The End of Open Mic?

Mike Bonanni, Staff Writer

   Julia’s Open Mic has been a great event for emerging musical talent, as well as a good way to attract people to the Oneonta Theatre. With the semester coming to an end, Julia’s Open Mic may be occurring for one last time and the musicians who attend it may need to find new venues.

   The open mic series started about two and half years ago at Seen-Unseen, where Julia Yarinsky had been working, booking shows. She eventually started hosting open mic nights while working with a project called Destination Oneonta (D.O.). The event was started with hopes of helping to fulfill D.O.’s mission of developing Oneonta as a hot spot for art, music and culture. Everything was going great, “but it closed,” said Yarinsky, “so I went looking for a new home.”

   For Yarinsky, that home would be the Oneonta Theatre, and the regulars of her open mic would follow due to its popularity. “They traveled with me because they knew my name; they knew the name.” There would even be an open mic artist showcase that she also hosted on WISF TV 15.

   Things wouldn’t run so smoothly for long however. Yarinsky recalled: “Before this semester, I almost didn’t have it.” Luckily for her though, “community sponsors came together and helped keep it going.” These would include Crystal Palace Barber Shop, which now hosts the event every first Tuesday of every month. These shows are a part of a contest with a prize of $500 in studio time at Dryhill Studios, another sponsor.

   As of now it seems the future of Julia’s Open Mic, at least in Oneonta, is coming to a close with her graduation in May. “I trust that other Oneonta venues will continue it,” she said. Hopefully the other venues such as Capresso Cafe, Stella Luna Restaurante, Bluefields Cafe, The Black Oak and many other venues can help keep the open mic spirit of Oneonta alive. If anyone is up to continuing hosting duty, the Oneonta Theatre may still have open mic nights. Yarinsky definitely has plans to visit Oneonta, but as to whether she’ll be bringing back these musical evenings during her visits, she replied: “It’s possible, but the venue hasn’t been booked yet.” Everyone is encouraged to go while the event is still around. On every third Tuesday of the month at the Oneonta Theatre, there is an adult open mic starting at 8:30 p.m. with sign ups at 8. The open mics are free to participate in and watch.

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