Thursday, March 3, 2016
Your reception at the Riverview Cafe
We were at the Open Mike Night at the Riverview Cafe again last night, and I finally figured out the key to the audience response. I think it took the first really bad performance to put everything in perspective for me. From there it fell into place. A young man took the stage and announced that he was going to perform some spoken word poetry, but first he would tell us a little about himself. Then he told us some not particularly interesting or illuminating things. Then he performed his spoken word poetry, which was in the nature of bad rapping without music.
The audience was completely silent and respectful. Well, except for my wife and I, who, cleverly, stood in the back with the drinks we just bought and talked amongst ourselves. But here's the thing: the Riverview audience is never silent and respectful. Even the best performers work through a cloud of chatter and noise.
And so here is your key, should you ever decide to perform at The Open Mike Night at the Riverview Cafe and want to know what people thought of you:
No matter what it will be noisy and people will talk during your performance. Don't let that get you down. But the more that people like you or are impressed by you the quieter it will get. However, if it gets fully quiet and respectfully attentive, it means everyone hates you.
My wife and I, sitting at the front table are exceptions and are harder to read. If either or both of us go to the bathroom we're probably not wild about you, and if we step to the back of the cafe together you're in real trouble.
Outside of that it's going to be difficult to tell, especially since we are, in all other cases, quiet and respectfully attentive. So if you wanted to know you'd have to ask us. And most likely we'd tell you.