Home opened for creative expression

Home opened for creative expression

Martin Chang

Alexandra Ortiz, left, performs a spoken word piece while Ezekiel Hughes plays along.

Martin Chang, Editor in Chief

People are invited to the personal home of LisaAnn Lobasso to celebrate the magic of poetry, art and song. She calls this place in her home Nx Cafe.

One of these celebrations is The Speakeasy. People with a song to sing and a poem to hear are given a platform to say what is in their heart.

Alexandra Ortiz planned The Speakeasy.

She wants it to be a place any artist can express himself or herself.

“[I want The Speakeasy to be] a place where anyone at any level can express themselves,” she said. “[I want] to have a place to let it out, for them to try out a new song if they just wrote one, or for more seasoned artists to have a time to perform in a more informal setting.”

With it’s turned down lights and laid back atmosphere, The Speakeasy is a place for artists, poets and fans of art and poetry, to appreciate these expressions in a place where people can be comfortable to say and hear what an artist has to say.

Beatrice Boswell has been writing poetry since she was 11. She read poetry and participated in the art show called Blank Gone Wild at The Speakeasy.  She said that her poetry is more “personal” and her art expresses “her beliefs about the world.”

Boswell likes the vibe at The Speakeasy.

“It’s in a home, so it’s like a home. It’s a family. It’s fulfilling,” she said. “You really get to see the audience and you really get to see the look on their face. You get to hear the audible gasps if you read something that is really confessional. This whole place is organic. It feels like a living breathing thing.”

Brittany Koenig is a returning as a Bakersfield College student after a 10-year break. She has been to The Speakeasy several times. She finds Nx cafe and creative celebrations like The Speakeasy to be a place where she can truly be herself.

“I love everything about here. It’s just comfortable. You are fine with yourself anywhere, but here everyone is fine with you too,” Koenig said.

“Even if people are yelling at each other, it’s still comfortable. You have the room to yell if you need to and realize that you’re just a person, and tomorrow you’re just the same person but you get to be human here without worrying about society.”

Koenig doesn’t feel quite as outgoing or expressive as artists like Boswell, but despite this she feels like this is a place to express yourself and let loose.

“For those of us that care a little bit [about how people judge.] It’s like here you don’t have to care.”

Eli and The Soundcult, a band that now comes from San Diego, played the Speakeasy on March 8th. The lead singer, Elijah Jenkins, grew up in Bakersfield but has not been back for ten years. He had this to say about coming back.

“It’s as weird as coming back to any home town. It nice to see and play music for old friends,” he said.

Eli and The Soundcult are on a tour of house shows, but they have been playing houses with a more party atmosphere than The Speakeasy.

Jenkins still enjoys playing The Speakeasy.

“It’s nice to play to new people and other artists,” Jenkins said. “I think there’s a certain appreciation not just for the product but the effort that goes into it.  Artists understand the process.  This group looked at everything that we’ve been working on, a group that looks at all the stuff we hauled down and how long we drove down to play and maybe appreciates the effort a little bit more. Any appreciation is nice.”