A Travellerspoint blog

Our First : Open Mic Night

August 15 2012 : Chelsee's House


We are all together now. Zac, Gabby, and yours truly. Safely landed in San Francisco, and I regret not making this blog any kind of daily priority. The handwritten version is due to come out in zero minus five years. Don't hold your breath.

The three of us spent the night at Chelsee's yesterday. Chelsee is the best friend of my closest mate in Hawai'i (Thomas Rugg). I met her two years prior during Thanksgiving break when I came to San Fransisco with Thomas and instantly fell in love with his choice of female feathers. Chelsee had been in Berkley all day and she finally got home around 9:00 PM. The three of us didn't get there until after 11 PM due to finding the world's most fantastic laundry mat! It's called "BrainWash on Folsom" and has a cafe, bar, and open mic every Tuesday night. The place was painted with bright colors, dimly lit with street art scattered on the metal accents which covered the place. The sound of the washers and dryers was miniscule under the jazz music that played on the load speaker. And though very alive, and set right on Mission, Brainwash was surprisingly comfortable. Graffiti tags covered the bathroom walls, and I read them while while I peed, hoping to see the signature of someone I recognize. No such luck. I recovered.

The first person we met there was a kid named Eric Keith. He was handsome in that clean-cut kind of way. Like someone raised in mud who had a shower and vowed never to go back. He knew his way around a conversation, a man of words, and suited to be since his passion is rapping and poetry. I have to say, based on his overconfidence and my experience with people who say they are rap poets, I wasn't expecting much from him.

He kind of blew me away. He blew all of us away. With him, he carried a bright leather notebook. It was very small, red, and thin enough to fit in the pocket of most of his pants. In it was a list, rhymes numbered one to one-hundred. Just the first couple of words in each was written down. He played a beat and asked the audience to shout out a number. When they would, he'd refer to the notebook and then start slamming words, a mile a minute, on rhythm, with passion, some humor, and mostly… just with him. You could see these were pieces of his life story. He expression changed as he recalled each one. Love. Heartbreak. Rebellion. Awkwardness. Grief. For under a minute we would all relive these parts of his past with him. It's interesting to see what someone deems worthy enough to write down. I share a piece of my heart with people who are dedicated to words, to recording them, and to rereading their past a second time.

Eric was the one who asked us to stay for the open mic first, and since we were only two hours out and one hour deep in laundry, we gladly agreed. There was a homeless man who stood next to our table for 5 minutes before stumbling around and reaching into his pocket for his first words. He pulled out a white iPod, and told us he had just bought it. Whether he stole it, found it, or bought it wasn't important. Now, it was his, and that's all that really matters when it comes to those things. He extended his arm toward Zac and started asking him if he would help put some music on it. All that was preloaded was foreign, and he couldn't understand any of it. The three of us aren't nervous around people like this most of the time, but over the last couple of days, Lady Luck hadn't been on our side. Still, we were in a place of welcome. Unfortunately I only had about 30 different songs on my entire computer, but he rest were in that Verbatim Hardrive that I can never seem to find time to upload anything from. [ side note : I wonder if I brought it with me ] I asked Gabby if she new how to upload my music onto the iPod. She nodded, and I told him it would be ready in 15 minutes. While we waited he engaged in a half-jacked conversation with both of us about what he had finally bought for his traveling entertainment center. He knows more about HP and android products than me. I am officially out of touch.

The songs took only 5 minutes to load, and he gave us the rest of his cigarettes and a bag of weed to thank us. By now, the open mic was only a few minutes away so we moved and turned our chairs in anticipation. I went outside to grab Wendy, my guitar. The performers were great. Each one was so different, and all very timid in their own way. That seemed to be a reoccurring theme of the evening, which gave it a kind of softness I was pleased to witness. At 8:00 Gabrielle and I stood up to perform our FIRST EVER open mic. We sung "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men. Zac recorded the whole thing, a decision we would all regret later on. It was fun, to say the least. A little bit of adrenaline, but... it was still just a laundry mat. Nothing to be nervous over. Right before our set was a guitarist named Dave. Dave stood 6'5" and had light brown hair grown out into a 14" afro on his head. He was somewhere in his early thirties, and over enthusiastic about meeting Gabby. During the open mic I finally got a chance to work on my photo project. I asked people to write something down that no one would guess about them by looking at just a picture. Brainwash gave me some excellent responses, and as soon as I am able I will upload those pictures onto this site.

After the show was done, Dave swindled his way into our van. By now, he had bought two rounds of beers and succeeded in locking lips with Gabby. I wouldn't let that man within ten feet of my mouth, but she and I have always had conflicting taste in the opposite sex. Besides, it was nice that one of us gets to utilize traveling and being single during this trip. It's good humor for the other two anyhow. We brought Dave with us to Chelsee's house on Andover Street. We made fettuccine and falafel while jamming far too loudly in her living room. She seemed to be enjoying the company though. The only strange thing, was the shit coming out of Dave's mouth. I use the S-word intentionally.

"Your friend and I are in love," he said to me, referring to Gabby. She immediately looked at him and calmly shook her head, "You're wrong."
"She's a belly dancer," he said to Chelsee. Gabby snuffed and said, "No, I spin fire."
"Do you know why Garlic is only chemical good for relationships..." This one confused me. First of all, garlic is not a chemical substance. Secondly, I sincerely doubt this guy is going to spit up an explanation of how it is related to pheromones.
"...because if both people are eating garlic, it doesn't matter that you smell."
What the fuck? In retrospect, I should have given this more thought at the time, but I was convinced he was fucking with us. These types of conversations continued with Dave all night long between covers of video game themes and tom petty riffs.

When 1 AM circled around, Gabby was giving me the "let's get the fro out the door" look. I asked Dave if he preferred any cab company over another. He said no and continued playing guitar at a volume unsuited for the hour. Granted, once he stopped talking and started playing, he transformed from a nomadic creep into a musical genius. I've met someone else this year who is just as gifted, and even more socially inept. I'm beginning to see a pattern in how many gifts we are truly given. Like there is careful ratio between talent and social graces. The cab arrived and suddenly, the ring I took off my finger to cook falafel was missing. It had a giant saphire in it and I wasn't about to let him go home until I found it. An embarrassing minute later, Chelsee found it in the kitchen, and we saw Dave off in the lime green cab, which we chose due to low-emissions.

Hands down, best laundry day I have ever had.

Posted by Further 16:56 Archived in USA Tagged san francisco day laundry brainwash

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