Dim lights, comfy, worn chairs and a makeshift stage in the basement of Stamp created a relaxed and open vibe for the performers of the University of Maryland Food Collective’s first open mic night of the semester.  

Natalie Filipov began the event with her sultry and raspy rendition of “You Turn Clear In the Sun” by Telekinesis, her passion for the music evident in the way she moved.  

Filipov set the mood and high expectations, leaving the stage with applause.

The co-op began hosting their bi-weekly open mic nights last night, Sept. 18.  Beginning at 8 p.m., the co-op transformed into a hip arts venue, staging singers, musicians, and poets.

Featured is Danae Rupp sophomore architecture major. (Julia Lerner/Bloc Reporter)
Featured is Danae Rupp sophomore architecture major. (Julia Lerner/Bloc Reporter)

This small, intimate venue encouraged the attendees to get to know everyone, easing the nerves of performers and allowing for an engaged audience.

“It seems very authentic and like it’s going to be personal,” said Elsa Moeller, a freshman psychology major, before the event began.

Katya Slepoy, co-op partner and host of the open mic nights, welcomed the crowd and encouraged audience members to perform.

“Every time I hear there’s an open mic night, I want to perform and I wouldn’t if there wasn’t an opportunity, said Slepoy, a sophomore computer science major.

“People just want that space because the entertainment industry is so commercialized it can be hard for people to express themselves and feel like they have a place to perform.”

Slepoy later performed an original stand up routine, met with laughter and jokes from later performers.

“The co-op’s atmosphere is second to none and there’s just really good energy around,” said Letters and Sciences freshman Dyani Frye.

“I wanted to see some new faces and I feel like this reached a lot of people,” said Allison Lynch, a senior political science major.

Lynch later performed two short poems describing her struggle with addiction and keeping positive men in her life.

Featured is Nelson Remitz, a junior. (Julia Lerner/Bloc Reporter)
Featured is Nelson Remitz, a junior. (Julia Lerner/Bloc Reporter)

“It runs through his veins, up his arm, through his nose. I know nothing. Just a bump I used to hear him say, I knew nothing,” Lynch began, captivating the crowd. Hanging on to every word, Lynch was met with support for her honesty and strength.

Nelson Remitz and Slepoy soon took the stage, performing a duet covering George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone.” Later, Remitz performance of The Rolling Stone’s “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” was met with an uproar of clapping and dancing from the audience.

“It was a lot of different kinds of performances, which was really cool. Everybody was encouraging and friendly. We all know each other in some way or another, which is really awesome,” said sophomore mechanical engineering major Micah Arnson-Serotta.

The crowd’s facilitation of friendship seemingly prompted a more unique venue inspiring a desire to come back to the co-op’s future open mic nights.

“Tonight was unlike any other on-campus experience. All the clubs are usually sponsored by the University of Maryland. It felt more like a local, homegrown event, very welcoming. It was a lot of cool people having a really cool time. A fun time,” said Jeremy Klein, a junior computer science major.

The co-op appears to perpetuate an open minded, inviting space for College Park artists to express themselves.

The free event stimulated the creative side of every person in the audience, prompting performers to get back on the makeshift stage.

The co-op will be hosting open mic nights, art shows and movie screenings every other Friday for the rest of the semester. Any and all artists are welcome to participate and all students are encouraged to come out and support the College Park art scene.   

Katie Ebel is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at katieebel@gmail.com.

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