Archive for the ‘Monday’ Category

Open Stage Antics

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

The Monday Night Open Stage was winding down, most of the acts had performed, most of the acts had left. One more was going on before Ben Krieger, host with the most, was going to wrap things up. It was after one, so the one-song wonder round was in full effect for the rest of the night.

Some french chick hit the stage. guitar in hand, and she did her song. Then she began her second.

“Thank you,” Kriger said, “it’s just one song.”

Frenchie didn’t seem to understand, and continued with her second song.

Ben interrupted to reiterate: “It’s one song apiece.”

She played on, so the lights went down, and the volume turned off. And still she played, until Krieger put on effects, just as he had at the top of the evening, during his introduction. It stopped her cold, and, flustered, she left the stage, calling Krieger an asshole.

In the audience was the French-speaking Shelita, who explained that she’d chatted with the French girl to tell her the rules. Frenchie, apparently, understood what was expected of her, and defied it, like some latter-day resistance fighter.

It was very much like the start of the evening, where some manic Floridian did a poem, two songs, with lots of commentary in between. It was an evening rife with foreigners taking advantage.

Come back any time…

Changing Times

Posted on: September 2nd, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

With a change of times and a change of seasons, the Monday Night Open Stage smaller crowds than it has in recent weeks. Folk here for the summer are going back to school, and the new college kids don’t yet know where to go for their open mic fixes. There were some regulars, but sparser than normal. So Ben Krieger, host with the most, decided to change it up:

“This week,” he explained at the top of the evening, “We’ll do the After List.”

A hush fell over the crowd – or at least a lack of understanding.

“What’s the After List?” someone shouted. As if on cue, Krieger detailed the differences.

“Every person will get one song or five minutes,” he said, “and after everybody has gone, anybody who wants to can go up again, in whatever order they want.”

“But…” someone (possibly the very same person as before) shouted, “That will be chaos! ANARCHY!”

It was not. Around midnight, the second round started, and, with one notable exception where I white guy jumped up in front of someone black (why does it always have to be about race?), peace and harmony reigned for the After List.

The benefits of the strategy are thus: it allows everyone to get a chance on stage, and encourages people to stick around for more time. It is more inclusive, and the audience gets to experience a far wider variety. It also usually lets the evening end quicker, and who needs to hear acts until three in the friggin’ morning?

It was a good night, and a good After List. Things happened.

Summer AntiFolk Festival – Night 4.5 (Open Stage)

Posted on: August 12th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Wild night at the Open Stage.

There were loads of new performers, a crowd bigger than most have seen on a Monday for some time. The show was beginning to wrap up around two, which was about the time I found the contents of my bag – some of them – strewn about the basement.

I’d been robbed.

I’ve been coming to the club for over twenty years now, and, while my knapsack has been occasionally misplaced, it’s never been stolen. Once, I thought it was, but someone called me that night to apologize for taking my bag by mistake. I ended up getting a job out of it. It was a crappy job.

My bag’s never been stolen at the club before. I’ve been incredibly lucky, and knowing a bunch of people around, I always assume someone is looking out for my stuff. Even though there were strangers and strange people roaming around, I left my bag unaccompanied on many occasions. Now I’ve paid the price.

There was a particularly sketchy guy darting in and out of the back room; I’ve decided he’s probably the culprit, but it’s not like I know his name.So my stuff’s gone.

Still, lots of really cool acts at the club – not even so many promoting their festival shows. Just a whole bunch of newbies, trying to present their material.

So there you go.

Of Things to Come

Posted on: August 5th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

A strange Monday night open stage. including a strange cast of characters foreshadowing what may well be a particularly strange AntiFolk Festival.

Poets read confrontational poems about each other, rappers tried to go up multiple times, artist after AntiFolk artist plugged show after show after show in the week-plus Summer AntiFolk Festival, starting in just a couple of days.

Probably the biggest name performing was John S. Hall, who promoted his Friday appearance as host of the middle part of the evening. He wrote pieces he’d written throughout the day, and stunned the crowd with his magnificence.

Probably the biggest physical act performing was Jonathan Berger, who weighs close to three hundred pounds. He doesn’t look it though.

With lots of new names in this year’s Festival, and a new booker putting it together, it all looks exciting and new. We’ll see how it plays out, of course…

Monday Night

Posted on: July 8th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Sometimes, a guy just needs something, and sometimes, a girl just needs to give it to him.

photo by Mimi Oz

Gentleman hippie John Murdock let his hair hang low, and something had to be done, so Rebecca Florence stepped up to the plate and cleaned him up. Now Murdock is clean and easy to look at, but is still telling us all about the effed up world we live in.

Thanks, Rebecca. That’s a way to spend your time at the Open Stage!

Open Stage Antics

Posted on: March 31st, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Jolia, a poet, tried something new tonight. She strapped on an electric and played some kind of cover.

How long will it be before she gives up words entirely, and becomes another AniFolk songster?

Poetry loses too many to the siren song of… song, I guess. This is what happens when too much music pollutes the writer’s thought process.

I just hope it turns out well for Jolia, now that a guitar is pulling her strings.

Posted on: March 11th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

At the open mic, Sam Barron did a cover of Debe Dalton. It’s a good time for that, as, this Friday, Debe turns 62. Frigging sixty two! She’s been in the Sidewalk community for over ten years, though she had made open mic appearances in an earlier decade. Girl gets around. Anyway, you could have seen it / heard it if you were viewing Gander, or if you’d actually gone out to the Open Stage. A lot of people did.

There’s always next week, but by then, Debe’ll already be old – er.

Banjo X

Posted on: February 10th, 2014 by Jon Berger No Comments

Ten years of Debe Dalton? Can it be true?

Yep. Ten years ago, Debe Dalton, banjo troubadour, began her residency at the Sidewalk Cafe – a residency that has dimmed, but never diminished.

She’ll be doing a set at the open mic, to commemorate these many years of open mic’ing.

Go for the show; stay for your number.


Tonight… tonight…

Posted on: October 21st, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

It is a strange thing I do tonight, something I’m not at all used to doing.

Tonight, I am not going to the Sidewalk Cafe.

It’s a Monday Night, where the Open Stage has been held for most of the last five years, and notable open mics for close to the last twenty. I’ve been to a lot of them. In recent times, I’ve been to all of them.

But I’m not feeling well; I took off from work today, have been sleeping and reading and listening to music all day long, and, throughout the day, have been considering if I should go out to the club tonight. After hours of consideration, I just decided against going out.

It wasn’t an easy decision. AntiFolk is the closest thing I have to religion; the Sidewalk the closest thing I have to church. Seeing people perform what I hope is their most honest, artistic work, and being able to partake in it, it’s very much of what gives my life meaning. I’ve devoted decades to the club, and the life, and I feel bad missing out on any part of it. There is art to be made, and creativity to be had, just miles from my home, and I’ll be missing it.

I won’t lose sleep over it – mostly because my need for sleep is the main thing keeping me away. And I’m glad that the friends at give me the opportunity to partake in the community from a distance, when I can’t be there.  It won’t be as good as the real thing, but it’ll do in a pinch.

I hope the Open Stage goes well without me; I doubt I’ll be all right without it.

PS: You should go to my second residency show on Sunday, October 27th. It’ll be much better than the last one.


Where Were They?

Posted on: October 15th, 2013 by Jon Berger No Comments

The Where Are They Now Open Stage was an interesting exercise, almost guaranteed to fail. With 20 years of entertainment history how could someone versed in the world on AntiFolk help but be disappointed by those that didn’t show up.

AntiFolk did come out of the woodwork, though.

Young Nate Flaks returned to the club after, he said, 100 days off.

Lach was in the room after a much longer break. The former host, booker, and instigator of music at the Sidewalk did a couple of new songs in preparation for his Thursday night gig back in the club he made infamous.

I saw other faces that don’t often frequent the club, a coterie of orignal AntiFolkies in the back of the club, but, for the most part, the old familiar faces were few and far between.Why?

Maybe because they’re old, and were afraid to be seen by all the fresh, young upstarts. Perhaps those that don’t play small clubs anymore are either too big or too out of practice to care about such a thing. Maybe the invites were sent too last minute.

Whatever the reason, it was good to relive some history, but it would have been nice if there was more of that history – live, at the club