Sunday, November 12, 2017

Portland's Lit Crawl and the Year of the Clown

Lierary Arts is an organization that's been nurturing talent in Portland, Oregon for over 30 years. Its big annual event, Wordstock, was November 11, 2017, and the night before was the Lit Crawl. I checked out the local talent, as well as what our Portlandia-inspired reputation has brought in from across the nation. The next day, I checked out X-Dog Events' 26th annual Kevin's Cup.

I'm basically searching for people in Portland who write funny. This includes authors who specialize in humor, as well as comedians who write fiction. There are also clowns, but more on that later. 

Downtown Portland was awash with literary types, including chubby hipster bros, new-wave feminist grrls, svelte Dead or Alive groupies, and scarf-accessorized women in their 30s looking like that one English teacher (not the one who had an affair with her student, but the one who smelled like brownies.)

Wordstock had begun, and writers of all ilk were gathered in hotel lobbies adjacent to ironically hip dive bars to listen to the spoken word while sipping small-batch bourbon and alternately nodding agreeably to notions of being relevant in a post-relevant world and snickering sideways at generous offerings of in-jokes and slight-of-hand puns. 

But it wasn't stand-up comedy. Fun word play? Yes. But as far as finding the Next American Humorist in Portland, Oregon, I will have to dig a little deeper.

In truth, the bad thing about poetry is it's too easy. Written to be spoken aloud, stories and soliloquies succumb to the staccato rhythm of the performance artist:

Raucous poets
Lilting intonations
And complaining about
Squandering piquant observations
About the mundane
And modest disappointments

See? Easy.
As for finding clowns in Portland, that's a completely different matter. Enter Kevin's Cup, the off-road running event that started decades of tradition and enabled more than one career in event directing. Every year has a specific theme, and 2017 was the Year of the Clown.

X-Dog Events have a complete schedule of their upcoming races at