Local Turkish coffee pop-up Rüya has always aimed to make drinking coffee an experience. And founder Melis Aydoğan is expanding on that concept with a new immersive event at Cincinnati’s 21c Museum Hotel.
Titled Welcome Home, the experience will combine a “true-to-life” film from Palestinian-American filmmaker Nadia Gilbert with Turkish coffee, fortune telling and watercolor paintings from local Indian-American artist Joya Logue.
“The experience is calling all cultural adventurers in Cincinnati to upgrade their narratives of immigrants in America,” reads a release from Aydoğan. “And just in time, because the demographics of the United States are rapidly changing — by 2045, non-White people will make up the majority of the population.”
Aydoğan says the goal is to “improve multicultural awareness” and provide “the nuance of culture through sight, sound, touch and taste.” Welcome Home also positively reinforces the experiences and narratives of first-generation Turkish-American, Indian-American and Palestinian-American women.
Welcome Home will be open to the public on weekends starting Jan. 8. Book your experience at calendly.com.
Cincinnati’s first introduction to Rüya was in 2018 when Aydoğan received a grant from People’s Liberty to transform the nonprofit’s former Findlay Market headquarters into a shared community space. Aydoğan turned the storefront into a traditional Turkish coffeehouse, serving strong, dark coffee made in an ibrik (a Turkish copper pot with a long handle).
The Rüya pop-up also included Turkish fortune-telling, which has become a staple of all of Aydoğan’s pop-ups since (she’s hosted events with everyone from Unataza in Dayton, Kentucky to the Welcome Project in Camp Washington and downtown’s Contemporary Arts Center). Empty coffee cups are flipped upside down onto a saucer and then turned right-side up before the patterns of the grounds are read. Aydoğan’s mom, Ayse, will be the master fortune-teller at the 21c.
“Rüya means dream in Turkish, and it became a space for hopes and dreams, but also for professionals to learn cultural sensitivity,” the release says of the 2018 pop-up. ‘Rüya worked with our communities, welcomed immigrants, their children, and locals to rewrite their own stories through the conversations told over the 500-year old tradition of Turkish coffee fortune telling.”
Aydoğan told CityBeat in 2018 that for her and many others, sharing a cup of coffee is about making a connection more than it is caffeine. And the experience of Welcome Home at 21c will reinforce that mission,
21c Museum Hotel is located at 609 Walnut St., Downtown.
P&G, the Haile Foundation and Main Street Ventures helped fund the project.
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