March 25 2009 12:00 AM

Magdalena’s throws bash to help keep doors open

In less than five years, Magdalena’s Tea House has become a haven for live music, art, poetry and comedy, served with tea, coffee and a rare-in-these-parts menu of vegan and raw foods.

While owner and founder Miko Fossum said business has been good, in this economy, it’s not enough. Now the eastside fixture is hoping the community will come together to help keep its doors open.

On Saturday, Magdalena’s will host “Dream Up! A Positively Visionary Collective Concert,” a daylong concert and silent auction to benefit the teahouse. But in typical Magdalena’s fashion, it’s about more than raising money.

Fossum opened the teahouse in 2004, combining her dreams of opening a European style teahouse and a comfortable performance venue. “Places around here, I would sit down and the chairs would be so uncomfortable, you could hardly sit through a whole show,” Fossum said.

Fossum’s father owned a record store in Lansing, where she grew up, and she liked the atmosphere of people always coming in. Creating community was important, and something she fostered at Magdalena’s. “The teahouse has always been about community,” she said. “We’re having some struggles as a community, and it’s important to come together.”

DeShaun Snead, a student in Michigan State University’s Jazz Studies program, helped Fossum organize the event. She started working with the teahouse by hosting an open mic night and has also performed concerts there.

The music, which includes jazz, folk, hip hop, soul and more, will start at noon and continue almost non-stop until midnight. The lineup includes a full slate of local acts, including Nate Bilton, Tony Lustig, Eleanor Indigo, Magdalena Fossum (Miko’s daughter, for whom the teahouse is named) and Jen Sygit. Items for auction include an acoustic guitar and gig set from Elderly Instruments and a hookah from East Lansing’s Oz.

Snead and Fossum will also give concertgoers the chance to make a personal Dream Tree, a sort of diagram meant to help people focus on where they come from and what they want out of life. Roots represent your past, the trunk is your strengths, the branches your goals, and so on.

Fossum and Snead have high hopes for the event. “We want people to have a good time while taking an opportunity to create something for themselves,” Fossum said. “Take one day and turn away from the negative in our lives and focus on the positive.”

Snead has more romantic ideas. “I hope someone will fall in love at Dream Up!” she laughed. “It’s an opportunity to exchange ideas and be real with each other. We all need some realness in our lives, especially today.”

Whatever the outcome, Fossum is satisfied with her work in Lansing and at Magdalena’s. “This is my home, and it always will be,” she said.

‘Dream Up! A Positively Visionary Collective Concert’

concert and silent auction for Magdalena’s Tea House Noon-midnight
Saturday, March 28 $10, kids are free. 2006 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
(517) 487-1822