The MultiCultural Center does not know exactly what this month’s Another Type of Groove (ATOG) featured performer will do. But they do know Darnell Davenport Jr., “Mr. Poetic,” will base a lot of his performance on the audience.
“Mr. Poetic really feeds off of what the audience has to say and how they react,” said Josue Urrutia, student coordinator of this month’s ATOG.
Davenport made his Cal Poly debut at ATOG in December 2008 when he opened up for friend and featured poet Javon Johnson.
“He is a fluid and electric spoken word poet,” said Urrutia, who selected Davenport because of last December’s performance.
The audience’s positive response and feedback to his previous pieces made Davenport a contender and now headliner for this month’s ATOG.
“He’s young, up and coming, and close to all of the students’ ages and that will give the audience a sense of empowerment and belonging,” said Melody Shirazi, assistant coordinator of the MultiCultural Programs and Pride Center.
The MultiCultural Center’s goal for ATOG is to create a sense of true home space, a place where audience members and open mic poets feel related and comfortable.
The mission of every MultiCultural Center event is to represent and celebrate the diversity of the student body, according the center’s Web site. Comfort with diversity is a theme of ATOG achieved by provoking thought and respect towards the poets.
“Every month is a little bit different, each poet is really unique has their own style and energy on stage,” Shirazi said.
While October’s ATOG featured Tomas Riley, a recognized Chicano spoken word poet, the MultiCultural Center went in a new direction by selecting a younger, more audience-centered poet like Mr. Poetic.
“He’s pretty big on jokes and incorporates them to make everyone feel at ease and at home,” Urrutia said.
In addition to Davenport’s performance, ATOG will feature an open mic session, intermission and a DJ in Chumash Auditorium from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
Sophomore industrial engineer Megan McIntyre says open mic provides the opportunity for self-expression and learning.
“People want this outlet, want to express their ideas and opinions and learn more about life and how it’s interpreted,” McIntyre said.