Open mics are where performers cut their teeth, develop their chops, and other folksy idioms meaning "possibly suck to get better."
Polish is traded for rawness, whether it's in witnessing a guitarist tighten a strum pattern, a poet discover that perfect adjective, or comedians nervously testing out premises they thought of while parking. These baby-steps are often tucked into weekdays as not to compete with the weekend's bigger events.
But things are changing. Do you smell an opportunity? Or is that the sizzling cheese of a freshly baked pizza pie? Local comedian and promoter Sean Ramrattan wants you to indulge in both with a brand new all-arts open mic every Saturday night at Mansini's Pizza House in Little Havana. New Times spoke with Sean to get the scoop -- or slice -- on Miami's newest place to rock the mic.
Cultist: Tell us about your new show.
Sean Ramrattan: It's called The Mic. It's an all-arts, semi-booked/open mic show. It's launching on Saturday, February 22. Our slogan is "Where Local Artists are the Major Artists." It's a great atmosphere for locals in Miami to see how much talent there is in their own backyard, or in this case, courtyard.
Where is it? Why that venue?
It's at Mansini's Pizza House in Little Havana. I selected this venue because of the vibe, the scene, it has Miami written all over it; chill, outdoors under the stars. Weather permitting of course.
It's a pizza place? Any specials for the show?
Yes, it is a pizza place. We're doing the show in the outdoor courtyard. Yes there will be specials all night, and you get a choice of a beer/wine or a slice at admission.
What kind of show will it be? Why switch to all arts instead of just comedy?
While doing the [Laugh It Up Comedy Showcase] series on Saturdays, I met many artists looking for stage time. I learned that no matter what the art was, the artist looks to be showcased. I decided then that my next project would be to build a scene for all artists to network and share "The Mic."
Why do artists need an open mic on the weekend?
For most artists, myself included, it can be a challenge to get friends out to shows on a weeknight. Now, they can get support on the weekend. I'm sure all artist have heard the phrase, "tell me when you're performing on the weekend so I can come see you!"
What will it cost to perform or watch? How does the sign-up work?
It's $10 for audience members and $5 for performers. That comes with a choice of a beer/wine or a slice of pizza for non-drinkers. Sign-up begins at 8 p.m., and artists can also signup via twitter at @trinisean with the hashtag #themicmiami.
Are you worried about competing with other weekend activities?
As a promoter, you're always concerned about other activities clashing with your event, but Miami is an ever-growing city. People are always looking to try new stuff. Not everyone wants to get all dressed up every weekend to pay for high-priced dinners and bottle service. Sometimes, we want to relax and be in a down to earth, casual environment.
What shows have you run in the past?
The last two and half years we've had a lot of success doing the Laugh It Up Comedy Series in both Broward and Dade Counties. We're in the process of locking in a new venue for the Miami edition. [See article: PAX reopens for one night for Eica DaSilva taping]
What did you learn from those shows that you are applying here?
Create a top class product and the people will support. Treat everyone with respect, you never know who you're dealing with. If an artist shows up unannounced, I always do my best to get them stage time. I'm not the audience - even if I'm not a fan of your art, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be booked. Give everyone a chance.
Will you be hosting?
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Yes, I'm hosting, and as we proceed, we'll have other local artists host, with the opportunity for them to set their own themes. We're also going to have guest DJs every show to showcase their talents and keep the crowd entertained. It will be high energy.
Follow Daniel Reskin on Twitter @DanielReskin.
The Mic, Saturday, at Mansini's Pizza, 541 SW 12 Ave., Miami. The show starts at 9 p.m., and tickets cost $10 for audience members, $5 for performers. Call 305-324-4040 or tweet @themicmiami.