DID YOU READ

The Portlandia Interview: DJ Douggpound

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Doug Lussenhop, a.k.a. DJ Douggpound, is a rare bird in the comedy world: part joke D.J., part real musician, part video editor, writer, performer, and all kinds of amazing on Twitter. He’s the go-to editor for the surrealist comedians Tim & Eric, and has lent his chops to Jon Benjamin Has a Van, Funny or Die Presents, and, of course, Portlandia. We caught up with him to chat about skateboarding in Portland, sound effects, and being a little guy.

Portlandia: In Season 2 of Portlandia, your characteristic editing style seems more in the forefront. Did you have more freedom?

Doug Lussenhop: Well, we actually had a few more editors this season, so I did less overall editing, the other guys (Daniel, Bill and Mike) ripped off my style. I’m just kidding! I can’t take credit for the complete style of the editing, we all take little tricks from each other. Jonathan Krisel (the director) and I worked together for many years on Tim and Eric, as did the other editors, so we all know what’s up. I wouldn’t say we have more freedom, we’ve always had it. This show is really fun because no one’s looking over our shoulder, they give us the footage and we go nuts and try to sneak as many jokes in as we can.

Portlandia: How did you get involved with Portlandia and what’s your approach to it, as an editor?

Doug Lussenhop: Several years ago when Fred was on Tim and Eric, we were having lunch and he mentioned that he was shooting these internet videos with Carrie and he needed an editor. I said I’d do it and so I edited a bunch of them. They were called “Thunderant” which eventually turned into Portlandia. My approach is always just to make it funny. And sometimes to not make them too long.

Portlandia: Didn’t you meet Fred in the 90s?

Doug Lussenhop: Yeah, this is a funny story. I met Fred one day when I was doing an internship at a music video production company in Chicago. This lady who I worked for introduced me to him and he said “Hey little guy!” and he treated me like a 5 year old and never broke character. Everyone was laughing hysterically but I was pissed! I HATED him! I looked really young for my age, so it probably was pretty funny. Anyway, a few years later I saw his SXSW video and I realized that he’s just hilarious. Then I became a huge fan and I used to bring my camera to shows and film him doing characters between bands. I have some old footage of him dressed as a girl that works at a coffee shop. There’s a sketch from season two called “I’m a Little Guy,” I was born to edit that!

Doug as DJ Douggpound.

Portlandia: How does your work as an editor affect the kind of comedy that you do?

Doug Lussenhop: I never really think about it that much, I just do what I think is funny.

Portlandia: Do you approach comedy as an editor, or editing as a comedian?

Doug Lussenhop: Both. Either way, there needs to be sound effects.

Portlandia: How is working on Portlandia different than working with Tim and Eric, or doing your own stuff?

Doug Lussenhop: I guess Portlandia is more scripted but other than that, not much different. Both shows are hilarious and I love them.

Portlandia: What’s your next major project?

Doug Lussenhop: Well, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is out now on demand and in theaters on March 2nd and season 2 of “Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule” will be on adult swim in March.

Portlandia: Did you spend any time in Portland this summer? What are your favorite things to do in Portland?

Doug Lussenhop: I LOVE Portland, we got to do the editing for season one there. Any excuse to go there, I go. There’s some great comedy in Portland like the Bridgetown Comedy Fest and Comedy is OK. Andrew and Mikey who run that show are great dudes, there’s a lot of great dudes in Portland. And great skateparks, riding my bike around and going to skateparks, that’s the life for me. Can I move there?

Underworld

Under Your Spell

10 Otherworldly Romances That’ll Melt Your Heart

Spend Valentine's Day weekend with IFC's Underworld movie marathon.

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Photo Credit: Screen Gems/courtesy Everett Collection

Romance takes many forms, and that is especially true when you have a thirst for blood or laser beams coming out of your eyes.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a werewolf, a superhero, a clone, a time-traveler, or a vampire, love is the one thing that infects us all.  Read on to find out why Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these supernatural star-crossed lovers, and be sure to catch IFC’s Underworld movie marathon this Valentine’s Day weekend.

1. Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine, X-Men series

The X-Men franchise is rife with romance, but the steamiest “ménage à mutant” may just be the one between Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Their triangle is a complicated one as Jean finds herself torn between the two very different men while also trying to control her darker side, the Phoenix. This leads to Jean killing Cyclops and eventually getting stabbed through her heart by Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand. Yikes!  Maybe they should change the name to Ex-Men instead?


2. Willow/Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon gave audiences some great romances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer — including the central triangle of Buffy, Angel, and Spike — but it was the love between witches Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) that broke new ground for its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a LGBT relationship.

Willow is smart and confident and isn’t even sure of her sexuality when she first meets Tara at college in a Wiccan campus group. As the two begin experimenting with spells, they realize they’re also falling for one another and become the show’s most enduring, happy couple. At least until Tara’s death in season six, a moment that still brings on the feels.


3. Selene/Michael, Underworld series

The Twilight gang pales in comparison (both literally and metaphorically) to the Lycans and Vampires of the stylish Underworld franchise. If you’re looking for an epic vampire/werewolf romance set amidst an epic vampire/werewolf war, Underworld handily delivers in the form of leather catsuited Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and shaggy blonde hunk Michael (a post-Felicity Scott Speedman). As they work together to stop the Vampire/Lycan war, they give into their passions while also kicking butt in skintight leather. Love at first bite indeed.


4. Spider-man/Mary Jane Watson, Spider-man

After rushing to the aid of beautiful girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the Amazing Spider-man is rewarded with an upside-down kiss that is still one of the most romantic moments in comic book movie history. For Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), the shy, lovable dork beneath the mask, his rain-soaked makeout session is the culmination of years of unrequited love and one very powerful spider bite. As the films progress, Peter tries pushing MJ away in an attempt to protect her from his enemies, but their web of love is just too powerful. And you know, with great power, comes great responsibility.


5. Molly/Sam, Ghost

When it comes to supernatural romance, you really can’t beat Molly and Sam from the 1990 hit film Ghost. Demi Moore goes crazy for Swayze like the rest of us, and the pair make pottery sexier than it’s ever been.

When Sam is murdered, he’s forced to communicate through con artist turned real psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg in her Academy Award-winning role) to warn Molly she is still in danger from his co-worker, Carl (a pre-Scandal Tony Goldwyn). Molly doesn’t believe Oda is telling the truth, so Sam proves it by sliding a penny up the wall and then possessing Oda so he and Molly can share one last romantic dance together (but not the dirty kind). We’d pay a penny for a dance with Patrick Swayze ANY day.


6. Cosima/Delphine, Orphan Black

It stands to reason there would be at least one complicated romance on a show about clones, and none more complicated than the one between clone Cosima (Tatiana Maslany) and Dr. Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu) on BBC America’s hit drama Orphan Black.

Cosima is a PhD student focusing on evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Minnesota when she meets Delphine, a research associate from the nefarious Dyad Institute, posing as a fellow immunology student. The two fall in love, but their happiness is brief once Dyad and the other members of Clone Club get involved. Here’s hoping Cosima finds love in season four of Orphan Black. Girlfriend could use a break.


7. Aragorn/Arwen, Lord of the Rings

On a picturesque bridge in Rivendell amidst some stellar mood-lighting and dreamy Elvish language with English subtitles for us non-Middle Earthlings, Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) bind their souls to one another, pledging to love each other no matter what befalls them.

Their courtship is a matter of contention with Arwen’s father, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), who doesn’t wish to see his daughter suffer over Aragorn’s future death. The two marry after the conclusion of the War of the Ring, with Aragorn assuming his throne as King of Gondor, and Arwen forgoing her immortality to become his Queen. Is it too much to assume they asked Frodo to be their wedding ring-bearer?


8. Lafayette/Jesus, True Blood

True Blood quickly became the go-to show for supernatural sex scenes featuring future Magic Mike strippers (Joe Manganiello) and pale Nordic men with washboard abs (Hi Alexander Skarsgård!), but honestly, there was a little something for everyone, including fan favorite Bon Temps medium, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis).

In season three, Lafayette met his mother’s nurse, Jesus, and the two began a relationship. As they spend more time together and start doing V (short for Vampire Blood), they learn Jesus is descended from a long line of witches and that Lafayette himself has magical abilities. However, supernatural love is anything but simple, and after the pair join a coven, Lafayette becomes possessed by the dead spirit of its former leader. This relationship certainly puts a whole new spin on possessive love.


9. Nymphadora Tonks/Remus Lupin, Harry Potter series

There are lots of sad characters in the Harry Potter series, but Remus Lupin ranks among the saddest. He was bitten by a werewolf as a child, his best friend was murdered and his other best friend was wrongly imprisoned in Azkaban for it, then THAT best friend was killed by a Death Eater at the Ministry of Magic as Remus looked on. So when Lupin unexpectedly found himself in love with badass Auror and Metamorphmagus Nymphadora Tonks (she prefers to be called by her surname ONLY, thank you very much), pretty much everyone, including Lupin himself, was both elated and cautiously hopeful about their romance and eventual marriage.

Sadly, the pair met a tragic ending when both were killed by Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts, leaving their son, Teddy, orphaned much like his godfather Harry Potter. Accio hankies!


10. The Doctor/Rose Tyler, Doctor Who

Speaking of wolves, Rose “Bad Wolf” Tyler (Billie Piper) captured the Doctor’s hearts from the moment he told her to “Run!” in the very first episode of the re-booted Doctor Who series. Their affection for one another grew steadily deeper during their travels in the TARDIS, whether they were stuck in 1950s London, facing down pure evil in the Satan Pit, or battling Cybermen.

But their relationship took a tragic turn during the season two finale episode, “Doomsday,” when the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose found themselves separated in parallel universes with no way of being reunited (lest two universes collapse as a result of a paradox). A sobbing Rose told a holographic transmission of the Doctor she loved him, but before he could reply, the transmission cut out, leaving our beloved Time Lord (and most of the audience) with a tear-stained face and two broken hearts all alone in the TARDIS.

Watch: Miranda July visits “Portlandia”

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Miranda July has made a career out of constantly evolving. She’s a performance artist who became a recording artist, releasing three albums in the 1990s. She is a public speaker, a published author, and more recently a movie star and director. Her first feature film “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” which opened in 2005, won The Caméra d’Or prize in The Cannes Festival 2005 as well as the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Her second feature, “The Future,” premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. With a resume this diverse, would it be much of a surprise if she moved back to Portland and opened a boutique clothing store called “Two Girls Two Shirts” with her friend Carrie Brownstein? Not really. Watch this clip from “Portlandia” and see what happens:

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Want the latest news from Portlandia? Like us on Facebook and follow us on @IFCportlandia and use the hashtag #Portlandia.

“Portlandia” airs on IFC on Fridays at 10/9c

Q&A: Jason Simms of English, baby!

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It’s often said that English is the hardest language to learn. A classroom setting can only teach so much; Portland-based instructional Web site English, baby! goes beyond the typical curriculum, teaching non-native speakers the way Americans really converse. Among other methods, the site employs celebrities — particularly NBA players, but also musicians like Sheryl Crow and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony — for brief YouTube lessons explaining various slang terms. According to content manager Jason Simms, the site “fills in the gaps left by traditional English courses.” Heck, the videos are so entertaining even native speakers will get a kick out of them. And maybe learn something, too.

Portlandia: How does English, baby! differ from other, more traditional programs aimed at teaching people English?

Jason Simms: English, baby! builds on what you get in the classroom. We introduce students to the latest slang and other terms they will not find in a book or on another English education website. We post a new English lesson every day, and they are all built around authentic conversation, so that students can hear how Americans really talk. We provide a supportive environment for students to practice their English skills while talking about music, sports or other topics that interest them.

How did it get started?

Co-founder and CEO John Hayden was teaching English in Japan when he discovered that his students loved to learn about slang and had a hard time achieving linguistic and cultural fluency through traditional courses and books alone. He found they were particularly perplexed by why people liked to add the word for a small child to the end of a sentence. Hence, the name English, baby! is a lesson unto itself.

In 2009, we introduced English lessons starring celebrities. Basically, the idea was that we could record a conversation between our actors talking about basketball slang, or we could go out and get NBA players to teach it. The latter seemed more qualified.

What’s the response been like from people using the site?

We get a lot of gratitude, actually. People seem to appreciate that we are leveling with them. We give students a break from formal language education and help them learn the kind of stuff they would learn from traveling abroad or having an American friend.

Where are most of the users from?

English, baby! has members in every country in the world. The biggest market for us is China, with about a quarter of our 1.6 million members.

Your YouTube videos feature a lot of NBA players discussing basketball slang. Why use NBA players?

The NBA is the most global American sport. The Chinese TV audience for the NBA is comparable to the league’s American audience. Plus, we’re based in Portland, where basketball is the only major sport. (Soccer is, of course, really popular here, too, and we have featured a lot of soccer players, but for the most part MLS players aren’t as famous abroad as NBA stars.) During the NBA season, we have a steady flow of teams coming through, and many of those teams have players who have shoe contracts in China, do charity work there, or tour China in the summers with promotional events. We offer them an opportunity to connect with their fans overseas while they are in the US playing games.

What’s been your biggest celebrity coup so far? Who was purely the most fun to interview?

Dwight Howard and Steve Nash are our most recent guest English teachers and guys we are thrilled to have, since they are both total performers and actively cultivate fan bases in China. During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, we interviewed gold medal figure skaters Zhao Hongbo and Shen Xue, which was awesome because everyone in the world saw them win just a few days before. They even demonstrated a “lift” for us right there on the sidewalk in Vancouver.

Girl Talk was one where I had a lot of fun. He was really relaxed and spent some time with us. He took us up on the stage to do the interview in front of his light show. But the best shoot for me would have to be Steve Nash and Grant Hill, who we did back to back at the same practice last time the Suns were in town. They were really good at teaching English (probably rivaled only by Shane Battier), and something about them just left me buzzing for days.

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