Everyone has a story, but some of us are blessed with the ability to convey it beautifully. Edwin Sheppard, founder of Blooming Rose Promotions and Entertainment, and business partner Jerris "Quickthepoet" Evans, invite you to lend an ear to some of the world's most articulate poets, including three-time Poetry Slam champion Steve Shell.
"Expect to be inspired," says Sheppard about Miami's newest spoken word venue, The Spotlight. With no genre or formula, the creators have established a fluid space where people can discuss real issues and express themselves freely.
Opening night on October 6 will be the first showcase of many to be repeated every first and third Monday of the month. Nestled within the Moonchine Asian Bistro is an intimate lounge that will host a diverse lineup of entertaining artists and poets when doors open at 6 p.m.
"It has a real sexy and relaxed ambience, and a little Asian influence, too," says Sheppard. The lounge accommodates between 75 and 100 people, and admission costs $10.
The Spotlight's host, Arsimmer McCoy, is an experienced entertainer, actress, singer, and songwriter. Proud to be part of what she labels a universal artistry, she believes the most important aspect of self-expression is noticing the way it affects other people.
"Because who knows, whatever you're saying, somebody else could be feeling or thinking, and they just need to know they're not the only one," McCoy says. "Sometimes it'll make you shout, sometimes it'll make you cuss, and the great thing about spoken word events is you can do all of that."
As she's soon to marry local poet Calvin "MadeS.O.N" Early, the show represents something close to her heart. Early is the host for another Blooming Rose project, "Real Talk, Real People."
"His love for this art is why I want to do it so much because he's instilled it in me," McCoy says. "He brings out so many things, so many issues, and puts it into art, and it's like, how'd he do that? How did he make art out of such a bad situation? Things that we cry about. He takes it and makes it something beautiful, and gives it clarity and positivity."
Having experienced their own struggles, it is the belief of Blooming Rose that words can bring both comfort and courage; the profound sense of understanding that you can face what happens next, regardless of what that may be.
"There was a period of time when I was not doing anything...I was down," says McCoy, who found the inspiration she needed while watching to her favorite poet, Sunni Patterson, perform. "So when I think about how busy I am now, I say to myself, remember where you were, remember your little girl and how she has asthma and coughs until her eyes are watering, and still will run around the house and want to play Frozen with you. You know, remember that. And if she can bend through it, you can bend through it."
Blooming Rose will recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month on with its show on October 20.
"We are gearing for a very phenomenal follow-up show," says Sheppard. "We're actually flying in a very special young lady from Atlanta, Georgia, to speak on breast cancer awareness... She's inspired a lot of people and we're happy to bring her down. She hasn't spoken at any engagement, so our show will be the first."
Their new venue promises poets from around the U.S., as well as international talent, which the team says offers a wealth of diversity and variety. While previous stage experience isn't required, they do want potential performers to bring their charisma and A game.
"We've had some amazing people who were brand new that we actually allowed to get on stage, and it was magical," says Richard Milhomme, primary advisor to Blooming Rose.
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Other Blooming Rose shows include "Real Talk Atlanta," hosted by C. Davis, and Sunset Rewind, hosted by Jerris "Quickthepoet" Evans. The Miami based company is named after Sheppard's mother, Rose B. Sheppard, who sadly passed away on his birthday, November 24.
"I honor my mother on every show that I do by handing out 24 roses to the first 24 women that walk in the door," he says.
The Spotlight is looking for poets and performers. Auditions can be lined up by contacting Edwin Sheppard at 305-975-1797.