In a sun-bathed, above-street storefront on Northwest 11th Avenue, poofy, bulbous forms hang from the ceiling, swinging gently, like horrid fruit
. Simultaneously cuddly and grotesque, stitched from colorful scraps and sometimes penetrated by plush holes, they make me uneasy. I don't want to touch them, let alone dance through them.
, the day's entertainment at PICA's TBA Festival
, is a collaboration between the Portland dancer Noelle Stiles and Los Angeles artist Danielle Kelly, with music by Deelay Ceelay and a costume by local designer Rachelle Waldie. I'm not usually much for dancing that doesn't involve singing and golden-sequined top hats, but the artists involved in this project are interesting enough that I bit. I'm glad I did, sort of.
Stiles emerged, to the sound of distorted chimes, with another nightmare pillow on her head. She made small movements, back and forth and up and down, clenching and unclenching her thighs and stomach, looking around. A baby contributed unsolicited, enthusiastic commentary. I grew drowsy.
Outside, passer-by peered through the windows, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. The floor is at neck height to the people outside, and they appear disembodied. Stiles lost the pillow and added a fringed sock thing, and started moving, with twitchy grace, about the room, fondling the blanket fruit. She swapped the sock for pillowy hand-hooves. I realized that, to the dozen watchers outside, was part of the show, as Stiles wrapped herself in some sort of snake thing. The soundscape grew more dissonant. Stiles swooped about, then stuck her head in a fruit-thing. I tried to shake off the late-afternoon sluggishness. And then it was over.
Blanket Project Space, 1100 NW Glisan St., Suite 1A. 4:30 pm Saturdays-Sundays, 7 pm Monday-Friday, Sept. 11-19. $10 members, $15 general. Reservations required. Installation is open and free noon-3 pm Saturday-Sunday, noon-5 pm Monday-Friday, Sept. 10-19.