Keith Hennessy’s Crotch

Bodies, Identities, and Alternative Economies is a weekend of multi-disciplinary art and conversation that takes the work of Bay Area choreographer Keith Hennessy as a starting point and expands out in freewheeling, open discourse. It’s an update on the ancient sense of symposium for a pluralist culture. It welcomes all comers. It shifts away from the individual and embraces the collective. It’s driven by your involvement.

Keith Hennessy: Crotch Photo by Yi-Chun Wu

In late June, Hennessy and his company will spend a working residency in Portland developing his latest piece, Turbulence (a dance about the economy), for its US premiere at this September’s TBA Festival. Turbulence is a bodily response to the economic crisis, and this symposium is a shared response to his practice and thinking. Over the course of the salons, rehearsals, lectures, and performances, PICA will create a forum for artists and audiences alike to debate and discover and participate in the messy and thrilling moment of artistic creation. The weekend will foster an inclusive, all-on-the-table discussion of issues in contemporary art and society, from identity politics to alternative economies.

In conjunction with Keith Hennessy’s symposium residency, PICA will present his award-winning solo dance Crotch (all the Joseph Beuys references in the world cannot heal the pain, confusion, regret, cruelty, betrayal or trauma…). On the surface Crotch is about art, its histories, and its heroes. Deeper, a sadness grows, a queer melancholy. Moving across a stage full of sculpture, Hennessy references the images and actions of the legendary artist Joseph Beuys, embodying his shamanic beliefs and channeling this mythic figure. With music ranging from Emmy Lou Harris to Nirvana, Crotch is a song, a dance, a lecture, and a conversation with the dead. True to Beuys’ legacy and Hennessy’s improvisational practice, Chaos through Play becomes Form.

The Symposium is an experiment in political and artistic involvement. With events ranging from intimate discussion groups to staged dances, it is a chance to play with the scales of conversation and to open up the artist residency process to audiences in an entirely new way.

Featuring a working open rehearsal and talkback session of Turbulence; a one-night-only performance of Hennessy’s Bessie award-winning solo Crotch; Neal Gorenflo of online magazine; and artists A.L. Steiner and A.K. Burns, who will screen their sociosexual film Community Action Center.

Video excerpts from Crotch:

Complete schedule below:


6:30pm Happy Hour Reading Group: Starting Points

Green Dragon Bistro and Pub, 928 SE 9th


The first of three small discussion groups that will investigate the central ideas of the weekend through the lens of texts and essays by authors ranging from Naomi Klein to Judith “Jack” Halberstam. Readings will be available on and in the Resource Room.

8:00pm Keith Hennessy, Crotch

Studio 2, 810 SE Belmont

$15 PICA Members/$20 General

Moving across a stage full of sculpture, Hennessy’s solo dance performance references the images and actions of the legendary artist Joseph Beuys, embodying his shamanic beliefs and channeling this mythic figure.

9:30pm Post-Show Artist Reception

Dig A Pony, 736 SW Grand



5:30pm Happy Hour Reading Group: Queer as Artistic and Political Practice

Ace Hotel Lobby, 1022 SW Stark


The second reading group will focus on the potential for “queerness” and “failure” to be artistically and politically generative, producing new possibilities that both resist and reimagine societal norms.

7:00pm In Conversation: Keith Hennessy & A.L. Steiner

PICA, 415 SW 10th Avenue (Suite 300)


Dinner and dialogue to follow; reservation required (

Hennessy and Steiner will frame the broader themes of the symposium in relation to queer practice, their politics, and their own bodies of art. Continue the discussion with the assembled community over a familystyle meal.


11:00am Sharing Communities and Alternative Economies: Neal Gorenflo of



Charles Heying, author of From Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy will moderate a dynamic, discussion with Neal Gorenflo of online magazine and economist Robin Hahnel of Portland State University about the current challenges and future possibilities for alternative economies in Portland.

11:00am The Oh So (Queer) History of Portland

Dill Pickle Club (Check for details)

$10 General

The DPC has partnered with PICA to develop a tour of downtown Portland’s queer history. Explore both popular and unknown sites of interest that reflect Portland’s diverse queer and LGBT culture over time, from the old gay bathhouses of the Glamour District, to iconic drag clubs, to significant sites in queer political history.

2:00pm Open Rehearsal: Turbulence (a dance about the economy)

Studio 2, 810 SE Belmont


Hennessy and company present excerpts from their work-in-progress performance and engage the audience with its content and context in this unique public workshop that exposes the process of creation. Members of the company will share their views on the making of the work and guide conversation about the questions posed by the piece.

4:30pm Happy Hour Reading Group: Alternative Economies & Their Movements

Dig a Pony, 736 SW Grand


The final reading group explores the economic crisis and alternative political economies, as well as their manifestation in the current Occupy movement.

9:30pm A.L. Steiner & A.K. Burns: Community Action Center

Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd.

$3 PICA and Hollywood Theatre Members/$5 General

A 69-minute sociosexual video that seeks to expose and reformulate paradigms that are typical of porn typologies, intentionally exploiting tropes for their comic value, critical consideration, and historical homage.

Inspired by 1970s porn-romance-liberation films, this unique womyn-centric film is both an ode and a holefiller, a hedonistic and distinctly political adventure. Followed by a live Q&A with the artists.


11:00am Preaching to the Choir: Sunday Morning Songs by Local Musicians

12:00pm Making Change: Panel Discussion with Portland Musicians



Moderated by musician Rebecca Gates, this panel will focus on the local community, economy, and ecology of the Portland music scene. Working artists including Cool Nutz, Laura Gibson, Holcome

Waller, and John Savage reflect on careers, making a living, and their relationships to digital and recession-era arts economy. Performances by Laura Gibson, Rebecca Gates, and John Savage.

1:00pm Decompression Brunch



Join us over mimosas and bagels to reflect on the weekend and generate ways to push the conversations beyond the space of the symposium and out into the community.

Alley Hector

About Alley Hector

Alley Hector is proud to be a Q, a PDXer and Just Out's Editor-in-Chief.

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