Monday, March 07, 2016

The March of the Open Mics

The Sunday March 6th installment of the Sherman Theater's Living Room's weekly Open Mic Nite Series epitomized the grand variety the venue has become so well known for. An eclectic mixture of performances ranging from poetry readings to theater and from music to comedy blessed the stage and the large gathering that experienced it all. A cuisine reflected this variety as cookies were made and donated by Cody Wyoming as was a delightful dish consisting of a pine nut mixture created by Melissa Goleski. These and other treats made the evening all the more yummy.

After the ceremonial signing in procedure took place, someone noticed the space for the first performer still remained vacant and placed the word, “Who” in the spot. So, as the event's co-host, Theresa Ratliff, took the stage to welcome those who were present and shared some announcements, she proceeded to introduce the house percussionist Bongo Dan and the first performer by saying “Who's on First.” Those who remember the classic Abbot and Costello routine about an imaginary baseball team found it to be amusing.

As the uproarious chuckling subsided, Brad was introduced and took the stage from which he excited the audience through his interpretive movements to many familiar compositions including those associated with Jame Bond. Brad was followed by Max Maztrex of the band Circus Freaks and Dream Catchers who presented a number of compositions created by his band mates whose orchestral flavorings revealed a heavy metal mythology that were embedded in each measure. Max was followed by a woman known as Complex Colors whose voice and guitar blended together to create a new instrument that enhanced the qualities of the songs she shared.

Complex Colors was followed by Ann Matthews who performed two theatrical spoken word pieces titled, “A Warm Body Over my Heart” and “Thank You, Jesus” with both containing qualities that encouraged the soul of the audience to become vulnerable enough to be touched. She was followed by Brandy whose poetry explored the shadows a profound light can reveal. She was followed by Woodrow with Theresa Ratliff on Vocals and Brian Bramkamp on Guitar who performed alongside Bongo Dan.

Their rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U” which was composed by Prince Rogers Nelson (aka Prince) and made famous by SinĂ©ad O'Connor, became even more poignant through Ms. Ratliff's voice. This was followed by an original song composed by Mr. Bramkamp whose qualities took its listeners on a welcomed walking tour to the moon. Woodrow performance was followed by Poet Crazy Mike whose words flowed trippingly upon the tongue like a river of concepts that formed whirlpools of significations in the mind.

Crazy Mike was followed by a rapper known as Brother Bear who shared his work by blending his talents with the gathering which inspired many to dance. Brother Bear was followed by Guitarist Dave whose mesmeric riffs explored new musical avenues that took his listener on a journey upon a road paved with notes. He was followed by John who shared an unique approach to comedy in which he empathizing certain words of the jokes he told that were simultaneously heard on an audio recording. This was followed by his rendition of “Jailhouse Rock” which was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and sung by Elvis Presley in 1957.

John was followed by Cody Wyoming whose words were strung together in pauseless sinews whose presence was later enhanced by a performance on her ukulele. She was followed by Satilia Rose (aka Tilly) (who alternatively co-hosted throughout the evening with Ms. Ratliff) who shared her love to dance by inciting everyone to riotous movements. This was followed by a duo known as M&M in which the female M projected some rapid fire poetry that filled each listener full of words while the male M stood quietly by.

M&M were followed by guitarist Michelle Leanna Zbinden whose powerful voice added layers to the songs she selected. Ms. Zbinden's performance was followed by the evening's raffle of which she (with the help of Ms. Ratliff) picked the winning ticket which was hers. This was followed by a guitarist whose voice revealed the enchantments embodied in each song he sang and whose performance was further a joy to experience as Brandy (who recently shared her poetry) served as his music stand.

He was followed by Wilbium whose psychedelic forays into the realms of music released all its mind bending intricacies that were made manifest in the movements of those who danced. Wilbium was followed by Mike Mel who closed out the evening with poetry whose sentimentality and sexuality gently touched to soul of a dream. It was after the conclusion of Mr. Mel's sharings did Ms. Ratliff share her closing words with the audience along with the names of performers who are schedule to be featured at future Open Mic Nites.

The next Open Mic Nite is scheduled to take place on Sunday March 13th beginning at 7pm with sign ins beginning at 6:30pm. The featured performer for the evening will be Russell Austin. Musicians, poets, writers, and anyone who would like to share something with a receptive audience are welcomed to do so. In the meantime, you'll be able to view the photographs we took during the Sunday March 6th event in The March of the Open Mics Gallery at

The Sherman Theater’s Living Room is located at 522 Main Street in Stroudsburg, PA. You'll be able to view additional photographs taken during installments of their Open Mic Nites Series by their staff along with videos taken of interviews with the featured artists and the performances of some who attended the event on their Facebook Page. In addition to their Open Mic Nites Series, the venue also holds a number of concerts and special events. Please Explore The Sherman Theater’s Living Room Facebook Page at, The Sherman Theater's Website at, or call 570-421-2808 for more information.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

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