A live blog documenting the 24-hour creation/performance process of “TRIOS.”
Written commentary by Pol Rosenthal and photos by Tim Summers.

Where, When, and What Is TRIOS?

7 . 27 . 2011 – 9:22 AM
Posted by Mulata

It’s early morning for dancers and dance lovers. Jessie and I have been setting up the space with the lovely Vanessa DeWolf* chaperoning. I’m Pol Rosenthal; photographer Tim Summers and I will be documenting the entire 24 hour event. It’s looking great here at PROJECT: Space Available.
Jessie thought it would be a good idea to reiterate the format of TRIOS; it’s very simple, but it does bear repeating.

  1. Jessie and invited dancers and musicians gather at PROJECT: Space Available.
  2. They spend 1 hour in private constructing a collaborative piece.
  3. At the appointed time guests are invited to come witness the creations.
  4. Everybody says ‘hello’ and the process starts all over again.

The pieces, of which there are 5, will be of a duration between 5 minutes and 30. The collaborative construction phase (step 2) is private; no one gets to see what happens until the piece debuts. If you arrive a bit early we can pretend that the work will start on time; just kidding. Sort of.
Here’s a list of the times again for those of you who missed it:

And the location: PROJECT: Space Available
1417 10th Ave, Seattle WA between E. Pike and E. Union. Use the door marked Sweatbox Yoga and follow the hallway to the very back.

Jessie and Vanessa in deep discussion.
* Vanessa is co-founder and curator of Project: Space Available.

First Arrivals

7 . 27 . 2011 – 10:54 AM
Posted by Mulata

We are no longer alone. Musician Alex Guy, dancer Jim Kent, and photographer Tim Summers are all here.
The creatives are sitting on the floor discussing the process; Tim’s floating over them with his camera. I guess this is really beginning.
Alex and I have been friends for years and have worked on numerous projects together. We first met while working on the Infernal Noise Brigade, a street-based radical marching band and theater company. Later we were a part of the Degenerate Art Ensemble, another dance/theater company. Alex now calls herself Led To Sea; she plays viola and sings. She’s very capable and ridiculously darling.
Dancer Jim Kent has been on the Seattle scene for a while now. We only became acquainted in the last year via working on Dayna Hanson’s ‘Gloria’s Cause‘. I’ve been impressed with this guy since the first week of rehearsal. He can leap as high as my head from a standing position and makes it look like he’s floating in high speed. Jim brings a nice blend of ballet and modern and his own quirks to his movement. He also has a wonderful disposition…


7 . 27 . 2011 – 11:03 AM
Posted by Mulata

Hearing the first notes from Alex Guy’s viola is relaxing. I’ve heard her work so many times it sounds like the voice of an old friend, which I guess is the case. The dancers have finally ceased stretching and are working on the choreography.
It’s a little warm in here. Vanessa told me this morning the space used to house a car repair service. There’s a psychic sensation of micro-fine dust hanging in the air. It’s not real, but I can’t help imagining it.
Everyone walks in and strips down to t-shirts; there’s a wife-beater gang happening here. I’m expecting our membership to increase dramatically by the end of the day. Dancing is sweaty work even for observers.

Impressions 2 plus Explanations

7 . 27 . 2011 – 11:18 AM
Posted by Mulata

Alex has quite an array of gear around her feet. Effects pedals, loop stations, cables, another cello on a mic stand, and a typically grey boxed amplifier, small. There’s no microphone though so sadly she may not be singing for us. Hopefully Tim will post some shots soon and you can see what I’m writing about.
A quick word on the process here. Tim and I are working simultaneously. He’s going to be posting his photos as he sees fit and I’m doing the same with my text. The two processes are linked only by the space in which they appear. I can’t edit his photos and he can’t edit my text. Even though we’re sitting at the same table and working on the same document we cannot truly interact. We are the opposite of the process we are documenting.

And we begin: The birth of an idea

7 . 27 . 2011 – 11:30 AM
Posted by Tim S


7 . 27 . 2011 – 11:37 AM
Posted by Mulata

Tim’s finally posting photos. A leaping Jessie Smith, a pensive Jim Kent. This is a world I’m familiar with. These two have been jumping, rolling, and throwing themselves around for 30 minutes now. They are covered in sweat.
Alex is using her loop station to great effect. If you aren’t familiar with that tool it allows the musician to capture, to record a passage of performed music or sound and instantly make it play over and over again. Alex constructs lush tapestries of bowed sound and layers it with ever prettier plucks, strikes and bows. A lot of people are using this tool now, but she’s the person who made me love it.

Timing Issues

7 . 27 . 2011 – 11:59 AM
Posted by Mulata

So the first performance is being pushed back by 10 minutes to 12:10pm.
Costumes? Lighting? These things must be considered…
Favorite quote so far, “Let’s suspend the fuck out of this thing.”
I love the language of Modern Modern Dance.


7 . 27 . 2011 – 12:15 PM
Posted by Mulata

The first piece is about to occur.
Jessie’s giving a small explanation and introducing everyone. It’s a very intimate setting. The audience is sitting on a sofa right up close.
Something that hasn’t been mentioned is that the audience will be given video cameras to record the work…
Oh. Gotta run. It’s started!
Update to the Update: The first performance went well; everyone was vigorous and yet made it all look near-effortless. With less than an hour of time working together, Guy, Smith, and Kent made a 6 and a half minute performance. Wow.

The Performance

7 . 27 . 2011 – 1:19 PM
Posted by Tim S

Apres Performance

7 . 27 . 2011 – 1:23 PM
Posted by Tim S


Maggie and Jessie getting ready for Karn’s arrival

7 . 27 . 2011 – 1:40 PM
Posted by Tim S

Post & Between States

7 . 27 . 2011 – 2:01 PM
Posted by Mulata

The first performance has ended and the players for the next are arriving. We had a small number of viewer/participants all of whom are members of Seattle’s art crowd. Not bad for a lunch-time showing that’s not outside.
The running time was about 6 minutes 23 seconds. The dancers did the piece and then did it again. Smith decided that as she’d asked her viewers to wield video cameras she’d give them the option of focusing their attention on different subjects.
Watching the piece I was struck by all the staring into small screens as much if not in some cases more than they were watching it with their natural eyes. Personally, I found a few frame-able areas to turn my camera then intentionally watched the piece directly. The camera is a distance that I didn’t need separating me from the life around me. And I don’t mean that in a Luddite sense at all.
Talking to Smith while waiting for (dancer/director/choreographer) Karn Junkinsmith to arrive, she revealed to me that she wants to know what people are looking at. Will they turn the lens on the feet of the dancer or will they follow the bodies of all those onstage? She doesn’t follow this thought any further (‘What does it mean? Is there any meaning to this gaze?’) and I forget to ask. It’s an intoxicating space to be in surrounded by all this raw energy and creativity so forgive me.
Oh My God. Karn Is Here. And She Is Overwhelming In Every Way.

Karn in the house!

7 . 27 . 2011 – 2:27 PM
Posted by Tim S

Karn and Maggie, In Construction

7 . 27 . 2011 – 2:33 PM
Posted by Mulata

Maggie Brown and Karn Junkinsmith are now in residence. Maggie is a little firebrand who plays guitar, keyboards/piano, sings, and drums. Karn is a choreographer, teacher of dance, director of films, and a dancer.
They’ve decided to reconfigure the room from the previous performance. The space is shaped sort of like an ‘L’ (with an extra appendage that’s being used as a kitchen and not dance space for now) and the initial work was done at the top of the ‘L’. Now the performers have migrated to the crook of the ‘L’.
They’ve barricaded themselves in with a sofa and a bench creating a sort of open hallway in the room. Hopefully Tim will post a photo of the new configuration soon so you can get a better idea of what the place looks like. There’s also a white bench askew within the new space and Jessie and Karn have been doing a lot of things that involve lying on this bench, arching on this bench, a lot of bench work from these two.
Maggie has brought her incredibly loud guitar. It is black and white. Sometimes I think Maggie lives in that spectrum; her moments on the guitar or drums in our previous encounters are either so loud that nothing escapes a sound thrashing or softer than the peachfuzz on your favorite aunt’s upper lip. Unlike Alex Guy from the previous performance Maggie looks to be involved with some of the performative aspects of the show.
Sadly, the creation of this piece is happening behind my back and if I want to get anything written I can’t afford to waste time looking over my damn shoulder. Tim on the other hand has it much easier; he can get up, walk around camera in hand, and be a part of the spectacle.

Second Movement

7 . 27 . 2011 – 2:52 PM
Posted by Mulata

The second Dead Bird Movement collaborative action, TRIOS, is starting in ten minutes. Karn Junkinsmith has quit smoking and she’s dangerous. Maggie Brown is playing beautiful stuff on her guitar. Jessie Smith is getting manhandled.
This is going to be very different from the first show folks. There might be a strange surprise, too.
(Strange things are happening in this room; it makes me want to grab my camera and start documenting. Tim Summers is the photographer here, though; as I look at him walking around, mounting a bench with one leg, monocular eye posed and poised, I remember that Tim is remembering for me. I can always return to this blog post to see what I saw.)

Part Two

7 . 27 . 2011 – 4:51 PM
Posted by Tim S

Lunch Break

7 . 27 . 2011 – 5:10 PM
Posted by Mulata

We’re taking a small break post the 2nd show.
We’ll return with a descriptive piece on the show and more pictures from Tim Summers.
Just for the record: It was great. Karn and Maggie are amazing. Jessie was handled like a babe by those two.

2nd Dance In Synopsis

7 . 27 . 2011 – 5:58 PM
Posted by Mulata

Maggie Brown is playing guitar. There’s a slight feel of a Robert Rodriguez about her sound. She is alone in the corner with a large amplifier next to her. She is splashed in side lights, white. The walls are white, but they bathe things in silver.
Karn strides in through the seated audience. They are looking through video lenses the second time they see this performance; they are taping this performance for Jessie. The first time through everyone cradles the cameras in their laps watching the performance unfold.
Karn is tall and moves with purpose to a bench that sits at cross purposes to the square of the space. She sprawls backwards on it. I remember her legs rising in the air.
From outside of the performative space Jessie comes running. The music is loud. She runs around the outside of the audience and up next to the prone Karn. She grabs the sides of Karn’s head and whips her hair onto Karn’s face. It snaps. It’s full of water. It slaps Karn’s face and chest and she flinches. Then Jessie runs away.
The music never calms. It only sustains itself. It doesn’t sound anything like Rodriguez’ music anylonger; it sounds like Maggie Brown’s music. Two more times Jessie Smith runs out and around the audience to whip Karn’s face. Water flies everywhere. On the third pass Karn grabs Jessie’s face and neck and it looks as if she might choke the young woman. She wrestles her to the bench and it isn’t much of a struggle; Karn is far too strong to be resisted.
They wrestle on the bench. Jessie is thrown around by Karn as if her weight is negligible. This continues with Jessie being spun around Karn’s body in many different configurations. Her legs flop; her head is tossed. Her arms hang limp.
Karn knocks Jessie to the bench and Jessie falls to the floor. She grabs Jessie’s hands to lift her and it’s a dead weight in her grasp. She doesn’t strain too hard and Smith is rising, arms distended. Karn’s legs are shaking. Violently. But she holds Smith and it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere.
Maggie Brown stops playing guitar, sets it down. The music continues; she has one of those looping tools, too. She comes around to the side of the hanging Smith and reaches under the bench to retrieve some objects.
A razor. A can of shaving cream. A white bowl of water. She sprays the cream into the exposed armpit of Jessie Smith and lifts the razor. Maggie Brown deliberately and raggedly removes the hair from the armpit. This does not go on for too long before Brown puts down the razor. Takes the bowl and the cream places all three back beneath the bench.
Karn cradles Smith in her arms having sat down on the bench. She holds her for only a moment before standing and carrying her out through the audience on the same trajectory which she entered by.

Let the third round begin!

7 . 27 . 2011 – 6:11 PM
Posted by Tim S

Time for some fun with Jessica Jobaris and Zeke Keeble!

All work and no play

7 . 27 . 2011 – 6:25 PM
Posted by Tim S

make for a VERY serious piece

The Third Dance: Keeble & Jobaris

7 . 27 . 2011 – 6:33 PM
Posted by Mulata

Things are only getting livelier around here. We’ve got three color coordinated monsters running around in the space. They’re wearing the Red & Black of Spanish Anarchism. It’s a beautiful sight.
The two partisans joining Jessie for this third and mid-point round are Jessica Jobaris and Zeke Keeble. Jobaris is some kind of returning Titan and I first saw her in the Salt Horse production ‘TitanArum‘. She had a solo wherein she seemed to change beings every few steps. I’m familiar with the technique of embodiment, but I’ve rarely seen it so well lived let alone performed. It made me want to study under her and when Jessie said she needed another dancer she was one of the first people I thought of.
Percussionist (but much more) Zeke Keeble on the other hand has been around for forever on the scene and if you don’t know who he is that’s one thing, but if you find out and realize you haven’t seen anything he’s been a part of… Well, some people only recently moved here and some people are boring.
Right now there’s a lot of head banging going on. A minute ago there were a lot of butts in the air. Zeke is making music with his mouth, drums, synth pads, midi-triggering authenti-drums, and too many foot activated electronic devices. I don’t know what he’s doing, but it’s rowdy. We like rowdy.
I will stop now saying that things change, artistic choices get made, someone just got slapped, and there’s head-butts happening. This is going to be very different from the last two dances.

Some People Are Strange Magnets

7 . 27 . 2011 – 7:01 PM
Posted by Mulata

Things are collapsing. People are yelling. Colors are still matching. No blood has been spilled; I’m pretty sure it’s whiskey on the floor…

The crowd is ready

7 . 27 . 2011 – 8:22 PM
Posted by Tim S

Third Trio

7 . 27 . 2011 – 8:24 PM
Posted by Tim S

Hold On To Your Seats: End Of The Third; Waiting On The Fourth

7 . 27 . 2011 – 8:51 PM
Posted by Mulata

The pictures above attest to the ridiculous and joyful energy of the third movement in TRIOS. Dancer Jessica Jobaris and musician Zeke Keeble are disciplined, frenetic, fearless and talented crazy people. During rehearsal a chair got angry and attempted to eat Jobaris’ big toe. Jessica’s fast though and escaped with all her piggies still counting. Sadly, we have no footage of this stiffly wooden assault, but rest assured that that damn chair was put down.
Now Paul Moore and Ellie Sandstrom have arrived. They are dancing on the kitchen table. People are sitting in the sink. I believe that this is how ruffians treat your house. Supposedly these are dance and music illuminaries. Could this be the truth? At 10 O’Clock I suppose we’ll find out.

The process begins again

7 . 27 . 2011 – 9:32 PM
Posted by Tim S

First the discussion

Then, uh…the beer?

Coming Up Soon

7 . 27 . 2011 – 9:33 PM
Posted by Mulata

So it’s getting dark and moody, atmospheric in here. Paul Moore is dabbling in the prolonged pause, the windy refrain, the sublimated scales of Asia. There are still people dancing on the table, but we have been tossed out of the kitchen. No more washing in the sink…
The first dance that occurred with Jim Kent and Alex Guy was grace.
The second with Maggie Brown and Karn Junkinsmith was carnality.
The third with Jessicca Jobaris and Zeke Keeble was dementia.
What happens with the fourth? And where’s the fifth?


7 . 27 . 2011 – 9:59 PM
Posted by Tim S

Showtime #4

7 . 28 . 2011 – 12:07 AM
Posted by Tim S

A Bit On The Fourth Movement: Sandstrom and Moore

7 . 28 . 2011 – 12:15 AM
Posted by Mulata

We are next door to the Moe Bar where some kind of a huge 80s party night is occurring. ‘Genius of Love’ is vibrating through the steel barricade that separates Project: Space Available and the world of moderately priced drinks. And don’t get me wrong; I like the Moe Bar.
As Paul Moore, Ellie Sandstrom, and Jessie Smith work their way through the creation process of the fourth piece of TRIOS the screams of happy young ladies and drums and bass mark a punctuation of time from the earlier pieces to the now later ones. It is midnight and the last piece began a bit after 10. A lot of people lined up in the hallway. Maybe as many as were here for part 3. And that was a lot for a small arts enclave.
As I mentioned before there was dancing on the table in the kitchen. That remained. Smith and Sandstrom start the piece dancing on the table while Moore manipulated two stacked banks of keyboards. The sink was ignored. The refrigerator played a minor role in the festivities.
There is a sinking of bodies down the wall to a seating on the table. Or something like that. It’s getting late; even though they performed this piece three times tonight I find it’s blurring in my mind. What I remember is how serious and slow these two women moved. How dense were the textures that Paul Moore brought from his Mini Moog synth and electric piano.
These two bodies rolled and twined over and through one another. There were actions of support that seemed perilous. ‘Will Ellie fall off the table? Is that what’s supposed to happen? I can’t tell how serious this shit is.’ These are not my thoughts; these are the thoughts of everyone in the room. No one knows what’s going to happen and no one can tell how real the emotions on display are. Or if they are even there.
I think I’m going to have to let Tim’s pictures tell the full story…


So Dave French is here. He plays bass for a band called The Anunnaki. Judging from what he is doing now I can only assume that they are very loud. Dave French is very adept at playing his 4 string bass and he is very loud. This is a good thing. I wonder if he is having an effect on the Moe Bar?
I know nothing about Dave French. I know a little about Alice Gosti. She and Jessie Smith are now creating a piece against or with Dave’s music. There’s a lot of running back and forth. One pants leg rolled up higher than the other. ‘Can we do some kind of jumpy shit?’ At last we are back to the language of Modern Modern Dance.
Alice Gosti and her two friends Anh and Devin hosted a food fight at On The Boards not long ago. They held it in a plastic house. It looked rather delicious. I hadn’t wanted spaghettes so badly in years. Spaghetti still lingers on my mind.
This is Modern Dance to me. Young women fighting in controlled motion with limp, wet food, ripped and disheveled clothing, vulgar language, and loud music most suitable for disasters. Of course that’s not all it is to me, but if it didn’t have room for the vulgar and the obtuse I would want nothing to do with it.

Here we go again. Pt V

7 . 28 . 2011 – 12:51 AM
Posted by Tim S

The Performance

7 . 28 . 2011 – 1:40 AM
Posted by Tim S

The End

7 . 28 . 2011 – 1:47 AM
Posted by Mulata

It’s over.
Not quite 24 hours, but close enough.
Alice Gosti and Dave French just ran Jessie Smith across walls and into the floor.
The least structured of all the pieces.
The loudest of all the structures.
Dave French has loud hands.
And in the end there is Jessie Smith lying on the floor.
And there is Dave French picking up a slab of chocolate cake.
He has thrown his bass against the wall and it’s whining.
Then he throws the entirety of a chocolate cake onto the head of Jessie Smith.
This is the end of TRIOS.
I would write more, but I am exhausted.
I have a glass of whiskey and a can of beer.
Now I have to sweep up a lot of chocolate cake.

Cake Face

7 . 28 . 2011 – 4:17 AM
Posted by Tim S

Parting Shot

7 . 29 . 2011 – 1:56 PM
Posted by Mulata

Here’s an image of Jessie’s hip. Taken a day and half after the last dance. This is courtesy of Alice Gosti…

Trios Videos

7 . 31 . 2012 – 12:13 PM
Posted by Jessie S

Here are videos of the performances.
All the footage was shot by the audience and edited together by Jessie.