Posted by: Rob McMahon
It’s the night before the night before. Christmas eve eve for Portland art lovers.
I spent the afternoon in Wallace Park hammering out the final details of my mad schedule for the coming festival. As with the previous two years, I will make a point to cram in every possible viewing. Pouring meticulously over the festival guide, I calibrated my schedule to maximize efficiency. That is: how long is a show + how long will it take me to walk to the next venue / how big that venue is x the probable turnout to that 2nd or 3rd show of the evening = what I will likely do on any given night.
I’m not fond of math. But for art it’s worth it.
And what art it is! This year’s festival, bursting with local, national, and global acts will challenge and push us to new levels of thought and emotion. For me, TBA is a much needed artistic reprieve. It succeeds, at least for a time, at quenching my thirst for expansive, quality performance. And more importantly, it creates an atmosphere of creative discourse in a city whose committment to modern art is questionable at best.
For 10 days it is easy to believe that art is the most important thing in the world, that it makes life worth living. And that’s true, even if it’s hard to remember on the other three hundred and fifty five days.
My hat is off to PICA and to Kristy for making it all possible with her vision and labor. And my thanks go to all the staff, volunteers and artists who make the festival happen. It’s a hell of a lot of work, so don’t hesitate to let them know you’re grateful.
Yes, you, who are reading this in the quiet of your home or the bustle of some wifi hotspot. Know that you are not alone in your love for this thing.
And know that I’m looking forward to seeing you out there; to the conversations we will have walking between PSU and the Newmark theater, or over tacos and tea, of beauty and life; why it is that the way a dancer holds her arm, or how a storyteller turns a phrase can change the way we look at our place in the world; and better than why, to marvel at how it has been done by our simple surrender to the moment that art hits us, penetrating every cell in our bodies like sunrise.