During the summer of 2012, Jpeace Love CIrcus collaborated with Rose City Vaudeville on a very special project. The mission: take a dilapidated eyesore of a vacant lot located in the Alberta Arts district of Portland, Oregon, and turn it into a fun interactive seasonal outdoor theatre arts space. We called it The Vagabond’s Theatre. This was no easy task, as there were broken beer bottles, horrible graffiti, rubble, and trash everywhere. With the hard work of many volunteers from the community, Rose City Vaudeville set out to create what seemed the impossible.
Our plans and mission for the Vagabonds Theatre: to have vaudeville shows, fire shows, street theatre shows, and a community practice space as well as bring in food carts and local artists. We also wanted to raise awareness for Last Thursday, a non profit monthly art walk gathering for artists of all kinds to share their arts with the community. In order to do this we needed permits, venue insurance, and a stage. Lucky for us, Rose City Vaudeville has a lot of friends in the community and is also in possession of a sweet gem, The Lodekka Rose! This beautiful vintage double-decker bus became our backdrop and green room; a focal point for the once dilapidated lot. With local artists, food carts, beer garden, funnel cakes, and the only legal fire show in Portland, people were eager to come enjoy the greatness of The Vagabonds Theatre!
We were able to make magic happen all summer long with “The Buskers Corner” on Last Thursday, giving any street performer the chance to busk for some tips. We organised vaudeville shows and silent movies during the weekends, and “The Combustible Circus~ A Fire Variety Show!” held bi-weekly on Wednesday nights.The hottest show in town landed Jpeace and Rose City Vaudeville in The Oregonian, a Portland based newspaper. Due to the recent controversial revisions of the Portland Fire Code regarding distance and safety procedures, Fire marshals were met by Maquette Reverts and a small group of fire professionals to ask that the new laws be adjusted seems “The fire marshal is really writing the policy for the lowest common denominator,” said Mrs. Reverts. The fire marshal’s office listened and were willing to work with Maquette and company due to us all “doing safe shows for years.”
The Combustible Circus was a beautiful ongoing event that gave local performers, such as Jpeace, a chance to show their choreographed fire acts to an enthusiastic audience. With the rotating of performers each week, The Combustible Circus was always full of fun. Jpeace Love Circus is grateful for the pleasure of helping fulfill Rose City Vaudeville’s dreams by organizing and performing for such a beautiful moment in the life of Alberta Street. Planning such a project was quite a task and I would like to thank Rose City Vaudeville, all of the performers, musicians, volunteers, and esteemed guests for their continued support, inspiration, and beauty. Thank you! Keep burning brightly!