I woke up this morning a bit excited.
The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and today was the first day of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts’ “Time-Based Arts” Festival, an event that I not only look forward to each year, but is one of the main reasons that I was inspired to continue living in Portland when I was considering NYC or LA about four years ago.
If you have never attended PICA’s T:BA, then you are in for a treat.
Go to as many shows as you can muster. Volunteer or sell a kidney if you need to help subsidize it… Believe me, it is worth every penny!
Each year I endeavor to see the whole enchilada. I take off the entire ten days from work and hand over the reigns to the PICA staff. There are quite a number of performances each year, and one never knows where the inspiration will come from. Much like a photographer shooting a roll of film, from thirty six images, you can hope for one good one. I like to think of T:BA in the same light. Sure, many of the performances will be amazing; but it is that 1:36 that really blows me away, inspires me, changes my perspective or even life in a profound manner. This is why I dedicate ten full days to T:BA. This is why I hope that I will see you at not just one, but at many of the wondrous events that PICA has planned for us of the next stint of time.
Over the course of the next ten days, I will be providing you readers with a few thoughts about what I have seen, as a sort-of ‘day in the life’ of a fellow T:BA goer. I welcome comments, and hope that I might inspire something, even if just a distraction from a banal day job.
- T:BA Day One -
T:BA started with a candid discussion between Erin Boberg Doughton, Mark Russell and Kristan Kennedy about “T:BA in a Nutshell”. After passing around some yummy cashews, Mark began to talk in his beautiful, eloquent and excited manner. I am really starting to gain respect for this man, as his vision and desire to bring an appreciation of art to the public embraces all. During the talk, he explained how the former “New Works Northwest” section was integrated, so that artists whom had formerly been in this ‘sub’ category were not fully included in the program as full venue artists, which is wonderful [i.e., Zoe Scofield and tEEth]. There were also questions about urban and hip-hop genres, and how they can be seen in the work of Marc Bamuthi Joseph, the Suicide Kings, and Reggie Watts. Oh, and Mark pointed out that if you need to see naked people “we got that for you too”… Charlotte Vanden Eynde & Kurt Vandendriessche.
One thing to note is that Cristián Silva will not be able to attend T:BA, and all associated events have been cancelled. “Haircuts by Children” is pretty much booked-up, but if you have not already reserved your slot, then atleast come by to see these kids in action at Rudy’s on 13th + NW Davis.
People have been expressing hesitation about the seven hours required for the Elevator Repair Service performance, but Mark and Erin highly recommended the work, and reminded us that the payoff is in the second act, so it is important to stay for the entire show.
As the Noon:30 talks will be at PNCA all week, there is the opportunity to view the visual arts of Arnold Kemp and his curated “SuperNatural” show, plus the work of Regina Silveira. Regina’s work is wonderful. Perhaps it is my great love of tribal tattoos, but the work seems to investigate and common-place imprint of a tire tread mark, and how it can create both dynamic flow, and also be inspirational in and of itself. I do not think that Pirelli, is jumping to start mass-producing these rubber tracks, but they should for areas that do not need to deal with pesky weather issues like snow and rain!
Next was over to the Gerding Armoury to chat with Liz Haley. Quietly sitting in her glass booth on the second floor, she awaits your questions. The piece has great potential, especially on evenings when there will be more of a crowd during performances, and some potential momentum. Just her and I in a room, was sweet, but a bit awkward as I did not have a list of elaborate or juicy questions to bombard her with. I like the premise, as it reminds me of a piece where Marina Abramović in “Rhythm 0”, 1974, placed herself before the audience with the potential of both sweet and sinister energy. Marina luckily was not shot by the gun with the single bullet, but Liz might just be asked just that right question that could pull her trigger. This is Portland, and we kinda frown upon killing folks, so you might want to leave your torture devises at home, but instead consider baking her a cupcake as she can get hungry in that room all by herself all day.
The Museum of Contemporary Crafts just moved their location to the Pearl District along Broadway. It is great to have them downtown, as their collections and exhibitions over the years have always been wonderful, but lost in their former John’s Landing nook. I am looking forward to having a smaller version of New York City’s Museum of Art and Design [ http://www.madmuseum.org ] so readily accessible. Their current exhibit has quite a number of sinuous wooden chairs forms that I enjoyed, plus some gossamer textiles. Larry Kron was not quite ready for the public when I was there, so I will have to check back in some later time.
Back home to walk the puppy and have some dinner.
Even got to chat with a hopeful House District 45 State Representative candidate about the importance of Measure 49… but, that is a completely different bLog…
Then Pioneer Courthouse Square for the kick-off with Rinde Eckert’s public collaboration “Rain Or Shine”. The square was packed with people from all areas of Portland, which shows the level of enthusiasm for the arts here in town. No introductions, or orations, just the drifting in of sound and whistles. Rinde’s piece was quite beautiful. Portraying the migration of birds, there were even a few that flew on by to check-out what was going on. It was fun, whimsical, and sweet. At the end, the crowd showed their appreciation by not only clapping, but by also outstretching their arms into the air with their hands in the shape of a bird’s beak, opening and closing as a bird making a call.
Quietly, the ‘birds’ disbanded as did the crowd, and we wandered off for the multitude of First Thursday activities. But, before we could go out to see the March Fourth Marching Band jamming at Mark Woolley’s new downtown gallery space, the Silent Dance Party outside of Wieden + Kennedy on 13th @ Glisan [which was an amazingly cool idea! Good job W+K], or hang with my former arts daibatsu at Everett Station Lofts’ Rooftop exhibition and bbq; some friends and I headed over to 429 SW 10th Avenue to do a recording of a song with Sincerely, John Head from the FogHat Box set. We, of course, did a rendition of “Free Ride”, which will probably not make any of the charts, but was certainly fun. As we were all feeling a bit shy, or rather just lacking in an intimate knowledge of the lyrics; we opted to cram into the steamy soundbooth [aka bathroom] to listen to the words through a shared headphone as we gave our best attempts to sing the song a number of times. To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of FogHat, we signed a large paper with all of our love. It was a lot of fun, and I would highly recommend it. Depending upon your musical prowess, and knowledge of the lyrics, you might want to hit the bar next door first for lubrication if that would help your performance. Call for reservations: 888.774.7456
Fredrick H. Zal
Architect | Sculptor | Advocate
p.s. If you are looking for a place to grab a snack before the Works at the Wonder Ballroom, I would highly recommend the new restaurant “Nutshell”, 3808 N. Williams. Bring cash, and lots of it, as the food is off the hook! Primarily Vegan, with some Vegetarian and Raw, the choices will astound your mind and palette.