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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

R/R Wrap Up

Thanks to everyone for making this year's Risk/Reward Festival such a success and such a good weekend. Most of the out-of-town artists have flown, driven, or trained it home, the gear has made its way back to storage, and the kegs of beer are (nearly) empty.

We should have pictures and video in a few weeks, but until then, you can compare and contrast your festival experience with this wrap-up from Portland Monthly's Anne Adams.
Last weekend, Hand2Mouth Theatre presented its fifth—and most ambitious—Risk/Reward performance art showcase. In case you missed it, here’s the play-by-play, from Shmooquan’s prosthetic parts, to H2M’s hold on our heart.
Click the quote for the whole acticle.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All Hail the Queen

This was an incredibly strong year for Risk/Reward applications, and it was difficult to pick just seven artists to be in the lineup -- if we could have, we would have picked at least 15. And as Barry Johnson of Oregon Arts Watch noted yesterday, those of us who were on the panel to select this year's artists "disagreed. A lot." But as Barry also notes, despite our various tastes -- whether we favored theater or dance or performance art or some unholy combination thereof -- "we were all won over by Seattle’s Queen Shmooquan.”

I know I was. I watched her work sample and I was like, WHO IS THIS MAD GENIUS?
Have you been to her website to watch some of her videos? 

Culturephile says in their writeup about the festival ""What will she do this weekend? Who knows?"

I can't wait to find out!

California Dancing

One of the highlights of this year's Risk/Reward is the festival's geographic expansion up (Cat Main & Jamie Nesbitt from Vancouver, B.C.) and down (Pappas & Dancers from L.A.) the West Coast. To say that Pappas is from L.A. is, in a way, to short-change the range of the company's collaborators. Joining choreographer Rebecca Pappas are CA-based dancers Genevieve Carson and Jesse Saler, plus MN composer / musician Christopher Danforth and NY lighting designer Christopher Kuhl (who's work you ought to know from just about every Hand2Mouth show over the last 5 years).
 Plans, trains, and cars aside, this weekend Portland has put out the "Welcome North" sign for CA dancers. Randy Paufve, from Oakland, is in residence at Conduit and will be performing "So I Married Abraham Lincoln" June 21-23. Keith Hennessey, up from San Francisco, is subject of a weekend-long symposium of talks, performances, and meals hosted by PICA. He's presenting Crotch for your pre-R/R arts fix. And lest you feel that all the watching isn't enough, or if all the dancing inspires you to get up and move, join Rebecca Pappas back at Conduit on July 7 teaching a master class called "Remaking the World."

So, what about the movement? Here's a little taste from the Pappas' last show to get you hyped.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Risk/Reward: Tracy Broyles

Sometimes in a festival one very excellent promo photo turns one artist into the face of the fest. This year's group of pictures were so good that we've been using them all, but Tracy Broyles' arms-to-the-sky shot really brings it home for me. It feels like possibility and calling and a big "yes!" to the universe. 
I first saw Tracy's work at the old old Disjecta (Russell St) in 2004. The piece, ...He Was Costuming Angles, was one of my early forays into Portland's contemporary dance scene, and today I can still feel the sharp intake of breath and quick pace of the red-dress wearing dancer. A glance at the program told me that this dress wearer was not Tracy, but she wore her choreography well.

Portland dance artists have a history of presenting works choreographed by famed artist Deborah Hay, but it's been many many years (2006!) since Portland audiences were graced with the lovely results of Hay's Solo Performance Commissioning Project dances (Tahni Holt and Linda Austin with Room at TBA) and a many years (2008!) since we saw the results of Hay's work with Mike Barber and Cydney Wilkes (Found Music).

So now, eight years on and having seen Tracy's work in who knows how many other venues (including the now current Disjecta), I am so excited to see her Deborah Hay SPCP piece Art & Life. Built from a 2010 trip to Findhorn, Scotland to learn / make the piece and the contractual year of daily work following, this solo dance will take audiences outside the theatre, perhaps into that elusive place where Art and Life become indistinguishable, each one living the other. I hope to see you there too.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Risk/Reward: Cat Main & Jamie Nesbitt

Jonathan and I saw Cat Main perform part of this show in Vancouver BC this February, when we were up there for the PuSh Festival (side note: if you find yourself at the Canadian border and they ask you what the purpose of your visit is, for heaven's sake don't tell them it's a performing arts festival -- even if it is one as highly regarded as PuSh, they will still pull you over and question you within an inch of your life). (Ok, maybe not an inch of your LIFE but an inch of your peace of mind).

ANYWAY. Point is, we ended up seeing this show in Vancouver, and I was so taken with its combination of simplicity, precision and personal history.

I talked to Cat afterwards and encouraged her to apply for Risk/Reward, and she did, and now she's bringing the show here! Which is awesome for many reasons, one of which is, it's our first time hosting a Canadian artist. (By the way, Cat and Jamie: might I encourage you to read my note above and act accordingly when it comes to crossing the US border...)

I've thought about this show many times, and I'm so glad it's coming to Portland so I can see it again. You can read more about it here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Risk/Reward: Corrie Befort

We were honored to share the stage with many fine artists this past weekend at NW New Works, but we were especially excited to see the work of Corrie Befort, a badass Seattle dancer who is also performing in Risk/Reward. 

I don't want to give anything away but I will tell you I effing LOVED her piece. And so did a bunch of people on the On the Boards blog. And so did this guy writing for SunBreak, who said it used "dreamily intermittent lighting to create that sense of attractive dread when an image feels, in a Freudian way, somehow obscene, though you can’t say why precisely." 

I'm really curious to see how the show translates to the space at Artists Rep for Risk/Reward, which is quite different from the On the Boards studio space.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Risk/Reward: The DECEPTiCONS

Dudes: I cannot tell you how excited I am to see what the hell happens when the DECEPTiCONS take the stage at Risk/Reward.

Check this out -- Kaj-anne Pepper and Carla Rossi pose for a family portrait with their WRQ* consultant David Eckard: