I enjoy performing at open mic nights, perhaps even more so than when I used to set up actual shows. Though being in a proper band did include the fun of making fliers and crafting merchandise (usually finger puppets and gingerbread men each adorned with the band name), the featured-act quality of enterprise didn’t quite match my preferred approach. Mostly, I like to show up as just another person (albeit a notably dressed up person) and then proceed to give a thoroughly invested and present performance, the more unexpected the better.
Last night I sang a few songs, just one name on a list full of expressive variety. I like to improvise an acapella performance on the spot as I stand before the humanity gathered, with the idea that our mingled presence will provide the words and melodies, through the associative complexities of existence as the baseline wonderment that underlies creativity.
Though dance is my most natural endeavor (favoring dancing all out on a small dance floor to the karaoke styling of fellow Lansingites), I do enjoy how vocalization provides access to sound wave vibrations and so exerts a direct, physical influence upon those attending. So, along with the poetic immediacy of the words as they come, experimental flourishes of voice contribute an additional layer to the keenly experienced moment.
I suppose that’s what makes me more of a performance artist than a singer or a dancer. And let me say that I’ve been performing for decades, and have only recently lay aside the useless avoidance of claiming the moniker of artist. There’s no real need to be overly shy or reticent about one’s characterization.
If I press myself to articulate it as I am now, my aim is to conjure the unexpected, and surprise myself and those near with the sudden presence of the intensity we can assume is always already harbored internally. Manifesting what is marvelous, whatever form it takes, that is the purview of the artist. I am grateful to call energies forth, wherever and whenever.