• Cristee Cook

A Love Letter to Open-Mic Night

Adventuring with this new blog space, I’ve been reflective about how I want to connect with art and what I want to say about it. When I was working as a professional designer in D/FW theater, I rarely allowed myself the time to consider my personal connection to art. It wasn’t common that I was able to attend events because I was so busy working on my own. Then my life changed in innumerable ways. I became a writer instead of a designer. And while my artistic process have been full of change and new beginnings, the dreams I carried when I set forth are still palpable. I want to be an active participant in the process. I find I’m back to a place of remembering or understanding art at its simplest and most basic: all that is required for art to exist is a space to perform, and a space to watch.

Because I’m an artist myself, I’m not only looking for art pieces and performances to attend, I’m also looking for ways I can be in process with my own work. So, over the past few months I’ve been attending open-mic nights. I’ve visited several in our metroplex, and it has been a reconnection to the newness of fresh ideas. It's always a little bit awkward. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I have mental flashes of beatniks snap-clapping or Mike Meyers' giant cappuccino. Still, the experiences I've had have helped open the creative channels.

I’ve been more present with the work I’m witnessing and the work I’m creating.

The artists that participate in open-mic night events are often open and vulnerable, actively working through whatever it is they’re trying to say . Those bearing witness for them hold a sacred space where discovery and acceptance can develop. It’s a powerful example of art requiring only a space to perform and a space to watch, and a timeless exchange crucial to a creative process. Because it’s so simple, we get to experience a fresh type of magic: a space to safely experiment, to watch what others are doing and bolster yourself, and to connect with other people who are like-minded. An good open-mic night can be a place for your dreams to seed.

My excitement about the creative process has been renewed by attending them. I’m learning a lot about vulnerability, bravery, and self-advocacy. As an added bonus, I’ve met some nice people.

When was the last time you attended an open-mic night, and what was your experience like? In the mood to go back to basics? Check out a list of local open-mic nights here.

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