11 pm Thursday, September 4, TBA Headquarters at Leftbank:
Hundreds of art world migrants descended on East Broadway's Leftbank space and mingled with curious Portlanders at the free opening night party for this year's festival. In the multi-level exhibition hall, between repeat viewings of Ryan Trecartin's flamboyant, addictive video art, sets by Deelay Ceelay and the batucada mix-downs of DJ Acidophilus, we asked people where they were from. At least half responded that they were in town, or had just moved here permanently
from the east coast: namely, New York and New Jersey.
Why the mass influx? Well, apart from the general rarity of performance art festivals, it could be the same inspiration that made French queer pop rocker Tender Forever
call the Northwest home. As she told a packed Holocene crowd this Wednesday night, "Portland is the Berlin of this country." When we asked attendees at TBA's opening night festivities whether they agreed with that, local art educator Keyan Meyman laughed and offered: "Maybe we're the Berlin of the I-5 Corridor." At any rate, the arts community in Portland is bustling—yet nonetheless broke. While New York offers museums, jobs, wealthy buyers and collectors and a glut of media, actual artists and musicians can't manage to live there anymore. It's obvious by now that the art world is experiencing a West Coast migration, and for artists, Portland is the place to be. We're "culturally rich," and for now, the rent's still cheap enough that artists can continue to make a name for this little city without having to panic about the lack of jobs. That is, as long as they can still afford the occasional flight to NYC, where people actually buy art. And that
is exactly why we're the Berlin of the U.S.
Local artists Midori Hirose and Yoshi Kitai. Midori has shown at PICA and Yoshi shows at Pulliam Deffenbaugh.
Corey Lunn, Adam Sorenson, and Meg Peterson. Corey's work fills the current exhibition at Leftbank.
Work by Corey Lunn.
Do not repeatedly walk into this Jacob Hartman sculpture, face first, as I did. A girl could poke an eye out!
The amazing Neal Medlyn (whose devoted Beyonce impression tonight at The Works should not be missed,) with Peter Kreider, Beth Campbell, and Nate Shapiro. Peter and Beth are former TBA performers.
p:ear mentor Sarah Dougher with TBA marketing director Philip Iosca and PICA distributor Alan T. Jones.
Fat Fancy's Carlee Smith with Chase Acito and TBA performer Marc Acito. Chase Acito: "I came all the way from New Jersey for this."
Departing Guest Artistic Director Mark Russell.
Blurry ladies- Katrina Scotto di Carlo and local experimental musician Liz "Flash" Harris of Grouper.
NYC photographer Christine Taylor with Justin Hampton and Willamette Week
contributor Matt Korfhage.
Filmmaker M. Blash with PNCA MFA candidate (and former WW
intern) Wayne Bund.
Andy Murray, filmmaker Matt McCormick, and Meg Scheminske examine a photo. Matt: "I was looking at this picture and realized that it was shot inside my house!"
Caitlin Rhoads with former PICA curatorial assistant Pamela Baker-Miller, who now runs the downtown shop Francis May.
The merch table.
IFCC board member Daniel Ledezma with Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center's creative director Adrienne Flagg.
Michael Hawkins and friend: "We're the other half of the festival—the audience"
NYC DJ Acidophilus spins Batucada and Reggaeton.
Muralists at work during the party.
PICA volunteers rest after building the space.
Let's hear it for the boys: Edgar, Josh, Brian, Ken, and Sergio celebrate.
Ryan, Patrick, and Randell.
Randell with handmade "blank placard."
Israel Lund, Clea Partridge, and Joel Statz.
Artist Colin Self will perform the T-Pain song "I can't believe it" at Our Hit Parade
Local computer animators wonder if PICA is going to commission an interactive "Sandman" performance.
Flexible performance artist and filmmaker Alison Sumner with filmmaker Vernon Vinciguerra.
Rocker Holcombe Waller dreams about Sarah Palin having an abortion while Anna Weber watches the party-goers.
Painter Paige Saez with PICA volunteer Katrine Ball.
The Blow's Khaela Maricich with Keyan Meyman: "Portland is the Berlin of the I-5 Corridor."
Filmmaker Cat Tyc with NYC writer Sara Marcus.
Read more diaries from the 2008 TBA Festival here.