Singer/songwriter/guitarist Patrick Harmon played the popular Tuesday open-mike night at E Street Café in Encinitas a month ago. Two of his protest songs spoke out against "...religion and control," says Harmon. "Both songs had the word 'fuck.' As soon as I got offstage they kicked me out. This lady who worked there said she didn't like me or what I sang about. They kicked me out because I said 'fuck' onstage."
Harmon, 21, says he had been an E Street open-mike regular for four months. He says he used the F-bomb sparingly. "If there were kids in the audience, I wouldn't say it."
"I heard some stories from people who play [at E Street Café] that they were having problems with people in management power-tripping," says Johnny Ciccolella, who has run Twiggs' music venue in North Park for nine years. During that time, he says he once felt the need to interrupt an open-mike performance because of content issues. "It was over this one guy who kept singing excerpts from The Vagina Monologues. It was a little crass. But I have never 86'd anyone over content. Before you kick somebody out, you should seriously think about the impact it will have on that person."
E Street owner Bob Nanninga says Harmon was not ejected because of his use of the F-word.
"In no way does anyone associated with E Street Café support censorship," says Nanninga. "We have a bigger problem of people hanging out, sprawled all over the café and not buying anything." He says Harmon was ejected because "It's just us being greedy capitalists."
Harmon admits that by the time he went up to play he did not have a cup in front of him.
"I go in there and buy one cup of tea. Usually, by the time I go on, that cup is gone and I don't have money to buy anything else. I guess they are thinking of me as a bum."
"Bad gutter hippie," says Nanninga.
Nanninga says his Tuesday-night open mike is on hiatus but will resume next month, when the café secures its entertainment permit from the city.
Harmon appears Wednesday at Twiggs.