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February 5, 2003
The sound man places his bowl of vegan chili on the equipment case. Earnest-looking people of all ages are tuning guitars. A four-year-old with scraggly blonde pigtails and layers of pink hippie clothing is running around barefoot. There is a goodnatured call for donations – Our basket is a little light tonight, folks! – and then one by one they step onto the little stage and sing-strum-and-otherwise-perform the meaning-infused songs they have written. Some are surprisingly good. One young woman sings Big Yellow Taxi. It is open mike night at the Still Life CafĂ© in Fremont and it feels just like home.