Dinner and a show, and then some: Eleven Tiny Performances heads to the Trumpet Blossom Cafe

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This time, they’re cranking things up to 11. — photo courtesy of the Englert Theatre

Who doesn’t love a dinner and a show? Well, how about dinner and 11 shows?

The Englert Theatre and Trumpet Blossom Cafe are teaming up to present Eleven Tiny Performances this Thursday at 9 p.m. at the Trumpet Blossom Cafe. Building on the success of the Ten Tiny Performances event this past April, Thursday’s show will also include a pre-show dinner beginning at 7:30 p.m., prepared by Trumpet Blossom Chef Katy Meyer.

Performances will take place on a 4-by-4 foot stage, and artists have only five minutes to do their thing. Anticipate a wide variety of multimedia art, sketches, spoken word and dance.

The event is curated by Iowa City artists Esther Baker-Tarpaga and Heidi Wiren Bartlett, who will each give their own tiny performance. After the last act, all of the performers will gather near Trumpet Blossom’s bar for a meet-and-greet.

The pre-show meal will include hot apple cider (plain or spiked), warm spiced walnuts, stewed black beans with roasted winter squash and root veggies, lemon-roasted garlic greens and toasted cornbread with pickled green tomato relish. Keeping up with the restaurant’s mission, it’s an all organic, vegan and locally grown menu.

Eleven Tiny Performances falls under the umbrella of Black Thought: A Festival, a series of serendipitous local events — all booked without knowledge of one another — that focus on themes of race, class and gender in America. Englert Theatre Executive Director Andre Perry calls Black Thought a “magic aligning of the stars.”

Curator Baker-Tarpaga says that although Eleven Tiny Performances’ inclusion in Black Thought was unplanned, the two premises work well together.

“Personally my work as a White artist is influenced by Africanist Aesthetics — in the sense of body politics,” wrote event curator Esther Baker-Tarpaga in an email to Little Village. “My movement is informed by 15 years training in Africanist dance forms in addition to race politics played out on the mediatized body.”

“Several artists in this year’s line up are directly addressing Black Thought in their work,” Baker-Tarpaga wrote. “Duane Holland, a dancer/choreographer, is working with [writer] James Baldwin’s text and his choreography. Barber, a performance artist, is looking at the shooting of young Detroit girl who was killed in crossfire, and Heidi Wiren-Bartlett, Jingqui Guan and myself are collaborating on a work that looks at the female body, capitalism and whiteness.”

The Englert Theatre notes that the event will contain explicit sexual content and is intended for adult audiences only. Tickets for dinner and the show are available for $50. Tickets for the 9 p.m. show (sans-dinner) are also available for $20.

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