Gymocha owners, staff to start open mic night

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Calling all creative people!

Gymocha owners Russel and Cynthia Pihlstrom and employee Taylor Weston are starting an open mic night at the coffee shop for musicians, poets and performers of all forms.

“We just want to give artists off all sorts an opportunity to display their gifts,” said Russel Pihlstrom.

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Currently, they’re looking for performers to participate at regular performances, though they haven’t decided how often they’ll be held.

The key, Pihlstrom said, is having the open mic night be a regular event, so people become familiar with it and come to expect it. That means Gymocha will need many interested artists to sustain the event once it gets going.

“We want to start it as soon as we can,” Pihlstrom said.

So far, about seven people have signed up, and Weston they’re looking for a wide range of skills. He’s already spoken with musicians, poets and even hoola-hoopers interested in performing.

“We’re really open,” Weston said. “Basically any performance art.”

Weston used to perform live in Seattle and ran a venue out of a house where people would perform from time to time. Along with attracting local talent, Weston said he’d like to open the shop up to touring bands, too.

“We’re just excited to get it going,” he said.

Weston said he expects to have scheduled longer performances for musicians mixed with open time slots for poets or musicians to perform for about five minutes.

Pihlstrom said he’s excited to kick off the performances, and he said he hopes it grows like their artist of the month event. While he was worried if they’d get enough artists willing to display their work in Gymocha, Pihlstrom said they now have artists booked a few months in advance.

When there’s been live music in the coffee shop, Pihlstrom said it’s certainly created a buzz. A group of musicians uses space to play for themselves in Gymocha often. Last week, one of them played in the shop to the people coming in.

“The energy in here was electric,” he said. “It just feels good in here when an artist is playing.”

As long as the event can be consistent, Pihlstrom said they’d have many possibilities in the shop’s space and patio.

“There’s tons of opportunities,” he said.

With the Riverland Community College right across the street, Pihlstrom said it makes perfect sense to have a younger, hipper feeling.

Pihlstrom said he’d like to get it going in the next few weeks. Gymocha has a sign-up sheet near the cash register.