A woman played classical cello pieces for a rapt audience at Rock the Mic in 2016. [Photo courtesy of Cali Bulmash]

In an increasingly online world, art, music and spoken word can be viewed around the globe from the comfort of one’s own home – sans pants, if so desired. However, live performances can connect people in an intimate way that is often lost when they’re digitally divided.

On Friday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m., event organizers hope to bring the community together to share an intimate experience of expression at the Rock the Mic event at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North.

Local artist and musician Jenna Talbott knows very well about the intimacy that Rock the Mic can bring, having performed at a past event for Moab Pride week.

“I felt the audience so intensely that I almost burst into tears in the middle of one of my songs,” she said.

If the artist can feel the audience, then the audience can also feel the artist, and the MARC may be a space that helps facilitate that experience.

The event didn’t start out at the MARC, but it migrated there after Moab Arts and Special Events Manager Meg Stewart attended one standing-room-only event at the Community Rebuilds intern house. She then approached Rock the Mic founder Cali Bulmash about using the MARC to accommodate growing crowds more comfortably.

Bulmash founded the monthly event because she found performing spoken word was a way to process her own life experience with queer gender identity.

“(With) spoken word, you’re really growing a community of people who want to create a world where we’re all accepted,” she told the Moab Sun News last year.

Haley Austin, who organized and facilitated the last Rock the Mic in Bulmash’s absence, said she’ll be hosting the next one as well while Bulmash is on tour.

“I got involved as a musician and poet,” Austin said. “I started going to the open mic as a way to meet more artists here in Moab.”

Rock the Mic, she said, has been a place where members of the Moab community can express themselves.

“It is associated with Moab Pride and is meant to be a space where anyone can stand up and share whatever they want, be it a speech, jokes, a story, read a poem, perform a drag song, lead a group dance, play a song,” she said. “I’ve seen all this and more at events in the past.”

The event is open to all ages, although attendees should be aware that there may be mature content. Austin said that organizers like to see as much participation as possible.

“Get involved by showing up,” Austin said. “Whether you want to share or spectate, any and all members of the community are welcome as long as they agree to be respectful and supportive of the space and those sharing. By coming, you are ‘buying in’ to people being their raw selves, quirks, talents, et cetera.”

Past events have drawn performances that included spoken word, music and many other forms of expression. The performances are as varied as the performers.

“I went to one a while back and it was an awesome turnout,” Talbott said. “I was pleasantly surprised. There were some familiar faces, but also a lot of people who were passing through. It was a really eclectic turnout, but there was a sense of comfortable camaraderie and respect.”

Rock the Mic returns to MARC on Dec. 8

“By coming, you are ‘buying in’ to people being their raw selves, quirks, talents, et cetera.”

When: Friday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North

Cost: Free

Information: 435-259-6272

For more information, call 435-259-6272.