Strange Brewhouse Gallery
"...I come for the freak show. I've had friendz try and pull me into the cave to play giant Jenga or Frogger. They've put the quarters down and offered me a beer. But, I can't miss a minute. 'Cause you never know when the freak will take the stage. I love stage freakz.
Now don't get me wrong, the open mic at the Brewhouse Gallery has some solid talent. I genuinely enjoy most of the acts. It's why this became my Thursday night hideaway a couple years ago right after they opened. Back then, there was no host, no audience, and maybe two performers. They literally just left the mic up there -- open to anyone who stepped behind it.
It's been interesting watching the place grow. Now there's a full house and a long list of performers. They re-opened the old downtown theater next store and have all kinds of events in there as well. After a few beerz, I enjoy kicking it on the BHG couch and imagining the dark theater next door raging with some Motorhead cover band with a crazy headbanging audience. Or, sometimes it's a pro wrestling match. All the while, I'm kicking it at the BHG waiting for the freak. I can have stressful weeks, sometimes 12-hour days, and open mic is my first glimpse of the weekend. My girlfriend lets me have the night to myself. She can catch up on homework, and she says I need it.
Anyway, the open stage format means there's always some under-prepared, slightly to severely dysfunctional, and often extremely socially awkward "artist" who decides that this is the Thursday they're going to break out the deck of a cards and reinvent their eighth grade talent show routine for a modern audience. After all, that's what retirement is about, right? Getting back to the fun stuff!
Or, some kid will wake up on a Thursday morning and decides it's the day to finally launch his career as a comedian. He'll tell the story of that time he bought weed. He'll rehearse it in front of his stoner friendz outside the cafeteria before fifth period. They'll think it's great, and he'll be convinced it's up there with the greatest of Adam Sandler's early stand-up work. It won't be. Not in the least lol.
Or, the self-proclaimed fortune teller of Whoopi Goldberg will stop off on his tour of southeastern Florida bingo parlors and Renaissance festivals. He'll really be into himself, and I'll see him rubbing the underlying piece of paper he has the audience members write numbers on. He'll "read" the indents the pencil makes so it seems like he lifted it off their minds. He'll wear a Hot Topics shirt.
I've had friendz get worked up and even angry at the performers who bomb horribly. But, for me, it's a treasured moment. It's the great beerz, yes, but I genuinely enjoyed the comedian kid's energy. And, if that magician who calls himself "Big Pappy" needs someone to pull a card, I'm going to be there for him. I'll even pretend to have written the number 8 on my paper when the fancy carnival worker goes for his big moment. I purposely wrote my number and then crossed it out a few times just to fuck with him though. Forgive me :)
I read an essay in a college film class that analyzed Stanley Kubrick's films. It talked about how the grotesque arts de-familiarize the everyday world and thereby controls or exorcises the absurdities and terrors of life. The grotesque uniquely creates a difficult and awkward tension between laughter and some dark emotion like disgust or fear.
Let this also serve as a definition of my Thursday nightz :)) That minute and a half when a magician can't find the card, the musician can't remember the chorus, or the comedian can't get a laugh to save his live, it's as startling as any of Kubrick's greatest filmic work.
It's what makes the Brewhouse Gallery strange that makes me such a fan..."