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.
Austin theater company
is nationally renowned for ensemble-created loose adaptations of novels (James Hellman's
), comic strips (David Rees'
) and even music criticism (Greil Marcus'
). The company's latest hit isn't adapted from anything, though it claims to be:
is a tribute to and parody of method acting, artistic mentors and the very idea of theatrical risk. Presented as a documentary performance, the play follows the misfortunes of a group of actors, students of the imaginary acting guru Stella Burden, as they rehearse their first and only production in the wake of Burden's mysterious disappearance. The performance, which they stage for our benefit after nine years of preparation, is a production of
without the characters of Blanche, Stanley, Stella or Mitch. It lasts less than 10 minutes and is, for reasons I'd rather let you discover on your own, far more moving an experience than you'd imagine. Also, it has a sassy tiger. All plays should have a sassy tiger. BEN WATERHOUSE.
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.
Patrick J. Rock,
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.
The piece begins with the delicate, idyllic movements of two lovers beneath a thin sheet—as seen in shadowplay, or as voyeuristically projected onto a screen—and from this tranquility moves into more dangerous emotional territory: the violence and ecstasy and failures of any two people trying to connect. Dancers Keely McIntyre and Noel Plemmons—often dancing in the nude—desperately attempt to map their bodies onto one another's, frustratingly mirror movements and try on emotions as masks.
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.
wants to be your plaything. The Brazilian "action artist" unleashes epic games of shadow puppets, makes animals with his hands and straps lit candles to his arms as part of a contraption that makes him look like a half-naked Steampunk rig. He'll attach glasses full of water to your body and make you figure out how to pour them into your neighbor's vessels, along with other high-falutin party games. He's weird and wonderful and one of those great things that makes TBA less about watching and more about doing—making connections with both artists and festival attendees. He'll be waiting to play with passersby at the Works at Washington High School during much of the festival and performing his own pretzel-bodied solo called
for two nights. Bring the kids. This is one interactive TBA experience that won't scar them for life...maybe. KELLY CLARKE.
Musician and sound artist
does think about bridges. Every weekday he walks to his day job over the Hawthorne Bridge, marveling at its importance to the city, its complex mechanics and its fantastic sounds. Inspired by his daily interactions with the bridge, DuRoche and Brooklyn artist Ed Purver have joined forces to bring us fascinating new perspectives on structures we encounter daily but seldom really experience.
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.