What up y'all. It's your colleague Kai Huang back in the building with another update on our most recent East Meets Words open mic, which took place this past Friday here at 934. I just got back from double weekend shifts at the hospital, so now I've got Monday off to kick back and reflect and give y'all the science.
So this open mic was pretty dope. People brought it on all fronts, but what I really want to talk about is our feature performance from the girl Stine, who is a stand up comedian, comic artist, and ukulele player. Damn, her set was beautiful.
Well, actually, Stine got held up somewhere and couldn't make it to the bookstore that night, so her whole set was performed by her receptionist Gregor Spamsa, who incidentally bears a striking resemblance to Stine herself. Shouts to Kafka for you lit heads out there. Spamsa held it down strong, but he kept remarking that Stine was really hard on him and that he hated working for her. Ugh, it was a poignant commentary on self-doubt and it reminded me a lot of that classic Chris Rock bit when he talks about, "When you meet someone for the first time, you're not meeting them... you're meeting their representative."
Damn. I guess we all got insecurities, fam. It can be tough being yourself out here. And that's a lot of what this feature was about. Stine's work examined her own anxiety and in the process, she held a two-way mirror up to help us examine ours. Which is wild, because most people go out on Friday nights to escape things, but here we were being forced to confront things - big, scary things about the people we were and the people we are. I mean, her work brought so much vulnerability to the table. It was super disarming for me as an audience member. At one point, she played a song called "Everyday in Every Way, I'm Getting Better," which is my new turn up song. She was all like:
I used to get panic attacks I used to get panic attacks everyday I still get panic attacks But only once in a while Everyday, in every way, I'm getting better and better and better and better and better and better and better
It fucked with me, y'all. The shit was simple and tender, like a paper cut.
...BUT I MEAN, THE WHOLE SET WAS LIKE THAT THOUGH!! Look, it's cliche, but everyone knows that the best comedy is usually laced with some pretty significant tragedy. A big part of what makes art beautiful is that we can peer inside ourselves and learn to do battle with our boggarts by laughing at them. And sometimes, maybe by crying with them. And other times, maybe by giving them a much-needed hug.
Fuck, I don't know what I'm trying to say, man. But hopefully y'all do. Shit is real. Art continues. Life continues. I'll see y'all next month for another round. Till then, fam, this has been Kai Huang AKA Mr. It's Yer AKA the boy in the black v-neck AKA the Allen Iverson of EMW AKA emotions on emotions. Peace. Please remember to feel things.
Bonus: Fellow stand up comedian Josh Do hanging out with a life-sized stuffed bear at Stine's exhibit, signifying how comfort objects designed to help you bear (lol) your anxiety can actually magnify that shit in their own way. Haha look at my man posted up with that look of ennui on his face. Vicious.