The Open Mic Night at Korouva

Written by Hannah Yterdal.

Most of Southwestern wouldn’t believe it necessary for Korouva and its frequenters to prove even more definitively their status as the liberal indie presence on campus. The students announced its opening by banging on drums, because after all it is kind of hard to miss the hippie vibe.

The Open Mic Night at Korouva last Thursday, however, really proved that Korouva is indie. Just the concept of “Open Mic” screams poetry to bongos and snapping fingers as applause.

As it turns out, people actually clapped their hands and applauded in the common manner. More people played the guitar than the bongos, and the highlights were the singers rather than the poets.

Most of the lights were turned down, so that the few left shining brightly pointed at the tiny stage at the front of the room. A microphone and stool were positioned under a My Little Pony hanging from the ceiling. Fortunately, most of the performers were talented or interesting enough to distract the audience from the pink toy dangling above the stage. Several folding chairs were set up in the middle of the room, but most people crammed themselves together in the more cushy seats around the edges.

In true Korouva fashion, most spectators—and, indeed, performers—didn’t arrive until after 10 p.m., quite a while after the Open Mic Night was advertised to start. Most people there were obviously Korouva regulars. They grouped together quickly, encouraging performers and trying to get each other to get up on the stage to do their own set. People who migrated outside would at some point drift back in to watch their friends as they took a turn at the mic.

One of the most talented performers was a singer and guitar player wearing black-rimmed glasses who was just tall enough that when he wasn’t singing, my eye was drawn up to that My Little Pony suspended from the ceiling. When he struck up a chord and began singing, however, the toy was all but forgotten. The songs were covers of angst-type songs about heartbreak and identity crises, which fit well with that indie atmosphere. Between songs, his friends in the audience would shout out requests. Once, he was handed a pair of beer goggles (goggles with small, clear beer mugs as the eyepieces) to replace his glasses. The sight was very memorable, but after fumbling a bit on his guitar, he passed on wearing the beer goggles and took back his black-rimmed glasses—the better to see with, I suppose.

People who came to be entertained in a different way than by undeniable musical talent were not disappointed either. If you wanted more humor than skill, one of the highlights had to have been a poem of questionable writing ability but a very good talent for comedy: The Honda Accord poem. In this poem, which was by far my favorite, a former Honda Accord owner indulges in some nostalgia about her Accord, the perfect car, while lamenting that it didn’t quite as far as she had hoped.

“I thought we would make it to 200,000 miles,” she said, struggling not to giggle. Her list of regrets was accompanied by the solemn notes of what I think, as a music dummy, was a French horn. Oh, Honda Accord.

The whole event was, for the most part, entertaining. Korouva’s cozy atmosphere lent itself well to Open Mic Night.

And, if nothing else, I will have the wonderful memories of beer goggles and Honda Accords for a while.

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