The Big Deal Oct 15, 2009

by Mike P

If you regularly read this blog, you know On the Boards is the place in Seattle to see the best in contemporary performance. The Inter/National Series brings just that - performance groups from outside Seattle, giving locals a taste of what's going on outside of our city. Some of these groups have never presented in Seattle, some are making a welcome return, and some may never come back. These opportunities are HUGE - for artmakers and art spectators alike - the best in the world here in your backyard. You either see it, or you don't. And you definitely don't want to miss it. The very same can be said of On the Boards' NW Artist Series which starts this week with Reggie Watts | Tommy Smith - Transition. Where do you think superstars of the performance world started? On the local level. And On the Boards is doing their part to showcase up-and-coming artists with roots in the Pacific Northwest region to present what is the future of contemporary performance - theater, dance, and music. Here's why you shouldn't miss it... Before we get to that...please allow me to introduce myself. I am a man of wealth and taste. I'm Mike Pham. I'm one half (one third? one fourth?) of local performance group Helsinki Syndrome, NWNW and 12MM alum, former OtB House Manager, current full-time student, and guest blogger for this season. I hope that my blog posts in the next year will be insightful to you from the perspective of the NW performance artist and provide another lens to look through as you experience the work with me. I invite you to comment on my posts with your own perspective and responses to the work, to my blog posts, or open invitations for karaoke throwdowns to take place anywhere from Ozzie's to The Crescent to Bush Garden. Thanks in advance! I think what makes On the Boards invaluable to Seattle, the Pacific Northwest region, and beyond, is their amazing commitment to regional and local artists through innovative programming - specifically through the NW Artist Series by providing distinct opportunities for artists who have roots in the Pacific Northwest to create and present their work on a large scale. It's a series that is held in high regard to performing artists in the region - it's a definitive statement that the work included in the series is to be paid attention to, is important and necessary to the landscape of contemporary performance, is not to be missed. I'm not going to mince words: it's a BIG DEAL to perform at On the Boards. B.F.D. My first experience at OtB was in the NW Artist Series with HKPG's Computer back in 2006. (Ah, I looked so young and naive, also upside down and dead.) It was a pivotal moment in my career that influenced my own artistic process and raised many interesting questions, provided exciting challenges. The experience in the NW Series has informed subsequent presentations of my work up to the present day. Since then, we've gone on to present work in New York and London - and it all started here, in Seattle - at On the Boards. Artists/Groups in the Northwest Artist Series may be from city centers Seattle, Portland, or Vancouver BC, but also from cities and towns throughout Washington, Idaho, and Montana. It may be their first experience with working in a professional theater. It may be the first time performing as a group. It may be a chance to take their work to the next level. It may be an opportunity to experiment with new ideas. It may be a work so mind-blowing it has to be seen RIGHT NOW. It may be a test of whether they want to continue making work at all. It may simply be a chance to enjoy performance. It may be a combination or all of those things. Whatever the reason, the NW Artist Series is a wonderful showcase for an artist/group connected to the region - to increase visibility, earn credibility, gain some valuable experience, get some crucial feedback, make connections, make a strong impression, and to give local audiences a taste of what's happening here and now. It may soar to great heights - the best thing you ever saw! It may crash and burn in a blaze of glory! I say, without the risk there is no reward - no matter what your area code. Check back here on Friday for my next blog post about Reggie Watts | Tommy Smith - Transition. But don't wait for me - get your tickets now! -MP PS. I am so excited for THIS also!