Wild Combination @ Holocene
A Night of Art And Performance
Last night, some of Portland’s most creative individuals gathered at Holocene for Wild Combination, an artistic showcase of innovative art, contemporary dance, provocative theater, experimental music, and stirring ideas. As the crowd came in and began to settle, emcee Leo Daedalus took the stage to welcome and give thanks to Portland’s talented community of thinkers, makers and doers. The list was a long one and included local organizations such as The Late Now, Grand Detour, Spare Room Poetry, Tinkering with Steve Davee, ADX, Bus Project, Distillery Row, Special Snowflake Superclub, Place Gallery, White Bird Dance, Gallery Homeland; each organization was given an opportunity to present their mission on stage and promote the ideas that inspired them. Live performances were put on by Goodnight Billy Goat, Hand2Mouth, Oregon Painting Society, and Operative.
The entire evening was made possible by Portland’s own Research Club, a community-supported think-tank, founded in the summer of 2009, dedicated to showcasing and connecting people doing interesting things. Research Club hosts events, workshops, and presentations so that community members are able to teach one another about the hobbies and ideas they are most passionate about. The Research Club also hosts a potluck brunch on the last Sunday of each month open for anyone interested in sharing ideas in the furthering of community education. Last night, Research Club launched it’s latest community endeavor; The Portland Passport Project. The Portland Passport Project acts as a social network for Portland’s creative community. Everyone is welcome to join and utilize their passport as a resource for sharing ideas and learning new things.
Psychedelic art band, Goodnight Billy Goat, took the stage to kick off the live performances at Holocene last night. Goodnight Billy Goat was originally established in 2006 as a solo project by David Klein. Klein would play his hand-made stop-animation film on a projector behind him set to his own looping instrumentals. As the artwork continued to develop, so did the band; members Nick Woolley and Corey Nelson joined adding bass and drums to the live performances. While the beautiful dream-like artwork play on the projector behind them, the three band-mates seamlessly layer various instruments, adding to weight to the nature of the artwork. The cohesiveness of Goodnight Billy Goat’s musical sound and visual stimulation set the tone for the night.
Second to perform was Hand2Mouth Theater; an innovative dance company founded in 2000 by Artistic Direction Jonathon Walters. Based in Portland, it is composed of a permanent ensemble of artists. The company is unique in its artistic style which merges both dancing and acting; and has gained well deserved acknowledgement for the more than eighteen original performances that have been created. Last night Hand2Mouth performed a segment from "Something's Got a Hold of My Heart," a piece choreographed for the Portland Biennial. Simultaneously dramatic and humorous, the entertaining act included contemporary dancing and sharp dialogue revolving around a witty love story. The dancers brought an interactive element to the show when they transformed the audience’s standing space into an extension of their own stage. This particular piece is constantly evolving as it is always tailored to the specific space in which it is being performed. Something's Got Ahold of My Heart featured dancers; Matthew Dieckman, Julie Hammond, Liz Hayden, Faith Helma, Erin Leddy, and Maesie Speer. The piece was directed by Jonathon Walters with choreographer Allie Hankins.
Research Club was thrilled to have the Oregon Painting Society on board for Wild Combination; “They are such an amazing group” said the founder of Research Club. OPS is an art collective which was founded in 2007 and includes members Matt Carlson, Birch Cooper, Barbara Kinzle, Brenna Murphy, and Jason Traeger. Oregon Painting Society has been described as having a “sci-fi” quality; one which distinguishes itself through it’s interactive audiovisual environments, recordings, and performances. Although they did not actually do any painting at last nights show, the Oregon Painting Society put on a extravagant performance that merged experimental sound and conceptual art with hypnotizing visuals. Neon laser lights were directed at disco balls while men in costumes played instruments, and clouds from the smoke machine engulfed the crowd. The group had all built their own set created from stacked cardboard boxes dramatically lit from behind by neon purple lights.
Portland based band, Operative, polished the night off with a successful dance party. The techno group is composed of Jed Bindeman, Spencer Doran, Scott Goodwin, and Alex Neerman. The band successfully layers live percussion instruments over a variety of home-built analog and digital electronic synthesizers. While Operative kept the projector down behind them, it merely displayed a static image throughout their show.
Although last night was Research Club’s first major promotional event, it's eager to be hosting two more Wild Combination shin-digs in May and July. With its Passport Project taking off and a constant influx of creative people interested in sharing their thoughts with one another, it’s bound to be a success. Wild Combination was living proof that Portland is city built on ingenious ideas and the courageous pioneers who pursue them.