Open Mic Project, photo (c) 2008 by Peter Orozco
The Open Mic Project (2007-2013)
I hang out a lot with poets and open mic types. From events in Deep Ellum, the Kessler Theater, and Paperbacks Plus, to open mics at the Absinthe Lounge, Mighty Fine Arts, the Mochalux coffee house, America's Best Coffee, Dunn Brothers Coffee, Opening Bell Coffee, the Crown and Harp Pub, the Fallout Lounge, Southern Methodist University, and my own Lost Art Open Mic, I've spent a lot of time being a part of and documenting various spoken word and performance related events.

From 2002 - 2005, I was a regular attendee and unofficial photographer at the weekly open mics held at Bill's Records & Tapes in Dallas. I heard a lot of people read and perform there, including such local luminaries as Shanna Hale, Joey Cloudy, Jolee Davis, Karen X., Katy Sams, Max Blair, Desmene Statum, Rhie Azzam, Andrea Rae, Paul Sexton, Jenny Huey, Alex P., and many others. During my tenure as photographer, I captured moments of many of these performances as still images and posted them on a makeshift website every so often as "Highlights From Bill's."

That series of open mics at Bill's officially ended in January 2006. Many of the readers I knew from those days are no longer active, leaving only the photos and scattered reminiscences of those of us who were present as the evidence of their earlier forays into the world of the performing arts. It occurred to me that in addition to the photography, I would really like to have captured some of these performers on tape. Toward that end, in 2007 I dug out an old reel-to-reel machine that I'd had in storage for several years, set up a microphone and mic stand in my living room, and started making some calls and sending some e-mails, and the "Open Mic Project" library was born. The fruits of this effort are sampled here. Each page spotlights the work of one artist, and generally features both the text of each piece as well as an audio recording.

The audio files in this section of the site can be accessed by clicking on the player below the title of each piece. In most cases, you can also view the text of the piece being performed by clicking on the title itself.

Alex Pogosov, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Alex Pogosov
Amy Weaver, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Amy Weaver
Desmene Statum, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Desmene Statum
Joey Cloudy, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Joey Cloudy
Johnny Olson, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Johnny Olson
Jolee Davis, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Jolee Davis
Lilly Penhall, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Lilly Penhall
M.H. Clay, PAO Productions Open Mic Project M.H. Clay
Max Blair, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Max Blair
Opalina Salas, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Opalina Salas
Shanna Hale, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Shanna Hale
Deborah Victory, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Victory
Behind the scenes photos, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Behind the scenes photos
Open mic outtakes, PAO Productions Open Mic Project Outtakes