The University of Rhode Island’s student-run, coffee shop, 193 Degrees Coffeehouse, is known for hosting a wide variety of events to help students explore their creative side.
In particular, the coffee shop, located at the very end of the hall of the second floor in the Memorial Union, specializes in open mic nights where students can sing, play an instrument, read poetry aloud and do just about anything.
On Feb. 25, 193 Degrees Coffeehouse paid tribute to the late David Bowie, an iconic pop-rock singer that recently passed away after battling cancer. The very first open mic night of the semester was dedicated to the star. Aside from music, Bowie was also known for his fashion sense, and the fact that he often challenged gender roles with his clothing. Many students dressed up in outfits inspired by him, wearing shimmering glittery face paint.
Every performer was highly encouraged to play at least one song by David Bowie. In fact, Jarrod Hol, one of the employees of the coffee shop, opened the night by announcing that any performer who was not playing a Bowie song had to begin their performance by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, however replacing the word God with Bowie’s name. At first, the audience thought this was nothing more than a joke, until five performers ended up reciting the pledge using David Bowie by the end of the night.
The calm atmosphere of the coffeehouse allowed for a wide range of performances. With an array of red, yellow and blue lights, each performer was illuminated in a spectrum of color. The night began with a flautist’s rendition of Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. Others played acoustic versions of different Bowie songs with their guitars. One student happened to perform using a saw as an instrument, leaving every person in the audience jaw-dropped.
Adriana Cancelliere, a URI sophomore who frequents the coffeehouse, told the story behind the song she was performing, titled “Andy Warhol”.
“Bowie was friends with Andy,” Cancelliere began, “And he performed this song for him. Bowie asked how he felt about the song, to which Andy ended up changing the subject entirely. Instead of commenting on the song, he said that he liked Bowie’s shoes. But hey, I like the song!” She strummed her guitar rhythmically, singing each lyric like a sweet lullaby.
Although the night was dedicated to Bowie, many performed poems and songs of their own creation. One student recited his own poem titled “Hey You”, while another sang a hilarious self-produced song about smelling a person’s body odor. Some audience members even decided to perform on impulse after having come to the event with the intention of only watching. One of the staff members decided to recite “Single Ladies” by BeyoncÃ©, while another audience member hysterically danced behind him for the full crowd.
Victoria Siharath, a junior textiles, fashion Merchandising and design major, described her experience at the tribute last Thursday.
“The coffeehouse always makes everyone feel at home and comfortable,” Siharath said. “The performances were hilarious and fun!”
193 Degrees Coffeehouse is open Monday through Thursday Â from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., and 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Fridays. open mic nights usually occur every other Thursday, starting around 7 p.m.