Got a five-minute short story, poem, song or comedy act you’d love to try on an audience? Bring it!
This Saturday, Feb. 8, a creative group of entertainers , authors and artists will debut Bring It! Hawaii – a new monthly uncensored open mic night for original performance pieces starting at 10 p.m. at The Red Water Cafe.
The rules for performances are simple: original material only; five-minute maximum time allowance; no breaking the law and quiet during performances.
The team of Bring It! Hawaii innovators includes Roslin “Ros” Sinclair Nelson, Stephanie Tatum-Ford, Ma’ata Tukuafu, Heidi Shepard, Richard Adoradio, Andy Kunelis, and Scott Nelson.
Though there are other open mic nights for music and comedy in the area, opportunities are few to try out other artistic works in a live audience, performance setting.
“You can tell, it was the right time (for this),” said Tatum-Ford.
The idea came when Sinclair Nelson went to visit her sister in St. Luis Obispo. A comedian, her sister and her sister’s songwriter boyfriend brought the Waimea resident to the San Luis Obispo Little Theatre to watch their No Shame Theatre performance.
“I thought it was a great idea because it was all original material of any type of performing arts – they got a five minute slot and I really enjoyed it, (the short format)” she said. “It is late night, so it was uncensored. I thought that was great.”
The next time her sister was in Waimea, she performed her comedy for Sinclair Nelson’s women’s group. The night was so successful that the group started planning their own No Shame Theatre that the whole town could enjoy.
“We have just a great group of friends with basic talent and we don’t have a place to showcase this,” said Tukuafu. “That is why we were so attracted to it. The whole idea came because there is just a lot of talent in this town.”
Meanwhile, they brought the No Shame Theatre idea to Shepard, one of the proprietors of The Redwater Café. She loved the idea and offered them the space.
“I thought it would be a very nice venue,” Sinclair Nelson said of Red Water Café. “It is very central, plus they have a late night crowd, and it would have to be late night because it is uncensored material.”
They learned that “No Shame” was a franchise, so they wrote several emails and a letter and got no response. With the event already booked and plans completed, they decided to proceed and just change the name and add their own flare.
“There is a book I like called ‘War of Art’ and the last line is, ‘Give us what you’ve got,’ which I really liked,’” said Sinclair Nelson. “I thought, ‘That is what we are asking the community to do. Whatever it is, give us what you’ve got.’”
From the longer title, her sister shortened it and came up with Bring it! Hawaii as the event name.
The final step was designing their logo – two “cheeky” tikis – born from an actual five-inch wooden tiki with bug eyes and an under bite that Tukuafu has kept with her for the last seven years.
“I keep him around to make me laugh,” said Tukuafu. “ … I think it brings it (the event) to Hawaii and captures the whole feel of it.”
Adoradio, who started an open mic event in Saratoga, has a history of experience starting an open mic event. He said he keeps his guitar at the corner of the stage for people who’d like accompaniment. He said he enjoys improvisation most. He said he believes, with the high degree of talented artists in North Hawaii, he feels it’s the perfect area to Bring It! Hawaii.
“What we are doing is taking this group of people that are already super expressive, open and free, and bring it into an open space,” he said.
Since they are a solid group of performers in everything from theater, poetry, music and comedy, the evening promises to offer a fun night of entertainment, no matter who else shows up to perform. There are only 15 slots per night, so performers are encouraged to arrive at Bring It! Hawaii early to sign up.
According to Sinclair Nelson, they encourage people who are just starting out to come.
“It is good place to try out new material,” she said. “We want to make it as positive and supportive as possible.”
“You can only bring the same piece once,” Sinclair Nelson said. “Since you have to bring in something new, it encourages you to write.”
Participants must be 21 or older to perform or attend Bring It! Hawaii. All genres welcome – music, storytelling, stand up, poetry, rap, comedy sketches and anything else that can fit into a small performance place. Sign ups begin at 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit their Facebook page, or call 885-9299.