THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY? That, as ArtsWatch reader and Oregon composer Jack Gabel reminds us, is the title of a 1969 Jane Fonda movie about marathon dances, those Depression-era competitions that went on and on until the prize money finally went to the last man and woman standing.
Alessandro Sciarrone’s dance FOLK-S, Will you still love me tomorrow?, which played a few nights ago at Portland’s annual TBA Festival, might not have the same tinge of desperation. But as Andrea Stolowitz writes for ArtsWatch, it’s a marathon nonetheless. And it’s dance until almost everyone drops.
“The lights bumped up,” she writes. “An actor came forward and said, ‘Tonight we will perform a dance traditional of the Tyrolean region. We will keep performing this dance until either no one of you is left in the audience or no one of us is left on stage. Anyone who leaves the theater will not be allowed back in.‘ And with that gauntlet thrown, the dance started again.”
Later, as the crowd and stage begin to thin: “They danced through heat and sweat and in twosomes and fivesomes, and sometimes alone. Audience members began to leave. And still the five danced. And you could think that so long as someone was there to watch them maybe they would dance forever. And on they danced. Until another actor left. We sat there, shocked. It was happening. We were down to four. And more audience left.” That was not, as you might surmise, the end. Still, just to reassure you: No horses were harmed in the making of this dance.
In TBA goes local, ArtsWatch’s Jamuna Chiarini slips behind the scenes for quick-hit interviews with several Portland dancers and choreographers who’ve been showing their work on the festival’s stages.
TBA continues in venues across the city through Sunday, with some visual arts exhibitions lasting until October 11.
OPENING THIS WEEKEND. Maureen Porter (above) stars as Aphra Behn, “poet, actress, spy, and one of the first professional female playwrights of the Restoration,” in Third Rail Rep’s production of Liz Duffy Adams’ comedy Or, opening Friday at Imago.
Also new on Portland stages this weekend:
A big, full-bore revival of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town at Portland Center Stage.
La Luna Nueva, Milagro’s wide-ranging festival of performance for kids ranging from First Nations storytelling to West African and taiko drumming, Mexican legends, flamenco guitar, Tahitian dance, and more.
SABINA POOLE IS ON A MISSION. It’s a good mission. You might even say, fascinating. In a nutshell, over the past year and a bit she’s visited 70 artists in their studios around Oregon, gathering photographs and interviews for a book coming out in October, Connective Conversations | Inside Oregon Art, 2011-2014. She’s begun to run excerpts – intriguing snippets, really – weekly in ArtsWatch. “My method was, I hoped, unobtrusive,” she writes. “… My role was to document the artists in their unique environment – in the lighting they were used to, in the rooms they lived and worked in, surrounded by the things they loved and cared about, even if that meant dogs and children or other unanticipated creatures.”
The series so far:
Introducing Connective Conversations. The nitty gritty on the project and Poole’s rules of engagement.
Renee Couture: A trailer with a view. A visit to the wild woods east of Roseburg, where Poole hikes uphill to her studio trailer in Peele, which “is near a place called No Fog. No kidding.”
DE May: Inside a studio, darkly. Among Poole’s notes on finally getting to see the reclusive Salem artist: “HATES daylight, only likes to be up and about in the dark – hence his darkened windows, and all the shadows. … darkness is key to his work, and ethos. Interesting relationship with goldfish.”
WELCOME TO ARTSWATCH WEEKLY. We’ve been sending a letter like this every Tuesday for a couple of years now to a select group of email subscribers. We’ll continue to do that, and now we’re posting it weekly on the ArtsWatch home page. In ArtsWatch Weekly, we take a look at stories we’ve covered in the previous week, give early warning of events coming up, and often head off on little arts rambles that we don’t include anywhere else. You can read this report here. Or, you can get it delivered weekly to your email inbox, and get a quick look at all the stories you might have missed (we have links galore) and the events you want to add to your calendar. It’s easy to sign up. Just click here, and leave us your name and e-address.
A choral Rach around the clock. ArtsWatch visited St. Mary’s Cathedral to hear the vitalchorus Cappella Romana perform Rachmaninoff’s immensely moving, century-old All Night Vigil: “It seemed to traverse time, reaching far back to simple lines and harmonies and recombining them in complex ways.”
HENK PANDER: AFTER THE APOCALYPSE. Paul Sutinen considers the Dutch-born and -trained Portland artist’s “delicious” show of recent large drawings at Nine Gallery of “apocalyptic fantasies.” He likes what he sees.
THE UNDERSTUDY: DRIVING IT HOME. Gavin Hoffman’s “antic, pacing, begging, whining, very funny stand-up comedy routine of an opening scene,” I write, is key to understanding Theresa Rebeck’s actors’ vehicle of a comedy at Artists Rep.
ONCE UPON A TIME: TRUE STORIES. Christa Morletti McIntyre discovers a whole family of personal storytelling at Alberta Abbey in Portland Story Theater’s season-opening show.
NEW MUSIC, NEW BLOOD, NEW HORIZONS. ArtsWatch’s Brett Campbell looks back over several months of Oregon music news and recaps some of the scene’s biggest trends.
SKULDUGGERY IN HIGH PLACES. Marty Hughley speaks forthrightly of Bill Cain’s audacious comedy-drama Equivocation at Post5 Theatre: “Equivocation is a bear of a script to tackle. For Post5, a young company blessed with more pluck than resources, it counts as a remarkably ambitious choice.”
THE HOUSE ON THE WALL, THE HOUSE IN YOUR HEART. Samuel Eisen-Meyers discovers “loss, dread and revitalization” in Ritsuko Ozeki’s recent show of prints and paintings at Froelick Gallery that were prompted by Japan’s massive earthquake and tsunami of 2011 that led to the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.
STILL WAITING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS. “Gogo’s feet stink. Didi reeks of garlic. And, no, Godot never does show up. I take a deep dive into Northwest Classical’s “itchy and morosely funny” revival of Waiting for Godot at the tiny Shoebox Theater.
“I LOVE WHAT YOU’VE DONE WITH THIS ROOM!” Visiting Leslie Baum’s exhibit at Hap Gallery, Patrick Collier writes, is a bit like “how one might encounter an orchestrated suburban living room (but in a good way.)” He adds: “Despite the bright colors that abound, I read this collection of work as a subtle critique of the more comfortable constructs of making and seeing, plus a little elbow to the ribs of those self-seduced, dulled attendees of the soirée.”
We end with a couple of requests. First, if you have friends or family members who you think would enjoy our newsletter and our cultural writing online, could you please forward this letter to them? The bigger our circle of friends, the more we can accomplish. Second, if you’re not already a member of ArtsWatch, may we ask you to please take a moment and sign on? What you give (and your donation is tax-deductible) makes it possible for us to continue and expand our reporting and commenting on our shared culture in Oregon. Thanks, and welcome! Becoming a member is easy: