On Stage

At the Mic

Sip, tip and repeat

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Google the phrase “open mic” and you’ll find a few line items are prerequisites for successful performances. For one thing, the live shows require an actual microphone plugged into a PA system—a no-brainer that makes it possible for the audience to figure out what’s happening onstage. Secondly, the gigs are typically populated with amateur performers hoping to test out new material, whether it’s of the musical, theatrical or comedic variety. Additionally, open mics are often free or cheap, meaning more people will be tempted to come see what all the fuss is about—or if there’s a fuss to be had.

Another similarity worth a mention is that open mics often occur on off-nights for clubs and venues—Sundays through Wednesdays—so more people will come through the door at times when food and drink sales might be slower, and more up-and-coming performers will get a chance to share their talents.

For example, I’ve written before about the weekly “Guffawingham” that starts at 9:30pm every Monday at the Green Frog (1015 N. State St.) and continues until approximately 20 standup comedians have completed their four-minute sets, but the particulars bear repeating. Per the unofficial rules of conduct mentioned above, the show and the laughs are free, but the drinks are not. Also: Anytime a tip jar for the performers is available, please give at least a few dollars for the cause. The next chance to guffaw takes place Mon., Aug. 7, so beat the heat wave and head inside. Info: http://www.acoustictavern.com

At the new Shakedown Punch Up Comedy Open Mic taking place from 7:30-9pm most Tuesdays at the Shakedown (1212 N. State St.)—including Tues., Aug. 8—aspiring standup comedians are asked to show up a half-hour early to sign up for five-minute spots on the roster. “Come with your A Game,” organizers say. “We will accept a B-, but you’ll have to work to improve your grade.” Entry is free, but you know what to do if you’re having a good time (hint: it rhymes with “sip”). Info: http://www.shakedownbellingham.com

“Summer Smash,” a free one-off open mic happening from 5-8pm Wed., Aug. 9 in the beer garden at Boundary Bay Brewery (1107 Railroad Ave.), will feature live performances by Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth students and alumni. The midsummer celebration of the arts will see performers doing everything from singing to dancing to emoting, so come support the talented youth in any way you see fit. Info: http://www.baay.org

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