Related Articles: Literary, All

Simple Pleasures Café Open Mic

Ever since it opened in the 70s, Simple Pleasures Café has been a hangout for local musicians and artists. The art-deco mural gives it the feel of a bygone time, as does the raven perched above the order window.

Situated in a quiet community in the Outer Richmond -- some say it's the boonies -- there are no frenzied stress-cases, nothing corporate anywhere in the vicinity, no rush of cars. And because Ocean Beach is just nearby, more than likely at any given time there may be a few surfers dropping in to grab a beer or to chat.

This all lends itself to a quirky atmosphere with the homey sense of wearing your favorite sweater and settling down with a good book (they have two bookcases full of them in case you forgot your reading material). You wouldn't be out of place here, even if you brought your knitting.

After dinner, it's a good place to relax and listen to live music, as they have bookings every night of the week. The room is still mellow, though, and the music doesn't disrupt the activities of those people at the front of the café who are studying, reading or even playing board games.

There is a sense here that you can express yourself and have people appreciate your creations wholeheartedly. Poetry or ballads become a haven from the surreal lies fed us by the television stations, and regulars have a sense of independence from the usual associations with city life.

Open mic is every fourth Monday of the month. For poets who come to read, there is no pressure to impress a crowd, and since it's kind of an underground location, the sign-up sheet is never very long, and no one has to wait a whole hour before it's their turn.

The host, Michael Musika, gives everyone ten minutes at the mic, or if someone wants to sing or play guitar, it's a two-song limit. The ratio of acoustic players to spoken word is about one to one, so expect some folk tunes mixed in with the verse.

Simple Pleasures Café
3434 Balboa St. (between 35th and 36th Aves.), SF, 415.387.4022
Fourth Friday of the month @ 8 pm (sign-ups at 7:30 pm), free, all ages
Mailing list: [email protected]