One big part of this order is open mic. Knowing how easy it is for me to become bored, distant, and internet-obsessed, I decided months ago that having a weekly social event (like an open mic night) will guarantee some level of socializing, even if I turn into some kind of magical super-study machine (unlikely) or spend my days aimlessly frustrated by inactivity (more likely than not). Frankie recommended a certain pub a while back and since then I had only heard good things about it. I gave myself a break last week because it was my first day, but today I dragged my roommates into town and went to check it out.
As expected, it is very different from Mike's Place and Subkuch Milega, two places that are so influenced by sheer foreign-ism (American; pseudo-Indian). Hamartef ("The Basement") is super Israeli, except for the fact that everyone covers songs in English. Right away it was clear that people don't play solos so much, don't play acoustic songs so much, hardly play anything original, really, and don't even play less known covers. Crowd-pleasing seemed to be more of a goal than I'd have liked, but I was determined to test myself and face my stage fear and go up and do my two songs vayehi ma ("whatever happens").
I played "Save Me". I think I had some off-key moments, but I felt okay, and people cheered, so it couldn't have been too awful. But then it turned out that I couldn't play another song after all (one of mine) and that was rather frustrating. What's the fun of going to an open mic that doesn't have to close at 12 if I can't have at least two songs? When I got off the stage one or two people said I sang nicely, and I tried thanking them instead of arguing. I sat down with Penina and Dovey and they complimented me as well. I started to think that hey, maybe being completely different didn't turn out so bad.
And then the pony-tailed dude turned from his table to mine and sat next to me. He started to explain to me that I need to pick other songs. And at first I tried to explain, politely, that I wasn't built for it. Then I tried to explain, nicely, that this was, more than anything, for myself, because I am a big fat nervous wreck of a scaredy cat. Then I almost started crying, because he wouldn't go away.
After he finally left came the incredibly cute boy I had half-talked to before I went up. He said it was nice, and it was nice to have a change, and that I shouldn't mind what Mr. Pony-Tail Man says. He told me how much he missed the open mics he went to in the U.S. where he could play whatever he wanted and didn't have to worry about making everyone happy. I told him there are places in Tel Aviv where I can play whatever I want and he grilled me for details.
If Mr. Cute Boy hadn't been so encouraging, I would probably be much more disappointed right now. But still, it's a rather big let down. I have no real interest in ruining people's fun and bumming these kids out. If it's not the right scene for it, I'm not going to be the one to drop my depressing song bombs on the place. The alternative is finding other songs to play, or other ways to play my songs (the better solution), but I don't think I have the energy, and the "unfairness" kills me a little bit. Is this a real "open" mic or is it "Bob Dylan Cover Night". I don't want drums and I don't want basses and electric guitars. I want me and Shelly (if she were only around) and I want to sound adorable and grow fuzzy kittens inside of everybody, if they agree to it first.
My roommates made it a fun evening (they might be fascists, but they're good kids), and I'd like to go again. It's a good pub and the people who go up seem to be pretty talented. Maybe I'll ask the nice old drummer guy to add some light drumming like he offered, and see if it comes out any better, or at least okay. But I'm not going to find what I was hoping for there. So much for that plan.
To summarize, today wasn't great.