Show and Tell: A new Baltimore performance series channels the inquisitive kindergartener in all of us. by Cara Ober

“I had the idea for a while that I wanted to do an adult show and tell,” recalls Lauren Bender, a Baltimore-based poet and performance artist. “Ideally, it would include artists and performers, regular people, and even children. I wanted to see performance work that was really genuine and personal without being cheesy.”

Photo by Linda Franklin

Bender is the director of the new series Boîte: Show&Tell, a monthly event started in November and held in Minás Gallery in Hampden. Bender emcees; participants are invited to bring an interesting object or idea to share, and to revisit the grade school pleasure of presenting it to the class. Each event includes three or four performances, which are each followed by a question and answer segment with the audience. At the end, audience members are invited to offer their own presentations.

“Show&Tell is a way for everyone to be an expert,” Bender explains. “I really wanted to mix this up with people who are not artists and to break down the barrier between performer and audience. I don’t want the performances to be ironic … I don’t want it to be cheeky. So far it has been really warm and genuine. People are really nice, interested in what people are bringing, and incredibly creative in what they have shared.”

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