All Photos by Samir Abady
As it gets closer to our next Open Mic/Feature event at Milk and Roses on April 24th, I’ve been still mulling over how much happened on March 27th when Steve Herrera featured. When I think about what an Artistic community is, I will always remember when Steve drove 3 and 1/2 hours from Baltimore just to sing for 35 minutes. When someone asks me if Poetry matters, if Music and Art can change a SPACE, I’ll think back on March 27th, walking into the Milk and Roses and seeing my childhood friend Thomas Munson sitting at the back of the room, how I was humbled and happy to see him. I’ll think how I read Poetry in front of two of my friends’ families, who I haven’t seen in quite awhile. I’ll think how easy it is to write off a night sometimes just because there weren’t “enough” people there, that sometimes I need to see the bigger picture, how Creativity makes room for worlds to exquisitely collide.
Photographing open mics for Poetry Teachers NYC has been a pleasure more so than it is a job. Capturing the intensity and interest of each poet is usually my mission at each of these events and is simple to capture with a staff as passionate as this. But the passion that I try to focus on lies within the brave poets that come to our gatherings and contribute their words. Poetry isn’t something that can be faked. So reading is reserved for those that can speak from the heart. It showed. Mr. Herrera’s soul bearing songs inspired the room as well. I was pleased and honored to be in the same room as his music and was equally inspired as the readers that followed him.
You know there are muses swirling in the air at an open mic if someone signs up toward the end. It means they have been writing or stewing inside their thoughts. It means they have been listening. At PTNYC’s recent open mic at Milk & Roses, our feature of the night, Steve Herrera, pushed out his love songs and longings from vocal chords and guitar strings. Toward the end of his set, I was alerted by a whisper that someone new wanted to add their name to the open mic list. A poet. Ryan Buynak read from his book of powerful stanzas and blew us all away…enough for us to ask him to be our feature performer on May 22nd (alongside Staten Island spoken word genius Thomas Fucaloro). This is why I believe in magic. This is why I’ve been going to open mics for over 15 years and continue because you meet artists who stimulate your own language to come out. So, come on out to our next one. Learn about who we are and how we want to steam open various spaces through open mic gatherings, workshops, and performances. Take a moment to get to know Poetry Teachers NYC.