The Bronx hosts one of the REALEST open mics in NYC today. Each Wednesday at 10:02 Lounge on Tremont, Shay Marie G of SWB Radio invites artists to Bronx Poetry in to become a part of the vibe. The set up of professional yet casual; a place where you are forced to be yourself, and then rewarded for it accordingly.
First and Foremost — Feed the artists. It’s really hard to perform when you’re hungry. I’m not saying I need to be given the food, but it’s incredibly tough navigate being an artist and sometimes, the thing you forget to do is eat. Rushing between work on a gig, it’s great to be booked at place with an actual kitchen. The food at 10:02 is reasonable and tasty. I definitely had an order go chicken wings ($10) with a side of fried green plantains ($6). It’s also a bit more enticing when you invite people out to support you, if there’s food. Otherwise, they have to plan around your schedule as well. The 10:02 kitchen was open as soon as I got there and they were cooking all throughout the night. I try not to drink on nights I’m performing, so not sure about the drinks or prices. If I recall, I got myself a Corona after my set.
Bronx Poetry Night doesn’t comp your meal, but they make sure everyone gets fed for their work. After an artists performs, a bucket is circulated around the room and everyone can decide how much to give. I truly was not expecting to get paid for my performance because I don’t ever need to get paid — I’ve tried hard to love what I do. BUT it does feel good to earn a dollar, even if it’s a single dollar. So many artists work so hard for so long without seeing any compensation — you spend all your money on studio time, outfits and travel to these shows and sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming to have such an expensive “hobby”. That sign of kindness really changes the vibe; when I received my collection, knowing that these people had taken money out of their pockets for me made me feel the need to give back to the artists who went on stage after me. The show does the impossible by circulating money within the people and I can’t thank them enough for inspiring that feeling.
My favorite part of the Bronx Poetry Night vibe is that it’s not your typical, stuff poetry night. Some poetry nights make you feel like the only thing you’re encouraged to do is sip tea with your pink up. Between artists (and I think there’s a slight intermission of sorts) Shay Marie G doesn’t serve you the typical “you gotta network” speech. You’re also simple encouraged to get up and dance. I’m not a networker — I hate talking about what we can “do” for each other. When it comes to music, I am much more interested in sharing energy. While a huge part of me wants people to like my music, I know it means nothing if they don’t like me. And I am art, not an object… so I vibe. I had shown up at Bronx Poetry Night by myself, but I promise I left with a gang of new friends whose names I forget, but it doesn’t matter because we vibed.
If you’re looking for an open mic where you can be yourself and will definitely be supported, this is a place to be. Some places feel like you’re performing to artists, but this felt like performing to peers. I hope you can make it out, because… if it wasn’t for the Bronx, this rap shit probably wouldn’t even be going on 😉