Tea Tour 2009

Press Release

Tea Tour 2009

Announcing Tea Tour 2009! Does your schedule stress you out? Do you take the time to relax everyday?

By day, through September and October, performance artist Nicole Gruter is hosting tea parties at vacation destinations and work sites across the U.S. Do you wonder about the pace of your lifestyle? Does it cause you anxiety, depression or even anger? It is possible to dial down our stressful schedules, but do we even want or need to? Join in conversation concerning our 24/7 society while enjoying a cup of tea by the Tea-Mobile.

By night, at various performance spaces, Gruter tells you what stresses her pace of life through song. Her alter ego, Wilhelmina Baker, has created a new performance encapsulating the frustrations of her never ending to-do list and the tending to her material possessions. “It’s ludicrous how much time I spend on all the crap I own. My to-do list is filled with the buying, returning, repairing, moving, organizing and rearranging of STUFF,” Gruter exclaims. Song styles of torch, rap, spaghetti Western, and gospel span her range of emotions through this diary of dramatic revelations. She is touring with Shane O’Neill, of Shane Shane and Screamin’ Cyn Cyn and the Pons fame.

Updates of Gruter’s whereabouts can be found at


Nicole Gruter


postcard front, small version

Gruter’s Statement:

Over the past two years, my work has dealt with issues of time management, over-commitment to responsibilities, and people’s emotional connection to material possessions. My interest in these issues began when I analyzed how much stuff I owned and began purging. When I came across my grandmother’s tea service in my top kitchen cabinet, I wondered if I should keep it or get rid of it. I realized not only how difficult I found it to part with my over-abundance of stuff, but just how much time I committed to tending to my things (cleaning, organizing, sorting, rearranging, fixing, etc.). Having spent over a year getting rid of much of my possessions (I kept the tea set), the time I once spent on taking care of my excess belongings, I now spend enjoying the company of friends or working on my art.

The purging of my stuff brought me an immense amount of peace. It freed my time so I could focus on more important things, like simply relaxing (easier said than done!). I’m now wondering if the pace of people’s  lives is offering them enough time to relax on a daily basis. Tea Tour 2009 sets to find out how we might incorporate daily moments of relaxation into our day by taking a look at how we fill our time. Sometimes I feel like if I’m not busy all time, I’m seen as lazy or lacking ambition. Often, the amount of stress I have in my life is self-imposed, feeling the need to be everywhere all the time, trying to accomplish a million things at once. Isn’t there a better way to live? I know I’m not alone in this, and I’m wondering what it’s doing to our quality of life, our health, not to mention the earth. I’d love to hear your perspective and experiences on the issue, so please join me for tea, or come watch me perform. I promise it won’t take much of your time.

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  1. […] the Tea Tour 2009, a project of recent UW Madison MFA student Nicole Gruter provides a useful take on the […]

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