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    In this week's issue of the Portland alt-weekly newspaper Willamette Week is a feature I did on Portland's persona bands -- groups that perform as fictional characters -- ninjas, Klingons, pirates, and Shakespearian metalheads. Think Gwar, Ziggy Stardust and KISS.

    I thought some of you might appreciate the whole thing. The article includes videos of several of the bands off YouTube. Here's the opening:
    It’s late October, the last days of East Burnside’s Outlaws Music Hall, and the club’s green room is full of people pulling on costumes, applying eyeliner and doing warm-up stretches. It’d be easy to mistake this for a play, but it’s not. It’s a rock show.

    Tera Nova Zarra, the lead singer, is going over a props list when I come in (they’re missing fake blood). She hands me some plastic roses—apparently I’m going to be part of the show. My bit comes later, onstage, after one of the band’s admirers is slain, comes back as a werewolf, and shoots a bow and arrow with her feet while doing a handstand. As the next song starts, I give Zarra the roses and she bats her eyelashes at me.

    “You are a repeat offender,” Zarra sings, “in matters of the heart. You want my sweet surrender, but I’ll never surrender,” she continues—as the bassist holds up a two-by-four, “’cuz I’m a ninja!”

    Zarra punches the board in half with her fistful of flowers, and throws the bouquet into the cheering crowd. Then she starts headbanging.

    Tera Nova Zarra leads a double life: Normally, she’s a spazzy, earnest geek who wears glasses and works as a vocal coach at the Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls. But onstage she’s Missy Jitsu, a toned, badass sex bomb in tight vinyl, the lead singer of Portland ninja band Fist of Dishonor.