By Sara Aslagson-Sahar
December 21st, 2016, in San Diego was a dark and rainy night, but many still braved the rain to meet in the Admiral’s Restaurant for an open mic event “that merges classy with consciousness.” The event is called Wine and Words and for $5 you can receive admission to this great night full of spoken word poetry, music, thoughts, comedy, ingenuity, and community support. The benefit of it being at the Admiral’s is that as you enjoy the night you can order delicious food and $4 glasses of wine. (While the event is titled Wine and Words it is open to those under 21 as well.) The event was advertised to start at 8 pm. I sat at a table with another poet, Rose, and later a woman Kelsey joined us as well.
At 8:45 pm the host, Alex Robinson, started us off by bringing up the first poet, Kyler, with his poem “How Are You,” setting an excellent, thoughtful tone for the evening. Following him was Paul Anthony who started his talk by mentioning that he was nervous and in response the room came alive with support through snaps and other noises encouraging him to share his thoughts. So he did. His thoughts were about the weather and how that influences mood, asking us what are we expressing right now, what’s alive in us right now? It was very thought provoking and snaps of agreement could be heard several times throughout his talk. After he finished Alex said, “if you are nervous it means you like it, it’s important.”
Until this point I had been experiencing some nerves about my own intentions of performing a poem later that night, but the community support and Alex’s statement helped me ease a lot of those nerves. I knew it would be okay. Which was excellent timing because there was one poet up next, and then me, with my poem “Raspberries.” After me came Kelsey, who in addition to sharing her own poem, told us about Urban Beats and the event they were hosting called “The Walk: An Artistic Showcase”, an event to give “a small glimpse into the lives of our youth and how mental health affects their lives in positive and negative ways.” (Look out for an event review on that soon.) Following her was singer Blue Fuego and then Jo. Known by the community for his comedy, Jo surprised the crowd by performing his first
spoken word poem. Everyone was excited to hear it and a shared encouragement, which could be felt throughout the room. When Jo had finished performing, Alex joked, “Wine and Words, where poets are born.” Following Jo’s poem many people who previously weren’t planning on sharing, like my table partner Rose, or who had some deeper topics to explore, like Ronald and Kyler with their poem “Brother,” performed. And it continued from there as it had all night. People were real and honest and shined a light in a corner of their souls with the audience’s wholehearted support and encouragement.
Wine and Words is an event where people can be vulnerable and try new things, whether that’s new genres or new pieces. If you are interested in an excellent event for spoken word, music, comedy, and a community of encouragement, check out Wine and Words every 1st and 3rd Wednesday at 8 pm, at the Admiral’s Restaurant. Who knows, maybe you’ll see me there, being vulnerable with my own poetry.