What can you say about an open mic that, in its four year history, has presented, on any given night, a didgeridoo, two hammered dulcimers, a woman who plays Elvis and Buddy Holly tunes on a pennywhistle, comedy, poetry, has launched at least one songwriting career, has provided a place for countless other working professionals to break in new material, has introduced a couple to one another who are now married, and is hosted by a yodeling cowboy? Well, we have a heck of a good time, for a start. An open mic is proof that Vaudeville never completely died. It just mutated, adapted and survived one more time. An open mic has a number of purposes. First and foremost, it's a place for people who want to be entertainers of one form or another to learn the craft of being on stage. It's also a place for people who have no proffessional aspirations, but who have lots of music or poetry or whatever inside of them, to share thier talents with others. It is, as previously mentioned, a way for working songwriters to break in new material in a non-pressure situation. It is a place for any given member of the general public to come in and get a look at the cross section of creativity that is available in thier community. Mostly, though, it's just good, honset fun! It's always surprising because it's never quite the same show twice in a row. At Escape Java joint specifically we try to keep it diverse by using a roster of rotating hosts: Aaron Nathans, Bowen Marvik, Nancy Rost, Ron Dennis, and, most frequently, your Friendly, Neighborhood, Yodeling Cowboy. We gear up at 8:00pm (CDT) on Saturday nights and keep going until we run out of acts or midnight, whichever comes first. Escape Java Joint is at 916 Williamson St. In Madison, Wisconsin, USA. If you're in the area we'd love to have you join us. Before I forget, singer/songwriter Jesse Griest brought in the didgeridoo. Kris Kidd and Ben Doran are the two hammered dulcimer players who showed up on the same night. Kathleen Camilla King, a regular at every open mic in town, is the rock & roll pennywhistle player. Working pros who have come in to break in new material have included Bennett Cooke, Robby K, Alan Jay Sufrin, Miriam Brosseau, and Doug Hamilton. The career that we helped to launch was that of one of our rotating hosts, Nancy Rost. And the couple that met and got married ? That was Ingrid Frances Stark and a certain well known yodeler. Open mics are always full of surprises.