It’s TBA time, and we’ve been knee-deep in a program chock-full of contemporary delights from local artists (we’re looking at you, the awesome Last Artful, Dodgr, and at Weird Allan Kaprow’s promise of a postcolonial conceptual karaoke band) and their national and international counterparts. Spoilt for choice, we perused the program (peep the whole lineup here) and picked the six shows we’re most excited to see.
Kaneza Schaal, JACK &
8:30 p.m. Fri, Sept 7, 6:30 p.m. Sat-Sun, Sept 8–9, Winningstad Theatre, $25
Described as a “stand-up routine turned sitcom baking fiasco,” JACK & is also an examination of re-entry to society after prison, looking at the codes surrounding other societal introductions (cotillion balls, anyone?), and starring former prison inmate Cornell Alston. Director Kaneza Schaal, a Princess Grace Award winner, got the New York Times seal of approval for a previous show. We're ready to see what this dreamy mashup with a profound thematic current has to offer.
Milka Djordjevich, Anthem
6:30 p.m. Fri–Mon, Sept 7–10, PICA (15 NE Hancock St), $16–20
With its unshowy gestures and impassive expressions, contemporary dance can be a little … unfun. (Don’t @ me.) Los Angeles choreographer Milka Djordjevich serves up an antidote to all that dispassion, with a dance piece for four women the New York Times called “groovy chaos.” Anthem explores folk dance and femininity via plenty of fun—and at least one crushed-velvet jumpsuit.
jumatatu poe & Jermonte Donte, Let 'Im Move You
8:30 p.m. Fri–Sun, Sept 7–9, PICA (15 NE Hancock St), $20
Two choreographers—jumatatu poe and Jermone Donte—took a seven-year deep dive into J-setting (that’s a dance genre that evolved from the Jackson State University’s female dance team, known for lead-and-follow prance steps) and came up with a series, with two of its components on show at TBA. A Study is described as a “movement conversation with primary white audiences,” while This Is Success promises to explore the form “in relation to notions of African American exceptionalism.” The sum of these parts? A high-energy dance performance of what one reviewer calls "black queer joy."
Demian DinéYazhi’ with Holland Andrews, An Infected Sunset
10 p.m. Tue, Sept 11, PICA (15 NE Hancock St), $5–$15, sliding scale
Portlanders Demian DinéYazhi’ and Holland Andrews perform a long-form prose poem that began life in August 2016, in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shootings, and was under construction during the election of Donald Trump and the resurgence of white supremacy. It emerges as an offering to indigenous communities and landscapes, and vows “a reflection on queer sex, survival and death politics, indigenous identity, settler and heteronormative romanticism, environmental injustice, and the importance of honoring community.” Buckle up, Portland.
Vaginal Davis, Sassafras, Cypress & Indigo
6:30 p.m. Wed, Sept 12, PICA (15 NE Hancock St), FREE–$15 sliding scale
Vaginal Davis’s work has been described as “terrorist drag” for the way the Los Angeles-born, Berlin-based performer rejects sanitized versions of drag and questions rather than conceals her identity: intersex, queer, biracial (“blatino,” in her own words). Davis, who came up through the LA punk scene, is a visual artist as well—starting September 13, head to Adams and Ollman to see her mixed-media paintings of dancers and a site-specific mural. This one-night-only show explores “black images and the (e)motive notion of freakiness,” with Davis promising to smash any semblance of propriety. ‘Twill be a lot, we’d guess.
Andrew Schneider, After
8:30 p.m. Fri–Sat, Sept 14–15, Lincoln Hall (1620 SW Park Ave), $20–25
A master of technical theater, the Obie-winning Andrew Schneider and his collaborators combine light, sound, physical movement, and text to near-magical, how-the-heck-did-they-do-that effect. (Or, at least, that’s what reviews lead you to believe.) Possibly inscrutable, definitely immersive: in other words, just the kind of deep sensory bath you need at the end of TBA.