First conceived as a way to entertain North American soccer’s most ardent fans during the offseason, Harrison—otherwise known as TA Capo “Hermes”—will bring his Shed Culture show to the live stage for the first time at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Alberta Rose Theater. Since January, Hermes’ podcast-turned-Cascadia.fm-broadcast has irreverently expressed the “ribald” side of Timbers Army, repeating lore of the supporters section’s early days and seeking to spread the gospel of Portland soccer to all corners of the footy loving globe.
Part talk show, part sketch comedy, part concert, Shed Culture’s live incarnation (consisting of two 45 minutes halves with a 15-minute intermission) will welcome Timbers owner Merritt Paulson as its first guest, along with folks from Kick Ass Oregon History and ballerinas from the Oregon Ballet Theater.
“After that it will just get strange,” Harrison said when I caught up with him earlier this month over a pint (or two) at Timbers Army First Thursday meet-up locale, Bottles on NE Fremont. “It’s very easy to do the show because we’ve got 35 years of material to pull from.”
So what can you expect when Hermes comes alive for Shed Culture? Click past the jump for more details on the show, plus a quick Q&A with the host.
Blogtown: So how did Shed Culture come about?
Hermes: The Timbers Army has always had a tradition of ribald humor that dates back to Roberto’s “Tales from the Shed” and Shawn Levy’s “Axe to the Head.” Shed Culture refers back to those early days when we were just forming, and the North End was called simply, “The Shed.” I’ve always believed that what the Timbers Army does the most is produce culture. The show springs from that. Yes, we love soccer, but we are also devoted to the Rose City and Northwest lore. And we will raise the hell out of some charity money for causes where we can help. We’re a group that likes to rally.
Blogtown: And what is Shed Culture now?
Hermes: There’s long tradition within Timbers Army of celebrating our culture and taking the piss out of each other, which is something soccer supporters do. The cultural side of what we do is as important as the support side, so we’re all growing older together. If you’ve stood in Timbers Army, you know that it’s not a bunch of hooligans, it’s a perfect exact cross-section of Portland. We’ve got breast-feeding punk mamas, we have grandmothers about to breathe her last breath, we have our own children. We’ve got everything in between. Obviously, we have 20-30 somethings out to have a good time, but it’s a cross-section of the city.
Blogtown: Why do you think soccer and that cultural aspect have that connection? Isn’t that more of a European thing?
Hermes: In American sporting culture, often times at a professional level, the front office dictates to the fans what the experience is going to be like. They pay the players a lot of money, turn them into superstars and market them back to the fans, so the fans are treated in this passive way—you sit there and be passive, and if there’s a lull in the action, we’ll fire up the T-shirt cannon and throw some glitter around, and you’ll be entertained. And that is anathema to what we’re all about. We’re about what sporting was always about: A giant collective experience, bigger than yourself, where you’re allowed to participate and go nuts for 90 minutes and then you get to back home to your normal live, but you’ve had that collective, civic, euphoric experience. Some might dare call it an orgasm, that’s not for me to say, but I must admit, at times, it feels an awful lot like an orgasm. What’s better than having an orgasm with 18,000 of your closest friends?
For that answer and more, check out Shed Culture Live at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night (doors at 6:30) at the Alberta Rose Theater (3000 NE Alberta St., Portland, OR 97211). Tickets for the 21+ show are $12 and benefit the 2012 tifo fund.
-Portland Mercury 12/20/2011