Monday, November 16, 2009

Urban Poetry Scene on Upcline

I cannot tell you how great it feels to finally have more than myself sitting in a room ready to share poetry with other enthusiasts. Chugging away at building an open mic scene in the Central Jersey area has been a long road for Cultural Art Expression. A venue for individual poets, writers, and acoustic musicians of all styles.

One of our great supporters over the past year or more has been Classics in Trenton. Classics Book Store is located down off Route US-1. Going south from Princeton (my direction), making a right on the Perry Street jug handle, and then a left towards Warren Street (another left).

Nestled in a block of old style window store fronts you will find Classics just on the right. Across from local and struggling cafes and shops, their window is filled with books, antiques, and local Artesian goods. Classics books owner, Eric works with local business through out the area to bring in more business to keep the city alive. A bad rap on crime, falling down economy, and crumbling buildings that sit un-occupied for years has affected how people outside of New Jersey's capital view this urban gem.

I get frustrated over responses when I tell someone about how great Trenton is. People act as if you might be jumped once you leave the safety of the car. There are dangerous areas I agree, but they are outside of the direct area of the city. Many of my poet, musician friends go down there often. The once a month poetry group meets at 2 PM once a month. So many wonderful things go on in this business, and I hope it continues to thrive.

Other venues begin to pop up, and we had our record in attendance this past week- 20 readers. Some young students, literary style poets, home grown as myself, an acoustic writer, spoken word old school, and commentary writers; it is wonderful to see the mix of young and old sitting together sharing experiences, self preservation, reservations, and simply words of love.

Cultural Art Expression- Poetry Open Mic is growing and I thank each and everyone of the members that continue to show on the first of each month. Your spirit, spoken words, and encouragement are why I started this venue, and you continue to feed me with your wonderful presence...

Check out- Cultural Art Expression

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hope For The Flowers- Butterfly Celebration & Pot Luck

July 18th (rain date July, 19th)

11 AM - 5:30 PM

Clowning Around & Children Activities, begins at 11 AM

Open Mic Performance, 12:30 - 5 PM

Bring a picnic lunch and come join Sue Albert (Organizer), Central Jersey Cultural Art Expression- Open Mic, and partners at the Roberto Clemente Park Children Garden on Academy Street in Trenton for a celebration of butterflies and a Pot Luck Picnic to honor Joe Bird. Joe was a local Trenton area community activist who devoted his life quietly and without fanfare to the preservation of open lands, the well-being of children and acts of kindness.

Joe's old friend, Ange Chianese (a.k.a. Garbanzo, the Human Bean, pictured above) will help everyone clown around to honor the creative, magical, gentle and playful spirit of his old friend.

This event will feature music, movement, magic and art to raise awareness about the 'No Child Left Inside' network that advocates the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of outdoor play in nature.

Joe Bird worked behind the scenes to help preserve Wild Spaces similar to the park in Trenton. His modesty and the scope of his good works was not fully revealed until many who knew and loved him gathered to mourn his untimely death in 1997. The butterfly garden at Roberto Clemente Park was planted in his honor in 2007 to inspire children to connect with nature and learn from his example.

The benches (above) were installed by students from Isles Youth Build School on a day that also drew student volunteers from TCNJ to plant flowers and bushes that attract butterflies.

The students at Isle Youth Build, are also the same students that Chef E, organizer of Cultural Art Expression- Open Mic work with on a weekly basis. She teaches them life skill training for employment, nutrition, and basic culinary training. Chef E's students will be baking butterfly cookies for this event.

If you would like to help or donate in any way to help make this event a better way of serving the inner city youth of tomorrow, please contact Chef E at

Join us for some good ole family fun, music and poetry....

Monday, May 11, 2009

CAE Parvin State Park Open Mic & Retreat

Cultural Art Expression- Open Mic

Summer/Weekend Excursion
June 6th,

Parvin State Park
701 Almond Road
Pittsgrove, NJ 08318-3928
(856) 358-8616

GPS Coordinates
DMS 39° 30’ 15.27” N 75° 07' 50.33" W

Size: 1,952 acres

Fees: Entrance fees are charged from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. $2 per person

Camping @ Camp site #11 & #12
Friday – Sunday
(Bring your own supplies: chairs, food, sleeping bag, etc.)

Fireside Cookout & Open Mic
Saturday, 6:30-10 PM
(Bring your own food and drinks; smores & watermelon provided)

Fishing, canoes & kayaks available for rental- in the morning

Dinner and Fire pit around 6 PM; if you are interested in participating in the hoopla of camping you must RSVP no later than Wednesday, May 27th, 2009.

Open Mic must be RSVP by June 3rd, 2009 (7 committed so far; some are coming down just for the day)

Anyone can participate, as we welcome participants of poetry and acoustic music of any kind; an audience is appreciated.

MINORS: No minors are allowed to come with out parents, or proper gear.


Elizabeth @ 609.356.3186
Elizabeth @

Thursday, April 9, 2009

We Proceed

'Karl and Dennis uuuderly hysterical singing Cow Thing...guess what tune it was sung to?'

Cultural Art Expression grew slowly, but it proceeds with great care. Many new faces grace the stage each week, so we added an extra Tuesday. Finding it hard to say more than all of them do a great job. They are talented. They each have their own sense of humor that shields any possible fear of standing in front of new comers and customers that sit working on their laptops, or are sipping coffee with friends. Even the ones that casually come in to make a purchase and then turn to leave right back out that second door (one stays locked during performance now), and who is to say which door is actually the front or the side?

That would be like telling a poet his end is the beginning and the beginning is the end...okay a bit much, but you just have to come sometimes and watch these guys do their thing. Once upon a time we all did our acts either in the living room, the shower, or the car. Now we have a place to come and feel like rock stars...

'Thanks to Owen our newest member, and resident baritone saxophone player for his photography. As it turns out it is what he does for his day job, and playing with us is just his hobby...sound familiar?'

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Open Mic Protocol

Honestly, I wish we did not have to have any rules and everyone would just show up and play until we are all exhausted and ready to go home, but unfortunately we have grown and some venues limit us to how much time we are allowed to perform.


There is no sign up fee or charges to participate in this group. Membership is automatic once you sign up on the official website or come to the venues. We do put out a tip jar or box to pay for the website use at and that is a fee of $12 per month if it is paid three months or more in advance; otherwise they charge $19 per month. It is a costly site, but then again non of us have to maintain the site other than go and look at the calendar, messages and other information may be exchanged between artists.

Performance Sign-Up:

Depending on the venue and time scale given to us you must arrive thirty (30) minutes prior to starting time for sign-up, and fifteen (15) minutes to your time slot for time allotted venues. Sign-up is cut off fifteen (15) minutes after start time, unless you have signed up on the official website; then you will automatically be on the list in order of sign-up on that site. If you have not arrived with in thirty (30) minutes of starting the Open Mic; then you will be removed from the list; unless you have said so on the official site or emailed Chef E personally and let her know.

Performance Piece Allowance (music, song, poem, etc...):

Each performer will be allowed two (2) reasonable timed pieces each if the sign-up on the official web site is at nine (9) members; otherwise if less than, and we have to consider at least three (3) have shown up in the past few months not being announced. If less than eight sign up then you will be able to do at least three (3) reasonable sized performance pieces. If they are long; then we have to ask you to consider the other performers time allowance.

On Stage Content:

There is not problem with language of any performance piece other than if minors are present please tone it down, and no nudity will be allowed. Shirts, pants and Shoes must be worn during or while other performers are on stage. What you do outside of the venue is otherwise your own business.

Equipment Usage:

Most of the equipment being used is owned by performers, and we ask that you respect their property and do not abuse it while performing. If you yourself own equipment and would like to be included in the use during events, either let Chef E or Karl Dentino know at the venues. We always appreciate any help in set-up or break-down since this is not a paying gig in any way shape or form.

Cultural Art Expression- Open Mic Plainsboro 2/16/09

Jim- Acoustic, Original & Covers

Looking up the definition of growth a meaning was found that fits CAE in the past year...

a) the process of growing
b) development from a lower or simpler to a higher or more complex form; evolution.

Juanita- Singer

Cultural Art Expression- Open Mic is not a business, or a company, and it is not even a society. This is a group of individual artists that choose when they feel it is right to come and share their art form with other like minded individuals, or audience that is made up of like minded artists and friendly folks who like to enjoy our relaxing atmosphere.

Vito Natale- Acoustic, Covers;
Video Tech- Advantage Video

The artist that have and are beginning to participate in the past year have helped bring alive something that has come and gone over the past sixty years. The group holds true to its roots of meeting or gathering in coffee houses. Coffee houses symbolize a more cultured side of humanity in a sense.

Michelle Kalleman- Poetry, Teacher & Drama

Performing in bars has not been an option for this group. Wanting to also attract a younger generation of artists has been a great desire for the artists.

Glenn Swan- Shakuhachi Japanese Flute

Young to older artist should gather and influence each other and bind that long called 'generation gap' and communication. Gathering in this manner of diversity provides an opportunity to share and discuss politics, music, poetry, romance or rebellion.

Dennis- Acoustic, Original & Covers

Read, Write, Sing, Play, Perform and Peace!

Howie- Acoustic, Original & Covers

Dave- Acoustic, Original & Covers

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Open Mic- Robbinsville 2/09

Posting each even can be a task and possibly boring to those of you do not attend, but it encourages attendees and chronicles the rise of just three or four regulars to the twelve performers and packed coffee house every month.

I am proud to be a part of this group of individual talented writers, poets, musicians, songwriters, and performance artists...You Guys Rock!

Chef E, Chef/Poet/Emcee, and has been a long road over the past year, but it has all been worth it...

Ryan actually finished the set tonight, and rocked us with his original material on the acoustic guitar...

Vito Natale...acoustic extraordinaire and our video technician/photographer...

We had a new poet come out and look forward to her returning...Jean Williams...

Bill Korns, Poet, has really developed his skills over the past few months for being a new artist...

Chris a new acoustic player came out and played a cover and one of his own...

One of our new acoustic musicians tonight was Theo...

Karl Dentino has been with us from the beginning and we call him the 'Rag Picker' Blues Man...

Susan is one of our regular 'Groupie' audience and we appreciate her 100%...

Robert Avila, 16, Acoustic Guitar...sings cover and original material...

The audience has been great, and we appreciate all the support!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Isle Youth School Open Mic

January 31, 2009

Today my group was invited to downtown Trenton to do a show and teach (Isle Youth School), a safe haven for kids to not be out on the streets. We talked to them about Open Mic, stage presence, singing and writing. How it has (can) changed our lives...what it means to us, and many of my guys have come out today, and talked about their younger years of coming from the trenches themselves...alcohol, drugs, time in jail...they so opened up and related to these kids. We spent the afternoon with.

They ask me to come back and teach some cooking classes, and us to do a performance again. Two of these kids read some of their poetry and almost knock me off my feet...also one of my regulars was playing and it was a catchy beat, so I got up and danced around the room!

I love volunteering and seeing how kids like this do what they can to redirect their lives in a positive way...

I have made a great bunch of friends through my Cultural Art Expression Group, but why are they all men? Would Freud have something interesting to say about this...

We will have footage of 'E' sessions uploaded with in the next few days, and you can put a voice to the HERE

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I had the opportunity to travel down to South Jersey and visit another Open Mic that is held in a coffee shop called Expressit, in Hadden Township, NJ. It is hosted by a very talented guy named Tom (above), who sets up his own three speaker sound system (jealous already), and plays acoustic guitar, and sings mostly his own material, or a redone cover song.

Having the privilege of going second and being the only poet was...well felt the same as when I perform my Open Mic, but I survived. They get a crowd that is there to watch, and perform very similar to what Cultural Art Expression has been doing the past year.

I meet Vito Frattale (above) down there, he had attended our Classic Book Store event, and invited me down south. He was just as great as that day, and is a really nice all around guy. I am hoping he and I can do a duet, 'Jackson' by Johnny Cash, that I will be working on. Vito has also volunteered to transfer our Open Mic sessions to our site and I will let you know when that is up.

Vito also was really networking for us, and invited many of these people to come up North once in a while to join our group. He was very positive about how well we are doing, and I appreciate that! I do believe we should ban together and it seems Open Mic for poets, acoustic musicians, comedians, and such have many homes down in that area, so I am hopeful we can also expand in the Central parts of Jersey.

This young man was just walking by, he is only 17 years old and has been playing since he was ten. His father plays the drums, and with that influence he has written his own songs, and what a finger picker this kid was. I took a photo so that I could say "I knew him when"! This was his first time to perform in front of anyone...

Read, Write, Sing, Play, Perform, and Peace to All!

Chef E

Expressit! 18 Hadden Avenue, Hadden Township, NJ Phone: 1-856-854-1001

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Last Tuesday Each Month

Well this is the last Tuesday we perform at the coffee house in Plainsboro, with a week rest, and then we start all over next month. Tonight we had so many show up, and have started getting regulars who come because they just want to hang out with other artists and play to a small to medium crowd once in a while.

We actually had a full house of coffee patrons, who did not pack up and leave when we started, they pretty much sat there and listened, and plenty of applause all around. We had two new people show up, and I felt bad. They did not tell me they were there to perform, but we still squeezed Karin (pronounced Car-in)into the line-up for a reading of her poem she had been working on, and it was great!

Juanita would have sang for us, but she just wanted to check it out first... Many of us did Inaugural songs or poems tonight. They were all great and a few made us laugh.

Thanks guys for another great night!

Performers tonight... Chef E, Poet Karl Dentino, Acoustic Kevin Dail, Poet Howie, Acoustic Jim, Acoustic Tim Allen, Poet Karin Jervert, Poet Juanita we look forward to hearing you on January 31st...

We will be performing at the Isle School of Trenton, Saturday Jan 31st, 1-4 PM
Anyone interested, please contact me for more information, or visit our website...

~Cultural Art Expression of New Jersey~

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Classics Book Store in Trenton

We all would like to thank Eric Maywer for letting us use the book store for our Special Open Mic Events every other month! We love it!

Don’t be surprised if you find a poetry reading or discussion group happening when you show up. Feel free to pull up a chair and browse.

In performance art, usually one or more people perform in front of an audience. In contrast to the traditional performing arts, performance art is unconventional.

Performance artists often challenge the audience to think in new and unconventional ways about theater and performing, break conventions of traditional performing arts, and break down conventional ideas about "what art is," similar to the postmodern art movement.

Open Mic & Performance Art go hand in hand, and can generally be found relaxing and a great environment to rejuvenate ones on performance abilities that lay dormant...

Thank you Karl Dentino, Mark Shardine, Bill Korns, Vito Natale, and the Isle School and Staff for attending our event at Classics!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Open Mic- Robbinsville 1/13/09

These are most of the performers last night minus me and Karl Dentino...

Ian, Poet...and a 'chef' dreamer, and you better believe I said no, stick to writing, you are talented...and you do not want to work for minimum wage at this point in your life...just come and blog about that 'popcorn curry' you told me about tonight, and you will find a culinary place among us!

Jacob...the 'quiet man' and they tend to be the real charmers, with his subtle singing and raspy voice...

Eric, what a charmer ladies...he could have easily taken over my MC job, and I would have let him...he has definitely performed before, many times!

Very astute this man is, Bill, he is new to the poetry scene but a great writer...

A couple of girls, Bridget and Kailey, who sing with Robert, and sounded the best they have ever so far...they have been practicing! Good job youth of today...

Brian is also a newbie to the scene, and was his first time...he was quiet, but give him a few more times, and I will have to run him off stage!

This is part of the crowd...I take pictures and video tape it, we have a website, but I do not have the video up yet...still working on that part...

Howie...this was his first time to perform live in front of a microphone...he sounds and plays like Bruce Springsteen...or Dylan...Great!

Robert is 15 years old and sings Mayday Parade like he wrote it...fabulous player and singer!