PORT on McGinness

The debate is on… is there a winner ? a loser? a white flag? a tie? when Art + Design +Concept + Commodity +Rip off + Cop-Opt + Multiverse + Universe get tossed into the ring – Katherine Bovee’spiece on Ryan McGinness’s recent “show and tell” at PICA sets off cerebral sparks. Read more on Portland’s art news hubPORT.

Ryan McGinness has landed.

Ryan McGinness landed in PDX mere moments ago. Exhausted from his cross country jaunt, and surviving the glorious crossfire of two solo exhibitions which opening within days of each other – he was still a lovely guest in the PICAmobile as we drove him across the steel bridge into downtown. In classic Portland form the clouds and blue pushed against the grey and rain creating one giant mash of weather defying meteorological categorization.
Lets hope he gets some rest before his talk tomorrow which is sure to stir up some conversation about the blurry line where art and design intersect and collide. McGinness’ candy colored “multiverses” of layered and loaded symbols and swirls, beg us to erase the line entirely and just let them exist. Like the clouds, and the sun and the raindrops and all that- all at once beautifully together.
Ryan McGinness / instalationview
Ryan McGinesss, installationview / Deitch Projects/ Photo by Jon Pannier
The lecture is at 7pm at PICA / Tickets are available at the door / more info at PICA.org

TBA:05 PHOTOS

We are slowly but surely culling through massive amounts of TBA:05 Photos, not only did PICA’s Press Corp blog the fest from start to finish they also shot it. Our first shot at organizing the best of it all can be found HERE! more and more and lots more to come.
PINKKphoto by Jorg Jakoby

Looking for your Twin in Melbourne

Posted by Erin Boberg
Performance Art Program Director / Co-Curator TBA Festival, PICA
When traveling, you often find yourself looking for your twin. If you’re from Portland, you might think it would be easy to find your twin in Melbourne. Like the Willamette, the Yarra River flows through the wine country and through the center of the city. The neighborhoods are full of small independent businesses and coffee shops. The weather is mild and the pace of life is easy. You play a kind of matching game as you walk through the city: This is the Seaplane of Melbourne, this is the Half and Half of Melbourne, this is the Hawthorne of Melbourne, this is the Pioneer Square of Melbourne.
It might just be the weather, the grid system, the wildlife, the weather, the love of art, the love of festivals, the cafe society, the society. But it suits you.
For seven nights in Federation Square, Lone Twin (Gregg and Gary) arrive on their bicycles, having ridden around the city all day, collecting stories, and developing seven new minutes to add to their performance. Each night the crowd gathered on the steps gets bigger and bigger, as they raise a series of toasts – To the first day in a new city! To Sunday! (which makes you feel like crying) To Sunday! (which makes you feel like laughing) To the woman who controls the traffic! To calling up strangers! To saying “where did you get my number?” To marriage! (I still love you) To going home! To saying goodbye! To saying “Ciao! “
You feel at home, especially because there are so many people you have just seen in Portland. This is the Ros and Kristy and Malachi of Melbourne, this is the MK and Cris and Molly of Melbourne, the David and Wendy and Justin and Guy and John of Melbourne. And sitting on the steps are hundreds of other people who you might come to know if you stayed here longer, people you would miss when you went home.
By the seventh day, you realize the cities are not that similar. Or they are only similar in that they are both so fiercely and proudly unique. They’re good cities to live in and good cities to leave. They’re full of good people caring for other good people. You and Gregg and Gary and everyone else from somewhere else are looking for your twins, but you don’t have one here or anywhere. There’s no one like you. There’s no place like here and there’s no place like home.
To going home! To if you lived here, you’d be home by now! To the love of festivals! To long lost friends! (I still love you.) To marriage! (I still love you.) To the sweet small beers! To the lanes! To Spring! To wishing you were someone else! To having some one to miss! To having it both ways! To lone twins!
Gary from Lone Twin in Melbourne
Gary from Lone Twin / Photo by Dorie Vollum

Portrait(s) of our artists in Melbourne

Reports from visitors to Kristy Edmunds’ first Melbourne International Arts Festivalare floating in- Sam Adams has been over there studying the importance of a city supporting the arts, Portland artist Justin Harris (also from Menomena) is over there presenting his Late Great Libido Opera, Cris Moss and MK Guth are driving the crowds mad with Red Shoe Delivery Service and several TBA Alums, Lone Twin, Guy Dartnell, Diamanda Galas to name a few have taken the stages of PICA’s “sister” festival by storm. Here are a few pics (special thanks to Dorie Vollum). In the coming weeks expect some musings on Melbourne from TBA co-curator Erin Boberg – also Sam Adams has been posting on his blog
Justin Harris
Justin in Melbourne
Chris Moss of Red Shoe Foozing
Cris Moss of Red Shoe
Gary and the Boat
Gary from Lone Twin in awe of Melbourne’s marketing budget?
Melbourne Skyline
The Melbourne Skyline

Lone Twin’s “Sledgehammer Songs”

Posted by Rob McMahon
Note: This piece was created as part of the Kamikaze Writing Workshop with Elizabeth Zimmer of the Village Voice.
Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters are endearing chaps. At last year’s TBA, they had me from hello(actually an off-key, acapella version of Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road). Friday night at Corberry Press was no different. The performance duo know as Lone Twin are already in medias res as we walk up. With a two-step shuffle, Gregg is circling a gussied-up luggage bag. He’s admittedly wearing, “far too many clothes for a September day in Portland.” Gary, across the street, in similar garb and with matching suitcase, calls out instructions through a megaphone: “It’s the cutting of the hair; the barefoot on the railings; the way south…” With each command Gregg preforms the corresponding gesture. When he completes the sequence, Gary tags a new gesture on the end; gestures accumulate a la “The Ratlin Bog.” “Next is ‘the dream of his neck’ which is a rotating of the neck.” Gregg does. Says Gary, “That’s it.”

(more…)

“Rise:Rose,” mesmerizing Dance of Darkness, premieres at Lincoln Hall

This review was written in the “Kamikaze Writing Workshop” that Elizabeth Zimmer of “The Village Voice” led. We saw performances at night and then had to submit 300-500 word essays the next morning.

–posted by Gigi Rosenberg
Two lanterns hang in the air on either side of a cloud or maybe it’s a crumpled sheet touched by a yellow and pink sunset. Two dancers walk in deliberate slowness, entranced in a moving meditation. They bend and arch as one body, then break apart to writhe on the ground, then quake as if struck by an epileptic fit.
This scene opened choreographer Kota Yamazaki’s latest butoh dance “Rise:Rose” which premiered at the 2nd weekend of the TBA Festival at PSU’s Lincoln Hall. The program notes that Yamazaki’s piece explores “images of heaven or a world that might come after people die” and how those who have lost a sense of self can rediscover who they are “by finding roots in the far past or even in the unseen future.”
Butoh a contemporary form of semi-improvisational dance, born in post-war Japan at a time of political unrest and artistic experimentation, flowered in the 1960’s. Also called the “Dance of Darkness,” it breaks the rules, exploring worlds of unconventional beauty, decay, fear and the unconscious.
When the dance is slow, the three performers (Yamazaki, Michou Szabo and Mina Nishimura) mesmerize. Their jerky movements evoke a disturbing landscape of a world gone berserk with mechanical shaking.
Although the dance is abstract, the performers move with precision and clarity. Most notable is Yamazaki who dances with seductive fluidness, his arms waving like banners in a violent wind. His undulating body looks as if it might not have bones.
“Rise:Rose” received exuberant response from the opening night audience with many standing and whooping in admiration. Other viewers looked perplexed and one person said: “that was so irritating.”
Butoh is an acquired taste, demanding that you surrender needing to understand and allow the dance to speak to the your subconscious. If you can do this, you may find yourself transported by the last image: the three bodies, bathed in yellow light, undulate in unison, as if they had finally found Yamazaki’s heaven.
– Gigi Rosenberg

Insects Present at TBA

(a list, posted by Amber Bell)
Aphids
locust
spider
bee
butterfly
beetle
(Slow Dance Recyttal)
cicada
fly
dung beetle
(Mirah with Spectratone International)
Man with a fly in his mouth
(Lone Twin)

Aura, a brilliant collaboration, seduces with darkness and beauty

This review was written for the “Kamikaze Writing Workshop” with Elizabeth Zimmer of The Village Voice. We saw performances at night and then had to turn in 300-500 word reviews the next morning. Under Elizabeth’s supportive and critical eye, we started with 10 of us and ended up with six of us still standing at the end.
Posted by Gigi Rosenberg
By flashlight you glimpse hands, legs, escape, kissing, night, whispers, a journey. A foreboding rumbling suggests that your subconscious has cracked open and that your world will never be the same.
This is the opening of “Aura” the brilliant collaboration between Cecilia Appleton’s Mexican Contradanza and Rosanna Gamson/World Wide’s Los Angeles troupe. The dance-theater piece played the 2nd weekend of the TBA festival in the Newmark Theater.
“Aura” is based on renowned Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes’ short story of the same name, published in 1962. In the story, Felipe accepts a translating job from an aged widow, Consuelo. Once on assignment in her bizarre house, Felipe yearns to escape with the widow’s niece Aura, only to discover that, as her name suggests, she is not a person, but a glow in the imagination of Consuelo.
Several dancers play the roles of Felipe, Consuelo and Aura. Often one of the Felipes approaches the edge of the stage to “check in” with the audience in delightfully intimate monologues. He says: “I want you to imagine that you are here. So we can be together. That is my goal, to be with you. It is all about you. This is what happens in my imagination about you.”
When the widow interviews the Felipe from her enormous bed, the bedcovers whoosh up to reveal the doubles of their characters dancing under the covers in a sensuous duo, or sado-masochistic trio. To the side of the bed is a skeletal man leaping in a frenetic whirlwind swathed in pink light – perhaps the tortured soul of Felipe?
The dance combines elements of musical theater, ballet and modern with one dancer walking on stilts in a gigantic skirt that swallows men whole. The result is seductive and surreal with the stage so full of action that you would have to watch the production several times to witness all its richness.
In the finale, the 10 dancers wear yellow rubber gloves and morph into a gigantic flower that gives birth to two naked lovers. Are they Aura and Felipe… Consuelo and Felipe? Or Adam and Eve? Maybe all three. What matters is that we have fulfilled our promise to the narrator. We have been there, in that story, and allowed its beauty and darkness to unfold in our own subconscious dreams.
–Gigi Rosenberg

Save The Last Dance For Me: Pantoums Villanelles and Sestinas Or I Am Not Done With You Yet Part Two

Lone Twin at Corberry Press on Sunday Evening
–posted by Lisa Radon
Very quickly: I have never heard Lone Twin described accurately. Oh, sure I heard the best minds of my generation in Portland lauding their ’04 performance in a way I rarely hear from jaded they. I heard about clouds and river water and melancholy and humor. There were stabbings at specifics.
At the beginning of the fest, if you’d asked me what do you really want to see, I would have said Lone Twin. But at the end of the week between the exhaustion and my typical anti- reaction to the hype, I was almost ready to blow off Lone Twin on Sunday night after nearly two complete festivals-worth of anticipation.

(more…)

Play Or I Am Not Done With You Yet, Part One

From the Show + Tell to DJ Spooky to the M.O.S.T. to Alain Buffard and Anna Halprin: play as a recurring theme throughout the week of TBA
–posted by Lisa Radon

(more…)

How We Investigate

posted by Amber Bell
Sometimes, artists make work purely about themselves. Sometimes, artists make work essentially about some outside topic. Things can get incredible when the two come together. It’s like a venn diagram.
Allow me to illustrate. At Sunday’s showing of How We Investigate, Portland filmmakers presented a collection of work. Randall Wakerlin documented his entire twenty sixth year, one photograph per day. A quality example of self focused artwork. Andrew Blubaugh, in his film Hello, Thanks, went as far as to state that the only reason why anyone makes art is to hope that someone will find you sexually attractive. His film was an endearing narrative on writing personal ads.
Cassandra Jones approached her film from the other angle, creating a six minute sunset collaged from hundreds of still photos. The focus of the film was on the sun rather than on herself.
Mike Wilder foraged a steady path straight through the tangly heart of it all.

(more…)

The Swifts, Lone Twin, and Always Coming Back to the Same Thing

posted by Amber Bell
My friend and I were lying on the hillside at Chapman School, watching the Swifts gather at dusk. We were discussing the idea of choosing one topic to make artwork from, then working with it for a long time. Is it okay to make art about the same thing for ten years? For the rest of your life? As we sat, lazily discussing the idea, the Swifts churned and wove through the air. They dove in groups of thousands at the chimney that holds their home, then swept back up, weaving off into the sky. A few minutes later, they would arc back, consider the chimney, and fly off again. It occurred to me that the process of making artwork is similar to the pattern of the birds. You approach something, make an attempt, then move off to get perspective. There is always the chimney, though, making itself available. Over and over again, you can come back to your idea from a different angle or in a different light.

(more…)

pleasing portlander ponderings

how we investigate – short films/videos/power point presentation…curated by morgan currie
posted by laura becker
i went into to my final day of TBA yesterday pretty pleased, thinking, while i may not have been blown over or swept away by anything i’d seen this year like i had been last year, i had still seen a lot of rock solid performances and productions, i had thought a lot about things that i really didn’t mind contemplating, and i had been refreshed and impressed over and over with my city, its artists, and its residents -those same faces over and over in different dark rooms. and while in some sense yesterday was just more of the same – especially more pride in the local talent – it felt like the first time that the creativity around me resulted in real inspiration and amazement inside me. i finally had those silly (almost embarrassing to admit) moments when i teared up just because i was so grateful and proud to be part of the community of this festival. i know, so cheesy, but SO SATISFYING…ah…now i can go on with the rest of my life.
so, getting to the subject at hand – the films.
two of my favorites were actually very similar – randall wakerlin’s “twenty-six” – a one minute video made of 365 frames – a picture of the director every day for a whole year and edited so that his face and mouth moved to match the voice over, and cassandra c. jones’ “eventide” in which she compiled hundreds of photographs ranging from recent vacation snapshots to archival photos from books and magazines which all had the sun (or sometimes moon, i think) in what seemed at first to be the same exact spot in every picture, but was actually a seamless story of a sunset. both ryan jeffery’s “continuum” and matt mccormick’s “going to the ocean” involved an unexpectedly beautiful cinematic and musical collaborative rhythm – almost as if ice and giant barges were dancing to their respective soundtracks. but the most pleasant surprise for me was andrew blubaugh’s “hello, thanks” – a revealing and touching look into the makings of a personal ad. “hello, thanks” was just good filmmaking – a simple straightforward and smart story endeared us to the protagonist and his goals right away. it was sweet and brave and unpretentious.
and then there was the power point presentation. eloquent and enlightening, mike’s lesson had the audience pondering the consequences of technology, amazed at the power of lego, and appreciative of the beauty around us while it’s still around to appreciate. i highly recommend that anyone reading this and/or who saw mike wilder’s presentation go see his upcoming 3D film and that you get your hands on a copy of “the beautiful and the fine” made by archipelago – another example of fine local film talent which includes a segment about mike’s love of carnivorous plants.
there were just lots of high points during yesterday’s set of films – like the audience’s immediate and strong applause after the explicit and unsettling (yet hilarious and thought-provoking) images in “where’s my boyfriend”, seeing everyone in the 3-D glasses, and all the varied visual candy of the choices that made it a perfect dessert for my meaty tba experience.

Titán at the Dada ball

dada.gif
Photos / text by Patrick Sullivan
These guys rocked, and sort of sucked. The guitarist stripped to his underwear to chants of ‘quita la ropa’ and stood there with a stupid grin on his face and his guitar up over his head as the lead singer tried to get him to play the goddamned thing. When the singer wasn’t pleading with the guitarist to play he was extorting alcohol from the audience. It was awesome that they could stand there and be so hot and pathetic and have everyone love them so much. They did have a couple of songs that rocked and got everybody moving. They were a good choice to sing us out.
I don’t believe we got kicked out at 2:30. The party was just getting started.
Cheers
PAtrick

GROUP HUG

Kota Yamazaki Fluid hug-hug at Lincoln Hall (Thursday, Sept. 15)
[posted by Tim DuRoche]
Note: the following was written as part of Village Voice critic Elizabeth Zimmer’s Kamikaze Writing Workshop. In this three-day workshop, participants were assigned a dance performance and the task of writing an overnight-review of 300 words, which was read, revamped, revised, sliced, diced, etc.
The best thing about Kota Yamazaki Fluid hug-hug is the name—it rings with naïve optimism and a directness (like “have a sunny nice”) that makes you truly want to believe in the “exploration and exchange” on which the Japanese-based contemporary dance group was founded on. Rise:Rose, a world premiere, is the newest work by Yamazaki to meld modern dance, surface elements of butoh and club/hip-hop dance.

(more…)

“A brief conceptual sidebar before we go on. . .it’s concerning positive and negative space.”

[posted by Tim DuRoche]
Note: the following was written as part of Village Voice critic Elizabeth Zimmer’s Kamikaze Writing Workshop. In the three-day workshop, participants were assigned a dance performance and the task of writing an overnight-review of 300 words, which was read aloud the following morning then revamped, revised, sliced, diced, etc.
TBA DIARY:
Rosanna Gamson World Wide/Contradanza—Aura

The 89-minute Aura, a surprise-filled dance-theater collaboration between Los Angeles’ Rosanna Gamson World Wide and Mexico City’s Cecilia Appleton’s Contradanza, was the kind of experience I’d been waiting for all week.

(more…)

“Dadaismus ist nicht Tod! Wo ist mein Bier?” vs. ART

[posted by Tim DuRoche]
Amid the thumpa-thumpa, chugga-chugga, and hubba-hubba of last night’s Dada Ball (in a bright-white corner of the Works compound) art happened. Call it what you will: Lo-Fi, DIY, ready-made, party-crashing—The Portland Bike Ensemble and Slomo’s kamikaze action-event in the Ripe space was a riveting display of disarming visual and sonic poetry.

(more…)

“Without your space helmet, Dave, you’re going to find that rather difficult.”

[posted by Tim DuRoche]
For three days last week the LED-reading at the Streetcar stop at Couch Street was derailed by some sort of Heuristic ALgorithmic Computer sorcery.
I chalk it up to the cult of Lone Twin.
Losing all sense of Light Emitting Diode decorum, it rearranged its aluminum indium gallium phosphide with wild abandon. . .casting off the usual didactic information, like say, “Next Streetcar in 12 minutes, 30 seconds.” Instead it simply read, “Hi Gary.”
–Tim DuRoche

Intimate Antony (and the Johnsons)

Posted by Annie Robb
I am normally the type of person who, when told to arrive 2 hours early, would simply wait for the next show in town to see them, and but for my bloggy commitment, I would have done just that. Instead, I set aside my claustrophobic tendencies and sallied forth into the mass of Antony-lovers and chatty Works-goers to soak up as much as I could.
I had to really wedge myself in to get a sliver of a view of Antony’s face as he sang. I had never seen them before, so all I knew was the buzz and the catalog copy. He didn’t look quite like the picture in the TBA catalog (basically Clöe Sevigny in a black wig). He looked soft-skinned, with a pale angelic glow and dark wavy hair messily pinned back from his face. I would guess he’s been called cherubic more than once, but here it is anyway.

(more…)

On NOT Seeing Antony and the Johnsons

posted by Kirsten Collins
Rushing over to The Works directly after Lone Twin, I was distraught to find that, at 10:30 Antony and the Johnsons was “at capacity.” Antony and the Johnsons and 300 others were inside, having the most memorable moments of the whole week, and I am missing it. “You’ll have to wait in line. We’ll let people in as people leave.” “But, I have a pass!” “I’m sorry, the line is around the corner, there.” “But…!”
And at once, I was a consumer. Painfully, a consumer. No more feeling loved and cared-for under the TBA wing. No more sense of community, sharing a mission with fellow audience members, other artists. I am outside. They are inside. I want what they have, desperately.

(more…)

Rosanna Gamson-World Wide/Contradanza-Holy Shit!!

Posted by Rob McMahon
Visually stunning, Rosanna Gamson’s Aura plays one last time at the Newmark Theater tonight at 9:00pm. The dance-theater piece is a surrealistic, post modern, carnival of eye candy. Based on the 1960′s gothic novella by Carlos Fuentes, the piece follows the story of Filipe, a young translator, hired by an aging widow to edit her husband’s memoirs. The widow’s house bizarrely warps time and space, and Filipe finds himself confused, lost and seeking escape through connection with the widow’s niece Aura, who in the end is merely a projection of the old woman.

(more…)

Being Here Now

Being Here Now: Alternative Strategies for Documentation
PNCA
–posted by Lisa Radon
This was the most satisfying TBA panel I have ever attended, not because there were grand revelations or that I was deeply inspired, not even that the chat held to its stated topic, but because it wasn’t completely maddening, thanks to a smart panel that was generous about passing the baton (or mic) and a smart moderator who kept things on track and clipping right along.

(more…)

Tides, Laundry … Fluid Hug Hug

posted by Amber Bell
The second Kota Yamazaki appeared onstage, I was stunned by his movements. His body was made of water and air all at once. At the same time, his core was so solid. His arms whipped and pulsed like fabric in wind, or like seaweed underwater. The music was also oceanic. It moved with steady and persistent force, rising unnoticeably, then shifting and receding. The three dancers moved with individual intention, rarely interacting until almost the end of the piece. Their costumes, however, conveyed their connections. Floor length white linen coats, asymmetrical pin-tucked white shirts, at the same time fitted and fluid. I was not only captivated by the physical motion of the dance, but by the underlying details; light, fiber, and sound.

GO THERE: SEE SARAH RUDINOFF’S LAST PERFORMANCE (SUNDAY)

posted by Laura Moulton
The last performance of “Go There” is tonight at 7 p.m. at the Winningstad Theatre. Don’t miss it. Sarah Rudinoff is a giant-hearted, big-voiced lovely, and a masterful storyteller — she has that rare ability in a performer to evoke tears and laughter at the same time. She pokes fun at herself. and, gently, at others. She is at different turns earnest and a little bit cynical.
At the Saturday workshop at Corberry Press, Sarah introduced us to her colleague and friend, director Sheila Daniels. The class was entitled, “Creating Gestural Vocabulary,” and Daniels said that she wanted to focus our attention on kinesthetic response, having to do with one’s response to external stimuli. (Here she mentioned Ann Bogart and Tina Landau). To this end, we used expressive gesture to explore an inner state or emotion. Daniels and Rudinoff used this method when putting together their show “Shock Brigade,” which told the story of women in combat. Emotions like fury, sorrow, and regret served as the conduit through which a kind of gestural vocabulary was developed.

(more…)

Talking, and thinking, talking thinking…

TBA-SarahRudinoff.gif
posted by Amber Bell
Photos by Patrick Sullivan
I wasn’t so sure right at first. In the beginning moments of her performance, Sarah Rudinoff was onstage, there were toilet flushing noises, restless couch lounging, etc… Was this seventh grade drama class? A half an hour later I was hysterically laughing. Even hard things, even completely tragic things, Sarah made them funny. And in between her talking, she sang with a gorgeous voice.

Thoughts on Black identity and nationalism

DJ Spooky–Friday Sept 9
Daniel Bernard Roumain–Saturday Sept 10
Faustin Linyekula–Monday Sept 12
posted by Gavin Shettler
So the first three nights of attending this year’s TBA (by the way, I think TBA is one of the greatest things that has happened to this town, GO TBA! It reminds me of the music festivals I attended at a teenager…intense, fun, educational, naughty) I suddenly stumbled upon a bit of a coincidence. Ok, maybe not a coincidence. I’m sure that the curators knew what they were up to. Three shows, three black artists, all dealing with identity. not just personal identity, but the black individual, and how they fit within a national identity.

(more…)

The Best Thing I’ve Seen

Lone Twin
Thursday–Sept 15
posted by Gavin Shettler
I can’t say enough great things about Gregg and Gary. These guys are the shit! DO NOT MISS THIS! They are funny, sorrowful, insightful, and entertaining. Their timing and delivery is so natural, so true. It is difficult to even describe the performance. I’ve never really seen anything like it. Truly the highlight of TBA for me. I got a chance to talk with Gregg at The Works post show. I found it amazing that their back ground is in visual art, not in theater. It made me appreciate and like their performance even more. I left with more questions than answers. They will expand your mind.

The Worst Thing I’ve Seen

Aphids
Thursday–Sept 15
posted by Gavin Shettler
This was awful. I was terribly bored. I aliments left. I get the music. I am a classically trained cellist. The music is atonal, arrhythmic, the musicians have quite a bit of input into the sounds they make. The composition uses traditional notation along with graphics and images for the musicians to respond to. The work is a reflection of statistical data collected by the CIA in blatantly useless attempt to organize the world’s population by skin color. Sounds like it could be neat. A video piece plays above the musicians heads, showing this statical data in a truly uninspiring, visually bland way. The composition is designed to sound like statistics would sound like…lots of screeches and slides. So for 45 minutes there is this audio assault going on. OK. This type of music has its roots in the late great John Cage. In the 70s and 80s whole symphonies were made. It was like a badge of honor to be able to withstand this type of non harmonic berage. You watched people leave in the middle of the performance, but you, no you stuck it out. I’ve played this type of music, which is great fun to create, terrible to listen to. It did have real relevance 15 to 20 years ago. I was shock to hear something so ‘done’ so over explored, in 2005. At one point the string quartet played on quarter sized instruments. I found this gimmicky and pointless. The only cool thing was that the music was read from ibooks, that scrolled the music before them.

Carl Hancock Rux: Mycenaean

Posted by Levi Hanes
“Mycenaean” is a work in progress. For the most part that forgives technological glitches such as malfunctioning mics, video, uneven sound levels on the soundtrack often overwhelming the dialogue, and script reading. When the mics did break and the screen projectors stopped flashing black and white images of statues and stone corridors the script really had a chance to shine through. This piece deserves to be a play that isn’t distracted by its set.

(more…)

Brontosaurus-Sized Bone To Pick, But Anyway

Brontosaurus-Sized Bone To Pick, But Anyway
…or DADA does not equal Surrealism
I know there is no such thing as a Brontosaurus, but I think it’s a damn shame that the symbol, in my youth, of very most giganticness was a figure of faulty science. In fact, what was thought to be a Brontosaurus was actually the combined remains of two other dinosaurs (a Camarasaurus and an Apatosaurus, if you are interested).
So it is, Mr. Marsh, with tonight’s long-anticipated DADA Ball. As a fanatical appreciator of (very nearly) all things DADA, or at least their intent, it makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck to read that every communique about the ball references the surreal, surrealism, etc. L’un n’est pas l’autre. Let us not confuse our Dali’s and Cocteau’s with our Arp’s and Tzara’s. Let us not confuse the sincere play of DADA with the subconscious plumbing of Surrealism.
If you let go of them…relax your hold on them…your two eyes will begin to cross, just slightly so that things first go out of focus, then double. If you let go of them…relax your hold on them…you can allow your ears, your hearing to go out of focus, sounds will cross and blur (we call it “crossing your ears”…try it in a room crowded with conversation some time). For tonight, I will pretend that my hold on these two avant-garde movements is loosened, I will relax my hold on them, let them go out of focus, let them cross.
Then I can put down the Brontosaurus bone I’ve been carrying and have a Ball.

Everything does sound better with a British accent- Part 2 (Lone Twin)

Lone Twin: Sledgehammer Songs: Friday September 16, 2005 8:30pm
Everything does sound better with a British accent- Part 2 (Lone Twin)
Catie O’Keefe
There are points in this performance when I really can’t tell the difference between watching a TBA piece or staring at one of the many odd people in Portland who talk to themselves while dancing around. Both are very realistic possibilities. In fact the performance begins outdoors on a street corner with one of the performers circling and hopping a bit around his wheelie cart. I’m thinking, “Ah yes, Portland. Where you can’t tell the street artists and the artist sponsored by the British Council apart.” I love it!!!
So we all gather around and listen as Lone Twin reads off from his clipboard. He introduces us to his friend and calls him over with a lonely toot on a plastic horn. The other answers back with a second lonely toot and they call to each other. The first invites the second over and he joins him. Now if you haven’t seen the show you might wonder what all this means. What’s the point? Why is this at all interesting? And why have 30 or so people gathered around these crazy people and not decided to flee back to their cars? Because It’s all in the language. It’s a sensational mix of words that evoke a slow beat poet who’s taking slam poetry lessons. Repeating and re-mixing words that become more familiar and more intriguing as the 21 dramas progress.
We are only outside for the “Cloud” making. Which consists of one of the two men dancing around with too many clothes on for over an hour. We, the audience, fill up plastic cups with water and wait until the exhausted man starts singing Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” at which point we all join in singing and toss the water upon the now shirtless exhausted man. Then the second man shines a light over his body and we watch the steam rise and he makes a “cloud”. What fun! Where else do we get to sing and throw water on a half naked Brit who’s yelling, “Come on Portland!” as he gets doused with what we were told was water from the Willamette.
Then the show moves inside where the rest of the 21 dramas take place. It’s hard to describe what happened with out detailing the rest of the show so I will just try to point out a few important observations. A simplistic set is made while the audience pours into the in-the-round theatre space consisting of a dirt circle and cat-tails that are placed in the middle. Again we start with one man who calls in the other to join him with his plastic horn. The dance begins again slowly and builds as the dramas add to the actions of the dance and the depth of the story. The words once again change places, repeat themselves, and take on new meanings as Gary the Revolver begins and endless circle dance before us.
We laugh about dance moves called the “Justine Timberlake” and the “Pigeon, the poor bloody poor pigeon.” There’s a sadness about the air though. Perhaps it’s the endless journey that this man is taking, the stories that end with crying and blood, or the sheer simple nature that this man dancing before us is everything we’ve ever known. Gary dances to a number of songs on a tape while applause plays on another tape. We are introduced to his blessings and his failings and both sound about the same. There is good and bad in everything and everything is good and bad.
At the climax of the first side of the tape Gary the Revolver destroys many of the cattails sending a cloud of fluff into the air. I watch as people try to get the airborne seeds off of their nice sweaters. Personally I think the image is rather cool. There’s a light up glove, handouts for the audience and a story of frozen shit. By the end the stage is a complete mess of dirt and murdered cattails and we are all invited outside again to witness the making of another “cloud”.
When leaving, it gives you a bit of a sense that the world is a better place, or maybe that’s it’s never changed but now you see if for what it is. It’s nothingness, it’s everything, it’s dark and light, and it’s ability to surprise us even when we think we know what’s coming next. It’s human nature, the journey, and community all together. “And the band plays on.”

Absolutely amazing- Victoria Hanna

Victoria Hanna- The Works- September 14 2005 10pm
Absolutely amazing- Victoria Hanna
Catie O’Keefe
She is probably the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen and I’m glad I got a chance to hear her work. I’m late to the show because of another show that ran over but still in time to see plenty of Victoria. For a while, I watch the additional screen set up over the entrance of The Works because I’m too short to stand in the back and see over all of those people. I’ve come during I don’t know what song but she’s yelling in Hebrew while wearing a very long blue dress and the image itself is amazing. Her voice, even yelling, is beautiful and rich. Her gorgeous eyes scan the audience engaging everyone in her art. Her band is amazing and her visuals only add to the mood of the music.
I eventually make my way up to the front of the stage and the show is even more incredible. As I look around, people everywhere are transfixed on her. Though she doesn’t really move much and she has limited props, her show is very entertaining. Even the really white girls who are dancing a mix of the robot and something they saw out of a Bollywood film to Victoria Hanna’s music add a bit to the entertainment.
I have nothing bad to say about this wonderful artist. She’s one of the first musical artists that I’ve really enjoyed at The Works so far. Her act wasn’t forced or weird just for the sake of being weird. It was natural and from her heart. Her sweet voice made me want to take a day off of work, lie around the house and drink in the rich sounds of music. Again I’m so glad I got to see her. What an amazing artist!!!

Has this cat had too much cat-nip?- Meow Meow

Meow Meow- My mouth is a Wonder, etc . . .Wednesday September 14 2005 9pm
Has this cat had too much cat-nip?
Catie O’Keefe
Having never seen Meow Meow before I wasn’t really sure what to expect. At first she comes out on to stage in her robe, not quite ready to receive her audience. She breaks the fourth wall by acknowledging that she’s doing a show and as part of the act pretends not to be ready. She tells us that she’s going to do a dance, at which point she puts on a pretty little number and dances with the ballet images projected behind her. She charms us a little as she runs around stage trying to match the moves of the dancers on the screen. She’s poised, eloquent, and a bit funny which makes her liked immediately by us all.
Then she makes a huge costume change to a tight gold dress and comes back to sing about love. Her voice is hypnotic and poetic as she sings her song between three mics. Again at this point I’m still not sure what direction the show will go. Is it a variety show? Will we all be part of a comedic dance and sing a-long? But just as I’m thinking this, everything changes; for the show and for her. She receives a phone call, presumable from a lover, and her mood drastically shifts. It’s at this point that I first see the show as becoming a bit confusing.
She expresses her personal disaster by attaching a chain linked to a cart of baggage that she totes around with her on stage. It’s got a little too much double meaning; Funny at first but then annoying. She screams her cat like scream and she sings some more about love lost. As she loses this unseen lover she gains a whole bunch of material items. The entire stage is practically transformed from empty to a cluttered antique store. Many of the items she uses but many she never even goes near. Their purpose?
From then on there are a number of patterns that become evident. The art of sophistication, chaos, anticipation, the cigarette that never burns, the pain of love, and the illusion of normality in a situation that’s anything but that. Because of this, the show is interesting because, well basically I just don’t get it. She’s very entertaining and I laugh at her attempts to literally charm the pants off of three audience members. But there’s also a lot of it that seems pointless. For example, she changes her clothes behind a screen that is never used before and now, all of the sudden, is covered in the photos of naked women with only their eyes and nipples covered by a black bar. We see her silhouette as she changes instructing us not to look. But obviously we all look. As she exits, the screen nor the images are used again.
It almost feels like she has the need to perform, a need for attention and she will do anything to get it. She clutters her stage with objects so we don’t get bored and even resorts to taking off her clothes. Well it worked. I cannot stop staring at the bright shinny red pasties covering her nipples. Ohhhhh sparkly!!!!
In the end I feel a bit cheated. It’s not that I don’t understand what she’s doing or what she’s getting at, but it all seems so overdone. Maybe I’m tired of artists doing strange things just to be strange. There’s a part of everyone that enjoys the chaos but also needs the structure. She’s a very interesting performer but by the end I was hoping it would all just wrap itself up so I could go see Victoria Hanna.

How heavy are My thoughts? – The truth of it all!

Ivana Müller- How Heavy are My Thoughts? Wednesday September 14 6pm
How heavy are My thoughts? – The truth of it all
Catie O’Keefe
On Thursday September 15 at around 10am in the morning I fainted at work. The cause was not, as the EMT’s and hoards of ER doctors told me, low blood sugar or dehydration. The cause was not lack of food in my stomach or even locking my knees. The answer they gave me was that I had fainted from stress. So I guess Ivana Müller was right. My thoughts were so heavy that I fell right over.
Really it’s no laughing matter. I could have hit my head on something when I fell or have some hidden tumor that will cause it to happen again but for now . . .I think it’s rather interesting to consider the idea that my brain had so much to process that it was conquered by gravity. It’s also peculiar that this happened the morning after I saw Ivana. Maybe she gave me too much to ponder and it overloaded my nero-circuits causing my brain to gain the extra weight in all the blood and oxygen it needed.
Even if I hadn’t collapsed I would still have thought about the question, how heavy are my thoughts? It’s a damn good question and it’s about time someone posed it. I found the performance to be an interesting mix of quirky stage comedy and docudrama. Perhaps a mockumentary is the best way to describe it. Still it’s not a bad question and it was presented in an intriguing manner.
I smiled a bit as the women next to me whispered, “I wonder if she’s going to come out at the end?” and I knew she wouldn’t, mostly because I read someone’s blog before I went to see the show and they started it by saying that she never comes out, but also because it just wouldn’t have been right. The lack of I.M’s physical presences makes the show more believable. All in all there’s not too much to say about this piece. You either liked it or you didn’t. It was funny and ridiculous at times and then also serious and very sad.
Ivana Müller you made me laugh and you made me cry. Whether or not you made me fall down at work is debatable but at least you gave me something to think about while lying in my hospital bed.

Show + Tell workshop

Show + Tell: Dance to the Music
Conduit, Tuesday
–Lisa Radon
Billed as a workshop, run like an illustrated chat, Show + Tell had less to say about its stated topic than I would have liked (an ongoing chat-shop problem, as far as I’m concerned) but had a few illuminating moments.
“Kick presents a behind-the-scenes look at rigorous explorations in dance and music collaboration.” I think the Kick ladies (Kara O’Toole and Crispin Spaeth) who organized the talk, must have, like me, perhaps thought there was more of a there there in terms of “rigorous explorations” in the collaborations of these three groups. When you think of artists like Phil Kline, Cardona, and Ethel working together, you might think there is something thrilling sparking between them, be curious about the process that takes a work from still and silent nothing to a physical and sonic construct.

(more…)

Ladies of the Lake

Thursday night at The Works
posted by Kirsten Collins
Ladies of the lake
Wade over wade over wade over me
Touch me with your depths
Touch me to the depths
Ladies of the lake
Wade over wade over wade over me
Draw your heavy blade
Run it over me
Let’s get to the bottom of it
The murky, muddy deep waters
Cut cleanly through

Last night, the lucky crowd at The Works met the Ladies of the Lake, a group of Olympia-to-Portland transplants in an action-packed variety show curated by Khaela Maricich of the Blow. The evening was part school play (with hand-painted cardboard set pieces, and a bit of fumbling), part artsy-bar music show, part fooling around with a video camera, part hanging out with your friends, and playfully smart overall.

(more…)

Oh, Mostlandia!

posted by Amber Bell
At the Mostlandian Embassy, I filed a Love and Friendship index form. I circled numbers from 1 to 10 (sometimes -10 to 0) indicating status of emotional states such as “surrounded by friends,” “puppy love,” and “broken heart.” I dutifully filled out my form, but I realize now I need to make some changes. I have a crush on the Mostlandian Embassy.

(more…)

Sung Hwan Kim & Nina Yuen: An Imaginary Relationship with Ourselves

Posted by Levi Hanes
I had one of those lovely moments yesterday when viewing the creation of art, or a piece of work, and encouragement, wonder, confusion washes over me. Sung Kim and Nina Yuen’s films teeter on being trite, self-absorbant, cloying twee, faux-high art, but they pull it together so well. At times simply the editing was the obvious tool that saved a piece, but most often it was the whole damn thing that worked as a seamless, sincere exploration of not just the ideas of art, film, or whatever, but as a person creating. The footage, though very engaged by both artists, seemed secondary to the act of doing. Home explorations, little games to fill time like touching all the dots on a scarf punctuated by the stop animation of the film, the sound of which is carried over while the scene changes to a similar game of touching doilies on the wall to games played between people or questionnaires to bystanders are subjects.

(more…)

Aphids Skin Quartet

Posted by Levi Hanes
The Aphid’s show was a concept work based on the CIA’s categories of race on the continents of the world. Before the show started the composer posited the thesis that the attempt of quantifying racial-identity to percentages and simple words inevitably descends into confusion. The composer called attention to the laptops used as sheet music and encouraged the viewers to move around and examine the screens which mixed traditional notation with what looked like abstract ink-blots and other times the view on the main projection screen.

(more…)

Kota Yamazaki Fluid hug-hug is liquid love

Posted by Rob McMahon
Not since TBA year one have I seen artistry of Kota Yamazaki’s caliber. At the world premier of Rise:Rose last night in PSU’s Lincoln Hall, Yamazaki and his dancers Michou Szabo and Mina Nishimura wowed the crowd with their fluidity and grace.

(more…)

In the Backseat with Tracy + the Plastics

posted by Amber Bell
I went to The Works to see Tracy + the Plastics. I had to work hard to see Tracy or the Plastics. It was crowded and challenging to peer through the forest of the audience. On stage, there was a cosy set-up, complete with the backseat from some van. The screen showed Nikki and Cola slouched on seats, rolling their eyes, wearing hip sunglasses, arguing with each other in classic road trip style. Tracy was curled up on her own seat, singing and conversing with her on-screen bandmates. I wish I could have watched from the front seat.
“Why did you come here?” Wynne tentatively asked at some point. “I think I’m asking the people that aren’t answering.” She then broke into acapella song, eventually handing off the microphone to Anna Oxygen-”You have to treat your space with more love, you have to treat your liver with more love….”It was the real sweet deal. It was the road trip I wanted to be on.

BIG, HEAVY, FAST: DANCING WITH ROSANNA GAMSON

posted by Laura Moulton
She’s personable, casual and funny, cracking jokes and occasionally poking fun at herself. Rosanna Gamson told dancers in the workshop this morning that she wanted big, heavy and fast. Relaxed, but not slow. Early on, she said “I don’t really dance — that’s why I have these guys” and she gestured to Mike and Karen, two of her dancers. But Gamson went on to dance plenty herself, doing every move and hitting every point, dripping with sweat and still having the energy to laugh. Self-deprecating but clearly graceful.
Gamson demonstrated that one section of the dance is like unto a clock, (think 12-3-5) and her arms moved in quick snaps like a second hand. “The dance is like hands around a clock, and you don’t want to lose the pivot point,” she said. This repertory workshop moved fast–dancers had to be quick on their feet to follow each turn and snap. “When you don’t know what comes next,” Gamson said, “stand with aplomb until it comes to you.”

(more…)

Fact or Fiction Photos

Fact or Fiction
The Works
Photography by Serena Davidson
FactOrFictionBySerenaDavidson123.jpg

(more…)

Ladies of the Lake

Click to see more photos
Pardon the crazy colors, I wanted to put all these images in and it would have broken everything if they were full quality, but click the image to see them in color and larger.
The Ladies were amazing. My favorite moments – the lightning strike on the bear and subsequent operation. “Are you mechanical? Because you don’t seem mechanical.” Mirah’s song, Amber’s electromagnetic
speech, Khaela’s song and dance. These are talented, watery ladies.
See the rest of my photos of tonight here
including a spontaneous dance-off between Anick and some other awesome dancer after the show.

White Rainbow – Photography

WhiteRainbowHealingCenterby.gif
White Rainbow
Full-Spectrum Vibrational Healing Center
Photography by Serena Davidson

on the road and/or “in the mind”

noontime chat – on the road: outdoor and mobile works
which featured a panel of “on the road” artists – greg and gary of lonetwin, laura curry of pinkk, and m,o,s, and t representing the mostlandian embassy.
posted by laura becker
MOSTbySerenaDavidson236.jpg
M.O.S.T. – photo credit: serenadavidson.com
before i start writing about the chat, i have to share my first-of-this-festival total TBA moment/laura becker story – okay. so i sit down in a chair at PNCA for today’s chat and i’m two seats away from bill aitchison (how heavy are my thoughts) and i see he’s reading page 1 of something

(more…)

Wally Cardona (WC4) Photos

CardonabySerenaDavidson.gif
Photography by Serena Davidson

VICTORIA HANNA, MY HEART IS AWAKE

TBA-VictoriaHanna2.gif
Posted by Annie Robb
Movie by Patrick Sullivan
If you weren’t there to see it, you missed something very special. It was a bit like hearing Bjork for the first time, so markedly different from everything else, so striking and rare. As she opened her mouth and first began to sing, I was stunned by her piercing, ululating voice. She wore a long, dark dress that covered most of her, and the video backdrop of women davening at the wailing wall looped a woman’s covered head nodding, forward and back. I was so struck by her song, tears sprung to my eyes, and I wanted very badly to understand what her words meant. And then I heard the word aliya, over and over. Uh-oh, I thought. She might really convince me. It’s dangerous, sometimes, to know only a tiny sliver of something.

(more…)

~*~Meow Meow, 1,2, 40 pairs of underwear~*~

Meow Meow puts on a fabulous show. There is another one Thursday, go see it if the following interest you: red glitter pasties, endless underpants, endless lipstick, applause tracks on command, the tango wearing only a thong, and lots of cigs dangling from a very red lip. It’s loungy, it’s fun, and it got people laughing. I met one fellow viewer who told me “you’re dressed for Meow Meow, flapper chic!”.
Meow Meow and Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini are performing Friday at The Works, and my guess is that it will be second only to the Dada Ball.
-C.R.

~*~The Works is the Place to Be~*~

If you haven’t been going to The Works after hours you’ve been missing out on half the PICA experience. Every night there are several shows, great food from a swanky area chef, and a hip crowd for post-show mingling. At $10 a pop it’s a little pricey if you aren’t a member, but I think of it as a super-club, a little like if the Doug Fir and clarklewis had a baby. And just think, it will all be gone next week! The Works is the best place to decompress after shows, make friends with fellow TBA heads, and chat up the artists. It’s the live version of this blog, so get there!
One note: There isn’t any water to be found for free. I forgot my wallet and was parched, but the bartender had nothing. There should be small cups and a cooler, because we just can’t live on Vodka alone.

Neal Medlyn – The Works, 9/12/05

nealmedlyn.gif
Photos / Post by Patrick Sullivan
I loved this performance. At first I thought he was just some strange guest on coke. Who is this bizarre guy with a drum stick taped to his forehead singing Lionel Richie songs? It was only 2/3 of the way through his performance that someone handed my a copy of the script / summarization of the story.
Anyway, I don’t expect anything to top Neal’s unicorn fellatio surprise at this year’s TBA. I hope he’s back next year.
I liked him so much I googled his ass and found this interview which is a good summary. OK, I admit it, I didn’t read the whole thing, but it has good bites like:
He believes in “people doing things because they want, need to do them … and not waiting until they know how to do them properly.” If he spent too much time between conception and execution, he adds, he would never get around to getting onstage. Besides, he says, “sloppiness is my palette.”
Sloppiness is my palette, too.

~*~Faustin Linyekula, or the DJ Needs a Monitor~*~

I want to start this blog by saying that Faustin is the only show I’ve seen a mass-exodus from, and it was rude and unfair to the performer. People who plan to bail 10 minutes in should not sit in the first row, period. I suspect the reason many of them left was because of the music, which was deafening. The scene was this: four dancers, two wearing Linen monk’s robes, one in a swingers coat and plaid pants, and Faustin in a wonderful newspaper mini-skirt. Faustin is a beautiful performer and one of the more limber dancers I’ve ever seen, it looked like his joints could rotate every which way. His voice was also clear and wonderful, and the parts of the piece in which all the dancers sang were lovely. The DJ was a part of the stage and spent the show crouched over his laptop. The music he created was loud moans that reverberated into my chest, which made the audience noticeably uncomfortable. People left at this point, and I admit it was so loud my heart hurt. It seemed like the DJ just needed a monitor, because had the volume stayed a little lower it would have been tolerable and still enough to make the audience uncomfortable.

(more…)

~*~Locust, or Beat Boxing Finally Makes Its Dance Debut~*~

LocustbySerenaDavidson69.jpg
photo credit: serenadavidson.com
First and foremost: The theatre is impossible to find. The directions on mapquest were not helpful, and PICA simply said “see mapquest.” It would have been great to know that it is next door to OMSI on the South side, or that it is by the beginning of the Sellwood bike path. Both of these points of reference would have helped me tremendously. But anyway, I skidded into the theatre just before lights and got a court side seat.
The show opened with primary dancers and co-directors Amy O’Neal and Zeke Keeble who were the highlight of the show. Zeke created the music for most of the pieces by creating and looping sounds on the fly, something that reminded me of our local band Menomena and was rather sexy. He also beat boxed for much of the show, which provided surprisingly fit sound for the male dance pieces in particular. Locust is spunky, youthful, unorthodox, and a little bit sultry. The outfits were hit and miss. The women wore wide leg baggy jeans with hippyish patches sewn into the side which obliterated their graceful movements. The pants were so hideous and distracting that I was relieved when they stripped down to boyish undies. The men had equally distracting polyester shirts in one act which also distracted from their performance, but in a later act two men had fabulous deconstructed dinner jackets that wrapped around their torsos at odd angles.
The women played off of each other best with dynamic steps and extreme tension between them. The men did not achieve this same tension and their moves felt too blatantly choreographed when they were all on stage, a little like West-Side Story. Locust had a shabby-chic theme which sometimes worked in their favor, but not always. A final sequence was performed on squares of red shag carpet, a charming contrast to the shining red dance floor. However a video feed from another room showed a living room worse than most dorm rooms. I found this totally distracting because it was such a mess. A “commercial” break in the middle was a great idea, but the joke of ninja films dubbed into English so the lips are off is too played out to be anything more than silly.
Silly was certainly the word for Locust, to good and bad effects. Amy’s solo on one roller skate was enthralling, and the we’re-young-and-we-break-the-rules -so-there nature of the piece was exciting, but at the price of dramatic staying power. I walked away giggling, and that’s great, but talents such as Amy and Zeke would do best in more organized pieces.
-C.R.

ON NOT DANCING WITH WALLY CARDONA

posted by Laura Moulton
We won’t be dancing today, Cardona said when he entered the studio at the Oregon Ballet Theatre. “If you want to dance, dance your ass off at the Works tonight.” Instead, Cardona focused on principles of form and structure, using several specific exercises. “Check in right now to see how you feel, start to end, and if you’re moving differently when we’re finished.”
Last night’s Ivana Muller performance had me contemplating the weight of my head in relation to my thoughts, and today’s workshop with Cardona confirmed that, thoughts or no, my head is freaking heavy. We hung our heads, dropped our shoulders, and let the weight take us over until we hung, suspended by our rooted legs. Much attention was given to alignment, to the relationship of one angle to another. At one point Cardona showed us a diagram of the skeletal system on the wall and pinpointed the hip socket. “It’s closer to your center than you might think,” he said. He stressed the importance of correct positioning and said “If you get tired, stop. But don’t start from a place of accomodation.”

(more…)

Everywhere: all at once forever. Wally Cardona + Ethel

wallycardonabyserenadavidson299.jpg
Photography by Serena Davidson
I was totally floored by this piece; it defines for me what I need to see during TBA. I need to see something minimal yet explosive, something that sends my mind reeling while my body is so still I forget it is there. WC4′s piece was this for me. I have had the fortune of seeing many of PICA’s past performances and I could also see threads of Wally’s new work coming from the influence of or direct work with other choreographers, including John Jasperes, Ros Warby and Deborah Hay…. still Cardona’s catastrophic (in a good way?) scene was entirely his own, tight yet fluid moments – impossible really with all of the obstacles surrounding them – met a visually stunning, world- sparse with bursts of insane color and slow deliberate lighting that would eventually turn the darkest black to silver shine before my eyes. I was expecting riotous applause at the end and instead there was a kind of hesitant pause – this was not a sign of failure for me but reflective of that moment where an audiences reality is suspended – I always say contemporary art is not about “liking” but about “thinking” and I could hear the frantic brain activity in that moment – one brave person stood and clapped and then the audience did finally erupt in joyous release.
Afterward I heard that my friends thought it was “offensive” that they “got lost” or that the dancers were not “up to snuff” and yet still from others I heard “gorgeous”, “frantic” and “incredibly moving”…

(more…)

wc4 with ethel – everywhere

posted by laura becker
so…you know that samuel beckett play, where the audience doesn’t know what happened but all the characters are wandering around in a post-apocalyptic world and one or more of them are compulsively and dutifully repeating some ultimately meaningless task?
yeah, that could possibly be any of beckett’s plays, but just imagine it with wally cardona and a copeland-esque score performed by ethel, and a lot of black beams, and you’ve got the picture for “everywhere”.

(more…)

Vaux’s Swifts, Allen Johnson, and life

posted by Rob McMahon
AllenJohnsonbySerenaDavidson129.jpg
Allen Johnson – photo credit: serenadavidson.com
According to the Audubon Society, this year’s swift turnout is significantly higher than the last few. Their rough estimates place the number at about eight or nine thousand. Personally, I attribute this to the press they recieved in the TBA guide. Animals can sense attention and energy, and knowing there would be a more discerning audience present, they did not want to disappoint. This year they’re art instead of vulgar nature.
SwiftsbySerenaDavidson16.jpg
Swifts
Photography by Serena Davidson

(more…)

The Levity of Ivana Muller

Posted by Annie Robb
Photo by Patrick Sullivan
muller.gif
You probably know by now, she did not appear on stage in person, but rather on screen. When I heard people talking about it quite literally around the water cooler this morning, I just blurted out, “I’m seeing it tonight,” and fled. I’m glad it was a surprise, though perhaps now I’m going to now ruin the surprise for you. It was funny, yes– dry, silly, absurd. I came in to the performance prepared to pay attention, to think about what I was experiencing so I could really understand the piece, and process it in order to talk about it intelligently and write about it here. But there was I.M.’s great head floating on screen, documenting her endless struggle understand the Truth about Thoughts, with her odd experiments, wacky interviews, and gradual decline into altered states in an effort to Know. There it all was, mocking my seriousness.

(more…)

Vladmaster: Actaeon at Home

Vladmaster: Actaeon at Home
The Works, Saturday evening last
–posted by Lisa Radon
photo credit: serenadavidson.com
VladmasterbySerenaDavidson246.jpg
The couple hundred audience members at The Works who were lucky enough to get their hands on Viewmasters distributed by the antlered attendants were holding them to their eyes, heads pointed toward the light. But they weren’t looking at pictures of zoo animals or Dumbo the Elephant. They were clicking through the four Vladmaster reels that make up Vladimir’s “Actaeon at Home.” Making a performance that strikes new ground somewhere between a movie, a performance art piece, and an exquisite work of visual art, each Vladmaster reel set looks deceptively like the Viewmaster reels they imitate. But Viewmaster never presented reels based on the work of Franz Kafka, Italo Calvino, and stories of cockroaches named Stanley.

(more…)

Wally Cardona Quartet with Ethel: Everywhere

posted by Kirsten Collins
I wanted so badly for Everywhere to be good. For it to be refreshing in its simple and precise utterance of the “rhythms of modern life.” The stage was set with rows and rows of carefully lined-up black 4×4 (?) posts. The back wall of the theater was exposed, and the expansiveness and manufactured nature of the space was particularly emphasized. The set-up suggested a factory, or company of soldiers, but with the potential energy of an extensive trail of dominoes. Very precarious.
When a dancer started crossing the stage, sometimes carrying a post or two, sometimes making an adjustment to the arrangement, I thought I was in for a treat. “Yes! This is going to be great! I love it already!” An expectation for a subtle humor was created – one odd post is placed out of line from the rest and I can’t help but crack a smile. Like that greeting card of a penguin sporting a Hawaiian shirt in the midst of his boring penguin peers: “You’re one in a million. Congratulations.”

(more…)

Faustin Linyekula Workshop

by mel favara
The class was supposed to have maxed out at twelve participants, but another dozen students ringed the room, disappointed in their hopes to get in on standby. Faustin Linyekula gestured the unlucky to their feet, “this doesn’t feel right. Everyone come.” In a session that was to be as much about consciousness as it was about dance, Linyekula immediately established the parameters of his method. He had the dancers begin by walking, “so that you are not following anyone and no one is following you.” As the dancers draped about the room, Linyekula narrated aloud the room’s structure and the inanimate objects that occupied it, guiding the class through yogic breathing and gradually increasing the speed of the dancers’ pacing. Several students begin to touch the curtains, inviting the place into the dance.
The floor began to vibrate…

(more…)

Kenny Mellman Presents: I’ve Got a Bulletproof Heart

kennymellman.gif
Posted by Levi Hanes
Photos by Patrick Sullivan
Kenny Mellman played his heart out on Monday night. Creating a non-chalant performance as Grace Jones Mellman belted out show tunes, Joy Division chants and spoken word. What had been a minor dormant obsession of mine was awaken and I wanted to head out to the record store and buy every Grace Jones release I could find.
It was performances like last night that made me think Portland does just fine for itself, that is so long as PICA keeps working their asses off to bring us such things as TBA. The opportunity to see Mellman, Neal Medlyn’s bloody, endearing, and spastic opera set to Lionel Richie, and Faustin Linyekula’s piece on remembering the Congo in the same night would be unheard of in any other like-sized city.

Faustin Linyekula/Les Studios Kabako

Posted by Levi Hanes
Faustin Linyekula started the performance before the house lights went down or even the entrance doors shut. The stage lights were low setting and eerie, stark stage where Linyekula and a D.J. performed. It was and interesting setting to watch while the audience carried on in conversation and made final seating. There was almost a flattening effect where two very different worlds were on display the audience and stage. After about five minutes or less the house lights went down and revealed a minimal stage slowly lit like a dawn.

(more…)

Farewell to All: Moving to Mostlandia

Mostlandian Embassy
on 11th between Marshall and Northrop
hours: 2-6
Dear All,
At the end of the TBA Fest, my family and I are moving to Mostlandia where an upward tick in the Love and Friendship index provides energy to power the country, where bureaucracy is playfully embraced (by M.O.S.T. and apparently ignored happily by many outside Topophilia), where there is no uncertainty—all your questions are answered by the Department of Questionables, and you can find out What To Say in any circumstance from the Department of What To Say—and any notion or plan your wacky brain can conceive receives a nearly instant and hearty approval by the Department of Approvals. My son Oskar sought approval for a story he is writing and received the approval slip, stamped “SWEET AWESOME” in just a few minutes.
Fortunately for us, when we stopped in yesterday afternoon, the Department of Received Citizens was open (the various departments and bureaus which include a Kissing Booth and High Fives! are open only at random intervals, on no apparent schedule…delightfully maddening until you can’t get bacon ice cream when you want it). We have applied for passports at the Department of Received citizens, filling out paperwork that asked us about our dreams, our skills (facility with double dutch, cartography, and sixth sense abilities like premonitions, ESP, telekinesis, and more). In two lengthy forms, we had to declare all ideas on our person at the time of entry, to list our nicknames, draw a map, and more. We’re hoping to get approval for citizenship today and pick up our passports.
“So long, it’s been good to know ya.” (Or “So long and thanks for all the fish.”) Hope you’ll come visit us in Mostlandia.
Best wishes,
Lisa Radon
www.mostlandia.com

Vladmaster

Vladmaster.gif
Photos by Serena Davidson