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Two Improvisatory Evenings in January- NEVER BEFORE, NEVER AGAIN at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn (part 1)

Two Improvisatory Evenings in January- NEVER BEFORE, NEVER AGAIN  at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn (part 1)
Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram

By Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram
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Published on February 27, 2020
Photo by Sam Polcer

Curated by The Lovelies

Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn
January 23, 2020

Artists: Lauren Cox, I.D.A., Ladies of Hip Hop, Betsy Miller + Matthew Cumbie, Galen Bremer and Zoe Rabinowitz

How does one curate spontaneous invention?

Which ventures will fulfill an evening or an audience’s attention span, especially over an ambitious period of three weeks?

The Lovelies, a fourth generation company of practicing improvisers (“paying attention for six years,” they say) are the guest curators of Triskelions Arts’ sixth annual improv festival Never Before Never Again, and they do a remarkable job it. Though I enjoyed some endeavors more than others, never did my attention stray out of the theater.

“Improv is not just a tool for creating,” dancer/choreographer Pam Pietro reminds us in her pre-show remarks, on Friday January 24th, “It is about allowing and opening.”

The performers devote their concentration and skill to the moment and we follow them, aware that at any instant the air could combust — or freeze.

Pietro describes the experience as “our histories meeting.”

How does one write about spontaneous invention?

In the spirit of experimentation, I decided to respond to the mystery that is improvisation by playing with the words in my notes taken over two evenings at Triskelion Arts.

Here goes:

With you, you with us,
The energy tonight is like no other…

Lauren Cox; Photo by Ellen Maynard

Lauren Cox- Kisses from Rio

CJ plays with notes

I.D.A. - Trio - Created by Isabel Umali, Dustin Carlson and Ashley Menestrina with Sound by Dustin Carlson

I.D.A's Ashley Menestrina;Triskelion Arts  Publicity

Fluid Modigliani figures dressed in black, move so near, almost through each other.
Rolling. Riding, Rowing, Crawling against a black wall.  
Holding on.
High-pitched, plucking guitar strings become louder, harsher—almost unbearable.
It’s dark, we can only see the uncovered parts of their bodies shaking.
Ferocity trying to escape. Running to Quiet.



                               Ladies of Hip-Hop - Her Journey

Choreographer and Freestyle Direction by Michele Byrd McPhee

Performers: Britney “Bizzy” Brown, Tweetboogie, Deborah Conton, Dana “Lioness” Weiner, Mariella Gross                                            Reyna Nunez, Miyabi Wright, Tara “Big Tara” Crichlow, Kaori Narita.


Ladies of Hip Hop; Triskelion Arts  Publicity


In the beginning, they set up a trio of shapes.

One at a time, walking on the earth, through water and fire.

On to the floor and up off it. Percussive beats break.

Shapes-all; Colors-all; Hairstyles-all.

Velvet pants and so much love.

A tribe of solos, and footwork that talks to us, as nine women lift the earth.


Betsy Miller + Matthew Cumbie -Unicorn Hair + Dragon Heartstring - TELL THE TRUTH

Matthew and Betsy (background photo) by Ellen Maynard





My Future is Turtle, Zoe Rabinowitz;photo Ellen C. Maynard


Galen Bremer and Zoe Rabinowitz -My Future is Turtle-

Created and Performed by the artists,

Sound by Galen Bremer, Video by Bremer and Rabinowitz


Projections tumble. Images of rocks expand.
I see hands, maybe  legs.

The cracked earth shifts, but I see something recognizable, maybe a front or side view? Then rain falls, water ripples — swimming. The figure emerges, transforming in texture.

She’s out, looking in. Slowly turning and twisting she lets her arm…

Wind sounds, clattering, a heartbeat.

Alone facing us, balancing, unstable, the new creature wakens. The intrigue of a live birth.
Glittering, she returns to the shell and encloses herself in the safety of its skin.

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