He was familiar with the concept of Wordstock because I dragged him to the expo portion of it last year to hear Peter Sagal. For the Captain, the expo - rows and rows of tables stacked with books - was something to be endured rather than reveled in, so I was thinking a variety show, even with a guest list stacked with authors, would be a more palatable way to celebrate Wordstock this year.
We started the evening at Tastebud, a not-too-frou-frou restaurant close to the theater. A few lessons learned:
- No matter how awesomely wood-fired the pizza is and no matter how locally and organically grown, squash is not a good pizza topping.
- Sharing a table with strangers makes the Captain feel uncomfortable.
- Sharing a table makes it hard not to listen in on your table-mates' first-date conversation.
- When said first-date conversation degenerates into a who-is-more-literate word fight, it can be at once uncomfortable and fodder for jokes for the rest of the evening.
At the Aladdin Theater, the Captain learned that Live Wire! is like A Prairie Home Companion, only for the under-50 crowd. Less country and gospel music, more Storm Large and Portland indie rock; less gentle humor, more edgy humor.
The Live Wire! Guests:
- The Long Winters, bringing their brand of transient cool down from Seattle;
- Lynda Barry and Alison Bechdel, discussing being cartoonists and lesbians;
- Jonathan Coulton singing a song about being a middle school nerd and said nerd's plans for future world domination;
- Slam Poet Anis Mojgani, slamming our faces with some poetry;
- Sandra Tsing Loh doing some over-the-top menopause-themed reading;
- PNW favorite McKinley, workshopping a piece from her upcoming play (because that seems to be the thing to do now when you get tired of being a rock star);
- Jay Allison, discussing his NPR series (and books) "This I Believe" (with accompanying comedy sketches by Faces for Radio Theater); and finally,
- John Hodgman in a jaunty mood and accompanied by Jonathan Coulton.
I think the Captain (with the exception of the table-sharing and squash pizza) enjoyed the evening.
I know I did.
p.s. Dean says next time we should eat at Le Pigeon on Burnside. As long as we can have a table to ourselves, we'll take his advice.