Since its inception in 2017, The Poetry Room has been a home for poets and songwriters to hone their skills and a platform to showcase them. Founded by host, Masaki Takahashi under the guidance of Dylan Rogers, The Poetry Room open mic is fast paced, easily accessible, entertaining, and is unlike any other poetry open mic you may attend. Included into the mix is Masaki’s long-time friend, Kevin Nguyen who takes amazing, professional quality photos of the events and sets the music used for transitions between acts. Together, they have found a formula to reach the masses, build community, and give voice to a diverse group of blossoming poets and musicians while becoming Lansing’s mecca for major talent.
Save June & July, The Poetry Room takes place on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at the Robin Theatre in Lansing, MI’s REO Town Neighborhood. There is a line to sign up to perform that starts forming about a quarter to 7:00pm, the doors open at 7:00pm sharp, and the list to perform is usually full by 7:05pm. If you are not there by 7:30pm, it will be very difficult to find a seat. The show starts at 7:45pm.
The Poetry Room, which was recently featured on a billboard created by the City of Lansing, is free to attend, though there is a suggested donation of $5-$10. Each event has a loose theme that guests, and participants are encouraged, but not required, to consider. The Lansing based poetry & music talent performing at The Poetry Room shows the immense artistic talent that Michigan’s Capital City possesses, or as Masaki puts it, “all killers, no fillers”.
Masaki Takahashi is the host and founder of The Poetry Room. Heavily influenced by hip hop and the elements of improvisation, he brings his skills to engage the crowd to have high powered events, which attracts the freshest talents from the surrounding areas. Masaki has been a featured poet for the Lansing 5:01 DamJam, the Lansing Poetry Club, Reo Town Readings, the 55th Annual East Lansing Art Festival, The Artist’s Umbrella, and Williamston Art Fest. He has been featured on HOMTV, The Mike Bass Podcast, LCC Radio “Lansing Loud & Local”, Michigan Business Network, The State News, The Citizen Press, and The City Pulse.
Masaki has participated in Freestyle battles at Freestyle Monday in NYC, and the UAB Freestyle Rap Competition. He is the winner of Scratch Pilot, MC competition at Green Door in Lansing, Michigan, and a finalist in the Michigan State University Poetry Slam Competition in 2012. He has been an opener for Detroit based rapper Invincible, and national touring poet Neil Hilborn. His work also allows him to run educational workshops in Everett New Tech High for programming, and another in poetry. By focusing on one school, he believes he can harness a better relationship with the school and students. Masaki holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media Arts and Technology from Michigan State University, and another Bachelor of Science from Davenport University in Computer Science.
For more information on Masaki & The Poetry Room visit:
Thursday, Sept. 5th –Saturday, Sept. 7th, 2019
REO Town - Lansing
(Lansing, MI) – The 2019 Threadbare Mitten Film Festival, aptly titled “Bright Lights, Big City”, will be the first time the festival will be within the city limits of Lansing. The festival, which started in Charlotte, MI in 2017, will be taking place in Lansing’s REO Town neighborhood Thursday, September 5th – Saturday, September 7th, and will feature sixty two selections from thirteen different countries, however a third of the selections will be films from Michigan. The festival will also feature two free community screening events, four feature films, and a multitude of Michigan, U.S., and World Premiers. Participating venues for the festival will be REO Town staples Blue Owl Coffee, Reo Town Pub, and The Robin Theatre. Limited Festival Passes are available for $25.00. For more information, & to purchase tickets, visit www.threadbarefilmfest.com.
The Threadbare Mitten Film Festival (TMFF) was created to fill the perceived gap in the Michigan festival circuit between traditional "independent" film festivals and horror/sci-fi "genre" festivals. “I wanted to create a home for the odd and eccentric films that were slipping through the cracks, yet still deserved an appreciative audience,” said Dan Kofoed, the festival’s founder and director. A celebration of genre cinema, the TMFF has been described as a grassroots, anti-genre, but all-genre film festival. The festival’s films can play straight to their genre, blend between genres, or fall entirely into the gap between. The festival prides itself on featuring films crafted with pure artistry. “I don't mind if an independent film is occasionally a little 'threadbare' and shows the seams of its budget,” says Kofoed. TMFF also has a dedication to featuring films made in Michigan, or films that are created by Michigan filmmakers.
Other than the films themselves, another thing that sets the Threadbare Mitten Film Festival apart is their thematic programming. “We offer both a selection of films, and presentation of those films that is distinct and coherent,” said Kofoed. “We program our festival so that the audience knows what they are buying a ticket to.” The festival is broken up into different program blocks, including Michigan Student Films, Documentaries, Short Comedies, Michigan Feature Films, and Surreal Short Films. Each program block is of a piece, telling a larger story through the films within it.
The move to REO Town for the third year was partly from neighborhood pride, and partly in search of the larger local audience that Kofoed feels these films deserve. “REO Town lets us recreate the ‘small town’ atmosphere we are known for, while providing all the amenities that being in Lansing has to offer.” The Threadbare Mitten Film Festival has a few traditions that they are bringing with them to REO Town which include free public screenings, jury and audience awards featuring local handcrafted trophies, and the Friday night Film.Craft.Beer Party.
For a full list of films, directors, programs, and the entire 2019 Threadbare Mitten Film Festival Schedule visit: www.threadbarefilmfest.com/2019tmff
Grace Carras is a spoken word poet from Midland, MI. The winner of the 2019 Mark Ritzenhein Emerging Poet Award, Grace holds two Bachelor of Arts Degrees from Michigan State University, one in Arts & Humanities, and the other in English. She has lead creative writing workshops at the Alden B. Dow Home & Studio, itself a National Historic Landmark, and currently runs a spoken word poetry workshop and performance for the Midland Center for the Arts. Finishing Line Press will be publishing her first book ‘Quiet Kid’ in 2020.
In 2018, her poem “for the poets who gather here” was selected by the Lansing Sidewalk Poetry Competition to be one of only eight poems etched in the foundation of Michigan’s Capital City. The poem will be a fixture in Lansing’s REO Town neighborhood for decades to come. Grace was a semifinalist in the 2018 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI), where she and her team achieved a Top 10 finish out of 64 universities represented. This was the first team from MSU to attend the invitational in over a decade.
She is a co-founder of The Poetry Room in Lansing, MI, where she was also co-host for two years. She has performed at prestigious Mid-Michigan performing venues including The Robin Theatre & The Loft. She has also been a featured performer for The Artist’s Umbrella, and has opened for distinguished poets such as Neil Hilborn & Olivia Gatwood. Grace has been featured on HOMTV & The Mike Bass Podcast, and in The State News, The Midland Daily News, Catalyst Midland, The Lansing City Pulse, and The Lansing State Journal.
For more information on Grace & her work visit:
The Artist’s Umbrella is a 21st Century Vaudeville Production & Variety Show featuring Mid-Michigan based artists & talent. Under the direction of Jeremy Hurt & Brandon Navin, the Artist’s Umbrella prides itself in creating community through providing a safe space where people from all walks of life can be authentic, transparent, and vulnerable while expressing their creativity.
Normally taking place at 7pm on the 4th Wednesday of the month at The Loft in downtown Lansing, MI, the show is an all ages event, however, the Artist’s Umbrella have given themselves a PG-13 rating. Being an artistic production, there may be some harsh language or adult topics not appropriate for children. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, and you can support your favorite Artist’s Umbrella performers & vendors by purchase your tickets directly from them.
The collection of artists you will see at The Artist’s Umbrella may include Musicians, Hula Hoop Artists, Comedians, Clowns, Writers, Poets, Break Dancers, Belly Dancers and Fred, a 77 year old tortoise who has taken the stage in an educational program by Preuss Pets. There is also a variety of vendors who you can purchase art from at the show including Cussing Carrie’s Creations to Lithic Creations by Ginger Designs. You just never know what's going to happen or what you are going to encounter under The Artist’s Umbrella.
For More Information on The Artist's Umbrella Visit:
Stephano Andreotti is a vocal performer, opera singer, actor, model, pianist, and independent pro-wrestler living on Long Island, New York. The protégé of world renowned vocal performer Kelly Nassief, Stephano has performed in operas, plays, and for film & television, including being featured by News 12 Long Island for his tour of Italy. He has performed various concerts across the United States and Europe, including at the Red River Lyric Opera, Spell Con, at the Castello Ristonchi in Pelago, Italy, and at the 2017 Cantamare in Palermo, Sicily.
Stephano is the 2017 winner of the Festival of Song USA Competition in Brooklyn, NY, and the winner of both the classical & musical theatre categories of the 2018 National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition. The Co-Owner of The Craft Crossroads & the Co-Host of the Spell Cast Podcast, Stephano also offers voice & piano classes throughout the Northeast.
In addition to his vast artistic prowess, Stephano is also a pro-wrestler on the independent circuit. He has wrestled for multiple wrestling promotions including Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), New York’s Impact Championship Wrestling (ICW) & Fight the World Wrestling (FTW).
For more information on Stephano & his work visit: www.facebook.com/stephanosound1/
Isabella J. Mansfield is an award winning, internationally acclaimed poet & author. A 2017 Brittany Noakes Award semi-finalist, a 2018 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest Finalist, and the 2018 winner of the prestigious Mark Ritzenhein New Author Award, is the author of 3 poetry books: 2014’s At Arm’s Length, 2015’s White Lies in Blue Ink, and 2019’s The Hollows of Bone, published by Finishing Line Press.
The second generation artist who was born in the suburbs of Chicago, and raised in the suburbs of Detroit has been featured in The State News & The Lansing State Journal. Her work has been featured by multiple publications including And So Yeah, Philosophical Idiot, Sad Girl Review, Capsule Stories, Augie’s Bookshelf, Politics/Letters "Car Poems," The Weekly Avocet, The Reverie Journal, The Prose Haiku Edition, The Rebel Mountain Press, and Berlin based The Wild Word.
Isabella has collaborated with PoetsIn, a non-profit that uses creative writing to help those with mental illness, and has performed on stage alongside various artists including the Lipstick Criminals Dance Company, and poets Lewis Harlock, Elise Wouters. She has performed her work throughout Michigan including at The Artist’s Umbrella at The Loft, and is featured regularly at The Poetry Room at The Robin Theatre. She has also performed throughout the United States, and internationally including at The Oberon Theatre in Cambridge, MA, and at Nambucca in London. She is currently the host of the Poetry Pour Over, an Open Mic in the outer suburbs of Metro Detroit. She lives in Howell, MI with her husband and son.
For more information on Isabella & her work visit: www.isabellamansfield.wixsite.com/poetry
Liudmila Bondar is an accomplished pianist who began playing at the age of 5. Trained in both the United States & Russia, Ms. Bondar has established herself as a highly regarded soloist, accompanist, chamber musician, educator & director, who has performed and taught throughout the United States & Internationally. She released her first album, “Evening Serenade”, a collaboration with bassist Ed Fedewa, in 2017. She currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Piano & Aural Skills at Lansing Community College, as well as an instructor at the MSU Community Music School. In addition to her current teaching positions, she has also served as a graduate assistant at MSU, an instructor at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, MI, and as an Assistant Professor at Krasnoyarsk State Institute of Fine Arts in Russia.
A longstanding member of Mid-Michigan’s classical music scene, Ms. Bondar is an active performer and educator who frequently performs at the Turner-Dodge House and was a featured artist in their commercial video production. She has performed alongside numerous acclaimed artists including the late Dimiti Hvorostovsky. Ms. Bondar has a vast classical repertoire, but is also well versed in the work of George Winston, Yiruma, and can play both light-jazz & jazz combos. In addition to her extensive solo performances, she has also performed as part of theatrical productions, choral groups & choirs.
Ms. Bondar received a 1st Degree Diploma in Church Music and Choir Conducting from the St. Petersburg Theological Academy in Russia, and has earned two Master’s Degrees, one from Krasnoyarsk State Institute of Fine Arts in Russia, and one in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy from Michigan State University.
Ms. Bondar has a passion for music, and enjoys sharing her knowledge & expertise with piano enthusiasts of all ages. She is available for both private piano lessons and to perform live music for a variety of special occasions.
For More Information on Liudmila Bondar and her work visit:
Edward R. Truitt, an accomplished choreographer and performer, is an associate professor of dance at West Texas A&M University, and is the former artistic director of the Lone Star Ballet Company in Amarillo, TX. Truitt, an internationally awarded choreographer and Fulbright Specialist, has over four decades of dance experience. His award winning work has been performed in multiple countries throughout Europe, Asia and North America.
He has performed principal and soloist roles professionally in some of the world’s most recognizable ballets including Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Swan Lake, and the Nutcracker. Truitt was a principal soloist with the Los Angeles Classical Ballet Company, Santa Barbara Ballet Theatre and Omaha Ballet Theatre. He has also performed in feature films, television, and the professional stage in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Moscow, and Paris.
Truitt, who holds a B.F.A. in Dance from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and an MFA in dance from the University of Oregon, has taught workshops and master classes at universities and dance companies throughout the United States, including at the American College Dance Festival, and the Northwest Drama Conference. His original ballet, Kinetic Ties, was awarded first place for best contemporary ballet and second place for best overall choreography at the Grand Prix Italia International Dance Festival in Cesena, Italy. He was also given the opportunity to set his work, Misguided Faith, on the esteemed Kannon Dance Company in St. Petersburg, Russia. Truitt has taken seven trips to Russia, teaching and presenting his choreography in Krasnoyarsk, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, and Moscow.
For More Information on Edward R. Truitt and his work visit:
Thank you to Audrey Matusz & The Lansing City Pulse for the wonderful article about Opportunity Arts' Artists' Networking Event at EagleMonk Pub & Brewery! Check out the article HERE, or click the image below.
In this episode we meet Mike Marriott from Peoria, Illinois who found is way to Lansing, Michigan by way of New York City and Long Island, New York. Partly because somewhere along the way he became a Detroit Lions fan. This will be an ongoing series about the arts & entertainment world, aka 'show business' and how it pertains to what's happening in Metro Lansing.
Brought to you by Lansing Made!
Lansing Made: Where Fun Is Found!
News about Opportunity Arts and it's Affiliates.
Seizing the Opportunity:
The Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center Becomes an Opportunity Arts Affiliate.
Seizing the Opportunity:
The Poetry Room with
Masaki Takahashi becomes
Opportunity Arts Affiliates.