Evolution Dopen Mic
Evolution Dopen Mic is the flagship show of EvoluCulture Ventures, and the 2nd longest running active open mic event in Newark, NJ. It is currently held on the third Saturday of each month during a 9-month season at Divino Tasting Room (28 Maiden Lane, Newark, NJ, 07102).
Evolution includes a 10-slot open mic list for poets, singers, emcees and more to share, as well as an EvoluGame, where audience memebers compete for prizes in lip sync battles, dance offs, freestyle sessions, etc.
Each night also has a feature, whom we call ASCENDED ARTISTS: Those who are elite in craftsmanship of poetry, hip hop, R&B, and more. Past features of Evolution Dopen Mic include Leah Jenea (FOX’s the Four: Battle for Stardom); D-Black (Orange is the New Black); Dr. Helena D.Lewis (HBO’s Def Poetry and the AUDECLO award-winning Call me Crazy: Diary of a Mad Social Worker); Jasmine Mans (HBO’s Brave New Voices); Thomas Tre G. Gilbert (Lexus’ Verses and Flow); Siaara Freeman(Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate); RADI (2022 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion); the IZM. (Award winner for Best Dark Themed Short at The Artists Forum Festival); and the late Breya BlkberryMollassz Knight.
The Euphony (Featured Poet/Singer/Emcee, May 2019)
As the years past, the need changed: artists and art lovers needed and deserved an experience beyond the open mic list, but with that came cost. January to March of 2015 saw one night of the weekly open mic turn into the ASCENDED ARTISTS SERIES, which were headlined by featured artists that were paid for their time and craft. Poet and Actor Shaheed K. Woods would be the first Ascended Artist in EvoluCulture history.
When the Coffee Cave closed in April 2015 and the show was moved next door to Burger Walla, the tradition of Ascended Artists would continue as a part of Evolution itself, as oppose to to a separate show. A $5 cover charge would be implemented to keep this going, and only went up to $10 out of post-pandemic need years later.
Other venues to host the Dopen Mic include the Gallery 211, an extension of Doitall Kelly’s 211 Media Group; Mocha Lounge; Express Newark; the Cryout Cave, the only venue to host the show for a full calendar year before 2020; and Divino, our current venue.
As the years passed, Evolution changed its schedule to where it’s now once a month, further insuring a quality experience for all who attend. With the mission of EovluCulture in mind, Evolution Dopen Mic is more than a show: it is a home, with fellow artists and art lovers to learn from, as well as where their first poem, song, dance, etc. was shared.