“Our Babies are Dustmites”: A reflection on Straylight Literary Magazine’s open mic

Straylight Literary Magazine’s open mic nights have become rather infamous in the Racine/Kenosha area. On Feb. 22, 2013, the organization hosted a much anticipated open mic in the Den after taking a semester-long hiatus. Folks mingled and greeted one another as the sign-up sheet was passed around the tables, including former Straylight interns that traveled back to UW-Parkside for the event.

Without fail, a variety of different talents showed up to the event; a mixture of poets, singers, and guitar players graced the stage to share their skills with the community. UW-Parkside student Vincent Bowen, along with his partners Kimberly Wyatt and Crystal Whiteside, opened the night with a vocal rendition of “Men in Tights,” complete with a small can-can.

From there, Nicholas Ravnikar, a regular patron to Straylight’s open mics, performed a series of poems and short prose, including limericks he’d written on Valentine’s Day. He was followed by Carly Anne Ravnikar, another regular attendee.

Eric Hinkle, former poetry editor for Straylight, read a multitude of new poems. He also entertained the audience with a reading from the latest book he was reading by Kurt Vonnegut.

Deciding it was time for a musical break, Kimberly Wyatt and Crystal Whiteside took to the stage separately, Wyatt with a rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” and Whiteside singing a verse of “Phantom of the Opera.” Then, the trio of Wyatt, Whiteside, and Bowen returned with “Jingle Bells.”

Web editor David Haight read a fiction story, his decision to emphasis a certain word shocking the audience at times as he yelled into the microphone. He certainly added a dose of energy to the night and gave a taste of something different from what had happened before him.

Among the last acts were Michael VanVleet, with a poem written for his father, and Jerod Straszewki, who played the guitar (an instrument always sure to be a crowd favorite!) and sang.

To close the night, Nicholas Ravnikar returned to the stage with more poetry and prose, along with Carly Anne. Carly Anne’s energy and hilarious readings were a great way to end the event!

All in all, it was another successful event for Straylight! The open mic is the first of many events to be hosted by the organization throughout the Spring 2013 semester. Next up is “Straylight on Display,” a gallery showing of past Straylight artists accompanied with poetry from Patrick McGuire, Nick Demske, and Nicholas Knebel. The event begins on March 18, 2013 in the E. Mathis gallery.

Article by Emily Harring

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