Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Warmth of an Open Mic

It was with great fortune that I happened to have an opportunity to partake of the Sunday April 19th installment of The Sherman Theater’s Living Room in Stroudsburg, PA weekly Open Mic Nite Series. It’s been several months since I’ve been to it and it felt wonderful to be back. There was a bit of chill in the air but the warmth of the venue, which was enhanced by my becoming reacquainted with a number of friends I made during my previous visits, dispelled the nippy nature of the weather conditions throughout the evening.

The opportunity for performers who wished to participate in the event to place one's signature or nom de plume upon the sign in list became available at 6:30pm. The once familiar excitement of the energized ritual struck me with a renewed invigoration as it has been a while since I've witnessed it. It was several minutes later did the 7pm hour approach signifying the beginning of the evening's festivities. The event’s co host, Andrew Paul (aka A. P.), took the stage to share his welcoming sentiments before introducing the first listed performer who was new to the event and known as Leon's Dreams Excerpts.

Leon's Dreams Excerpts proved to be a very unique performance piece in which the individual literally shared his dreams with the audience. This created an environment where the dream logic permeating throughout the piece soon dominated the reality of the room along with the denizens in it. The performer was followed by another newcomer to the venue who were a duet known as Fifty Hippies consisting of Brad Schneider on Vocals and Towes Walker on Guitar. The drifty mood the duo created flowed throughout the room allowing the essence of the late 1960's to induce a wonderland of cosmic imagery within all who enjoyed the experience.

Fifty Hippies were followed by Da Da Dum Theater which presented a very short theatrical piece titled, “Job” that was written by Paul Adam Smeltz (Yeah, that's me). The piece was about the frustration one faces when one job fires an employee for an act while another employer hires the individual for performing the same act. The piece was superbly performed by Cee Rock and Momo Lovette and received an accolade in a the form of a statement from the audience consisting of “I Liked That.”

The Da Da Dum Theater was followed by the duo known as Woodrow who consists of Brian Brancamp and Theresa Rattcliff whose mesmeric tunes were sung like a wonderful dream that keeps coming true. They were followed by the appearance of co-host Emily Day who introduced Cee Rock and Momo Cat Lovette who returned to the stage to perform a gentle duet together before Cee Rock performed some Horror Folk Punk alone with every well crafted phrase accentuated by the beats of his guitar. It was after this performance did a break ensue which provided the gathering with plentiful opportunities to share their feelings about all that they have experienced up to that point with one another and to learn more about the performer who inspired such feelings.

After the Break, the gathering was welcomed back and the poet known as The Carlton took the stage. He was accompanied by Russel Austin who, with his bass guitar, bounced each word the poet spoke with the instrument's beats creating a performance that was finger snapping good. The Carlton and Mr. Austin were followed by Poet Gabbie Piper whose words spoke of a the truth of reality through the lexicon of imagination. She was followed by Andrew Paul (aka A. P.) who initially performed with guitarist Caleb Confer as “Life Bugs for Uglies.” The duet, who combined spoken and verbalized phrased with music, were joined by Cee Rock who wowed the crowd through his mastery of the musical genre known as “Hip Hop.” The set ended with A. P. sharing an Ultra Sound printout depicting his soon to be born child. Life Bugs for Uglies were followed by Kevin “Tails” Moucha whose A Capella renderings added a texture to the songs he sang which was emphasized by a heart touching dedication he shared with someone special. The evening concluded with a performance of Wilbium whose guitar and electronically enhanced keyboard filled the the audience with the desire to dance. And, dance they did in wild abandonment and romantic displays of affection among the Living Room's shadows.

As Wilbium concluded his performance, the hosts shared their appreciation to all who attended and invited everyone to return the following week before bidding the gathering a fond adieu. The company shared their final words with one another within the venue before moving outside to engage more deeply in the joyful conversations the evening inspired. I was glad I went and to be reminded why I missed going to the Open Mic Nites. I hope to return again and again so I won't have to miss it any longer. I hope to see you there. In the meantime, you’ll be able to find more photographs taken during The Sunday April 19th Open Mic Nite at The Living Room Gallery at You'll also find our archive of photographs taken of various events taking place at The Sherman Theater's Living Room throughout 2015 at as well as archival photographs of events featuring the Performing Arts throughout Monroe County, PA and beyond at

The next installment of the Living Room Open Mic Nite Series will take place on Sunday April 26th beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with a receptive audience are welcomed to do so. You can learn more about The Living Room Open Mic Nite Series by Exploring their Facebook Page at

In addition to the Open Mic Nites presented at The Living Room, the venue also holds a Gallery which presents their current exhibition titled, “The Call of Nature” featuring the work of Marty Carr and Chris Francz along with other artists from the area. The exhibition will continue to be on display until April 26th. Their next exhibit will take place in May and is titled, “Express Your Selfie” featuring the work of artists from the area. The Artists’ Reception will take place on Saturday May 2nd beginning at 6pm and will continue to be on display until May 25th. Please contact the gallery at 570-421-2808 for more information.

The Living Room is located on Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA next to The Sherman Theater who owns the building. The Living Room is a non-profit artspace and community hub featuring live music, exhibitions, and other events in an intimate setting at affordable prices. Please Explore The Living Room Facebook Page at for more information on The Living Room, all they have to offer, and how to be a part of it all. 
Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

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