This is a cafe I started going to April of 2011. It is quite unique in that it has live music, Thursdays being its open mic night from 7 to 11pm.
I was feeling really down about losing Hogmany after losing Whiskie...and had been listening to music to try to cheer myself up...and I also really wanted to write something to be able to convey all the mixed feelings I had inside but didn't know the best way to go about it. I had googled open mic and the name of this cafe showed up. So I drove there one day and well it didn't seem to be quite as I had expected. I told myself to at least walk by it and if I didn't feel comfortable to go home. So I slowly walked by it and well there was a guy standing out front and he invited me inside. He seemed so nice and warm and everything. He handed me a menu and I found that I was somewhat hungry...I hadn't been eating right at that time. I got a steak pannini which comes with salad. It turned out he was the host of the open mic and he also played the piano til late/ early morning. He asked if I played anything and I said that I did, but I wasn't really good and I just wouldn't be able to in front of people and he said that I should really give it a try one day.
I first tried to play Tears in Heaven in 2008. I could play it pretty well til I get to the part "time will bring you down...." I just couldn't get it right...well I went back and looked at several tabs and covers on Youtube; I musta looked at at least 2 dozen and mixed and matched various styles and finally got the whole song down. So it took me about 3 years to get the song and I must say it is pretty rewarding. I messed up really badly the first 6 times I played but eventually I got it right. And I followed it up with Teardrops on My Guitar and When You Say Nothing At all.
Well on 2/16/12, when I went, a cable TV producer for a show was there. He created a series called Searching for Open Mic night and it would only be on channel 28 in Torrance. Jon texted everyone giving them a heads up he might be there and I wasn't sure if I wanted to go...but I decided that I might as well...there was a girl who did this cabaret like song and dance; she was pretty cute and all the guys loved her...and then there was me about 10 acts later...I started off with When You Say Nothing At All, but I was so nervous with the camera right there and the lights brighter than normal I couldn't get my fingers to strum properly, they just kept on shaking....and then once I got them under control, I forgot the lyrics...it was quite horrible...although I think I got the chorus down right...I didn't really want to, I wanted to do Tears in Heaven, but the plucking of strings can be quite tricky, so I decided to do Teardrops on My Guitar next...I changed the lyrics a bit by with "you" in place of "Drew" as I didn't think it made much sense considering I didn't know any Drews. But then I messed up one line with the wrong pronoun...and I finished my performance off with LP's Shadow of the Day with Jon on the piano and Joaquin on percussion....I think we did pretty good....well the producer's friend said that he really enjoyed the last one, and that it sounded like I really sang from the soul...I'd never heard anyone say that to me before! And whether or not he meant it, it made me really happy.
They wanted to interview me and I was really nervous about it...they asked what made me start doing open mic and how long I have been playing....I didn't want to say anything too personal...so all I said was that I've had a guitar for about 5 years but never played it much...and decided that I should start picking it up again...and that I'd been coming in for a few months....a year really...and that I woke up one day and told myself to think of something I wouldn't normally do...and do it. It's funny because the friend said to go deep diving...and I told him I already got my SCUBA certificate the other year...then they asked what my favorite store at the mall is and I said Borders...but they went out of business, so I don't really have one anymore. What a geeky thing to say...I wish I had said Potato Corner...I'm addicted to the tots...but maybe that would have sounded stupid too.
The real story about my guitar is that I first got one of those acoustic Fender packages in summer of 2005; had lessons for 3 months, didn't want to pay for lessons anymore and figured I could play with the chords I learned and the Romanza song my instructor taught me with a few riffs including Sweet Home Alabama. Then in spring 2008, I got an electric because the acoustic strings were hurting my fingers. In September 2009, I sold my Fender acoustic as I just wasn't playing it anymore and liked my electric a lot more. Well after I sold it, I missed the sound of the acoustic. Also the bridge on my electric broke, so I bought an Ibanez acoustic/ electric hybrid summer of 2011. I am in need of someone to fix my Fender electric. I had met someone who said he would fix it and charge me only for parts but the weeks after, he stopped going. Anyway, I love my Ibanez!!
I didn't go the following week. I was sick with something in my throat. I went this past Thursday- 3/2/12...and he was there again! He asked me if I remembered him...lol. He kept asking if I was next...and that he was going to have to get me on film...and I said but he got me last time....he said he wanted to interview me before I go on...so he asked me what goes on in my head before I go on and that I didn't seem too happy when I did the Alison Krauss song last time...and I told him that it should have been a really simple song and I just kept messing up so yes I was disappointed in myself. He asked me what that song meant to me and I told him it was When You Say Nothing At All and it reminds me of animals...and he laughed....I said that they didn't have to say anything at all and yet they could convey so much meaning and emotion...and I just really like animals. Then he asked me about the Taylor Swift Song, what it meant...and I just told him it didn't mean anything, I just like to play it because of the very simple chords over and over again and it was very easy to play...then he asked me what everyone should expect from me that night. I told him that I was known as the girl that plays "Tears in Heaven". People get my name wrong, they ask "you're Christine...no? Jennifer...no? but you're the girl that plays Tears in Heaven..." and I had not been wanting to play it; I wanted to put all the Tears in Heaven and Teardrops on My Guitar behind me and move on to something new....but they have been asking about it, so I am going to play it tonight! After that, I told him I felt silly...and he said I shouldn't....but we will see what the final edit looks like...well I wouldn't be surprised if he puts captions or thought bubbles coming out of me....like they do on that show Blind Date.
I was really nervous about Tears in Heaven...once again the camera made me really nervous...I kept wondering why he wanted to film me again?? Well then I told myself it was gonna be ok...but then I heard sniffling...and I worried if I may have made someone cry?? And it was awfully quiet, normally I hear people talking...and there was just silence...just me and my voice...it was just really scary!! But when I got to the end, everyone was really nice with smiles on their faces and clapped....next I played Howie Day's Collide...and it went really well til the last stanza, I messed up...I lost track and messed up the lyrics and the chords....but it was the first time I ever played it on stage...and then I ended with LP's Shadow of the Day with Jon. Well I think I messed up the rhythm...I wish Joaquin had been there...but everyone seemed to have enjoyed it regardless, they were smiling...unless they were just relieved I was finished.
So it is a fun venue. You meet lots of interesting musically inclined people...some not so musically inclined but creative all the same. It's quite a mixed bag on different nights.
I really do recommend it. The food is good, though a bit expensive but it is a small privately owned place and I am all about supporting your local noncorporate businesses. And service is kinda slow so I don't recommend going if you are ravenous but just if you are looking to have a snack with no rush. Also some nights they have fried oreos and $1 tacos.
Come eat and entertain or be prepared to be entertained.