Every second and fourth Tuesday of the month The Sentient Bean has been hosting one of the cities warmest and most inviting open mics in the city for ten years running. The Tongue: Open Mouth and Music Show hosts everything from first-time poets to acoustic musicians, rappers, comedians and any other type of performance art you can imagine, all taking place just behind the divider curtains of the Park Avenue coffee shop’s seating area.
“I’m pretty transparent about letting people say whatever they want,” said host Melanie Goldey. “We don’t really have any guidelines on anything, as long as it’s within legal limits, you can think, do, or say whatever you want on stage and I’ll encourage people to support it, no matter what it is, because you have to support the bravery. Even if you don’t like what they’re doing you should still encourage the artistic expression in other people, and I see people doing it, supporting people against their will, which is amazing to me.”
Goldey has worn many hats within the Savannah performing arts scene from live poetry readings, to hosting and performing stand-up comedy, to her work with Savannah Stage Company and local literacy non-profit DEEP.
“Tongue is one of the first places I went and started performing when I first moved here,” said Goldey, “and I was blown away by how good it was, with all the different acts and stuff.”
After performing at the open mic steadily for several months, Goldey was asked to take over the mic by former host and nationally published author Zach Powers, whose newest book “First Cosmic Velocity” was just recently awarded Barnes & Noble Reads’ Best Fiction of August.
“I guess I’ve been hosting it about 6 years now, but it doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing it that long, it’s kind of flown by,” she said. “I always tell people you never know what you’re going to see and that’s certainly true. It’s just so cool to watch all these artists from different walks of life, ages, and everything get up and express themselves and be supported. It’s a really visceral, true, art coming from people who are solely up there to express themselves, not for financial gain or anything, but simply just to put themselves out there through artistic expression, which I think is kind of innate for a lot of people.”
The open mic’s success is no doubt partially due to Goldey’s ability to encourage and inspire bravery in others while simultaneously fostering an atmosphere and environment of intimacy and trust between both the performers and the audience.
“Performance art is a skill just like anything else, you’ve got to keep trying, there’s bad days and good days. It’s like learning to ride a skateboard, you don’t just jump on like a pro on your first day, you’ve got to learn,” she said.
“Hosting has helped me improve my performance art by allowing me to become comfortable with sharing and getting deep with people on stage. It’s made me an all-around better host through learning how to talk to the crowd, really talk to them personally, and it’s such a great space for that, feeling supported, and understanding that the audience is on your side. To say it’s made me a better person sounds really egregious, but it has whipped me into shape and made me order my art, no one else works on it, besides Tim Sandlin who does my sound.”
Goldey steadfastly continues to put the call out to anyone interested in letting themselves be heard.
“I always encourage people to come out, if you have something to share you don’t have to do a full five minutes, but get up there and express yourself to a crowd, watch, and see how you feel about it. It usually goes pretty well, it’s rare to see people fail because it’s hard to bomb at the Bean, there’s no such thing.”
frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>