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September 3rd, 2008 Brett Campbell, Mary Christmas, Kelly Clarke, Matt Graham, Matt Korfhage, Ben Waterhouse And Heather Wisner | Featured Stories
 

T.B.Ah-ha!

Discovering the best of Pica’s 2008 TBA fest.

     
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There was a time, not that long ago, when we looked toward the first week of September with nothing but dread. These days, of course, Labor Day brings more than just a fresh crop of cruel nicknames and beatings at the hands of microcephalic thugs with letter jackets and Mustangs. No, these days our barbecues are full of nothing but delightful anticipation of a weekend of kickass bands at MusicfestNW (see page 18) and 11 days of weird-ass performance and visual art at the sixth Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time-Based Art festival (Sept. 4-14). Here are our top TBA picks, organized thematically. Look for more TBA events in our listings and at pica.org/TBA. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all ages. Starting Saturday, check out WW’s nonstop TBA coverage online at wweek.com/wwire.

The One-man Rant


Mike Daisey, MONOPOLY! and IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING

Mike Daisey doesn’t like scripts. In a previous interview, Daisey has said that extemporaneous talking, which is what he does—free-form shouty monologues, auto-banter, post-Spalding Gray ironic-discursive storytelling—can lead to “a genuineness that the audience can feel, a genuineness because you’re not working from a script; it’s not acting.” He’s got outlines laid out, performances shaped in their movement and intention if not always in their particulars, but in a lot of ways it’s like he’s the most entertaining guy at the bar. He’s read the fat, dusty books, but he wants to talk to you about how visiting New York is a little bit like fucking Paris Hilton. He wants to talk to you, in IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING, about getting fondled by the Transportation Security Administration and what it would be to be under a neutron bomb. In MONOPOLY!, he’s on you about electrocuting elephants for profit, mad geniuses, board games, market manipulation, whatever. He’s got your attention, and he keeps it because it seems he’s telling you secret truths, punctuated with the funny. MATT KORFHAGE. MONOPOLY!: Gerding Theater. 8:30 pm Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 6-7. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING: Winningstad Theatre. 6:30 pm Thursday-Sunday, Sept. 11-14. $15-$20. Mature audiences.

Reggie Watts, TRANSITION

Did Cee-Lo and Laurie Anderson have a secret love child? Beatbox meets bizarro: Watts’ multiple microphones provide him the tools with which to scratch and sample his own soulful falsetto in real time before entranced audiences. But it’s his weird, crackling wit that grounds the performance. We hereby bestow the title First Experimental Academic Hip-Hop Comedian. MARY CHRISTMAS. Winningstad Theatre. 6:30 pm Friday and 8:30 pm Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 5-7. $20-$25. Adults only. Watts also hosts Occurrence, an alternative talent show featuring Joe Van Appen and Rush N Disco at The Works, 10:30 pm Tuesday, Sept. 9. $8-$10.

Tim Etchells, Sight is the sense that dying people tend to lose first

Etchells’ Sight is a funhouse encyclopedia, Diderot gone disconnected. It’s like everything a child learns in a year, but jumbled and full of impossibility. The world of facts can be lonely sometimes, Etchells seems to be saying, because none of them know how to belong to each other. MATT KORFHAGE. Winningstad Theatre. 8:30 pm Thursday-Friday, Sept. 11-12. $15-$20.

The Sex Plot


LeeSaar The Company, Geisha

Damn near all dance is about relationships in some way or another, but few pieces exploit the idea of how the space between two human bodies can be both a charged field and a cold void like LeeSaar’s Geisha. The Israeli group (by way of New York) is known for its spare scenes and powerful, sinuous movement, but Geisha, a lengthy duet for company co-founder Saar Harari and Jye-Hwei Lin, pares the work down to its essentials, even stripping its dancers bare to the waist. It’s a nice touch, as each of their sultry undulations and articulations reveal a new, wild ripple of muscle, beads of sweat catching the diffused light as they dance in tandem and in opposition. They never once manage to touch—to connect—in the work’s hour-long run. Geisha is an often silent, nearly meditative experience, one that will test some audience members’ patience. A respite comes from company co-founder Lee Sher, who intermittently crashes the dance duel with surreal, passionate renditions of Israeli pop ballads. “People in Israel are very emotional about the songs…because they [know them], the first one was really big in the ’80s,” Harari told WW. It’s a more disconnected experience for Americans, who can try and decode the Hebrew lyrics along with Lin’s strident chest-slaps and stutter steps and Harari’s go-go dancer hip gyrations—bold movements that pepper the work’s smooth flow like sexy, startling little hiccups. “When we work we try to express our sensations and just take it out in the studio. Then we start to see what it is,” Harari says. “There’s no storyline. It’s who we were when we created it.” That said, who this pair was—and is—is a mystery worth watching unfold. KELLY CLARKE. Lincoln Hall. 6:30 pm Friday-Saturday; 8:30 pm Sunday, Sept. 5-7. $20-$25.

Bridget Everett & Kenny Mellman, Sexercise Live! A Tribute To the Potty-Mouthed and Profound Millie Jackson

We love Kenny Mellman as the key-tinkling quiet storm behind Kiki & Herb, the Obie-winning drag sensation. Sultry BBW Bridget Everett is Mellman’s latest whiskey-fueled cabaret frontperson. Known for a Sex and the City film cameo and for “Canhole,” a song about unexpected anal sex, Everett may or may not keep her pants on while channeling Miss Jackson. MARY CHRISTMAS. Someday Lounge. 8:30 pm Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 9-11. $10-$15. 21+.

Superamas, BIG 3rd Episode (happy/end)

If your “happy ending” translates to images of ’70s-era dinner-party orgies, Gnarls Barkley-soundtracked dance battles and disaffected topless dancers, then this band of French-Austrian agitators has got your number. Ostensibly a meditation on “the power of the desire for happiness” and the vanity of that pursuit, this life-meets-video bombast contains more R-rated WTF!?! moments per minute than David Lynch’s Lost Highway. But, really, when your show contains the best lip sync of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” like, ever, who’s gonna quibble over intention? Bonus: It’s a TBA staff favorite, which means the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art is one dirty little barrel of puppies. KELLY CLARKE. Lincoln Hall. 8:30 pm Friday-Sunday, Sept. 12-14. $20-$25.

The Orchestra Uncaged


Third Angle, City Dance

Between 1966 and 1970, the firm of legendary landscape architect Lawrence Halprin created three magnificent Portland landmarks: Pettygrove Park, Lovejoy Fountain and Keller Fountain, which New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable called one of “the most important urban spaces since the Renaissance.” Meanwhile, Halprin’s renowned choreographer wife, Anna, continued her trailblazing work with some radical young California composers at her innovative San Francisco dance studio. La Monte Young and Terry Riley pioneered the most significant musical movement since World War II, minimalism, while Pauline Oliveros, Morton Subotnick, and others founded the San Francisco Tape Music Center, which spawned modern electronic music. Both Halprins were “determined to escape pigeonholes…to break down boundaries between artistic disciplines and create their own artistic language,” says violinist Ron Blessinger, director of the city’s visionary Third Angle new music ensemble. Their respective artistic expressions “combined Anna’s dance and theater experience and Larry’s desire for social change.” At Lawrence Halprin’s landmarks, Third Angle musicians will perform adventurous music by these great composers to dances created by Linda Austin, Cydney Wilkes, Tere Mathern and Linda K. Johnson. “We want our audiences for these performances to appreciate the artistry of these Portland based performers,” Blessinger says, “and to never walk though those parks again without realizing the history and influence they’ve have had on Portland, because downtown wouldn’t be the same without them.” BRETT CAMPBELL. Ira Keller Fountain Park. 1 and 4 pm Sunday, Sept. 14. Free.

Ethan Rose

A spot on the soundtrack to Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park may help Rose’s atmospheric music gain the attention it deserves. Rose combines electronic and antique acoustic sound sources to create ethereal “sound environments” that envelop listeners in warm yet stimulating sonic ambience. BRETT CAMPBELL. The Works. 10:30 pm Monday, Sept. 8. $8-$10.

Antony and the Johnsons with the Oregon Symphony

Antony Hegarty’s eerie, androgynous voice is like nothing else in pop music, but he’s always been more than just a pop star, collaborating with Björk and Lou Reed, with visual artists, filmmakers and orchestras from London to L.A., Brooklyn to Milan. He and his band, the Johnsons, join the Oregon Symphony for what should be one of TBA’s most popular shows. BRETT CAMPBELL. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. 8:30 pm Friday, Sept 5. $20-$75.

The Kings of Kitsch


Brother and Sister, All Day Scavenger Hunt Concert

Sundays are for mysteries. But don’t go to church for them: Go everywhere instead. Minneapolis band Brother and Sister (real-life sibs Katie and Michael Gaughan) have been busy planning and planting daisy chains of clues all over the city, encrypted come-ons and go-thithers, to lead you to the band’s secret location (and maybe to other bands as well). It’s still a mystery. Michael advises you bring along “a bike/bike lights/bike lock, comfortable walking shoes, a camera, a cell phone, a calculator, etc.” Past concert locales, for other scavenger hunts, have included swimming pools, church altars, hockey rinks, and abandoned prisons. The idea was to make the experience into “an adventure. Like being inside a movie for the clues part and being inside a music video for the concert part.” At the end of the rainbow—if that’s where you end up—Brother plays custom-made guitars with multiple necks, or guitars made of Jolly Ranchers. He has been seen to play upside down. Sister slams the drums with joyous abandonment. If you don’t want to have to work to find them, they’re also playing at the Works at 10 pm. You freaking spoilsport. MATT KORFHAGE. Scavenger hunt begins at the Works, 6:30 pm Sunday, Sept. 14. Free.

Neal Medlyn, The Neal Medlyn Experience Live!Medlyn is a pale, emaciated dweeb with bad hair and bad glasses who can’t really sing but nonetheless makes a living impersonating the likes of Prince and Phil Collins. For TBA he’ll re-create Beyoncé’s 2007 concert DVD, The Beyoncé Experience, with backup dancers and box fans. And we’ll watch, and be inexplicably fascinated. BEN WATERHOUSE. The Works. 10:30 pm Friday, Sept. 5. $8-$10.

Ice Rod

Los Angeles-by-way-of-Minneapolis rapper Ice Rod (who doubles as Brother in the rock duo Brother & Sister, also on display at TBA) is known for his skewed, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and interactive stage presentation. At past shows the art-school grad has tried such stunts as handing out sheets of paper to the audience before giving rapped instructions on how to fold them into paper airplanes, followed by a PSA on the importance of recycling. At an Ice Rod performance you won’t be passive participant, you’ll be the show. MATT GRAHAM. The Works. 11 pm Friday, Sept. 5. $8-$10. Adults only.

The Guided Tour

Sojourn Theatre, BUILTMichael Rohd wants you to come check out the South Waterfront. Don’t worry—he’s not going to try to sell you a condo. Actually, he wants you to play a game about urban planning while actors balance on a tightrope over a well-lit model of the neighborhood or perform scenes in naked simulacra of million-dollar kitchens. Given Sojourn’s history of thoughtful but lighthearted documentary theater, it’ll be fun, and you might learn something. Rohd and company developed the show over three weeks in Evanston, Ill., building a participatory experience out of interviews with politicians, advocates and planning experts, and the Portland version drew from a fresh set of workshops here at home. “We want participation to be used to further dialogue, not just to persuade,” Rohd says “So many people have opinions about the best way to plan cities, but, outside of a few very formal settings, the only forum for debate is shouting on blogs.” Hey, if the role for theater to play in the 21st century is getting people to talk to each other without pseudonyms, count me in. BEN WATERHOUSE. South Waterfront Discovery Center. 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 pm Friday, Sept. 5; 2:30, 4:30 and 6:30 pm Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 6-7. Free with reservation (224-7422).

Linda Wysong, Backyard Conversations

Portland artist Wysong has been riffing on themes of urban development for years. At TBA she’ll reprise the series she created for the South Waterfront Artist in Residence program, leading audiences on detailed, researched performance tours through the much-maligned new neighborhood. If the art of it all leaves you cold, you’ll at least learn something. BEN WATERHOUSE. South Waterfront AiR Studio, 3 pm Fridays-Saturdays, Sept. 5-7 and 12-14. Free. All ages.

Khris Soden, The Portland Tour of Tilburg

Wish you were somewhere else, but don’t want to go? Soden is offering a walking tour of Tilburg (a middling city in the Netherlands) that takes place in Portland instead. He simply maps one city onto the other, twines up their histories, denatures some names, and makes life seem even more arbitrary than usual. That’s all. MATT KORFHAGE. PICA. 12:30, 2:30 and 6:30 pm Friday-Saturday, Sept. 5-6. 6:30 pm Sunday-Friday, Sept. 7-12. 2:30 and 4:30 pm Friday-Saturday, Sept. 13-14. Free.

The Yes Men, How to Be a Yes Man

The same group that infamously convinced an audience of oilmen that the bodies of the victims of ecological disasters can be transformed into fuel, effectively neutralizing the peak oil crisis, give a 90-minute workshop on how to join their devious ranks. BEN WATERHOUSE. Pacific Northwest College of Art. 3-4:30 pm Saturday, Sept. 6. $10-$15.

The Dance Divas


Anna Halprin, Blank Placard Happening and Frozen Music II: The City Dance of Lawrence and Anna Halprin

There was plenty to protest in 1968, when postmodern choreographer Anna Halprin first staged Blank Placard Happening for San Francisco’s Dancers’ Workshop: The U.S. was at war overseas and presidential politics were in full swing. Sound familiar? Now, as then, Halprin is summoning bodies for a kind of silent pedestrian protest against whatever issues seem worthy. Participants in this TBA opening-night event don’t need dance training or performance experience, just white clothing and blank white signs. At a recent restaging of Blank Placard Happening in San Francisco, marchers asked bystanders what the placards should say—answers ranged from “more affordable housing” to “impeach Bush.” It’s anyone’s guess what signs will read here by the end of the night, but the unpredictability of everyday life is what drives the octogenarian Halprin, whose work has been built on the ordinary and sometimes unbeautiful. Her tendency to use life’s tasks as movement fodder has influenced subsequent generations: choreographers including Linda K. Johnson, Tere Mathern, Cydney Wilkes and Linda Austin will salute Halprin’s forward-thinking artistry (and that of her architect-husband, Lawrence, who designed the setting) in Frozen Music II: The City Dance of Lawrence and Anna Halprin, accompanied by Third Angle New Music Ensemble. HEATHER WISNER. Blank Placard Happening, Pacific Northwest College of Art Commons. 8:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 4. Free. All ages. Frozen Music II, Ira Keller Fountain Park. 1 and 4 pm Sunday, Sept. 14. Free. All ages.

Jérôme Bel, Pichet Klunchun and Myself

East meets West and conceptual collides with classical in this droll movement exchange between French modernist Jérôme Bel and Thai khon dancer Pichet Klunchun. Each tries to understand each the other’s art—and life—through physical demonstration and verbal sparring over globalism, pop songs and the dangers of the money-back guarantee. HEATHER WISNER. Lincoln Hall, 6:30 pm Sunday-Monday, Sept. 7-8. $20-$25.

Documenting Dance: Three Films

One of the cruel realities of the dance world is that you might just spend your whole career as part of the scenery. So it is with Paris Opera Ballet corps de ballet dancer Véronique Doisneau, who gets one night alone on stage before she retires in Véronique Doisneau, playing with two documentaries on Anna Halprin. HEATHER WISNER. Whitsell Auditorium. 6:30 pm Monday-Tuesday, Sept. 8-9. $6-$7.

The Art Party


Live Band vs. Ohmega Watts

Listen up, all you rockists! Pay attention, hip-hop heads! Portland rapper/DJ Ohmega Watts and a real-life live band are going to go head-to-head, turntable-to-guitar, to determine once and for all who practices the superior musical discipline. Granted, given all the cross-pollination in music nowadays, it’s probably safe to say we’ve laid that stale “live/remixed music” dichotomy to rest. At the very least, its corpse is in the casket and friends and family are giving it one last good look before Watts and cohorts try to shut that lid and nail it tight with their collaborative throwdown. The show will feature a mix of hip-hop, jazz, funk and Latin sounds. Though it is being marketed as a competition, Ohmega Watts (real name: Milton Campbell) said the show is much more of a team effort. He and the band will trade off songs with the goal of making seamless transitions from one tune to the next, much like in a regular DJ show. “The main thing is to be organic and to keep it sounding natural,” he said. While there has been some difficulty for the musicians and the DJ learning to work together on the fly, Watts said getting accustomed to trading tracks with a live band wasn’t much of a problem: “The learning curve wasn’t too hard, ’cause it was just fun.” MATT GRAHAM. The Works. 10:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 11. $8-$10.

MEGA*CHURCH

Have you heard the Good News? The Son of Man is returning, and he’s bringing some phat beats with him. Portland electronic dance outfit MEGA*CHURCH aims to usher in a new holy kingdom of light, sound and ecstatic communion, but it’s not doing it in the chapel, it’s doing it in da club. OK, so maybe he isn’t coming back, but it sure is fun to dance the night away, isn’t it? Besides, a God that can’t be found on the dance floor is no God we’d want to believe in. MATT GRAHAM. The Works. 10:30 pm Saturday, Sept. 13. $8-$10.

Tiny TBA

With Anna Oxygen on board, shorties attending TBA could morph into an army of Miranda Julys: Oxygen runs Loop Girls, a video skills camp where adolescent girls make their own films using stop-motion and blue-screen techniques. Sunday, she’ll lead dance aerobics between the arts-and-crafts and sets by DJs Belinda Miller and Hova Najarian of Greasy Kid Stuff, fantasy-forward dance project Hot Little Hands and kid-friendly folkster Elizabeth Mitchell. MARY CHRISTMAS. The Works, 11 am-2 pm Sunday, Sept. 14. $8-$10. Kids get in free with paying adult.

TBA FOR FREE

September 4

ANNA HALPRIN, Blank Placard Happening – PNCA

DEELAY CEELAY, FLASH CHOIR, DJ ACIDOPHILUS – The Works

September 4-14

Tamy Ben-Tor, Gewald/Baby Eighmann – Leftbank Building

Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn, Masters of None – Leftbank Building

Lizzie Fitch, Big Skin – Leftbank Building

Justin Gorman, Results Under Action – Various locations

Fritz Haeg, Animal Estates Tours – Various locations

Jacob Hartman, _______ Head – Leftbank Building

Corey Lunn – Leftbank Building

Jeffry Mitchell, California – Leftbank Building

Paintallica – Location TBD

Ryan Trecartin, I-Be Area – Leftbank Building

The Yes Men, KEEP IT SLICK: Infiltrating Capitalism with the Yes Men – PNCA

September 5-14

Khris Soden, The Portland Tour of Tilburg – PICA

September 5-7

Sojourn Theater, BUILT – South Waterfront Discovery Center

Linda Wysong, Backyard Conversations – South Waterfront

September 8-10

Tiago Guedes, Um Solo – PNCA

September 12-14

Linda Wysong, Backyard Conversations – South Waterfront

September 13

FORCED ENTERTAINMENT, Quizoola! – Leftbank Building

September 13-14:

Philippe Quesne/Vivarium Studio, Échantillons – Physical Element

September 14:

Third Angle New Music Ensemble, The City of Dance of Lawrence and Anna Halprin – Ira Keller Fountain

Brother and Sister – Leftbank Building


VENUES: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall 1037 SW Broadway, Gerding Theater 128 NW 11th Ave., Ira Keller Fountain Park Southwest 3rd Avenue and Clay Street, Lincoln Hall PSU, 1620 SW Park Ave., Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) 1241 NW Johnson St., PICA 224 NW 13th Ave. Someday Lounge 125 NW 5th Ave., South Waterfront AiR Studio 3623 SW River Parkway, South Waterfront Discovery Center 0680 SW Bancroft St., Whitsell Auditorium 1219 SW Park Ave., Winningstad Theatre 1111 SW Broadway, The Works the Leftbank Building, 240 N Broadway.
 
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