On the last Monday of each month, Studio 620 in downtown St. Petersburg hosts amateur performers in a program called AMP “Open Mic Night.” That means art, music, and poetry. I attended the event last night. I arrived early to observe the place before the show started and I was impressed that such a tiny space could be transformed into an elegant looking theatre.
The smiling blonde greeter asked me if I wanted to sign up on the performer’s sheet. I laughed but then while I was examining in the room with my senses, I thought, Hmmm, what could I do up there on that stage sometime. An Awakening?
The room was darkened to intimate tones with track lighting. The reception area opened into the main room through a drawn back curtain. Refreshments offered for a tiny price were displayed on raised platforms that were surely just crates covered with white table cloths. It created elegance. They did a lot with a little. I passed on the wine choices and paid $1 for a Pepsi, which the attendant produced from a cooler. Then, of course, I chose a well- frosted brownie.
Black circular chairs meant to hug your bottom were laid out in an arc around a platform stage. Closer still were small round tables with rickety looking wooden chairs. Each was decorated by a ceramic pumpkin candle-holder. The walls were painted a peculiar shade of red; there was a hint of an orange tone. Behind the square platform raised to waist height by easels were three paintings. The artist later discussed them.
The gallery room to the rear of the building was protected by large sliding wooden doors leaving the impression that I was in a castle. They were open just wide enough for a person to pass through to the restroom. I followed that invitation and was startled when I opened the door to the ladies room. It was dark except for candles lit all around. It was spooky in such a tiny space. I wanted light for my business, and when I turned it on, I noticed the rest. The room wasn’t that small after all, there were art posters displayed evenly on the walls, and slim glass vases hugged stems of green sprigs with natural baby purple blooms. Even the restroom had elegance. I loved the place.
An eighteen year-old named Ari set the tone as people found seats. He played soft piano music from the instrument set up against the wall. Many groups of girls, a few couples, and some singles like me filled the audience. I thought it was humorous that some of the men were blatantly opportunistic in trying to meet woman.
The host for the night was Brian. He wore a Dick Tracy style hat that hid his eyes. He took the stage between performers to introduce them, inform us about things coming up at Studio 620, and to make jokes. The ephemeral acts of the performing hopeful occupied my senses for the next two hours. Pianists, guitarists, poetry speakers, singers, and canvas artists expressed their deepest emotions through their chosen style of art.
All of the featured performers had a message in their work. The best part about art is that it can be expressed by each person individually. The way these people dealt with important issues were to get them down on paper and then have the courage to share it with others.
They spoke from their hearts about issues which included the American Indian plight, vanity, callousness, failures, relationships loved and lost, poverty, addiction, politics, spirituality, hope, and vision. People of all types have to find a way to inner peace, these people are doing it through using art, music, and poetry to release their emotions and stir other people to ponderance through their performances.
The cost for the enlightening two hour event is only $5. The atmosphere is casual; the staff works hard to dress up the small city space. If you visit St. Petersburg, you will want to attend AMP “Open Mic Night” on the last Monday of each month. You are welcome to perform and show off your art, music, or poetry.
Studio 620 features exhibits and events throughout the month. Visit the colorful website at studio620.org to find out what is offered while you will be in the city. AMP “Open Mic Night” is special because any one that wants to express themself simply has to sign in and prepare to share. It is a great girl’s night out, date for a couple, or distraction for the single traveler.
620 First Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701