This Thursday marks the beginning of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's ninth Time-Based Art Festival, a 10-day rush of dance, theater, comedy, music, film, visual art and other assorted weirdness. There's far too much going on during the festival for any one person to consume—you can browse the whole, bewildering schedule at pica.org—so we've pulled together the events we're most excited by in this first weekend of TBA.
How late it was, how late
Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave. 8:30 pm Friday-Sunday, 6:30 pm Monday-Tuesday, Sept. 9-13. $25.
East may be East and West may be West, but the twain meet quite comfortably in Shantala Shivalingappa. The Indian-born, Paris-bred dancer, daughter of Indian dancer Savitry Nair, was rigorously schooled in classical Indian Kuchipudi technique by master teacher Vempati Chinna Satyam. An old hand by age 13, Shivalingappa set out to bring the technique greater recognition outside India, performing in festivals worldwide and collaborating with several significant artists along the way, including French ballet innovator Maurice Bejart and German dance-theater visionary Pina Bausch, with whom she began dancing in 1999.
Bausch was felled by cancer two years ago, a blow to the performance world, but her imprint can be found in Namasya, a Sanskrit word meaning "reverence" and the name of the program Shivalingappa will offer here. It focuses on the commonalities, rather than the differences, in cultural styles and pays homage to Shivalingappa's teachers with dances choreographed by her mother, Bausch and Ushio Amagatsu, director of Japan's Sankai Juku butoh company and another of Shivalingappa's mentors. Shivalingappa begins the evening with classical Indian technique and works her way into the many influences that have shaped her choreographic style. She is a fluid, graceful dancer whose eloquent arm movements alone speak volumes about her worldly experience. HEATHER WISNER. Portland State University's Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave. 6:30 pm Friday, Sept 9. $20-$25.
Oscarâs Delirium Tremens
Equal parts quirky, cuddly and dangerous, Patrick Rock is best known locally as the director of Rocksbox Contemporary Art, the cutting-edge North Portland gallery known for its outrageous programming. Nationally and internationally, he is known as a performer in the gonzo post-punk band Piss. Once every few years, he makes gigantic, vaguely obscene inflatable jump rooms. Back in 2009, he created a 30-foot forced-air hot dog called Simulacra/Hermaphrodite for Jeff Jahnâs show Fresh Trouble, and invited the public to climb into the phallus-shaped sausageâs vulva-shaped entry portal and jump around to its heartâs content. For this yearâs TBA, Rock brings us a tribute to the great aesthete Oscar Wilde. Oscarâs Delirium Tremens is an upside-down toppled pink elephant that you climb into via a slit that may or may not be an anus, perineum or vulva. Metaphorically, it represents the Wildean dance with decadence that so many artists undertake, not always to their everlasting triumph. Viscerally, itâs just plain fun to jump around in an overgrown dead elephant. Washington High School,
Southeast Stark Street and 14th Avenue
Choreographer Kyle Abraham grew up in Pittsburgh listening to the cityâs only urban contemporary radio station, WAMO. When the station went off the air in 2009, even though he had long since moved to New York, he mourned the loss. In The Radio Show, Abraham explores how the disappearance of such a vital institution affects a community and connects the stationâs closure to his fatherâs struggle with Alzheimerâs. Itâs a performance inspired by communication breakdowns, both cultural and personal. Accompanied by a collage of popular R&B and hip-hop songs, an original chamber score and snatches of human voices calling out through static, Abraham and his company, Abraham.In.Motion, mix the immediacy of street dancing with the polished elegance of the conservatory. It is the young companyâs first full show, and has earned Abrahamâdescribed by Out magazine as âthe best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obamaââa 2010 Bessie Award and accolades from The New York Times, which called the work âsmart and self-aware, and luscious too.â Itâs an emotional reminder that even when speech is taken away, whether by disease or the economy, the language of movement remains. MATTHEW SINGER. Winningstad Theatre, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, 1111 SW Broadway. 6:30 pm Friday-Sunday, Sept. 9-11. $20.
The Radio Show
IMAGE: Steven Schreiber
tEEth, Home Made
Since its founding in 2006, Portland's tEEth dance project has consistently been one of the most ambitious and interesting performance groups in the city—with various performances moving through bodily obsessions, unlikely contortions and movements, fabric tubes or vats of goo. But while previously discomfort and the shock of the new often seemed to be goals unto themselves, in Home Made artistic directors Angelle Hebert and Philip Kraft have used these same discomfiting tools in the service of a genuine, beautiful, emotionally fraught intimacy.
But each failure, frustration or moment of violence is also a genuine attempt at consummation, and this is where the piece finds its optimism, and also its genuine ability to move the viewer. After Home Made's initial performance in November of last year, WW called it one of the most powerful performance pieces to come out of Portland in recent memory; in the meantime, as it's toured the country, one can only think that the performance has refined its effects even further. MATTHEW KORFHAGE. The Mouth at Zoomtopia, 810 SE Belmont St. 6:30pm Saturday-Sunday, 8:30 pm Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 10-14. $20.
Love Is Blind, Lingerie Is Braille
This multimedia extravaganza-cum-phantasmagoria-cum-orgasmatron fills the Works, TBAâs late-night venue at Washington High School, with sound, performance, literature and sheer bedlam. Nathan Howdeshell and Fast Weapons curate a series of happenings throughout the building. Among them are performances by Beth Ditto (singing tracks from her new album with assistance from Beyondadoubt) and garage-rock band Ghost Mom. Nudity in Groupsâ fourth arts publication will be distributed in the buildingâs restrooms, while the Dangerous Boys Club will treat festivalgoers to its signature ambience of misty, laser-lit angst. Finally, Harry K mounts an existential soap opera that mingles cosmic and quotidian themes. The evening will be immersive, eclectic and perhaps a little disturbing. RICHARD SPEER. The Works at Washington High School, Southeast Stark Street and 14th Avenue. 10:30 pm Friday, Sept. 9. $8.
Southeast Stark Street and 14th Avenue
. Interactive Projects 3-5 pm Friday and Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 9 and 13-15.
3 pm Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 10-11. Free.
Tim DuRoche and Ed Purver,
The Hidden Life of Bridges
Portland has always seemed more Bridgetown than Rose Cityâno other single civic symbol better embodies our communityâs essence than the bridges that give us mobility and knit together our neighborhoods. Every day, tens of thousands of us bike and drive over them, more interested in where weâre going than in the structures that make it possible for us to get there. When we think of them at all, itâs probably in annoyance at the slight delay caused by an unexpected lift interval.
Beginning at 9 pm this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the south sides of the Morrison Bridge piers will display video projections, visible from the Hawthorne Bridge, Waterfront Park and the Eastbank Esplanade, inspired by the structure's surprisingly beautiful hidden spaces and the remarkable people who make it work and keep it safe. The film features words and faces of engineers and other public employees who, as it turns out, are conscientious, eloquent and poetic stewards of these civic treasures. And all month, the Hawthorne Bridge will become a gargantuan sound sculpture, its varied vibrations processed and transformed into a striking sonic composition accessible via webcast and telephone call. Hopefully, we'll never cross a bridge again without appreciating what a compelling story it has to tell us. BRETT CAMPBELL. 9 pm Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 8-10. Free.
SEE IT: Tickets to all TBA performances may be purchased at PICA's box office on the campus of Washington High School, at the corner of Southeast Stark Street and 14th Avenue, by phone at 224-7422, or online at pica.org. Individual tickets are $5-$40, and festival passes of varying degrees of inclusivity cost between $45 and $250.