Portland Monthly’s Top Picks for TBA 2019
by Kiva Hanson, Fiona McCann, and Conner Reed
Published in Portland Monthly
Nudity, group screaming sessions, and an intense soundscape: This Bridge Called My Ass is pure TBA.
Ready for some mind-exploding, head-scratching, gloriously boundary pushing contemporary art and performance? Then you’re in luck: TBA is here and has all manner of goodies lined up for its 17th iteration. Bringing in bold work from all over the globe, this year also boasts oodles of local talent: catch Anthony Hudson/Carla Rossi’s Looking for Tiger Lily—Cher, Pocahontas, Peter Pan, and more—while YGB Portland’s Feeling of Home features art installations, video projections, live performances, and lounges, reconstructing “what home and healing can feel like for local, intergenerational Black and Brown artists and communities.” And if you’re mourning the loss of TBA’s long-running and beloved Critical Mascara, you’re not going to want to miss Brandon Harrison’s Back to School Kiki Ball, showing off Portland’s bold and beautiful ballroom scene. Beyond that, we’ve perused the program and picked out the five shows that have us pumped this year.
Holland Andrews (Like a Villain), Hello, I’ll See You Later
9 p.m. Thursday Sept 5, PICA (15 NE Hancock St), Free
TBA opens with the ethereal soundscapes and eerie, vulnerable vocals of composer, vocalist and erstwhile Portlander Holland Andrews. Electronic ambient music, operatic vocals, and a clarinet meet with the solitude of Andrews on stage, like some indie film dream sequence. Get ready to get vulnerable.
Fin de Cinema: Marcel Camus’s Black Orpheus
10 p.m. Fri, Sept 6, PICA on Hancock, $9–15
Marcel Camus’s 1959 Oscar and Palme d’Or winner relocates the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice in the favelas and carnival streets of Rio de Janeiro in glorious high drama. Famed for its bossa nova soundtrack, the film gets a new live score from local musicians Amenta Abioto, POPgoji, and Akila Fields with Noah Bernstein.
Miguel Gutierrez, This Bridge Called My Ass
8:30 p.m. Sat-Sun, Sept 7-8, 4 p.m. Sun, Sept 8, PICA Annex (15 NE Hancock St), $16-$20
Inspired by the anthology of feminist essays by women of color, This Bridge Called My Back, this performance grapples with identity, Latinx cultural tropes, and the white avant-garde. It’s got LOTS of nudity, group screaming sessions, and an intense soundscape. We aren’t entirely sure what’s going on, but the telenovela ending, done entirely in lingerie and complete with choreographed fight scenes, seems worth the entrance price alone.
Ahamefuele J. Oluo, Susan
6:30 p.m. Fri-Sat, Sept 14-15, Winningstead Theatre, $20–25
The Seattle musician-slash-standup takes on his mother in a new musical “about the failings of men and the endurance of women.” Now I’m Fine, Oluo’s last stab at musical theatre, earned high marks from Ben Brantley at the Times, who called it “dizzying,” “engaging,” and “a grand hybrid” of comedy and autobiography. Susan promises “a tragedy about the most comically optimistic person on Earth,” set to original compositions by Oluo and other members of his band Industrial Revelation.
Kara-Lis Coverdale, “DIAPASON” for Pipe Organ
6:30 p.m. Sun, Sept 8, First Presbyterian Church, $20–25
Wanna hear a Canadian shred on the pipe organ in a High Victorian Gothic church? We thought so! Coverdale is a bona fide genius (a student at Toronto’s Royal Academy of Music since she was five years old) and her last full-length LP (aptly titled Sirens) is a treasure chest of drippy, time-bending delights. For TBA, she’s hauling out an all-new composition written specifically for the First Presbyterian Church’s Jaeckel pipe organ.