In the wake of the2013 Summer AntiFolk Fest (celebrating 20 years of the Sidewalk/AntiFolk Co-Prosperity Region), I wanted to bring up some of the other Scenish open mics that have come and gone.
Raven Open Stage – Joie Dead Blonde Girlfriend (who would like some of your money), a major scene player for a major number of years, hosted his own open mic at the Raven on 12th Street from 1999 through 2002. It was near enough to the Sidewalk that people would run back and forth from one club to the other. It ended by midnight, I think. Eventually, the building burned down.
C-Note – In 2003 or so, Lorraine Leckie and Kathy Zimmer started hosting a late afternoon event on Fridays on 10th and C. Eventually, I hosted it, making it the best 5-7 Friday open mic Avenue C had ever seen. The club shut down a few years later, with me still in it. If memory serves, I first found the talents of John Hodel, Dan Costello and Debe Dalton a that club. On different occasions, I saw Slow Roosevelt and introduced the future members of Schwervon! there.
DTUT – The Upper East Side because a Sidewalk satellite in 2003, when Amy Hills opted to host a Wednesday night event, right on the heels of the end of the Raven Open Stage. The coffee house sold wine, but more importantly, had an unlimited supply of gigantic rice krispy treats. That place rocked! Amy gave up the open mic maybe three years after it started. In that time, she’d become and ceased to be the host and booker at the Sidewalk.
Bar Matchless – Tuesdays in the middle of the aughts, Danny Kelly and then Dibs hosted an open mic in Greenpoint at the matchless Bar Matchless. A couple of German drunks did not like my saying that Jesus might have suffered from hymiephilia.
The Creek and The Cave – Following the collapse of the Wednesdays at DTUT, Paul Alexander decided to make people go further afield, and started an event at the Creek and the Cave in Long Island City. Regulars included Brian Speaker, Leo, and Debe Dalton. It was a fun space with an amazing salsa, right off the 7 train. Even though it was in an outer borough, it was surprisingly easy to get to. The club’s still there, but focused, to my knowledge, more on theater and comedy than music.
Banjo Jim’s – Saturday afternoons, Wayne Kral hosted (with Rick Snyder and then Jeremiah Birnbaum) a lazy Saturday afternoon on 9th Street and Avenue C. Starting at two and running until seven, it was a fun place to people-watch. Lorraine Leckie made me go, but I got to meet talented beauties Kelley Swindall and Meghann Plunkett there, along with East Village legends LJ Murphy and Walter Ego, so I forgive her.
Brooklyn Tuesday Tea Cup – When Dan Costello and Rachel Devlin built the Brooklyn Tea Party with their own two (four?) hands, they began to host weekly open mics in their loft space. It was the Tuesday Tea Cup. Not once in my life did I go to that event, but I heard amazing things about the intimacy and warmth of the environment.
Otto’s Shrunken Head – When Banjo Jim’s shut down, Wayne Kral relocated his Saturday moveable feast to Otto’s Shrunken Head on 14th and Avenue B. The Tiki-themed place was much fun, but a darkened back room on a Saturday afternoon wasn’t as thrilling as the street view that Banjo Jim’s had provided. The club’s still there; the open mic is gone.
There are, of course, other open mics still going strong throughout the City (including the mythical Nomad), and lots of other scene-sights that I no doubt have forgotten about – you should talk about them in the Comments section. In my op, none compare to the Sidewalk, but you could look them up and experience for yourself. Not this week, though. There’s a Festival to enjoy!