Zena Zezza

In November of 1974, in New York City, the artist Jean Dupuy spent 9 hours making soup and then invited people to come to The Kitchen, have some soup and bread and apple tart and watch 38 artists each present a 2 minute performance, reading, dance, musical piece, poem, story…whatever.  It was called “Soup & Tart”.

Saturday night in Portland Sandra Percival, project director for Zena Zezza, recreated this event, Portland style, in the historic 1857 building (now under restoration) at Oak and Naito Parkway.  (Bread was courtesy of Phillipe’s bread, apple tart from Frice Pastry, and wines from P-S Wines.)  We went along as we knew one participant (Abigail Susik who was assisting Kris Cohen) and because we were curious to see the interior of 1857…here’s Percival addressing the assembled…


The soup was good (vegetarian and organic…it IS Portland)…views of the original event were projected on the wall…


The building is the oldest commercial building in Portland and was built in 1857 by Absalom Hallock.  Originally it had an early cast-iron facade…one of 18 Hallock built (none of which survive.)  in 1894 it looked like this, the smaller building on the left.Hallock in 1894

It was unfortunately renovated in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s, and now looks like this…

Hallock now

but developer John Russell intends to recast the iron facade and return the building to it’s 1857 glory.  He has cleared out the interior, so now back to Zena Zezza.  Here’s the interior of the building now…





After soup and bread and tart we climbed upstairs and the performances began.  It was a long evening (one wag said it was sort of like an art school talent show) but there were some great moments.  I didn’t get photos of any of my favorite performances, but here was the look of it…




but my favorites were film historian and theater critic Robert Sitton‘s “Directions on how to land an egg”…Laura Heit‘s fluttering animation, Katie Shook‘s interactive and hilarious puppet theater.  It was a memorable evening.  Watch for Zena Zezza events for interesting and thought-provoking work.

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