Adam Peters was eating dinner at West Express Eatery, when the next thing he knew he was on stage next door performing his poetry.
“It’s the first time I’ve went to an event and presented a piece,” Peters said. “I was kind of nervous at first, but when I started reading the people here are super chill and open, so there wasn’t too much pressure. It was pretty fun.”
Peters, a freshman music education major, performed two original pieces, “Dying Rose” and “Possession and Regression.” He received some snaps and enjoyed the coffee shop vibe of the Naked But Real Open Mic.
Naked But Real Open Mic event occured on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Baker Building. The event lasted three and a half hours with performances ranging from poetry to comedy to music by students and alumni.
“I like it [Naked But Real],” Peters said. “The people here are super acceptive and open to listening to different things. It’s not just poetry; there’s different kinds of things like music, poetry, and different kinds of stuff and it’s really nifty.”
Yoni Cardoso, junior sociology major and president of Phi Epsilon Nu, who encouraged Peters to go, performed first at the event.
“I think it [my performance] went pretty well,” Cardoso said. “I’ve performed this piece a while back, not at Naked But Real, but at another event. I’ve improved it a lot, and I think it sounded a lot better this time.”
Cardoso wasn’t that nervous going first since she’d performed before, but it was her first time organizing the event as the sole president of Writer’s Pen.
“It [the organization of the event] went really smooth,” Cardoso said. “Smoother than I expected and I think that is because of the help of Akeel [Johnson, senior mass communication major] and Nikita [Dhoubhadel, junior management major]. With Naked But Real we didn’t really feel the pressure of organizing it, because we’re doing something good that is allowing people to have creative expression.”
Cardoso loves the event because it allows students to share something “personal, raw, and cathartic”, but one new addition this year was the introduction of a theme.
Dhoubhadel came up with the idea of mental health as the theme.
“This [mental health] is a topic that needs to be heard about and talked about, and the audience can really benefit from it,” Cardoso said. “I totally agreed with her [Dhoubhadel], so I was like ‘you know what let’s do it.’ Of course, it’s still open mike, but the underlying theme is mental health, so anybody can perform any piece it doesn’t have to be about mental health. It was just what we’re talking about.”
Kime Sims, the former president of Writer’s Pen, was invited to the event and loved seeing all the changes under Cardoso’s new leadership.
“I think it’s really cool [coming back],” Sims, English major alumna, said. “Last year in Pen I think we only had maybe seven to ten people, but I got to go to a meeting last week and they had about twenty, twenty-five people, so it’s almost doubled in size. I love that students came out and our supporting the event. We’ve had some really awesome, interesting pieces.”
Sims presented a new, untitled poetry piece that wasn’t quite perfected yet in her eyes. It felt weird to her, but she was glad the audience liked it.
“I still kind of want to bring it to Pen and see if I can critique it a little more and see if I can add some stuff,” Sims said. “Apparently, it’s very smexy. I didn’t realize that, because to me it was all emotional, but when they talked about it they we’re like, ‘Oh my gosh’. I think that’s kind of the cool thing about this, because when you read something you get different interpretations.”
Both Sims and sophomore biology major Sylvester Rodriguez enjoy the diversity of the performances and have a harder time picking favorites.
“I have to agree with Kime on this one,” Rodriguez said. “There’s too many good mediums out there to the point where it’s hard to choose. I like the music, I like the poems, so just saying a favorite one doesn’t seem right to me. I think they’re all good and unique in their own way.”
Rodriguez, like others, appreciates the openness of the event and decided to perform last minute.
“I’m wanting to perform a poem called ‘Johnny Depp’ by Tim Burton,” Rodriguez said. “It’s something that my sister read to me, and we still read it every now and then. It’s just interesting to me, and it’s good to read every now and again.”
Rodriguez decided to perform another piece later that night, but is considering doing something original, when the next Naked But Real rolls around.
“I used to write in high school a bit,” Rodriguez said. “I used to write horror stories, but I might want to try something different.”
Whatever Rodriguez decides, he’s definitely planning on going to the next Naked But Real. He likes seeing the event continue to expand.
“I think it’s bigger than it was last year,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a pretty good size, and I kind of expect it to keep growing every year or so.”