The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art is pleased to announce its 1997/98 performance series, which will once again take place in a diverse array of venues throughout Portland, and features the work of some of today’s most compelling artists working within the arena of performance art, experimental theater, contemporary dance and new music.
This year’s series presents nine outstanding programs beginning with master accordionist Guy Klusevsek (September 26 & 27); followed by Brazilian dance troupe ChameckiLerner (October 16 & 17); New York avant-garde playwright Richard Foreman’s new production Pearls for Pigs (November 12); performance artist Drew Pisarra (January 8, 9 & 10); new wave/klezmer/jazz band Hasidic New Wave (February 13 & 14); Rinde Eckert’s new solo performance piece Romeo Sierra Tango (March 26 & 27); David Greenberger: Duplex Planet’s ‘zine-inspired production 1001 Real Apes (April 24, 25 & 26); and John Kelly & Co.’s operetta Find My Way Home (May 21). As an added special event, PICA will also remount Wendy Westerwelle’s original one-woman show, Soph: A Visit with the Last of the Red Hot Mamas (December 4, 5, & 6). All performances begin at 8 p.m.
Series tickets are $118 general admission; $103 for PICA members. A Mini-series Sampler, which includes ChameckiLerner, Richard Foreman, Hasidic New Wave and John Kelly & Co., will also be available for $63 ($55 for PICA members). Tickets for Soph must be purchased separately and are not part of the series ticket. Series tickets go on sale August 22. Individual tickets will be available after September 10.
For a complete schedule or to order tickets by phone, please call PICA at 242-1419.
September 26 & 27
Clinton Street Theater
$14/$12 (PICA members)
Guy Klucevsek is an internationally acclaimed master of the accordion. As a soloist, he has performed at the Berlin Jazz Festival, New Music America, Serious Fun! at Lincoln Center, Bang on a Can, and on the PBS children’s television program, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. He has also performed and/or recorded with Laurie Anderson, Anthony Braxton, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, Robin Holcomb, the Kronos Quartet, Pauline Oliveros, Bobby Previte, Relâche, and John Zorn. His Polka from the Fringe, a collection of 32 post-modern two-steps, was presented at the 1988 Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and has been performed around the world with his group Ain’t Nothin’ But A Polka Band. He has released eight recordings as a soloist/leader, including Polka Dots & Laser Beams and ?Who Stole the Polka? (Evva), and Transylvanian Softwear (John Marks Records), and can also be heard on the recent accordion compilation Planet Squeezebox (Ellipsis Arts).
As a composer, Klucevsek has created more than 50 pieces for dance, chamber ensembles, musical theater and solo accordion. Collaborators include choreographers Karen Baramonte, Angela Caponigro, Anita Feldman, Victoria Marks and Mark Taylor; new music ensembles Relâche, Present Music and Double Edge; and music/theater director Ping Chong. Klucevsek has also received a Bessie award for his solo accordion score Altered Landscapes, written for David Dorfman’s dance piece, Hey, and a “Listen Up” Award for “Best Original Score of 1996″ from Publishers Weekly for his music for the audio book version of E. Annie Proulx’s novel, Accordion Crimes.
October 16 & 17
Portland State University, Lincoln Hall
$15/13 (PICA members)
Natives of Curitiba, Brazil, who recently relocated to New York, choreographers Rosane Chamecki and Andrea Lerner have been collaborating for the past five years. Informed by their work with Cunningham Studio, Susan Klein School, Alexander Technique and David Zambrano, as well as numerous other collaborative innovators working in a variety of artistic disciplines, Chamecki/Lerner’s movement is stripped down to the essentials and results in clear, tangible images. Described as “wonderfully drastic, vulnerable dancing” by Village Voice dance critic Deborah Jowitt, their choreography is characterized by its bold physicality and precision within a unique dramatic structure that is as fearless as it is poetic.
Their most recent piece, Antonio Caido, recounts the story of a young man who “while walking in the street, falls into a hold and dies.” The piece revolves around the different courses his life could have taken, the “what ifs” of everyone’s destiny, where sadness is strangely suspended and the urgency to recover is always present.
Pearls for Pigs
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
$21.50/19.50 (PICA members)
*Includes PCPA user fee
Internationally acclaimed playwright, director and designer, Richard Foreman has been described by Ben Brantly of the New York Times as “a titan of the American avant garde, invent[ing] remarkably specific interior landscapes in plays that come as close to capturing the geography of dreams as theater can.” For decades he has been considered the unofficial Merlin of New York’s downtown art scene, frequently producing his work at the now famous Ontological-Hysteric Theater, which he founded in 1968. Foreman has written, directed and designed more than thirty of his own plays both in the U.S. and abroad, and has received seven Obie Awards — three for best play of the year, and four more for direction and “Sustained Achievement.” In 1995, he was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for “his original vision and for helping to shape American avant garde theater.” For the first time ever, Foreman brings his unique vision outside of New York with the national tour of his 44th original play, Pearls for Pigs.
Written, directed and designed by Richard Foreman, Pearls for Pigs explores the contradictions of human consciousness through the eyes of an actor slipping slowly into insanity. Each night as he mounts the stage, the Actor is pulled further into the artifice of the theater. Each performance seems to mirror the cracks of his shattering psyche as he desperately tries to hang onto what little reality is left. Through the spectacle of nightmarish characters, bizarre objects, tarantellan dances and hallucinatory tableaux, Foreman has created a terrifying hall of mirrors — theatrical “reflections” of the inner reality of the self — through which the Actor, and the audience, must pass.
Soph: A Visit with the Last of the Red Hot Mammas
December 4, 5 & 6
$15/13 (PICA members)
Nearly a decade ago, actress, singer and writer Wendy Westerwelle captivated audiences up and down the West Coast with her burlesque-monologue Soph: A Visit with the Last of the Red Hot Mammas. Her compelling portrayal of the life and work of the legendary Sophie Tucker received unprecedented critical acclaim and solidified Westerwelle as a unique and major talent. As a special addition to our season, PICA is pleased to present a remount of her original one-woman show.
Visiting with Tucker in her dressing room, she recounts her life on and off the stage, punctuated by signature tunes from her 62-year career, such as “My Yiddish Mama,” “Mr. Segal, Make It Legal,” “The Older They Get, The Younger They Want ‘Em” and “The Angleworm Wiggle” for which she was arrested in Portland in 1910. In her portrayal of Tucker, Westerwelle splendidly captures the earthy humor, kitchen-table philosophizing and democratic bluntness that were the singer’s trademarks and delivers them with a freshness and punch that transcends time.
January 8, 9 & 10
University of Portland, Mago Hunt Theater
$14/12 (PICA members)
Now a resident of New York City, experimental theater artist Drew Pisarra began performing solo works five years ago at various work-in-progress forums around Portland. His initial short pieces culminated in his evening-length Queer Notions. His subsequent monologue, Fickle, debuted at Portland Actor’s Conservatory and toured to Highways (Los Angeles) and On the Boards (Seattle) as part of their Northwest New Works series. His piece, The Gospel According to Saint Genet, was commissioned as part of the Portland Art Museum’s 1995 Biennial. Pisarra has also appeared in numerous productions with the Imago Theatre, and has collaborated with several local artists including Katherine Peterson, Linda K. Johnson, and Cynthia Ciamente. His poetry has been published in various magazines, and a collection of his short fiction entitled Public Spanking was released by Future Tense Press in 1996. His most recent piece, Singularly Grotesque, has been commissioned by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art for its 1997-98 performance series.
Singularly Grotesque examines the struggle for individuality (within the territory of the human psyche) despite the cultural emphasis on collective spirit, group morale, cooperative efforts and conformity. A lively blend of ventriloquism, movement and theatrics. Singularly Grotesque promises to be another mind-bending mix of philosophy and farce in true Pisarrian style!
Hasidic New Wave
Jews & the Abstract Truth
February 13 & 14
$14/12 (PICA members)
Hasidic New Wave’s eclectic blend of traditional Hasidic wedding music — horas, freylachs, marches and nigunim — combined with their own free form compositions and improvisation, helped catapult klezmer music to the forefront of New York’s alternative music scene in early 90s. Joining such groups as The Klezmatics, The New Klezmer Trio and the avant garde rock band God Is My Co-Pilot, Hasidic New Wave is taking their music on the road and converting an entire new generation to the joys of traditional klezmer music with a modern twist. Drawing from Klezmer, Persian, and Middle Eastern musical traditions they blend in rock, jazz, disco, improv and cantorial scores to create a raucous musical meeting of the secular and the sacred.
A diverse blend of musical talent, Hasidic New Wave members include Frank London from the Klezmatics (trumpet), co-founder Greg Wall (sax), David Fiuczynski from the Screaming Headless Torsos (guitar), Kenny Davis from Herbie Hancock (bass) and Seattle native Aaron Alexander (drums). Their CD “Jews and the Abstract Truth” examines the polyglot of musical and cultural influences borrowed from wherever Jews have lived.
Romeo Sierra Tango
March 26 & 27
$15/13 (PICA members)
Rinde Eckert is internationally renowned as a singer, composer, movement artist, actor, writer and director. His previous Portland appearances in The Idiot Variations (1995) and The Gardening of Thomas D. (1993) received both critical and popular acclaim and established an ever-increasing audience for his work within this region. His wide-ranging repertoire includes collaborations with Paul Drescher, the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, videographer John Sanborn and mime/actor Leonard Pitt among others. Eckert was the featured performer in Bruce Nauman’s video installation Anthro/Socio at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and has also created the leads in contemporary operas by Frank Lewin and Gina Leishman. Ever expanding his vocabulary to reflect a wide range of contemporary musical styles, Eckert has assembled the band The Compleat Stangers to perform his original compositions.
Eckert’s latest solo performance work, Romeo Sierra Tango, is based on the premise that Shakespeare’s Romeo, having failed at his poison-induced suicide, is instead condemned to a drastically slowed aging process. Wandering the world for several hundred years, he continually replays the play in an attempt to find salvation. The piece opens with Romeo stranded in an isolated no-man’s land on a World War I battlefield. Operating a radio-relay amidst the chaos of mud, gas, and the rusted remnants of the war, Romeo finally approaches his true moment of deification.
David Greenberger: Duplex Planet
1001 Real Apes
April 24, 25 & 26
Clinton Street Theater
$14/12 (PICA members)
Since 1979, when David Greenberger first encountered the residents of Boston’s Duplex Nursing Home (where he was the Activities Director), he has been illustrating the axiom, “when you get older everything will be different,” in a variety of ways. Posing evocative questions to the residents, such as “Which do you prefer, coffee or meat?” and “How close can you get to a penguin?” to the residents, and wrote down or recorded their free-ranging responses. He began publishing them in his ‘zine entitled, The Duplex Planet, which eventually became available in a book of the same title. In addition, a Duplex Planet comic series (Fantagraphics), card set (Kitchen Sink), CD (East Side Digital), and video (Gravita International) encompass the plethora of media related to the hilarious and moving results of his interactions with the residents.
1001 Real Apes is a performance which combines Greenberger’s Duplex Planet monologues with live musical accompaniment and soundscapes by the group, Birdsongs of the Mezzozoic. The stories reveal a unique insight into the various faces of aging and range from the oddly humorous to the poignant. Merging fact with fiction, music and text, Greenberger provides us with intimately moving and often profound glimpses into the process of aging, by brining to life the stories of individuals whose lives they have sprung from.
John Kelly & Co.
“Find My Way Home”
Portland Center for the Performing Arts, Intermediate Theater
$16.50/14.50 (PICA members)
*Includes PCPA user fee
John Kelly & Co. began in 1983 as an association of artists who worked together on a variety of projects in the clubs, cabarets and alternative performance spaces of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The company’s mixed-media works are a highly theatrical and provocative blend of dance, song, film and visual design. Collectively, their works have been awarded numerous Obie, Bessie and American Theatre Wing Awards, as well as an American Choreographers Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The revival of their signature piece, Find My Way Home, was showcased at this summer’s Lincoln Center Festival and is currently on tour. This production is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project.
Find My Way , which debuted in 1988, is a re-telling of the classic Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice set in the 1920′s. Orfeo, a famous radio crooner, meets and falls in love with Eurydice, a lowly parlor maid. Their brief courtship ends tragically when Eurydice is killed in a car accident that blinds Orfeo. Desperate to reclaim his love, Orfeo ventures into the Underworld (a Depression-era speakeasy), where is confronted by the Furies (contestants in a dance marathon). He eventually gains entry by charming the Furies with his beautiful voice and is reunited with Eurydice, only to lose her again during their exodus in a Conga line.
PICA (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art) is dedicated to advancing significant developments in contemporary art, by providing resources which engage audiences in creative and critical dialogue, and empower artists and arts professionals to create challenging new work.
Board of Trustees
Howard Shapiro (Co-Chair)
Joan Shipley (Co-Chair)
Chris Riley (Treasurer)
Jim Winkler (Secretary)
Leslie B. Durst
National Advisory Board
Edward Albee (Playwright/Patron, New York)
Chris Bruce (Curator, Seattle)
Gordon Gilkey (Printmaker/Collector/Curator/Founder, Gilkey Center for Graphic Arts, Portland)
Philip Glass (Composer/Musician, New York & Brazil)
Linda Greenburg (Artist Rep, International Production Associates, Inc., New York)
Carol Hepper (Artist/Sculptor, New York)
Robert Lyons (Photographer, Seattle)
Mark Murphy (Artistic Director, On the Boards, Seattle)
Peter Sellars (Director/MacArthur Fellow, Los Angeles)
Rebecca Stewart (Collector/Seattle)
Sally Stillman (Director, Archipelagio Foundation, Berkeley)
Elizabeth Streb (Choreographer, New York)
John S. Weber (Curator/Director of Education & Public Programs, SFMOMA)
1997/98 PICA PERFORMANCE SERIES
PICA is an ambitious, contemporary arts organization committed to supporting innovation and experimentation in both performance and visual art. As Portland’s only organization dedicated exclusively to contemporary art in all disciplines, PICA plays a pivotal role in bringing relevant and meaningful national and international art to the community, while at the same time promoting the excellence and achievements of regional artists.
As part of our exhibition program, PICA is pleased to announce the 1997/98 performance series, which will once again take place in a diverse array of venues throughout Portland, and features the work of some of today’s most compelling artists working within the arena of performance art, experimental theater, contemporary dance and new music.