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 email@example.com.