Virtual first Thursday open mic still hosts a connected atmosphere


Source: De Anza Events Page

The De Anza College community celebrated raw songs, poems and spoken word at an intimate “First Thursday Open Mic” hosted by the Euphrat Museum and McTate Stroman II.

De Anza alumna and singer-songwriter Lailani Africa performed first. She sang “Good Grief” and “Water Yourself,” two songs budding with self-love and self-reflection.

“These two songs that I’m going to be performing for you tonight have been such a reflection piece of the last past year,” Africa said. “And trying to process the grief that I was going through.”

John Dorrance, 63, who takes art classes to stay active during the pandemic, read his poem “Disturbed Ground,” which recounts his experience of the pandemic.

“We’re in a world war, even if you don’t hear bombs and machine gun fire,” Dorrance said. “We’re in a war and I just hope more people soldier up and get the (COVID-19) shot.”

His somber words about his father’s death reached each audience member, as consoling nods waved across the screen.

Former De Anza counselor Will Madden read a poem, exploring grief and rage over anti-Blackness.

Madden, a long time poet and performer, said he uses poetry to process difficult emotions.

“I’ll write things down and I’ll put it into poetry,” Madden said. “It might be something that is impacting me in the moment and I need to say something about it.”

He added that his writing also processes difficult local and global events, leading his pieces into social justice issues.

“The pen can be a tool,” Madden said. “It can be a weapon. It can be an instrument.”

Stroman and the Euphrat Museum maintained a sense of community despite the virtual format. You should bring an open mind and a pack of tissues to the next “First Thursday Open Mic” on June 3.