One of the ongoing challenges I have faced as a poet involve landing performance opportunities. Although I have performed at a number of open mics and several variety shows, I am always searching for a platform to display my talent for more than 3-5 minutes at a time. Unfortunately, I have attended a few disappointing open mics in Chicago, that more times than not, turned out to be a rap fest, where the singers and poets performed last. This is never a fun experience!
Recently I came across the website of The Café, a uniquely styled bar that hosts a weekly open-mic on Tuesdays, located at 5115 N. Lincoln in Chicago. While looking on the website I noticed that The Café had open slots for featured readings/ poets. Feature poets can read/ perform 20 minutes of their poetry on one of the open Tuesdays. This was great news for me because I desperately desire to build my performance stamina, introduce a crowd to my poetic story, and capture some great recordings of my talent.
That very day I contacted Janet Kuypers, the coordinator of the poetry readings at The Café. Janet was extremely responsive, and after viewing a few of my recordings on Facebook, she told me to a pick an open slot of my choice. After solidifying my date of August 9, 2011, I knew I needed to check out the venue and crowd. After rescheduling 3 times, I was finally able to attend one of the open mic sessions.
It was the day after Chicago’s horrible rain storms when I visited The Café. I walked into the bar and was surprised to spot 3 distinct sections, separated by furniture, each space with its personal touches. Walking to the back room, I finally met the spirited, Janet Kuypers. Happy to meet me, she explained that this day would not include a feature, but instead a series of 10 minute mini-features. SCORE! The Café presented a win-win situation for every poet in attendance.
As an added bonus Janet video records first time performers and posts to YouTube; she also sends each performer a copy of the link! I am so glad that I stumbled upon this local platform. I believe it is important to create the platforms you seek, but I also like to support those that are already in progress. The Café and it’s loyal following, are truly a Community Asset for local poets and creative artists to display their talent in front of a welcoming audience.
For more information, visit http://www.chaoticarts.org/thecafe/