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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Risk/Reward Profile #7: Portland Experimental Theatre Lab

Wait, there is one more group! This year Portland Experimental Theatre Lab takes you out of the theatre for a little bit.

You can try and catch Wittgenstein's Mistress tonight, but if last night was any indication all three showings will sell out very quickly. 27 lucky people (9 per show) get to take this 15-minute audio tour from one of Portland's newest performance groups.

This work is a bi-coastal collaboration between recent New York transplant, Rebecca Lingafelter, NYC Performance Lab 115's resident sound designer Mark Valadez and their NY Director M
eiyin Wang. Meiyin already flew back east, but you can read more about her here.

Each audience member gets outfitted with an ipod and heads into a world that blends sound, movement and imagery while following a woman who claims to be the last person on earth.

We love when new performance groups move to Portland!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Risk/Reward Artist Profile #6: PEOPLE PERSON

Triple threat writer/actor/solo performers Joe von Appen and Angela Fair combine forces as PEOPLE PERSON, using the buddy system to see if they can monologue their way out of humanity’s long dark night of the soul.

Angela was a member of performance art barn burners House of Cunt and has created a name for herself with a distinct brand of psycho-sexual social satire, called “creepy” and “uncanny” by area critics. Joe has shared the stage with Reggie Watts and The Larry Sanders Show guest Tim Miller, and has toured his work along both coasts, opening for indie-rock darlings Starfucker and Why? To date, PEOPLE PERSON has performed exclusively underground shows including a friend’s benefit and an installation series at Disjecta.

We're psyched to see these two perform together and provide them with a larger platform for their work. We've loved them as solo artists for years, and they're both Risk/Reward alums - Joe in 2009 and Angela in 2009 and 2010. We're not saying we had anything to do with nudging them toward a collaboration, but we're glad it happened nonetheless.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Risk/Reward Artist Profile #5: Jessica Jobaris & General Magic

My first experience of the general magic of Jessica Jobaris was squeezed into a private karaoke room a year ago with her and 30 other people at the famed Seattle's Best. I believe she was wearing a form fitting plaid leisure suit and rocking out on air guitar, but my memories are foggy -- either way she made an impression.

I was also lucky enough to see this performance up at Northwest New Works two weeks ago! I don't want to give anything away, but Jessica describes it as "part comical dance music mayhem, part dramatic performance art" and the Seattle Times described their show at NWNW as "an unleashing of total anarchy that found crazed humor in whiplash incongruities of action and tone."

All I can say is it features falling down stairs, men in suits playing tug of war, various degrees of nudity (gratuitous or not: you decide) and a half-inflated globe bouncing into the audience. I also wasn't sure how much of the performance was improvised, which is always (to me) an exciting line to walk and to witness.

Jessica Jobaris returned to Seattle in 2009 after spending a year working in Berlin, and she has been part of the dance scene in Seattle for over ten years, performing with Lingo dance theater, Scott/Powell Performance, Maureen Whiting Company, Bryon Carr Performance and SaltHorse.

This time around she's working with some sweet collaborators, some of whom have graced the Risk/Reward stage in the past (hello, Mike Pham!) 

We can't wait to see Jessica Jobaris and General Magic take the stage at Risk/Reward!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Risk/Reward Artist Profile #4: Zac Nelson & Stephanie Simek

Zac and Stephanie are the faces of our festival this year! The fridge, or rather the contents of the fridge, will be their jumping point for the work you'll see at Risk/Reward. They "will be preparing a meal in front of a live audience while simultaneously looping and manipulating the sounds of cooking to create a performance that can be absorbed on several sensory levels- sight, taste, and sound." Mmm, sounds delicious!

Stephanie Simek's work is described as coming from a "world where science and logic connect with the surreal and the sweet." In addition to her performances and installations, Stephanie designs a line of wearable accessories using unusual materials and forms. Her unique collection can be found in publications, exhibitions, and shops worldwide. Visit her and her wares here.

The second half of the duo, Zac Nelson, has released over 13 albums of music on numerous labels in genres such as experimental, ambient, pop and avant progressive rock. He has shown his art consisting of large-scale abstract paintings and sculptures made with kombucha cultures, pig intestines, bull kelp,metal and moss in galleries along the west coast. Visit him here.

You could spice up your summer wardrobe from these two!

We are very excited to welcome Zac and Staphanie to the Risk/Reward stage.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Preview Preview Preview

While we are excited to profile Risk/Reward Festival artists ourselves, it is also exciting to read the words of others. Read Robert Tyree's take on ultra HERE and Willamette Week's take HERE.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Risk/Reward Artist Profile #3: Part and Parcel

Another artist fresh off a successful appearance at Northwest New Works is Part & Parcel (choreographer Allie Hankins, performing with Mary Margaret Moore). Her piece By Guess & By God was warmly received in Seattle, and now Risk/Reward audiences will have an opportunity to see this new work described by Seattlest as, “profoundly effective piece… emotionally deep without either irony or indulgence.”

Hankins takes nautical images as her jumping off point for this piece that, “investigates the way the body internalizes, becomes undone by, and transmits the heartache of loss, and the subsequent disorientation of longing for someone who is gone forever.”

Playing with movement that evokes a vessel tethered between the past and the present and buffeted by desire, this work is highly influenced by Hankin’s experience choreographing for Seattle performance-makers, Implied Violence. Working with the company, Hankins developed, “a clarified movement aesthetic and enriched understanding of dramaturgy.”

The exchange of influences between performing artists of different stripes through collaboration and mutual support is one of the things we love about making work in Portland and one of the intentions behind the Risk/Reward Festival itself. Help us welcome Allie and the rest of this year’s artists at our Meet the Artmakers event on Sunday, June 26 afternoon from 3 – 5pm in the Artists Rep lobby. Mingle with performers, designers, directors, producers and enjoy snacks and coffee. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your next collaborator!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Risk/Reward Artist Profile #2: Kyle Loven

Jonathan, Jerry and I drove up to Seattle this weekend to see the first weekend of the Northwest New Works Festival. Amidst the dance, theatre and music offerings on display was When You Point at the Moon, a creepy fable acted out via puppets, projections and recorded sound.

The creator of this stark and surreal world is the nimble Kyle Loven, who calls the piece a cautionary tale for adults. Kyle was inspired by an eastern moon myth that warns children to "never point at the moon, or your ears will be cut off."

The Stranger calls Kyle Loven "a burgeoning genius," and the Seattle Times said Kyle's piece this weekend was "another dark horse coming into the light." We are thrilled to bring his work to Portland and to see how it plays out in the context of the Risk/Reward Festival.

You can listen to Kyle and Portland's own Kate Sanderson Holly (who also rocked it up at NWNW!) interview each other about their respective works here.

And you can watch an excerpt of his earlier work, my dear Lewis, here.

And you can learn more about Kyle and his projects at his website: www.kyleloven.com

Monday, June 13, 2011

Risk/Reward Artist Profile # 1: Bobbevy

Palace of Crystal is the first piece created under Suniti Dernovsek and David Stein’s new moniker Bobbevy (formerly Hot Little Hands). New name, sure, but they are still the same inspiring, rockstar duo of dancer and painter. Watch these little short movies for a bit of insight into how their talents really play out.

We are thrilled to be able to showcase Bobbevy’s Palace of Crystal at Risk/Reward. It will be the first showing of this work set to premiere in the fall. It will take audiences “through the metamorphosis from melancholia to bliss” as they explore the human desire for happiness and the strange journeys one might take to get there. This piece will look at the ‘happiness industry’ this ever-evolving cornucopia of self exploration and practice, both abstract and concrete that strives to create the positive ideal. 

No doubt we can expect to see Suniti’s dancers embody her unique, precise and haunting choreography with beautiful design elements, including hanging diamonds, from David. The piece also features video from artist John Bacone (who made the films seen above) and music from Hand2Mouth favorite and recent collaborator, Ash Black Bufflo.

For more on David and Suniti and their own quest for happiness follow 
these links:

Bobbevy on the web: www.bobbevy.com