There is so much about TBA that is unique and challenging… Often, it isn’t just the art. With so much to see in so many different venues around our fair city, sometimes the most challenging aspect of the festival is getting from one place to another with time enough to find a seat and leaf through the program. There is a certain amount of excitement in blindly and breathlessly hurrying from a dance performance across town to the experimental film that you absolutely have to see; nevertheless, it helps to have a game plan. In the game plan spirit, here’s some helpful information about traversing Portland. If you are an adventure seeker, read no further.
Modes of Movement:
The cheapest, healthiest and, at times, slowest way to get from venue to venue is on foot. It should be noted that Portland is a pedestrian friendly town. The sidewalks are more than accommodating for a fast “walg” (that is walk+jog) between venues in close proximity to one another. Traveling on ones own pegs is particularly pleasurable between Conduit (918 SW Yamhill, Suite 401), the Whitsell Auditorium at the Portland Art Museum (226 SE Madison), the Portland Center for the Performing Arts (1111 SW Broadway), and the Lincoln Performance Hall (1620 SW Park). These venues are in easy walking distance of one another and are separated by the South Park Blocks, one of the jewels of Portland. Incidentally, the trees in the South Parks Blocks are estimated to be worth a cool 3.4 million dollars. Breath in the opulence between shows. Both SW Park and SW 9th travel the length of the South Park Blocks. All the above venues are located along (or close to) SW Park or SW 9th. Travel time between these venues will be easily less than 10 minutes.
The “on foot” approach works well for the South Park Block venues, but some of the performance spaces are a bit farther afield. It would be nice if we were all like David Eckard and could float between venues via the main artery of the city, the Willamette river, using a “fire adorned ‘carriage’…” Unfortunately many of us lack the ingenuity or vision for such a feat. However, for those of an athletic constitution, a bicycle may be just the thing to traverse those long distances. Lucky for these folks, Portland is as friendly to bicycle riders as it is to pedestrians. With proper use of bike lanes, one of the longest jaunts between venues, a trip between the Corberry Press building (NW 17th & Northrup) to the Works (226 SE Madison), should not take more than an hour. In fact, if a person on two wheels uses the East Side Esplanade, it’s practically a straight shot to TBA’s interim late night cabaret cum dance club. From the west side, the Esplanade can be reached via the Steel Bridge off of NW Glisan or the Hawthorne bridge. Both of these river crossings offer plenty of room for pedalers and great views of the water and the city. For the web savvy bicyclist, maps of bike lanes can be purchased from Portland Metro. However, for truly mind-blowing bike trip planning, you can’t beat Portland’s bike routes as seen on Google Earth. With this exhilarating, but kind of creepy, satellite powered technology, you can zero in and fly over your route with ease. Download all you need from Metro right here.
If you’d rather not hoof-it or pedal-it between venues, Portland offers TriMet, one of the best public transportation systems in the US. This is one of the faster methods of getting from place to place. Travel time between venues (plus waiting for buses, streetcars, etc.) should not take more than 40 minutes. You can plan your trip on the TriMet Website. Although it is free to travel within a sizable portion of the city, known as fareless square, travel to destinations outside of this area will cost from $.80 for “honored citizens” to $1.70 for adults. A seven day pass can be purchased for $16.50 from any ticket kiosk.
There are some TriMet routes of particular interest: The Czech republic built Portland Streetcar winds its leisurely way through downtown Portland and passes within two blocks of Ace Hotel Annex (403 SW 10th Ave), Conduit (918 SW Yamhill, Suite 401), Corberry Press (NW 17th-18th & Northrup), Ecotrust (721 NW 9th Ave), Pacific Northwest College of Art (1241 NW Johnson), Lincoln Hall (1620 SW Park), Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium at Portland Art Museum (1219 SW Park), and the Wieden+Kennedy Atrium / TBA Central (224 NW 13th Ave). The only draw-back of the streetcar is its speed. Which is to say, it doesn’t really have any. So if you aren’t in a particular hurry, give it a shot. Some of the more “out-of-the-way” venues can be reached easily by Tri Met. For instance, the Artist Reparatory Theatre Second Stage (1516 SW Alder) can be reached via any westbound Max train- Get off on the 16th Ave stop and walk one block north. The Northwest Neighborhood Cultural Center (1819 NW Everett) can be reached by a number 17 bus- get off at the NW Everett and 18th stop. The Someday Lounge (125 NW 5th Ave) is right on the transit mall. Disjecta (230 E Burnside) can be reached via any number 12, 19 or 20 bus- get off at E Burnside & NE Grand and walk a couple of blocks west to NE 2nd. You will find yourself at a small doorway at the base of a large building, beneath the Burnside bridge. Do not be afraid.
For those who feel frightened or otherwise inconvenienced by public transportation, there are many taxi services which will take you to your destination for a (questionably) reasonable fee. Keep in mind that cabs may charge extra for parties consisting of two or more people.
For those who would rather drive, despite the steep increase in oil prices, please keep in mind that Portland streets will likely be clogged from 4PM to 6PM most weekdays. This is of special concern when considering those performances which take place around the 6 o’clock hour. Also, understand that parking around some of these venues is limited and can wind up being a particularly frustrating and expensive venture. Please note that parking in the large parking lot beside Disjecta will likely get you towed.
All roads lead to the Works:
After a day of lectures, workshops and amazing, stultifying, awe inspiring, mind boggling, sometimes incomprehensible performance art, there is no place better to de-brief, de-compress and de-soberize (read: get jiggy), than the TBA’s interim night club and “secret lair,” AKA the Works. The easiest way to get to the Works from anywhere on the west side of the city is to find the Hawthorne bridge, cross it and follow the sound of revelry. You can take any number 4, 6, 10, 14, 31, 32, or 33 bus to the stop on the east end of the Hawthorne bridge. From there it is a short walk down a few stairs to the party. Bicyclists can use the afore mentioned East Side Esplanade, while walkers can cross the river on the Hawthorne bridge at a more leisurely pace. Travelers on the east side need only to find the river (you can’t miss it) and follow it toward Madison via the Esplanade or SE Water Street. When you get there, say “hello” to your fellow audience members, kiss an artist, have a drink, some conversation and please… Get home safely.
posted by P.A. Coleman