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Don’t You Want Me Baby: the Trouble with Love & Power

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019
7:00 pm Doors // 7:30 pm Show
*This production will cover tough themes, and include profanity and some sexual references. Recommend for ages 13 and up.

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Don’t You Want Me Baby will be an evening of personal essays at The Parkway Theater in Minneapolis on Tuesday, October 1, 2019. The theme is an exploration of the struggle between love and power, which often coexist in spite of each other. I am inspired by the Human League song of the 1980s of a romance gone sour, but this tension exists across all kinds of human relationships.

Produced and presented by Sally Vardaman



Alison Bergblom Johnson’s work often explores gender, disability, and sexuality. Some venues she’s performed at include Patrick’s Cabaret, the Northfield Arts Guild, and Strike Theater. Flock, Diverse Voices Quarterly, and Minnesota Public Radio have published her essays.


Shuly Her received her law degree at Hamline University, School of Law, and undergraduate degree from California State University, Chico. She is certified in Minnesota District Courts and in Federal Court. She is an active board member of the Hmong American Bar Association, Chair of the Hmong Cultural Center board, and a member of the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She currently works in the Hennepin County Adult Services Defense Unit where she helps parents involved in the child protection system navigate their way through the legal process.


Amoke Kubat is a ”Northsider for life” who has been empowering mothers and families since 1987. She is a Yoruba Priestess, teacher, artist and writer who partners with community artists, activists and organizations to bridge African/African American culture and historical contributions into transformative actions, and social equitable practices for healing and building sustainable families and communities. She is the designer of YO MAMA!, a “mothering” artistic practice. YO MAMA! is an art-based support group and custom designer of art residency programs for organizations that serve mothers. Their mission is to empower mothers by disrupting the devaluation of women’s invisible labor, showcasing mastery of the art of mothering and the universal traditional women’s work that transforms into art making and economic security. Amoke uses writing and art making to speak truth to power and to hold a position of wellness in an America sick with inequalities and inequities. She has authored a collection of short stories, a memoir, and the play “Angry Black Woman and Well-Intentioned White Girl.”


Ayesha Adu is a Minneapolis-based award-winning director, writer, producer, actor, and editor who creates compelling projects on shoe-string budgets. Provocative and complex, her films challenge the audience to ask questions about how they see the world and what they see in themselves. Her previous work has been centered around the darkness of human nature, child abuse, and familial dysfunction. Her award-winning projects include an experimental co-collaboration, “village blues,” (1999) and a music video, “This One,” (2003). Her work has been screened at multiple film festivals, Intermedia Arts, online, and MNTV. In 2017, she was awarded an Emerging Artist Grant from VSA Minnesota to develop the feature length screenplay “Stardust.” In 2018, she received a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant to produce and direct her short screenplay, “Little Men,” which recently won a PLATINUM Remi Award from the Worldfest Houston International Film Festival, and placed Quarterfinalist in the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition. “Little Men” will be formally released at the Riverview Theater, October 26th, 10am. (


Kelechi Jaavaid (aka KJay the comedian) has a cool, laid back style that turns the stage into his own personal living room. A traditional joke dealer, who draws comedy inspiration from his family and rejected NBA dream. His sketches are witty depictions of everyday life. With over 50 million views with Freakout videos, he is nationally known comedian that has been featured at numerous comedy festivals, and appeared on TMZ, The Bill Cunningham Show, The Morning Show on NBC & Divorce Court just to name a few. This seasoned veteran has become one of the nation’s favorite comedians.


Yucatán native, Jorge Guzmán, started working in kitchens at 17. After graduating from Drake University, he attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York, finishing at the top of his class. He then moved to Minneapolis to head up Tejas Restaurant, followed by posts as Chef de Cuisine at Corner Table, Executive Chef of Solera Restaurant, and opening Executive Chef at the lauded Brewer’s Table at Surly Brewing Co. He has been a finalist for James Beard’s “Best Chef Midwest,” earned “Chef of the Year” by local media, and Food & Wine “Restaurant of the Year.” He has been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive Ins & Dives,” and recognized by Time magazine as “reinventing north country fare with the Yucatecan flavors of his childhood.” Guzmán lives in Minneapolis with his wife Jill and son, and is in the beginning stages of opening his first restaurant in NE Minneapolis.


Sally Vardaman is a writer and comedian, and producer of Don’t You Want Me Baby, as well as 2018’s Hard for the Money, also at The Parkway. She loves to make people laugh, but mostly make them think. She believes in the power of the personal narrative as the antidote to dehumanization. Her creative focus is completing a book of essays written to her three teenage children. She has been saying that for four years.


Virginia Johnson is a freshman at Southwest High School in Minneapolis, and #13 on the Lady Lakers Varsity Basketball team. Basketball has taught her to get up when she fails, encourage her teammates when they fail, and be humble because there is always someone out there who is smarter, more athletic, quicker, stronger, and in the gym working when she is not.


Autumn Lee is a vibration raiser and a merriment maker. She is a devoted believer in magic, moments, and miracles and is a passionate subscriber to hope, helping, and healing. As a professional photographer, her expertise is ensuring every human is seen, valued, and heard. As an actress, a model, and an event talent, she embodies the narratives of others and brings them to life. Find more at, including “Be You Be Art,” a loving celebration of the art of drag.


John Reichel has been creating original glass artwork since the mid-90s. He earned his BFA from Minnesota State University, Moorhead, with a graphic design focus, and rekindled his glass skills at Anoka Ramsey Community College. He divides his personal fine art practice between Vandalia Glass in South St. Paul and Foci – The Minnesota Center for Glass Arts in NE Minneapolis. His work is available at He also works for Bicycle Glass, which offers hand blown glass light fixtures made of 100% pre- and post-consumer recycled glass. John lives in South Minneapolis with his wife and 3 kids. Outside the studio, John enjoys the outdoors on his bike, cross country skis, kayak, canoe, or feet.


Wendy Wicks has worked in health care communications for more than 20 years. Story telling is her jam. A communications and public relations associate director at UCare, Wendy has also been a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) volunteer speaker for the past 8 years. She believes in the power of honest talk to unite us.