The Joiners Arms Debriefing

Posted on 05 June 2009

My apologies for not warning people about this performance. I didn’t want to promise anything, because I had no idea what I was going to be walking into.

The Joiners Arms open mic night is run by Corey Stewart. He also runs open mic at the Daniel O’Connell and is establishing a South Australian Open Mic Network. This is wonderful news. He has made my life immensely easier by
finding, supporting, and advertising many available venues for practice and performance.

Corey seemed genuinely pleased to have me come in as a spoken word artist. Evidentally, they haven’t seen anyone of that nature for a year and a half. Which is about the length of time since I saw spoken word at The Gov. For some
reason comedians and poets have focused their efforts at specialised venues. The problem is that in so doing we have less opportunity to have our stuff heard and we aren’t getting practice with a broad audience. I told Corey I would
encourage the comic and literary communities to start mixing it up with the musicians again.

The Joiners Arms is a cosy venue: yes, meaning small, but also warm. Despite the size the place is clean, well-kept, and the acoustics are good. People could actually hear me this time.

I was warned to turn up by at least 7:30pm for an 8:00pm start. I lost my way getting to Joiners and arrived at 7:40pm. This was sufficiently late that I was booked in as the second to the last person for the night.

The music was largely mellow folk and blues. I was delighted by how much of it was original material. However, the laid back quality of the night had me worried that my humorous poetry might not fit in. Miraculously, Erica Graf placed herself in a slot just before mine. Erica is an exceptional guitarist and I would guess has had considerable classical training. Triple J Unearthed gave she and the band Last Night’s Dream top reviews. Her performance had a lyrical playful quality that helped immensely in getting people in the mood for what was to follow.

For my own set I read “Ninjas Ninjas Ninjas”, “Will Play for Cheese”, and “Candlelight”. People laughed at the ninjas poem. The musos appreciated the sentiment in the cheese poem. “Candlelight” was something I did precisely
because this wasn’t a comedy venue. It’s a heartfelt piece about hanging on in dark times.

I was only three lines in and the entire room went dead silent. I continued reading with my whole guts, then when I finished, received big applause. I have to admit, I was gobsmacked. Afterwards I had a number of people tell me how much they liked “the angel poem”. One of the performers made sure to point out how rare it is to get a listening room like that.

Now I’m a little confused. I thought maybe I was being precious talking about finding my audience. Maybe I just needed to be better (which is probably still true). I find my audience and it’s not at a comedy venue. My humour heads more toward the Garrison Keillor/Jim Henson stuff, so it’s gentler and sillier than  is usually presented at comedy venues.

With comedy you can find a nice clear path to some form of commercial success (I’m talking about making a living, not selling out). With this, if I start putting my focus where my audience is, I have no idea where I’m going and I really need to find a way to support myself doing what I love. I suppose the answer for now is do everything, since I’m still developing. Let me know what you think.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine


1 Response to The Joiners Arms Debriefing

  • […] own blog in which she writes about her experience at the Open Mic @ The Joiners. You can read it HERE. I hope more spoken word artists and comedians utilise the Open Mic Network because the door is […]

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