Fans of ‘This American Life’ take note

The last time I saw Sarah Vowell in Portland she was at the Wordstock Festival recounting the bizarre sexual inclinations of the Oneida colony. A group of free-sex religious folk that eventually went on to found the Oneida pottery company.


Vowell described the various problems that Leon Czolgosz, future assassin of President William McKinley, had fitting in at the colony. Most of those problems were sexual. All of the detail came ringing like a bell, sharp as the timorous tone of Vowell’s voice.


Twenty feet away, a man dressed like the Target dog danced nervously to distract the children flocking to the kid’s fun center in Exhibit Hall D of the Oregon Convention Center.


Davy Rothbart, Found magazine founder and Vowell’s fellow Lifer, brought audience members onstage during a recent stop in Portland to read a play that a reader had found.


The plot was just as uneasy as that echoey appearance by Vowell: man and woman meet man. Man and woman talk to man about group sex. Page is missing. Audience laughs.


And I remember when “star of public radio” was the worst kind of late night television epithet to have attached to your name in the monologue. Not only are you not famous but also you’re not very entertaining.


But this is the oughts, God damn it! And that means that everything has been turned on its head.


So join us Wednesday night when National Public Radio star Sarah Vowell is at the First Congregational Church downtown, a benefit reading for Write Around Portland. And don’t miss NPR star and Found founder Davy Rothbart at the Wonder Ballroom Thursday night, a benefit for the Independent Publishing Resource Center, the zine capital of the known universe.


Sarah Vowell

Benefit Event for Write Around Portland
When: Wednesday, Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m.

Where: First Congregational Church, $25


Davy Rothbart of Found magazine

Benefit event for Independent Publishing Resource Center
When: Thursday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m.

Where: Wonder Ballroom, $9.95 advance