At 18 years old, Balls is easily the longest-running open mic in the Twin Cities. The format is as unstructured as can be: Participants are given five to seven minutes each to present whatever type of performance they desire. It makes the show unpredictable. One week may see nothing better than a poorly organized political rant or a nervous first performance by a teenage songsmith. The next might feature polished spoken-word pieces by some of the best artists in the Twin Cities. With such a range of style and quality, what's the secret to Balls' longevity? It's the gentle code of experimentation and friendly support fostered by host Leslie Ball and her organizing cohorts. They encourage a sober, nonjudgmental environment where even professional musicians and actors will bring their rough drafts to polish on an audience who, at midnight on a Saturday, are unlikely to be toting any throwing tomatoes. Uneven though Balls may be, it is most certainly never boring. Participants must attend at least one performance as an audience member before they can sign up to perform. Call 612.340.0155 ext. 25 for more info. 18+.
Saturdays, midnight, 2009

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