Diary of an Open Mic Whore

Yes, I’m an Open Mic whore. I will admit it. I get high every time that I come out of an open mic, energized and ready to get inspired or inspire someone in the audience. Open Mic is my new obsession, my new drug when I get high just watching great performers, poets or musicians touch me in ways that I would have never imagined.
I found myself in an Open Mic. I was lost, desperate, lonely. I thought that I was all alone in the Universe. I really thought that poetry was dead. I thought that philosophers, writers, artists were extinct and, unless my name was Stephen King or Maya Angelou, there was no writer or poet within a ten mile radius. And I’m glad I was wrong.

If you’d like to know my dirty little secret, here it is: there is probably an open mic going on around you NOW that you didn’t even know about within a 10 mile radius of where you live right now.
Would you like to know another secret? I found an open mic for EVERY single night of the week!!! That’s right!

Open Mic Whore recommends:

Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in Sylmar (San Fernando Valley near City of San Fernando) where there is Open Mic every 2nd, 4th and 5th Friday of each month is hosted by Jeffery Martin while Noches de Canto y Poesía (with Alejandro Molina) is done every first and third Friday as well. This was my first and still favorite open mic of all.

Mental Mondays at House of Brews which has been hosted by yours truly, but is best conducted by Evy Spiritluvchild, happens only once a month though so mark your calendars for the last Monday of every month at the House of Brews in City of San Fernando.

Writer Wednesdays with Jessica Wilson located at the former Bob’s Espresso Bar on Lankershim Blvd at the heart of the NoHo Arts District. Perfect for writers, poets, musicians, stand up comedy and even magic.

Soapbox Sessions over at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Encino hosted by Jason Brain. A little intimidating since it’s outdoors and there’s a lot of action going around the area so I only go there when I feel the force is with me. Every Thursday starting at 7. Check it out!

Tuesday Night Project, currently on hiatus but it’s near Little Tokyo and some of the best performers I’ve ever seen in Los Angeles. After Tia Chucha‘s, of course (wink, wink)

Holy Grounds is another cool spot with a very nice patio area (currently being remodeled) and has the Zzyxz Writers open mic there (check out their website for details).

Eastside Café located over in El Sereno happens once a month and is hosted by spiritus and sister poet Iris de Anda, only third Thursday of every month starting at 8ish…

La Palabra Series at Avenue 50 Studio. This one is usually on the last Sunday of the month and hosted by big hooped earring wearing Karinneh Mahdessian. Cool art exhibit plus great features and even time for open mic for y’all. Love the circle of love there and the sound of the train is always cool.

Beyond Baroque in Venice is beyond amazing!!! Also hosted by the Los Angeles Poets Society founder and president (she’s a member, too) Jessica Wilson does this once or twice a month on Sundays. Check their website, too! If you ever feel like an actor on a real theatre stage with stadium seating and cool lighting and awesome people then you MUST check it out!

Corazón del Pueblo. Only been there once and I’m definitely coming back. Wednesday nights.

The Last Bookstore. This is a very, very, very laaarge, humongous, bigger than life open mic. Not sure if that’s your thing but definitely great poetry and talent.

And last, but not least, another secret: there’s so many more open mics, all you gotta do is check out openmikes.org
I could have saved you all that trouble from the beginning, right? Sometimes I can be an Open Mic Whore!!! That’s right, I am a whore!!! Deal with it!!!

©2014 Open Mic Whore

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Santa Cruz el Trabajo

Por la señal de la Santa Cruz, mantén a mis amigos cerca y de nuestros enemigos líbrame, Dios mío Dios…

Santa Teresa, ya me entró una pereza
Santo Toribio, un alivio de este martirio!
Santa Rosa, quien dijo que la vida sería color rosa?
San Marcos, librame de tantos recados
Santa Marta, este trabajo me mata!
San Juan, hasta cuando tanto afán?
Santa Inés, esta rutina no tiene sentido, ni al derecho ni al reves
San José, estos sueños a la cama llevaré

En el nombre del Padre, del Hijo y del Espiritu Santo. Amén.

©2014 VS!

Vegan or Carnivore?

Story cubes: bee, credit card, foot, turtle, clock, flashlight, teepee, cell phone, fish

I’m not sure what got into me that Sunday morning but I decided that I was going vegan from then on. I decided it’s time that I stopped living my life as a hypocrite where I would be an animal lover one day and have a rib eye steak for lunch. It never made sense to me how could I think that killing an animal for my pleasure was OK. As I sipped on my green tea with honey, I stumbled upon a pamphlet about veganism and listed some of the things I should not have: dairy products, eggs, flesh (including fish), honey and other animal ingredients. Oops, I already made my first mistake as a vegan and had honey. I didn’t mean to harm any bees in the process, I swear!
I opened the fridge and realize that everything I had there was in the list of items that a vegan could not have and so I needed to shake my carnivorous self out of the apartment, grabbed my credit card and my wallet and decided that I would go walking by foot to Trader Joe’s to see what my food option were going to be for the rest of my life.
As I walked around the beautiful Toluca Lake homes, I remembered Life of Pi. The movie revolves a young Indian man named Pi Patel who gets stranded at sea in a small lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. They must learn to survive the elements and Pi, a vegan, has to “convert” to a carnivore and begins fishing for food in order to survive. His diet consists mainly of fish and turtles, I still try to picture how can a vegan have the will power to kill in order to survive. He had no clock or watch as guidance and could not have foreseen spending 227 days and nights along with a giant tiger in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I try to picture myself being stranded in a moonless, dark night without a flashlight or moonlight to see where is my destination, floating over shark infested waters.
I snap back to reality and focus on the beautiful mansions, the gardens, swings from the trees, some have tree houses and I see some kids playing on their front lawn. Some of them are shooting up the sky as cowboys while the others hide inside the security of their teepee. They’re playing Cowboys & Indians. I can’t believe what a stereotypical game that is, how children are influenced by their parents to think that this game is OK to play, that there’s nothing wrong with this picture. Just like how they teach us how is OK to eat red meat, pork, chicken and other animals just because.
Looking at my cell phone I noticed that I was late so I pick up the pace and head out to the store. Thinking of all the food that I can’t have is making me nauseous. All I can thinking about is food. I think of steak and eggs, bacon and sausage, fish and seafood of all kinds. This vegan trip that I’m on is going to be challenging. I can’t live life thinking of what food I can and cannot have. What if the only thing around to eat is chicken or ham or cheese or bacon? Just thinking about this is making me more hungry. I need to stop thinking of food and focus on something else. I can do this. I really can do this. I can, I can, I can… Can I?

Mr. Sandman

🎶 Mr. Sandman
Bring me a dream
In the shape-of an angel
That I’ve never seen
Angel that always protects me
from the nightmare of the world
Escape reality even for a moment
Enter your kingdom, Mr. Sandman
That’s what I ask of you.

Sands of time
Sands of wisdom
Infinite wisdom
Riding through the
dunes of my subconscious
That’s where you live.

🎶 Come to me, Mr. Sandman
Would you hurry please
I can’t stand being here
a prison is this cubicle
nowhere to go,
a monitor, a keyboard and a telephone.
I’d rather have a pen and pencil as my working tool,
I want to one day be able to write what I want to write.
I don’t want to do any more damn reports.
What a waste of my energy and precious time!
I could be creating alternate universes instead of doing reports.
If I died today, Mr. Sandman, someone else can do my reports. Anyone.
But nobody can come up with these sand castles in the sky, nobody can come up with sea serpents and winged dragons taking over Hong Kong,
nobody can come up with the Circus Freaks, or Diary Dearest, or Year of the Dragon or Usual Suspects or so many stories floating ’round in my head, waiting their turn,
sometimes patiently but some other times VERY impatiently.
So the question is not what, is when Mr. Sandman, when will you make my dream come true for me?

©2014 Victor Sotomayor

They Never Talk About Us

They never talk about us
The poets, the writers,
The actors, the pantomimes,
The painters, the muralists,
The freestylers, the rappers, the beatboxers
The dreamers who constantly
see their dreams shattered
Day by day by day…

Behind the Hollywood sign,
Jammin’ by the Promenade,
By the park, by the beach,
By Tia Chucha’s…
Behind the curtain,
That’s where you’ll find us

They never talk about us
But we don’t give some flying ducks
They can go to Albuquerque
For we don’t care-que

We don’t need them any damn way!

They never talk about us
Even though they’re just like us.
They may think they’re different,
They may think they’re superior,
I think they’re rather delirious!

They may think they own us,
They may think they can buy us,
They may think they can break us,
They may think that we live in Texas,

They may think they own the world,
They may think they can push us aside,
They may think, wait, they don’t think…
That’s the problem, see!

They never talk about us…
But they should.

2014 Víctor Sotomayor, inspired by free stylist Dan Hernandez