Often, the now fluent word combination, Open Mic, seems pretty easy to fling around and causally refer to. This is not the way it used to be – and if you are lucky, you are still able to find the specific unique characteristics and ability an Open Mic can have to transform similar to Yoga and Mind Wellness Approaches. I have never found the “right” Open Mic to fail to fix what most people find they needed – when they did not realize it at all at first.
The first step to really having the best Open Mic experience is to remove all expectations you have, let’s get some fallacies out of the way:
-No, performing does NOT required and a necessity to be connected to Open Mic – ever – so lose that expectation – Open means open to contribute your performance as well as open to your receiving and openness to individuals, topics, themes, genres that you might not have been open to before, or being open to new views that in turn open you as a person.
-It is better to NOT be well versed and practiced, well-established, well-published, and well-off to have a great open mic. Think dead white guys as authors, meaning, they are not without their place in literary history, yet, they are not everything as well. When you are lucky enough to find a mix of the two crammed in between an unexpected cultural sandwich, you might have discovered a goldmine.
-Location- during a pandemic- works with being remote. While there is nothing like a warm, late, crowed Open Mic packed with individuals that represent all parts of the globe, all languages, all beliefs, look at all these previous characteristics and you will be able to see how they all transform the standard screen we find ourselves trapped to via Zoom, and that same screen becomes a connection to someone that reaches through the screen truly, for a brief period of time, has the ability to resurrect you through the written word and the emotional word. The ability to let you know- that screen is just a means for receiving what you need, thank to the people that decided to agree they needed a renewal of the written word as well.
So we found ourselves at the Titere Poets Open Mic, Friday, January 10th,
celebrating Violeta Orozco’s newest publication (The Broken Woman Diaries – and it can be purchased HERE!!!!!!) and being lost among the Titere Poets – and I think the amazing job the MC of the night, D Bird, says it best:
just wanted to take a moment to thank Violeta Orozco for sharing an evening of poetry, community, and solidarity between our Puerto Rican, Caribbean, Mexican, and Central/South American peoples. We laughed, we cried, we reflected in solidarity with our Black and Afro-Caribbean brothers and sisters during this chaotic and uncertain time.But no matter the struggle, we are not free if we are not all free–and that starts with fighting anti-Blackness as foundational to our fight against anti-immigrant sentiment, cisheterosexism, and capitalist greed. Shout out to all the dope artists who shared the mic last night, and thanks again to my family the Titere Poets–especially our artistic director Isa Guzman and cacique in chief Mario J Pagán Morales–for trusting me with hosting duties. If you wanna catch up to all the awesomeness, here’s a link to the show on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RZkrpFei6Q
There would be SO much to say about this particular session, and much was discussed after the actual event in what you would say would be an, “after hours” celebration of each of the participants, but I think the following will suffice –
Familia is a standard when it comes to an exceptional Open Mic, and not every Open Mic has the ability to create this, in times we find ourselves in now where individuals are stretched all along a virtual highway, or when it is easy to come together in times when those that know what Open Mic’s can do for the soul, and yet, this particular Open Mic was all about familia, from all over the world.
The ability to create the feeling of familia is needed now more than ever, and is treasured even more when you are able to recognize the walk, the trek, the experiences even your participants have made to get to this point (this being in this case, Friday’s Open Mic).
Seeing/hearing Violeta Elena, and remembering how her words touched the very edges of the rough days, week, months that people had during the week, remembering the American Legion nights in Mexico City- priceless.
Sharing words with Louis Cotto after all these years and celebrating the photos, his experiences, his stories, his words that roll of your emotions like the waves in Puerto Escondidio– and being able to do so right in front of you – priceless.
Celebrating the path Violeta Orozco has made since leaving Mexico, and making her way from Ohio to New jersey and realizing she never left Mexico at all, she simply brought more of Mexico with her to those that appreciate it – priceless.
To discover the Titere Poets and find the power that Daniel Gaztambide, Isa Guzman, and Mario J Pagán Morales that lit the way for an amazing night of Puerto Rican, Latin American, Nuyorkian deep dives in 2 hours – absolutely priceless.
Thought I digress, it is completely disorienting to see how life comes full circle? Yes, The Nuyorican Cafe, the discovery thanks to Camila de la Parra back when we were pilgrimaging there as Repentino. from Mexico City, to then the inspiration of Open Mics at ASF in Mexico City, to the current Open Mic on Friday, January 8th – familia, period.
Rarely, do you find an Open Mic that transports you from one side of the globe to another, combines previous Open Mics into one and voila – here you are. This one definitely did on January 8, 2021, what a great way, the best way, to start the year.
Watch, enjoy, and remember, despite the sea of chaos, conflict and consternation we find ourselves in currently, there are pockets of peace and celebration in Open Mics that exist, simply for the resurrection of renewing ourselves. Kudos to the Titere Poets who bring this home 🙂
The discussion on an essential Latin American Literary Cannon – AMAZING, some essential names to know here:
Julia Borgos, Sor Juana, Dulce Mar∑ia Loynaz de Cuba, Gabriella Mistral, Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, Carla Trujillo Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros; Boricua -Aurora Levins Morales, to name a FEW 🙂
Some GREAT books that we discovered from this Open Mic:
The Broken Woman Diaries – Violeta Orozco
Dreaming with Mariposas https://www.flowersongpress.com/books-1/p/dreamingwithmariposas#:~:text=Dreaming%20with%20Mariposas%20takes%20us,learned%20navigating%20childhood’s%20difficult%20terrain
Susana Praver-Perez – More About Susana- Here!
Samples of our Open Mic ASF Origins /Woodbridge Extensions
Painting an Open Mic – https://youtu.be/HBicIKbUBHU and
Ms Fetterman and Back in Time –