No Shame is a part of an art underground here in Columbus, and what a shame I had never even heard of it. I have to give a thanks to @amanda_rad over on Instagram for making me hip to this event!
No shame is basically a semi-latenight live art show that features the original works of 15 artists that are lucky enough to be the first to register. The art presented includes spoken word poetry, comedy, song and soliloquy- this is definitely for 18+ because some of it is definitely not for little ears. Signup starts at 10:00 pm with the show beginning at 10:30 pm, for the interested.
They actually have a surprisingly long history, I’ll paste that below for the curious!
The first No Shame started 28 years ago in the back of a pick-up in Iowa City, Iowa. Since then, branches have sprung up in New York, Miami, Chicago, Cleveland, Austin, Charlottesville and other cities. Well-known No Shame alumni include John Leguizamo (“Ice Age”), Camryn Manheim (“The Practice”) Rebecca Gilman (“Spinning into Butter”), Naomi Wallace (“Things of Dry Hours”), Rick Cleveland (“Six Feet Under”) and Jonathan Larson (“Rent”).
In less than five years, the Springer’s weekly No Shame Theatre has become the most successful in the country, premiering more than 2,500 original acts with more than 170,000 people in attendance. (Read more HERE!)
I arrived much earlier than either the signup for show starting time, at 8:30 due to just being around the area and having nothing better to do to kill time. As the time ticked nearer a gaggle of excited locals congregated at the door. The gathering crowd held debates and talked about societal issues, there wasn’t too much light conversation going on. At about 9:45 pm the volunteers brought out their “lady bathed in a strobe light”, which surprisingly wasn’t what I was expecting. I think my expectation was an actual lady hanging out in a spotlight, I guess I should have paid attention to their site. To be fair, I did want to go in as blind as possible. So mission accomplished?
At promptly 10:30 pm with several debates being in full swing, the doors opened to let us in. I was one of the first through the doors, and declined participation in the performance. I do plan to attend at a later date and share my own writing, as a personal goal.
There’s a bar at the back wall of the entryway, for those visitors who have a designated driver. I, unfortunately couldn’t since I was driving. The throng of people made their way to the auditorium, which was nothing like the auditorium I’ve seen. In the center of the room was a setup that was perfect for an introspective piece, and luckily one of the performers took advantage of the room’s existing atmosphere.
My favorite thing about the props that were accenting the room was this well-made waterfall with faux-moonlight. I spent part of the time there just admiring the folds in the fabric. Maybe I’m just easily impressed, but I really think they did a phenomenal job.
I want to make a quick heads up to future attendees of No Shame Columbus. Despite the room being fairly sizable, the volume of people filling in and the cacophony of voices makes this a stressful place for those who have a hard time handling being around lots of people. Usually, I’m okay but honestly the noise combined with the number of people made even the large room feel so cramped. Warning aside, once the performers started and everyone was silent the room returned to its size.
The spokesman took the stage at about 10:45 and I want to commend him on his charisma. He legitimately looked so at home in front of a nearly full house. He rang off the names of the performers with the help of the audience and called up any newcomers for a small initiation. I actually was able to convince myself to make my way up to participate, but did not have a partner for a rock-paper-scissors style game so I found myself seated quickly.
The first couple performers were comedians. The first being stand-up while looking intentionally disheveled. some of his humor was definitely intended for 18+, so just another heads-up! My favorite part of his segment was his Three Rules of Tinder.
Don’t be Unattractive
Don’t say “Hi”
The third is definitely pretty solid advice, that I wonder if the second performer followed. He serenaded the audience with his tale of heartbreak and falling in love with no less than 3 different women having the same outcome. It was a tale of woe if ever there was one, to love someone who’s not capable of loving you because of orientation. Sadly, I can’t remember any lines from his piece, but it was quite good! At the bottom of this post, I’ll put a slideshow of all of the performers so I don’t crowd the text or stretch the page!
Acts 3 and 4 were a little more on the serious side. The first was a guy who stated he has only 1 or 2 more visits to No Shame before he’s gone. He gifted the audience with a thought provoking soliloquy about that which is hidden. His attire and the backdrop of tstage” was just perfect. He paced the stage and really drove a sense of urgency. He accomplished his goal wonderfully! Thankfully, I did manage to get a couple of decent pictures of him in (what I thought was) a prime location. I want to say this gentleman was my favorite act. When I go back, I’ll be saddened by his absence.
Following him was my personal inspiration to resume poetry. A young poet that was writing imagery- she’s working on a book of poems about Columbus locations. When it comes out I plan to buy it. Her piece included two poems, one that perfectly described Fountain City, and the other that brought Kilwins to mind. She definitely inspired me to try my hand at capturing some of my favorite landmarks!
Act 5 was there for his second time, and first time performing. Despite that, his taking the spotlight was met with a raucous barrage of cheers that was deafening. He was a comedic act, much like the earlier first 2 acts and his had a veneer of relatability. Again, this is something I don’t remember too much about, sadly. I will say that I do remember how well he composed himself, despite his nerves. I don’t know him, but I’m proud of him! Once he reclaimed his seat, a rapper made his way to the stage and was likewise charismatic. In a similar vein I can’t remember too much. But the picture I captured really shows his comfort!
No Shame in ending this here!
I don’t particularly want to make this a dauntingly long post, so I’ll cut this short here. I will say that I do recommend this for a fun night out on a Friday. At 5 dollars a head, it definitely not the most expensive thing you can do in Columbus, and it’s in the heart of our Downtown. Big thanks to the people of No Shame! Thank you for creating an environment where people feel safe to share their passions and try something new.