Taylor Swift mashups. Original raps about Italian delicacies. Beatbox battles. Sorcery by a man simply known as “Magic Joe”. All of these and more are the norm at the Jasper Lounge Coffee House.
The most recent Coffee House took place this past Thursday, Feb. 23 at 8:30 p.m. Erin Plitt was one of the two organizers of the event.
“We basically set it up, are responsible for advertising, getting the food, stuff like that,” she said.
Coffee House started as an event sponsored by Manhattan Magazine to serve as a platform for the works of unpublished poets.
“It was originally designed for people who wanted to get poetry published but weren’t able to, so that they could come and kind of still express their art here,” said Plitt. “We run it, but it’s Manhattan Magazine’s thing.
Little by little, Coffee House expanded beyond poets and flourished, growing into the creative platform it is now known for.
Throughout the evening Manhattan College students relaxed, sipped coffee, did homework and listened to their talented peers perform in Jasper Hall lounge.
Despite the encouraging atmosphere, not everyone remained optimistic about their performance abilities. Freshman Patrick Journick, a guitarist and Coffee House rookie, was less than self-assured.
“This will be a disaster. Let’s not celebrate too early now, folks,” said Journick, moments before his performance.
Journick’s low expectations were unmet, as he brought down the house with his cover of “I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie.
Especially moving was junior David Cartolano’s guitar performance which he dedicated to a friend of his that recently passed away. Cartolano ultimately decided to perform a cover of the classic Leonard Cohen’s ballad “Hallelujah”.
“I picked that song because it’s got a little bit of a religious tone within a secular connotation, so hopefully he’s hearing it somewhere,” he said.
Cartolano also provided backup vocals for a few other performers, including a preview of an Abbey Road concert scheduled for later this spring.
But Coffee House is not just for the musically or poetically inclined student. Some students performed acts involving stand-up comedy, magic tricks and slam poetry that parodied slam poetry.
In rare cases, musical and non-musical performances will combine, which was prevalent in a surprise visit and performance from members of the college’s improv group, Scatterbomb. One of the members, Will Lamparelli, also performed some original comedy later in the evening.
Diversity of talent is always encouraged in the Jasper Hall lounge, and no matter the creative outlet, anyone is welcome to take the mic at any time.
“I enjoy the whole thing, like allowing people to have kind of an outlet, and like the community that kind of forms around it, because there’s a lot of the same people that come and we definitely want to expand it,” Plitt said. “I like giving people that kind of outlet.”