The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) offers a unique opportunity to sample from (or feast upon) three different performances by humorist Spalding Gray as it boldly proclaims Honorary Spalding Gray Week in Portland, April 15 – 24. The festivities begin with a benefit performance of Interviewing the Audience, Tuesday, April 15 from 8 – 11 p.m. at The BrewHouse Taproom & Grill (2730 NW 31st). Tickets are $40 per person ($35 for PICA members) with all proceeds to benefit PICA. Wednesday and Thursday, April 16 & 17, at 8 p.m. at the Tiffany Center, PICA presents It’s A Slippery Slope, Spalding’s hilarious account of learning to ski at age 53. Tickets are $20 general admission ($18 for PICA members). April 18-24, the Cinema 21 presents Gray’s Anatomy, Steven Soderbergh’s film version of Spalding’s encounter with disease and healing. A portion of the proceeds from the screenings will benefit PICA. Advance tickets for both Interviewing the Audience and It’s A Slippery Slope may be purchased through PICA by calling 242-1419. For showtimes and admission prices for Gray’s Anatomy, please call the Cinema 21 at 223-4515.

A writer, actor and performer, Spalding Gray has proven that fact — when rendered it all its eccentric detail — is not only stranger than fiction, it is a lot funnier, too. Crafted with snap timing, razor wit and encyclopedic obsessiveness, Spalding’s improvised, autobiographical tales are the confessions of a “one-man-cast-of-tens” sped up to 78 rpm. Equal parts storyteller, stand-up comedian and group therapist, Spalding Gray has been referred to as “America’s high priest of anxiety.”

With Interviewing the Audience, Spalding strays from his usual format and proves that everyday people are as hilarious and uncanny as anything he can cook up himself. Strolling through the audience, he will solicit several “volunteers” to join him on stage one at a time, where he will get to know them publicly as they share stories about themselves and their lives. This rare, one-of-a-kind evening is presented through the generous support of Portland Brewing Company. Seating is limited to 200.

Spalding Gray has created a series of fifteen monologues since 1979 which have been performed throughout the United States, Europe and Australia, including Sex and Death to the Age 14; Booze, Cars and College Girls; A personal History of the American Theater; Monster in a Box; Gray’s Anatomy; and his OBIE Award-winning, Swimming to Cambodia. In addition to his solo performances, Spalding Gray has appeared both on and Off-Broadway, including his portrayal of the Stage Manager in a revival of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, and Hoss in the Performance Group’s New York premiere of Sam Shepard’s Tooth of the Crime. With the Wooster Group, which he co-founded in 1997, he wrote and performed the autobiographical trilogy, Three Places in Rhode Island.

His film and television credits include: The Killing Fields, Swimming to Cambodia, True Stories, Clara’s Heart, Beaches, The Pickle, Monster in a Box, King of the Hill, The Paper, The Toolshed, Beyond Rangoon, Diabolique and most recently, Steven Soderbergh’s Gray’s Anatomy, plus the HBO special Terrors of Pleasure and HBO’s Premiere films The Image and Zelda.

He has also published a number of his monologues, including Sex and Death to Age 14 (Random House); Swimming to Cambodia (Theater Communications Group); In Search of the Monkey Girl (Aperture Press); Orchards, Monster in a Box, and Gray’s Anatomy (Vintage); as well as the novel Impossible Vacation (Knopf).

For more information, please call PICA at 503/242-1419.