The hipster feel is so homegrown amongst this group of tight knit friends that constitute the club that before SOMA's most recent open mic night began, a guy from the audience observed, "I think 90% of the skinny jeans in State College are in this room right now! Not that I'm judging. I mean, hey, I have skinny jeans too." He looked down at his own pants longingly, almost wishing he had toted out his skinny jeans for the occasion.
Enter the Valentine's Day themed open mic night coupled with a "Find your SOMAte" date auction, together deemed Sloppy Seconds. One of the emcees for the evening, Sam Hopkins, told the audience that SOMA's annual Valentine's Day open mic night/date auction usually rakes in big bucks for the club. With SOMA's main event a little over a month away (this year's Arts Crawl will run on March 30th), some fundraising was definitely in order.
Performers could sign up separately for the two halves of Sloppy Seconds. In between the many performances - so many guitars and so many amps! Again reminding me of their close knit hipster-ness when Devin William Daniels took to the stage and realized he dropped his pick: "Can someone get me a pick? I know someone else has got to have a pick in this place!" - the people who signed up for the date auction with snarky personal ads sold themselves in the name of art. The typical bid was $5. For the majority of the night, I watched the winners claim their dates with a handshake and a rose. Everyone treated their "SOMAte" playfully, escorting their date off the stage with its candy heart backdrop.
But things got serious after the threesome of Ian, John and Ryan played their cover of "the mouse that is modest" (or Modest Mouse for the uninitiated). When Ian auctioned himself off, his value jumped from the traditional $5 to a fetching $22. I think it was his answer to favorite pick-up line that really sold him: WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF US MAKING OUT RIGHT NOW??? Ian's friends filled out the form for him, but he owned the moment when he explained that you had to yell his pick-up line, hence the all-caps, otherwise it didn't have nearly the same success rate.
I thought for sure Ian would represent SOMA's highest take for the night. But then Cassandra Yatron took to the stage. She came from Problem Child, a Penn State Literary Magazine that also set up shop at Sloppy Seconds to sell Valentine's Day poetry. Her bidding war also ended in $22. Turns out Sam wasn't kidding. SOMA, with the help of its skinny jean wearing contingent, fundraised with the best of them.
SOMA might even come out richer still if they take advantage of some parting advice from the audience. When Sam's fellow emcee took the stage towards the end of the night and spotted Devin's pick lying on the floor, an audience member called out, "You can probably get ten bucks out of him for that!"
"Oh really?" the emcee chuckled.