This event is sold-out!
For most of human history, baking required patience, resources ... and luck. Ingredients were scarce and expensive; chemistry was fickle; and the chain of procedures required days. When our nation began experiencing abundance for the first time, most Americans couldn’t afford basic cake ingredients.
Makin’ Cake is written and performed by Dasha Kelly Hamilton, author, poet laureate, and creative change agent. Kelly Hamilton cuts into a cake, revealing what its history and ingredients can teach us about race, class and equity in America.
This one-night only event includes delicious conversation after the show and cake for all.
Learn More About The Show
“America tried to come for me! She started shaping her identity around the same time she intensified her relationship with cake. She tried to come for us all.”
Dasha Kelly Hamilton tells the American story of exceptionalism, class and race by slicing into the history of cake. From its inception, Makin’ Cake was originally commissioned by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center as a strategy to engage a community-wide conversation about race. The histories and basic ingredients of cake tell us a lot about access and privilege. Common folks sweetened their cakes with honey, applesauce and boiled raisins, for instance. The wealthy had pastry teams of slaves to spend days sweetening their cakes with real sugar.
In fifty minutes Dasha explores the impact of access, consumerism and race-based policies, the shifting roles of women and institutional design for sustaining income inequality and white male supremacist theory.
For most of human history, baking required patience, resources ... and luck. Ingredients were scarce and expensive; chemistry was fickle; and the chain of procedures required several days. Fast forward to America’s Gilded Age, with the invention of baking powder the task of baking shrank to a single afternoon. America was experiencing abundance for the first time and redefining itself as an imperial, industrial and prosperous nation. In spite of the nation’s newfound wealth, most Americans couldn’t afford basic cake ingredients.
The show features vignettes, digital media, live bakers and Dasha Kelly Hamilton owning the stage and its stories.
Dasha Kelly Hamilton is a writer, performance artist, curator and facilitator. Ultimately, she's a creative change agent, leveraging the creative process toward human and social wellness.
Her nonprofit, Still Waters Collective, initiated literary arts programming for 20 years, creating platforms for thousands of voices to be honored and heard. The organization continues to partner on impact projects, including a creative leadership fellowship. Dasha has written for national, regional and local magazines; produced three collections of poetry; recorded four spoken word CDs; published two novels and one collection of personal vignettes; has work included in several anthologies; and performed in the last season of HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Her stage production, Makin' Cake, will tour nationally beginning in 2022.
Dasha served as an Arts Envoy for the U.S. Embassy to teach, perform and facilitate community building initiatives in Botswana and the island of Mauritius. She was also an artist in residence in Beirut and Toronto. Dasha has been an adjunct professor at Mount Mary University, Alverno College, Bryant & Stratton, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a recruiter and mentor with University of Wisconsin’s First Wave Scholars Program. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, an MA in Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University and a BS in Public Relations from Illinois State University.
Dasha is former Artist of the Year for the City of Milwaukee and the city’s 11th Poet Laureate. She has been named a 2020 national Rubinger Fellow and 2021-22 Poet Laureate for the State of Wisconsin.