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Friday, September 13, 2019, 5:30–7:30 pm

One part mobile multi-media installation, one part improvisational theater-on-the-go, THE PERFORMANCE TRUCK is an ongoing experiment in art and commerce devised by longtime collaborators Ron Ehmke and Paula Watkins. Drawing on their combined decades of experience in both the art world (including standup comedy, dramatic monologues, video, contact improvisation, sketch comedy, cabaret, and political satire) and the so-called “real” one (including retail, arts administration, public relations, and marketing), Watkins and Ehmke’s latest project is intended to function on many levels simultaneously.

Using the model of a food truck, they have transformed an otherwise generic-looking black 2016 Chrysler Town and Country van into a 4-foot-by-8-foot black box theater equipped with battery-operated lights and sound, multiple seating options, and countless screens, curtains, and other ways to dramatically alter the pint-sized venue’s appearance in a matter of minutes. What others might see as limitations, Ehmke and Watkins approach as creative opportunities. Every inch of the space is constantly repurposed for maximum efficiency. (Even the cupholders have served at least half a dozen functions beyond providing a place for customers to place their drinks.) Over its first two years of “beta tests,” the Performance Truck has played such radically different roles as The World’s Smallest Disco (complete with fully stocked bar serving miniature cocktails made with airport-sized liquor bottles and served in shot glasses), Stoney Connors’ Scentsorium (a mind-blowing sight-and-sound extravaganza inspired by 18th century magic shows, 19th century precursors to cinema, and 20th century experimental film techniques), and the site of “Dyngus Day in August” at the Broadway Market (an all-red-and-white site-specific celebration of Buffalo’s rich Polish heritage, during which visitors were invited to polka the afternoon away despite the Truck’s 40-inch ceilings).

For its maiden appearance at the Burchfield Penney, the Performance Truck will rechristen itself yet again, this time marking the Center’s biannual Art in Craft Media exhibition with the pop-up hands-on mini-venue called “Let’s Get Crafty!” Inside the Truck, gallery guests will be invited to make their own craft projects (using only items already found in the artists’ homes, thus encouraging the general public to explore creative reuse, and reminding working artists of all experience levels to repurpose materials they have already purchased when they launch new projects) and to receive career advice and/or aesthetic insight from two or more of the Truck’s rotating cast of characters, including Dr. Paula, an uncertified social worker, and Ronawanda, who reads not just tarot cards but stuffed animals, bubblegum wrappers, and the works of Carl Jung as divination tools.

For more information on THE PERFORMANCE TRUCK, visit or follow it on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Better yet, follow the truck itself—into a world of imagination that knows no boundaries.


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    Special Event  |  September M&T Second Friday

    Friday, September 13, 2019, 5:30–7:30 pm

    Join us for September M&T Second Friday!