Arts and Culture

Features on our favorites in books, music, film, and comedy.

Quick Spin: Comedian Matt Braunger

The fact that we even have Bridgetown Comedy Festival today can be owed to comedian Matt Braunger (and co-founder, Andy Wood). Braunger, who was born and raised in northeast Portland, describes himself as “…a lightning-rod of awkwardness…” in one of his specials. His humor is grab-a-beer-with-a-friend relatable, and he bursts with energy on stage.

Rene Redzepi, Noma, Copenhagen

Rock and Roll and Rene Redzepi: A Work in Progress

Books that cook have really evolved over the last few years. A few – like David Chang’s tale in the Momofuku cookbook of fighting anger and shingles – plunge even deeper into the cooking/storytelling vein, revealing the heart of the kitchen where memoir and measuring cup collide.

The Head and the Heart at Portland’s Musicfest NW

On a random weekday evening, as I was flipping through the channels, I came across a showing of Austin City Limits, a grand performance series on PBS showcasing some of the finest musicians in the country. The episode featured a Seattle ensemble named The Head and the Heart, and with their stunning ACL studio performance, I was instantly a fan. Formed in 2009 thanks to an open-mic night at a local bar, the folky, heartfelt tunes from Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell, and Charity Rose Thielen are touching but not overwrought, detailing the universal struggles between the head and the heart.

Comedian Ian Karmel

Comedy Can Save the Day: Portland Comedian Ian Karmel

I cannot think of a better week for the Bridgetown Comedy Festival to arrive. Portland will welcome heaps of comics of all varieties this weekend, at a time when it feels as though we could all really use a good laugh.