Lost Art Open Mic
Lost Art Open Mic (2010-2011)
In early 2010, Alex Pogosov broached the idea to me of starting a new open mic night at Bill's Records. Having been a part of the original open mic night, and having served as its final host/emcee, he sought both to recapture the spirit of the earlier series of readings and to fill what he saw as a vacuum in a scene which lacked a regular Sunday night reading. As the unofficial photographer of the original open mic, and having known Alex for several years, I was asked to participate in this revival. The first open mic night of the new series took place on May 2, 2010. Known initially only as the "Open Mic at Bill's," this first night included a small group of performers and attendees. Over time, attendance picked up, buoyed by an increase in the number of regulars and by a beefing up of promotional efforts. With the addition of Lilly Penhall in July as graphic artist and architect of the original Facebook page and website, and with the rechristening of the event as the Lost Art Open Mic, the circle of organizers was rounded out and we began to move forward with increased vigor.

Lost Art Open Mic Lost Art took place every Sunday night beginning at 8 PM (9 PM prior to July). Each artist/performer was given a slot of about 5-10 minutes, with performance order dictated by a sign up sheet. Spoken word, music, and other types of performance art were all encouraged. Occasional "theme" nights were held, such as the "Pool-less Pool Party" night in August, and the Halloween themed "Costume Party" night in October. Typically, each month also included a "feature night," on which one or more performers were given a block of about half an hour during which to showcase their work. Feature nights spotlighted both spoken word artists and musicians, and on two occasions consisted of a movie screening and a CD release party.

In the tradition of all truly great open mics, Lost Art was uncensored, and, thanks to Bill's long standing practice of hosting musical acts in store, boasted a full stage and P.A. system complete with microphones and elevated speakers. Although I originally signed on to the event as an organizer, I soon realized that the record store setting with its stage and sound system afforded a golden opportunity to document the open mic in a way that had not been possible during its original 2002-2006 run. The first few nights were recorded using a Sony CCD-TRV87 Hi8 Handycam and a tripod, but this minimalist setup quickly gave way to a more elaborate one involving the reel-to-reel machine used for the Open Mic Project to record sound, and, eventually, as I decided to get more serious about the project, to a much more complex equipment setup designed for recording high quality audio and video and synchronizing them in post-production. Lower quality analog video equipment was replaced by much higher quality digital video cameras and audio quality stepped up considerably with the introduction of digital sound recording. Lost Art performance material was posted in regular online installments, generally once or twice a month, as a way to promote the open mic. In addition to this, 18 performances were collected onto a promotional CD, Live at Lost Art Open Mic, released in late 2010.

Lost Art ended its thirteen month run on June 6, 2011. The spirit of the open mics is preserved here, and in the memories of those who were a part of them.

Featured Lost Art Open Mic nights:

A full list of open mic performances on the website, including performances from other open mics I've been involved with such as Mad Swirl, Poets on X+, and the Mochalux open mic, can be found on the Index of Open Mic Videos.