Korouva Milk Bar: Ode Open Mic
The energy at Korouva Milk Bar is both relaxed and bursting with creative energy. It is a small space crowded filled with student artwork and opinion pieces, run by a team of open-hearted and accepting volunteers, and filled with a myriad of backstories united by art. Walking into this space for the first time at the open mic on Thursday September 19, naturally, I was an hour early to the open mic to scope out the area and get a good seat. Students gradually trickled as the time grew near and eventually the entire room standing room only.
The Milk Bar offers a wide variety of drinks, and are very conscious of allergens; I was able to indulge in my first dairy free milkshake since becoming lactose intolerant. Clever names provide for some entertainment as the volunteers call out completed orders.
The open mic began with an introduction of dare I say “cheesy” internet jokes, read by Hazel, the host for the evening. Hazel continued this trend for the entirety of the night, providing intermission between performers. Many types of talent were represented: poets, musicians, and comedians alike. It was such an open environment everyone was greeted warmly and received warm applause at the end of their performance.
As a performer, I was wrought with anxiety. This was my first open mic, and I am usually quite against speaking in front of groups of people but I read my first poem and was met with such positivity I ended up signing up to read another poem in honour of the next day’s climate strike. I feel I connected emotionally with all of the other performers, as they would walk onto the stage and bare their souls, whether that be through comedy or music or poetry. There were both lighthearted performances and profoundly emotional performances and all who performed were allowed a safe space to express a part of themselves.
And a safe space it was: the evening was highlighted by several references to trans rights, including a visit from Hatsune Miku, a satirical comedy bit, discussing an extremely wholesome coming-out story through reading their poetry. Several seniors garnished their last first open mics with performances from their first. One performer brought in their harp as a date and commented on the innate beauty of everyone in the room. Others exposed past trauma and how it has shaped them to be who they are today. The lights were low and the room crowded, but the warmth and love from everyone present lit up the whole building.
Art is such a powerful way to connect with other people. One can effectively bare their soul to an audience to be taken as it will – and in the Korouva Milk Bar it was taken with love and acceptance.
To anyone looking (or not looking) to go to an open mic, I would highly suggest coming to this one. This loving space could always use more stories.