It's great to be in Austin again! I had a fun week teaching at the UT Longhorn Harp Camp and another great week of relaxation here in one of my favorite cities. Despite a little heat exhaustion, many tacos were consumed, music was played, siestas were taken, bats were watched, and friends and former students were seen. Being here is a joy.
I got to attend 3 open mics in these last days which, to be honest, is 3 more than I had ever been to before. In the "live music capital of the world," it seems fitting to let Austin be my first impression of the open mic.
There really is an art to this thing. I wasn't playing- only just admiring. And as I was reflecting on and enjoying both the poetry and music, it's hard not to find a metaphor in all of it.
The open mic is set up to be a safe place to try out new and old music and poetry, improvised and otherwise. The acts that I was inspired by were those whose hearts were honest and vulnerable, not trying to show off pretend to be the king of the hill. What a demand for major guts, though. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out on a limb like that. You've got to be comfortable in your own skin, and you can't pretend to be anyone else but yourself up there-- total authenticity.
It's about being:
Proud to be who you are
My favorites were:
1. My singer songwriter friend Benjamin Aggerbæk in his element... singin' his heart out and ripping it up on guitar.
2. A man with his two grown daughters celebrating his birthday. He was on guitar and vocals, and his girls were backing him up with their own killer voices. Go family! Loved it.
3. Two women (lovers) who did 4 short spontaneous/ improvised poetry pieces. Beautiful.
So. I'm now officially a fan of the open mic. And reminded that I want to live my life like I was playing in an open mic.
I'm now headed to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan to teach harp for a couple of weeks. Shifting gears and temperatures. Hm..... can't wait to be where it's cool. Thanks for the good time Austin. Hope to see you again soon.