Writers and artists, including both students and faculty, gathered to express themselves through poetry, prose, spoken word or music Wednesday night on April 20.
Katelyn Hall, the editor-in-chief of Livewire Journal, gave a brief introduction on what LiveWire is all about and paid tribute to faculty advisor, Amanda Walzer.
“Amanda became my mentor, inspiration and second mother. She taught me the importance of a well-placed comma, the strength in a sentence that doesn’t give too much away and why to avoid clichés,” Hall said.
She continued on how Walzer especially impacted this open mic night.
“Because of her, our readers are invited to stay up all night with us, traverse the border and feel the wind. Because of her, you may find yourself exploring the seashore, the Afghan desert and a drug store bathroom. You will connect to characters whose lives will change forever in just a moment, the length of a breath, a phone call, a few words, a pregnancy test,” Hall said.
The night continued with about 25 performers.
While some spoke of lighthearted topics regarding staying youthful, love, dreams and baby sea lions, others recited poems associated with watching friends die during war, kicking drug habits, losing a pet/family member/virginity, suicide and abortion.
LiveWire showcased nine pieces of art that accommodated poetry and were available for purchase.
Featured artists were Patrick Quirk (“Border Blessings”), Lin Greene (“diurnal”, “Waiting for My Friends to Die”, “Baby”, “The Vigil”), Marlon Rizo (“Unsprouted”, “Dreams From The Office Floor”, “The Wind”) and Lainey LaRosa (“Discography”).
Writers of the selected works included Victor Mendoza, Jessie Bullard, Zachary Kam, Katelyn Hall, Nadine Arndt, Haley Russo, Julian Babad, Christin Caparas and Brittany Dani West.
This spring issue of LiveWire was dedicated to Amanda Walzer.
Kasondra Perez, English major, was one of the performers who spoke Wednesday night. She has been writing since she was 14 years old and channeled her losses through writing three pieces she recited.
“All the pieces are connected through some sense of loss,” Perez said.
Her pieces were non-fiction or inspired off true events that had happened following her grandfather’s passing.
Ivan Panuco, business major, has enjoyed writing most of his life but started taking it more seriously after taking a class with Walzer two years ago. He explained why he chose to recite his piece, “Another Horrible Person”.
“I had no plans of finishing it…” Panuco said.
He wrote another piece for the previous open mic show and figured he would come back to “Another Horrible Person” later on.
Walzer spent time with Panuco on how to brainstorm the piece and finish it since she saw potential in his poem.
He continued, “I did it for Amanda.”
When asked how long she had been writing, Katelyn Hall answered, “How long have I been breathing?”
She laughed and responded, “Since I had a personality.”
Hall reflected on her memories as a young writer and how she began writing skits for her siblings while she was in the 4th grade.
Since she is the editor-in-chief of Livewire, Walzer wanted her to be speaker for the night at this open mic although she was adamant on not wanting to.
“I feel like I have gained so many skills,” Hall said when describing what kind of effect LiveWire has had on her educational experience.
She wasn’t the only one who performed Wednesday night for Walzer.
English instructor Miguel Powers doesn’t see himself as much of a writer, but a storyteller instead. His story was about his father, a workaholic who his father’s friend referred to as a rat (from a psychological standpoint, of course).
Walzer tried to get Powers to speak at the open mic nights before, but he never saw himself fit for the event.
Powers mentioned how his performance was “also inspired by Amanda” and how much of a positive impact she made on those around her.
“She [Walzer] saw they could be better versions of themselves…I think all teachers should aspire to be like that,” Powers said.