On 30 September, English majors, musicians and literary fiends alike gathered for beer, acoustic guitar, poetry, fiction, and sporadic karaoke as UW-Parkside’s Straylight Literary Magazine kicked off their semester with Open Mic Night.
The event initiated when Brian Erbe performed his produce rap that served justice to all grocery store employees and conscientious eaters. First time performer Trevor Henkle read his original piece of fiction entitled “Predator,” a lustful piece about a femme fatale who uses her beauty to captivate her prey and, ultimately, forces them to carry her books. Tim Smith performed three original poems, including “Hollywood Head-trip.” Student Nick Knebel performed his original poem entitled “Absolute,” which used chilling imagery to illustrate a troubled young woman’s self demise. Host Trisha Boyd acted as both announcer and poet, as she read her original poem entitled, “Why Does it Suck?”
Matt Leptich showcased his versatility, as he performed his own original poetry as well as acoustic songs on his guitar. Leptich also performed many acoustic covers and received great feedback from the audience. Student Orlando Figueroa also graced the audience with his acoustic guitar skills.
One of the memorable moments of the night included Professor Mark Bilbrey and student Eric Hinkle reading a seven-part piece entitled “The Dog of Interrogation,” which ended with Professor Bilbrey leaping off the stage and chasing his counterpart off into the Den. In addition to his performance with Bilbrey, Hinkle also performed some original poems, including “My Guess is Almost As Bad As Yours,” “Autumnal Color Wheel,” “A True Man Poet,” and “Lightning.”
As a veteran performer, Kelsey Hoff made several appearances to the stage. She forced the unsuspecting audience onto their feet and into a salute-like stance, as she read her original “Hipster Pledge of Allegiance,” which triggered the audience into laughter. She then read more of her original poems, including “Nice Girl,” and a personal poem about her grandfather. Finally, Hoff graced the audience with her original parody of Lady GaGa’s “Hair.”
“I fancy myself to be somewhat of a parody artist,” said Hoff. “Something about a song or a bit of language will strike me as funny and I will just play with it. I cannot write about something if I cannot toy with it, or if it is not a personal enough issue.”
As the night progressed, audience members began to participate by singing cover songs in lieu of the novel musical acts. Student Ryan Montross serenaded fellow student, Cedric Ray, in a random acappella performance of The Plain White Tee’s “Hey There Delilah.” Following Montross, a few other students demonstrated their vocal abilities as well.
Overall, the night was a success for Straylight, as they had a large turnout and shared many wonderful pieces. Straylight Literary Magazine welcomes all students and faculty members to participate in and attend their Open Mic nights. Straylight Literary Magazine looks forward to hosting more Open Mic nights in the future. For more information on Straylight literary Magazine, poetry, or Open Mic night information, visit Straylight‘s website.