November 9, 2010

Professor Java's Wide Open Mic, November 8

This is one of the few music & poetry open mics I am willing to attend. Lest you think me cranky (& that I am), the historical basis for this prejudice is that when there were few poetry open mics (oh, so many years ago), the few venues were the folk music open mics that opened their doors to poets as well (such as the original 8th Step Coffee House on Willett St.). But I soon grew tired of the time spent on-stage tuning guitars (before those electronic things they have today), & of course the endless I'm-going-down-this-lonesome-road-feeling-bad songs. So we poets created our own open mics.

But (or as Mary Panza would say, "Butt") I've found this venue appealing. In the past months the poets have outnumbered the pickers & in today's music environment there is much more variety in the styles & genres of the guitar/singer/songwriters that keeps the night interesting.

Ah, but tonight, at the end of a day of the first snowfall of the season, wet & slushy, I was once again the only poet in the house. Our host, as always, the technologically advanced Keith Spencer. So I started off with 3 current poems, the ironic "Poeming," then the brand-new "Book Store Reading," & the provocative "Looking for Cougars" (which got referenced a couple times throughout the night).

Bane drove up from Sullivan County, in this weather no less!, & began with a Grateful Dead tune, then into riffs from "Andalusia," then one of his original songs written in Oregon, "Many A Long Road" -- & here it was, the quintessential dreaded going-down-the-road folk song. Oh well.

Chris Coakley had to put his mind on shuffle (or was he shuffling his mind?) to think of things to play & spent a lot of time not remembering Jason Mraz's "Lucky," even with the help of Olivia (she's next) & the happy waitress, Katie.

Olivia Quillio said she just got back from Portland (OR)! -- Everybody's in Portland; what am I doing here? She did "Miss Ohio," then her own song "Easy Killer," & the very interesting "When You Love Somebody" by a left Coast band, The Fruit Bats. She has a rich, versatile voice & plays a baritone ukelele. The things you learn hanging out in coffeehouses.

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