Audience Reviews

The Alchemy of Imperfection

“I felt like every scene was taken out of my personal journal. I find that every day I struggle with my identity…it was encouraging to be reminded that I am not as alone and that there is hope in living life fully, the way I want to live it.  This is an amazing work that can really help –and even save people.”

-Lily C., University Student

“An intimate, thought-provoking, and impressive performance.”

-Kate Barret, International Engineer

“A rhythmic and transcendent exploration of what it means to be a woman in the modern world…leaving the fluid and poetic ending to the story up to us, the most fortunate audience.”

-Sheila Isenberg, Author

“A pulsing tapestry of heart, poetry, dance and song…fluid, strong, charismatic…and deeply human. As a woman, I walked away feeling liberated.”

-Celia Anne Browne, International Acting Coach

“A passionate work that probes implores, and questions…this conversation is essential to our cultural development.”

-Isaac Cronin, Author, and Editor

 “Courageous Vulnerability:

How Can Men Support Women to Speak Up and Be Seen?”

“My husband and I had a great time becoming more informed and coming closer together at your event! He was talking about all that he learned for at least an hour on the drive home. We drove from my college campus, about 2 hours away, but I wouldn’t have missed it! Can’t wait to see where this event goes next!”

-Naudia Lopez, College Student, Sterling, CO

“Oh my gosh, I LOVED it! I had no idea what to expect. But I: 1.) learned something, 2.) teared up, and 3.) got angry. I’d say success! I also really enjoyed the varied perspectives and the preface that everyone has their own experiences to be heard. “

-Aleah Niemczyk, Graphic Designer, Minneapolis, Minn

“Oh my god, what an incredible panel and presentation of artists and thinkers. I loved the breadth of experiences and the insight from experts from so many different fields. I loved seeing the discussion evolve through counterpoint: between analysis and creative expression, studies and personal stories, the structured and the abstract. This was nothing short of beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for bringing these people together to speak, I now have more heroes and more to think about and explore than I thought… and I have heard voices that I might not have heard without seeing this incredible collaboration.”

-Geneva Turner, Performing Artist, Woodstock, NY

“I thought the experience was very moving and eye-opening…and I felt an overwhelming sense of empowerment. The speakers and their positive outlook showed how to change the situation for women. It was a worthwhile experience, especially for me at a young age, that opened me up to an uncomfortable conversation. I think that you should keep doing this all over the world, especially in schools where young kids can change their future instead of regretting their past.”

-Mya Parra, High School Student, Boulder, CO

“It was eye-opening to hear and feel a deeper exploration of how I can better support women. Much more empowering and enlightening than the bombardment of soundbites I experience in mass media and social media. Was a privilege to witness such an experienced, intelligent, embodied panel of men and women. Their sharing was of themselves. Each one brought something new and challenging to my attention. It was painful to hear more fully women’s experiences. Painful to be held accountable by male activists. Painful to reflect, not just on what I can do to help, but on what I’ve done to hurt. Sobering is necessary, and clearly not enough. I feel I left a slightly different person and fully committed to becoming as different as I need to be. Thank you for providing a transformative public service announcement.”

-Uri Talmor, Licensed Professional Counselor, Boulder, CO

“It allowed me to put words on concepts and was very enriching to see the work being concretely done to change the paradigm!”

-George Vincent, Architect, Venice, Italy

“The conversation didn’t overlook the sobering statistics relative to the objectivism of women but ultimately provided a warm and introspective opportunity for men and women alike to move beyond rhetorical calls for action, and explore in a more fundamental way why it’s important for women to be empowered, and how it can be done. Gender roles are well-worn and predictable, deep grooves in society’s psyche. They can be challenged, but it requires male self-awareness. Men can be vulnerable, women powerful. The forum was a powerful reminder that moral standing and my own self-interest are equally aligned.”

-Michael Edward, Photographer, Denver, CO

“ I was so inspired and impressed by the diverse group that you had brought together for an informative and necessary conversation. I love what you are doing with Cafe de la Culture and the literary salons.”

-Alex Melnyk, President of Storyworks, Inc., Boulder, CO

“I thought I had heard all that could be heard about the trending topic of the #timesup movement…then I listened to this conversation and realized there are many things I hadn’t thought about yet. It was interesting to see how diverse the panel was. It was interesting to realize that feminism is related to vulnerability and empathy. I think that as a man, I will try to be more aware of observing when these things are and aren’t present in my circle of friends.”

-Francisco José González, Project Manager, Mexico City, Mexico

“In today’s America, it’s so important for everyone to raise their awareness regarding sexual harassment, rape, and similar issues at work and in our society. The panelists did a great job empowering men and women to speak out and be heard!”

-Peyman Razifard, Realtor, Boulder, CO

“The event created the opportunity for my daughter and me to have important conversations about some of the challenges she will face in this world. Thank you for putting on this event. It was amazing.”

-James Parra, Company Owner, Boulder, CO

“So deep & wide & rich with Truth-Beauty.”

-David Leo Sirois, Poet, Paris, France

 “I want more insight from men and women about my role in creating harmony between genders with all interactions. Thank you to Cara and the wonderful speakers during the Courageous Vulnerability event last night.”

-Lowell Wightman, Performance consultant for elite athletes and C-Suite executives., Boulder, CO

“How about this for a great idea: get a panel of world-class artists and experts together in one room for an evening and then get the chance to ask them any question you want on a topic you deeply care about. Ummm…yes, please! I left this event with numerous specific, actionable insights. That’s what matters. A beautiful evening in good company, delicious food, extraordinary artistic performances—these things were all delights. But the fact that I will be referencing this night in my conversations and actions moving forward on a day-to-day basis—that is of unique value.”

-Adam Agee, Musician, Boulder, CO

“Loved it! Powerful, moving, raw. Wonderful how you created such a safe space where everyone felt so comfortable sharing their personal stories – such a straightforward, articulate group. “

-Calandra Cruickshank, CEO, NY, NY

“A ‘not to be missed evening of lively and insightful discussion with intervals of beautiful and moving music, dance, and poetry. The panel members were top notch and each provided their own unique and insightful perspectives on this important issue. “

-Trudy K, Retired Colorado State Director of USDA Rural Development, Erie, CO

“If we devalue vulnerability, how are we going to have healthy relationships?” One of many questions posed tonight at “Courageous Vulnerability: How Can Men Support Women to Speak Up and Be Seen?”, a conference panel and multi-sensory literary salon. Many thanks to Café de la Culture for bringing together such an inspiring group of panelists. More conversations like this. As one panelist said, “Sometimes I get so fucking sad about humanity. And then I get around peeps like this.”

-Kate Wilkonson, Jewelry Designer, Denver, CO

“I loved the discussions about people’s vulnerabilities. I liked one man’s reminder that these types of discussions – about equality between men and women – can be awkward.”

-Susan Cruise, Assistant Attorney General, Olympia, Washington

“’ Curatorial Magnificence’!!! That really sums it up! Congratulations on another successful event.”

-James Hoskins, Musician, Boulder, CO

“Congratulations on bringing to light such an important issue. You’re doing terrific work, that is so needed.”

-Anthony Montes, Acting Coach, L.A., Ca.

“I greatly enjoy these events! They address some very relevant and difficult issues from panelists and attendees with many eclectic viewpoints. With ideas that are expressed from the poetic to the analytic, I always leave with a great deal of new and often very useful perspectives to think about. I look forward to the next event!”

-Peter Hallam, Physics and Astronomy Laboratory Manager at Denver University, Denver, CO

“Everyone had valid points to add to the topic. I am sad to think of our 6 granddaughters & 2 grandsons venturing out into such a world as we live in. There is still much processing needed.”

-Tony Cruickshank, Grandfather, Pine Hill, NY

Panelist Reviews

“A profound evening to be part of.  A continuum of a conscious global dialogue that educates empowers and uplifts participants and speakers. I am honored to be part of such conversation and this much-needed community and problem-solving.”

-Carre Otis, Women’s Rights Activist, Author, Model, and Mom

“I’d never been to a literary salon, but I can honestly say the level of engagement and dialogue was unparalleled. I learned so much from my fellow presenters as we explored the intersections of gender, race, sexual orientation, power, and culture from our unique perspectives. Supporting these big topics with artistic expression and performance sealed the benefits, the lessons, and the takeaways.”

Windy Borman, Film Producer/Director

 “I was fortunate to be part of a panel hosted by Cafe de la Culture this past Sunday to explore a worthy topic: courageous vulnerability, how can men support women to speak up and be seen? I found the evening magical, with respectful and insightful exchanges between the panel and the audience. The gathering was a fun, eclectic group, hosted in a beautiful space, an old synagogue in a fast-changing neighborhood. The Mediterranean food, great live world music, dance, poetry, and comfortable old furniture complemented the relaxed mood and added to an atmosphere of curious inquiry. 

The stories shared were moving and the discussion was full of heart. Even the elements of sharing that were painful had interested, compassionate listeners to provide a safe container. The accumulated wisdom in the room, from so many disciplines, was a pleasure to watch and hear. This is a new way of facilitating discourse, or perhaps an old way of remaking.  Many thanks, Cara, for your vision! I look forward to the next gathering of curious souls!”

Imetai Henderson, L. Ac

“This event was a wonderful excavation of the humanity behind the #MeToo movement. It explored the current landscape in gender relations, and was a great conversation starter on a topic of great importance.”

-Theo Wilson, Community Activist, and Poet

“Café de la Culture put on a vibrant evening of intellectual and somatic experiences, moving participants from a conversation to a demonstration of Courageous Vulnerability. The curiosity, passion, and wisdom that emerged from panelists, artists, and audience members alike inspired both reflection and renewed action on honoring healing, extending safety, and sharing power among genders.

I was unsure what to expect from the salon. I was refreshed and surprised to dialogue vulnerability and gender with panelists coming from such diverse perspectives as a drama teacher, academic, health practitioner, poet, film producer, supermodel, and activist. The dialogue interwoven with live expressions of vulnerability from talented artists brought depth and emotion to the experience. It seemed that those present had been yearning for this type of conversation and space, and I am grateful to have been part of it.”

-Sarah Dobson, Sexual Assault Activist, and Prevention Specialist

Featured Artist Reviews

“The Cafe de la Culture Literary Salon evinces Cara Cruikshank’s curatorial magnificence. The depth and intelligence of the evening’s presenters were matched by what I will describe as radical honesty: wise, eloquence born of deep examination and courage. It was a symbiotic alternation of scholarly wisdom, incisive activism, transcendental art-making, and above all… a true spotlight on the fortifying power of community as our restorative epicenter. I was nourished, educated, comforted, and inspired in equal measure. I did backflips rearranging my schedule to be there and am profoundly grateful that I did so. My compliments to Ms. Cruikshank; you have earned my full fandom for your healing vision and artful efforts in the world.”

-Donna Mejia, Dancer, Choreographer, Professor

“It was such an honor to be sitting there amongst life stories, journeys, and questions that cut to the soul of our culture. How to change the world for the better? How to end the war against women, how to inspire and compel men to take up the task of dismantling patriarchy? Giving one group all the power hurts everybody, and to hear brave and compassionate male activists speak, and to witness them hand the floor to the women and check their own privilege was amazing. To hear the women sing, speak, and lead with so much power and strength was also amazing. To have all this going on with open hearts, no judgment, and compassion was something rare and marvelous, and much-needed. Thanks and kudos to Cara Cruickshank for putting all this together!”

-Niki Tulk, Writer and Theater Maker

“I was really mostly there to listen and getting to participate in the musical collaboration was a pleasure. I appreciate the speakers’ viewpoints and feel I have a much better understanding of the situation!”

-Charlie Rose, Musician for Elephant Revival

Just like any event that Cara Cruickshank organizes, Courageous Vulnerability too offered an illuminating and thought-provoking experience in many ways, yet it created, as always, a conversational atmosphere that was very welcoming and open for discussion. All of the guests, who were experts in their field, presented a unique perspective and raised simple questions that are difficult to answer without dialogue and understanding. It was an honor to be a part of it, and I’m looking forward to learning, sharing, challenging, and being challenged at Cara’s next event.
-Egemen Kesikli, Composer, Conductor, Educator

In the current socio-political climate, it’s only very infrequently that one finds himself immersed in a forum where participants and presenters — in this case, women and men with uniquely personal yet somehow universal standpoints and experiences with sexual/gender marginalization — reveal themselves in their myriad vulnerabilities, unfolding their stories to audiences with honest presentation and a tone of hopefulness for reconciliation through mutual understanding.

-Cory Crouser, Writer, Photo-Journalist, Actor, and Content Creator

Being a part of the Cafe de la Culture project was amazing and personally rewarding. The lineup of performing artists was so genuine and great to watch. The night exuded a fun contagious passion and soul!

-Candace Cobb

I will confess that I felt slightly overwhelmed after accepting an invitation to speak with a panel on The Cafe de la Culture: The Venue for Visionaries Courageous Vulnerability #MeToo Tour! I felt overwhelmed because I knew how serious the topic is: especially in relation to my being a male. I felt vulnerable to contribute honestly to the discussion. But the vulnerability of everyone communicating is what made it real. I am so thankful that I came to see the powerful performances and participate in a productive dialogue with the panel, Cara, and the audience. The message was that women are powerful and valuable and men can be valued as fellow human companions; instead of violent oppressors against women. Thanks again Cara for such an incredible venue. Everything was so positive, powerful, and productive. I appreciate you.

-Joshua Pollock

I was empowered not only as a performer but as a woman as well. I made connections I am extremely thankful for and I am proud to say that I was a part of this fantastic project. Thank you for this opportunity! I loved every second.

-Rachael Massey

The Courageous Vulnerability #MeToo Tour is a gentle reminder that women are not here on earth to raise fear in men’s lives, but we are here to increase the potential of the positive greatness of what men could be. Each performer’s heart and soul shone through as if the words were their own. This exhibited the beauty of Cara’s work, which speaks on behalf of all women, regardless of age. As a performer in this show, I have never been prouder to be born with the XX chromosome. It’s moving to know that other women shared the same emotions as I do. Thank you, Cara, for this.

-Elsa Faith