"I love the Pacific Northwest and I would've stayed there forever probably, except after five years I realized [the weather] wasn't just a storm," explains author, performer, and Seattle ex-pat Dan Kennedy. "Once I figured out that it wasn't going to stop raining anytime soon, I felt like I had to move... I've been to Portland a few times on book tour, and it's late at night, and you're at the RingSide with a bunch of friends after reading at Powell's, and you're thinking, 'Okay, this is where the tour stops. It's one in the morning and I need to find an apartment for rent.' Portland and New York both have the humanity, art, culture, and beauty that one looks for in a great city, but in the end, when push came to shove, I just felt that New York could offer me more litter, crime, and financial stress."
Kennedy will be back in town this week, enjoying our relative peace and cleanliness as he returns for his second appearance at the variety show Entertainment for People. (He headlined the show's very first installment in 2009.)
For those not familiar with Kennedy's work, his memoirs Loser Goes First and Rock On: An Office Power Ballad introduce a slightly befuddled and idealistic but bright young man mystified by the callous and hostile world he inhabits. Loser Goes First chronicles Kennedy's awkward mistakes from childhood through his early-20s, while Rock On takes a look behind the scenes at his job in a record company's executive marketing department, where banality and hilarity mate and spawn.
Rock On has a bittersweet ending; Kennedy gets fired, but that leaves him more time to write lists such as "Jokes for People with Body-Image Problems Tied to Low Self-Esteem" for McSweeney's humor category, and to regularly host the Moth's StorySLAM, a slam poetry-inspired spinoff of the popular storytelling series, as well as hosting the Moth's podcast.
All that hosting experience will come in handy as Kennedy once again helms Entertainment for People. In addition to Kennedy, the show will feature local author Kevin Sampsell, comedians Frayn Masters, Jason Rouse, Jimmy Radosta, and Emmett Montgomery, music from Seattle's Jose Bold (creator of the off-Broadway Spider-Man spoof Spidermann), and free cupcakes. JACOB SCHRAER