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Oddness and beauty plentiful at fifth TBA

by: ©2007 JOHN LAUENER, During this year’s TBA Fest, Portlanders will get the chance to have 9-year-olds shape their coif in “Haircuts by Children.”

The lineup for the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's fifth annual Time-Based Art Festival has been announced, and no mainstream name dominates. If there is a headliner, said TBA's artistic director, Mark Russell, it's the Donna Uchizono Company.

Instead of one big show, Russell promises little surprises running through the festival, which runs Sept. 6 to Sept. 16.

In the case of the New York-based Uchizono Company, those include performance by 'a rather famous Russian dancer,' also known as Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Also notable this year is the New York theater group Elevator Repair Service, which will give the West Coast premiere of 'Gatz,' a seven-hour verbatim reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby.'

Russell plans more performance art and theater this year, although Uchizono, Marc Bamuthi Joseph (San Francisco) and Zoe Scofield (Seattle) are all considered dance. Other names to conjure with include Kassys (theater, the Netherlands), 'Las Chicas del 3.5 Floppies' (a two-woman play from Mexico) and Charlotte Vanden Eynde (performance art, Belgium).

'This year we tried to get (last year's headliner) Laurie Anderson's boyfriend Lou, and that was a lot, lot, lot more money, so I couldn't pull that off,' Russell said. 'But we shouldn't talk about the ones that got away.'

TBA favorite Andrew Dickson will perform his multimedia memoir 'Sellout,' while Gary Weisman from Kitchen Sink will put on outdoor tea parties.

Taylor Mac and Nature Theater of Oklahoma (both of New York) return for their second TBA.

Fred Frith ('one of those monsters of new music,' Russell said) is scheduled at the Works late-night cabaret, as is bonkers singer Anna Oxygen.

Weirdness abounds. For 'Haircuts by Children,' Toronto troupe Mammalian Diving Reflex will train local 9-year-olds to give haircuts.

'It's a piece about trust,' PICA's performing arts program director, Erin Boberg Doughton, said.

'After five years of the festival the audience has met us at every single weird challenge we've thrown at them, so I don't think we'd ever underestimate what they're interested in,' said her colleague Kristan Kennedy, who directs the large visual arts program.

This year there will be more chances to see shows, since they're running in smaller venues. The Works will be held nightly at the Wonder Ballroom (128 N.E. Russell St). Other new venues this year include the Gerding Theater at the Armory in the Pearl neighborhood and the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center in North Portland.


Time-Based Art Festival preview

When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25

Where: Portland Institute for Contemporary Art lobby, Wieden and Kennedy Building, 224 N.W. 13th Ave., 503-242-1419, www.pica.org

Cost: Free