Live Wire with Luke Burbank
with Senator Jeff Merkley, Joe Zimmerman, Anis Mojgani, Afrovivalist, Ron Artis II & The Truth + more
Thu, Apr 18 at 7:30pm
Jeff Merkley has a deep, rooted interest in the people of Oregon and beyond. The son of a millwright, Merkley moved with his family to follow the timber economy throughout his childhood. He grew into public service, beginning his career as an intern with former Oregon senator Mark Hatfield, and then working in DC at both the Pentagon and the Congressional Budget Office. Returning to home soil, Merkley served as the head of Portland’s Habitat for Humanity, the President of the Oregon World Affairs Council, and was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives prior to his election to the US Senate in 2009. In the nine years since, Merkley has focused on both the root work and reality of making the American Dream available to all citizens.
Anis Mojgani is as good as his words - which, trust us, are very good. A two-time National Poetry Slam Champion and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam, he’s written five books of poetry and performed for the United Nations. Originally from New Orleans he currently lives in Portland, OR, where he serves on the Board of Directors for Literary Arts. Mojgani’s grade-A words have appeared on HBO, NPR, and in a variety of literary journals, and he’s been commissioned to compose for the Getty Museum and the Portland Timbers. His work, including his most recent book "In the Pockets of Small Gods", will move and motivate you, challenge and delight you - take our word for it.
For comedian Joe Zimmerman, working down south set his career on a straight shot up north. While living in North Carolina, his stand-up group the Beards of Comedy landed a record deal with Comedy Central Records. Since then he’s appeared on "The Tonight Show", "Conan", and his own Comedy Central half hour. His comedy albums have also shot up the charts, with "Smiling at Wolves" reaching number 2 on iTunes and Innocence debuting at #1 in October of 2018. A humorist whose writing has been featured in The New York Times, Zimmerman's’ podcast, A Great Listening Experience, details his questionable attempts to attain infinite knowledge and power. Hold on tight and enjoy the upward comedy trajectory of Joe Zimmerman.
When things start to go wrong, you want Sharon Ross on your team. Ross calls herself Afrovivalist – she is an African-American survivalist, a prepper, a member of the State Radiological Emergency Response Team, and a Leadership Committee member with the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, among other certifications and affiliations. Ross grew up in Southern Oregon in the early 70’s, where she was the first African-American student to attend community school, all while her U.S. Marine father schooled her in self-defense. Afrovivalist’s goal is to transition from the city to her 20-acre property in an off-grid community. She runs workshops and an adult summer camp, called Decamp Outdoors, for those who want to be prepared for any survival scenario.
For Ron Artis II, life as a musician is the very epitome of paradise. The oldest son in a musical family of eleven children in Hawaii, he was crawling across his father’s piano and taking in his mother's beautiful singing from the very beginning. A multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter, Artis plays all genres of music (even creating new songs on the spot during his concerts), and released his debut full-length album "Soul Street" in 2018. He's played with Mick Fleetwood, Jack Johnson, and many more, weaving in his deep Delta Blues and Gospel, R&B, and Northern Soul influences. When you see Ron Artis II and the Truth play, you'd better be ready for a tidal wave of heart and soul.