I love the TBA (Time-Based Art) festival, but it’s always a little bit of a “Russian Roulette” situation. Sometimes, like at my first show this year, you make a bad call and end up with something terrible. Picking which shows to go to is tough…I’ve seen some amazing things: A viewmaster show with live music, a cabert singer doing repeated costume changes while swinging on a trapeeze over the audience, three men lip-syncing to an entire Beyonce album, and a exhibit composed entirely of pile of rice that was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever seen in my life. But there have also been some real duds.
Friday… I chose a dud. The description sounded interesting, “a live television show featuring 18 short annimations from underground video label Cartune Xprez… with laser beams, green screens and a live webcam (the artist) acts as our guide and TV host.” While there were a number of parts that were funny, and a few special effects that were very cool, it was difficult to follow and a little too abstract as an entire piece. We didn’t even stay for the whole thing, I’m sorry to say. (Of course, being pregnant and sticking to non-alcoholic club soda does not help my patience either) Then after seeing photos from the following night’s show called “Critical Mascara” featuring drag queens, fabulous costumes, dancing and a runway, I was reminded that TBA Festival is still awesome, I just chose poorly.
One huge positive for this year’s festival is the venue, it is great. For the past coule years, they’ve held it at the old Washington High School in SE Portland. Also a cool venue, but not nearly vesatile enough when you’re confined to the old high school auditorium. This year the place is huge, it was even too big for the show we went to, and very adaptable to each performer. The have a nice bar inside as well as a big seating area outside with booze and food for sale. Each night a differnt local restaurant chef comes in to cook, so the offerings are always differnt. The night we were there Nong’s Khao Man Gai (a cart many recognize as the best in Portland) was on site.
But don’t let my bad experiece disuade you from going to the festival. There is still a week left and so many more shows to see. Dance, music, theater and visual arts shows are going on all around town. I’m hoping to make it to at least one or two more. The shows I’m interested in seeing are called “I Will Rip Your Arms Off” and “Boy Band Audition”. I’ll let you know if they are any good.