Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Open Mic Night @ Cafe Hey

Cafe Hey Entrance

Cafe Hey is a great cafe/eatery in the middle of an industrial setting, just North of downtown on Franklin St. on the far side of the Interstate, at 1540 N. They have first-rate coffee, baked goods, sandwiches, and as Winter nears, the soups alone are worth the trip. The mix is varied, everything from single-speed-riding hipsters to professionals out on the town looking for a respite from the usual noises. On thursday nights they have Open Mic night, which is conducted by poetess Nyssa Hanger. It brings in a wide variety of poets, comedians, singers and more, making for a laid-back evening of grass-roots entertainment.


On this night, Nyssa was feeling a little under the weather, and Brian Auriati volunteered to do the MC'ing.  He did an excellent job.

Larry Ludwig


Larry Ludwig, musician and music teacher, played a folksy guitar, opening with a song about his contempt for "rock stars". It was followed by "In my Dreams", a wistful piece about how different things are in our day dreams. Lyrics about favorite things and being in the spotlight.


On the left is a picture of Riva, a young musician with a level of commitment that inspires awe. I once saw her play at a festival, with lots of ambient noise. She didn't have an amp/mike and could not be heard more than six feet away, but that didn't stop Riva. It was her six feet, and she belted out song after song. On this night she spiritedly played "Knockin' on Heaven's Door, by Bob Dylan and Yellow Submarine.

This young writer, whose name, regrettably, I did not get (if anyone knows it, please send a comment) read a beautifully written personal account about tracking the fall of Moammar Khaddafi, how she became increasingly aware of the complexities of the issue, and how it had a humanizing  effect on her. She should use her body language to communicate a parallel narrative to that of the words.

Joe "Canadia" Riga

Joe Riga is a comedian who is a staple of the Open Mic night at Cafe Hey. This time he asked the audience for topics to improvise on. He got steaks, horses, other things, and Canada, which Joe renamed Canadia.

Steven Lindaw

Steven read his poem "Blood Meridian" about a book written by the author of The Road. He also read a wild, distended dream of a poem about a trip in the desert.  And another about the tunnels that lie hidden from public view below Niagara Falls.


Penny sang the chorus from a song she is working on, titled "Take Your Time". Beautiful, melodious stuff. I can't wait until the whole song is finished.

View of the audience sitting in the gallery (hallway) at Cafe Hey.

Warming up

Comedian Law Smith knows a thing or two about humor. This time, he carried on about Father-Son sex talks about not using a condom, his mothers' infuence when he was away from home in LA, and last, getting a colonoscopy. Scatological humor dovetails with our lower brain, but Law's version was hilarious, and just went on and on.

Alex Bentayou read her poem "The Bent, Broadway Ave and their Ancient Hats", a paean and exploration of the Beat writers of the '50s. Great poem, beautifully read.

David Joy

David Joy sang old-school songs like his "Hwy 41", and others. He's got a lot of energy, and something of the style of The Man in Black. What stood out in his performance was an incredibly long guitar tuning on stage. I mean over fifteen minutes long. It was just too much. It was David's first time at Open Mic, and I look forward to a zero-drama set in the future.

Matt Law

Matt Law has a great voice and is skilled on the guitar. He sang part of  "While my Guitar Gently Weeps", and gave some insights into the process of putting music together.

Kenny Ross

Kenny sang the song about his friend that died, with lines like: "I found you in a garbage can". It explores the range of feelings from tenderness to anger when a thing like this happens. He's evolving the song at Cafe Hey. He also sang an Annie di Franco song.

Nyssa Hanger

Congratulations to all the performers, Nyssa Hanger, and Cafe Hey for putting together a beautiful evening. This takes place on Thursday evenings, starting at 7 PM (get there early to get a good seat), and runs until 9 PM. Free, but treat yourself to the coffees and goodies at the cafe. 1540 N Franklin St.

--- Luis

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