A few weeks ago, I had a very busy Wednesday. I miraculously completed all my errands, went to class later that night and then rushed over to the Actor's Lounge near Fairfax High School. I heard laughter coming from the theater as I walked in 30 minutes late and thought, “I'm in the right place.”

On Tuesday nights, it becomes Da Poetry Lounge, but on the first Wednesday of each month, it's a space for actors to come in and shine. Poet/actor In-Q, government name Adam Schmalholz, is the mastermind behind this event. He came up with the idea about two years ago when he noticed a lack of community for actors.

“We wanted to create an open mic for actors like there are for comedians, musicians and poets,” he says. “We wanted to give actors a space to practice their craft without having to pay enormous amounts of money.”

In-Q produces the show with a 10-member team which does everything from setting up the stage to running the ticket booth to selling refreshments.

I looked forward to my evening at the Actor's Lounge. DJ Brutha Gimel spun his records on the left side of the stage while poet /rapper/artist Atiba Azikiwe Andrews painted within a sketch throughout the rest of the night on the right.

You couldn't tell by the loud chattering, bombastic laughter and other clamorous noises but everyone looked comfortable. For any aspiring actor or poet who wants to test out their skills at the Actor's Lounge, this is how it works: In-Q has a first come, first serve policy.

You get there early enough, your chances of being seen and heard are excellent. Scenes are five minutes and monologues are three. You will be timed if you exceed the limit.

On this night, two women played estranged sisters attending their father's funeral. Another scene involved a social worker trying desperately to convince a mother to talk about the loss of her child to others. Both were raw and emotional dramas.

On the comedic end, a woman tried to break up with her clueless boyfriend and he attempted to convince her otherwise. That's the beauty of AL – performances can go from drama to comedy in an instant.

In between the acts, Brutha Gimel spins his music while the stage is set up for the next act.

Tyler Clancy from Victor House Films, whom In-Q dubs “the cinematic DJ,” takes care of the movie and video clips. Clancy showed two that were hysterically politically incorrect – one by Tyler Moore and the other by Javier Prato.

Moore's was a satirical infomercial for a senior assisted living center while Prato had a music video of Jesus lip synching to Gloria Gaynor's 1979 hit “I Will Survive” while walking down Hollywood Boulevard. Lord, save us for laughing our asses off.

By the end of the 90 minutes, Andrews finished his painting and people took advantage of the short break before the next show. Don't think for a minute that this unpredictable evening is free; it's a dollar to get in. Don't act like you don't see the wicker basket being passed around.

AL survives on contributions. Don't be too cheap to drop in a dollar or five or 20. This invaluable outlet is worth it.

The Actors Lounge meets the first Wednesday of each month, from 8-11 p.m. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/inqmusic