The Mad Hatter Poets Society invites writers to their open mic event, which takes place every second Friday at Bookmamas (9 Johnson Avenue), a great store in Irvington across from Lazy Daze Coffeehouse. The reading was in the Underground 9, the basement studio where local band The Dancin’ Nancys practices. The room carries a travel theme: a line painted on the floor advises subway passengers to stand back while on the platform (mind the gap!); a large railroad crossing sign hangs behind the custom-built stage; the brick walls are a fiery red and feature the words IRVINGTON STATION. It’s the kind of atmosphere where a person can almost hear the rock and rhythm of a train moving down the tracks.
The evening was lightly attended but the intimacy only added to the ambience. Hosts Jan Flexon and Carol Cody, both members of the Nancys, played — ironically — Nancy Wilson on vinyl to get the evening started. Attendees shared poetry and prose and those who hadn’t brought any work vowed to return with poems in hand in August. Cody and Flexon drummed on djembes, seemingly trying to outdo each other. The performances were impromptu and art in both written and visual form was discussed between folks stepping up to the microphone. It felt a lot like an informal creative brainstorm in the basement of a friend’s house, down to the casual display of mismatched furniture and the book-lined room.
The series welcomes musicians to the open mic on Friday, July 23. Visit www.theunderground9studio.com for more information.