virtual open mic brings connection during covid-19 social isolation
artists who use social media gathered on friday night through screens and recited poetry, sang songs, shared affirmations, laughs, tears and love.
EVERYWHERE (LVST) — as the world experiences shelter-in-place, quarantine and lock downs in efforts to flatten the spread of novel coronavirus, artists gathered on friday, march 27th for a virtual open mic.
“what a way to be connected during this time of disconnection,” said adrian michael green, host, organizer, and one of the featured artists of the event. “this pandemic is nudging everyone to dig differently and curate opportunities to maintain meaningful connection. open mics have always been a source of self-care, rejuvenation, and a place to find community. we may not be able to be in physical space but there is still an intimacy through a screen. i felt it during our virtual open mic.”
in a zoom conference room, artists and guests poured in and immediately embraced with one another. there was music, incense libation, a calling up of ancestors and names of people currently impacted by the disease. in-between sets positive affirmations followed snaps to honor and recognize and acknowledge the energy and openness by each performance. as poets read, listeners turned to the chat box and in real-time doused the performer with hearts and hand claps and fire emoji’s and palpable love.
“[it was] such a cool space for everyone to connect and listen to each other from the heart,” andres quiqua, who lives in hawaii and is originally from colombia, is a photographer and writer who read a few pieces during the open mic shared. “people talked about love and loss and the loss of love. which is a beautiful thing and is hard to describe. in times like these where you are stuck at home you’re thinking about yourself and your family, this let me connect with [everyone] and say we’re all doing it. we’re all doing the same thing. it made us forget for two hours.”
the following people were listed and advertised to perform as featured artists during the friday night virtual open mic.
jon lupin — single dad of 3, lives in langley bc canada, started writing as the poetry bandit on instagram in 2014. jon has one self-published book, my sober little moon, and two books published with macmillan.
raquel franco — is a woman with the intention to connect and share her experiences in order to dare women to be brave, to find confidence and carry it within themselves. author of this woman is still girl and keep me wild.
chris ferreiras — a new york/toronto based artist and poet, he just released his debut collection of poems entitled, the sun underground & all the colors in between.
adrian michael — bay area-based writer, denver’s native son, curator of love, poet, husband and father, founder of lovasté™, author and educator. he has self-published 11 books. his most recent, giver. and he was taught to be this way.
natalie stavola — actor and a writer, originally from the east coast by way of connecticut and florida, she has been a poet in hiding for over 20 years. she came out of the closet with slam poetry 3 years ago and has been speaking up and using her voice ever since.
anisah amat — from denver, colorado, she considers herself a writer and a poet, a teacher and a student, world traveler, a partner and a mother, a friend.
added to the list of special guests who performed was san fransisco artivist and published author jeremy michael vasquez; alaskan educator and artist living in new york city, makeda gershenson; andres quiqua; lucy gomez and lauriel lewis.
finding purpose through distance
despite the multiple weeks it has been, and the practice of social distancing and social isolation, the virtual open mic was a deepening of kindness. a reminder to care for and hold space for one another digitally. to reach within and find purpose through distance. to make positive meaning and connection through spoken word and expression. an art form that will forever stand the test of time during trying times and times of healing and times of rejoice.
from attendees from vancouver to germany to mexico to the united states, this powerful program provided a coming up for air and more reason to tether into humanity through art and beauty to help cut through illness and distance.
virtual open mic sponsors
some words of affirmation from the virtual open mic:
“didn’t know how much we needed it.” — chris ferreiras
“best open mic i have ever been to.” — aaron green, sr.
“this was a very safe space for this introvert.” — makeda gershenson
“it was an amazing experience. it filled my soul.” — raquel franco
“it’s refreshing in dark times to listen to all these amazing voices.” — mel
“appreciated this so much, it was much needed by creating this safe space to share our feelings and thoughts through spoken words.” — davina pham
“this was beyond beautiful and so, so needed” — jamie krieger
when is the next virtual open mic?
- VOM2 — friday, april 24, 2020 6:00 pm PST — WATCH THE FULL VIDEO
- VOM3 — friday, may 22, 2020 6:00 pm PST
- VOM4 — friday, june 19, 2020 6:00 PST
for more information or interest about the virtual open mic, contact adrian michael at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to him on instagram.