SCRANTON — When Jess Meoni of West Scranton is on stage reading poetry at an open mic night, she’s strong enough to give it and strong enough to take it. But the 25-year-old realizes not all women have the initiative to do her thing alongside a largely male dominated infrastructure.
It’s mostly men who get up at open mic nights around here, Meoni said.
“I just wanted to see more women at the open mic nights,” she said when talking about her decision to create GRRRLS NIGHT, an all-female open mic opportunity to be held at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 31. The event will feature a dozen women reading poetry, performing music and making the crowd laugh at Ale Mary’s in Scranton.
The event is not a giant stand against men, said Meoni. She hopes men will be there to enjoy the performances.
“I just feel girls will feel more invited to get up there if they see ‘GRRRLS NIGHT’ as opposed to a regular open mic night,” Meoni said. “I’ve been to a lot of open mic nights and I’ve thought, ‘Where are the women?’ I know that’s not exactly the guys’ fault. It’s not like they’re saying, ‘Don’t go up there.’ The women just don’t go up there. I organized this event because I want women to feel comfortable and invited to perform at an open mic night.”
Jill Chiaro of Gouldsboro will be performing comedy — and she wholeheartedly appreciates the all-female lineup. The 19-year-old said women are often targeted and harassed by male comics and promoters at open mic nights.
Chiaro remembers performing one night when her mother was in the audience and was mistreated by a male comic. “My mother can take a joke, but one of the comedians looked at her and said in front of the entire crowd, ‘I bet after tonight you wish Jill were aborted,’” she said. “This kind of nonsense shouldn’t be tolerated. There are many comedians in this area that are being offensive in hopes it will be funny; making many female audience members uncomfortable.”
Chiaro said she prefers to use comedy as a way of self expression. “Comedy should take the drama and trouble that goes on within daily life and make people feel better about something. People like to go to shows to have a good time. There shouldn’t be a situation where you feel just as mad as when you came in. You should laugh and feel better,” she said.
Still, Chiaro insists the show is not about “splitting the genders.” She hopes the good vibes from the night will ultimately help everyone come together for a great time.
Reach Justin at 570.991.6652
IF YOU GO
What: GRRRLS NIGHT
When: 8 p.m. on Friday, July 31
Where: Ale Mary’s in Scranton
Expect: An all-female line-up of poetry, music and comedy