Event organizer and musician Marian Call sings a song to open the Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night at The Rookery in October 2018. The popular open mic series is becoming an online event in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Event organizer and musician Marian Call sings a song to open the Mountainside Open Mic & Art Night at The Rookery in October 2018. The popular open mic series is becoming an online event in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Digital get down: Open mic moves to internet

Internet, live transmission.

A global pandemic isn’t closing Juneau’s weekly open mic and arts night, but it is causing a change in venues.

Mountainside Open Mic and Art Night will continue through April 8, said organizer Marian Call, but it will do so online.

“It would be so much tougher to be isolated without this amazing tool, the internet, we should use it,” Call said in a phone interview.

Call said she tries to never cancel when she can postpone and has made a living for a long time with music online.

“Especially with missing Folk Fest, I think people are going to be hungry for it,” Call said referencing the cancellation of the long-running Juneau folk festival.

[Annual Tribal Assembly is postponed]

She said since she has the good fortune to have the time and relative lack of worry needed to organize the event, it just made sense to lead the new effort.

The virtual open mic nights will start at the usual time — 7-9 p.m. on Wednesdays —and will consist of videos or photos of visual works shared to Facebook.

“I want to make it just like the open mic,” Call said.

Posts that tag the open mic’s Facebook page, @mountainsideopenmic, will then be shared with the page’s followers. Call also encouraged people to post their photos and videos to Instagram and include “#MountainsideOpenMic” in the caption.

Call said she hopes that people who share performances or pieces with adult lyrics or themes indicate that in their posts. Mountainside Open Mics have typically had an all-ages audience.

“We won’t really be policing for content so much as long as they tag it as such,” Call said.

Additionally, Call said while hosting the events digitally does potentially open it up

to a worldwide audience and international performers, the open mic is still primarily a Juneau event.

However, Call said there are people from Juneau and former residents all over the world, so that won’t be strictly enforced.

“If it spreads, it spreads,” Call said.

• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt

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