David Pellicane, the writer of the essay "My Eleven Minutes of Fame on the Open Mike," worked as a high school English teacher at an American-style school in Damascus, Syria. For most of his life, he had also been an amateur musician in his free time - amateur in every sense of the word. He couldn't play guitar exceptionally well, he had only written a few original songs, and his audience had only ever consisted of college friends, his students, or his wife. Nevertheless, he had always possessed a desire to share his talents with others, to claim his "fifteen minutes of fame," as Andy Warhol put it.
David's opportunity came in the form of a small coffee shop in Vermont - The Radio Bean. His friend hosted an open mike night at this quirky, provincial establishment. In this eccentric little coffee shop he found a chance to express himself.
He went into the shop with preconceived notions about the performers he'd meet there - he expected them to be members of an "amateur freak show." He supposed the place would be full of strange, mediocre performers - pompous poets who took themselves too seriously, hippies singing about forgotten governmental grievances, and old men playing rusty tunes on instruments that belonged in museums. These modest visions are what gave David the courage to perform; he might possibly look good in front of the backdrop of his supposed "freaks." At least, he envisioned, they wouldn't make him look bad.
Once he arrived at The Radio Bean on the night of his debut, though, he realized that his foresight had been incorrect. What he found as he walked through the doors was not a congregation of freaks, but a gathering of talented artists. His emcee friend, Rob, opened the night up...