Malelani is a cafe in Ventnor, NJ. Open since last Memorial Day, Malelani has a very unique feel. Their open mic is held on Saturdays, and are supposed to start somewhere past 7pm. They wait until more people show up.
Starting with the good parts: Everyone that works at Malelani is awesome. I specifically talked to Steven Winklestein and he’s an awesome person. He’s a self-proclaimed writer of mystical prose and poetry, and has recently published a children’s book entitled “Elephant, Elephant, Come Alive!” about Lucy the Elephant. Honestly, Steve is a cool enough guy and I hope he sells so many copies that he needs to make more. Everyone else I encountered was very nice, and on a separate occasion I was even invited to smell the teas before I made my selection! Yummy. The tea was very good, and the atmosphere is warm and cute.
Now for the rest. I review open mics. Onward.
It’s my opinion that Malelani would be best enjoyed if you were accompanied by a large group of your close friends. While it seems this advice might be suitable for any mic, it goes for this one at least twice as much. I showed up at the open mic at 7pm, and the first performer sang at 9pm.
There was no announcement starting the open mic, and there was no sign up sheet. Performers weren’t given a time limit, and in the one case, a performer took it upon himself to play for an hour. It may “only” be an open mic, but that kind of behavior is lunacy outside of being a featured act.
So in order to keep myself from sounding like a stuck-up soccer mom (and also in order to follow Thumper’s rule), I’ll stop for now. Normally I have a separate post for the pictures from the night, but there were only a few, and I left after I realized there was a rockstar in the house.
(I didn’t start JerseyMic to make enemies, so I’ll say it again: Steve is an awesome guy and the drinks at Malelani were wonderful. You can check his book out at http://www.elephantalive.com/)
Update: Steve called me to let me know that there will be a 3-4 song limit and a sign up sheet next week. I think it’s great that a company can be humble enough to take on suggestions and implement them swiftly. Hoorah for JerseyMic and Malelani Cafe!