E3: Experiment, Exchange and Enjoy Improvisational Arts #3 Interviews – Lala Gallery – March 11th, 2011

Another glorious and strange evening of E3 performances occurred on March 11th, 2011 at the wonderful Lala Gallery in downtown Lafayette. Afterwards, we interviewed a person from the audience and some of the artists involved. The result is the audio below.

If you were involved in any capacity with E3 (audience member, performer, casual observer) and would like to comment on the evening, the interviews, or the idea of E3 in general, you can call The Media Collective’s freeform question, comment, and improvisational line, 312-DRY-TOFU (312-379-8638). Call day or night!


Play the full set of Interviews in MP3:

[audio:http://themediacollective.org/wp-content/uploads/newschannelinternet/E3-2011-03-11/themediacollective.org-E3-2011-03-11-Interview%2001.mp3,http://themediacollective.org/wp-content/uploads/newschannelinternet/E3-2011-03-11/themediacollective.org-E3-2011-03-11-Interview%2002.mp3,http://themediacollective.org/wp-content/uploads/newschannelinternet/E3-2011-03-11/themediacollective.org-E3-2011-03-11-Interview%2003.mp3,http://themediacollective.org/wp-content/uploads/newschannelinternet/E3-2011-03-11/themediacollective.org-E3-2011-03-11-Interview%2004.mp3,http://themediacollective.org/wp-content/uploads/newschannelinternet/E3-2011-03-11/themediacollective.org-E3-2011-03-11-Interview%2005.mp3,http://themediacollective.org/wp-content/uploads/newschannelinternet/E3-2011-03-11/themediacollective.org-E3-2011-03-11-Interview%2006.mp3,http://themediacollective.org/wp-content/uploads/newschannelinternet/E3-2011-03-11/themediacollective.org-E3-2011-03-11-Interview%2007.mp3|titles=Interview 01 – Esteban Garcia of Paper Jamz,Interview 02 – Jordan Cleland of Paper Jamz,Interview 03 – Aaron Zernack of Paper Jamz,Interview 04 – Audience Member,Interview 05 – Chester Udell,Interview 06 – Holly Jaycox,Interview 07 – Angela Vinson – Lala Gallery owner]

Download/Stream (OGG) the Interviews

  • Interview 01 – Esteban Garcia of Paper Jamz MP3 | OGG (2:59)
  • Interview 02 – Jordan Cleland of Paper Jamz MP3 | OGG (2:15)
  • Interview 03 – Aaron Zernack of Paper Jamz MP3 | OGG (2:20)
  • Interview 04 – Audience Member MP3 | OGG (3:16)
  • Interview 05 – Chester Udell MP3 | OGG (3:02)
  • Interview 06 – Holly Jaycox MP3 | OGG (4:59)
  • Interview 07 – Angela Vinson, Lala Gallery owner MP3 | OGG (5:41)

Sadly, some of the artists left early and we were not able to interview them in person. We did, however, follow up via e-mail. You can read the rest of this entry for their written responses.

1. What was your overall impression (its audience, weather, atmosphere, performances, politics, environment) of the evening?

Rich Cohen: Overall I had a pretty positive impression of the evening. I think the venue is very conducive to this type of event, although hopefully as the audience grows a larger venue may be needed. The audience was really great, very receptive to the artists, and there was a real feeling of support from the audience that made me, anyway, feel very comfortable. I also think the notion of limiting the individual performances to 10 minutes and limiting the entire performance to about an hour is just right.

Emily Morgan: For a variety of reasons, this seemed like a perfect place to try out new work, which is what I was doing. It was incredibly intimate, which can be intimidating, but I felt the audience was very present for each work. I was surprised by how warm they were. I’m not sure why, but that was tremendously helpful in experimenting with something new. That space is difficult to negotiate for movement, especially, but it’s exciting to be able to perform surrounded by others’ artwork. Despite the comfort of usually not being able to see the audience when I perform in a theatre, the fact that we were so close to the audience breaks down some of the barriers that seem to make art inaccessible on some levels. Can one not be affected by being so close to the performers – so close to the sound, the breathing, the movement…?

Danny Weiss: The diverse performances flowed well from first to last for what seemed like a small, but attentive audience. I am grateful to Lala Gallery for providing a nurturing environment for the creation of art. Unfortunately, politics seem to be an area no one wants to touch.

2. Give us the back story about when you first learned that you wanted perform extemporaneously?

RC: I’ve always (since about the age of 11) had the itch for musical improvisation, although purely improvised music–which is what we performed for E3–is relatively new to me and encouraged and inspired by Danny Weiss.

EM: Performing improvisationally still terrifies me. Danny articulated some of those feelings either at the Q&A or at dinner later; I can’t remember. The inner dialogue can be crazy – you’re trying to be conscious of what you’re doing in a single moment, how the overall piece is being shaped and everything in between. So there’s a body moving that I’m trying to be uber-conscious of, and my mind is going a million miles a minute, watching from the inside and the outside, critiquing, praising, questioning…But – that’s what I love about improvisation. It requires such intense presence in the moment, and that’s hard, of course, but I relish the challenge.

DW: I first learned I wanted to perform extemporaneously when I realized it was more interesting and fun improvising than playing what was on the page.

3. Final Thoughts?

RC: Keep doing what you’re doing and build your audience.

DW: No final thoughts.

EM: It is very inspiring to be able to participate in an evening like this with various genres of art that all focus on improvisation. It makes me feel renewed and refreshed – I come away with a deeper commitment to improvisational work.


To Rich Cohen: How did you let the space (Lala Gallery in particular) influence your sonic output?

RC: The most important aspect of a space for me is the acoustics and whether I feel that my sound easily fills the space. And the Lala Gallery gave me that feeling, i.e. that I didn’t have to exert myself to hear my the sound the way I want to hear it. Truly a great venue for alto saxophone!

To Emily Morgan: You said that the installation was a big part of the performance. Could you share some of card’s contents? Especially the ones that fell down.

EM: The cards that fell down are very much a part of the improvisation – it depends on where I’m moving, how I’m moving and what I end up getting stuck to. But some of the text is below. It was written for the first incarnation of this work, which was over ten years ago and had no movement. I’d like to censor some things my younger self wrote, as I question some of my attitudes, but I’ve decided, for the sake of the work and the way I’d like to move forward with it, not to change/censor what I previously wrote.

I first wore my brace in public to an honors presentation for the enriched program I was in at middle school. It was a gorgeous April night, and I had on one of my new outfits, flowered blue pants with an elastic waist that hit my legs at mid-calf. The shirt, in the same colors, had a slightly larger pattern and was rather wide, or at least wider than I was used to. My feelings of nervousness were mixed with some feelings of excitement, whether for the anticipated attention from friends or from the impending rewards we all hoped to receive. I felt bigger than usual, and I felt very hard, too. No flesh. The presentations were held in a church with no air conditioning, and although the windows were open, I felt the season’s first real heat so strongly. Under my brace I wore a thin, white tank top to prevent sores on my skin, so I wore three layers in all, one of them a layer of plastic. I got hot easily. I had to walk up the long row that divided the pews in order to pick up my certificate. I knew my friends were watching me, and I knew my parents were watching me, and I was very conscious of how different it felt to walk and how it might have looked to everyone else. The image that comes to mind is that of a football player. I had the big, broad shoulders from the shoulder pads in my shirt and my pants were the same length as the tight pants they wear. I was somewhat invincible physically, if not mentally or emotionally. No one could knock me down. Afterwards my friends wanted to touch me or it, maybe. I let them; they were curious and I wanted them to know what it felt like although I know no one will ever really know that. That started it. From then on, people would punch my stomach and it often became a joke—one that sometimes I laughed at with pure joy or humor, and sometimes I laughed at with that disturbing knowledge that my true skin was hidden underneath all that. That was the beginning.

By the time I got home from the awards ceremony and got ready for bed, I was very upset. It took a while to figure out how to work my brace with my pajamas. Would it go over or under? Finally we put it over my pajamas with nothing over it. It was in tears. I took if off and threw it on the floor, got back into bed and then remembered my parents’ encouraging words. The guilt stuck, as it would throughout the brace-wearing years, and I put it back on. I wore it religiously from then on.

To Danny Weiss: At one point you blurted, busted, and blew some extreme discordance—what was going through your mind?

DW: I was thinking that I wanted to change the mood of what we were doing. After starting into it, though, I decided my motivation wasn’t good – change for change’s sake – and I retreated.