Thursday nights are my favorite nights in the Mission, cheap drinks and open mics pop up in obscure spots all over the neighborhood. At the 16th and Mission Bart station, kids collect around a geometric circle drawn in chalk. It’s an event that welcomes open containers and entertainers of all sorts. Poets, MCs, homeless homies, comedians, folk bands, acapella acts, and beat boxers shout out loud in order to be heard over socializing outside of the circle. This happens without fail every week, each time I’m fascinated and delighted to hear what individuals choose to share in this unpoliced community event.
For some reason, the open mic started later than usual last week. Everyone kind of stood around, clutching a skateboard or tall can waiting for something to happen. A few kids tried dancing to the right of the circle, a guy started strumming his guitar to the left, but it just wasn’t coming together. Eventually, someone had the guts to stand up and recite a poem, and although I can’t remember what they said, I remember quite clearly that they lit a cup full of something on fire. The fire lasted longer than their poem, afterward a guy tried stomping it out unsuccessfully. The kid in this picture tried putting the flames out with his skateboard… unsuccessfully. Finally, in true gangster fashion, a man in a suit poured his 40oz on the fire, putting it out and allowing the open mic to truly begin.
One example of why there’s no place like home :)