OneMicStand is blooming in Kansas City

Almost every Thursday, OneMicStand packs the Ethiopian restaurant, Awaze, to the brim for music, poetry and visual art.

This event is provided for local artists to get their face and sound out to people with similar interests. OneMicStand is predominantly, but not exclusively, a minority or person-of-color event.

It is hosted weekly by a rotating list of hosts who are interested in exposing great vocal, visual and spoken word artists to the Kansas City area. The last show of August was hosted by Christopher Dominique Caraballo, also known by his stage name “Dirty Dom” or “Digital Dom.”

“OneMicStand brings people together,” Caraballo said. “It allows people to feel safe to be themselves.”

Awaze provides a chill vibe with art-covered walls, a darkened room and a colored spotlight on the performing artist. There are chairs arranged in rows close to the stage, but tables and chairs toward the back of the restaurant reduce the constraints and pressure of the room.

The audience is supportive of everyone who graces the stage, no matter their skill level or art being displayed. They stay quiet through performances, and when they don’t, there are those who, respectfully or not, quiet them down.

Every week, OneMicStand brings a local visual artist to set up and sell some of their products at Awaze. Though there isn’t much chance to check them out during the performances, most of the audience makes it a point to see what the weekly visual artist has to offer before or after the event, or even during intermission.

Speaking of intermission, it’s a perfect time to interact with everyone in the room, connecting through the shared interests that draw people to the event. Many use this time to also get food, as Awaze provides great Ethiopian food throughout most of the event.

Every month, they attempt to host a “OneMicStand Unplugged.” This event isn’t meant to be an open mic, but can be. It’s meant to be a gathering event for all of those who go to OneMicStand normally. Usually hosted at Loose Park instead of Awaze, everyone brings their own blankets, food and drinks and enjoys one another’s company. The connections built among everyone are too strong to contain them to just one event every week.

“Unplugged connects everyone,” Caballo said. “It feels like going to a family cookout.”

Follow OneMicStand on Facebook and Instagram to find more information and stay updated on events.

cnpzxf@mail.umkc.edu

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