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:

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:


Burgerville’s new food cart – Nomad

Burgerville's Nomad Foodcart
Burgerville's Nomad Foodcart

If you had any questions about the huge impact that food carts have had on food services in Portland, look no further than Burgerville‘s new food cart “Nomad”.

A rough economy combined with an explosive growth in food carts in Portland has motivated one of the Northwest’s biggest chains to jump in the mix in a ‘if you can’t beat them, then join them’ move.   It’s not only a significant endorsement to Portland’s food cart scene, but a recognition that  both the physics and the economics of running a restaurant have changed.

The importance of Burgerville’s move is important beyond the fact that they are trying to keep up with the changing landscape. Burgerville CEO Jeff Harvey seems to understand the potential for using the food cart to expand his business in a way that wasn’t fiscally viable before.  Harvey plans to use Nomad to test out new markets, serve markets where a full restaurant isn’t economically viable and extend their brand into places they haven’t been able to reach before.

The real question to be answered though:  is the boom in food carts a function of the bad economy or do they represent a real and fundamental change in the way people get food? It’ll be interesting to see how Nomad fairs and if it becomes central to Burgerville’s long terms strategy or just a tool they use to weather the storm of the great recession.

Here’s our interview with Jeff Harvey CEO of Burgerville:

For more information on Nomad and Portland’s food cart scene:


Randy Couture Interview – UFC 102

Randy Couture is considered by many to be on of the greatest fighters in the UFC and is often credited with bringing the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) into the mainstream.

Randy Couture is a huge force behind bringing the Ultimate Fighting Champion to Portland as he fights Antonio Nogueira at UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira at the Rose Garden on Saturday, August 29th.

We interviewed Randy Coutre while he was in Portland for a pre-fight autograph session at the Rose Quarter. Coutre talks about bringing the UFC to Portland, his previous fight against Brock Lesnar,  if Fedor Emelianenko might finally fight with the UFC and what his strategy is against Antonio Nogueira.

Here is Part 1 of our Interview with Randy Couture:

Here is Part 2 of our Interview with Rand Couture:

UFC 102 Headliner Randy Couture will be signing autographs and taking pictures with his fans at the Rose Quarter Tuesday, July 14 at 7:00pm. This event is free and is open to the public.

For more information on UFC 102:

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:


Choffy Interview

Portland is one of the major launch pad markets for Choffy, a new coffee alternative made from roasted cacao beans. I sat down with the co-founder Jason Sherwood to find out what exactly Choffy is and how Portland fits into its equation.

How did Choffy get its start? (and what’s your role in the company)

Our company started based off of a dream and a passion to help people live healthier lives. We started in a kitchen in Henderson, NV, roasting on cookie sheets and grinding in small food processors. We eventually graduated to roasting Choffy on our bar-b-ques (even after the fateful day when the shed burned down), and now using industrial roasters and a custom grinder we developed.

I am the co-founder and Executive Creative Director of Choffy. Since we are small, we all wear a lot of hats, but my primary responsibility is our brand, marketing, and support to our distributor services.

Choffy GroundWhat exactly is in Choffy and what are the different varieties?

Choffy is Brewed Chocolate or in other words, it is 100% Cacao, that is roasted and then ground.  It is a product that brews like coffee in all of it’s different formats, but provides a new and unique flavor. We currently have two varieties. We work directly with growers in Ecuador, and the Ivory Coast. Our Ecuadorian Choffy is the most Chocolaty and according to some the lightest. Ivory Coast has a deep cocoa flavor with a hint of earthiness. We are always working on new varieties from other single cacão estates around the world, and showcase them at various times of the year.

How does Choffy differ from ‘Hot Chocolate”?

Most notably Choffy is not an instant drink like hot chocolate. We use a minimally invasive processes during production to ensure that our customers are drinking the purest form of brewed cacao.  As a result Choffy retains a lot more of the compounds that are naturally occurring in cacao. The roasting and brewing process is what gives Choffy its distinct robust flavor. Since Choffy does not contain any sugar or instant creme like most hot chocolates. Though like coffee, many people add things (like creamers) to their Choffy to give it their own personalized taste.

So I’m drinking chocolate, how many calories is in it?

Remember, your are drinking only the very essence of what chocolate is made from, so you are going to have a drink that is extremely low in calories. There are only 20 calories in 8 oz. of brewed Choffy. 0 sugar, 0 fat, and 3 grams of carbs.

What’s been the biggest challenge so far for Choffy?

I think that the biggest challenge as been launching a company in this tough economy.  People are worried about money. They are not buying as much as they once were, and that has made it a little more difficult than we originally anticipated. Choffy is a unique product. It has its very own properties. No caffeine like coffee, but no sugar and fat like traditional chocolate. People are often interested in how it tastes. Once people try Choffy, they realize that this is a great tasting product with great health benefits, and we hope we have gained another fan.

Is Choffy based in Portland?

Although we started in a little kitchen in Henderson, NV, we quickly realized that the northwest and more specifically Portland was the place to be.  We love being in the Portland area, and the opportunities that it brings to share this product with others. Technically our location is in Vancouver, WA. But we consider ourselves a part of the larger Portland community. It is a community that  loves brewed drinks, they care about healthy, organic foods, and want to make the world a little better each day.

How does Choffy compare to coffee?

Well, It does brew like coffee, and some might say that the taste is somewhat similar, but that is about as far as it goes.  Choffy tends to be less bitter than coffee and the flavor profiles are different. The health benefits are quite different as well.

Is there anything in Coffee that’s bad for people?  Is there anything in Choffy that’s good for them?

If you are asking if coffee is bad for you, I would say that is a sticky question for people in the Northwest, but actually yes, there are elements of coffee that are bad for the body. Caffeine is one of those elements.

On the positive Choffy is packed with a different stimulant that is good for the body.  It is called Theobromine.  It affects the body by opening the vascular system up and helping to produce an increase in blood flow and help the heart work more efficiently. Choffy is also packed with antioxidants. Cacão has more antioxidants in it per volume than any other food on the planet. One 8 oz. cup of Choffy has more antioxidants in it than 2 full servings of blueberries. Choffy acts as a super-detoxifier, helping your body rid itself of the toxins that tax your system

Choffy also naturally contains some essential minerals that help promote good health:

Magnesium: Cacão appears to be the best source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium is one of the great alkaline minerals, helping to support the heart, brain, and digestive system.  In addition, Magnesium balances brain chemistry and builds strong bones.

Iron: Cacão contains a significant amount of iron per serving. Iron, a critical mineral in nutrition, is part of the oxygen carrying protein called hemoglobin that keeps our blood healthy.

Are any coffee shops in Portland serving Choffy?

No coffee shops here in Portland yet, though many have shown interest. We have some in other states. We hope many other locations will do the same.

Where can you buy Choffy Now?

We have a number of individual distributors here in Portland. They are a great resource for Choffy. Choffy can also be purchased online at We are happy to say that Food Front Co-op grocery has just started selling Choffy in their grocery store.

What’s next for Choffy?

We hope to continue to grow. We hope to be able to share Choffy with more people. We hope to continue to add distributors to our family, and hope that many other locations will be interested carrying Choffy. We don’t believe that Choffy will cure cancer, or that you will suddenly gain 78% more effectiveness in your day, but we firmly stand by fact that Choffy is truly good for you. It is the reason we built this company, “to champion healthy living and wellness in body, mind and spirit for people everywhere.”

Be sure to check out our Choffy Taste Test.
For more information on Choffy:

Interview with MMA Fighter Jody De Simone

Jodie De Simone
Jody De Simone

Rumble at The Roseland is one of the top, most consistently entertaining Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events in Portland. Every month a packed crowd is treated to a full evening of fights (typically 13-15 bouts). Fighters come in at a wide range of experience levels and fighting styles.

One of the great strengths of Rumble at The Roseland is that it’s become a showcase for some of the most young and promising fighters in the area. It gives Portlanders a unique opportunity to see some of the future UFC, WEC or Strikeforce fighters up close and personal as they begin to make their name in the sport.

Jody De Simone is one of these bright and talented fighters on the rise. Her debut in December was an explosive fight that left a strong impression on the crowd and snagged her a cover on the Willamette Week.   De Simone returns to the ring on Saturday June 13th 7pm at The Roseland Theater for Rumble at The Roseland 44.  Expectations are high and her opponent Jana Piper is a tough one.

On Portland interviewed Jody as she prepared for this important fight:

How did you first get started in MMA?

I wanted to fight a long time ago. I was offered a sponsorship for underground fighting years ago but it was too dangerous. Back then they fought until someone got knocked out. The cage fighting that is going on now is much safer. I have been interested in martial arts for a long time. I have pictures at age seven in a ninja outfit. I was using nun-chucks by age eight, I competed with them by age 12. My brother Daryl was the one that brought martial arts into my life. Daryl got a ninja outfit so I had to have one. Daryl used the nun-chucks so I had to learn them. Daryl could use throwing stars and blow dart guns so I had to learn how to. I had to be like him for some reason… he’s still my hero.

How did you select the gym that you fight with and what kind of impact does a gym have on how you train and how you fight?

It’s funny that you ask this question. Two months ago I wouldn’t have had an answer but now I do.I was a member at G.I.RL.S Gym for about six months. I found an add on Craigslist for an all girls gym and contacted Sarah Oriza the coach/owner of the gym. The reason I selected this gym was because Sarah offered me free lessons if I would fight for her. I also did all the marketing, brand identity including the logo and made rash guards (t-shirts) for them. I hate taking something for nothing so I felt like I had to do something in return that’s why I did the marketing.

Long story short Sarah and I were two completely different people with way different communication styles and Sarah did some things on her end that were extremely unprofessional so I left G.I.R.L.S Gym (the same week that four other girls left) and went over to Rise Above MMA. I have had to unlearn a ton of bad techniques that I was taught. I have never had such a great coach as I do now! Ron at Rise Above MMA is incredible he has a very unique teaching style. Ron is able to communicate in multiple styles and teach in a way that leaves everyone in the gym understanding what he’s doing. If I had done anything different I would have attending multiple gyms before selecting one. If I had done that I would have never picked G.I.R.L.S Gym.

What’s been your biggest challenge as a fighter to date?

Well I have had to learn that a lot of people don’t understand the fighter lifestyle. I lost a relationship because I was spending a ton of time training. No one seems to understand the not drinking or strict eating lifestyle. My friends complain they don’t see me often enough. So my biggest issue is just finding people who understand or support this lifestyle.

photo David Lawrence
photo David Lawrence

How was the experience of your first fight. Walk us through the thoughts and emotions.

Well my right shoulder was hurt and I knew I only had ONE good take down in me, I was nervous about it hurting. I got to weigh-ins and when I got my vitals taken the guy kept commenting on how calm I was for a first time fighter. I always get calm when I should be all amped up… it’s strange. I spent the next hour staring across the room at Janna Piper thinking she was Christa Shaffer. I had no idea what Christa looked like so I just assumed Janna was Christa. I mentally prepared myself to fight Janna and then they called Christa’s name for wheigh-ins and she wasn’t in the room. I was so confused for a second and then after another half hour Christa came in and it took me a second to readjust my thoughts. Then I digested the fact that Christa was a giant and went home to eat some fish and vegetables!

I was calm most of the day then got back to the Roseland for the fight. I didn’t really warm up or anything I just sat downstairs and watched everyone prepare. My coach didn’t bring any pads or anything for me to warm up with. The hardest part was that is was my first fight so I never knew what to expect next.

When they called my name I had a moment of terror and then it passed. I heard my music playing and my heart started to race. I kept feeling like I had to go the bathroom which must be a nervous thing? Then the moment I had spent so much time being scared about… the cage door closing! I was so nervous of being locked in the cage?

photo: David Lawrence
photo: David Lawrence

The fight started and Christa circled me a bit then threw her first punch it was in slow motion in my mind. I remember thinking throw another one because I’m taking you down. Then she threw the second punch and I took her down and landed in mount. I started punching and she slowly turned (everything was in slow motion in my head). All of a sudden I though she’s giving me her back it’s OVER! The next moment I remember was reminding myself to get my hooks in then the ref was telling me to let go and it was over. I started jumping up and down and then realized she might be hurt so I was concerned. She got up and it was all over.

The best moment was when I went downstairs and no one was around Christa came up and genuinely told me good fight. It was at that moment the I realized I wanted to be like her… a good sport no matter what happens in the ring. Christa left me with something… a good example it was really motivating.

There are still naysayers (like Matt Lindland) who aren’t convinced that women’s MMA is equal to the level of Men’s MMA.  What do you say to those critics?

Keep watching me!

Do you notice that compared to a male MMA fighter that you have to do things differently because you are a woman, In terms of eating, training, making weight, etc?

The only difference is the monthly friend. When a girl is on her period she can gain five pounds overnight. Gaining weight like that can make weigh-ins kind of tough. Other than that the hardest part is just being taken seriously. Sometimes guys go really easy and I have to say hit me harder. I have a great team around me so I don’t have to deal with most of this stuff.

Jody De Simone in Action
Jody De Simone in Action

When you take a bruising after a hard workout or fight, how do you pull yourself together the next day and not look like you were in a brawl?

I don’t mind looking like I’m in a brawl. I put my Tussle Fight Gear shirt on… the one that says “I’m not abused I’m an MMA fighter” and I go out feeling proud of myself. As far as the pain I have a great masseuse and fantastic chiropractor. My doctor is amazing too! Like I said I have a great team around me.

What advice would you give to other women who are thinking of possibly fighting in MMA?

I would tell them it’s a HUGE time commitment if you want to fight and win. It takes a ton of time and sacrifice. I don’t really go out anymore. I’m in bed on Friday and Saturday nights getting ready for the next days workouts. If you have a family make sure that they are willing to support the neglect that they are going to receive. In order to be good you have to be selfish with your time. If you’re not working out you’re usually tired or sore so you’re not 100% for anyone else. I would say get a good strong team around you… you’ll need the support.

You do a tremendous amount as a semi-pro fighter to promote yourself, you’re on Twitter, Facebook and do meet ups.  What impact has this had on you and your career?

I have met a ton of people who support me and that is an absolute necessity. My fans keep me motivated when my mind is fighting with me. My fight has been the biggest promoter of my career. So long as I point people to my fight I seem to get a positive response. It is so important to do self promotion because women are easily overlooked in MMA. Promotion has really helped me establish myself as a serious female MMA fighter. It has also gotten me a lot of sponsorships! I met the most amazing man through this, he owns Tussle Fight Gear and he and his wife have supported me immensely.

After Saturday’s fight at Rumble at The Roseland, what are your plans professionally?  What’s the career path for a female fighter?

I want to go pro in the next year. I will fight four to six more fights and then when my coach Ron gives me the go ahead I’ll go pro! The career path isn’t set in stone for a female MMA fighter. The possibilities are TV shows and an established name in female MMA. I would love to coach at some point as well! I teach fitness boxing at LA Boxing in Hillsboro on Mondays and Fridays so coaching isn’t that far fetched.

What’s you favorite thing about fighting in MMA?

Punching people in the face and the physical challenges I get to face on a daily basis.

Rumble at The Roseland 44 is on Saturday June 13th 7pm at The Roseland Theater. Tickets can be purchased at

For more information about Jody De Simone and Rumble at The Roseland:

Food Green Living

SoupCycle Interview

Soupcycle Delivers
Soupcycle Delivers

One of the things I love about Portland is the way people follow their passion. Portland isn’t just a town of great ideas, it’s a place where people put their ideas into motion. One such great idea is SoupCycle which serves fresh, organic and locally made soups by bicycle.  I was so intruged by this business I decided to talk to one of the companies founders Jed Lazar about SoupCycle (a full review of the service with pics will come soon).

How did you get the idea for Soup Cycle?
We heard about someone in Texas who tried to deliver soup by bicycle. He made it work for a while, but eventually switched to delivering by truck. To Shauna and I – this was the perfect challenge. We knew it could be done and wanted to prove that bicycles are a feasible form of cargo transportation within cities.

Why Soup?
Because it’s perfect! There are great, tasty soups for every season of the year that use local vegetables.

Why Portland? Does SoupCycle fit Portland better than other cities?
Definitely. This city values healthy foods and healthy lifestyles. We all want to eat scrumptious foods that are good for us, but who has time to put together healthy meals every day? SoupCycle is a Soupscription- it’s one healthy meal a week that our customers don’t have to worry about. Plus, the city’s bicycle network makes bicycle-delivery possible.

How does the expense of a Soupscription compare to other dinner options people can order?
A Soupscription is almost always less than going out to a restaurant, and a lot of times it’s less than cooking for yourself. When you make a recipe at home you typically have to buy a lot of new ingredients. If you’re like me, you go to the store to shop for dinner and end up spending way more than you meant to. Our soups are $9 for two full servings, or $18 for soup, rustic bread and fresh salad for two people. And that’s for organic foods made with local ingredients and delivered by bicycle to you! It doesn’t get better than that. Our prices are low because we don’t rent an expensive retail space. We just do deliveries, and that keeps our costs down.

How far in advance do you determine what soups you are going to make?
Two weeks in advance.

Do your customers ever submit soup recipes?
They do! I’ve got a great recipe for hearty chicken and potato soup I’ve been meaning to make that a customer sent me recently.

What’s your favorite soup? Why?
My favorite soup is The Democratic Republic of Peanut Chicken. It’s an African peanut chicken stew that’s hearty beyond belief and full of tasty goodness.

What’s been the biggest challenge for SoupCycle so far?
We’ve been working for a while on a project to switch the containers we use. Right now, we’re using recyclable plastic containers, but we’d really like to be using more durable containers that we can reclaim from customers each week, wash and reuse. We’ve had some difficulty finding a good solution that meets all our needs, but we haven’t given up yet.

Has there been a moment that’s made you feel that all the hard work is all completely worth it?
Honestly, I feel like that most of the time. This is a great city to own a small business. People bike by us on the Hawthorne Bridge and tell us they like what we’re doing. Our customers love the soups, and it makes my day when I get an emails like the one I got last week: “We love the soup! My family always looks forward to Tuesdays”. A few weeks ago made our 3,000th bicycle-soup delivery and we feel really good about that. Yep, it’s a lot of work to own a small business, but there have been plenty of rewards.

Right now you deliver Soup, Salad and Bread. Any plans to deliver other kinds of products along with the soup?
We may eventually. We love to hear recommendations from your readers.

Where do you get your ingredients from?
We get most of our ingredients from Ladybug through Organically Grown Company.

How many people do you currently have delivering soup?
Just myself and our delivery Souper Hero Jen.

What kind of bikes do you use?
I’ve got a recumbent with an electrical assist.   Jen uses a regular upright bicycle.


SoupCycle delivers locally made organic soups on a weekly basis starting at $18 (including fresh bread and salad). They offer vegan, vegetarian and meated options all delivered by bike!

More info on SoupCycle: