Bloc 11: Café Society with an Open Mic

On January 4, 2010, in Latest News, by The News Staff


By Doug Holder
Off The Shelf

I am a regular of the cafes in my home turf of Union Square,
Somerville. I try to alternate between the unpretentious home of the
oatmeal scone at Sherman, and the sleek, hip environs of Bloc 11. For
some reason I prefer to have my bagels at Bloc 11 (with my supplement
of pickled herring) and keep to the baked goods at Sherman. Years ago I
had a poetry reading at the Sherman Café, and now I noticed that Bloc
11 on Bow St. has an open mic every Thursday night from 6PM to 9PM for
musicians, singers and even poets. On Wednesday nights they have
featured musicians play such as: Audrey Ryan, "Quill," and Somerville
resident Jennifer Greer. A press release states:

"This all ages,
weekly series will provide a house guitar, keyboard and PA system,
along with the chance to play 2 songs for peers and fans alike. This
series will give back as much as it receives from performers. Never
charging a cover, offering a free podcast of each performance, plus a
video recording, steaming online and on Somerville Community Access
Television (SCAT).

Sponsored by Rockin Bobs Guitars and
Performer Magazine, those who shine at the Bloc 11's Open Mic can win
free musical gear and an ad in Performer- a national music publication.

Hosted by local indie-rocker Kristen Ford, this Thursday night series is meant to foster community among musicians.

is so much we can learn from each other, musically and professionally.
With so few all ages venues in the city- it's a shame to ostracize so
many up and comers because of liquor sales. It's not right to expect a
starving artist to pay a cover, and buy drinks just for the opportunity
to play. The open mic at Bloc 11 is open to all ages, all genders, all
ability levels and all income brackets. We just ask that you come to
play and listen. Those who join in have the opportunity to network, be
considered for a full set on our Wednesday night acoustic series, plus
the chance for national exposure with Performer Magazine.'

Ford's open mindedness has rubbed off in the first few weeks yielding
memorable performances across genres, ages and genders. With initial
open mics packed- one can only assume great things are to come for Bloc
11 Cafe's open mic night, and for the players who fill it.

Bloc 11 Cafe Open Mic series will be every Thursday, starting January
7th 2010. Sign up is from 5-6pm with music 6-9pm. Open to all styles of
music, spoken word and performance, Bloc 11's open mic night is only
missing one thing- your performance."

I had the chance to talk
the founder of this spanking new enterprise Kristine Ford, who hails
from Aldersey Street in Somerville. Ford is an employee of Bloc 11, an
aspiring musician, and grew up in Western, Mass. She attended college
in Chicago, and eventually moved to Somerville. Like any artist she
needed a steady job to keep the income flowing, and allow her to follow
her avocation. Bloc 11 has proven to be haven for her. She makes a
living (and a pretty mean bagel with tomatoes, onions, and butter on
the side) and works with other young artists with gigs outside of their
job. Megan Brideau, for instance, is a smiling and welcoming presence
behind the counter as well as the curator of art exhibits at Bloc 11.
Presently her own provocative work is on display, but she has exhibited
many other local artists.

Ford said he recently navigated the
dangerous shoals of city government to get an entertainment license. I
asked this vivacious guitarist where one could hear her play: She said:

"I've been around town: The Toad, Burren in Davis Square, the Lizard Lounge, and, well of course– Bloc 11."

***Bloc 11 Café is located at 11 Bow Street, Union Square in Somerville, MA 02143 РPh: 617-623-0000; W:; Open 7 days, 7am-9pm Open Mic Thursdays sign up at 5, music 6-9pm.

Lyrical Somerville edited by Doug Holder
G. O'Neil has the perfect name for this month. She is also a local poet
and a member of Somerville's Bagel Bards. She was recently featured in
Poets and Writers Magazine. She has a new collection of poetry
out—here is what the press release says:

"In her debut
collection of poems, UNDERLIFE (CavanKerry Press; December 2009;
$16.00, paperback), January Gill O'Neil probes what she calls the
"strange and beautiful underlife," those emotional truths that reside
beneath the respectable patina of our public lives. Employing a
visceral honesty and a tangible, feverish idiom, O'Neil excavates her
childhood and delves into adult experiences as woman, wife, and mother,
exploring where she has come from and where she has landed."

decided to include a poem from her collection. To have your work
considered for the LYRICAL, send it to: Doug Holder 25 School St.
Somerville, Mass. 02143 or email:

Nothing Fancy

I am from hush puppies & barbecue

from chitlins & fatbacks

hog maws & hog jaws & grits & scrapple.

Outside stands a dogwood tree we have let

overgrow from laziness

& a driveway cracked

with blades of grass.

I am from Rosemary & Stanley,

the last model in the series.

Around our house honeysuckle blesses the air,

seasons the heat of summer into a main dish.

I am a plum black garnish to the day.

Wafts of smoke from pots on the stove

steam the kitchen.

Salt & Pepper stand at attention

next to the potholders on the counter.

Dinner is ready-no time for parsley.


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