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.”
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…
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.
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.
on 11th between Marshall and Northrop
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.
Photos by Serena Davidson
Photos by Serena Davidson
By Mel Favara
The Persistence of Vision
What is the persistence of vision? How long does the image remain on the eye in a dark room? These are the questions Bruce McClure ruminated over in this morning’s workshop, as he dissected and reassembled his procedure of overlaying loops of film in flickering black and white. McClure’s elemental study of seeing itself is a marriage of the calculated and the randomly generative, born of intellectual inquiry and an intimacy with the film loops themselves—they have tape on them, and scratches, and the viewer senses an evolving relationship between McClure and the celluloid.
by Rick Armstrong
A friend of mine asked if I would be interested in attending a workshop hosted by Daniel Bernard Roumain (aka DBR), then writing a bit about what I saw in the TBA blog. I planned on attending DBR’s performance on Saturday night, so this seemed like a great opportunity to learn something about the performer before the show. After expressing my anxiety about attending a musician’s workshop (I haven’t played for a really long time), I went for it when she assured me that I could go as a voyeur, and that no one would really care or crucify me or otherwise mind if I couldn’t play my way out of a paper bag.
Posted by Levi Hanes
Reasons I hate Alberta:
I am an idiot and did not look at the address for Pinkk/Laura Curry. I ride a “firm” bicycle that abuses my manhood. Alberta is nowhere near where I live or the rest of T.B.A. shows or where I work. I showed up at the gallery after viewing Bruce McClure’s films and missing my favorite nationalist, absurdist, bureaucratic office Department of Homeland Security, eh, the M.O.S.T. [again, sorry guys I will get over to your office soon] only to find the Office with none of the Pinkk/Laura Curry deal-ly up for view. And I nearly missed happy hour at Beuhlahland.
Allen Johnson had a hit before TBA even got off the ground. They were warning of his show selling out before I even had my press pass, so when I arrived Sunday night for the show at Corberry Press I wasn’t surprised to be told they were sold-out with people hovering around for floor space. Luckily I got in and had a seat next to a nice young man (hi Justin!) who came to TBA from L.A. and had convinced a friend to come from NYC just for TBA. That’s dedication! First, the Corberry Press was the perfect place for this show. It has a concrete floor, raw ceiling, and maybe 80 seats (who can tell?) in a semi-circle. It felt a little AA, a little story-time-at-the-library, and every 14 min. the streetcar rumbled by outside making it all feel nitty gritty and rough around the edges. Allen’s show was a superb and terrifying monologue on growing up in an average American home with parents who commit atrocious acts of sexual violence and tenderly adore him, all within the same memories. These violent parts were difficult to sit through because Allen’s voice was taut with emotion at all times– it was actually difficult to hear him tell the story because his voice was nearly cracking under the emotional weight. Excellent acting. He explored how these early experiences lead to a lifelong search for male contact, both physical and emotional.
The piece struck me as an American experience, a little like if Springsteen had grown up rougher and drove delivery trucks in the Bronx.
Here’s my favorite thing about science: actually, science can be a metaphor for the human pysche.
Here’s my favorite thing about art: making an investigation happen.
Here’s my favorite thing about Ivana Muller: She managed to use scientific experimentation as a structure for artistic investigation.
I enjoyed Muller’s (and Aitchison’s) approach to storytelling.
I appreciated their attempt to explain the unexplainable.
But what I liked best was Aitchison’s demonstration of thoughts traveling around the body by using his neatly tucked-in shirt and woolen trousers as a map for floating ruminations.
posted by Amber Bell
Once, my friend Mirah sent me a box of chocolates from France. They came in a wooden box, with a diagram inside showing each chocolate’s ingredients. One was lavender with delicately crumbled nuts on top. One was triangular, and had honey in it. Each of them was decadent and divine, with subtle rich flavors that lasted a long time in my mouth and in my heart. Listening to Spectratone International last night was just like opening that box of chocolates again. The performance was an exquisite gift, carefully crafted and sweetly delivered.
First of all, the music was dedicated to insects. Dung Beetle, Fly, Cicada. There is special place in my heart for insects. It’s right next to the spot reserved for chocolate. The suite of songs was structured so that each insect was represented by three pieces of music. Each song was brilliantly composed and meticulously performed by Spectratone International. On top of it all, Mirah is an amazing songwriter. Maybe I’m biased, because she is my friend, after all. However, her lyrics blew my mind. After listening to little snippets of insect facts all summer long, (“did you know that literally translated, Beelzebub means ‘my lord who hums’?”) I was awed by the results of all those yellow lined pages and library books. Weighty vocabulary blended with carefully researched facts somehow alchemically turned into gorgeous and hilarious songs. I mean, a love song written by a fly to Mirah? In my eye, my love for you multiplies? The whole aria was brilliant. Brilliant. I hope you got to see it.
ivana müller – how heavy are my thoughts
posted by laura becker
i’ll admit it. i wanted to see ivana muller because she was on the cover. she just looks out, with her head on the scale, with innocent eyes and dark circles, a cross between bjork and a german lee krasner. and, as if to punish our superficial desires, tba never showed us to her in person. a lecturer sits before us with dissappointing news that we only have her documents that she left behind to examine her theories of the connection between thought and weight.
having just come out of the performance, I only have “light thoughts” to share. I may need more time before I have heavy ones.
My light thoughts:
This is the second time in a row that I’ve heard jim morrison in the winningstad
Guy Dartnell’s british accent is the suave, ezzie izzard kind, but Bill Aitchison’s accent is the PBS british accent.
My sister just had a functioning MRI, but not for an art project (hmmm…maybe that’s a heavy thought)
TBA feels like camp.
I think they played around with the chonological order of things.
I don’t think this post “can quantify this metaphor”
Locust: Convenience Sunday September 11, 2005
I’ve never seen a guy take so long to get his pants off- Locust
Loved it!!! It was like a delicate mix of the every day harsh reality of life, those strange dreams you have right before you wake up and Saturday Night Live with beat boxing. Halleluiah. It was great! At first I thought the film in the background was going to be too distracting and pointless but this was before I realized it was a live feed from the green room as which point I almost squealed with delight.
The Velcro music shoes were awesome, the foot operated recording device was genius and the commercials were priceless. It was as if someone made a blended creamy delight of dance, modern art, comedy and music. Plus it was an amazing piece to photograph.
Hans Weigland: Jerry Cotton: The Portland Episodes Saturday September 10 2005 6pm
“It’s funny ‘cause it’s German”
I like that when it switches back to English the subtitles still read in English. I guess that’s good because the lack of mics made it hard to hear some of the scenes in public places. But I find myself still reading along even when I can hear the English. I even read the subtitles despite the fact that I speak German. What the heck . . .I basically read that whole dang movie.
Still it was enjoyable. Strange, funny at times, dark and hard to hear at others, and very Deutsche. Es war so Lustig!!!! I will not type the rest of this in German like I’m tempted to because unfortunately my German spelling is worse than my English. The point of this blog . . . .Good movie! Refreshing and quirky. A fun break from reality on a Saturday afternoon.
Oh, guys, my fist TBA 2005 experience was a good one. I showed up just in time for the beginnings of Guy Dartnell’s ‘Travels With My Virginity’ performance. And you know what? Despite being used to the jams of the portland performance circuit, complete with A/V clubs and dance moves, this piece was a hugely refreshing look at time based arts, for me.
Guy told the tale of his hitchhiking trip in 1978 through France, with the ultimate aim of losing his virginity, at 19, to a French woman he’d changed his mind about. But of course it is not about what happens at the end, or the aim of the trip, but everything that happens on the way. And Guy examined it throughly on stage with nothing more than himself, a chair and whatever he could fit in his pockets.
He brought to life the edge-of-maturity mindset of a 19 year old boy, the longing to accomplish great feats, the bordering urge between imagination and the facts of life, where we let the fantasy of childhood drop and slowly bite down on the existence of duty and responsibility. Though his goal was a primal and obvious one, the insight and lessons-learned were veiled nicely in a good sense of humor as well as selections from a Jim Morrison book and lots of Neil Young on the PA.
I’m glad to have seen this more stripped-bare type of performance, and though Dartnell’s formal training shines through with the exactness of his speech and the good placement of lighting and songs, the production was overshadowed by Guy’s friendly way of storytelling. One would think, in the cozy theatre, that we all knew him, and he was relating some story to us on the spur of the moment. It was a very personal and accomplished presence.
That is really all I have to say, in 10 minutes or less, about this piece. Rad.
Krystal R. South, Rather Slow TBA Blogger.
posted by Patrick Sullivan
posted by Rob McMahon
I was a few songs late for the start of the Mirah and Spectratone International set. Had gotten talking to a tired lone twin, freshly landed from a week in Philly, local singer/songwriter Arthur Smid, the now unmistakable Ivana Muller, and filmmaker Nils De Coster, after Lori Goldston’s lovely and fitting scoring of The Passion of Joan of Arc. (Which, incidentally, is a very different and interesting film, one I’m glad to have seen, but probablly wouldn’t like to watch repeatedly, as it seems Goldston must do to play along.)
Given the Works’ social atmosphere and the number of attractive and fascinating people available there to talk to, it speaks well for both the film and the score that they held a large audiences’ attention for nearly two hours. But I digress.
posted by laura becker
my favorite thing about TBA so far is the first few minutes of locust: convenience when amy o’neal and zeke keeble made music with velcro on the bottom of their shoes. at first, in the dark and crowded studio, i had no idea WHAT that sound was.
posted by laura becker
there were about 75 people in the w+k atrium as i arrived for kristy edmunds’ lecture on sunday. kristy and mark russell sat down in the PICA red chairs (there is a shade of red called PICA red, isn’t there?) and informed us that they would mix up the format and turn it into a q&a so that kristy didn’t keep repeating what she has probably been saying a lot of this week, and so the audience could actually learn something they might otherwise never know.
Cafeteria Plan at the Works
I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished
and the lamps expire. . .
the night is thine”
I was intrigued by the “curatorial” notion of Michael and Naomi Hebberoy’s Cafeteria—inviting the best of the region’s top-shelf, papered chefs to take part in a bit of method acting. Premise: use your refined culinary know-how and wed it (possibly shotgun style) to the venerable tradition of the American cafeteria—surprise us with your own take on the slop-and-drop. Good sports all, the list includes an impressive coterie, including Philippe Boulot from The Heathman, Vitaly Paley from Paley’s Place, Morgan Brownlow from clarklewis, Pascal Sauton from Carafe, Michael Clancy from Giorgio’s, and Josh Blythe from ROUX.
posted by Laura Moulton
“I am a lesbian woman working in downtown Portland, trying to make sense of myself in the corporate world.” That’s the first line of a series of stories printed on a giant banner hung from the ceiling at the OFFICE (2204 NE Alberta). Stories are told by homeless street kids, runaways, and random passersby. This is a creation by the artist Laura Curry, whose website describes it this way: The stories and experiences are “re-purposed” into a living, growing walk-through environment at OFFICE, bearing witness to the psyche and tellings of Portland’s DNA.
The collection of stories is typewritten text on white. Ten feet tall. Very arresting to look at from a distance, and even nicer to read up close. By week’s end, the OFFICE will be a veritable forest of banners, all of them featuring the unedited stories of Portlanders.
Stories have been collected at media kiosks around Portland (including the central library, Voodoo Doughnuts, and Pioneer Square). Look for media kiosks at the following locations this week:
An Instructional Performance Piece in three parts to be executed on three consecutive days
1. Use computerized mapping database (mapquest.com) to locate 211 SE Caruthers Street in Portland, Oregon.
(Note: instructions provided by computerized map database will be incorrect. Follow them anyway.)
2. Get lost.
3. Arrive five minutes late for performance.
4. Stand outside for 10-15 minutes while staff a.) tells you it’s too late to seat you and then b.) tries to figure out how they can get you in.
5. Do not go in. (You can go tomorrow, and besides the performance is called “Approaching Locust” not “Locust Visitation”.)
1. Repeat Step 1. above.
2. Do not get lost.
3. Arrive five minutes early for performance.
4. Stand around for 10-15 minutes while staff a.) tells you they’re “holding the house to see if they can get any more of the 20-odd people waiting around with you into the space then b.) tells you there is space for eight of you to sit on the floor.
5. Do not go in. You can’t because the house has been oversold. (You can go tomorrow, and besides…see #5 above.)
1. Repeat Steps 1-3 of Day Two.
4. Stand around for 10-15 minutes.
5. Do not go in.
Daniel Bernard Roumain musical instrument workshop, 9-10-05, 9:30 am
[Conversations for Change]
I knew it was gonna be a good time when I woke up before the 7:30 alarm and scrambled outta bed. This is atypical behavior. And then a fancy French breakfast, and then….
What a remarkable teacher. I teach music, largely to kids, and I get super hung up on explaining how things are done and why, lots of literalism. This person knows better: he barely explained, what he did explain was fairly loose & impressionistic, and he was delighted with the results whether they were what he’d expected or not.
A perfect-sized group of people whose names and actions I still remember spent a long time in a circle learning each other’s names and a movement coordinated with each, and then turning them into a composition, sometimes saying names, sometimes just moving. This is brilliant: as a classically trained and traumatized musician, I easily forget that my body is the root of my music, especially when I’m playing that violin. So much thinking happens that no music gets made. Well, not on Daniel’s watch. We danced and talked for about an hour, and it was much more looking and feeling than listening. Who knew?
Posted by: Levi Hanes
Props to PICA and the Cinema Project for this nugget. I hadn’t had much sleep the night before and this turned out to be a good thing: my tolerance for b.s. is striped and I find myself emotionally raw when tired and gangked out on coffee. McClure’s show was a brittle, searing experience. His bile colored overlayed screen projections fluttered images accompanied by a brutal, loud, grinding, deliciously painful soundtrack that simulated flying a small single prop plane into the sun.
More like being a co-pilot in a two-seater plane into the sun. I was able to sit back and trust the pilot to do the work while I watched the scenery. The overwhelming din of the engine throbs through your body and your vision resorts to those weird nebulous colorful blobs you see when you rub your eyes. After a while the sound fades (not literally but mentally) and I was feeling it, the experience fully enveloping me
Props to the person who put Guy’s show in the Winningstad–it’s my favorite theatre for just this sort of small show. Because it’s a big theatre with a small stage the audience gets to feel like an audience (why 100+ people are necessary for this feeling I don’t know, but it just isn’t the same with 10 in a room of folding chairs), while the small stage feels intimate and perfect for the sharing of personal thoughts. And also cute dance steps, let’s not forget that. Those who saw 33 Fainting Spells last year will see its kinship with Guy’s show. Guy skipped and slumped and trotted and travelled miles in 20 square feet of stage-cum-French countryside. A huge acknowledgment for this successful utilization of space goes to the lighting designer, who used full light for daytime, a square light against the curtain as a bed, green lower lights for a car dashboard, and pitch black for night, all of which created both huge fields and claustrophobic passenger seats for Guy to work within.
tiffany mills company – elegy & godard
posted by laura becker
so…as i started typing this, no one yet had posted distinctly for tiffany mills, but there were EXCELLENT posts for everything else i’ve been to so far…so, even though i kind of wanted to write about the other stuff, i am dedicating this post to tiffany. but now i just hit refresh, and lisa radon’s review exists and it expresses and describes the piece so well too. i had a lot of trouble deciding what to write, and just now after i sat through kristy edmunds’ lecture, i realize what my trouble was.
Guy Dartnell: Travels with my Virginity
I have to admit, I was a little disarmed when Dartnell came out under the lights of the bare stage and uttered with an almost bashful Winnie-the-Pooh-like disposition: “Hello Portland.” Knowing he’d worked with Meredith Monk and the Improbable Company, I was expecting something a tad more transgressive or perhaps in-your-face angular. . .instead I met a truly likeable storyteller. Nothing mind-blowing–just good old coming-of-age antics as he struggled to buy “le barbeque” and git busy in the French countryside, ca. 1978.
I’m not sure if anyone saw the punchline coming. It was a bit of shaggy Jim story, foreshadowed by Dartnell’s Baedecker of music by The Doors and Morrison’s so-called poetry. But I had a good hunch this might all wind up at Pere Lachaise–and lo we find him sobbing on the ground at the site of permanent Parisian Jim Morrison’s grave, crying: “I’m never going to get shagged. . .help me Jim!”
I appreciated the Sorrows of Young Werther meets-Portnoy’s Complaint quest for meaning (and release) where “everything is fuelled by fantasy and ideals,” and even more respected the unabashed humanism of his being able to bring us back to the poignant hand-sweating gawkiness of that do-you-want-to-touch-me-yah, wishful thinking. Instead of feeling his pain (like so much solo performance), we got to remember the awkward sexually-charged energy and frustration of coming of age. And laugh about it too.
– posted by Lisa Radon
Mills notes in the program that both pieces was choreographed from the score, and the movement tracked so closely to the sound (especially in the first piece which fairly relentlessly alternated between grating/ominous industrial-meets-heavy breathing sounds w/ violent movement and melodious violin &c. w/ fluid dancerly movement) we were begging for moments when the two would diverge.
A lot has been posted on DJ Spooky so I’ll try not to be redundant. Something I didn’t know: “Birth of a Nation” was the first film played in the White House. Before the show Paul Miller (Spooky) expressed his desire for DJs to be respected as creators and full-blown composers instead of re-mixers of others work. DJs, he argued, should come out of the dark clubs and into art houses where their performances can be viewed as individual pieces, separate from the works being sampled.
+ Rhythm Science Lecture
+ ReBirth of A Nation
+ Noontime Chat: Hip-Hop Strategies
“When the Sugar Hill Gang rapped, ‘I don’t mean to brag, I don’t mean to boast, but I like hot butter on a breakfast toast,’ that made Americans really happy. We can all relate to enjoying buttered toast, but they’d found a way to make something unfamiliar and new out of the experience. Becoming unalienated is as simple and as difficult as that.”
–DJ Spooky (in conversation with Hermenaut Joshua Glenn)
Paul D. Miller is a fabulous, rhizomatic thinker and one of the highlights of this year’s festival. Easy going and smart as a whip, he’s got an accessible (yet rigorous) way of “connecting the dots” on issues of art, sound, music, pop culture, technology and power—and their intermingling complexity in consumer culture. Oh and he’s got a wicked sense of humor.
Remixing from a number of traditions, Miller cuts between cultural historians like McLuhan, Andreas Huyssens, Richard Hofstadter, an avant-garde viz art perspective (from early modernists like Gertrude Stein and Tzara to a playful Fluxus mindset), and the glorious kissing cousins of modernism: jazz and futurism. Called a media philosopher, mixologist, illbient prophet, conceptual artist, Miller is a self-proclaimed musical futurist—-to which I say yeah! let’s hear it for dizzying speed, noise and thrum, shiny chrome, and the beautiful mayhem of simultaneity. Like another turntablist-turned-conceptualist, Christian Marclay, Miller navigates with a broad cultural compass.
Posted by: Levi Hanes
I knew I was in trouble when the interim screen was a projection of a burning candle in close up. The image looked like an abstract motion of color, but it soon was obvious what the image was. Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR [as his bio refers to him]) had a few moments of this abstracted cliche image in his show. The video displayed vaguely abstract images of nostalgic travelogue accompanied by music of familiar folk passages and harmonic dissonance.
Our Paul D. Miller Marathon
DJ Spooky Lecture at W+K, Friday
Listen to mix-CD DJ Spooky gave us a lecture, Friday
ReBirth of a Nation, Friday
Midnight at The Works (pinch hitting for absent Tokyolab), Friday
Noontime chat with Miller et al, Saturday at PNCA
Multnomah County Library to check out Rhythm Science
–posted by Lisa Radon
“Swim like an ocean in the fish of the media”
Paul D. Miller lectures the way he works, pulling from numerous sources, making references both obscure and un- from Eadweard Muybridge (who in early 1900s pioneered stop motion photography) to Joseph Beuys, to Italian Futurist, Luigi Russolo, author of the Art of Noise. His non-linearity and web-like thinking, jumping from node-to-node, making connections, tangent-ing, looping, is the ideal analogue to his music and method of composition.
8 hours of TBA: Serious and Seriously Fun Art
Yesterday was a near wintery Portland, but when you’re busy with Time Based Arts there is almost no time to pay attention to the weather.
I walked into the Guild before 6pm yesterday in time to catch Hans Weigand’s Jerry Cotton: The Portland Episodes. The film itself was a creepy, hip, stalker killing movie with the backdrop of Raymond Pettibon’s art work, gorgeous architecture, Austrian mountains, Tijuana’s gorgeous urbanity, and amazing, funny killers. To think about galleries all the world over as being fronts for killing mayhem, hit men, and achetypal “artsy fartsy” behavior (like a man licking his walking stick and gurgling), and truly makes the art world look a lot more spooky, goofy, and serious.
Speaking of serious, hearing and reading about the racism that actualized within the events of rescue and evacuation of New Orleans makes viewing and recounting DJ Spooky’s (aka Paul Miller) well planned re-edit of D.W. Griffiths Birth of a Nation even more pertinent.
How lucky we all are that Rebirth of a Nation was performed and played for a packed theater.
Throughout his re-edit, a white circuit grows over many of the frames, around faces, over faces, framing the film’s self proclaimed, “ideal woman.” I interpreted the circuit to be the moving force of racism: that like Griffith’s film claiming that the introduction of blacks to American planted the “seed of disunion,” but perhaps, as Miller introduced this he included the fact that this KKK recruitment film was the first ever to be shown in the White House, was it this film and other racist propoganda that propogated racism this way, and was Birth of a Nation a seed in and of itself that grows, like Miller’s white circuit grows, while ultimately be detroyed by the destruction, and post modern reinterpretation of the propoganda, and that by showing the film in it’s new form, the film takes on new and opposite meaning, ultimately reversing the original intent, and the seeds of UNION are planted?
Making one’s way from Newburg to the wonderfully awesome The Works sort of garden party/meet and greet/musical event is a truly wonderful cap to a good day of art and intellect. Of course the finale at the end of the evening with the Come Together event broadcasting “the ultimate guru” on a screen, and watching a group of cult leaders and followers mimic each other on a stage, shaking bells, hooting, hollering, playing tape loops embedded in their clothing, and stomping on the floor was the culmination in a celebration of life and living. I’m sure it looked like a big party, and it really was.
Posted by Amy Vecchione
Bruce McClure Program 1: Crib and Sift Series (Parts 1-4) Saturday September 10, 2005 4PM
“This is Art?- Bruce McClure
I’m reminded of an English Turner Prize winner in 2002 where the art piece was an empty room in which the lights turned on and off. Ironically the piece was called “Lights turning on and off.” And the winner of the installation piece took home £20,000 and a new found fame. All that I took away from this piece, at the time, was “What is art?” I find myself asking this again of Bruce McClure and wondering what he would have to say about the matter.
Let me try to describe this collection of films as best I can. I’m sitting in the Guild Theatre surrounded by other excited TBA film goers when Bruce gets up to introduce his work. “It’s not until the work comes into a room full of people that it comes to life”, he says. Now I’m really excited and I can tell the rest of the theatre is too. The lights go dark and an image comes up on the screen. It’s colorful and at first reminds me of cells dividing under a microscope. I think to myself that this must just be the set up and I wait for the real action to start. And I wait, and I wait and I wait some more. About five minutes in, it hits me that this is it. During this waiting time, I’m also waiting for the sound to change to something more manageable. It sounds like we are in a cockpit of a Cessna 152 with no headphones or ear-plugs. The sounds of the whirring engine just get louder and louder until I think my eardrums are going to implode.
DJ Spooky: Rebirth of a Nation- Friday September 9, 2005
Chillin’ in a Spooky living room
I’m not so sure where to start. Could it be that I loved this performance because of the amazing man that came out on stage and obviously put his heart and soul into the work he was performing? Or was it the fact that he was playing some amazing beats and I can’t believe I’m the only person in my row that seems to want to stand up and dance like no one’s watching? I realize this would have been inappropriate due to the subject matter on the screens, but still I can’t get the rhythm out of my blood. So instead I calmly bob my head, tap my foot and let out a silent scream every time the bass drops back in. In addition it’s very dark in the theatre and so I let my pen write down whatever comes to mind without seeing if I’m even hitting the paper below it. I’m transfixed in a manner of speaking.
The Works is absolutely the place to be. Pass it on.
Not only is it a very, very fun spot to lean against the railing and chat with your friends or network with highly interesting folks, it is also a very stylish venue. Namely, Slow Dance Recyttal knocked my socks off.
1. set = glowing crystal orbs
2. outfits = hooded druid marching band
3. music = pied piper sound system
4. animation = hidden camera into the iridescent insect world
A good time was had by all.
Posted by Amber Bell
Posted by Amber Bell
I don’t think there’s anything more captivating than people’s real stories. I love a good story. Guy Dartnell delivered it. It wasn’t complicated. It wasn’t outrageous. It was clear, real, and from the heart. The story itself was complimented by a sparse set (one chair) and carefully designed lighting. My favorite moment was a bed created by a rectangle of light hitting the back wall of the stage. Guy, standing in the light, cosied up vertically as if under the covers. At another moment, Guy pulls out a map of Northern France from his pocket, just to show us where he’s headed on his journey. It was so relaxing and so engaging to watch such a lo-fi work of performance art. Paper and light technology. That’s my speed.
posted by: Kirsten Collins
Guy Dartnell’s Improvised Storytelling was attended by a varied crowd. Some seasoned performers, some novices, the naturally outgoing, the not-so-naturally outgoing. The workshop suited everyone.
We introduced ourselves, played a few rounds of tag, and then we made-up stories. The workshop was gentle, taking us through one basic exercise one step at a time. To recreate this workshop at your next dinner party or summer job as camp counselor, here is the play by play:
9/10/05 1pm Corberry Press
Posted by Patrick Sullivan
We met in a large round space with nothing in it but a toilet in the middle of the stage, which Guy encouraged us to ignore. I’d only showed up to this thing to photograph it, because I’m afraid of being on stage and being put on the spot. But Guy Dartnell is a soothing guy and I decided that I’d feel silly hanging around the edges, and I could shoot photos and do this at the same time. After some name exercises and a couple of tag-you’re-it games to loosen up. We spent the next two hours playing the same game in different ways – we would pair up with another participant, hold on to each other, and tell a story by trading off words as if we were one storyteller. One word apiece, back and forth, and a story would flow out.
Posted by Amber Bell
Just in case you were wondering what you should be doing tonight, if you should go see Guy Dartnell. I went to his storytelling workshop this afternoon, and was inspired by his simple reminders of how to create an interesting story. To me, how to tell a good story = how to make a good life. According to Guy Dartnell, allow the positive to happen. If there’s a door in front of you, don’t allow it to be locked. Let it be open. Allow yourself to arrive and really be in the place where you are. Instead of landing in an airport, then flying off to the moon, land in the airport, and then find out what happens if you let yourself really be there. Don’t shut out the possibilities by manufacturing mechanisms to protect yourself. Don’t destroy what you create. Storytelling advice. Life advice. From Guy Dartnell. I haven’t seen his performance yet, but if his charisma and knowledge translate into his own work, it will be good.
Birth of a Nation
posted by Gavin Shettler
Wow, that was incredible! Mesmerizing. Such sensory over load. Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky, takes us on an audio and visual tour of this silent film classic, Birth of a Nation. “The first movie ever viewed in the White House,” Miller tells us before his performance. Everything is live: Miller composes and improvises both music and video through a bank of wires and monitors, as a tryptic of video screens whirl the night mares of The Civil War and Reconstruction behind him. The film is cut and spliced, some times drifting into nonlinear patterns. But don’t worry, DJ Spooky is in total control. With haunting beats and eery mixes, Miller pounds the audience with racist images of Clansmen on horses and statements like “I wanted to marry a white woman.” Through out the film, Miller also employs iconography. First, of semi chip circuits continually growing, becoming complete. The machine of slavery and racism is growing, thriving, even today. Another reoccurring image is of a dancer, continually taking a bow, continually ending, yet the dance is inescapable. It goes on and on.
DJ Spooky hits us hard with the lessons of the foundations that this nation has been built on–the machine that was honed by greed and selfishness. Its result is the racism that still infects our country today. DJ Spooky is one of the great artists of our time. Pushing the ideas of musical composition, club dance and video, video art and performance. Spooky is not afraid to bare his teeth and produce work with real depth and relevance. Particularly to our lily white city. Hypnotic and engaging, DJ Spooky is not to be missed, except by the two girls sitting next to me (I think they thought they were going to a dance party).
Guy Dartnell: Travels with my Virginity Friday September 9, 2005
“Everything sounds better with a British accent.”
Is it just me, or does everything sound more romantic when said with a British accent?
It’s true, I may be a bit biased being an American girl who is easily charmed with the sophistication of an accent, but honestly I was enthralled in Guy’s storytelling. It was less about the way he walked around using the lights and the chair to help emphasize the story and more about the way he just told it. He’s a brilliant storyteller and you can tell he’s been telling this one for a very long time. Surprisingly, and to our advantage, he still makes it interesting.
I most enjoyed his humor even when the subject matter was less than funny. There’s nothing funny about the French man who seems to be sleeping with his daughter but Guy make the situation light hearted in a sort of, “We have to laugh at it, ‘cause we can’t cry about it.” way.
STREB: Thursday September 8, 2005
A Great turnout or Giant head in my way or Man vs. the machine.
It never fails; I always get stuck behind the people who are at least six
feet tall with kids on their shoulders. This time was no different, except
the six foot tall person was a photographer. Where the action moved- his
head followed. Oh the agony!!! Regardless, I heard the first three parts
of STREB which I though was sort of an interesting way to experience the
action. I could hear their calls of “Right! “ “Center “ “Left “ and
such as they attempted to fly off the trampoline. This was followed shortly by a
loud thudding noise which the crowd seems to gasp in horror at but secretly
I think they loved it.
Travels with my Virginity
posted by Gavin Shetter
In the tradition of the Spalding Grey monologue, Guy Dartnell weaves a personal tale of himself as a 19 year old, wannabe hippie on a quest to loose his virginity. He tells us of his adventures hitch hiking across France on a quest to find love and his manhood. His travels go awry right from the start with strange and even dangerous encounters with those who give him rides along the way.
Dartnell tells his story, clearly, and from an obviously experienced actor’s sense of timing and delivery. His story rings true, particularly to the male psyche that has experienced that sense of adolescent angst and bewilderment about the female creature and all her mysteries.
Dartnell delivers an enjoyable and entertaining story, yet, some how lacking in its engagement. It continually felt like he had complied a bunch of great party antidotes, yet wasn’t at the party. His delivery never quite totally immersed you in his world. There was a sense of shyness about the actor’s performance. Maybe Dartnell’s story telling would have found that extra punch if he would of had a few stiff drinks in him. But for something light, like an appetizer or a salad, Travels with my Virginity was just fine. I was hungry though…I wanted meat!
PINKK aka Laura Curry and her gang are trying to collect your stories, through the barrier of storefront windows, track her down and tell her yours. updates at www.pinkk.net
Thurs 9/08 – 9/11 – Nordstrom (performance)
Thurs 9/08 – Pioneer Square (Kiosk)
Friday 9/09 Vodoo Donut (Kiosk)
Sat 9/10 – Sun 18th – Office (ongoing media)
Tues 9/13 – Jamison Square (Kiosk)
Wed 9/14 – Willamette Week (performance) T
Thurs 9/15 – Ecotrust (Kiosk)
Fri 9/16 – Office 7-11PM (Kiosk and Performers)
Sat 9/17 – 9/23 – Office (Kiosk)
Sat 9/18- The Works (Kiosk)
Posted By Amber Bell
DJ Spooky’s hands were incredible. When he held the microphone, when he described his thoughts on storytelling and the hidden links of history, his hands were elegantly gesticulating, making rhythms in the air. Then he got down to business. His hands were the sweetest tools, and he treated them with that much respect. Even behind his wall of technology, you could see his hands at work. Every once in a while, he would raise them up to his mouth. It almost looked like he was kissing them, paying reverence to them. Understandably so.
Swung by the Mostlandian Embassy yesterday. As it was apparently the holiday of Zahnpasta, they were officially closed, but luckily, the Jr. Ambassor Ice Cream was there and offered us ice cream! Choice of flavors? Maple & Bacon, Yam & Marshmellow, Milkshake ‘n French Fry, Strawberries and Ginger Snaps, and Emergen-C ice cream. There were full-size french fries in the milkshake ice cream. No one ordered bacon.
Each night the Mostlandian anthem will be played by a different musician/group. We asked the Jr. Ambassador about the score. “There has to be some kind of drone sound. There has to be clapping…oh, and a drum solo.”
We go back Monday to fill out the paperwork for passports. Oh, and to check out the rest of the services/bureaucratic departments for which we saw placards above the four service windows, including The What to Say Program, Holiday Planning and Approval Panel, High Fives!, and the Departments of Questionables and Great Ideas.
As told by TBA:04 star volunteer turned star PICA Staffer Brian Costello:
A young boy, 8 years old or so, sitting to the right of me watched STREB and as the cross beam went higher and higher and the performers kept “falling” off, the boy got more tense and nervous. As the beam raised slowly, the the kid blurted out, “THAT’S CRAZY! DON’T DO IT!” but remained transfixed and his mouth agape and his eyes shined with wonder as the performer gave into the law of gravity.
Kristy told a story at the staff meeting today about how one of the square’s original bricklayers came up to her and said that he didn’t like coming to the square as much any more because it was often being used to showcase a new car or flower shows but tonight gave him hope. This was what the square was made for.
Tell us your TBA Stories. Post comments, leave notes, if you post something really great we will get it on the main page.
posted by Rob McMahon
It has always seemed to me that the measure of a good story teller is his ability to captivate the audience. Well, count me captivated. In spite of the personal parallels, and the attempted flights of my mind into the recesses of memory, I could not let my thoughts wander for more than a few seconds for fear of missing any piece of Dartnell engaging tale.
Delivered on a bare stage save for a chair, and with minimal props (a few books and a pen), Dartnell transports you to the sides of freeways, the insides of peoples’ cars, and the dinner tables of strangers. Painted entirely with gestures and postures, facial expression and voice tones, he carries us with him through his misadventures in northern France trying his darndest to get laid.
Dartnell becomes the characters he meets along the way, remains himself at age 19, and still has room to editorialize as his present self with 20/20 hindsight. In so doing he illuminates that elusive search for a thing so desperately wanted, so fantastical in nature, and so laiden with hope, that in the moment it can be nothing but a frustration and a disappointment.
“Travels with my Virginity” is an everyman’s Odyssey. It’s moments are full of tension and fear, desperation and humor; they are pregnant with the giddy excitement of possibility. At times Dartnell is selfish and mean, at others, unbareablly polite. He is whatever the situation demands him to be in service of his end. And for all his struggles that end still elludes him, elludes him until life deems fit and it occurs without any effort whatsoever. And when it does it prooves that it is just one of many things that we monumentalize, something on which we hang the mantle of cure-all, hoping beyond hope that it’s attainment will finally make us whole, comfortable, and well forever.
“Travels” is a beautifully crafted, well told tale that bursts at the seams with humanity, and Dartnell is an enratpuring personality. I would, however, be remiss if I failed to give due credit to the lightning designer, Colin Grenfell, for so effectively conveying mood and location through light. Dartnell is masterfully aided by Grenfell’s work. Also of great service to the piece is the soundtrack provided by Dartnell’s classic rock icons (some of mine as well. Oh, Jim, when will you come and save us?)
If you have ever been young and in pursuit of anything, “Travels with my Virginity” is a must see. Playing again tonight in the Winningstad at 7:30 for the last time in town, make sure you get there early to claim your seat.
posted by Mel Favara
Flinging their bodies like careful rag dolls, the Streb dancers made use of the stuff of gimmick—bungee cords, hula hoops, and extreme sports attire. But their whimsy, the merriment of their orchestrated play, was the whimsy of Walt Whitman—underlined with an awareness of death and danger, and the skill and spirit of the performance outstripped the props that made it possible.
In one piece, the dancers wandered the stage, seemingly oblivious to the concrete blocks that ponderously swung on cords among them, averting collision by less than seconds, thumping to the ground just ahead of injury. As a viewer, I couldn’t help but think of the surface tension life has that prevents most accidents, but not all, at the last second. Children jumping from the second story window for fun, and to see if they could.
Many of the dances featured falls—pratfalls, slips, swan-dives from catwalks. In the opening, dancers simply lined up and took turns diving to the mat, the ponderous thump of their landings saying this too hurts, and is significant. Some blew kisses as their bodies descended, a graceful generosity in the pantomime of self-annihilation. Goodbye and goodbye again! shouted the bodies of each performer, rising from the stage to contort, touch one another, and climb the scaffolding again toward whatever might next befall them.
Posted by Annie Robb 9-9-05
As we filed into the W+K atrium, the music was bumping but at 11 am I noticed only about a half dozen heads among many perched on the bleachers nodding to Brothers Gonna Work it Out mixed in to the multi-layered beats and samples playing from DJ Spooky’s powerbook. He seems a mellow character, with a quick wit and notably long, elegant fingers working the turntables.
Paul Miller’s discussion didn’t feel like a formal lecture, but rather a basic introduction to a way of thinking about DJ and hip-hop culture in the context of our media and pop-culture savvy world, as well as within our current political climate. He attempted to “unpack DJing” with its layers of allegory and allusion, shared memory, and its presence as an art form. That Subliminal Kid touched on many interrelated issues and implications of the art and referred to it many times as a sculptural form employing a collage technique (of sampling). He placed the artistic use of electronic means to alter pre-existing/found material in an historical and political context. He touched on the presence of hip-hop as a postmodern art form accessible to people in a much different context (the club) from most other contemporary arts forms, though they have much else in common such as re-appropriation, reuse, multi-media and electronic tools and modes.
He discussed briefly the role of DJ as collector-editor-creator, context versus content, our “information ecology” and more (and more).
As an artist, Paul Miller goes beyond sound into a multi-media event, fully marrying the visual with the aural. He showed a smart, politically conscious video with an emcee (Distorted Mindz?) rhyming to beats while images rapidly emerged from his lips along with his words to play with meaning and metaphor.
paul miller/dj spooky lecture
posted by laura becker
so…i remember that last year when i wrote my first posting for the blog i had just watched monstersquad and i was thinking about the themes of water running throughout the festival. and it was pouring at the time. well now we’re dealing with the effects of katrina, and though i’m not going to try to connect too many distant thoughts, it did come to mind as i listened to dj spooky’s lecture. but i’ll get back to that.
paul miller, aka etc., was an interesting first event for me for this year’s TBA. i didn’t join the throngs of people last night for streb (i don’t do throngs very well) so i didn’t pick up on that festival-forcefield-surge i can tell is floating in the air around the people who were there. my introduction, in the quasi-corporate/academic setting of the w+k atrium was just fine though. i’m still the art history nerd with my notepad trying to catch every quotable phrase i hear and hoping that i will eventually write the most interesting comments of cultural criticism. and paul didn’t disappoint. he is very clearly informed in cinema and music history and eloquently describes his processes and passions. but i have a feeling that all his references to his work – words being visual metaphors, sampling as social sculpture, and using media as his palette – will resonate more for me as i get deeper into the festival. it seems like if this festival winds up having a theme for me, it may be simply the performance versions of mixed media and the tension of the live and the recorded performance. that certainly wound up being part of the description of a lot of the events i wound up picking, and i didn’t realize it until i listed them all together. although these days it’s probably impossible for something not to be mixed media.
Posted by Amber Bell
Having just moved here, Kristy Edmunds’ farewell was also my introduction to Portland. Standing in the crowd of thousands last night in Pioneer square, I felt welcomed. Listening to heartfelt descriptions of Kristy’s decade of work with PICA made me fully appreciate what I am being offered as a newcomer to this city; a vibrant, action packed art scene where I am invited to participate. Incredible.
Also incredible was the performance that followed the multimedia tribute to Kristy.
STREB. Seven bodies, throwing themselves into the air and falling to the earth. Seven stunningly built bodies, using every muscle. Defining the laws of physics with superpowered demonstrations.
Dancers yelled cues to each other, creating a language for their own game of human interaction. At times they were like school kids, swinging on the bars, mimicking movements, climbing and jumping from the highest point possible. At other times, they were graceful air swimmers, soaring and diving. At all times they were powerful, precise, and in tune with each other. A smooth running machine.
Speaking of machines, Streb used a lot of fancy equipment. A gigantic trampoline was simultaneously an understated prop and a vital necessity. Bungee cords, mammoth elastic straps, and concrete blocks swinging as pendulums were less understated, but equally vital to the pieces. All sets were scaled to accommodate an audience of 7,000.
The performance spanned from goofy to dangerous, touching at various times on both breathtaking and claustrophobic. It was so acrobatically captivating that it was easy to be absorbed by subject matter that was straightforward, even if it was a glossary on the laws of physics.
STREB was a sensational way to begin ten days of what I anticipate to be phenomenal performances. I can’t wait.
Elizabeth STREB refers to herself as an “Action Architect” a term that makes the body shift in response. My six year old, like many of the thousands of people in Pioneer Courthouse Square gathered in celebration of art, TBA and the truly inimitable Kristy Edmunds, wiggled his body and stared with wide eyes as a woman flung, glided, and spun among her action companions—all this while strapped to a metal girder straight out of a dream in which the Teen Titans and George Balanchine build a skyscraper and conquer the world. A conversation ensued as to whether the dancers seemed more like astronauts, divers, or bicyclists. “Are they men or women?” my son wondered. “Neither! Both!” we decided.
What was so beautifully peculiar and joyous to this observer—in addition to the exquisite control of the dancers’ bodies colliding and passing through space—occurred as the troupe responded to each other’s nuances, moving from one action to another: the slap and turn of a body on a mat; a performer’s smile upon emerging from a flip; the barely audible (or loud!) vocalized directions; the side-long glances cast while tracking movements—taunting catastrophe.
And these tiny, transitional gestures echoed the smiles, shifting bodies, and meandering paths of the audience. They moved, we moved; they smiled, we smiled.
What a perfect expression of the collaboration, risk taking, and grace that grew PICA into the organization that it is now, and that will continue to shape it into the future.
Cooley Art Gallery, Reed College
I’m C.R. Tonight was the kick-off TBA event for me and most of Portland, and it brought down the house. TBA has been a bit of a well-kept secret in my circle of friends, and I have spent almost as much time explaining the nature of TBA as singing its praises. Friends have been boggled by PICA advertising (what are all the acronyms? why is that woman weighing her head? Is it live? Isn’t all art time based?) and I haven’t had a clear answer (it’s Japanese dancers wearing white on white stages, it’s choreography in pools at the Hilton, it’s midnight parties with marching bands…) but tonight I think Portland got a taste of how fun and accessible TBA can be.
Over 6000 people crammed into Pioneer Square for Steb’s gravity defying performance. Where were you?
Physics met the physical as the company’s dancers slammed, slid and flew into each other. I could hear equal amount wow and owww emanating from the crowd . At some moments complete silence prevailed as dancers walked the rafters taking a swan dive into the mats far below.
Speaking of swans tonight was also Kristy Edmunds farewell party-her swan song was sweet – as we thanked her for ten years of extraordinary vision she reminded us it is and always will be the vision of artists that leads us all. So as we collide into the third annual TBA festival – let the artists guide us towards a better, grander, glowing future.
Fri Sept 9 is a night of firsts, from Guy Dartnell to DJ Spooky get ready set and go go go go go. Tickets 10-20 bucks info and more at 503-224-PICA
AND! AND! AND!-due to circumstances beyond our control opening night at the WORKS has had a ambush makeover, W+K Tokyo Lab will take the back seat to Fryk the Beat with the new line up featuring DJ Jayanta, Copy, DJ Hot Air Balloon, E*Rock + Y.A.C.H.T and DJ Spooky who closes the night with a super not so secret set. More info @ www.frykbeat.com
The action starts at 10 and goes way past your bedtime. Tickets at the door 5-10 bucks, 18th and NW Northrup
STREB TONIGHT – *8pm Pioneer Square- FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Everyone is welcome, invited and encouraged- see bodies flying and colliding above you and if that is not enough for you – there is a party afterwards where bodies will be flying and colliding into some cold beer and hot tunes. or something like that.
AGAIN- FREE- TONIGHT- 8PM- MAGICAL PERFORMANCE FREAK OUT
News from the UK hits TBA today like a heart-attack and the WW special section is now available on every street corner- MEOW.
Guy Dartnell is on his way to PDX for his one man show Travels with my Virginity the Guardian(UK) and the WW (PDX) share their views today
“a very pleasant 85 minutes…..He tells his story with such a lack of guile
that you get a pimples-and-all portrait of a self-obsessed callow youth, who
is, as he says with 25 years’ worth of hindsight, “so different from me, yet
so clearly me… This is a show about the panic of learning to be a grown-up, finding the balance between recklessness and timidity and discovering that things seldom turn out quite as you had
imagined they would.”
vs. Portland’s own Richard Speer from WW
“Think of it as Little Darlings, Continental-style, except without Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol. A teenager, desperate to lose his virginity, hitchhikes across France, hoping to get picked up in as many ways as possible. Madcap adventures ensue, with loony-bin inmates and lounge-lizard kidnappers as roadblocks to successful defloration. Will our hero, Guy Dartnell, emerge from the melee with his wits intact but his cherry popped? “
Looks like Antony strikes again winning the coveted Mercury Prize beating out every Brit in the running. Antony says…I am completely overwhelmed,” “I think they must have made a mistake. I think that is insane.” “… trying to pick between such different nominees must have been like choosing between an “orange and a spaceship and a potted plant.”
Posted by: Levi Hanes
I had the opportunity to attend the STREB workshop this morning. My fears of potential forced participation were alleviated as I stammered something about being with the PICA Press Corp. Thanks to PICA’s Eugenie I was ushered to the side of the mat just as Elizabeth Streb began her introduction. I have watched some dance rehersals while in college and have been to a few performances so although I move like a spasmodic on the dance floor I can appreciate what the participants’ experience. Streb’s teaching approach was relaxed, congratulatory, and encouraging with an emphasis on the dancer finding their own means to perform the actions. Some notes on the difference from other dance forms I have seen is the STREB’s emphasis on surprise. Rather than leading into a move Streb emphasized muscle tension and quick motions. The body was encouraged to move as full planes, face parallel with shoulders, hips, etc. Instead of the head turning towards the direction the body was to move or the arms swinging into motion, or a crouch to launch a jump, the motions had a taught, muscular snap of a spring set loose.
Talking to PICA volunteer Alexis after the session she pointed out that the impact of the moves took some getting used to. Imagine the body in positions of planes landing with impressive thumps on mats.
The STREB workshop was definitely aimed at participants who had previous dance experience or just a crap load of gumption (neither of which I have), but I felt I gathered a unique insight into tomorrow’s performance. Had I participated I think the experience would have been far richer. A tip for tomorrow: don’t blink. There are some seriously quick moves of near impossible feats and the STREB folks intend to give you no warning.
See you there.
Do you like to send text messages on your phone? Are you excited about the TBA? Then we have a little social experiment we want to try out.
Text based chat!
If you send a text message to “[email protected]” with the words, “join tba” then you will be added to the TBA chat. Then any message sent to “[email protected]” by a member of the TBA chat will get sent to everyone who signs up. So you can tell people if something is amazing, or running late, or whatever you want to share.
You can read more about it from Josh or Dodgeball.com. (make sure you have free incoming text messages!)
Posted by: Rob McMahon
It’s the night before the night before. Christmas eve eve for Portland art lovers.
I spent the afternoon in Wallace Park hammering out the final details of my mad schedule for the coming festival. As with the previous two years, I will make a point to cram in every possible viewing. Pouring meticulously over the festival guide, I calibrated my schedule to maximize efficiency. That is: how long is a show + how long will it take me to walk to the next venue / how big that venue is x the probable turnout to that 2nd or 3rd show of the evening = what I will likely do on any given night.
I’m not fond of math. But for art it’s worth it.
And what art it is! This year’s festival, bursting with local, national, and global acts will challenge and push us to new levels of thought and emotion. For me, TBA is a much needed artistic reprieve. It succeeds, at least for a time, at quenching my thirst for expansive, quality performance. And more importantly, it creates an atmosphere of creative discourse in a city whose committment to modern art is questionable at best.
For 10 days it is easy to believe that art is the most important thing in the world, that it makes life worth living. And that’s true, even if it’s hard to remember on the other three hundred and fifty five days.
My hat is off to PICA and to Kristy for making it all possible with her vision and labor. And my thanks go to all the staff, volunteers and artists who make the festival happen. It’s a hell of a lot of work, so don’t hesitate to let them know you’re grateful.
Yes, you, who are reading this in the quiet of your home or the bustle of some wifi hotspot. Know that you are not alone in your love for this thing.
And know that I’m looking forward to seeing you out there; to the conversations we will have walking between PSU and the Newmark theater, or over tacos and tea, of beauty and life; why it is that the way a dancer holds her arm, or how a storyteller turns a phrase can change the way we look at our place in the world; and better than why, to marvel at how it has been done by our simple surrender to the moment that art hits us, penetrating every cell in our bodies like sunrise.
Dearest People of UrHo and beyond,
A festival is about to x-plode all over the place. Evidence of this can be found almost everywhere in town. (and out of town – see the mighty article on TBA Artist Antony and the Johnsons from todays NYT below…) Your invited of course- there are lots of free to the public events- and for those of you who want to attend more than that- volunteer. It is easy good stuff with many rewards like that ” i just did something selfless” feeling and that ” i just got free tickets” feeling. email [email protected] or visit TBA Central on 11th and Glisan NW to sign up.
Ok now read about this beautiful warbling man who will be performing right here during TBA…
Posted by Laura Becker 6.19.2005
i have had a lot on my mind lately, increasingly, in fact since the last time we all posted on this blog. i feel like it’s sort of been one long down hill since last september – the election, the tsunami, the continuing quagmire that is our foreign policy, the terri schiavo rouse to disregard separation of church and state, the increasing attacks on same-sex couples, non-believers, independent thinkers, medical marijuana users, and in general everyone who still believes that our personal freedom and choice is a given. i’ve felt mad, i’ve felt lost, and i’ve even felt radical, and mostly i’ve just tried to remember how lucky i am to be in portland and surrounded by friendly free thinkers like me. all of this is getting to a pica-relevant point.
this past weekend’s opening festivities for LANDMARK and kick-off of the TBA anticipation season had a simultaneously calming and jostling effect on me. the calming came in the form of expression. this city has a lot of art to offer, and maybe i just don’t get to as much as i should, but i can’t remember ever feeling so embraced by work that was vaguely unsettling but just plain pretty at the same time. every piece evoked such beauty and balance (even when it was being spewed) and i felt lucky to be in its company. it felt like a family reunion, every piece knowing just how to communicate with you in a way strangers don’t, knowing just how to make you feel at home. from mike slack’s polaroids to hans weigand’s tapestry, each work spoke my language, or at least the language i want to speak. a language without reservation, without injury, without shame, with confidence, with revelation, and with insight. a language that to me feels threatened and that i no longer feel like we can take for granted. this was my jostling, my activation, my surge.
part of this motivation in me is inspired by my thoughts about kristy edmunds, as we approach the eve of her departure. i wasn’t here when PICA began, but in my head i imagine that she got this language started or at least engaged here and that she put the vocabulary in place, and at that time, i doubt she could ever have imagined correctly what her life would be like personally and professionally 10 years later. i know that melbourne’s gain doesn’t mean our loss in terms of PICA and the impact it’s had for our arts community in these last years, but to me it is a warning. while this nation’s open door and open mind policy seems to be closing at the speed of light, melbourne seems to offer kristy, her family, and her career an easier and more universal acceptance.
this landmark is not just about pieces on a wall or projections on a screen. kristy and PICA and portland itself have been the architects of this, but their design is not set in stone. what we build from now on and how we preserve what we’ve built and keep it from being bulldozed is the landscape we must protect. for now, let’s celebrate these last 10 years and anticipate the approaching 10 days, and let’s not take one minute of it for granted.
PICA is about the activity generated by a community using its energy.
And so is this place- or this space that i am in right now. The PICA blog has existed for the past two years – mainly as a running record of the artists, performances and happenings during our Time-Based Art Festival. This year thanks to the wonders of Urban Honking we will move the blog over and out into a better brighter place. Pretty soon we will have over 20 artists and writers and photographers documenting the Festival but right now…
PICA is ten years old. We have a show up – like a timeline of sorts. It’s called LANDMARK.
Landmark is about the work generated by artists that have lived within, hobered above, existed in-between, landed on top of, catapulted out from, and left their mark on PICA and Portland. It is a look forward and back. It is the sum of parts, It is a history animated and static. It is a chronology of support and collaboration. It is about promoting the ideas and intensity of artists for over a decade.
The Landmark exhibition is open to the public W-S 12-6pm, it is 450 feet of wall and work on the third floor of a still delightfully raw warehouse space on 13th and Flanders. It is on the third floor.
The exhibition is FREE to members and a suggested donation of 2 bucks for everyone else. WE WILL NOT TURN ANYONE AWAY. So if you want to see the art. Then come visit us.
Every Saturday at 2pm Brad Adkins takes you and a can of paint for a walk, this cover version of the infamous Francis Alys performance is a long yellow streak down the spine of the pearl (and beyond)
LANDMARK is open until July 16th.
It has been TEN YEARS since Kristy Edmunds convinced a small group of friends and a small town to open their hearts to the new and untried, the strange and the beautiful and the possibilities that lie in supporting the work of artists. She founded PICA in 1995 when she was 29 years old. Ten years later, with the circle of friends, artists, audiences in the thousands, and our town not-so-small or small-minded, it is time to move forward without her. As we send her off to her new home in Melbourne, Australia we want to remind her how she changed the creative landscape here, how she moved us, and most of all to thank her for making all of this inspired activity real.
If you had an inspired moment at PICA in an audience, on stage, in the resource room, at a lecture, in those famous DADA Ball port o’ potties, we want to hear about it. Tell us your stories and leave a note for Kristy wishing her well, thanking her for her words and her way.