Alyssa Fischer sings during Juneau Cabaret’s showcase during Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night. The weekly open mic series ends with a showcase for well-practiced local acts. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Alyssa Fischer sings during Juneau Cabaret’s showcase during Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night. The weekly open mic series ends with a showcase for well-practiced local acts. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Juneau’s new, sketchy open mic

All kinds of music and art welcome at Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night

The new Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night emphasizes openness.

The weekly open mic series at the Rookery was conceived as an all-ages, all-genres showcase for musicians of all stripes.

“We want something that’s more open to family and teens — acoustic stuff, stuff you might not play at a bar,” event organizer and musician Marian Call told the Capital City Weekly. “We want an atmosphere where people aren’t afraid to do something scary.”

The open mic series runs through Dec. 12, and the last event will be a party at a to-be-determined location that will include a display of the sketches, doodles and other art generated by listeners.

They start at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays with sign-ups starting at 6:30 p.m. The run will include an Oct. 31 open night, and costumes are welcomes.

“As long as they’re small enough for you to fit comfortably,” Call said.

Wednesday’s open mic featured a variety of performers. There were acoustic strummers, keyboard players, a capella singers, and Philip Stewart even plugged in to play a goofy original.

“I was trying to come up with something, and I couldn’t,” Stewart said. “And I said, wait, that’s the song.”

So he performed a ditty about his inability to free himself from the clutches of songwriting cliches and ended with a surprisingly velveteen Barry White impression.

Each open mic also serves as a showcase for established performers, such as Juneau Cabaret.

Heather Mitchell, Allison Holtkamp and Alyssa Fischer took turns singing classics, while Tom Locher and David Sheakley-Early provided accompaniment on the keys and drums.

The Rookery’s tables were full for the various performances with some late arrivers temporarily relegated to standing, until they could find one of the scarce empty seats.

“It’s obvious people really want this,” Stewart said noting the crowd.

Even those who didn’t perform songs had an opportunity to be artists.

“It’s also a visual arts night,” Call said. “Everyone’s got a sketch or drawing or crocheting to work on, but there’s always video games and Netflix.”

Tables were equipped with loose sheets of papers, markers, pens, pencils and behemoth 96-crayon boxes of Crayolas.

Julianna Bibb, who also performed original compositions on the keyboard, brought her light box and drawing implements and created some manga-influenced drawings.

“It’s just me getting some work done,” Bibb said. “I use the light box because I’m not using Photoshop.”

Others hacked it out with less technology.

Kayla Shepherd was part of a group of University of Alaska Southeast transfer students in attendance, and she worked on a few crayon drawings while listening to music.

Shepherd said it was her friend, Zoe Stonetree’s, idea to come to the open mic.

“We’re pretty new to Juneau,” Shepherd said. “We were looking around at all the things to do and found this.”


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at 523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


Allison Holtkamp sings during Juneau Cabaret’s showcase during Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night. The new open mic series is open to all genres and age groups. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Allison Holtkamp sings during Juneau Cabaret’s showcase during Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night. The new open mic series is open to all genres and age groups. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

The new Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night encourages attendees to flex their creative muscles, even if they aren’t performing music. Kayla Shepherd put the crayons and paper at her table to use. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

The new Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night encourages attendees to flex their creative muscles, even if they aren’t performing music. Kayla Shepherd put the crayons and paper at her table to use. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Lydia Rail sand a couple of a capella covers during the Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Lydia Rail sand a couple of a capella covers during the Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Philip Stewart tunes his electric guitar during the Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night at the Rookery. Stewart was the lone musician to play the electric guitar. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Philip Stewart tunes his electric guitar during the Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night at the Rookery. Stewart was the lone musician to play the electric guitar. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

More in Home

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire
A section of Angoon along the coast is seen on June 14. Angoon was destroyed by the U.S. Navy in 1882; here is where they first pulled up to shore.
Long-awaited U.S. Navy apology for 1882 bombardment will bring healing to Angoon

“How many times has our government apologized to any American Native group?”

Pins supporting the repeal of ranked choice voting are seen on April 20 at the Republican state convention in Anchorage. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
State judge upholds most fines against group seeking repeal of Alaska ranked choice voting

An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled that opponents of Alaska’s ranked… Continue reading

Joshua Midgett and Kelsey Bryce Riker appear on stage as the emcees for MixCast 2023 at the Crystal Saloon. (Photo courtesy Juneau Ghost Light Theatre)
And now for someone completely different: Familiar faces show new personas at annual MixCast cabaret

Fundraiser for Juneau Ghost Light Theatre on Saturday taking place amidst week of local Pride events

Lydia Jacoby, Alaska’s gold-medal swimmer, announced Tuesday she is withdrawing from the U.S. Olympic Trials. (Alaska Sports Report photo)
P.J. Foy does not advance, Lydia Jacoby withdraws from U.S. Olympic swimming trials

First-ever Juneau swimmer to compete in trials finishes 49th among 61 competitors Friday.

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon announced this week she plans to seek a third three-year term. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Mayor Beth Weldon seeking third term amidst personal and political challenges

Low mill rate, more housing cited by lifelong Juneau resident as achievements during past term.

A king salmon is laid out for inspection by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor during the Golden North Salmon Derby on Aug. 25, 2019. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Emergency order bans king salmon fishing in many Juneau waters between June 24 and Aug. 31

Alaska Department of Fish and Game says low projected spawning population necessitates restrictions

Three cruise ships are docked along Juneau’s waterfront on the evening on May 10, as a Princess cruise ship on the right is departing the capital city. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Sitka residents join those in Juneau proposing hard caps on cruise ships as tourism grows

Two ballot measures could be presented to local voters in the two Southeast Alaska towns this fall

James Whistler, 8, operates a mini excavator during Gold Rush Days on Saturday, June 17, 2023. People young and old were offered a chance to place tires around traffic cones and other challenges after getting a brief introduction to the excavator. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
There’s good reason to be extra charged up for this year’s Juneau Gold Rush Days

Digital registration for logging/mining competitors new for 32nd annual event this weekend.

Glory Hall Executive Director Mariya Lovishchuk points out some of the features of the homeless shelter’s new location a few days before it opens in July of 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire file photo)
Mariya Lovishchuk stepping down after 15 years as executive director of the Glory Hall

Leader who oversaw big changes in Juneau’s homeless programs hopes to continue similar work.

Most Read