Tickets available by phone or in person at PCPA Box Office, 1111 SW Broadway, 248-4335; each individual show: $10 for PICA members, $15 general. A pass to the entire festival costs $125 member/$150 general.
If you consider yourself even the least bit artsy, dig this: The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) is cooking up something huge with their Time-Based Art (TBA) Festival--a first annual colossus of experimental theater, performance art, dance, film, and video.
Spread throughout the city over ten days (Sept 12-21), TBA Fest hosts perhaps the richest collection of artists ever to converge in Portland. We'll be treated to Japanese performance legends on our street corners, experimental choreography from Burkina Faso, a makeshift warehouse nightclub packed to the gills with New York performance artists, as well as countless workshops, lectures, and master classes.
Inspired by international festivals like Edinburgh and Adelaide, PICA is mounting the only experimental festival of its kind in the US--not just entertaining Portlanders, it presents a major opportunity to land Stumptown on the national arts radar. Every performing arts institution and funder worth its salt will be present for the festival, glad-handing and scouting for new talent. Local artists like House of Cunt, The Badger King, and Andrew Dickson will perform for directors of institutions like the Walker Art Center and the Wexner, giving many of these artists their most influential audiences to date.
It's going to be a hell of a busy ten days in Portland during TBA, and there's no way anybody will be able to check out every performance, so go to
www.pica.org or swing by and pick up an official guide now and start your planning. What follows is a selection of performances we wouldn't miss for anything. CHAS BOWIE
Bill Shannon aka CrutchMaster: Spatial Theory
CrutchMaster rules. Bill Shannon took to crutches and skateboards early in life, after being diagnosed with a hip disability. Using customized rocker-bottom crutches, Shannon has developed an amazing choreography and repertoire of moves that owes equally to breakdancing and skateboarding. CrutchMaster will perform impromptu street pieces around Portland before he delivers Spatial Theory, a jaw-dropping techno/hiphop performance and video show. CB
Thurs Sept 18 & Fri Sept 19, 8 pm; Lincoln Hall, PSU, 1620 SW Park
Coco Fusco: The Incredible Disappearing Woman
Before seeing them, you never know what's going to happen with elaborate, conceptual performances such as The Incredible Disappearing Woman--but you can piece together the elements and imagine their impact. In this performance piece, live humans (and one "robot") are hooked up to a "chat room" that's being controlled by off-stage characters. It's a work indicative of how we interpret actual violence when images are filtered through the distancing medium of the internet. From the preview standpoint, Coco Fusco's ideas look incredibly realized and challenging. JULIANNE SHEPHERD
Fri Sept 18 & Sat Sept 20, 8 pm; Scottish Rite Center, 709 SW 15th and Morrison
Compania Nacional de Teatro de Mexico: El Automovil Gris
The Mexican silent film El Automovil Gris--about the real-life Grey Automobile Gangsters, who ruthlessly tore through Mexico in the early 1900s--is seen here but interpreted in a Japanese benshi manner of narration, in which actors supplement the film with voices, and musicians further supplement it with ambiance. It's a rare chance to see an incredible silent film about a volatile subject, given live dramatic treatment in Spanish, English, and Japanese. JS
Sat Sept 20, 4 pm; Sun Sept 21, 2 & 4 pm; Pioneer Place Stadium 6, 340 SW Morrison
David Greenberger and 3 Leg Torso: Legibly Speaking
Why is that old folks never seem so cute as when they're documented in the pages of Duplex Planet? This zine, which has been running for an astounding 24 years, transcribes conversations of banal hilarity and tenderness between David Greenberger and the citizens of the Duplex Nursing Home, where he worked for several years. The seniors wax on about what "selling out" means (no idea), their favorite movies (Gone With the Wind, hands down), and constantly ask their interviewer to repeat his questions. Greenberger developed a one-man show based on conversations with Portland seniors that he conducted during a residency at PICA. Local string and accordion ensemble 3 Leg Torso provides an original score to accompany Greenberger's touching stories of individualism. CB
Fri Sept 12 & Sat Sept 13, 9 pm; Scottish Rite, 709 SW 15th and Morrison
Miranda July: How I Learned to Draw
Billed as "local girl tells all," How I Learned to Draw brings us completely up to date on Portland's favorite performance artist, storyteller, and cultural export, Miranda July. An amazingly prodigious artist and author, her story The Birthmark appears in the current issue of the Paris Review; she's developing Me and You and Everyone We Know, a feature film with Sundance Films; her video Nest of Tens was in the last Whitney Biennial; and she maintains the ever-growing, publicly collaborative website Learning to Love You More with local artist Harrell Fletcher. Toss in a few CDs on Kill Rock Stars and K Records, a regular spot on NPR's The Next Big Thing, and a work in progress for the Andy Warhol Museum, and you've got a very busy artist. Here, she takes a break to fill us in on what's going on in her world and to give her hometown a few sneak peeks. CB
Tues Sept 16, 9 pm, Newmark Theater, PCPA, 1111 SW Broadway
Peripheral Produce: Peripheral Produce All-Time Greatest Hits
Peripheral Produce has been blazing the trail for experimental film and video in Portland since 1996. Organizing screenings, compiling and releasing videos, and inaugurating the PDX Film Festival are all regular activities for founder and curator Matt McCormick, an accomplished filmmaker himself. Drawing from the rich history of Peripheral Produce, McCormick has selected a program with works by Bill Brown, Miranda July, and many others. CB
Sun Sept 14, 9 pm; Scottish Rite, 709 SW 15th and Morrison
Vijay Iyer & Mike Ladd: In What Language? A song cycle of lives in transit
Hiphop fans know Mike Ladd from his articulate raps (as himself) and elaborate worlds (under the Majesticons/Infesticons monikers); jazz fans know young Vijay Iyer from his inventive piano compositions. Together, their tightly woven, visceral hiphop/ sound performance interprets the innermost thoughts of international travelers as they're turned away, belittled, arrested at an airport--a verbal, musical, and visual protest. JS
Mon Sept 15 & Tues Sept 16, 7 pm; Scottish Rite, 709 SW 15th and Morrison
Yasuko Yokoshi: Shuffle
New York-based dancer and performance artist Yasuko Yokoshi discusses her latest work, Shuffle, a combined mythology (both traditional Japanese and her own familial ones). She'll also perform a bit of Kabuki theater and talk about gender character studies. JS
Wed Sept 17, 8 pm, BodyVox, 1300 NW Northrup
Northwest New Works: PDX
One of this festival's greatest benefits is that national and international festival programmers and arts organizations will be exposed to upcoming talent from the Northwest--and, in particular, Portland. Northwest New Works offers a sampling of new performances by four pairs of emerging artists, including the always-goofy Andrew Dickson and the always-studious Amos Latteier; dreamy marimba narratives by Seattle's Erin Jorgenson with the monologues and films of Richard Lefebvre; a big theater piece on a tiny stage by Linda Austin and The Rich Grandeur of Boxing by Megan Murphy; plus there's improvisational singing and choreography by Foot and Mouth followed by the Buddhist-inspired choreography of Minh Tran. CB
Fri Sept 12, 7pm: Andrew Dickson, Amos Latteier
Sat Sept 13, 2pm: Erin Jorgenson, Richard Lefebvre; 7 pm: Linda Austin, Foot in Mouth
Sun Sept 14, 7pm: Minh Tran, Megan Murphy
BodyVox, 1300 NW Northrup
TBA CABARET STAGE: Featured Acts
The less formal/elaborate, more loft-style shows will be held in the Machineworks space at 1115 NW 15th Ave--a space dorkily (yet appropriately) deemed "TBA's Late Night Hot Spot." Ooh! The opening gala on Sat Sept 13 might be kinda scary (a $150 dinner followed by a $25 dance party of unspecified nature?! Whatevs!), but the rest of the schedule looks great:
Sun Sept 14: Tracie Morris performs Afrofuturistic, a hiphop/electronic morality tale combined with poetry and visuals, at 10 pm. Then at 10:30, John Moran and Eva Muller bust out in an operatic cabaret style.
Mon Sept 15: At 10 pm, local duo The Badger King debut their long-awaited, fantastical art-popera, The Showering Dragons. Chill-inducing harmonies and electronic beats cushion a sweet narrative film by Tiny Picture Club's Reed Harkness. At 11, Owl vs. Lemming has Bugskull's Sean Byrne deejaying to Steve Doughton's films.
Tues Sept 16, 10 pm: 10 Tiny Dances is just that: a selection of choreographed dances within a 4 X 4 space, performed every 15 minutes. So cute! So tiny!
Wed Sept 17, 10 pm: Illustrious local intelligentsia/musician Sarah Dougher plays heartfelt songs for a windswept audience on guitar and voice.
Thurs Sept 18, 10 pm: It's the Time- Based Art Talent Show, featuring TBA performers doing things other than their TBA performances. Seriously, what kind of asshole doesn't love a talent show?
Fri Sept 19, 10 pm: Local performance artists House of Cunt making with the costumes, characters, and comedic improv.
Sat Sept 20, 10 pm: DJ Le Spam, a selector as eclectic as the ingredients in his namesake, hosts the TBA closing party with his Latin-influenced rhythms. Free for TBA pass holders, individual shows $10 for everyone else. $25-45 for closing party. JULIANNE SHEPHERD