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Friday, August 29, 2008

The Works @ Leftbank: In Utero

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 3:57 PM

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Backside of the Works

The thing I love about the Works—TBA's interim late night performance space, cocktail lounge, and cafe—is that it generally has the smell of cut wood and fresh drywall. I missed that last year, when the Works inhabited the Wonder.

This year, however, BOORA architects (who've designed three of the previous Works spaces) return with a fairly ambitious build-out of the Leftbank Project building. Located at the east end of the Broadway bridge, the Leftbank Project is the kind of blank urban canvas that captures PICA's interest. The building itself, once home to Multicraft Plastics and a horrifying Barry Manilow mural, is the site of an ambitious development project. It will eventually host an assortment of DIY businesses (including a bike shop and a brewery), but right now, it's still very much under construction. Setting up the Works in this space will ensure a certain focus on the development; the hope being that when the festival is over, the creative energy will remain.

The BOORA Works design is quite nifty. The main architectural focus will be an overhead path of interwoven, red triangular shade tarps. They will lead from the entrance (facing the Broadway bridge) past the performance area, through a corridor, past the cafe/food zone, and into the back beer garden:
BOORA_design_copy.jpg

sketch courtesy BOORA Architects

The one thing I'm worried about in the Works this year is the performance area. It seems small and will probably seem smaller during shows, due to the assholes nice folks at the OLCC who required a "moat" in front of center stage to keep the under-agers from the of-agers.
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I guess we'll call it "intimate" and be thankful. The bonuses outweigh the fear of a small performance space. This year the food/cafe will be well away from the stage, meaning less chatting to distract from performances. Also, the stage is visible down a long hall from the beer garden. Finally, most of the visual programing is also located at the Works. That means less running around and more art enjoyment!
cafe.jpg

Busy Art Institute elves setting up the cafe

Parking may be a problem, but you are encouraged to bike. All in all, I think this may be one of the better Works spaces in TBA's short history. I'm glad they are getting back to their dirty warehouse roots.

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