BEST OPEN-MIC NIGHT (2001)
The Artists' Quarter Jazz Club
Sitting back at the bar provides an ideal vantage point for appreciating this club. Its pitch-black walls and lack of windows make for a smoky jazz ambiance that will lure even the most timid to take the stage, backed by a smooth drumbeat. Most recently hosted by local poet Matt Harmoning every Wednesday night from 8:00 p.m. until close, this open-mic evening allots each performer a full ten-minute set. That's long enough for one to make an utter fool of herself, yet the club is dim enough to allow one to slip away at the slightest feeling of embarrassment. In any case, the crowd is quite supportive and seems capable of showing interest in just about anything: the shy high school guy who surprises you by belting out a few acoustic ballads; the comedian who just doesn't know when to quit yet has everyone laughing nonetheless; or the aspiring hip-hop artist who simply blows you away. With so many aspiring artists in the house, be sure to arrive early if you plan on performing: The list fills up fast, often by 8:30 p.m.