with Mike Daisey where he talks about the process of creating his monologues, The Last Cargo Cult, and why Portland has such a deep connection with his work:

Here’s Part 2 of the Mike Daisey Interview:

For more information on Mike Daisey:

Events Interview Music

American Idol Live in Portland Video Interviews

The 8th installment of American Idol Live makes its first stop at The Rose Garden on July 5th. On Portland had the opportunity to sit down and talk to the top 10 American Idol performers (in batches of two).

Reporters were given just 5 mins to ask questions and with two idols to cover it was tough to try to fit a lot in.  Meeting the Idols in person I was struck by how closely they mirrored their ‘personas’ on the screen. What you saw on TV is pretty much what you see when you talk to them in person. Of the group I enjoyed Allison Iraheta’s rambunctious humor, Adam Lambert’s ultimate humility and Anoop Desai who seemed to have the best take on the event.

The biggest surprise was Megan Joy who talked about the challenges she faced during the show. She was a much more grounded and down to earth person than I had expected and her playfullness with Matt Giraud was fun to watch.

The thing that stuck me the most was how exhausted the Idols seemed. It was clear that they’ve been working extremely hard to prepare the tour and I’ll be interested to see the results of all that effort.

Here are the interviews:

Kris Allen and Anoop Desai

Adam Lambert and Lil Rounds and

Danny Gokey and Michael Sarver:

Allison Iraheta and Scott MacIntyre

Matt Giraud and Megan Joy

For more information about American Idol Live see:

Interview Music

Honor Society Interview

Honor Society (an heir appearant to the Jonas Brothers) stopped in Portland on one of the first legs of the Jonas Brother’s Tour.  On Portland interviewed the band in two parts.  The first part was conducted by Hannah Kleinman (aged 10), On Portland’s youngest contributor.  Hannah talks with the band about their breakout song See You in The Dark,  how they got their start, where they first played and what songs they like to perform the most:

Watch Hannah’s Interview with Honor Society:

Our second part of the interview comes from On Portland editor Geoff Kleinman who talks to the Honor Society about the challenges of running two concurrent tours, who they’d most like to play with on stage and what the future holds for this up and coming pop phenom.

For more information on Honor Society see:

Beer Books Food Interview

Slaying The Green Dragon

The Green Dragon Portland
The Green Dragon Portland

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about restaurants closing due to a dramatic drop in business (including the sad news that one of my favorite Portland restaurants Kalga Kafe closed).

This week we received news of an entirely different sort:

The Green Dragon, an extremely popular watering hole for Portland’s tech set, and the standing location for the ever growing Beer & Blog has been set to be sold to Rogue on Friday November 14th.

Initial response has been overwhelming negative to word of the buy out with some pretty harsh comments posted over the news the popular brewpub may be transformed into a Rogue Taproom.

The Green Dragon has made its name for the ever changing wide variety of brews on tap, regular ‘meet the brewer’ events and as the destination of choice for many Portland tech events.

To commemorate the slaying of the Green Dragon Beer & Blog will be holding a final sendoff for the beloved brewpub on Friday (reportedly the last day for the dragon).

The sale of The Green Dragon in such a challenging economic environment lends great weight to the view that the area surround The Green Dragon, Grand Central Bowl and Holocene is destined to be Portland’s next big hot spot

The Green Dragon will be missed. We hope other beer bars like The Horse Brass, Belmont Station, Bye and Bye will step up to fill the gap created by the sale of the Green Dragon.

Ed note: Read the good follow up piece in Draft Magazine about the Rogue purchase of the Green Dragon


Portland Family Adventures – Interview

portland family adventuresFor On Portland’s inaugural interview we decided to talk to Portland Family Adventurer Vince Schreck about his experiences running his site and dragging his family to the ends of the area in search of the next great adventure.

When, How and Why did you first start Portland Family Adventures?

In November of 2007, after getting a very expensive quote from a web development company, I decided to create Portland Family Adventures myself. In about 2 weeks, I had the website setup and ready  – I did about 90% of the work myself WordPress. I always thought the difficult part would be getting the site built; however, I quickly learned that the real challenges are:

  1. continually updating it with quality content
  2. site monetization
  3. search engine optimization.

Why did I build it? At the time, I was having a mid-life-crisis about my career that has me in front of a computer all day long. A friend asked me, “What would you be doing if money didn’t matter?” I didn’t need to think about that at all – I quickly replied, “I would spend as much time with my son (and family) having adventures all over Portland.” I love activities that kids enjoy. I thought this would become my new career – that is my ultimate goal. Also, and even more importantly, I think there was a need for this type of site. There are plenty of family websites in Portland, but they don’t provide the detailed information, pictures and videos that parents want.

Is there something unique to Portland that makes a site like yours possible?

Absolutely yes! I don’t think the correlation between “Portland” and “Family Fun” is a big secret. I’ve seen Portland mentioned in many different articles as being one of the best places to raise a family. Running my site – experiencing adventures then writing about them – has given me a laboratory- for measuring that correlation. I’ve literally been to almost every park, playground, pool, indoor playpark, bike path, etc., in Portland.

I can say with confidence that parents here care deeply about the quality-of-life their kids experience. They care more about the food they eat and where it comes from, they care about pesticides in parks, they care about keeping parks clean, they want to ride bikes and walk to minimize car usage, and there is a strong connection to political and social awareness. It appears to me that parents want to play and be active with their kids, and want as much information possible about how to make these things tangible possibilities. My site provides that type of access, and I think that’s why my site has been a success.

How has the site impacted your life?

It has been an incredible journey. One of the best benefits of having the site is that I’ve created a permanent archive for my kids. Photo albums often get put on a shelf and collect dust. My kids will always be able to reference our adventures through my narrative, pictures and video! It’s almost like we’re creating a family legacy and sharing that beyond the scope of our immediate family. This has been such a positive – it’s a constant reminder that engaging with our children has the potential to make us better parents, and it’s good for kids too. The site is a sort of validation process that my hard work is paying off!

On the negative side, because I put so much into each article they take at least 2-3 hours of computer time to publish. Although I wanted to leave the computer behind, it has followed me into this new venture. I’m constantly checking the site statistics, emailing with sponsors, cruising the Internet for possible trips, editing or posting material. Maintaining the site is an incredible amount of work!

Top Adventure Great Wolf Lodge
Top Adventure Great Wolf Lodge

How has the site changed over the past year?

For the most part, I had a good plan right from the start; thus, the mission and guiding principles haven’t changed at all. There are definitely quantifiable changes that have occurred – over a 3 month period, my site visits went up 2500%, which was a direct result of changing the emphasis from “parenting” to “relocation/adventure travel.” I had no idea that so many people would start referencing the site from outside the Portland area. I get a lot of traffic from parents who want to move to Portland, or who will be visiting the area soon.

I didn’t think I would highlight as many businesses. However, many businesses are so family-oriented that it’s been hard to ignore them. For example “The Great Wolf Lodge,” which is a giant, indoor waterpark 90 miles north, had our family up for a visit this past summer. We had such a great time there! We are going to be visiting Timberline Lodge in December, Leavenworth, WA in January, Mt. Bachelor in February, and Sun River Resort during early summer ’09. One marketing person said to me, “We always welcome travel writers.” I never considered myself a travel writer, but in a sense, that’s exactly what I’m doing at times.

What’s the most interesting comment you’ve gotten from a reader?

The Oregon Zoo sent me some information in support of their recent ballot measure and wanted me to post it on my site. Because I supported the measure, I felt like I should post the information for them. When I did that, I entered the realm of “political blogging,” which isn’t in my mission or guiding principles.

A reader sent a pretty aggressive comment aimed at the Oregon Zoo. The message accused them of animal cruelty and much more. In some ways, I felt the reader had some valid arguments; however, the tone of the message was so political that I could not post it. I knew I made a mistake by taking a political position on a site that’s all about family fun. I took down the Zoo’s leaflet, and told the reader I couldn’t post their message on my site and why. I referred them to the Oregon Zoo directly.

What types of adventures are the most popular with your readers?

Surprisingly, by far the most popular article on my site is the North Clackamas Aquatic Center. I don’t know what it is, but Portlander’s love that wave pool! I think so much of the year parents are looking for indoor activities to escape the rain. Even if I take a closer look, inflatable jumping venues and indoor playparks do very well with traffic.

If there is a break in the weather, my site gets more active around hikes, parks and playgrounds. I did a piece on “Portland’s Best Parks,” and to the shock of many, a park in Wilsonville got the nod as “best overall.” Memorial Park is definitely my most popular article when it comes to outdoor destinations. It’s worth the trip to Wilsonville.

Winner of Best Portland Park
Winner of Best Portland Park

Of all the places you’ve discovered through running the site, Which have been your favorite?

My favorites always happen when my expectations are low, but the destination proves to be stellar! Many Portlanders don’t even want to entertain the notion that there is something fun for their family in say…Beaverton, Hillsboro or Wilsonville. These towns may as well be on another planet for most southeasterners. However, many of these towns have a pretty hefty tax-base, and they pour a lot of money into their trail systems and green spaces. Again, if you want to really get blown away by a park, visit Memorial Park in Wilsonville. It’s beautiful! I was also shocked and awed by the Fanno Creek trail for biking with kids. Letterboxing is also a fun activity. It’s like a treasure hunt with rubber stamps. We visited several parks to hunt for these hidden treasures.

I thought the Great Wolf Lodge would be okay…it seemed sort of weird to me…an indoor waterpark. It was so much fun that we didn’t even mind being inside for 3 days straight while the weather was so nice outside! It’s definitely been our favorite trip.

What are some of the challenges of trying to run a site based around your families activities?

I think the biggest challenge for me is, “Are people getting sick of hearing about my family?” Am I bothering them with this stuff? I try to keep the focus on the adventure, but inevitably, my family adds a compelling piece. There are also plenty of pictures and videos of my son, and I don’t always think it’s the best idea to put him out there like that. I definitely have struggled with his inclusion in pictures and videos.

My son is also getting pretty frustrated with the constant “video clips.” In some clips, you can even hear him in the background, “Dad! Put the camera away and stop talking.” It’s pretty funny, but I know where he’s coming from. It’s a bit much for him to have to constantly deal with the pictures and video.

Also, we’re certainly less spontaneous these days. We often go places just because I’ve yet to document the adventure.

What are some of the adventures you have planned for the future?

There are still some very common adventures I’ve yet to document. Since many of my readers are looking at Portland for relocation or travel, I want to make sure to get the “greatest hits.” For example, I don’t even have Powell’s books, which can be a lot of fun for a family who likes to read. So, my priority right now is to make sure I have the “blatantly obvious” adventures done!

In my second year, I want to expand the focus beyond Portland, but still remain within a 5 hour drive. We hope to explore more of the coast and also, I’d like to start to focus more on the “adventure” side. A family trip to Powell’s doesn’t seem to be much of an “adventure.” I want to get more trips like rafting, kite boarding, rock climbing, biking, backpacking, etc. As my kids get older, we’ll be engaging in more of these activities.

Visit Portland Family Adventures.

Interview Music

Interview with Monotonix

Monotonix at The Wonder Ballroom
Monotonix at The Wonder Ballroom

In my final installment of my coverage of Monotonix, I have a back stage interview which I did with the band.

In the interview Monotonix talks about how thier performing from the floor got started, what they see as the definition of punk, how many times they’ve gotten injured in their shows and what the future may hold for the band.

Listen to the complete Monotonix interview which runs about 15 mins.

Be sure to check out the Monotonix web site and see when they play in your area… and be sure to see them. You can thank me later.