My family and loved ones may sometimes find themselves wondering, does Virginia Jones have an Amazon wishlist? Yes. Yes, I do.
After the madness of Halloween is over, I will be heading to Seattle for my first real public shot at humiliation in the form of the 31st Seattle Comedy Competition.
I’ll be competing with friends, peers, rockstars, heroes, a pretty Canadian, and, in a greater way, against myself. If I find myself with any amazing wisdom gleaned from the ego beatings, I will post it here. Remember, it’s an honor just to be nominated!
Fall Arts Preview By Anne Adams, John Chandler, and Randy Gragg
Photo: Michael Schmitt
“You know what really gets my goat?” asks Virginia Jones. “Wolves.”
Pause … hope … laughter.
In the suspenseful lifestyle of casting one-liners for yuks (and bucks), Jones is one of a growing cabal of local weekend warriors tackling stand-up comedy—and, sometimes, slowly, starting to shape their work schedules around the gigs rather than vice versa.
“The great thing about stand-up,” she asserts, “is that you can work and hone until you get it just right … It’s completely unlike brain surgery.” Pause … hope …
On September 4, Jones will perform in the Grand Dames of Comedy showcase at Hawthorne Theatre and host two open-mic nights for Curious Comedy Theater, Portland’s first and only nonprofit comedy group.
“There’s a lot of new energy,” Jones says, noting the three-year-old Bridgetown Comedy Festival’s importing of such nationally acclaimed acts as Patton Oswalt and Janeane Garofalo and the opening of city’s first comedy chain franchise, Helium, which lifted off this summer.
Why the sudden P-town laugh riot? Is it our coping mechanism for rising unemployment? Indie-rock fatigue? Jones calls it a perfect storm of rising national interest (e.g., the reality show Last Comic Standing), plus the growing chops of locals like Shane Torres, Christian Ricketts, and Marcia Belsky.
“There’s all this hungry talent,” she says. “They book anywhere they can—old-man bars, Thai restaurants—just to some get mic time.”
“When I started doing showcases, going to comedy was only slightly less hip than going to a funeral,” Jones adds, without pause but with plenty of hope. “I think now it’s starting to explode.” —AA
SHOWS TO KNOW
CURIOUS COMEDY THEATER’S COMEDY ROULETTE
Oct 8-23, Nov 6-20 A small cast of improvisational cutups including Stacey Hallal, Bob Ladewig, Virginia Jones, and Josh Fisher will redirect their comedy sketches and prepared material based on whatever the audience wants to see. Can we handle that much responsibility? Curious Comedy Theater, 5225 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. 503-477-9477. curiouscomedy.org
GREAT DAMES OF COMEDY
Sept 4 at 8 A slew of she-larious locals storm the stage in (presumably) diamonds, feathers, and big hats for a little X-chromosome humor. Picture the rowdy gals and quiet introverts from your high school all grown up and cracking wise. Belinda Carroll hosts.
Many thanks to the all-powerful and benevolent Anne Adams for including me.
Every once in a while, electronics clearinghouse woot.com runs an event called a woot-off, which is a good way to make me buy stuff, because it makes purchasing needless electronics into a game, with timers and sirens and competition and congratulatory messages.
Recently, I got swept up in the madness and got the MyVu Personal Media Viewer, a purchase based on overcaffeination and the promise that I would look like Geordi LaForge. It plugs into an Ipod 5th Gen and gives a floating, Viewfinder-sized video image from your Ipod in glasses. I got it for fitty bucks, and am pleased to see that the parent website offers it for two hunnert, because that makes me look like slightly less of a sucker.
First thing: obviously, they look awesome on. As I put them on during my train ride this morning, I was slightly self-conscious plugging in the attached earphones. Put in your ear-plugs, put on your eye-shades, you know where to put the cork. The video screens on the inside of the glasses are about the size of a fingernail each, and in a dark room, it looks like you are watching a small screen in a theatre.
The video quality is the same as the Ipod. This toy would make most sense to use to watch vids on a long car or airplane ride. I like the privacy of it. The two screens made me feel a little cross-eyed upon first wearing, but I got used to them.
(People keep commenting on my gloves, but I swear they’re just to wear on my bike!)
Now I see this clearly. My whole life is pointed in one direction. There never has been a choice for me. I am a nerd. I know it, Jackie Kashian knows it, and woot knows it.
Self Reflective Blogging
POSTSCRIPT: ZOMG, Woot found my post and linked to it from their blog- so if I link back to a blog linking to my blog, will the universe implode? Let’s see!
POSTSCRIPT PART DEUX: Well, the Woot.com link was interesting, as I watched 800 people traipse through my blog over the next couple days, leaving neither comments nor footprints, just like they were never here at all. Maybe there’s a lesson there about the internet. Et tu, page hits?
The real thing I wanted to mention was the danger of wearing the MyVu Personal Media Viewer in public. I wore them on the train one day and realized that an ex-boyfriend was in kicking distance and I had to pretend not to be myself, or if I was myself, absolutely I was not wearing wack-ass glasses.Yes! I am an asshole.
Well, it’s been coming for several weeks now, and I’ve been trying to think of something clever to write about it and have failed miserably. Happy 10,000 website hits, everybody! Google will probably buy me out soon. It’s been great!
P.S. I’m happy to say that the bestest band ever, Peroxide Mocha, is back in action after four quiet years- click on the picture above to hear their inspirational song, “Good Ideas.”
The spouse and I have just returned from a trip to NYC, celebrating the occasion of our fourth wedding anniversary. It’s not so impressive that we have been married four years so much that it’s been consecutive. I celebrated a lot of it by following him from record store to record store to record store.
A high point of the trip for me was seeing Alan Cumming, Cyndi Lauper, and Nellie McKay in the Threepenny Opera. Alan played Mack the Knife as if he were a bisexual hustler. Nellie was fantastic as Lucy, and Cyndi looked mighty foxy in her Pirate Jenny hooker-wear. Costume design by Isaac Mizrahi, who is a hack. I could put rubber pants and a priest’s collar on a chorus member as well as anyone!
We had a great time attending a party for the Ron and Fez XM radio show, and we sat in on the show the following Tuesday. I really enjoyed it, and if I had not looked at the message boards afterwards I never would have realized that I am am unfunny hole.
Our only celebrity sighting this trip was Russell Simmons, enjoying a vegan brunch with an attractive young lady the day before his break with Kimora broke in the New York Post.
Beloved Spouse thinks he saw Karlheinz Stockhausen in Central Park, but it could have been Stockhausen syndrome.
Another feature of the trip was seeing the Munch exhibit at MOMA, which included a painting that was just discovered in 2004.
We enjoyed hanging out with our gracious hosts, and we got to see Stephin Merritt at his DJ night at the Beauty Bar, where we were showered with candy and girl-group hits, so it was really a nice time all around.