Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Open Mics Abroad- Coffee Club R

It's Open Mic night in my area and I am reminded of how I love Open Mic abroad experiences. Over the past five years as hubby and I have traveled around the country or abroad we seem to find these venues. He gets four weeks vacation in his job, and we use it.

When we make the choice for a destination there is no rhyme or reason we just go where we both have always wanted to go. Before we get in the car or board a plane I usually look to see if there are Open Mics in which I can perform. I have had some luck finding good venues. However when we planned our Korea trip, I had no idea we would stumble into an Open Mic venue.

Do Koreans know what Open Mic is? The certainly have coffee shops. All over the place. Often three or four on each corner. It's crazy! But they love their coffee as much as Americans do on this continent.

We were walking the palaces of Geonju, Korea, and strolling the burial mounds of 1,000 year old emperors and became hungry. I noticed on the map we were right across the street from an area called 'Drunken Alley'. Streets lined with restaurants and bars. They also happened to have coffee houses. The first door we came upon and looking for a light meal, was Coffee Club R. The young man inside said he had sandwiches and light drinks, even cocktails if we wanted.

Jung Youn Kim (pictured above) as it turns out is the owner. He barely looks twenty something, but is actually mid-thirties. We began talking about Open Mics, as I spied the stage and music set-up off to the side. He graciously served us our food and drinks and picked up his guitar. Jung sat down next to us and began to play some folk tunes.

He told us that not too long ago the streets were lined with coffee houses hosting open mics. Fortunately he has held on to a prospering business and ideal of offering a place for people like me to perform. I had not brought any work with me on this trip, or I would have shared. But, I remembered my work was saved on this blog! So, I began reading from a few poems and the 'Crush' series. It was well received (the younger generation speaks English very well).

This experience reminds me no matter what our skin color, culture upbringing, or many other things that separate us...we are the same, we see art forms as a way of expressing our inner selves. There is so much more deepness to this, I can barely let the emotion come through on this post. It's beautiful. I love meeting others who share like this.

I also have been to a few Open Mics in the Pacific Northeast, Canada, Southwest, and many other areas we have traveled. Just Google 'Open Mics' and you might be surprised at what comes up. Maybe a little digging will take place. Ask Facebook friends, I did and they gave me so much other information for future travels.

Traveling abroad, or even a road trip on your continent? I suggest writers, poets or musicians take advantage of situations, be prepared, and bring material. Jung also provides instruments for singer/songwriter or musicians to use. He even built his own stage for the very quaint establishment.

Check out this live performance at Coffee Club R in Geongju, Korea 'Hey Soul Sister'

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