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A little art, a little music, and a lot of fun: Holmes Art Cellar hosts its first Open Mic Night

Storyteller Bradley Kimball made his Open Mic Night story an interactive one, occasionally asking for prompts from the audience to continue spinning his tale. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)1 / 4
Mixed media artist Carmen McCullough was on hand for Wednesday night's inaugural Open Mic Night at the Holmes Art Cellar, doing a few demonstrations and sharing some tips for doing your own mixed media collages. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)2 / 4
We Are the Willows musician Peter Miller shared a couple of tunes with the Open Mic Night crowd on Wednesday night. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)3 / 4
Detroit Lakes Public Library director Greta Guck read a few excerpts from a book by one of her favorite authors, Lin-Manuel Miranda, during Wednesday's Open Mic Night at the Holems Art Cellar. (Vicki Gerdes / Tribune)4 / 4

From improvisational storytelling to mixed media art demonstrations to original music, the inaugural Open Mic Night at the Holmes Art Cellar had a little bit of everything — and organizers are hoping that it will become a staple of the local arts scene.

"We'd like to come up with a little more structure for it — maybe with a theme," said Historic Holmes Theatre Director Amy Stearns. "But we also want it to be open to whoever shows up... we're still working out the details."

Peter Miller, a singer-songwriter and musician with the band We are the Willows, started off the night by sharing a new song he was working on; a little later in the evening, he shared a song from his band's most recent album, "Picture (Portrait)," and talked about how the songs on the album were inspired by a series of letters his grandfather had written to his grandmother while stationed with the military during World War II.

"I was really interested to read those letters — particularly when my grandfather was diagnosed with dementia," he said.

Bradley Kimball, a young man from Detroit Lakes, shared an improvisational story that was so off-the-cuff, he asked for prompts from the audience such as a name for the main character (he chose Jeff), and various cities (Denver, San Francisco) where the boy's family would move to during their travels.

"It's something I can relate to," he later admitted, but added that the story wasn't truly autobiographical, just inspired by some events in his own life.

Another local young woman, Jac Weitzel, shared an original story she had written, "My Friend the Heroin Addict," while Greta Guck, the new director of the Detroit Lakes Public Library, shared some excerpts from "Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks for Me & You," a book by one of her favorite writers, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

"I keep it by my desk for whenever I need it," Guck said of the book.

"It's fun to have an event like this in Detroit Lakes, to celebrate creativity," she added after finishing her performance.

Beth Gilbert, the Holmes Theatre's outreach director, said she was pleased by the turnout for the inaugural Open Mic Night, adding that she would like to see it become a regular event at the new Holmes Art Cellar (which shares space with the Detroit Lakes Senior Center in the basement of the theater).

"We'd like to find someone to host it," she added, noting that they would like to have a new person host the event each month.

Though there are not currently any future Open Mic Night events scheduled, Stearns said she would like to hold at least one more this summer, "with a more regular schedule starting this fall."

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

(218) 844-1454