Synchronicities with the Time-Based Art Festival

A blog from the road by Director of Performance Programs Cathy Edwards

It's been a great start to the Time-Based Art Festival (known affectionately as TBA Festival here in Portland), where I am in my second of three years as guest artistic director of the Festival. The Festival takes place for 10 days every September and kicks off the annual arts season in Portland. What does TBA mean? Time-Based Art means it unfolds over time (as opposed to something static like a painting) and also that the festival is designed to be contemporary and reflect upon the arts of our time. I love balancing the east and west coast perspective and vibe-- the distinct cultures of New England and the Pacific Northwest shimmer in their own ways at both Arts & Ideas and at the TBA Festival, and it is always a great opportunity for me to learn from the different perspectives.

Opening weekend featured some great New Haven and Arts & Ideas synchronicities, including the always-riveting Conor Lovett and Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland performing First Love by Samuel Beckett. It seems like every time I come across of knotted group of audience members hovering outside our box offices, they are saying "and have you seen First Love yet? That was incredible!". Coming up tonight is a one-time-only showing of his Beckett Trilogy, a three-hour marathon performance that I have not yet had the chance to see, and I can't wait.

Opening weekend also included a fantastic lecture about contemporary classical music by Beth Morrison, producer of the Yale Institute of Music-Theater, who Arts & Ideas partnered with last June to present workshop showings of Stuck Elevator and The Daughters. Speaking of "Stuck Elevator", also in town for the weekend and soaking up lots of shows and conversations was Byron Au Yong, the Seattle-based composer of "Stuck Elevator" who made the trip south to Portland and brought me some eggs and tomatoes from his urban garden in Seattle! Other New England highlights included visits to TBA Festival by Rebecca Blunk and Jane Preston of the New England Foundation for the Arts, and conversation and performance-going with Ethan Seltzer, professor of urban studies at Portland State University, who came to Arts & Ideas this past June to participate in our Livable Cities panel.

Another nice suprise: Portland's major presenter of dance programs, White Bird, is opening their performance season with Lucinda Childs and Dance in early October. I am so glad Portland audiences will be treated to that extraordinary collaboration between Childs, Sol LeWitt and Philip Glass.

I'll be back in New Haven next week with lots of ideas about festival passes, noontime chats and upcoming tours to share. I can't wait to be back to enjoy fall in New England!