Womens Avant Fest 97

Improvisation Workshop & Performances

WAF on stage at Lounge Ax


The improvisation workshop/performances that Carrie Biolo & Jeff Kowalkowski (Jack the Dog), Dafna Naphtali, Robbie Hunsinger and Janice Misurell-Mitchell and Kitty Brazelton conducted at Chicago's Links Hall—as well as the Women's Avant Fest 9-hour-plus marathon at Lounge Ax on Lincoln Avenue—were exhausting, exhilarating events for everyone concerned.

Janice Misurell-Mitchell kicked off Thursday's workshop with a nonpareil solo performance on flute—her timbral manipulation is phenomenal—and the phenomenon continued into a second piece called "Motels" where she used only her voice—fundamentally challenging the electronic-sound processors who were to follow later on the program!

Then Jack the Dog expanded our conception—in time, in timbre, in emotion—and we ended larger than we began.

With the help of a small but very participatory audience, Dafna Naphtali demonstrated her work with the Eventide delay and interactive MAX computer software, Kitty Brazelton sampled Dadaist statements by that same audience and processed them on my Akai for later keyboard-playing access while the enigmatic and indomitable beyond-oboist Robbie Hunsinger led a no-tech exploration of the acoustic properties of Links Hall itself.

We wrapped everything up with an all-hands (Biolo, Kowalkowski, Mitchell and the entire audience joining Hunsinger, Brazelton and Naphtali), all-minds, all-instruments, all-tongues, all-dials improvisation, using silence, the el (visible and audible through the window), accumulation to cacophony and resolution to bliss and peace.

It was well after midnight when the last equipment loaded out and the last player left the Hall weary and elated.

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