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Blacklist Coffeehouse and Open Mic

The undergraduate literature and arts journal Blacklist celebrated the release of their second volume this year with an open microphone event at Chum’s on April 24.

Blacklist has undergone major changes this year. “We basically changed everything,” said managing editor Tiana Murrieta ’19. The publication had existed under the title “Where the Children Play” since 1994 before rebranding as “Blacklist” last semester.

Blacklist also transitioned from a magazine to a paperback, fully bound journal and went national, expanding its submission base from Brandeis students to any undergraduate in North America.

“We got to reach out to more schools and get more submissions,” Murrieta said of their work during the spring semester. “We’re more hitting our stride now.”

According to assistant editor Nyomi White ’20, there are also considerations to expand the journal online to allow for more digital media, including video and music, to be submitted.

The event itself began with free food and complimentary copies of Blacklist Volume 2 for everyone in attendance. A journal of literature and art, the book contains poetry, short stories, artwork and photography submitted by college students across the nation. Contributors come from as close as Brandeis and as far as the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

To kick off the event, Murrieta and poetry editor, Sumner Alperin-Lea ’18, gave a brief introduction. They served as M.C.s for the evening, where Brandeis students were given the chance to read original poetry, perform slam poems and play music.

Events like these are “really just about creating a community around our journal,” Murrieta said, “so that one, people feel more comfortable interacting with us, but also so that people have an outlet for their creativity.”

White added some light-hearted comedy to the evening with a dramatic reading about fandom discourse, as well as several poetic variations on the “i lik the bred” meme.

Linfei Yang ’20 performed his poem, “Invertebrate”—featured in the new issue Blacklist—bringing the work’s intriguing visual structure to life. Many of the other performers were not published in the journal, but instead took advantage of the casual, friendly atmosphere of the open mic event.

One such group was an as yet unnamed band introduced as “Big Mystery.” With Nic Neves ’20 on keyboard, Jonathan Aiyathurai ’21 on saxophone, Elias Trout ’21 on trumpet and Max Halpern ’20 on the drums, these four musicians were one of the highlights of the night, playing a bit of jazz amidst the poetry and spoken word.

Alperin-Lea said he is glad to provide a space for musicians as well as writers to perform, saying, “We often bemoan that we can’t publish songs in print. If we could publish an entire song in print, we would, but that’s why we also like to have musical acts at the open mic.”

The open mic provided an impressive display of the artistic talent in the Brandeis student body. Blacklist will continue to publish their journal and host events at Brandeis in the fall, promoting a space for artists to create and share their work.

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