Every Tuesday night, people are given a chance to put their talents on display and get their voices heard at Cleopatra’s Hookah Lounge in Big Rapids.
This is open mic night.
Open mic night started as a venue for poetry and spoken word but has since expanded to all forms of spoken and instrumental art, including poetry, spoken word, rap/hip-hop and various other music genres.
Open mic night crowd favorite and Chicago native E-Ski compared the event to the famous New York City music club CBGB, where bands such as the Ramones and Talking Heads got their start.
“This is the liveliest place in town,” said E-Ski. “This is the spot for spoken word and hip hop in Michigan. I’ve been in spoken word joints all over, but there’s something special happening here. You can pay 10 dollars to get into a place like this in Chicago and still not see the same talent that you do here for free. It’s a lot like CBGB.”
Bands become great due in part to the places they play, according to E-Ski.
“All those great bands that played there weren’t always great,” said E-Ski. “They be- came great at CBGB because they had a place they could go to every week and perfect their craft. Some of these people performing at Cleopatra’s will make it in their art. We just don’t know who yet. This is where they get their start.”
The founder and co-host of the event is Ferris hospitality management senior Alicia Adams, or Cosmic Owl.
“The premise of open mic night is for the local community to have a place to be heard and feel welcome and to have a venue to express themselves artistically,” said Adams.
Adams and her co-host accounting senior Jimmiaya Dixon, or Misunderstood Huntress, liven the event with their soulful, rebellious attitudes.
Since it began two years ago, open mic night has grown from a small gathering to the place to be on a Tuesday night.
Anyone can perform at open mic night by signing up when he or she gets there. But people have a great time simply going in with friends and experiencing the event.
International student and Ferris automotive management sophomore Poorvak Patel said he’s been enjoying the open mic nights since he’s been at Ferris.
“All I do is go to classes,” Patel said. “I don’t have many friends here in America outside those I know in academics, but I like coming to this place because of the music and accepting culture. I get a chance to see another side of American culture. The people here are great and I have a good time.”
Open mic night has a simple format. People get called up in the order they signed up and are allowed to do what they do, whether it is poetry, music or even the occasional comedy act.
But beware of the “clappers.” There are clappers located at every table and if someone doesn’t like what is being said, then that person uses the clapper.
Three clappers and you’re out.
Although the clappers are there, they hardly get used. They are mainly used when someone gets on the mic and says blatantly offensive things. Most people enjoy whatever is put out there on the mic.
Whether you have poetry, music or have nothing better to do on a Tuesday night, visit Cleopatra’s Hookah Lounge next to Save-A-Lot on Northland Drive. Open mic night starts at 9 p.m. and lasts until 11 p.m.