Big to-do

Take Five 2020

Local actor John Wade plans to present “How to Burlesque” at Take Five 2020.

Local actor John Wade plans to present “How to Burlesque” at Take Five 2020.

Photo/Eric Marks

Take Five 2020: A Brüka Theatre Fundraiser and Community Bridge will be at Brüka Theatre, 99 N. Virginia St., on Jan. 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. Part I or Part II: $25; Parts I and II: $40. For more information, visit

Think of something you do well—perhaps you have a great smoothie recipe or you know the best way to wrap a present. Do you think you could give a five-minute presentation to strangers about it? And I mean exactly five minutes.

That's the idea behind Take Five 2020, two nights of how-to presentations by local artists, returning this weekend at Brüka Theatre.

As Producing Artistic Director Mary Bennett explains, credit for the idea belongs to Elizabeth Tenney, who first conceived the series of speed lectures in Mammoth, California, as a way to showcase the smart, talented, interesting people living there.

“The idea behind it is to gather people from the community to explain, in a how-to fashion, things they do that people would be interested to know about,” Bennett said, adding that this is its second installment in Reno.

Brüka's version takes a more art-focused approach—although its definition of art is broad. The 30 unique presenters' (15 per night) subject matter runs the gamut from practical (such as Kelsey Sweet's “How to Model for Art” and Jon Potter's “How to Tattoo”) to ethereal (as in Janice Oberding's “How to Speak to the Dead” and Reverend Matthew Fisher's “How to Find Nirvana”).

Take Five 2017, Brüka's first installment, was successful in several ways, Bennett said. “Both nights, the seats were filled, but we also created new relationships with people in the community. And when you ask someone to do something they do well in five minutes, the results are pretty amazing.”

She points to 2020 presentations such as Britton Griffith Douglass' “The Art of the Campaign” or Jesse James Ziegler's “How to Create a Poem” as examples of how boiling down a person's skill into an effective five-minute presentation is, in itself, an art. Some presenters use slideshows and scripts; others improvise. Prepare for audience involvement. And make no mistake, when five minutes are up, that's it.

Grant Denton, the creator of the Karma Boxes around Reno and Carson City filled with food and hygiene supplies for those experiencing homelessness, will share how to take the same premise that started that project—connectedness and group engagement in acts of kindness—and use it to create conscious karma in your own life.

“There are so many things happening in this show, there's no chance you won't have a good experience,” he said.

John Wade, a local actor, dancer and frequent Brüka performer, will present “How to Burlesque.”

“I'm going to present the difference between strip tease, stripping and burlesque, kind of a clarification for folks who've never thought about it or understood there was a difference,” Wade said. “You'll get a quick education on a lot of things you never knew you needed to know.”

Bennett said that because each night's show is unique, there's a special two-night ticket price to encourage return visits.

“We wanted to usher in 2020 with really conscious thought and honoring people in our community who sometimes are on the sidelines, who don't usually get notoriety or praise,” Bennett said. “Last time, several artists told us, ‘Wow, I never realized what that person does.' So now, not only do they feel validated about their own work, but they're more excited about the community they're living in.”