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Open Mic opens hearts and minds

There is one more OpenMic planned for April. (Photo By Corey Turner)
There is one more OpenMic planned for April. (Photo By Corey Turner)

Laughter and appreciation filled the Mills Hall living room as students and community members read their work at the Open Mic.

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, the Place for Writers hosted the first Open Mic of the semester, kicking off a series of workshops and events for the semester, like the Works in Progress and Critical Works in Progress series.

Led by the exuberant and current Open Mic manager, Mimi Gonzalez, the night took off.

“My favorite part of the job is supporting Mills students’ expression, creating and holding space for Mills students to be seen and heard, starting with seeing and hearing themselves,” Gonzalez said. “I hope students will feel a sense of validation as creators, and every step they take acknowledges that is the step in the right direction.”

The pieces ranged from humorous to uncomfortable (or both at the same time), from intense to light hearted, from lyrical to colloquial. The topics ranged just as much, talking about large breasts, love of family, murder and more. There were many pauses for goofy introductions, the relaxed atmosphere encouraging two more people to spontaneously sign up and share their words. Sometimes silence would reign as the audience leaned in, listening.

“Open Mics offer students a platform, aside from being so institutionalized,” Tyrice Deane, previous Open Mic manager said. “[There is an] all-inclusive energy, where all genres are included.”

Student and participant Rachel Houser picked up on that energy. Houser has performed in other Open Mics and finds that this stands out at Mills.

“There’s a very warm and welcoming environment,” Houser said. “It’s nice to get a chance to get feedback from other writers and hear what other writers in the Mills community are doing.”

The Place for Writers has one more Open Mic planned for early April, and hosts what Gonzalez calls a “literary thrill” Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. in the Mills Hall living room, which are open to the public.