Friday, May 6, 2011

Coffee Shops

our discussion about cafe lena made me think about some of our coffee shops around salt lake that hold open mics. all over salt lake city there are coffee shops and small bars that hold open mics and poetry slam competitions. one of my favorite coffee shops that holds open mics every week is The Greenhouse Effect on 3300 south and 900 east in salt lake. every sunday people rush in the doors to sign up before the list gets filled. there are usually three rounds of performers depending on how much time some people take on stage. there is such a wide variety of people that show up at the open mic and the atmosphere is always upbeat and relaxed. it's a small coffee shop, but every sunday it is packed wall to wall inside all the way up to the stage. outside on the deck you'll find smokers and people practicing before they go up on stage. in the back parking lot you can often find pyro's playing with fire, juggling burning things, twirling flaming batons through the air. the open mic allows people to have a voice, not only a voice, but a voice to be heard by the people. there are so many talented artists whether it's poetry, guitar and singing, or story telling, that create something beautiful but never have the opportunity to share what they have created with people. open mics give people the chance to be heard, for a few minutes on the stage people listen to you, and they listen closely. if someone goes up on stage and is able to capture the eyes and ears of their audience then they can really get a message across to the people. there is such a wide variety of performers that walk up onto the stage; poets, guitar players/singers, a cappella singers, rappers, spoken word artists, writers reading excerpts from their novels, and so many more. the variety of music that is played there is awesome too, everything from bob dylan, the beatles, hendrix and zeppelin, to modest mouse and green day, and also songs people wrote themselves. coffee shops and open mics are breeding grounds for all sorts of activists; political, women's rights, workers rights, because this is a place where they can stand up and be heard. at the greenhouse effect, i have seen anarchists who have been to prison perform poems about bringing down our government. and the interesting thing is that people in the audience didn't disregard what he was saying just because they thought his views were radical, they listened to him and for a few moments while he was on stage became a part of him and what he believed in.

at the greenhouse effect, they have featured performers that are traveling the country play each sunday. i have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Utah Phillips would have played at the greenhouse effect. and he probably would have liked the atmosphere of the people so much that he would probably play there often.

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