Barroom banter in the name of art

Wendy HoustounHappy Hour
Nov. 2,3,4 at 7 p.m.
31 N.W. First Ave.

PICA brings a performance piece that anyone who’s ever worked in a bar or restaurant will appreciate, “Happy Hour,” by Wendy Houstoun. Houstoun stumbles eloquently from one character to another, from barmaid to barfly, all the while spouting and rambling barroom philosophy and poetry.

Houstoun, based in the UK, is a dancer and choreographer and performed most recently in the 1999 Portland International Performance Festival.

Houstoun collaborated with Tim Etchell to create this hybrid of rant, dance, movement and text. The attempt is to expose bitter old England from the mouth of a bitter barmaid on a bender. Like most benders, this show starts with witty bar philosophy then turns to drunken desperation with some good jokes thrown around in the process.

One-person shows can be either hit or miss. The content and theme of this one sound interesting enough to work, but will Houstoun be able to pull it off? PICA usually puts on some of the best contemporary shows in town, so chances are this one will be good. The fact that the show is at The Ohm is interesting. The Ohm usually operates as a dance club and live music venue. The ambiance is good: dark and creatively lit with an awesome sound system. The full bar won’t be too far from the audience, which should fit this show’s theme well.

This show will no doubt be fun for barflies and bar enthusiasts and possibly enlightening for people foreign to the “culture.”

Houstoun’s performance will use the bar at Ohm, 31 N.W. First Ave., for its backdrop. Performances are Nov. 2, 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $16 for the general public and $13 for PICA members. For information and tickets call 503-242-1419.