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Another open mic question.

Neighmond 17 Sep 08 - 02:54 AM
Jim Lad 17 Sep 08 - 03:14 AM
Phil Edwards 17 Sep 08 - 03:18 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Sep 08 - 03:41 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Sep 08 - 04:32 AM
Suegorgeous 17 Sep 08 - 07:24 AM
Tim Leaning 17 Sep 08 - 07:49 AM
jacqui.c 17 Sep 08 - 08:41 AM
dwditty 17 Sep 08 - 09:46 AM
Suegorgeous 17 Sep 08 - 09:48 AM
Piers Plowman 17 Sep 08 - 11:12 AM
Stewart 17 Sep 08 - 12:55 PM
Lowden Jameswright 17 Sep 08 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,Susan 17 Sep 08 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,Louder-`n- Louder 17 Sep 08 - 01:48 PM
PoppaGator 17 Sep 08 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,Jim 17 Sep 08 - 03:12 PM
jacqui.c 17 Sep 08 - 03:25 PM
VirginiaTam 17 Sep 08 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Marlo Bolton 17 Sep 08 - 05:43 PM
Neighmond 18 Sep 08 - 11:17 AM
Uncle_DaveO 18 Sep 08 - 11:59 AM
PoppaGator 18 Sep 08 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 18 Sep 08 - 12:55 PM
Suegorgeous 18 Sep 08 - 03:47 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Sep 08 - 04:03 PM
artbrooks 18 Sep 08 - 04:14 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Sep 08 - 05:39 PM
Neighmond 18 Sep 08 - 08:58 PM
Neighmond 18 Sep 08 - 08:59 PM
jacqui.c 19 Sep 08 - 09:59 AM
Neighmond 19 Sep 08 - 07:57 PM
Tattie Bogle 19 Sep 08 - 08:59 PM
Neighmond 19 Sep 08 - 11:27 PM
Liz the Squeak 20 Sep 08 - 02:51 AM
GUEST 20 Sep 08 - 07:22 PM
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Subject: Another open mic disaster. (Long, with questions)
From: Neighmond
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 02:54 AM

Long one, here but I have to get advise from people who know what it's all about!

Recently, I attended an open mic/sing-a-round hosted by a local art gallery. As it was their first I had little idea what to expect.

The idea behind it was to allow porch pickers and parlor singers that otherwise wouldn't perform a chance at fellowship and fun. I know this because I was in on the goings-on involved in getting it scheduled to begin with. As far as I knew, nobody there was professional, and most of us were people that sang only for the joy of it (I can't claim any outstanding talent, as those of you that ever hear me sing can attest.)

I called as many of my fellow "singers" as I could get hold of, and invited them in, and several came from a half-hour away.

Here's where things began to go south...

The female host (there were two hosts-a man and a female, and to this point I had always gotten along with both) made up a sort of playbill, but didn't stick to it in the least. She started of by missing three performers entirely, and canceling intermission so she could let one performer (who is VERY talented) play several more numbers.

With no intermission people were up and talking, walking, getting food and God knows what else while performers were doing their thing.

Then, she altered the order for the second round, so some younger folks could play and go home early, which was completely understandable.
After they played, she called the VERY talented performer up for his second set, and after he was done said "Do another set, we like your playing so much!" She asked him for a third, but he said there were people waiting, and told me to get up and do my thing (I was next.)
I did one, and was about to commence the second (it was two numbers apice) and the female host said, and I quote "Oh, no! YOUR'E not going to do ANOTHER, are you? You ALWAYS sing ALL the verses!" (keep in mind nothing I did that night was more than three verses and a chorus) At this point in time the VERY talented player told me to go on and sing-he liked listening. So I did some short thing and wrapped up and the female host told everyone within listening that "At least it was short" and called the young trio back up-remember them, the ones that went first because they HAD to go?
She then called the VERY talented player up for the closing number.

As I returned to my seat, I saw that the three performers she had missed started to pack up to go. I asked one why he didn't go and ask for his turn and his reply was "If she didn't like your singing she sure isn't going to like mine!" The other two just said to "have fun" and off they went. Later one called me and asked me to call him if I found another venue. I called and appologised to the other two, and one thanked me and didn't say much else, and the other was mad about the long drive for a few days, but calmed down. In the parking lot, the VERY talented performer appologised to two others and I for any part he had in the fiaso. We all assured him we didn't find any fault in him, and told him he was an asset to the place, butwhen I saw him earlier today he said still he felt bad about it.

The female host also made some less than flattering comments on another lady there, and it set her back because she took it personally.



Now...the female host seems to think that I am the driving force behind the players who left, and told me "don't hurry back."

This is nowhere near the truth. Along with another veteran of open mics and sing-a-rounds I offered and offered to help them draw up a plan and stick with it! I would support another go at an open mic in there if only they could get their collective shite together, even to the point of calling and eating crow with the dissapointed parties to get them back for another shot. I discussed this with the male host, but he deffered the matter to the female host and she blew it off completely.



Any suggestions-should I keep trying to mend fences or just take advantage of another venue altogether?

Is it improper to call on a performer met at this venue to invite them to another at a different place?

When people ask me about this event, I tell them that "we did everything we knew how, to enjoy ourselves" and leave it at that. What is the best way to say that the managers blew the night for half of us and the other half were sorry to have to watch it happen?


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Jim Lad
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 03:14 AM

Relax.
Move on and invite whomever you please.
It's supposed to be FUN!


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 03:18 AM

should I keep trying to mend fences

No. Anything - literally anything - you do or say now is likely to be interpreted negatively, particularly if it involves criticism of the MC or a larger role for you. Rule one of singers' nights & singarounds is that what the MC says goes - and that even holds if, as in this case, the MC is incompetent and hostile.

Is it improper to call on a performer met at this venue to invite them to another at a different place?

I wouldn't say it was wrong. It's liable to p*** off the MCs, but it's up to you how much you want to care about that. The real question is whether it's going to annoy people you don't want to annoy.

What is the best way to say that the managers blew the night for half of us...

Again, I don't know how diplomatic you want to be or why. If it was me I think I'd give a heavily-edited version of what happened, assigning blame as necessary but presented as a bit of a joke - "it was a bit more of a VERY talented player event than we'd anticipated... female MC had some interesting ideas about the running order..." - and leave it at that. If you want to tell the story without saying that the night went horribly wrong, you'll basically have to lie - and lying, you know, is a sin! a sin!


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 03:41 AM

Oh Neighmond! I do sympathise! Welcome to the world of fragile egos and area of low intelligence and sensitivity, that is the world of amateur promoters. Theres a wonderful James Joyce story in Dubliners set at the start of the 20th century all about an amateur concert - your story is sadly not a new one to the world!

I must say the woman sounds like a monster of stupidity and loutishness. To assemble a load of players and then decide you were not going to allow everyone a fair share of the limelight - well its unforgiveabe - inexperienced or not. Just plain rude.

She may feel her friend was 'very talented' - if so they were that talented, the form is that they are top of the bill - they go on last - because people will stick around to see them.

The youngsters (if they are that young) have no place on a bill for adults. the rules of courtesy are that you listen to the other performers and appreciate what they can do. if you can't rise to that level of courtesy, go and organise D-day or some area of human activity where tact and courtesy are not necessary.

Apologise profusely and individuallly to the bruised egos (phone them up now!) - put a distance between you and the idiot. Its the only waypeople will not start give involving you a bad name.

Print off this message from me and send it your hostess for the evening. Try and make her see what a complete and utter twit she has been, and the size of the gaffe she has committed.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 04:32 AM

If the dipstick carries on like that her venue will fold anyway. You might as well start your own and do what you can to hasten her demise. WHy not try something without PA even?


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 07:24 AM

No point in continuing to try mending - you've obviously bent over backwards to sort it, and this person is impossible to deal with.

Why shouldn't you tell a performer about another night? performers don't only go to one event per week! it's a free world.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 07:49 AM

I have been both ends of this situation re having been asked to do a bit more and letting my turn go by for someone who has travelled further etc there has to be give and take.
Sounds like the MC was incredibly rude and ignorant or maybe a bit high with the success of the evening and presumed a closer relationship with you than existed in your mind.
Put it down to experience and ask whoever you want re playing it seems that the way to get some playing time in is to be a shameless whore re music.
Our local folk club MC has a wonderful line in sotte voce utterings
IE "oh its not traditional then?"
There are not really enough floor singers to need an MC now.
But as I said be a whore.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: jacqui.c
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 08:41 AM

I agree with Richard - sounds as if the existing session won't be longlived if she keeps going like that.

Start your own session elsewhere, on a different night, if possible. Just make it clear that YOU are running the session and learn from her mistakes.

I can't see any reason why you shouldn't advise people you met at that session of another opportunity to make music. Even if it comes down to a choice of venue for some people surely they have the right to decide where they would prefer to be.

Good luck to you!


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: dwditty
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 09:46 AM

When I decided to start playing out, I went to every open mic I could find time for. All I can say is there is a huge range to what people call an open mic. Most were just not for me, so I found another. I have settled on 2 or 3 (one that I go to almost every week) where I have fun...

dw


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 09:48 AM

DW - my experience too!


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 11:12 AM

I'm not sure I should be posting here, because I haven't played at an open mic night. There's a place just a couple of blocks from my apartment that has one once a month and a session (a word I learned here) once a month on another night. I've been considering going to the open mic night, at least to have a listen. I think my repertoire might not fit in with what people expect and/or want.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say was that I think rescheduling is definitely an affront. It once happened to me at a conference and I put up with it. If it ever happens again without a very good reason, I will refuse to speak or play or tap-dance or whatever and might leave entirely, depending on circumstances. Nor would I hesitate a single second to start a competing event. At that point, they could take a flying leap as far as I'm concerned.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Stewart
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 12:55 PM

At our Victory Music open mics everyone gets treated equally. Sign-up goes until 15 min before the start of music, then there is a random draw. If you don't like your position you can always trade if someone else is willing. If you come after the schedule is made up, you are put at the end of the list, and only if there is time at the end. The VERY TALENTED player gets the same time as anyone else.

Several years ago there was a young kid who came a just few times. He was horrible - he shouted and flailed at his guitar unmercifully. I went to the back of the room to get away from the noise as much as possible. I then turned to one of our regulars standing next to me and rolled my eyes. Jim said "this is an open mic, and we have to treat everyone the same." He was right, of course. Then half way through his song (??) the kid broke a guitar string and mercifully he had to quit. Really bad players don't usually come back, or sometimes they do improve.

If you don't want to allow anyone and everyone to play, you have a "musician's showcase" where it's by invitation only, and the MC can decide who plays and how much time they get. That can work well, but it depends on the host.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 01:29 PM

Many years ago I used to go along to a regular night as one of several "guest" singers in support of a resident performer. He loved to hog the limelight and I stopped going after we were being passed over on numerous occasions. After a while there were no guest performers turning up so he had the evenings to himself. Soon he was bombed out by the proprietor because audiences dwindled dramatically - even though he was an excellent talent - but sooner or later it all gets very "samey" and folks vote with their feet.

So, I started my own "open mike" type sessions and made a pledge to give everyone a fair crack, even if it meant I was left holding the mike only as the MC for the majority of the evening. That was 12 years ago, and the evenings are still always well attended. The proprietor is happy to hand over the cash just as long as folks keep turning up in numbers and having a good night out - that's what it's about.

I say - move on and do your own thing, learning from the bloomers this lady made..


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: GUEST,Susan
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 01:36 PM

The female emcee was wrong. An open mike is exactly that.. an OPEN mike. It's not an invitational. The rules should be specific, the same for everyone and every guest should be treated with respect.

A good host is supposed to get her own ego and opinions out of the way and make sure things run smoothly and fairly.

I've hosted LOTS of open mikes in my life and these rules have worked like a charm:

1) First come, first pick i.e. you don't HAVE to go first if you come first... you can pick third. Most people don't want to go first and shouldn't be punished for being first to sign up. After the first three or four have sorted it out, it tends to go in order of arrival.

2) Everyone gets the same number of songs 2, 3 or 4 depending on the number of performers.

3) The host wanders around as the night progresses giving warning to every performer that they're up after the next one or two performers to give people a chance to be get their instruments tuned and their nerves under control.

4) If there's still time to play after everyone's played, anyone who chooses to stick around can go again in order of the first round.

5) The host opens with the same number of songs as everyone else gets. Their job is to be the sacrificial lamb, to establish the live music thing to make everyone else comfortable. I've seen too many hosts do an entire 45 minutes to one hour set and then give everyone else four songs. The night is NOT about the host. It's about the guests.

6) Every guest should be thanked for coming and made to feel welcome. It's not about talent. If it was about talent, then a talented professional act should be HIRED. Sometimes, there's talent at open mikes but it's an OPEN MIKE for heaven's sake. If you don't like who shows up, don't throw open mikes.

Those are the rules I've used and they've always worked like a charm. There are countless other ways to organize it depending on the situation. A listening open mike in a folk club is different than a corner open mike in a bar but the important thing is to make fair rules and stick to them. The rest takes care of itself.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: GUEST,Louder-`n- Louder
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 01:48 PM

I understand there are some places where singers and musicians play at open mic nights but they have to telephone prior to the event in order to be heard! Whatever next? Instument and repertoire approval??


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 01:53 PM

"The female host (there were two hosts-a man and a female, and to this point I had always gotten along with both)..."

That's the first and last we heard about the male half of the emcee team. I wonder what happened to him ~ was he simply overwhelmed by Ms Boss Lady, unable to counteract her in any way? Was he generally in agreement with her approach, and glad to let her take the reins? Was he embarassed by her nastiness?

If I were you, I'd try to have a heart-to-heart talk with him about how the evening was more-or-less ruined for virtually every participant. Even the favored "very-talented" fellow was made to feel discomfort at being cast in an unwanted role as teacher's-pet, and of course everyone who was passed over and/or insulted (as you were) has a legitimate complaint.

I would not expect the miscreant herself to listen to even the most constructive criticism, but one would hope you could achieve meaningful communication with her co-host, and/or anyone else involved in the project, such as the gallery owner(s) (if they're not one and the same person, or couple).

I'm wondering just where this occurred ~ what region of which country. We've all learned how open-mike/singalong customs seem to differ from one place to another, so that bit of background might enhance our understanding.

As far as whether you can/should continue to invite your singing acquaintances to attend other events in the future, absolutely, please, don't hesitate. Everyone who was there that night, and may have had a disappointing experience, was certainly able to witness that you yourself were treated as poorly as anyone. Your credibility should not have been hurt at all.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 03:12 PM

Our open mics at Folk At The Forum in Cobourg, Ontario stated 15 minutes or three songs, whichever came first. We had some very subtle MCs who could inform a player that his/her time was up without offending them, but this was seldom neccessary. Open stage players were asked what time slot they'd like and we tried to accomodate them - some folks were intimidated by going on first and others wanted to get it over with. We had an open mic before each show with a hired performer and one or two all night open mics a year.
I often asked people to perform at our venu whom I'd met at other venus without feeling guilty about "stealing their talent". I also often appeared at other venus myself. If you do start an event of your own, and I hope you do, you should feel free to invite anyone you wish. I'd try to steer clear of having it on the same night as the other event though.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: jacqui.c
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 03:25 PM

Poppagator

He did talk to the guy, who deferred to the female, who 'blew it off, completely'.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 03:42 PM

"Dipstick" is too nice a name for that female MC. Dipsticks adequately perform a necessary function. Ms. MC obviously did not.

Start your own session and invite who you want. If Ms. MC complains or questions why, tell her how marginalised (insulted) some performers felt at that event. Maybe she will learn. If not, well you did all you could. A session is supposed to be fun and enjoyable for everyone, not just a celebrated few.

I concur with others on sing around sessions as opposed to open mic. Some performers (myself included) will NOT stand up at a mic in front of others. Who needs electric or all those eyes staring expectantly. The less formal the session is the more likley to attract experienced and inexperienced performers and to enjoy seredipitous benefits such as making new friends, discovering new music and performers. That is all good.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: GUEST,Marlo Bolton
Date: 17 Sep 08 - 05:43 PM

The OP was in iowa in some of their posts.

I feel ya. Start yer own, it sounds like you know enough people to start one.

G'day from DSM IA.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Neighmond
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 11:17 AM

An interisting thing went on about this deal this morning. I will have to detail it as soon as I get home tonight.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 11:59 AM

In the two open mikes I periodically take part in, the sign-in sheet is put out before things start. As referred to by GUEST,Susan above, one can sign up for a slot in the proceedings, not limited by when you're signing in.

I try to avoid going first or second, because the audience is apt to be rather thin as people straggle in, and I don't want to be late in the order of things because people start to leave. I'd rather sing for a larger crowd than I'd get in the early or late slots.

However, sometimes the MC has asked something like, "Uncle Dave, Charlie broke a string and has to change it; could you take his 'first' slot?" or "Uncle Dave, Charlie signed up for first, but he's disappeared somewhere.? I know your guitar is out and tuned, so would you start things off so we can keep on schedule?" Of course I'll do that for the good of the cause, and never a mumblin' word about my not-first druthers.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: PoppaGator
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 12:32 PM

Jacqui & amrlo, thanks for filling me in. I probably should have know at least one of those two things from reading more carefully.

I can't wait to hear more about this saga...


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 12:55 PM

theres a small conservative town in SW England I've given up on.
Wont ever bother going back
until I've read the obituary
of one particularly treacherous power-crazed
vainglorious elderly voluntary community arts despot..

..and her equally nasty & stupid old sycophants and cronies...


shouldn't be too long now..


"if you can't beat them

[or join them],

then wait patiently for the old @*%£$ to snuff it"




..trouble is.. theres always bound to be another slightly younger bunch just like 'em
waiting for their chance to to dominate & and bask in the limelight...


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 03:47 PM

Both sessions and open mics have their place. Personally, I enjoy using a mic, and "all those eyes" are very good performing practice. Difficult sometimes, but necessary if one intends to perform...


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 04:03 PM

Hate mics. I don't mind the eyes, it's the mouths I can't stand - if you're amplified they've got no need to shut up.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: artbrooks
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 04:14 PM

I think everything has been said...so now send her a link to or copy of this thread.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 05:39 PM

Yes, although I think we'd all like to hear the follow-up Neighmond alluded to.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Neighmond
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 08:58 PM

Well!

I got a call on my phone this morning from the one who was mad about the drive...wanting to know if someone else had anything scheduled.

As one of the other players already asked about an alternate venue, and I was open to the idea, I figured that three was enough to do something about. I called the headmaster of one of the local colleges to see about space. He has been involved with the gallery that hosted the OMFH, but after being made aware of the details he was most interested. I suppose all's well that ends well.

Also, the hall we are to use has a Hammond organ and I think a piano is on the way.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Neighmond
Date: 18 Sep 08 - 08:59 PM

Thanks to everyone for their kind advise and help in this deal-I appreciate all of it!


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: jacqui.c
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 09:59 AM

Nice to see that there will be a happy ending! How about letting us know how the session goes?


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Neighmond
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 07:57 PM

That I will. I also spoke to a gent today who is on the board of directors, and he plans on looking into it.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 08:59 PM

Short answer, vote with your feet, don't go back: not worth the grief - find somewhere else, establish house rules before you go in. And if you want to stir up a revolution, get the others who were disgruntled on side and also abstaining from reappearance there, so that she ends up with no-one other than her "very talented performer" (boyfriend??) filling the space.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Neighmond
Date: 19 Sep 08 - 11:27 PM

Well we are going to take advantage of the other venue but schedule a different evening. The VTP was as embarrased as we were, and I ain't too sure HE plans on making a further apperance there.

The gent on the BOD of the art gallery was less than pleased to hear of it, and he assured me he would get to the bottem of it, and never a word would pass about the source of his information. His kid was in and out all evening so there is a good chance people will make the natural assumption and we'll never come to mind.


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Sep 08 - 02:51 AM

Great news ... but a Hammond organ?? Double edged sword indeed!

:)

LTS


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Subject: RE: Another open mic question.
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 08 - 07:22 PM

Hammond organs must ALWAYS be treated as a pretty little cat that'll bite the piss out of you!


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