Best of 2012: Open Mic Night
Let's face it: There are open mics, and then there are open mics.
Andrea Stone's Monday night showcase at Zodiac falls into the more elite category, regularly attracting musicians who are already active performers in the Springs club scene — or soon will be — along with local poets and stand-up comics. Better-known musicians who've taken part include Charlie Milo, the Hopeful Heroines, Grant Sabin and Chauncy Crandall, all of whom won or placed in this year's Indy Music Awards competition.
"I met both of the bands I'm in at our open mic," says Stone, who performs with Kopesetik Soul and the Mostly Don'ts, also both IMA honorees. "Two groups," she adds, "that couldn't be more different from each other."
It was five or six years ago that Stone went to her first open mic, which was being hosted by Jerry Roskin at McCabe's. "I'd just begun writing songs and I was extremely nervous to play," she recalls. "But Jerry was so nice and encouraging that he made it easy for me to get up there and share my music. I became addicted."
So when Andrea's sister-in-law Christina Stone got together with her best friend Gentle Fritz to open Zodiac on the site of the former Rocket Room, Andrea jumped at the chance to host an open mic of her own. Nearly two years later, musicians continue to arrive early for the chance to play a big stage with high-end sound and lighting systems. Along with it comes a sense of camaraderie, real-time feedback and a free drink for each performer.
And for Stone, it's also an opportunity to bring things full circle. "Ultimately why I host," she says, "is to give back to my community what Jerry gave me years ago, and in spades." — Bill Forman
Best of 2012 • IndyPick: Place to Lose Your Karaoke Virginity: Karaoke with Hazel Humdinger
Never mind why I never karaoked before. The important thing is that I have now, and it's all thanks to this weekly event, set under the warm, sparkly lights of Zodiac. I began with a duet with my boyfriend — "Country Roads" by John Denver — then graduated to my first solo, "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane. Yes, I'd say I feel pretty cool these days. Because Hazel herself is cool (the burlesque star absolutely nails the Cranberries' "Dreams") and so is bartender extraordinaire Dave Baumgartner, you feel like you're hanging out with friends, lame though it sounds. So it's easy to take the plunge on stage, for the first time and many times thereafter; it's always a big, boozy funfest. — Edie Adelstein