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Coffee house hopes to provide an open stage for local artists

SHERIDAN — In a town full of creative talent and artistic ability, a community organization that offers frequent performance opportunity is not only ideal but is also a necessity. One of Sheridan’s newest venues, The Living Room Coffee House, fullfills this need and goes above and beyond.

Tucked away behind the former LuLu’s building, this isolated cafe holds all the homey qualities of your own living room, along with free wireless Internet connection, numerous electrical outlets and public computers. And of course, good music.

With a piano, drums and stage provided, The Living Room offers a constant open stage during business hours.

“Anything is fair game here,” said Dimitra Dugal, The Living Room’s entertainment coordinator.

Solo performances, band performances, theater, poetry, comedy, karoke — all and any type of artistic expression is promoted by the business in their efforts to constantly expand their entertainment spectrum.

“We offer artistic and creative freedom,” Dugal said. “We are open to all ages…[and] are an alternative to the bar scene where creative people can come together.”

Dugal also added she hopes to see more of the performing arts, especially originally written sketches or skits.

“I really respect artists that come up with their own material or those who do something different…[and] have their own take on a piece,” she said.

Wednesday nights, The Living Room features their house band led by Sheridan High School graduate Max Marquis and composed of several Java Jazz members as well. Saturdays the coffee house features open mic night.

“What I really like about performing at The Living Room is the atmosphere…[it’s] really unique to play in,” Marquis said. “It has a really New Age feel to it, and it encourages people of all ages to stop in.”

Several other local musicians and groups have performed at The Living Room including Ben Harriston, Paul Bowers, Donna Gifford and The Barefoot Band. The business is also looking forward to hosting a performance by Greenhorse in August.

Local solo artist Antony Campese who performed at The Living Room in its first few days of being open stressed the perks of the coffee house, including the friendly atmosphere and helpful staff.

“Personally I feel like The Living Room has a big city feel…but it still retains that small town feel of friendliness,” Campese said. He added that the late hours are appealing. “Night owl’s need a place too.”

Maureen Hickey, owner of The Living Room, said she developed the business with the idea of creating an artistic retreat and improving community social connections.

“We want to encourage the arts,” Hickey said. “We want this to be a place for the community and by the community. Here we have something for everyone.”

With most local businesses closing at 5 p.m. and with a junior college in town, it’s nice to have a safe place to hang out late as an alternative to the bar scene or walking around Walmart, Hickey added.

She also said with the technological age we live in, we often lack face-to-face interaction or true connections to people due to all of the social media provided for communication.

“The Living Room is a place for that (face-to-face communications). Here, we are getting back to the basics,” she said.

So rather than sitting on the couch playing video games or texting your friends, Hickey encouraged the community to come down and interact personally with one another and showcase their talents or simply enjoy a cup of coffee.

“A combination of all the amazing support, people who are open to new ideas for music and their delicious new food and drink ideas are more than enough reasons to keep me coming back to The Living Room,” Campese said.

The Living Room is open Tuesday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m, and from 6 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

 

Sheridan Press intern Lucy LaRosa wrote this article.

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The news staff of The Sheridan Press covers news, sports and lifestyle stories throughout Sheridan and its surrounding region. News tips and information can be sent to the newsroom at news@thesheridanpress.com

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