In an ideal world, open mics would be as individual as the people who sign up to play them. Albuquerque's not too far off. This city's already friendly to musicians trying to get a foothold in public (some argue too friendly, but that's another column). The past few months in particular have seen a new crop of open mics—specialized ones created with a specific type of performer in mind. Here's a rundown of some of the most promising. That is, if you:
Can't Legally Buy Booze—Already a safe haven for all-ages music, The Cell Theatre (700 First Street NW) is partnering up with MAP21 (the Albuquerque youth arts zine) for a monthly open mic that debuts this Sunday, April 13. The shows are scheduled for the second Sunday of each month at 6 p.m., and they're free. Creative types under 21 are encouraged to share projects—be they songs, films, poems or anything else your young mind can hatch.
Have Lady Parts—... or maybe you're working on getting some of your own. The only women-centric open mic in New Mexico is held Sundays from 5-7 p.m. at Exhale (6132 Fourth Street NW). It's called An Estrogen Affair, and it's hosted by Dianivy (from desert rock ensemble Mystery School) and Cassandra Tribe (the spoken word artist). "Performers in all creative modalities are welcome" says Dianivy, who adds that the audience is exceptionally supportive and "inclusive of men, of course." If you're under 21, bring a legal guardian.
Own a Bouzouki—You've probably heard rumblings that the Blue Dragon Coffeehouse is back. Here's the deal. The building at 1517 Girard NE has been revived under its old name, but the management (and pretty much everything else) is unconnected to the old place. Which may be for the best. You're likely to run into some of the original patrons, however, every Thursday at 7 p.m. at the return of the Albuquerque Celtic Jammers, Blue Dragon's Celtic free-for-all. If reels aren't your thing, there's also a regular open mic on Wednesdays from 6-10 p.m. All ages are welcome.
Refer to Songwriting as Your "Craft”—The successful Songwriter Open Mic, hosted by Christina E. Herr and Wild Frontier, has a new home at The Tavern (4007 Menaul NE, 880-8494). Herr says there's more creative freedom than ever before. In addition to an open sign-up on Mondays from 7-10 p.m., a different guest songwriter wraps up the night with an hour-long performance of original material. This Monday, April 14, Jasper Brown is on the bill.
Need to Jam—This isn't a new open mic, but according to Joe Mancuso (he plays in The Teardrops Blues Band, which hosts the event), it's getting hot and heavy at Malarky's (25 Hotel Circle NE, 323-9380). Malarky's is a hotel bar off Eubank next to I-40. The lesson here is to avoid judging a book by its cover, especially where music people are involved. Mancuso says the open mic/jam, held Tuesdays from 8 p.m. to midnight, has been attracting a healthy crowd of about 15 to 20 participants each week. "I call it an open mic with a big O. It's been all over the place lately," he says, rattling off a list of music genres. Some of New Mexico's notable players have been dropping in to jam, he says. Ryan McGarvey joined in a few weeks back. Wagogo popped in the next "and kicked everybody's butts." You should think about being there, too.