Arts & Culture

Speakeasy Open Mic is a  Night of Creative Talent

Mina Himlie, copy editor

Walking into the half room behind Einsteins, I felt like I was in a completely different world. The soft light from the flickering candles that sat on the tables combined with the smooth music instantly created an enchanting atmosphere. 

On Friday, Sept. 30, Residence Life (R Life) went all out for their Speakeasy Open Mic Night. To complete the cozy ambiance, the snack bar held popcorn and Chex Mix, and students could get a delicious mocktail from the “bar” in the fishbowl room. As students trickled in, each one was directed to the signup sheet for the raffle that would be taking place at the end of the night. We were invited to speak or perform as we felt comfortable to do so, and third year X Tran kicked the event off by playing a couple songs on their guitar. Once they broke the ice, there was a constant stream of artists (including R Life workers) performing songs and poems. 

My favorite part of the event was the welcoming and supportive environment. It was truly a safe place to perform without fear of judgment. Every performer was met with a boisterous round of applause, and if someone was visibly nervous, shouts of “You got this!” rang from the crowd. This atmosphere encouraged me to perform a poem that I had written about learning how to love myself and accepting my sexuality. I inadvertently ended up on R Life’s Instagram page, but I don’t regret doing it. I love events like this, and it was extremely rewarding to get up there, perform a poem that I was proud of and be met with cheers like I just won an Oscar. 

It felt like one of those magical nights where nothing could send us crashing back to reality. Even when the music started before the performer was ready or ended abruptly in the middle of a song due to technical difficulties, the both audience and performer were in good spirits and laughed it off before starting again without judgment. 

Towards the end of the night, the event organizers revealed that there would be two separate raffles—one for everyone who attended the event and one just for the performers. Both raffle prizes were Hydroflasks, but the prize for the performers included an extra straw lid. First year Danielle Roberson, who sang several songs through the course of the night, won the performers’ Hydro flask. When I spoke with her after the event, she shared a bit about her experience performing. “At first I was really nervous … I came back [to the table] shaking.” Though performing was nerve wracking, both the friends at their table and the strangers in the crowd cheered them on, and they seemed to become more comfortable as the night went on. “It’s a good vibe here. I really like the atmosphere.”

I agree with her wholeheartedly. I think this event was a success. R Life achieved the speakeasy vibe they were going for and created a space where we could share our art without feeling like it had to be perfect. It was a beautiful night full of creative talent; it was my ideal Friday night.