North Little Rock husband and wife multi-instrumental musical duo Veronica Wirges and Chris Long of Monsterboy LIVES will be the featured performers during Wednesday Night Poetry at Kollective Coffee+Tea, 110 Central Ave.
The regular open mic session for all poets, musicians, storytellers will begin at 6:30 p.m. today. Monsterboy LIVES will begin their feature set at 7:30 p.m., followed by another round of open mic. Admission is free and open to all ages. Masks are recommended. All are welcome.
Wirges was born in central Arkansas, traveled some in her teens and 20s, and returned back to Arkansas. Her husband was born in Florida and moved to central Arkansas in grade school.
"We currently live in North Little Rock with our two adorable cow cats, Pepper and Bueller," Wirges said in a news release.
"Chris was raised on the blues of the Delta South, picking up every instrument in those garage rock jam sessions. I am a classically trained saxophonist and pianist, with a love for world music percussion. It is as odd of a match, musically, as you could marry. So that is what we did, quite literally. We met, fell in love, and said I do," she said.
"About half of the income we earn is from the salon we own together. I am a hairstylist and colorist and Chris is a massage therapist. The other half of our income is derived from our music career, performing as Monsterboy LIVES. We create and perform our music, along with sharing our knowledge through music education," she said.
"We both went to trade school for our salon services. In terms of our music, most of our education has been in the streets so to speak, with little to no college for both of us. We have attended our fair share of conferences and workshops to better our understanding of the industry we are in. We have a selection of singles released, and have worked on music for podcasts. Currently, we are working on our first full-length album, while performing in Nashville, Austin and Arkansas," Wirges said.
"Our work exists in the space between indie pop and alt rock. We combine vintage and antique instrumentation with modern sound design using found sounds. So many things can create the spark that turns into a song, but it seems a new instrument or sound is a sure bet," she said.
"Chris has been writing elegant parts for his music using a low register instrument most of his life -- he thought it was for a Cello. Every time he met a Cello player, he would listen to their work and be saddened that it just wasn't the sound he was looking for. The only times he had noticed a bari sax was in jazz, where the instrument was used noodly or percussive in nature. Since I was classically trained on the bari sax, it resulted in that my approach to the horn was to blend and support rather than stand out. Lots of focus on tonality and the use of swells. The first time I played for Chris, he lit up, as that was the missing piece for his musical works," Wirges said.
"As straight-passing members of the LGBT+ community, we find ourselves with a foot in two worlds. Our work is centered around the journey of finding one's happiness and truth in a world clinging to labels. We found happiness in each other. Our music speaks to hopeless romantics, band nerds, and creative spirits," she said.
Wirges and WNP Host Kai Coggin met each other through their Artist Leadership Fellows work with the Mid-America Arts Alliance this year.
"We are so honored that Kai has invited us into this amazing community she has helped sustain. We are always thrilled to play for a new audience, and we love Hot Springs," Wirges said.
"I am so excited to welcome Veronica and Chris to Wednesday Night Poetry this week. It's like two worlds colliding; our Hot Springs poetry world and their Little Rock music world. Their sound is so unique and they are both incredibly talented. I know the crowd will love them. Monsterboy LIVES is an experience! It is going to be a truly special night," Coggin said in a release.
This week marks 1,768 consecutive Wednesdays of open mic poetry in downtown Hot Springs since Feb. 1, 1989. "WNP is the longest-running consecutive weekly open mic series in the country," the release said. Email [email protected] for more information.