We're on day four of PICA's Time-Based Art Festival, and I gotta say: It's been a good one so far.
Northwest Portland's Con-Way warehouse is a fantastic venue. The giant warehouse has been built out into a main performance stage and a smaller blackbox theater; there's also an art gallery, multiple bars, and a kitschy food kiosk that's manned by a different chef each night (last night there were really big pickles!). I really really recommend checking it out at some point before the festival ends and it's turned into a New Seasons.
Last night's "post-realness drag ball," hosted by Kaj-Anne Peppper and Chanticleer Tru, was so goddamn much fun. It was also a super sharp programming decision: One of the festival artists, Trajal Harrell, is performing two pieces inspired in part by the voguing scene in Harlem, where gay men in drag held elaborate "balls" (as documented in Paris Is Burning, a fascinating film that's on Netflix Instant, if you haven't seen it). PICA's drag ball, then, was just one step away from Harrell's challenging performance work, but it's a step that brings with it a hugely engaged fanbase for drag and queer performance. So the show was thematically on-point and also incredibly fun, and absolutely packed with a young, queer, lively crowd. As one respected local arts administrator drunkenly hollered at me last night, "It's gay as shit in here!"
So probably nothing is going to top that, but tonight's late-night show actually sounds like a great bet, as composer Nick Hallett has rounded up a posse of local musicians including Holcomb Waller for what I think is going to be one of those art world rarities, a high-concept show that's also enjoyable:
As for the performances, I've only seen a couple so far, but I highly recommend catching the last showing of Lola Arias' The Year I Was Born, which explores life under Pinochet from the point of view of performers in their 20s and 30s. That's tonight at 6:30 pm.
The reviews are stacking up over on our TBA blog! And crazy pictures from the drag ball are on the way, never you fear.