When stepping into the warm, inviting street-level bar at the new Red Room Rendezvous I found myself wondering what would be in store for the evening. My expectations only reached so far as some entertainment, and a delicious cup of soup to go with it.
Leading your life expecting something to happen, blow you away, surprise, shock, or enamor you, always leads to some moments of feeling let down. So when you encounter a beautiful moment, that pulls on your heart and breaks it open, well, that’s something to cherish.
Stage Time and Wine has the feeling of an unexpectedly sweet surprise in an unassuming gift box. Open mics have been done time and time again, but not like this. As we all know, living in the digital age has its perks, but when is the last time you sat down in a room full of regular people and just listened to one. With all of your attention.
If you’re like the average Joe these days, it’s probably been a minute since you stared into someone’s soul as they bared it in front of 50 strangers in the form of a poem, song, story, or joke. When’s the last time you bared your soul? Have you ever?
For me it’s been few and far between occasions that I’ve spoken in front of a group. So I was caught like a deer in headlights when Jimbo (the host) looked around the room, locked eyes with me, and said: Whoever hasn’t gone up yet, now is your chance. Being a little Bambi that evening, I didn’t work up the courage to volunteer my soul for the stage and the onlookers. But many brave people did – including my mum!
We heard an eclectic mix of self-expressions, ranging from cover songs, originals, poetry, lots of comedy, stories, rap and beat-boxing. All of it was unique and imbued with the essence of the person putting themselves out there.
At Red Room they don’t ask for a goat sacrifice, or your “best” material, or anything really. Heck if you wanna just stand at the front and scream into the mic, there’s no judgment. All that’s required is 100% of your attention. Your ears and eyes, for once, unoccupied by the screen. We’re here to break the 4th wall.
The Culture of Listening and Stone Soup are the foundational elements of Stage Time and Wine at the Red Room. This culture of listening I’ve already mentioned, so let’s dive into the soup.
The Stone Soup is an old European folk tale. When a villager was trying to make soup, he only had a stone. His neighbors asked what he was doing, and when he explained, they showed up with a little food to add to his soup. When the whole village had contributed their bits and pieces to the pot, they made a delicious soup that fed everyone in the village.
The concept of sharing to create something fulfilling for all is the essence of Stage Time and Wine. Each person brings a little bit of themselves to the space and contributes what they can. The result is a tasty mix of different views, expressions, and emotions, that feeds the souls of everyone who comes.
This is only made possible with the mutual understanding of 100% attention and listening without judgment in place. Standing in front of a group of strangers and baring your soul is terrifying. No matter how many times you’ve spoken to the public, or cracked a joke with new friends, being vulnerable is hard. And that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Everyone wants to be loved, accepted, and feel accomplished; we all share similar fears and emotions, especially when we show our authentic selves.
Being able to push ourselves and take that little step over the edge of safety, into the depths of our self and others, might be exactly what we need in this day n’ age. Too often we hide behind the screen. Too often we hide behind fear.
And hide behind fear I did.
I didn’t prepare anything, I thought, I don’t have anything “good” to show them. The idea that expression has to be “the best” version before showing others is so deeply ingrained in my world view. We are constantly bombarded with refined, perfect versions of things, never allowing for mistakes.
In reality, humans are awkward, bumbling around, often without a clear idea of what we’re actually doing. But how often do you see that in media?
I’m tired of refining myself for others, and then judging myself after for not being perfect in everything. It’s exhausting living with the judgment in our own minds! So what if you just turned it off for an evening.
What if you just let things be exactly as they are, and tell it to the world. Inject some authenticity into your life. Take a chance. Express yourself with reckless abandon.
There’s time yet for me to bare my soul. And for you to bare yours, however you like.
See you on the third Saturday of every month, where we’ll be sharing soup, made with raw authenticity, a dash of courage, and slurped down without judgment.