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Open mic guide




Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on April 24, 2003 at 5:50 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.


Maybe you're a prolific writer who's been composing rhythmic verse since you can first remember. Or maybe you're a wallflower with the secret desire to get out there and express yourself.

Whatever the case, Geo Kiesow, who's been running the Poetry Slam at Milwaukee's Y-Not II since 1987, says open mic nights are a great way to hone your craft. He took over the role of manager after consistently earning the title as Slam Champion while a participant in the program.

"You gotta start somewhere," says Kiesow. "Poetry on the page is nice and all, but only poets are going to read it. If you really want people to hear your stuff, you got to get out and read it yourself."

And not only will performing on stage get the message to the people, Kiesow says it'll help improve your writing, too. Case in point, Kiesow mentions Poetry Slam veteran Jeanne Spicuzza. A former Milwaukeean, Spicuzza is now working in L.A. as a professional artist and writer.

"I remember when she first started reading ... and I watched her get better and better," says Kiesow. "That's one of the things I enjoy the most, is watching some of these people start out and get better and better."

There's no need for experience, and Kiesow says Milwaukee is actually a "kinder, gentler" place to participate in open mic nights. Cities like Chicago employ audience heckling, actually, snapping and grunting, when they don't like something they see. But that kind of behavior's not kosher in Milwaukee, says Kiesow.

"You just gotta get up and do it," Kiesow advises. "People should get out there and give it a shot."

So who knows? You might be a poet and not even know it! If you'd like to give it a try, here's a list of some open mic nights in Milwaukee for both the poetry and music lover in you.

For the Poet:

The Coffee House, 631 N. 19th St. (414) 299-9598. Look on Web site for most current listings, the-coffee-house.com for select acoustic and spoken word open stage events. $2 admission. Café is located in the lower level of Redeemer Lutheran Church.

The Eighth Note Coffee House, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd., ground floor of UWM Student Union. (414) 229-5961. Scheduled readings upon request by a host or organization. Call for current event.

Woodland Pattern Bookstore, 720 E. Locust St. (414) 263-5001. Red Letter reading series is every third Friday, monthly. Night features local and regional writers and begins at 7 p.m. with an open mic. Hiatus in December, January and July.

Y-Not II, 706 E. Lyon. (414) 347-9972. Poetry Slam, second and fourth Wednesdays, monthly. Open mic and featured performer. Winners participate in Super Slam readings in November. Starts at 8:30 p.m.

For the Musician:

Bremen Café, 901 E. Clark St. (414) 372-5351. Open jams on Monday nights. Begins around 7 p.m. and lasts until everyone has played.

Linneman's Riverwest Inn, 1001 E. Locust St. (414) 263-9844. Acoustic Open Stage on Wednesday nights. Doors open at 5 p.m. Sign up sheet goes out at 9 p.m. Music starts at 10 p.m.

Miramar Theater, 2844 N. Oakland Ave. (414) 967-0302. Open Mike is every Tuesday at 8:00. Get there early because the list of 15 performers fills up quickly. A list for reserve performers is also available for any extra time.

Quarters, 900 East Center St. 263-4140. The Original Sunday Night Stage w/Mariah. Must register on sign-up sheet before performance. Music starts at 9 p.m.

Sande's National Pasttime, 5105 W. National Ave. (414) 385-0896. Sunday Open Blues Jam with Tall Mike.

Six Points Pub, 6200 W. Greenfield Ave. (414) 773-4980. Monday night Blues Jam. Starts around 9:30 p.m.

Know of another open mic? Add it by using the talkback feature below.

Talkbacks

myersjenn | July 17, 2012 at 10:51 a.m. (report)

The Blueburg Cafe will offer Open Mic nights on the first Wednesday of each month begining Wednesday, August 1, 2012, and will showcase musicians, singers, poets, dancers, comedians, filmmakers and story tellers. Amplification, microphones and a drum kit (bring your own sticks) will be provided. Doors open at 6:45 pm Open Mic starts at 7:30 pm. Located at the Cedarburg Cultural Center, W62 N546 Washington Avenue, Cedarburg, WI 53012 . http://www.cedarburgculturalcenter.org

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myersjenn | July 17, 2012 at 10:44 a.m. (report)

Blueburg Cafe will be having open mic nights the first Wednesdat of every month. The first will be on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 at 7:30 pm. Doors will open at 6:45 pm. Musicians, singers, poets, dancers, comedians, filmmakers and story tellers are welcome. Filmmakers must call in advance. Amplification, microphones and a drum kit (bring your own sticks) will be provided.The Cafe's full bar will be available. There is no cover charge.

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BigElmuzik | Dec. 10, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. (report)

hey 18yrold, looking for shows but do not know where they are, or how to get them need help!

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haeffel | June 2, 2010 at 4:37 p.m. (report)

Night @ the a'Paulo's- Wednesdays (excluding the last Wed. of each month) 5121 W. Howard Ave. Milwaukee, WI Open mic 9:30-11:00pm-ALL ART FORMS WELCOME! (music poetry comedy...) sign up begins @ 8:30 8:00-8:30pm - Mathew Haeffel-music 8:30-9:30pm - special guest musician 9:30-11:00pm - OPEN MIC(all art forms) - with emcee/comedian Nola J 11:00-12:00am - Tim Reck- music 12:00-1:00am - Mathew Haeffel/open jam session

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rnzh102 | March 18, 2009 at 3:58 p.m. (report)

The Up and Under does host open mic on Monday nights starting at 9pm. It's best to get there by 8 though because the sign up list takes about 15 minutes to fill up. You can either play alone or with the house band behind you. This is a great way to get your foot in the door to play a Thurs/Fri/Sat at the Up.

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