Mike Kelley's Mobile Homestead hits the road to bring Detroit communities µTopian Dinners, a series of unique participatory performances to take place at the Sidewalk Festival and Dixieland Flea Market.

µTopian Dinners are day-long interactive performances that invite you to reimagine the "American" meal and explore the values we wish our culture(s) espoused by sharing food, conversation, and songs with artists from Detroit and around the world. Through cyber-linked connections, we'll drink tea with friends in Tehran, enjoy brunch with artists in Beijing, and examine how breaking bread with others across a variety of divides can help us understand more about the people in our own backyards. µTopian Dinners are conceived and presented by Detroit-based performance artists The Hinterlands, Ava Ansari, and Renee Willoughby, with live performances by local and international guest artists. Unlike any typical dinner service, µTopian Dinners incorporate physical performance, live music, choreography, handheld video projection, long-distance calls, smartphones, and great food eaten in surprising ways.

No reservations are necessary. Guests may drop in any time and stay for one course or the entire meal. Designed for people of all ages and backgrounds, µTopian Dinners are free, and seating is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Look for the Mobile Homestead, a big white mobile home, at the Sidewalk Festival Detroit (located on Lahser Road between Grand River and Orchard Street in Detroit) on Saturday, August 4 between 3-10 PM and at the Dixieland Flea Market (2045 Dixie Highway, Waterford Twp.) on Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12 between 10 AM-6 PM.

µTopian Dinners are produced by The Hinterlands and Poetic Societies; created by The Hinterlands, Ava Ansari, Renee Willoughby with Salakastar, Julia Yezbick, Norma Jean Haynes, Amir Pousti (Tehran), Alireza Keymanesh (Tehran), TGIS 周日有限 (Beijing), Pavel Mitenko (Moscow), and Danielle Aubert, Jonathan Flatley, and Agnes Flatley.


The Hinterlands - Using an explosive physical training practice and a lengthy research process, The Hinterlands (Richard Newman and Liza Bielby) engage an interdisciplinary pool of collaborators to create genre-defying works that explore the possibilities of theatre and push audiences into unknown spaces. Their work ranges from psychedelic Westerns to imagined radical archives to border-crossing street festivals. Visit: thehinterlandsensemble.org

Ava Ansari - Ava Ansari is a social art practitioner and a leading figure in the field of telepresence cross-cultural programming. Her multidisciplinary performances, curatorial and educational projects, and community work mean to circulate empathy, knowledge, and wisdom among distant communities. Visit: avaansari.com

As the founding director of Poetic Societies—a multimedia and multi-presence nonprofit performance lab and curatorial agency focused on creating, learning, and celebrating cross-cultural memories—Ava collaborates to produce artistic projects that trace poetic life qualities and use digital technologies for creating engaging real-time telematic experiences. Visit: poeticsocieties.com

Renee Willoughby - Renee Willoughby is a multimedia performance artist and designer working within themes of assemblage, heterotopia, telematics, and ghosts. A resident of Hamtramck, Michigan, Renee creates across disciplines and distances, from participatory Internet-based performance projects exploring mummification to co-facilitating bi-national improvisation sessions with performers in Tehran and Detroit. Visit: reneekindling.com

International Guest Artists

Alireza Keymanesh is an actor, director, dancer, choreographer, acting teacher (primarily focused on the actor’s mind-body relationship) and has been a member of 84 Theater Group, supervised by Ali Akbar Alizad, since 2007 and the managing director of its acting department, entitled 84 Acting Club since 2010. In 2017 he won an award from "European Film Festival Mainstream & Underground" for making a video art called "Flatland". He is the winner of the Best Actor Award from the Iranian Theater Forum’s 14th Annual Actor Ceremony in 2017 and winner of the International Jury’s Laudatory Prize at the 35th Fajr International Theater Festival in 2017 for acting in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Amir Pousti is a filmmaker, cameraman, multi-media artist, and Dotar Player. He has served as a news photographer at the Irna newspaper and film crew on director Reza Razm’s “Conversations.” Amir has made visual work for “The Week of Experimental Arts” (2015) and directed the live performance art piece “Orifice” at Rooberoo Mansion 2016. His film “Flatland” won Best Video Art at Moscow’s 2nd European Film Festival Mainstream & Underground in 2017. He is currently working on a documentary film about the music of the north of Khorasan, Iran.

TGIS周日有限(Liu Chen, Masa, Dandan, Dr. Zhou, Yichi, Eric Bourdeaude Fontenay)
「TGIS 周日有限」is an organization born out of food, transforming the limited time given each Sunday into boundless possibilities. We are creators coming from various fields that gather in the kitchen to combine seasonal foods into a unique brunch experience under a given theme. Humans though do not live by bread alone, but also through knowledge shared in camaraderie. So the brunches have been expanded beyond their original concept to encompass exhibition, talks and events that form the backbone of a new local creative community... with a taste of Sunday.

Pavel Mitenko is a writer and performer working in socially-engaged performance. Pavel began was a participant in the street-theatre and actionist movements Radek Community under Anatoly Osmolovsky and Avdey Ter-Oganyan. His work in the 2000s centered on activist performance, which culminated in his contributions to the creation of the MediaImpact Festival of activist art in Moscow. In 2014, he co-founded Union of the Convalescents, an independent theatrical group that melds anti-psychiatric practice with socially-engaged performance.

Local Guest Artists

Aja Salakastar Dier, AKA Salakastar, is a multidisciplinary performance artist. After living and working in New York City, she moved to her hometown of Detroit. Aja explores experimental work in theatre as an ensemble member of A Host of People, in music as a vocalist and songwriter with Video7, and in writing with iii Sisters, a Detroit-based black feminist writing ensemble. IG: @shestoopstoconquer

Julia Yezbick is a filmmaker, artist, and anthropologist based in Detroit. Her audio and video works have shown at the Berlinale–Forum Expanded, MOMA PS1, the New York Library for Performing Arts, Pravo Lujdski Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Mostra Internacional do Filme Etnográfico, Rio de Janeiro, the Montreal Ethnographic Film Festival, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit. She is the founding Editor of Sensate, an online journal for experiments in critical media practice, and co-directs Mothlight Microcinema in Detroit. Visit: juliayezbick.com

Norma Jean Haynes performs as a singer, songwriter and banjo player, and is invested in the exploration of traditional songs as vessels and as language. She has studied closely with communities in Appalachia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and New England, and currently resides in Detroit as an apprentice with the Hinterlands. As a teaching artist, Norma Jean facilitates youth songwriting and instrument-building programs, and is the author of Make Music!, a forthcoming book on creative music-making for kids.

Jonathan Flatley/Danielle Aubert/Agnes Flatley live in Detroit. They like thinking about utopia. Danielle and Jonathan teach at Wayne State University and Agnes is going into third grade at the Detroit Waldorf School.


“The Hinterlands & Poetic Societies Hit the Road w/ MOCAD’s Mobile Homestead”, CV Henriette, Detroit It Is, August 3, 2018

“µTopian Dinners and Dining With the Enemy”, Sarah Rose Sharp, Hyperallergic, August 10, 2018