Every artist struggles with the tension, nerves, and uncertainty one feels when going to a new venue for the first time to perform, but that is common, and it shouldn’t discourage an artist from opening up to the supportive community Uptown, Whittier is.
Half Off Books has created an engaged interest for local talent. Every month they provide a space that allows people to network with each other, but most importantly they have given birth to a safe atmosphere where people can inspire one another. Half Off Books is not only an exceptionally well run independent bookstore, but they are also the foundation that has built a dynamic, and diverse creative scene for local artists in Whittier.
Any artist neighboring in or near Whittier, California can build an audience and get feedback by attending an open-mic regularly. The best one to start off at is SHOUT! hosted by Eric Morago at Half Off Books. The beautiful thing about this venue is that this open-mic has no age discrimination. The local talent here ranges from third grade student to senior citizen. The performers that have performed at Half Off Books have been extraordinarily memorable in their own unique way.
SHOUT! happens every second Wednesday of the month and has been ongoing since 2011. Eric Morago has done a remarkably wonderful job hosting every month for the past four years. Half Off Books alongside Eric Morago have welcomed and supported many local poets, authors, musicians, comedians, story-tellers, and magicians. They are one of the many reasons why Uptown, Whittier is the ideal destination to visit. The key thing to understand is venues that provide a safe space for open-mics, as well as the hosts that run them are important, because they give rise to a healthy artistic community.
A healthy supportive community is crucial for an artist to evolve, which is necessary in order for them to succeed, because change is a big factor to growth. Change happens more easily when an artist feels they are in a safe supportive environment. This gives them the comfort to explore and experiment. An artist must show progress and the stages of improvement they have reached over time. To stay stagnant is not ideal and not an option. Every art form needs constant room for improvement. An artist must grow and keep growing. It’s an essential goal to reach and to always keep in mind. One must work hard over and over again. Practice helps one become the ideal image they feel best represents who they are. Artists change as they adapt and move through different stages of life. This is why in order for them to best represent themselves there is always constant work that needs to be put in. Being an artist isn’t easy and isn’t suited for everyone.
This is why attending open-mics allows an artist to get a good sense of who they want to become and who they are. It gives room for experimentation, for trail and errors, success, more errors, and success again. That is the cycle. It’s a beautiful one that can be very exhausting.
But there is one priceless reward that comes from performing after each and every open-mic. That is the moment that occurs when the artist realizes there is an audience out there meant for them. This happens when a stranger comes up to them and lets them know they connected emotionally to their work. That is a priceless moment.
Artists must understand there is an audience meant for them, let them find you, and look for them. Those who don’t follow and who don’t understand, let them go, keep on creating, and explore your horizons by attending a local open-mic near you.