The Imperial: Former Stone Groove Weekly Open-Mic Night Lives On at The Stage Miami
Photo by Rod Deal
A few months ago, we got the heartbreaking news that one of Miami's most beloved nightclubs, The Vagabond, was no more.
The closing, which pretty much happened overnight, left downtown Miami's hipsters and cool cats looking for a new place to party.
Meanwhile, many people feared that the end of The Vagabond may also mean the end of Stone Groove, the club's long-running Tuesday-night open mic.
The Imperial and Stone Groove host Marcus Blake.
For years, Tuesdays at The Vagabond were nights of free expression, creativity, and passion. A place for musicians to inspire and be inspired, for poets to let their hearts flow for complete strangers, for comedians to lighten the mood and remind everyone, it's O.K. to laugh.
"Stone Groove is one of Miami's strongest social-networking scenes. It's a place for artists to express themselves and fine-tune their craft amongst their peers," as former Vagabond owner Carmel Ophir once said. "And it is the soul of The Vagabond."
But what exactly happens to a soul when its corporeal form is destroyed? Well, in the case of Stone Groove, it just keeps on floating.
For the past month and a half, ever since The Vagabond closed down, this beloved open-mic night has continued to exist, thanks to the work of long-time host, Marcus Blake.
From the beginning, Blake has been the face of Stone Groove. He is an eccentric, talented musician and poet with a killer sense of style, who kept the artists flowing on and off the stage. He just couldn't bear to let the popular open-mic die with The Vagabond.
"The Imperial is the continuation of Stone Groove," says Blake. "It still remains true to its homegrown roots, but now it's bigger and better. It's like version 2.0."