Ugly Mug Madhouse event celebrates 1 year


Those who have not yet been down to The Ugly Mug Café and Roastery for their monthly Madhouse event have been missing out.

The Madhouse events are held the last Friday of every month, and the latest one, held on Friday, Sept. 29, was the celebration of the event’s one year anniversary. The line-up included seven different performances including poetry and live music.

The Ugly Mug, located at 317 W. Cross St. here in Ypsilanti, is the perfect location for the event, complete with bright blue turquoise walls covered in art and collectibles along with Jesus statues all around the building. It has a rustic, modernistic vibe perfect for art junkies, as well as great coffee.

Leo Jarret, the event coordinator and leader of the Madhouse Poetry Society, said the events cover a wide spectrum of poetry, music and art, and they’re hoping to expand the event further. Jarret said he likes that the events “have a carnivalistic feel to them” and they’re open to anyone.

Friday night’s line up started out with Vince Matthews on his sitar playing a bit of indie rock. He is a local musician trying to promote his music and gather listeners. After Matthews’ performance came Angela Nichols, a writer and poet who has her own radio station segment. She performed what she calls romantic-comedy poetry and read a few short poems along with an excerpt from the latest novel she has been working on.

Kody Jon Klein hit the stage next playing his guitar and singing songs from what he calls “Goodbye Kody.” Klein is a journalism student from Eastern Michigan University and has his own unique style when it comes to music. Kayla Marie Williams went next, reading a few of her own poetry items. She read an essay that has a sound like “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones.

However, Jarret stole the show with his poetry. He got on the microphone and spoke with passion and words that flowed together so perfectly that led to a great show. He read a poem that some have heard before titled “We Closed Down Early Baby Like a Small Town Bar on a Sunday Night.”

Sarah Smarch, a professor at EMU in the creative writing department, went after Jarret, reading some of her poetry that showed off her creative style. Ray Swaney closed the show, also performing poetry that felt almost like story telling. All of the performers, whether musicians or poets, truly sold who they are as artists.

The Madhouse event is in a warming environment that indulges all senses, and it is a lot of fun to attend. Each event is never the same, with different performers and all kinds of work within music, poetry and art. All music genres are welcome alongside the poetic field. Live art of various kinds are also constructed during the event. There is so much to see, learn and love at an event like this.

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