Everything Ron Does

Online Home of Ron Ehmke & Co.

And just who IS Ron Ehmke, anyway? He's a writer, performer, media artist, curator,  archivist, editor, minister, and other things. He often refers to himself in the third person. This site is a work-in-progress, but so is life itself, so keep stopping by and see if anything has happened since your last visit.

 

HELP US TEST DRIVE THE PERFORMANCE TRUCK AT TRIMANIA, 4/14/18!

Attention, those of you who think of Ron Ehmke as "That guy who posts all those New Yorker-length political rants on Facebook [and here!] and/or stages those one person shows that go on for 2 1/2 hours, and who keeps threatening to restage THE DARK TIMES, his epic autobiographical monologue trilogy from the 1990s that spans 5 1/2 hours over 3 nights," allow me to say:

1. You're welcome. Just doin' mah job.
2. You are mostly accurate, but that guy ALSO does a shitload of OTHER stuff, most of which is nothing like what you saw the last time. YOU DON't KNOW THE HALF OF IT, PAL!

In fact, on Saturday, April 14. 2018 he'll unveil the latest test drive of his years-in-the-planning new art project/business venture, THE PERFORMANCE TRUCK, at Trimania 2018, an action-packed art party fundraiser for Buffalo Arts Studio. Read more about the party—complete with a nice shout-out to THE PERFORMANCE TRUCK—in Buffalo News writer Colin Dabkowski's preview here, check my own plug for the whole thing in my monthly "Sounds of the City" column in the April 2018 Buffalo Spree here, and visit the event's website here, where you can also buy a ticket (while they last!).

Now about this Performance Truck: it's just like a food truck but you order from a menu of wildly different tailor-made performances BY Ron himself FOR audiences of 2 to 5 people at a time—and here's the best part:

THEY'RE ONLY FIVE MINUTES APIECE!!!!

Some will even feature NO WORDS WHATSOEVER. ZERO! 

And that's not ALL!
Because this is a chance to road test yet another of his ideas that no one else will think of doing for at least another week or so, and there will surely be some kinks in the system, 

ALL OF SATURDAY NIGHT'S MINI-PERFORMANCES WILL BE FREE!!! (with admission to the party, of course)

but NO less spectacular and/or half-assed than the ones you will be able to pay good money for when you start spotting the Performance Truck around town in the months and/or years ahead. You may eventually be able to RENT the Truck, and Ron's services, to cater your next chi-chi affair! 

But that's all in the future. For now, there is Trimania this weekend, and THE PERFORMANCE TRUCK is but one of hundreds of cool things you can see, hear, and do at the party while helping the wonderful Buffalo Arts Studio pay its bills.

See You in the Back of the Van, Kids!

PS. Use #theperformancetruck to tag and find pix and video of this historic event on all your favorite social networks.

fullsizeoutput_2404.jpeg

Here comes THE WORLD'S SMALLEST DISCO!

For a few brief hours on the evening of Saturday, November 25, 2017, the most exclusive nightspot in downtown Buffalo, New York—if not the entire planet—will be a black 2016 Chrysler Town & Country van. 

At 8 p.m. that evening, the World's Smallest Disco will open its teeny doors to an elite clientele: as many partygoers as can fit into the rear of the vehicle. "Dancing" may prove challenging for those lucky enough to make it past the velvet rope, as it is physically impossible for an adult human being to stand up on the "dance floor," let alone do the Hustle, but the organizers are confident that generations of party people limbered up by years of yoga, Pilates, and bellying up to a crowded bar for an overpriced cocktail will be able to adjust to this minor limitation.

The immersive art experience is the latest micro-event conceived and executed by the team at Choose Yer Own Adven-Tours, masterminded by Western New York-based improvisational performers Ron Ehmke and Paula Watkins with assistance from a floating cast of accomplices. (In their best-known earlier collaboration, If You Love Buffalo So Much, Why Don't You Marry It?, presented as part of the 2016 Buffalo Infringement Festival, Watkins and Ehmke performed a mass wedding of area residents to their beloved Queen City itself in the shadow of City Hall.)

The sound, light, and video-equipped van—a "performance truck" modeled on the current fashion for food trucks—will become the Choose Yer Own team's mobile base of operations for several projects beginning in the Summer of 2018, for which the World's Smallest Disco is intended as a bite-sized sneak preview. 

The van—which should be hard to miss—will be parked as close to the entrance of the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (itself surrounded by Pearl, West Mohawk, Pearl, and Franklin Streets) as possible. The specific location of the pop-up venue will be announced via social networks on the afternoon of the event. Portions of the proceedings will also be livecast via Facebook.

Admission to the World's Smallest Disco will be free, and while a doorman/bouncer will use his discretion regarding occupancy, there will be no dress code. Would-be attendees of all sizes and shapes are welcome; brace for cold, wet weather, prepare for a short wait to get in, and cancel all other plans, because if you miss out, the only sound you will hear is the world’s tiniest violin.

BUFFALO INFRINGEMENT 2016 is here!

One of my favorite times of the summer is here: the 11 crazy days and nights that form the Buffalo Infringement Festival. There are more than 400 shows this year in nearly 100 venues all over Buffalo—and I'm involved in three. All of 'em are FREE, by the way, and all depend on YOUR participation.

*Self Infringement / Thursday, July 28—Sunday, August 7, 2016: Head to Rust Belt Books (415 Grant St.), look for the beautifully colored cardboard box (thanks, Esther Niesen!), reach in, and take one of the mystery envelopes containing instructions for creating your very own Infringement performance. If you document your event, remember to use the hashtag #infringeyourself when you share the images online. Brian Milbrand and I have been doing this one for at least a decade now; our personal tip of the hit to our Fluxus foremothers and fathers. Here's the Facebook page for it.


*Shakespeare in the Parking Lot / Friday, July 29, 2016 at 8:30 p.m.: Ronawanda and his or her evil twin cousin North Ronawanda occupy Ye Olde Holley Farms Parking Lot (233 Allen St.) for a tribute to the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare himself. All death scenes this year—and all performed by YOU! (You can watch from the sidelines if you insist, but it's more fun to join in.) Here's the Facebook invite.
 

*"If You Love Buffalo So Much, Why Don't You Marry It?" / Friday, August 5 and Saturday, August 6, 2016: The time has come to pledge your commitment to the City of No Illusions. We don't care whether it's the New Buffalo or the Old one you love. We just want to help you tie the knot. Head to the Stag Party and/or Bridal Shower on Friday night, then grab some shut-eye on your last night as a single person. Saturday at 3 pm we'll gather at Lafayette Square in the shadow of the majestic twin phalli which are City Hall and the McKinley Monument. Watch this space for more details in the days ahead!

 

ALL ABOARD THE CHANGE MACHINE!

BREAKING NEWS!
On Saturday, September 26, 2015, people around the world took part in 100,000 Poets & Artists for Change, a global art project intended to promote social, environmental and political change. (See 100tpc.org for more details on the festival as a whole and visit Just Buffalo's site for info on what else happened as part of  the  Western New York component.)

 

On that sunny Saturday, the CHANGE MACHINE (an easily identifiable blue and white recreational vehicle, which has evolved often since its creation in 1995) traveled to public spaces throughout the day and evening. At each stop, visitors were invited to transorm anything they wanted about themselves and/or the world around them, in ephemeral fantasy if not always (yet) in longterm actuality. 

 

CHANGE AGENTS Paula Watkins, Stoney Connors, Driver Don, and Ron Ehmke can show YOU how to:

 

Change your luck.

Change your diet.

Change your clothes.

Change your gender.

Change your gender orientation.

Change your political orientation.

Change your spots.

Change your stripes.

Change your tune

Change your mind.

Change your life.

Change the world.

 

We are still posting photos and other reports from the historic event  on Facebook (Ron Ehmke, Stoney Connors, Donald Kreger, Paula Watkins) and Twitter (@RonEhmke, @StoneyConnors). There are different images and words on each of these sites, so dig around a bit and maybe you'll find some you missed the first time you looked.

 



"But wait!," we hear you say. "This is all well and good, but what are Paula and Ron doing NEXT?"

To which we respond: "Read on!"

 

 “Choose Yer Own Adven-Tours” is a joint venture by Western New York-based artist/entrepreneurs Paula Watkins and Ron Ehmke in collaboration with entrepreneur artist Stoney Connors, DJ/VJ Ron D M Key, and countless co-conspirators offering participants immersive/submersive experiences designed to take them on both literal and theatrical journeys through space and time, sometimes traversing blue highways and dead-end streets in a “magic bus” named the Leprechaun, and sometimes never moving an inch. 

Each “adven-tour” is a one-of-a-kind event saluting Buffalo’s unsung-but-undeniable past, present, and future as an internationally significant, if sometimes invisible, hub of cultural activity.

From the pre-Prohibition-era drag bars and microbreweries of downtown (all long-since demolished) to the artist-run galleries, theater companies, and alternative spaces that have dotted the city for the last half century to the still-deep-underground movements fomenting in the minds of current-day teenagers in low-rent, as yet-ungentrified neighborhoods that the rest of the world will be glomming onto ten years from now, this innovative tour series focuses on aspects of life on the margins in “the City of No Illusions” that even 70-year-old natives never knew existed. Using years of meticulous historical research, on-the-spot reenactments, improvised roleplay, and pure fantasy, co-tourguides Paula Watkins and Ron Ehmke will reveal fascinating, often unbelievable but generally true tales of Buffalo from the days of the Erie Canal (and before!) to the era of Solar City.

If that weren’t enough, “Choose Yer Own Adven-Tours” is also the first—and, as of this very second, the only—tour company in the world to offer its guests nearly unlimited control over every aspect of their tailor-made tour. The program has been described by bespectacled bon vivants as “Bespoken Word” performance and by showbiz-savvy gamers as the latest manifestation of audience-involving entertainment.

Would you prefer YOUR tour to be 100% historically accurate, 100% fabricated, 50% truth/50% lies, or any other percentage that does not require higher math? Would you like the tour to be delivered by a native, a transplant, a man dressed as a native plant, Santa Claus, or the late Nina Simone? We will cater to your every whim. (The more you’re willing to pay, the more elaborate we’re willing to get.)

Choose Yer Own Adven-tours are perfect for out-of-town visitors, ex-pats, re-pats, Patti Smith should she be in town (it’s happened three times before), grrrls-night-out groups, illiterate bookclubbers, and everyone else who wants to have fun while learning more about Buffalo than anyone ever dreamed possible.

No matter what Adven-Tour YOU choose, Paula, Ron E, Ron DMK, Driver Don, and Stoney, along with their cast of actual actors and imaginary friends, are ready to give you anything and everythingyour heart desires.

For more information about Choose Yer Own Adven-Tours,
email Ron Ehmke at ronehmke@roadrunner.com.