Welcome to

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Los Angeles and Surrounding Communities

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About Hal's Open Mic and Showcase Guide

Our primary reason for creating this resource is to fill a niche. After all, there are plenty of websites for indy bands and record companies that wish to introduce sound clips and order forms for CD's of their acts. Lots of great advice, e-zines, databases of tour itineraries and great music websites floating out there in cyberspace. But a lot of people tend to overlook that vast pool from which much of the talent emerges - open mics! Think of an open mic as "Performing 101". Neophyte songwriters play at open mics to help overcome stage fright and even seasoned pros sometimes show up to try out a new song on a live crowd just to see how it flies in a room full of fellow singer / songwriters. Then again, some people use it as a way to learn that it's not their forte (if ya know what I mean).
Most formats only allow you to do two songs or 10 minutes, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. On one hand, you don't get much of a chance to warm into the gig, but then, if someone really sucks, you won't have to wait too long before it's someone else's turn.

Not all open mics are created equal. Some are located in small coffeehouse/bookstore environments, others are in bars or restaurants. These venues range from tiny little rooms with pathetic acoustics and a thrashed sound system, while others are in major venues with a killer P.A. and an attentive sound engineer (with every combination of variables in between). The hosts at open mics vary in personality from the totally apathetic to the truly gifted.

About Cover Charges:

Most clubs do not have a cover charge for open mics, but some do. It's usually only a buck or two and in defense of those that do charge, I must say that in some cases, if it's not enforced, the place tends to fill up with a lot of bodies who wouldn't spend a dime if it weren't required. Ultimately, the doors would close for good, and we must help support the folks who help to support us. However, if you feel that a particular place is ripping off musicians, please send us a message.

What sets this guide apart from the rest?

Unlike the listings found in the entertainment guides, the descriptions of these venues are based on the point of view of someone who actively participates in open mic performing and hosts a showcase as well. Our correspondents have also showcased at many of these clubs, therefore, you get an artists-eye view of these open mics. If it's a room you must play, we'll tell you, if it's a waste of time, we'll let you know that, too! We try to be as objective as possible and be assured that no one can pay us to print anything if we don't feel it's accurate!

Please feel free to send me email in the interest of updating this information or use the SHMOOZATORIUM message board to post an update instantly.


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