Open mic — Poetry, spoken word, music thriving in Moscow
It is 8:30 at the NuArt and the Seahawks vs.Packer’s game is playing in the theater room as owner Eric Engerbretson awaits the open mic.
“We’ll have anywhere from a handful to a couple dozen coming in. You never know,” Engerbretson said.
Steadily people begin to come in.
Toluwani Adekunle is one of those people. A University of Idaho student originally from Nigeria, Adekunle performed at the Women’s Center’s F-word Poetry Slam at the Kenworthy a few nights before.
“My friend actually encouraged me to come here,” she said.
Collin Morlock, One World Café’s music coordinator and performer at the previous event, is planning for future events.
“We’re hoping to set up open mics every first and third weekends. The Occasional Reading Series is specifically geared toward poetry,” Morlock said.
She said the next event is Oct. 20.
Three other musicians, Jeremiah Akin, Arthur Scully and John Treasure were featured, as well as various poets.
The café was crowded as people lingered on Jeremiah Akin’s cover of Weezer’s “Say it Ain’t So” and John Treasure’s soft blues.
“In Nigeria, spoken word is actually very popular — we show a lot of passion. It is very energetic,” Adekunle said. “In Moscow it is very different. It’s slower and there’s more depth to the structure. (It is) very metaphorical.”
Adeukunle said she writes spoken word poetry on a regular basis.
“My first time performing was at the Africa Night last year. I then performed at the 1912 Center Fundraiser and most recently the F-Word, where I was asked to perform,” She said.
The Kenworthy was filled with energy before the F-Word event began. Despite an issue with the sound set-up, many of the performers — Syddah Jane, The Fabulous Jakelyne and Jackie Sandmeyer to name a few — didn’t even need the microphone. The projection and energy in their pieces ran through the audience.
“The original F-Word happened in 2006,” said Lysa Salsbury, programs coordinator at the Women’s Center. The event was hosted by F.L.A.M.E. during Sexual Awareness Month.
Salsbury said the Fem-alliance held a Slam for Justice slam poetry event in 2010, which was similar. This is the first F-Word in the past five years.
“I think that people were intrigued by the title and generally came away touched by the personal matter of the poems as well as the talent involved. Many of our events take place at the Kenworthy, which we have a great partnership with,” she said. “We’re definitely planning on making it an annual event and hopefully our success will carry over into events like Take Back the Night.”
Salsbury said the importance of slam poetry and spoken word are geared to speak against many social injustices within culture.
Derek Kowatsch can be reached at email@example.com