Many run-of-the-mill cafes tend to work a wannabe Starbucks angle, with overpriced sugary drinks and CDs for sale by the register. Your Big Picture Café, however, is a step above.
Located on University Drive, Your Big Picture Café is laden with cozy furniture and jam packed bookshelves. It has a warm, welcoming feel. Menu items at this café are largely organic and even include beer and wine at extremely reasonable prices. The most expensive item being a 12-inch cheese pizza for $12.49. And the place even plays host to belly-dancing, Tai Chi, drum circles, live music, and other classes promoting spiritual wellness.
Robert Mitchell, host of some open mics and workshops there, says that the cafe was started in 2010 by Charlene Vairy as an homage to her late mother. Vairy kept her mother, a cancer victim, alive eight years longer than predicted by using natural remedies such as plant-based treatments and meditation techniques. Vairy opened the café to share her knowledge on the subject while "nurturing" the local community, particularly with music.
Mithchell got involved with Your Big Picture Café when he met father and son Len and Lance Perry of LP Guitar. Hearing about their open mic at Your Big Picture Café, Mitchell was so impressed that he closed down a similar night he was running in downtown Fort Lauderdale to stay steady with YBPC.
"For the six years prior to that Fort Lauderdale gig, I was the assistant open mic MC at Luna Star Café in North Miami," he explained. "So, I know a good thing when I see it, and that's why I've been playing at Your Big Picture Cafe's since 2010."
Music is a huge part of Mitchell's life. "I've been writing songs and playing guitar since I was 17 years old," he said. He recorded an astonishing 120 songs, available online for free. Both Len and Lance Perry collaborated with him on some songs as well.
YBPC will be hosting a slew of weekly events for the public, kicking off with Music Land on the first Friday of every month. This event is hosted by Mitchell and features numerous acoustic folk rock artists such as Grant Peeples, Raiford Starke, and Diane Ward. On the second Friday night of each month, Len Perry hosts a showcase focused on genres such as pop music, Latin, and jazz. The Songwriters Workshop and Acoustic Salon is on the third Friday of every month at which, he said, they "discuss all the fascinating facets of writing and singing songs."
Teens and preteens can flaunt their musical talents at the Youth Acoustic Open mic every fourth Friday while adults get their turn every Saturday with the Adult Acoustic Open Mic with the Perrys. Last but not least, every Sunday afternoon is the Len Perry Jazz Café where Len's trio band performs local music. "From hard rock, to traditional folk, to new world, music is a spiritual journey we share with each other," said Mitchell. "I share that journey every week performing for and listening to others at Your Big Picture Café. It's an amazing place filled with amazing talent where there is always room for more people to join in the fun."