The Artful Ticket Dodger, Rose City style

Earlier this week, the Guardian newspaper in London ran a piece by a man who decided to cram as much of London’s cultural offerings into his life as he could, for one week, but limited his budget to only £50. Cool, I thought. I know London pretty well so thought it would be fun to track his week and see where he went and what he saw. When I realized that £50 also had to cover transportation and food and drink consumed while on his cultural junket, it got interesting. London is outrageously expensive!

The link to the article is here:

But of course, once I finished reading this (and was exhausted just thinking about how many miles of pavement pounding he did to avoid the tube fares!), I of course thought about how you could do this in Portland. The equivalent amount of money in US currency is $100; but I don’t think you’d need that much to have a great week in Portland culture! I think $50 would be a great test.

I just think about the past 10 days I spent in Portland without even consciously trying to make it a cultural junket experiment. I attended 4 free play readings; three were part of the JAW Festival at PCS, where I happen to work, but the readings were FREE to all and everyone. Of the three workshops I attended at JAW, one was a preview of Storm Large’s autobiographical piece Crazy Enough, slated for full production next spring. And hey, people lined up around the block to get in, and it was a free performance by one of Portland’s hottest singer/actors. And the fourth was a fascinating new adaptation of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens presented at Artists Rep by the Upon these Boards company. It featured 17 amazing actors (and was practically a family reunion of people who worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the 1980s and 1990s), and was a resonant and relevant reworking of one of the Bard’s least known plays.

In addition, I enjoyed two happy hour evenings (one at Fenouil, one at the Deluxe Hotel) where cocktails and some delicious happy hour snacks didn’t break my bank, and would have come in well under the experimental budget.

Then there was the free Music on Main concert offered by the Portland Center for the Performing Arts which, admittedly, I just strolled by, pausing briefly to enjoy the music. But if I HAD been on a culture experiment…well, you get the picture. I could have also attended a performance of the free Shakespeare in the Parks production of Two Gentlemen of Verona which just got a pretty nice review in the Oregonian; and with our abundance of public art, picking up a public art map guide and taking a walk around the city (much more compact than London, and much less traffic!) to view it would save even more dollars for…another happy hour.

Now, I happen to think culture is worth spending my money on, but I also love to think that the option is abundantly present to enjoy Portland's cultural offerings even when the wallet is feeling a little bit thin...

Ain’t art grand?


MightyToyCannon said...


1) Commenting on cynseattle’s post, "Fools Fall...for Shakespeare revisited, CultureJock mentions still needing to check "Troilus & Cressida" off his canon list.

2) Today. cynseattle posts about her adventures in low budget culture in Portland.

3) I spot the following listing in the Willy Week:

Saturday August 2
Troilus & Cressida

No one ever performs this problematic tragedy/romcom set during the Trojan War, because audiences don't know what to make of a raucous and bawdy story of death and heartbreak. We can only assume Grant Turner and Northwest Classical Theatre Company are determined to finish Shakespeare's complete canon. More power to them. Take this opportunity to see the play other Portland theaters won't touch for decades. It won't cost you a cent. Woodlawn Park, Northeast 13th Avenue and Dekum Street., 3 pm Saturdays and Sundays. Closes Aug. 10. Free.

Looks like CultureJock has a shot at crossing another one off his list.

cynseattle said...

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAArggggg...except CultureJock has other plans...

the fates are cruel. which is kinda the theme of Troilus and Cressida...

culturejock said...

I saw that too! Dagnabbit! Although I have to confess, when I saw that Troilus & Cressida was being presented by NWCT, I thought it meant "Northwest CHILDREN'S Theater" and I thought, no way do I want to see a children's theater production of Troilus and Cressida. No offense!

Alas, that is not the case, and alas, I do have other plans this weekend. I'm bummed.

culturejock said...

Oh, and RACC is going to start promoting the community's free arts events a little more -- starting with this month's newsletter feature at

MightyToyCannon said...

This evening, I'm headed to another of Portland's many FREE cultural events: Obon Fest 2008 at the Oregon Buddhist Temple (located at 3720 SE 34th). The festival runs from 4:00 to 9:00 pm, but I'm going to see and hear Portland Taiko bang on the drums starting at 6:00, and to watch (perhaps participate) in the Obon Odori, a communal folk dance. Obon is festival honoring departed ancestors(much like el Dia de los Muertes in Mexico), and an occasion for family reunion.