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Phase 1 Open Mic Creates Space For Local Artists

Guitarist at Phase 1 Open Mic

2015 Phase 1 Open Mic (Photo by Alec Berry)

Guitarist at Phase 1 Open Mic

2015 Phase 1 Open Mic (Photo by Alec Berry)

The longest-running lesbian bar in the country has played host to a diverse amount of queer D.C. events. There are only a few events that have stood the test of time, and Phase 1 Open Mic is one of them. The open mic began in December 2009 by local musician Nikki Smith. Three years into the success of the event, Smith created LadiesRockThis.com to not only promote the open mic, but also spotlight other productions and shows. Currently she remains in charge of marketing and bookings with production and technical help from Erin Fitzgerald.

“We welcome everyone who wishes to perform. We’ve had all kinds of performances on the Phase 1 Open Mic stage,” says Smith. Each show will guarantee participants who sing and/or play instruments. The show also includes its share of unique and diverse performers. Lyricists, stand-up comedians, violinists, ukulele and trumpet players are no strangers to the open mic stage. Performers vary in skill level and “beginners should feel welcome to join in on the fun”.

Each month includes a featured artist who anchors the event with an extended set. The remaining performers sign-up the night of the show or contact Smith in advance to get on the line-up.

“Expect to be pleasantly surprised. Our community is brimming with talented artists,” says Smith. “The crowd is a very warm group of people who are supportive of each other. People have even gone on to start bands.”

With the holidays coming up, performers and guests should expect minor schedule changes. The open mic usually takes place every fourth Thursday of the month, however November’s show will take place Wednesday the 25th, the day before Thanksgiving and the show will take a break in December. However, Smith has already planned for the new year. Featured artist Asha Santee will be kicking things off in January 2016.

Smith takes pride in the fact that the monthly show is a true community event that fosters support within the queer women’s community. As the open mic continues, she is not only looking for other performers to take to the stage, but also people who want to get involved and support in other ways. Photographers are always welcome to attend and document the show. She currently is also looking to book more featured artists, especially those that include visual art in their performance.

“I think my greatest satisfaction in organizing the show comes from connecting the artists and bringing a crowd together for each event. I do believe people appreciate having an event like ours that’s fairly low key and entertaining,” says Smith.

The next Phase 1 Open Mic is November 25 at Phase 1, 525 8th St. SE, Washington, D.C. This is a free event open to the 21 and older crowd. For more information about the open mic visit the ladiesrockthis Facebook page.

Ebone Bell
Eboné Bell
Eboné is the Editor-in-Chief of Tagg Magazine. She is the illegitimate child of Oprah and Ellen...so it's only right that she continues their legacy in the media world.