As a giant dork, one of the first things I did when I committed to Hofstra was check out every club I could on the Internet. One that captured my interest more than others was Nonsense Humor magazine. The articles I read on the website were that perfect brand of surrealist humor found in my favorite satire news sites, like Clickhole and The Onion. And it was genuinely funny and inoffensive, a rarity among college humor organizations. I resolved to definitely attend a meeting once I was settled on campus.
Fast forward to the first meeting at precisely 9:23 in a classroom in the basement of one of the campus housing complexes. It was packed, and I was so intimidated. None of the articles I had found had made me particularly uncomfortable, but that might not hold true of the crowd present at the meeting. Given the sheer number of people, it was more than likely that at least some of them had bigoted senses of humor. This was proven true when I heard people around me making jokes about pronouns and triggers, at which I rolled my eyes and mumbled sarcastically under my breath. But all was redeemed when the editors-in-chief asked people to introduce themselves with their name, their pronouns, and their favorite non-pornographic thing to masturbate to. Asking for pronouns at all is a great first step, and I was elated when a few of the editors themselves stated that they used they/them pronouns. There was, of course, the occasional joke at trans people’s expense, but for the most part, the crowd was extremely respectful. My social anxiety began to dissipate and what’s more, I began to feel a sense of comfort and safety. This, I felt, was a space in which it was okay to be myself.
Afterwards, the editors invited everyone back to their house to hang out. It was a short walk away from campus, probably closer to the academic side of campus than my dorm was, and definitely close enough to campus so that the Snapchat geofilter for the school still applied. I stepped into the garage, with its pink and blue lighting and the cardboard cutout of Harry Styles and the twinkle lights and the zines and the giant Nonsense Humor banner, and I knew that from then on, my college experience would be changed. I was right. I’ve met or become closer to some of my best friends at college at that house. I’ve attended shows there and watched my friends pour their hearts out at the weekly open mic there and I’ve screamed along to Green Day in the living room in a cathartic expression of post-election fears and frustrations. I’ve been inspired by my friends to create, and I’ve even felt safe and confident enough to share that creative work in that space as well. As a teenager, I always dreamed of finding a space and a community like that of Our Lady. I couldn’t be more glad that I found it.
Here’s a look at the weekly open mic:
Not only do they host weekly open mics, but they host concerts in their garage monthly, sometimes even multiple times a month.
*All photos credit to M. Cicchetti Photography
The space, however, is more than just a place to perform. For some, such as regular Monika Lowe, Our Lady is more about community.