I might complain about DC (probably entirely too much), but there really is a bunch to do here. Lots of stuff closes early, in my book, and that’s really my biggest issue.
Recently (as in the last 3-4 months), a new type of event has opened. An event that SHOULD change what we view open mics as.
The event, called Red Alert Wednesdays, just like it’s accidental acronym, keeps things RAW.
The venue itself, Urban Eats Cafe, in Mt. Rainier, MD–just a hop, skip, and jump from FOUR major metro stations 3 green line, one red line–is an extremely comfortable café. The kind that you walk into and automatically feel the urge to kick your shoes off and curl up on the big, comfy couch (yes, I’ve seen it happen), and the food is GREAT. The Mt. Rainier Burger is simply heaven on a bun. They cater to the vegetarian as well as the omnivorous amongst us.
The best thing about the event is the non-judgmental open mic. The kind we all crave, and can never seem to find. On any given Wednesday, you may hear a preacher giving parts of his sermon or a boy rapping about his experiences and his life. There is NO specific kind of person one NEEDS to be to fit in, and all artists are respected as well as listened to.
All of this is set to interludes of amazing music played by a great DJ, Chop the Butcha.
They call the open mic genre, spoken-hop, but it goes well beyond that into an environment that can be a safe-haven for anyone who has something to share.
I’ve shared at Red Alert more times than I have in my entire career as a “poet”–I’m speaking from when I originally began writing at the age of… like 10. I get stage fright, yet I am perfectly at home in front of the crowd at Red Alert.
The event is hosted by two of my really great friends Dwayne B.–also co-host of the LEGENDARY Spit Dat (unfamiliar? just ask)–and Samantha G. There are also a handful of regulars (myself “the human lockbox”, Julie, Pastor Brian, Mama Deborjah, and many others who help keep the homey feel) who are just as important to the event as the hosts.
Red Alert Wednesdays feels like that open mic home you’ve always wanted, but could never find. Don’t pass up this gem.
The event takes place at 3311 Rhode Island Avenue in Mount Rainier, Maryland and usually starts at about 8:00 pm.
Located just past the Washington, DC line, a block from Rhode Island Ave. & Eastern Ave.–Just at the circle.