Free to be whoever you are

CourtesyLanie Goodwin gets ready to sing “You Don’t Own Me,” while Joshua Bushueff manages the sound system at the Claremont Makerspace.

CLAREMONT—It was open mic night for Rural Outright at Claremont Makerspace Tuesday night, where a dozen or so people gathered to tell stories, read poems, play guitar and ukulele and generally entertain one another.

The upstairs gallery at the makerspace looks out over all the work spaces. Setting sunlight glanced in the sawtooth building’s windows, and occasionally the noise of tools humming downstairs broke in on the readings.

“My life has been pretty chaotic over the last several years,” says one teller, settling herself on the stool in front of the mic. Ten minutes later, everyone is clapping at her story of the tree, “Wanda” who became a living symbol for her family of how to persevere through life’s hard knocks.

Organizer Matt Mooshian said the open mic night started last winter, but the organization was busy getting ready for Pride Day and hasn’t had an open mic night since March. From now on, they’ll be on the third Tuesday of the month.

“The makerspace is just the best place,” said Mooshian. “It works.”

The openness of the space, combined with all the interesting art on the walls and the atmosphere of people making stuff on the floor below, meshes with Rural Outright’s mission of providing a safe space for LGBTQ youth. Those attending the open mic ranged from (naturally) white-haired to youngsters in their early teens.

“That’s what it’s all about,” said Mooshian. “We’re here for them.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.
Allow up to 24 hours for comment approval.