Brody on Broadway

“Please make mistakes,” Brad Fortier, comedian and educational director at The Brody Theater explains, “they’re essential to this art, because a lot of those mistakes can become very brilliant comedy if we utilize rather than minimize the mistakes.” Fortier talks casually with students, “Improv training really opens a different way of being – when you eradicate insecurities around mistakes. With improv we’re breaking social norms to get to this comedy.” People come to the show to be entertained and maybe, with a desire to participate. One of the attractions of the theater is a chance to enroll in classes, overcome your fear of speaking in public, and be spontaneously creative with people.

The Brody Theater has been active in Portland for twelve years and just leased a new home at 16 NW Broadway. It’s in the lower part of the Broadway Hotel, between Helen’s Market and Ichiban Sushi. The Housing Authority of Portland welcomed the theater to Old Town in hopes of creating a positive alternative to the dive bars and dance clubs in downtown. Check their website for showtimes: Continue reading


The Lagoon

A black triangle to one side of the nose is a graphic trademark of Lilli Carré. It drew my attention when I read The Lagoon, and after a while it becomes something you see but don’t notice. It’s like recognizing a person, oh that’s Lillie Carré. When I first encountered her trademark nose, I kept looking at Grandpa where he says, “I couldn’t make up a song that pretty, you know that!” The tip of Grandpa’s nose meets his laugh line and flattens the effect of the rendering to make the black triangle look like a hole. An optical effect where the positive and negative shapes swap places.

Carré draws figures with the push and pull of black and white. Transitions between the two poles often employ the artist’s brush in the manner of woodcut illustrations. In woodcut, the tool gouges out the black. Her brush feathers in the black. The gouge and the brush. Hard metal. Soft fiber. They’re strong opposites and they can create a very similar graphic style. Black and white. There’s no crosshatching. The white shapes are Continue reading

Powr Mastrs – Vol 2

“The answers I’m searching for, I find behind the Brown Door,” Buell Kazee says and descends into the cellar of Plex Knowe Crypt. He inserts the key and opens the door. “Buell,” exclaims a blister-headed monster behind the brown door. One skeletal arm and one green tentacle emerge from the monster’s shrimp-shaped carapace.

“Viskoser Tod. Are you hungry?” Buell asks.

“Yesss . . . Hungry . . ,” hisses Viskoser Tod.

Buell explodes with laughter: “HA HA HA!”

Holding the green tentacle in one hand, Buel laughs.


Buell must have been asking a rather simple question, or maybe Viskoser Tod could destroy Mosfet? I wrestle with questions. The shinny blue volume I hold in my hands. I can. I must. The great questions lead to greater awareness, and I have possession of Continue reading

Curious Comedy in NE Portland

by Arthur Smid

The players leap up, taking the stage to ask for a suggestion from the audience. “Name one place where you go to get things done!” A barber shop. Garage. Mardi Gras. The atmosphere in the room is collaborative. The audience isn’t waiting for the comic to fail, or waiting for a laugh; they’re waiting to see what happens next. The expansive room lofts upward forty feet with ceiling fans slowly turning. A simple proscenium arch sits on a plywood stage so new you can smell the cut wood. Mardi Gras starts with one player stepping forward to say he has really good candy – he’s throwing candy from the float. The players respond to each other by affirming and adding on; it’s the “yes and” aesthetic that builds character and story into long-form improvisational theater, and it gets things done.

“Stacey and I came here from Chicago about a year ago with the idea to open a comedy theater,” Bob Ladewig, one of the co-owners, explains the theater’s origins. Stacy Hallal started studying comedy in 1999 at the Brody theater in Portland. She began touring with another woman performing as “All Jane No Dick” and traveled Continue reading