Bring a guitar and some attitude…It’s Open Mic Night at The Cellar Door!

from barkos:

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It took quite some effort to drag my lazy carcass out of the house on a Tuesday night. But it happened nonetheless due to my utter fascination with the concept of “open mic night” and a desire to not feel like too much of a worthless contributor this fabulous site (plug. plug.)

As a musician, the concept of having a place where anyone with an iota of talent (and of course those that don’t) and an instrument can get up and play to a alternately drunk and appreciative audience, is truly wonderful. For many years I was a regular at Club Fred in Fresno’s open mic night and that scene was pretty chaotic but always fun. My hopes were that a Visalia open mic could dredge out all the poor souls locked in their homes brilliantly strumming away with no one to hear them. I arrived at the C.D. (yes I am trying to start an abbreviation trend here…) by bike, at approximately 8:45pm. The talent ostensibly was supposed to start around 8:30pm but like most music venues, nothing ever starts on time. I figured I was safe to scope out a spot and order a beer. It was pretty dead to start with but soon more and more people flowed into the place. What I have liked about the C.D. (there it is again…catching on yet!?) at the few shows I have seen there, is that fact that it draws such a wide variety of Visalians. You get young people just out looking for a date (sadly they are the most annoying of club goers in my opinion), crusty old musicians who seem like they haven’t played in years in front of people, older people out for a drink and some entertainment…and this night wasn’t any different. As the night wore on, several things happened which deserve to be commented on, however, in the interest of fairness and anonymity, I will not offer any negative opinions of those brave enough to get up on stage in front of strangers with alcohol. Random events were as follows:

Some mention by the host, (comedian/bartender “Gary”) of that night’s flow being not like the usual set up. He says there is usually a full band set up. Hmmm, very intriging.

Cackling gaggle of women acting sufficiently brainless in order to lure equally brainless men to hit on them.

A Dinuba drama teacher with a nylon string guitar with enough stage presence to carry us all. This guy made my bike ride worth it. And we had the same type of hat!

Open mic rule #1: Be prepared. Bring notes, extra picks, illegal drugs…whatever you need to get your point across.

Leave your flash option turned on, or you may get unintentionally artsy pics like these:

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A performer, sometime after his set, spilled a drink on the hardwood floor. He continued to play guitar from the audience while an employee cleaned up the mess.

Open mic rule #2: Anything goes. Bring poems. Bring a guitar. Bring electric eels and strawberry jam. Uh, scratch that, leave anything living at home. Strawberry jam? Still cool…

Bottom line, The Cellar Door is not just for musicians. If you have a talent, you may have an audience. And to top it off everyone was cool, no boo’s or heckling at all! Unless you were a comedian, but hey they have a tougher hide than the rest of us. No really, it’s been scientifically proven.

I plan to get out there as much as possible and so hope to see some new talent soon. That means YOU! We have to support this kind of forum before it disappears and we’re all wondering what the hell we’re going to do with a jar of strawberry jam and an eel on a Tuesday night. Believe me there aren’t that many options.



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