Caffè Lena has a long history of providing a stage for new performers who go on to become some of the nation’s best-loved artists. We’re also famed for providing a stage to lots of talented folks who never become famous, but who keep the arts alive and growing for all to enjoy. Open Mic is an important part of this tradition. We currently offer several open mic programs:
Weekly Open Mic
Takes place every Thursday. Admission is $3. This open mic is for all styles of music and spoken word performance, including poetry, comedy, and storytelling. Most of what you’ll hear is original songs on acoustic instruments, but we warmly welcome whatever you have to offer.
Performer registration is from 7 to 7:25 PM. Performances start at 7:30. No advance registration by phone is permitted. If you can’t come in time for registration the host may be able to add you to the end of the roster. If you don’t get the timeslot you want you may be able to swap with someone else. No special preference is given to kids, pros, or to those traveling long distances.
Participants play two songs or speak for 10 minutes. Under all but the most extreme circumstances we do not limit the number of performers.
The host draws names at 7:30. The first person drawn gets first choice of timeslot, second gets second choice, etc.
There is no featured performer at Weekly Open Mic.
Excessive profanity and vulgarity are strongly discouraged. It is up to the discretion of the host to determine if a performance is inappropriate for Caffè Lena. Please bear in mind that Caffè Lena is not a bar and often has children in the audience.
Our hosts are:
- Ray Pashoukos – First Thursday
- Jeffrey T.- Second Thursday
- Gary Moon– Third Thursday
- Kate Blain – Fourth Thursday
- James Frederick – Fifth Thursday
The Open Mic manager and soundman is John Wilson.
Poetry Open Mic
Takes place on the first Wednesday of every month. Admission is $5.
Sign up starts at 7. Readings start at 7:30. Each poet reads two short poems (less than one page) or one longer poem, with a limit of 5 minutes altogether.
There is a featured reader each month who reads for approximately 20 minutes. Featured readers are booked by host Carol Graser. See our performance schedule for listings of past featured readers.
All styles of poetry are welcome, although as with all Caffè Lena events we request that performers refrain from excessive profanity or vulgarity. Enforcement is up to the discretion of the host.
Storytelling Open Mic
Meets bimonthly from September through May on second Wednesdays (Sept, Nov, Jan, March, May). Signup is at 6:45; tellings from 7-9. Admission is $5.
Each teller is asked to stay within a 10-minute limit unless prior arrangements have been made with the hosts: Margaret French, Christie Keegan and Jeannine Laverty. We remind prospective tellers that we consider storytelling to be narration without the use of written text—telling, not reading.
Each meeting has a featured storyteller, who performs for 20-30 minutes, sometimes trying new material, as do other participants.
Featured tellers are booked by the hosts; all are welcome for the other telling times during the evening.
We follow Caffè Lena’s other two open mics’ policy on excessive profanity or vulgarity.
Acoustic Blues Open Mic & Jam
If you have the blues, play the blues, or love the blues–we got you covered! Caffè Lena and The Saratoga Acoustic Blues Society team up to present a monthly acoustic blues open mic.
Bring your acoustic guitar, harps, slides, mandolin, bass or whatever (Lena’s has the piano) and sign up for a slot to play solo, as a duo, ensemble or even have players in the room join you on stage.
The event is held on the 4th Wednesday of the month and is hosted by Sonny Speed. Sign up is 7 pm. Names are pulled out of a lottery at 7:30. A monthly featured act opens up with a short set and the open mic follows 8 PM. Admission is $5.