Work for Art

ArtsWatch Weekly: Bring it on, TBA. Bring it on, fall theater.

A look at the week that was in Oregon arts, and a glimpse ahead at the week that's going to be.

The greatest moment in my on-and-off love affair with the TBA festival came in the rising moonlight of Jamison Square on the second anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The performers were the great, New York-based Japanese dancers Eiko + Koma, whose slow, deliberate, breath-stoppingly beautiful butoh-inspired movement simply tore a hole in the sky. Their piece, danced in and around the water on that evening in 2003 and suffused with light, was called Offering, and it was exactly that: a sad, deep, hopeful blessing. “It strikes me, on this anniversary of death, that the world’s war-makers would detest this dance, which is about deep truths that can’t be glossed or managed,” I wrote at the time. “It is the holy and profane, inseparable, wrapped into one.”

This year’s festival, TBA:15, kicks off on Thursday, and runs pretty much nonstop through September 20, with a handful of exhibitions carrying through to October 11. There’s always the chance that something might rise out of it to such heights. A good deal probably won’t come close: TBA is about breaking molds and trying things out and taking chances, and when you take chances, the odds of failure rise. Contrarily, only by taking chances do you make the likes of Eiko and Koma’s Offering possible, and that’s what keeps audiences coming back. So, who’ll it be this year? Okwui Okpokwasili? Lars Jan? Tyondai Braxton? Lucy Yim? Radhouane El Meddeb? Dynasty Handbag? Dana Michel? Amy O’Neal? Someone else? The full schedule’s here. Let the games begin.

Italian choreographer and theater director Alessandro Sciarroni gives the U.S. premiere of his performance work FOLK-S, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? on Friday at TBA:15. Photo: Paolo Porto

Italian choreographer and theater director Alessandro Sciarroni gives the U.S. premiere of his performance work FOLK-S, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? on Friday at TBA:15. Photo: Paolo Porto

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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 beginning today we’ll also post 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: the allure of drive-in movies, for instance, or the meanings of the high-end art supermarket, or even the comfort and joy of stopping at the Otis Cafe on the way to the coast. From now on, 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.

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THE OLD AND THE NEW OF IT: While you’re waiting for the Portland Art Museum’s Seeing Nature, the big landscape show opening October 10 of paintings from the Paul Allen family collection, lots of smaller exhibits are worth a visit now. The print galleries are showing Now on View, recent acquisitions ranging from Canaletto to Whistler, Mark Tobey, Rita Robillard and others, through December 13. (Left: Dürer‘s 1518 engraving The Virgin and Child Crowned by Two Angels.) And the contemporary master Anish Kapoor has an exhibit of 18 bright prints from the Jordan D. Schnitzer collection, on view through October 25. (Right: Burgundy Red, from the series Shadow IV, 2011, etching, 28 3/16 x 37 5/16 inches. © Anish Kapoor and Paragon | Contemporary Editions Ltd.)

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THEATER, THEATER, WHO’S GOT THE THEATER? A few shows, such as Triangle’s Looped (see below) and Post5’s enormously entertaining Equivocation, have jumped the gun, but Portland’s new theater season begins with a wallop this weekend. Among this week’s new shows:

“Passion Play.” Profile Theatre continues its Sarah Ruhl season with parts 1 and 2 of this time-traveling trio, leading up to a longer run of part 3 September 25-October 24 at Shaking the Tree. Short run; Wednesday through Sunday.

“The Best of Everything.” Bag& Baggage throws dips into the secretarial pool of the wayback machine with this adaptation of a Rona Jaffe best-selling 1958 novel. B&B calls it a cross between Mad Men and Peyton Place. Opens Thursday; through September 27.

“One Man, Two Guvnors.” Clackamas Rep grabs the local premiere of Richard Bean’s enormously popular, very free adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s 18th century physical farce The Servant of Two Masters. Opens Friday, through October 4.

“Waiting for Godot.” Northwest Classical Theatre Collaborative brings a promising lineup to Beckett’s classic cross of spiritual angst and baggy-pants comedy: Pat Patton directs Don Alder as Estragon and Grant Byington as Vladimir, with Todd Hermanson, Steve Vanderzee, and Eric Lyness. Opens Friday; through October 11.

“Anything Goes.” Why, yes, we do believe the glorious music and lyrics are by the inimitable Cole Porter. Lakewood Theatre’s revival uses the Lindsay/Crouse updated book and features Amy Jo Halladay as Reno Sweeney,Brian Demar Jones as Billy Crocker, and Malia Davis as Hope Harcourt, with reliable support from the likes of Shawn Rogers and Darius Pierce. Anchors aweigh. Opens Friday; through October 18.

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Work for Art tries for seven figures

For its 10th year, the RACC program wants to break the one million dollar barrier

Since it started nine years ago, Work for Art has channeled $6.2 million straight into the hands of local arts groups. This year the workplace giving program established by the Regional Arts & Culture Council is aiming higher. The goal? One million bucks.

wfa-logo-onwhiteThat would be a big jump from last year, when Work for Art raised a little more than $750,000 from the nearly 2,000 employees at 76 companies that participate. But the campaign, announced by RACC on Thursday and led by David Lofland, President of KeyBank Oregon and SW Washington, and Portland Timbers President of Business Operations Mike Golub, is confident:  “Our past supporters are stepping up with extraordinary commitments for this year’s million-dollar campaign, which will help local arts organizations provide even more exceptional programs and services in the future,” Lofland said.

Some important Work for Art facts:

  • Money raised from employee donations is matched by a consortium of public and private partners.
  • All of the money raised goes directly to eligible arts groups—no administrative fees are tacked on.
  • Employees who give $60 or more receive an Arts Card, which allows them to get two-for-one tickets at a host of arts events for a year.
  • Although Work for Art is primarily a workplace giving program, anyone can participate by making a donation online at workforart.org. Donors who pledge $60 or more receive an Arts Card.

Oregon has some excellent ways to support the arts, including the Oregon Cultural Trust, and Work for Art is one of the best. RACC suggests that if you want YOUR company to participate, contact Kathryn Jackson, Work for Art Manager, at 503-823-5424 or kjackson@racc.org.