Monday, April 22, 2013

The Cantab Monday Night Open Mic is in Trouble

Reported here Monday, April 8, 2013 in Geoff Bartley's Monday Night Open Mic at the Cantab Changing Format, here is the information again, from the man himself.

Dear friends and fans,

The Cantab Monday Night Open Mic is in trouble.

Monday night bar sales are too slow.

To keep the stage, we must pay our way better than we have been.

So I've come up with some evil schemes to keep more people in the bar longer.

First off I want you all to start drinking a lot more... a hell of a lot more.

I'm kidding I'm kidding.

But seriously... starting in May every open miker will be charged $3 to play two songs.

The money will go to the bar. 

I'm also going to make up the list as we go along, instead of making the whole thing up right before eight o'clock.

And no more feature acts.

Yup... after Paul Geremia on April 22 and Cosy Sheridan on April 29... no more feature acts.
Paul Geremia and Dakota Dave Hull are each playing a house concert this weekend thanks to Jeff Boudreau.  Go here: notloB Parlour Concerts  Dakota Dave Hull has threatened to come to the open mic on Monday to sass Paul Geremia, who goes on at 10:00.  Dave... hope you will squeeze in a visit... and I'd love to put you on for a couple three.

Starting in May, the evening will be devoted entirely to open mikers*.  We welcome with open arms their friends and fans, their wives and girlfriends, husbands and boyfriends, especially the heavy drinkers.  Kidding... kidding.
Except for Memorial Day when the a cappella group The Mass Whole Notes will sing 10:00 to 10:40 and I'll pass the hat for them as usual.

I'm open to your thoughts comments reactions suggestions observations advice... but mostly I just want to see your faces.

Help us keep this stage.  I've taken a pay cut and will take another.  I'm feeling my way in the dark... nothing is set in stone... I don't want to charge... but the Cantab can't carry us.

I don't want to cancel features either... maybe the set could be shorter and earlier... 8:30 to 9:00 say.

My shifts have been hemorrhaging... the open mic is in triage...

Yes I know I'm being melodramatic... but it's for good cause.

Come visit me! 

Bring a friend!

Food (but not drinks) may be brought into the Cantab... there are many good inexpensive restaurants on our block... African... Mexican... subs wraps pizza salads... Falafel Palace Middle Eastern... vegetarian vegan organic... good beef salmon turkey soy burgers... homemade sweet potato fries... a wide menu at the Tavern two doors down... and they all make orders =to go.

Drive around slowly and think pure thoughts.  The Parking Goddess Will Provide.

Geoff Bartley & Howie Tarnower MUSIC
~ Howie Tarnower and I play Phil Ochs Song Night Benefit for WAMC at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio, a beautiful restored bank building, in Albany on Saturday, May 11.  Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino of Magpie and Happy Traum will be there... also Sonny Ochs and my friend Wanda Fischer from the station.  Howie and I will sing one of my songs and two Phil Ochs songs, The Thresher and Gas Station Women.  We will be fabulous.

~ And on Friday, July 19, Howie and I play the Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham, MA.  Tickets are $18 / $15 members.  Showtime is 8:00.  We'll be playing old blues and early jazz numbers, some traditional songs, a little bluegrass, and some of my songs.

~ I played two shows w/ Tom Paxton last weekend... one at the Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham, and the other in Schenectady NY for the 8th Step... at a theatre w/ 440 seats.  Coincidence?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Tom had stir fry w/ chicken.  I had spicy shrimp Pad Thai.  As usual, both shows were funny moving.

~ I plus a Special Guest... either Howie (mandolin, banjo, harmony singing) or Dave Rizzuti (Telecaster)... play EVERY SUNDAY NIGHT at Smoken' (sic) Joe's BBQ Restaurant in Brighton Center, Brighton MA ! ! ! FREE PARKING IN BACK AFTER 6:00 ! ! !

~ Chuck Brodsky was wonderful at the Cantab 4/15... story songs of high order.

Some people at the Cantab know the family of marathon bombing victim Krystal Campbell and knew her.  Be careful out there and be good to each other.

Geoff Bartley (1948 - ?)
acoustic blues guitar etc 

Geoff's Cantab open mic is responsible for launching many successful artists, as well as giving a supportive environment to newcomers and regulars alike. I sincerely hope the community responds to his appeal. Please share this blog article and sister post in Cecilia's Choices via social media. Show Geoff's open mic some love.


Here's the latest scoop, directly from Geoff.

Hello everyone,

THANK YOU ALL for the outpouring of support I have received from you.

I feel so loved!

I've gotten too many emails to respond to everyone individually, so here's another shotgun one to say THANK YOU and apprise Interested Parties about the Current State of Open Mic Affairs.

DELETE?  Don't give a flying fish about this open mic?  Want me to quit pestering you?  Say the word and it shall be done!

Until I settle on a winning formula, the Open Mic Situation is fluid.

With your good suggestions and my fabulous decision-making perspicacity, I believe the Open Mic will not only endure but will thrive.

The Latest Evolutions in the Formulation of a Winning Formula include the Following Elements:

1) Sign-up is now first come, first served, or in advance... email me at <>

2) Each open miker will now be charged $3 to play two songs... the money will go to the bar.  I chose this option as a way to help keep our stage.  The option I eschewed was the two-drink minimum. 

This issue would be moot if you'd all just start drinking like Don Draper on Madmen...

3) I have reinstated feature acts, but the set is now shorter and earlier... 20 minutes starting at 9:00PM.  I will pass the hat for features as before.  Bring money.

! ! ! This Monday Night May 5 the feature act will be GEOFF BARTLEY AND HOWIE TARNOWER  ! ! !

! ! ! Special Surprise Cash Prize for Some Lucky Open Miker ! ! !

! ! !  It Won't Be Much  ! ! !

4) I'll be choosing feature acts from the local/regional singer-songwriter community with more frequency.

5) I'll be encouraging more duos trios quartets and will encourage open mikers to accompany each other instrumentally and vocally.  I will attempt to lead by example.

6) I'm going to play four songs quick at 8:00.

7) If these measures do not resuscitate the Open Mic, I will begin booking Young Acoustic Bands and will present them in a Format that Encourages Group Music.

As everyone knows, the Cantab Monday Night Open Mic (December 1991 - ?) is the finest in the land. 

However, there are many other fine open mics around.  Neal Braverman runs one on Monday nights... but not every Monday night... in Roslindale called ROM (for Roslindale Open Mic).  Their website is and Neal's email is

Also on Monday nights, Tom Bianchi runs a contest style open mic at the Lizard Lounge on Mass Ave four blocks north of Harvard Square on the right.  Contact Tom at <>.

Thanks to Neal and Tom for their support.

If neither of these open mics is within your reach (you poor soul), visit and type in your Postal Zip Code... you'll get a list of Open Mics in your area.

Open Mics are a forum we use to express ourselves about anything and everything.


Come on down!

Polished veteran? 

Come on down!

Long live Open Mics!

Your Host,
Geoff Bartley (1948 - ?)

The "World Famous" Cantab Lounge
738 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139
617 354-2685
In Scenic Square, Psychic Vortex of the Great Northeast


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