Posts Tagged art

Ocean City Fine Arts League Poetry Open Mic

The Ocean City Fine Arts League, soon to be known as Art on Asbury, is a quaint little art gallery nestled right in the heart of Ocean City (located at 608 Asbury Avenue). Paintings, sketches and photographs hang neatly on the walls, and the din from the street outside can be heard as a muffled whisper through the front door.

Every fourth Friday at 7:30 pm, the League hosts a poetry-only open mic, run by a man named Bud Cole. He is a genial, lighthearted sort of fellow, with a friendly disposition that puts the mind at ease.

Bud Cole, the host of the Ocean City Fine Arts League open mic

Bud Cole, the host of the Ocean City Fine Arts League open mic

According to Cole, the Rules of the open mic are simple: everyone gets a turn, then everyone gets another turn. No destructive criticism, and everyone must have fun. Oh, and nothing, absolutely nothing, is taboo. No one will ever find a closed door at the League, though young children probably shouldn’t be included on the guest list.

This no-holds-barred attitude allows for the expression of many topics ranging from racism to political satire, spousal abuse to true love. Expect emotions to be shown. Expect laughter and tears, but most of all, expect people. Expect people telling stories through poetry. Whether through haiku, free-form or sonnets, the people who frequent this event feel comfortable enough to open up and tell those around them what they’re thinking.

We’re here to give the poets a chance” remarked Cole when asked what the motivation behind the open mic was, “it’s about the poetry.”
There’s even a professional poet in attendance; Ray Garman, author of the book Crossing Waters, makes regular appearances at the open mic, sharing both his own poetry and that of his favorite poets.

That’s another thing: the poetry recited doesn’t have to be original. It’s perfectly acceptable to read works penned by other authors. In fact, when I went, one woman recited several haiku written by her daughter living in Arizona.

The gallery is a small one, but the crowd that gathers there is welcoming, providing a great environment for any poet, especially those who are more up-and-coming than others. There’s seating for fifteen people, give or take, and a handicap-accessible bathroom in the back. All in all, this place is a pretty neat venue, definitely worth the trip if you’re in the area.

(Great job, Josh, on your first article at JerseyMic!)

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Interview with singer-songwriter Alex Siniari

Alex Siniari

Alex Siniari

This is the first in our newest category “Interviews with NJ Artists”. This is with local arist & singer-songwriter Alex Siniari, recently highlighted in the Philadelphia Inquirer with his Father.

So how long have you been playing guitar?

I’ve been in love with the guitar for a long time but our most recent affair has been the only time we’ve ever taken each other seriously. My Father played in a band back in his younger years and later on in life, he had a friend named Paul Leka, he and his band (Steam) wrote a song that became famous some time ago. Ever heard, “Nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye!”?  That guy. Anyway, he gave me a guitar when I was a boy but I didn’t have the sense to practice. I used to think strumming the strings open was a song. After a while, I lost interest completely and forgot about the guitar all together. I would tell people I could play because I wanted to so badly but I had no idea. I’d try to play here and there but had no clue.

How long have you been writing songs?

After flirting with the idea for a long time I finally bought my Ibanez and started trying to write songs. I never learned to read music and I still haven’t but at some point something clicked and music started to make sense to me. I still can’t sit down and write a song after a feeling or concept intentionally, it just has to come and I have little to no control. The song writes itself through me and I dig that, but often people don’t understand why I don’t write about myself or even get what I am singing about. I clearly remember telling my friend, JY that I could do this, I could write songs and play out. He is an incredible drummer so we’d jam here and there and I’d work up the nerve to play in front of people. I wrote one complete song with lyrics, that I have since completely forgotten, and a few instrumentals that either were lost to my poor memory or later developed into songs I play now, like “Free” and “Hand Over Mouth”. Free was the second song that I wrote, then came “So Far” so I’ve been writing somewhere around the two year mark.

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