By Natasha Ramoutar
You can only play in your bedroom, basement, or garage for so long. At some point, every artist needs to share their work with the outside world. Being able to perform in front of an audience is an integral part of being an artist, from musicians and comedians to dancers and poets. When you’re ready to make that jump, check out any one of these 5 open mics located across Toronto.
When & Where: Every Monday at 6:30pm and the first Thursday of the month at 6:30pm.
Where: RISE Mondays are held at 1081 Progress Avenue. RISE Thursdays are held at 918 Bathurst Street.
More on RISE: Founded by Randell Adjei, Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (RISE) is a youth-led movement that originated in Scarborough. Their open mics welcome musicians, spoken word artists, and dancers alike in a safe and inclusive space. They recently expanded to the west end with RISE Thursdays. The open mic spots fill up quickly, so be sure to get there early.
When: This is a monthly open mic, but the date varies. Keep up to date on their Facebook page.
Where: Dead Poet is held at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West).
More on Dead Poet: Blank Canvas is an art collective that supports and showcases marginalized artists. With a founder like John Samuels, better known as Toronto rapper Just John, it’s fitting that their monthly open mic invites musicians and poets to share their best work. Be sure to check the event in advance as the open mics are often themed.
BAM! Toronto Youth Slam
When: This event occurs on the second Wednesday of every month at 6pm.
Where: BAM! Toronto Youth Slam is held at Palmerston Library (560 Palmerston Avenue).
More on BAM!: While this poetry slam is geared towards poets age 12-19, the open mic welcomes artists of any age to share their music, lyrics, or poetry. BAM! creates a safe environment for budding talent to perform, without the fear of being measured against the seasoned veterans in the community. This event is currently run by Patrick De Belen, Joshua Scribe Watkis, and Lex Leosis of the all-women rap group The Sorority.
When: This event occurs on the last Friday of every month at 8pm.
Where: 1100 O’Connor Drive
More on UnObscured: UnObscured is one of the newest open mics in the city. Founded by Levyi-Alexander Love, this event is specifically for Queer and Trans BIPOC artists. UnObscured seeks to create a space where QTBIPOC artists can feel heard, loved, and acknowledged. While the show starts at 8pm, sign up begins at 6:30pm.