Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Salon Feel of the Arte Café Open Mic in Paris

December 8, 2012

The evening was so incredible last night at the open mic of the Arte Café that I had barely the time to make any videos, and I have come up with only two for the blog – and they were not very representative of the whole, although they are cool in their way. This relatively new open mic in Paris on Fridays has turned into something that feels much bigger than an open mic. It felt very often last night like a good “old fashioned” – though not old in the calcified sense – artistic salon of the 1920s and 30s… not that I ever attended one of those.

The Arte Cafe is run by two wonderful young women who have mountains of taste and talent. The walls have art, there is a bookshelf with books, a literary magazine or two, and the room itself is like someone’s kitchen in size. But the feel as the place filled up last night was more like a literary salon in someone’s living room. And the accent was on young and dynamic.

It got so full of people that the usual cramped quarters for 15 people seemed like it was housing 75 people – although it wasn’t. I arrived fairly late, in fact, and was immediately hauled on “stage” to play a musical background to the risqué poetry recitation of Lisa Marie, who has occasionally spoken at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance. Perhaps Lisa Marie preferred to have me safely up there with her on stage playing my guitar rather than videoing her recitations of her risqué poems as I have done in the past. Who knows?!

But from there, since I was already next to the microphone, I was asked to play some songs myself. I had no idea where to start after Lisa Marie’s success and tone. But she herself suggested I do “Cat’s in the Cradle.” I find it hard to refuse a request I am capable of doing, so I did it, and people actually sang along. So that was great. Then I did “Mrs Robinson,” which was not as much of a hit as the night before at the Highlander – maybe I did not “hit” it myself – and then I did my own song, Borderline, which did go down very well.

There were several other musicians and singers and another spoken word person, but the feel last night was more toward social occasion than complete and pure open mic. I loved it.

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