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Open Shout @ Java Source

Poetry open mic used to hold sway every Tuesday at Java Source, while comedy happened on Fridays and Saturdays. Since Tuesday's host, Lori Chapman, moved back East in mid 2002, all three nights have been a lively mix of comedy, poetry readings and singing.

No one is left out -- according to Java Source employees, "You can do whatever you want." Not that it bothers the groups of Asian youth crowded around the two Go boards out front in the semi-enclosed patio. Engrossed in their games, they seem perfectly oblivious to the variety of entertainment streaming in.

Tony Sparks, the weekend host, allows his literary pals to join in on the Friday fun, and, in turn, has taken over Tuesdays. Usually, about ten people sign up, and although there is no time limit, the average stint on the stage is five minutes.

The big den of a room makes for good acoustics. Still, one would hesitate to call it cavernous, despite the dim lighting, as the ceilings are not too high and the feel is inviting, with the warm colors and wood all around.

The café workers seem to enjoy having the events there. Just before starting time, there is the stillness of anticipation in the air, at the moment right before it changes from study time to show time, and the workers get down to the job of bringing extra chairs off the stage.

It's probably a welcome break from serving up coffee and crepes to frustrated students cramming for exams. Depending on the night, Java Source can sometimes fill up and get a little crowded. If there is a popular comic in town, the turnout expects more comedy (and greatly outnumbers lyrists), but that seldom keeps the poets from taking their turn at the mic.

Open Shout
Java Source
343 Clement St. (@ 5th Ave.), SF, 415.387.8025
Every Friday, 10:30 pm - 12 am
Free