Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My night at a music open mike

Last night I decided to try to break out of my comfort zone by going to a music open mic here in Brooklyn, and boy howdy, if my goal was to be uncomfortable I accomplished it and then some.

Open mikes are social animals; there are regulars, the group of people that runs the open mike, friends of the people that run the open mike, etc. Going to an open mike solo and unknown is always a little odd, like being at the new kid school, but this is part of why I went, to put myself in a different environment.

I was prepared to stick to myself, not get too worried if no one talked to me, and even to not really mind if people talked while I was playing. So when I went up at midnight and people in the audience saw that it was someone they didn't know, they used the opportunity to pick up their conversations where they had left off the last time someone they didn't know was on stage.

This was all fine, and expected.

What was unexpected was the aftermath, the way people avoid you if they think no one else liked you. It's like there's a contaminate cloud of unlikeability hovering around you and if they get too close or make eye contact it will contaminate them too.

Whoo! Hadn't felt that in a while. I can now write an angsty high school comedy because I just relived those moments in the cafeteria at the beginning of the year when you don't know if anyone you know has the same lunch period and you have no idea where to sit. You walk slowly with your tray in your hands looking over the tables, as if there would be some sort of assigned seating or a place card with your name on it.

Good times people.

Actually, the one person that talked to me all night (before I performed) came up to me and said "I'm glad I came tonight because I proved to myself that everyone's doing the same thing."


"It's all the same song, everyone's playing the same song with different lyrics."

I didn't agree, I actually thought the talent level was really good, so I asked, "you came here and stayed all night because you don't like it?"

Then he said that he came to prove to himself that everyone was the same and so that he could see what not to do because he wanted to keep it real, change it up, you know, put something on stage that was different. he guaranteed "come next week, you'll see some shit."

And that's another constant of open mikes: there's always at least one bitter and delusional artist.

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