PICA’s TBA 2011 Fest Early Line-Up Announced

Last year, Culturebot dutifully trotted off to Portland to visit family and catch nearly the entire run of the two-week Time-Based Art (TB:A) Festival run by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts. It was an incredible experience, with a great late-night performance space and bar in a converted high school (a very Portland sorta thing), with amazing shows by the likes of Jerome Bel, Radoslaw Rychcik, and more.

Well, this year’s line-up is mostly trickled out, even if all the details aren’t yet on their website. New York is (predictably) well represented with the likes of Andrew Dinwiddie (with his Jimmy Swaggart show), Taylor Mac with Comparison is Violence, and Kyle Abraham, who’s taking both The Radio Show as well as presenting a viewing of his WIP Live! The Realest MC. Monologist Mike Daisey is back again with his latest, an ambitious 24-hour-long solo performance (to be performed only once); looks like Nature Theater of Oklahoma needs to hurry up with the rest of Life and Times before the idea’s stale.

Otherwise, there are three shows that I would definitely put into the can’t-miss category: Portland’s tEEth Performance are presenting their last work, Home Made, which recently played Fusebox in Austin (see here for my former intern’s interview with the company). I can’t say enough good things about tEEth–Angelle Hebert is a choreographer whose work demonstrates a subtle and complex understanding of the human body, and there’s a profound dignity to the work she presents with her husband, composer Phillip Kraft.

Then there’s zoe | juniper, the company led by choreographer/dancer Zoe Scofield and artist/designer Juniper Shuey. Similar to Crystal Pite, Scofield (who, full disclosure, I know and like and respect) makes movement that’s extremely technically complex, distilling or maybe even deconstructing balletic and classical dance into a physically compelling contemporary form, which occurs in a visually stunning atmosphere provided by her collaborator Shuey. A Crack in Everything, her newest, has its debut shortly at Jacob’s Pillow before beginning a two-year tour that takes it to Portland, her hometown of Seattle, and beyond.

And lastly, there’s Austin’s Rude Mechs with The Method Gun. I’m not even going to bother describing it–I’ve gushed plenty before, so check the record–other than to say that if you have the chance to see this piece of theater, don’t miss it. This is the sort of show that gets poor dumb kids hooked on theater in the first place, and the sort that embittered, desensitized critics like me are always jonesing for, those all-too-rare kids of energy that really remind you why you’re in this game in the first place.

Also worth noting is the fact that, if I’m not mistaken, this is the last TBA Fest with Cathy Edwards at the helm (see our interview with her here). In the cloistered little world of contemporary performance, where gigs as a curator are few and far between in North America (there’s less than 20, I think), everyone’s been all atwitter with gossip over who’s going to be taking over for Edwards and under what circumstances. Again, if I’m not mistaken, PICA seems to finally be interested in having a full-time, permanent curator, rather than the current revolving door of three-year contracts. I know of a couple people in the running, and I have no idea when the announcement will be made, but it’s overall worth noting: whoever takes that job will be assuming a transformational role in the commissioning/touring circuit in North America, and all the artists who want those opportunities (particularly the ones who feel currently excluded or neglected) will be very interested to see who assumes the helm.

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