Undiscovered Talent Shines at Crimson Spot

If you're bored with your social scene in Los Angeles, open mic night at the Crimson Spot is something you should experience. There are no flashing lights, fog machines, smoke or mirrors. It's a community of artists coming together every Sunday night in one room to celebrate and showcase their skills on the mic.

The Crimson Spot was founded by Benny Cassette and a team of five people to create a community event in L.A. for artists to express themselves in an open and loving environment. Cassette said, "It's a place where people can come and get exposure, diversity and something new that they may not be used to."

If you walk into the Crimson Spot as a first timer, you'll feel relaxed and know this experience is going to be different. The dim lighting, candles, couches and the light smell of incense give off a homey feeling. The music provided by Sam Zamir can be anything from your own modern day collection to your grandfather's old blues collection.

The Crimson Spot is held at the Baha'i Center in L.A., but the mic night has no direct connection to the Baha'i faith. You can come and enjoy yourself without being forced into any kind of religious ritual. This is not a way to convert anyone to the Baha'i faith. Out of respect for the center and the fact that children are allowed to attend, overly sexualized language, extreme violence and foul language is strongly discouraged. If you can respect that then everything else is acceptable.

The show is hosted every week by Cassette, a renaissance man, who sings, raps, produces and writes his own music. On Sept. 21 he started the show with the rule of the night "to give the stage some ju-ju." The theme of the night is "Do it because you love it." Cassette brings the energy and hype to the crowd with his humorous and innovative ways of getting everyone in the room to participate in his antics.

Cassette decided it would be a novel idea to dig out an old game of Connect Four. Of course no good game can be played without placing a bet. Cassette suggested playing members of the audience in between artists' performances in exchange for Zamir's BMW. Luckily he rode a bike that evening.

The night carried on with very amazing performances, starting with Allen James singing a beautiful song and playing a peaceful tune on his guitar. James' gave a performance so amazing that he was asked to close the show. Niema, the next artist on stage, gave the audience what he said was a "Public Service Announcement." He spoke about the Baha'i faith encouraging the room of people to be open to what they may not understand. He made it clear that it is important to enhance your knowledge about other cultures and religions before you make positive or negative statements about them.

The amazement for most came from one of the youngest performers in the room. Daniel Price, 18, performed with a style of a pro. Price brought his stage presence in a poem called "The Poet," He began with "I love women" and advanced to describe his supreme dream woman as an intellectual profound prototype. Price also paid dues to poet Gina Loring who inspired him.

J-Deuce kept the tone of the spoken word and performed a piece called "Me." Through the poem he gave the audience a vivid description of the hard life on the streets. The passion that came through his confessions was felt throughout the room. He described himself in his past as a duck in a pond going in circles, feeling like there were no ways out of his lifestyle. He was guided out and is now living a more positive life. The poem traveled through
many phases, from confession to redemption.

The feeling of family and community filled the room. It was more evident when Price walked over to express his appreciation to J-Deuce. The next to grace the stage was a new L.A. independent artist and singer Jungly. She performed her song "Golden" on the piano from her forth coming album.

The stage was continuously kissed with great performances including one from Charles Udoma, an artist from West Africa, who also loaned his painting as a background for the stage. He used African roots to describe the origin of hip-hop. Udoma used drum beats and African techniques such as chants, call and response and crowd participation. James came back to the stage at the crowd's request for two more songs.

The night ended with Cassette's closing remarks. He said the Crimson Spot was created to inspire, encourage and create a sense of community. He encouraged the audience to introduce themselves to someone they never met in the room.

Everyone started to connect and you could hear and see the Crimson Spot's purpose being fulfilled. Artists were complimenting artists and new attendees were being asked to return. "I think it's a wonderful place to come together and unite," said Neda Rouhani, a regular supporter of the venue.