A Banner Week for Talk

Lend your ears to comedians, storytellers, or a Homeric rapper on the east side this week.


Ron Funches will appear with some 200 other comics at Bridgetown Comedy Festival later this week. He’s one of a growing list of talents who’ve moved to the LA area after a strong start in Portland.

Do you sometimes need a break from figuring out what contemporary vis-artists are trying to say with neon and triangles? Have you experienced fatigue or ennui while trying to scry rare dance films for explicit meaning? Do you find yourself longing for some artists that speak for themselves, out loud, in discernible words?

Well, guess what? This week on the east side, from Hawthorne to St Johns, Portland’s all talk, in the form of comedy, narrative, and—believe it or not—Greek rap. In the next few days, these literally hundreds of big talkers will no doubt make themselves perfectly, verbally clear.

Bridgetown Comedy Festival

200+ world-class comedians converge in Portland for a four-day multi-venue onslaught of mirth. A quick look at the roster reveals a slew of TV-familiar faces (Oscar Nunez from NBC’s “The Office,” Peter Serafanowicz from brilliant Brit-com “Spaced”, PDX-pat Reggie Watts of “Comedy Bang-Bang”, Natasha Leggero of too many shows to list). Along with classic stand-up showcases (including  a Curious-curated mini-redux of All Jane No Dick), Bridgetown hosts outlandish comedy theme shows like the Pictionary-esque “Picture This” the Mystery Science Theater 3000-ish “Crappy Cinema Council“,  and TED sendup “CHAD Chats“. For the performers themselves, the atmosphere’s both competitive and collegial—”like summer camp for comics” according to local comedian/volunteer Rebecca Waits—and relationships forged at the fest continue to aid Portland’s comedy trade relations year-round.

Curious Comedy’s Fit to Print/Instant Comedy

If you like to put performers on the spot, then you’ll love Curious Comedy Theater’s “Fit to Print”, which asks comics to riff from the current week’s headlines, and Instant Comedy, which forces its funnypeople to craft a set strictly from audience-suggested topics.

Portland Story Theater’s Singlehandedly

For audiences who take their talk with fewer punchlines, more earnestness, and a longer span of narrative arc, Portland Story Theatre hosts its annual set of hand-picked storytellers. This year, Vagabond Opera accordionist Eric Stern reveals his clepto past in “To Catch a Thief”, veteran yarn-spinner Lynne Duddy confronts the complexities of adoption in “Twice Born,” and more.

Eurhapsodoi’s Potomomache

It may seem that all the above public-speaking forums have plenty of precedent while this one’s more of a wild card: A hiphop performance of Homer’s hexameters. Much in the vein of The Metal Shakespeare Company’s “bardcore,” Thomas Dietzel’s project, debuted at PAM’s “Body Beautiful” exhibit,  infuses modern musical life with ancient poetry.

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