“You’ve never relented before and won’t even now,” recites a guy standing under florescent lights. He’s dressed head to toe in black and sports a faux-hawk that’s just visible in front of the painted backdrop of outsider art. Fellow slammers snap fingers and shout random words of praise from the back of the room.
Jorge Lara’s poetic sentiment about not quitting could just as well describe the venue he’s reading his work in. Reclaimed Art Suppliez and Community Art Exchange serves creative types without a studio by offering in-store crafting and selling local art and supplies. Unsurprisingly, community doesn’t always pay. Reclaimed is another Downtown business under threat. But most people are surprised to learn that it has been open as long as it has—about a year and a half.
The Human Experience’s all-ages open mic night gives you some insight into how: The “community” part of the shop’s name isn’t just tacked on. The small storefront is packed with people from all walks of life—teenagers with black eyeliner, friendly looking middle-aged men, women with septum piercings, restless kids and hippie ladies with long, flowing skirts. Although the crowd is probably a lot larger than Reclaimed draws for “creation station” sessions on an average shopping day, you get the impression that this isn’t the first time these people have been here.
Open mics can be treacherous, where you end up feeling bad for the performers instead of entertained. But with everything from poetry by the head of the Las Vegas Poets Organization to the hypnotic melodies of an electric xylophone to the early-PJ Harvey sound of girl rock band Mild Amnesia, performers earn loud and consistent applause from the jam-packed room.
By the time the guy from Open Arms Domes, who’s building an earthship in town, gets up to say they’ll be donating money to the space for volunteer hours, most of the normally snarky people there are too far gone to be cynical. Reclaimed’s doors might not stay open, but it won’t be because it’s not a real community with really talented members. As it turns out, that kind of beautiful does pay.
Human Experience All-Ages Open Mic Every 2nd and 4th Friday, 6-10 p.m. (sign up 6:30 p.m.), free. Reclaimed Art Suppliez, 1114 S. Casino Center Blvd., 702-678-6089.