The Mercury Café

Anna McCollister, Reporter

Do you ever find yourself itching for adventure or looking for a step out of your comfort zone? Or do you have extra time during the week or weekends and are looking for something to fill the time slot? If this sounds like you, then a visit to The Mercury Café is in order.

From belly dancing classes to slam poetry, The Mercury Café is filled with different entertainment opportunities throughout the week, most which are under $10 and some which are even free. Last Sunday, Oct. 2, I went to check out this mysterious venue. And I have to say this place of business was one in which I have never before seen in my life.

There are two stories to the venue, one which is more of a restaurant style (the downstairs) and one which is more of an open dancing floor (the upstairs). Although I did not visit the Café on Sunday for the dancing, it sure seemed like a fun event that I may even go back to just to participate in. However I went to the poetry slam, which was at 8pm was in the downstairs venue.

As I walked in there were velvety curtains of all different colors, red, purple, green, etc. There were also lights draped from the ceiling, like the ones you might put on your house for the holidays as well as festive pumpkins, some rotting, some fresh, in the windows. I got there at 7:30 p.m. during the “Jam before the slam”. There were five to six people on the small stage, four playing drums, one on the cello and a man with long hair and no shoes or socks playing the flute. It was an interesting sight that was definitely a step out of my comfort zone. At 8 p.m., the microphone was opened to the audience, and regular citizens of all different ages came one after another to the stage with prepared poems. Some memorized and some not, but each with a genuinely good message and a darn good poem.

After about 15-20 minutes a man by the name of “Hawkeem Furious” was introduced as the feature poet of the night. He had memorized all of his poems and talked of going to Arizona in October to represent The Mercury Café. Furious not only engaged the audience (which was a pretty full crowd to my amusement and delight, most of the audience appeared to be in their mid-20’s early 30’s) but was also exciting to watch. Furious discussed through his poems about “nine to five” jobs, African-American power, problems with over gratification, and even briefly touched on the topic of teenagers and their problems with drugs, as well as went over many other good life topics I am probably forgetting. Alas, at about 9 p.m. Furious was done and the microphone was once again opened to the audience.

Hawkeem Furious slaying his poems near the end of the night

After a night of the unexpected I would give the Mercury Café an 8.5 out of 10. There was great poetry and an interesting ambiance that became comforting as the night waged on, as well as a good community feel that made the Café definitely a place I will be visiting again. Located off of California and 22nd street, the Café is fairly easily accessible from the light rail (about 0.4-0.5 walk from the 18th and California station). If you decide to go to the Mercury Café (which I highly recommend you do) I have just one tip:go in with an open mind and be ready to experience anything.