Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review : The EP Pressure Cooker

So, there is a theater group in Akron, Wandering Aesthetics, run by a couple acquaintances of mine. Each month, or maybe every two weeks, they host an open mic called The EP Pressure Cooker. It's a fully inclusive event that doesn't exclude any person who wants to perform. It can definitely run long! Overall, the content is really, really good. There are dancers and comedians and authors reading excerpts from their books, and playwrights working out monologues, and singers, and even bands. Honestly, the content just really showcases some of the awesome artists in Akron.

However, there are some problems with the open mic. Firstly, the length. While I appreciate that the creators want to be inclusive, the open mic will start at 9p and run until 2a, easily. It's just too long to be really enjoyable. Secondly, the size of the space versus the acts. When it's comedians and dancers and authors, it's fine. But once they open the mic up to bands, who plug in, it just ends up being really, really loud. Like, unnecessarily loud and uncomfortably loud considering you're in a small section of a basement of a flower shop. And finally, the audience.

The audience is precisely the reason for this review, the reason I will never attend another EP Pressure Cooker, and the reason why I won't ever recommend it to friends. The audience appears to be made up of mostly 20 somethings who are friends with each other. There is beer and wine available and this audience likes to drink. The audience comes and goes often, making the seated audience an ever-moving spectacle. The audience talks loudly throughout the night, getting more and more rowdy. I was asked to photograph and video one of the open mics, and the audience spilled a beer on me, constantly ran into me, even knocking me and my camera when I was recording an act. The audience is absolutely immature. They have no respect for anyone performing who is not their friend and they have no respect for anyone else in the audience. They act like the only people who matter are themselves and they make it impossible to enjoy the open mic, going so far as to talk over some acts.

It's sad, really. Because this open mic is a really cool place to catch free art in action. It's fun to watch as some of the artists change and grow, and it's exciting to see all this art happening in a basement in Akron. But because of the audience, I have to advise you to stay away. They'll ruin your time for sure.

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