Magic GardensI first met Liv/Viva back in 2006, when Morty S. came to Portland for an alumni event. She was there with her brother and I was there with my wife and we shared a table and laughed a lot through the entire dinner. Even back then, she mentioned that she had been playing around with the idea of writing her memoirs, a piece of information I tucked away in the recesses of my mind. She also came to our annual summer drinks party at our house, and was just as charming with the neighbors as she was with her fellow Ephs.

Last fall, I ran into her again at a book reading that her publisher had put together, and she confirmed that her memoirs were in the rewriting stage and set to come out in the fall of 09. I told her that, when they were ready, I had a new biography show I was producing, and I’d love to have her on. I can also say now that she was definitely a lot less bubbly than she had been in previous meetings, a darkness I now know was tied directly into her fight against breast cancer, which at that time, wasn’t public knowledge.

I’ve never seen Liv perform as either Viva Las Vegas or as Coco Cobra, not due to any prudery on my part (Liv gave me a promotional button after the interview which features “the 8th wonder of the world”; you’ll have to listen to find out what that is), but more due to the fact that our schedules are diametrically opposed. Still, since I have interviewed her about the book, I do kind of feel odd I have never seen her perform, so I will try to stay up late one night this fall and catch one of her sets.

Liv knows that my nickname for her is “that nice Lutheran girl from Minnesota”, a handle I gave her because when we get together, we tend to talk about pretty mundane topics, like gardening or literature. This interview was the first time we spoke in depth about her job. I will leave it to her to talk about whether she was able to get Morty and the Alumni Board to come watch her set at Mary’s after that 2006 dinner at the City Grill ;)

As one last aside, I wish I could be in studio with every guest. Face to face interviews are much more fun than doing them over the phone. The interview runs 22 minutes:

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