Trio to ‘paint the music,’ from Juan de Fuca Festival kickoff forward

PORT ANGELES — They call themselves Three-Legged Dog, while the boss calls it a “three-ring circus.”

Either way, the performance-art trio — Port Angeles painters Johnny Rickenbacher, Jeff Tocher and Doug Parent — will add a whole other dimension to the main stage of the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts.

The festival, a four-day cavalcade of shows by dozens of acts from around the continent, doesn’t officially start until Friday.

Thursday show

But Poor Man’s Whiskey, a rock-and-bluegrass band from the San Francisco Bay Area, will do a kickoff show titled “Dark Side of the Moonshine” on Thursday on the main stage, which is at the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 W. Fourth St.

So Three-Legged Dog will kick festivities off right along with them, on a 3-by-4-foot canvas suspended nearby.

“We’re going to be painting the music, and the energy from the people,” said Tocher, an artist known for, among other subjects, wildly colorful images of owls, otters, mountains and seas.

New canvas for each band

The performance painters will reappear every night through Sunday, to adorn more canvases alongside the bands Marley’s Ghost and Poor Man’s Whiskey again Friday, Blame Sally and Delhi 2 Dublin on Saturday and Tambura Rasa and the Paperboys on Sunday.

The three men will paint from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., putting up a new canvas for each band.

“We’re going to finish seven paintings, and then our arms will drop off,” Tocher quipped.

Then on Monday, the festival finale will bring together Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks on the main stage at 4 p.m., with Port Angeles artist David Haight, creator of this year’s Juan de Fuca Festival poster, painting alone, together with the music.

Tocher said fans, hearing of the painters’ plans, have suggested trying things like mock battles and flinging colors onto one another.

But “we’re just going to paint,” he said.

Camaraderie inspirational

Parent, who with Rickenbacher and Tocher embarked on a painting-a-day project back in February, said the trio’s camaraderie inspires him.

“I love these guys,” he said. “We bounce energy off each other.”

Yet Parent doesn’t know exactly how the nights of performance art will unfold.

“We’re just going to let the creativity flow. It’s in all of us,” he said.

Three-Legged Dog’s payment, Parent added, will come in festival passes — no cash.

Juan de Fuca Festival Executive Director Dan Maguire — he of the “three-ring circus” comment — didn’t forecast what will appear on the canvases either.

For this festival, he said, “my policy is to say yes” to art.

For information about tickets to Thursday’s Poor Man’s Whiskey concert and to the Juan de Fuca Festival from Friday through Monday, visit www.JFFA.org or phone 360-457-5411.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at [email protected]

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