Someone made the mistake of putting me in a position of (very minor) authority. I’m not saying I’ve let my title as arts and entertainment editor go to my head, but I can’t shake the notion that the folks in England will give me a call once that Queen Elizabeth chick renounces the throne.
Anyway, this publication is called the Entertainer, right? It only makes sense, then, that I should create and distribute various illustrious awards, like the one I’ve coined Entertainer of the Year. But don’t get excited, all you competitive junkies vying for my heart. Sure, there are 10 months left in the year, but I’ve already settled on the 2011 winner.
His name is Brian Brolin, a junior at Corvallis High School and a budding star on the local poetry scene, and he will change your perspective on what’s funny and what’s cool.
Wear a 1980s style fanny pack? You’re the leader of the “in” crowd.
Got a mullet? Make your way to the VIP lounge.
Drink Tab soda by the dozen? You rule the school.
These are some of the topics Brolin preaches about at the monthly Poetics at Cloud 9 poetry slam. He performed at each of the last two shows and left everyone in the audience in pieces, creating an unofficial fan club of which I hereby declare myself president.
Brolin’s riff was the most unexpected dose of hilarity I’ve ever encountered. At the Feb. 3 Poetics show, the first few poets read their work in a mostly tame manner. Then the shy Brolin stepped to the mic, fanny pack snug around his waist and sheets of paper trembling in his hands, and he brought down the house.
Check out this line from his most recent poem:
“If a belt and a man purse had a baby, my fanny pack would be that baby.”
“I started growing my mullet when I finally started living, and it pleases me to say that ‘The Man’ will NEVER be happy again.”
I have lived in Oregon only five months, but I assure you no band or performer has ever left Cloud 9 more popular than Brian Brolin.
And his success in the spoken-word poetry format was utterly unexpected, too. The 17-year-old is very soft-spoken and showed no interest in poetry until his sophomore World Literature teacher, Amy Knoke, gave the class an assignment last year.
“Brian was the first kid in class to share what he wrote, and he really blew us away,” said Knoke, who had her students listen to the poetry of Anis Mojgani. “His poetry allows him to express a lot of things he normally isn’t able to verbalize.
“… As soon as he could write it, he would share it with us. The rest of the kids in class couldn’t wait to hear more. I really admire his bravery to embrace the process.”
Brolin, 17, doesn’t offer much information about himself in person, but via e-mail he wrote that some of his hobbies are “bike riding, collecting Polo shirts, good hygiene, and visiting with my homey, Ken. (Ken is an employee at a Walmart in Washington.)”
He doesn’t have a horde of comedic influences, saying instead that his material comes simply from observations he makes of daily life. And, befitting his unusual brand of humor, Brolin lists amongst his primary influences the 1980s “Short Circuit” films — in which a robot named Johnny 5 is electrocuted, comes to life and eventually fights crime.
“I think we can all relate to Johnny 5 at some point in our lives,” he wrote.
Brolin vows to return to Cloud 9 for the next free Poetics session at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 3. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll show up early to grab a good seat.
Director Brown nearly ready to reveal scenes
Corvallis filmmaker Sean Brown is making progress in his quest to bring a feature-length movie called “Reality Crash” to the mid-valley. A private screening of the test scenes Brown filmed in Corvallis last month will be held Saturday, March 12, at the Darkside Cinema.
The project was featured in the Jan. 21 issue of the Entertainer. Brown’s goal is to have his two demo scenes impress “Reality Crash” writers Cyd Ropp and Lou Grantt so much that they agree to give him the rights to the script. If that happens, Brown will shoot the film in Corvallis and the outlying areas.
Ropp, who lives in Ashland, will be at the Darkside for the screening, and Grantt will watch via Skype. It will be their first time seeing the test scenes. Brown said a public screening will take place at a later date.
I ate at Sunnyside Up Café in Corvallis for the first time last weekend. I complained to myself that the pancakes cost $6.75, too expensive for some flapjacks. And then I ate them. When I became too full to have another bite, I kept on eating.
Frankly, they were the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten, well worthy of their menu price. Since then, I’ve been trying to decide if it was the best meal I’ve had in Corvallis. Perhaps.