Everybody knows about the Bar Carlo brunch. Devil’s Point’s acclaim spreads well beyond the neighborhood. The Portland Mercado has quickly established itself as the spot for Latin American food in the city.
But after that? Foster is known more for its abundance of bars, auto centers, and wide and fast-moving roadway. Us locals know better, though. And the list of other neighborhood gems is actually quite lengthy. Just think: Foster Burger, Tango Berratin, and Red Castle Games—all known outside of the neighborhood and deserving of their reputation. Throw in Foster Row for their innovation and boost to the arts community, coffee shops, boiled bagels, a busy art store, furniture and clothing shops, and even skateboards. The list goes on; they just get obscured sometimes by the highway running between them (not much longer, though—Foster Streetscape improvements are on the way), as it distracts and discourages full patronage. But they’re there. All gems in their own right.
But there’s one gem in particular that we want to celebrate today. And also next weekend (August 15) when they’ll be celebrating 15 years in the neighborhood. Performance Works NW, founded and operated by the venerable Linda Austin, has long been hosting a wide range of performance art and dance in their studio on SE 67th Avenue. Founded in 1999, PWNW is described by the following:
“Performance Works NorthWest/Linda Austin Dance (PWNW) advances the performing arts in the Pacific Northwest, engaging artists and audiences fully in the process of experimentation, creation and dialog around the presentation of contemporary performance. As an artist-run incubator for work covering a range of performance styles, genres and interdisciplinary approaches, PWNW || LAD nurtures local artistry while linking Portland audiences and artists to national/international performance-makers whose work challenges and inspires us.”
We caught up with Linda a couple years ago to profile her in our “Foster Folks” series. (You can read that here.) But three years prior to that, Portland Monthly gave her a nod in an article pointing to Foster-Powell as one of three up-and-coming neighborhoods to keep an eye on. Here’s a snippet from their piece:
“…As with many of Portland’s great (or in this case, soon-to-be great) hoods, artists sowed the first seeds of rebirth. Most notable is choreographer Linda Austin, who, 10 years ago, founded one of the city’s top DIY dance venues here: Performance Works Northwest. “When I first got here, [Foster] seemed like an outpost,” she says. “But it’s only 10 minutes away from Hawthorne and, on a good day, 20 minutes from downtown…”
It’s clear that Austin and PWNW has meant a lot to this neighborhood. And even if you haven’t visited the studio, seen a show, or taken one of their classes, you’ve still benefitted from their presence, as they’ve made our neighborhood a better place simply by being there. But if you haven’t familiarized yourself with them, next Saturday, August 15, is as great an opportunity as any. Join them for their 15th Anniversary Pinball Party. “The party features pinball, a series of ‘performative toasts,’ a reunion of Boris & Natasha Dancer alums, beer, tamales, and–just like the big guys!–a naming rights auction.”
You know what to do, folks. Make it happen. August 15, from 7 – 11 pm, at 4625 SE 67th Avenue.