WNET’s first-ever Open Mic Night will take place at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center, 66th & Broadway, NYC, on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 from 8-11 pm. Don’t miss the live stream here on thirteen.org, which The New York Times included in its round-up, “What’s on TV Wednesday.”
Eighteen acts will present original material focusing “New York Stories” through the genres of comedy/improv, music, dance, and spoken word in front of a live audience. Learn about the Open Mic performers, below.
The Current NYC
The Current was founded in January 2011 by a group of post-grads who couldn’t live without their collegiate a cappella fix. Fifteen members strong, their rep is as diverse as their day jobs, which range from advertising mavens to startup junkies to nutritionists. They’ve headlined shows at top NYC venues like the Bitter End and Rockwood Music Hall and performed at weddings, proposals, engagements, and corporate gigs. You might stumble upon them busking in Times Square on a beautiful summer evening, or serenading strangers on the bus just to make them smile. Group Members: Arin Sang-urai, Brandon Rutter, Christian Rodriguez, Danielle Pagano, John Samuels, Larissa Jaye, Liz Furze, Marissa Lubin, Megan Walsh, Nicole Sorice, Ranjana Srinivasan, Rj Villanos, Russ Feinberg, Steven Pribis.
Don Lowe came to NYC from North Dakota with a degree in theater arts. He acted in over 30 original plays in New York’s off-off-Broadway scene, worked in a comedy troupe for the Manhattan Punchline Theater, played various recurring and non-recurring roles on soap operas, bit roles in films, and acted in a handful of TV commercials. He moved to western Connecticut and earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Professional Writing. Shortly thereafter, when he began playing his songs out in public, folks seemed to like it, so he has kept on writing and singing.
In addition to music, Don has been a corporate salesman, a journalist, and a writer of reference books, advertising copy, rare diseases, jet engines, political ads, wine notes, plays, municipal booklets, and a ton of other subjects and projects that require words strung together in a clear, cohesive manner. He has also been a politician, college professor, tutor, activist, fishing guide, janitor, dog walker, bartender, wood-splitter, caretaker, and wine-taster though not necessarily in that order.
Mrs. Smith is a public personality, song stylist, and tone poet who loves all cats and some people. Two and a half years ago her beloved cat Carlyle went missing leaving a “chasm” in her heart. If you have ANY INFORMATION on the whereabouts of Carlyle please contact Mrs. Smith via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mrs. Smith came to New York City as a young woman at a time when you got a room at the Hotel for Vulnerable Young Ladies and a spot in the steno pool to make ends meet. She has always maintained several Manhattan addresses—even when living abroad. She’s served as a Board trustee for prominent museums and non-profits all over the city. She has presented her unique performance work at venues diverse as 54 Below, Ars Nova, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Off-Broadway at the 57th Street Theater. She’s even made it out to Brooklyn to appear at The Bell House and Union Hall. The New York Times has called her, “oddly poignant.”
Patrick Dougher was born and raised in Brooklyn. He is an artist, musician and educator with over 30 years’ experience as a drummer and fine artist and over 20 years’ experience in working for community-based arts and social justice organizations. Currently Patrick is the Program Director of Groundswell, NYC’s premiere public art and community mural organization. He has made music, art and the education and socio-emotional support of the underserved youth of the city his life’s mission.
Learn more about Groundswell in several videos on the Thirteen Specials page.
Bruce T. Carroll
Born and raised in Yonkers, NY, Bruce T. Carroll moved to NYC after college and lived on the Upper West Side for 20 years. He worked at a variety of jobs (including taxi driving and bartending), and took some post graduate courses at the New School, while writing, recording, and performing his original music in various clubs around the city. He met and married his wife, spawned two children, and ultimately ended up back in Westchester, where he continued to make music while opening his own restaurant and a music venue. The financial crisis of 2008 brought hard times that ultimately led to the closing of his venue, but provided the spur to return to his first love and his mission: writing songs. Bruce now manages restaurants and clubs, and will soon release his new CD Ruckus and Romance. Listen to his music on SoundCloud.
I See the City
Chris Carter (painter), Olivia Kenwell (actress), Andrea Kramer (dancer/choreographer) were all raised on the outskirts of New York City, in New Jersey. But it’s in Manhattan where they truly “grew up.” Their formative years were spent taking the bus in for dance classes and voice lessons, saving babysitting money to see shows, and spent at galleries and rock concerts in the Village. Having cultivated their artistic and personal selves on the island of Manhattan, all three, including one former and one current resident of New York, share a mutual admiration and love for the culture, excitement, and opportunity in New York. They are proud “Bridge and Tunnel” artists.
Michele Carlo has told stories across the U.S., including the MOTH’s GrandSlams and Mainstage shows in NYC and on NPR with Latino USA. She is also the author of Fish Out Of Agua, a memoir of growing up as a redheaded Latina in an Italian/Irish 1970s Bronx neighborhood. Michele also appeared in WNET’s 2015 Emmy award-winning documentary Latino Americans of NY & NJ.
Gunnar and Jane
Gunnar and Jane are an ethnically and stylistically diverse duo originally from Urbana, IL, now living and performing in New York City. Jane, a singer-songwriter and composer came to Juilliard on a scholarship and received two degrees in piano performance while Gunnar made his way to the East Village and formed a band “PSSR” of which he is the lead singer and guitarist. They have known each other since they were six. Years after coming to NY, they reconnected. Their music reflects their story and is refreshingly honest and full of surprises. They recently finished their album From Nashville To New York, recorded at the famed Blackbird Studios, and have been invited back to record again this summer.
Donald C. Shorter/Genderosity
Donald is an artist living in Bushwick, Brooklyn and has a B.A. in Liberal Studies from West Chester University with a minor in dance. He is currently earning his M.F.A. in Dance at NYU Tisch Schoo of the Arts. Labels such as choreographer, dancer, singer, actor, gender non conformist, and drag queen are interchangeable on any given day. Shorter is a former company member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and has been in touring productions of Broadway musicals such as Hairspray, La Cage Aux Folles, and A Chorus Line. During his time dancing with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company Donald had the honor of creating “THE NAZ” with Bill T. Jones, which was performed in his one man show “As I was Saying”. Donald’s most recent adventure has been his solo show GENDEROSITY (creator/writer/performer) which looks at the process of his drag transformation and uses drag to talk about gender non-conformity.
Shorter was featured on Episode 5 of PBS Digital Studios First Person.
Raised in New Canaan, CT, by an entertainment-industry family, Lara started writing songs when as a student at SUNY Purchase. While she’s usually behind the camera as a television writer and producer, Lara makes the rounds of open mic nights in Westchester and Connecticut sharing her beautiful sound as a singer/songwriter.
“I grew up watching WNET programs.” Listen to Schuler’s music on Spotify.
Margaret Dodge has spent half her life in New York City after growing up in Maine–the opposite of NYC. When asked why she moved here she usually says “I just knew I belonged here,” partly because it’s the truth and partly because trying to remember back to 1992 is too hard. She hosts Dodge City, a comedy talk show on Radio Free Brooklyn, and has been featured for Time Out New York’s Joke of the Week. She also has been a semifinalist in the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival and is a produced and published playwright. Margaret is very involved in rescue and care of homeless and feral cats in Brooklyn.
“I watched Sesame Street and Zoom as a kid. I had a difficult childhood and I do think that the programming helped me get through it better than I would have otherwise.” Twitter: @MargaretDodge
Nando Griffiths is a singer/songwriter from Jamaica who moved to the Bronx with the hopes of making it big in music. He’s had several number 1 songs on the reggae charts in Jamaica that made it to local New York radio stations, including Irie Jam Radio. He’s been around the live music scene in New York for many years and performs live with his band Pure Fyah around the tri-state area. Twitter: @NandoGriffiths
Dorotea Mendoza was born in the Philippines and grew up in the East Village. Her mother immigrated to NYC in the early 70s to work as a nurse. As soon as she was able, she petitioned for and brought over her husband and eight children. A lifelong storyteller and lover of public television, Mendoza will read “Delicacy” from DRINK THE HOLY WATER, a collection of flash fiction. The stories, each less than 1,000 words, explore adaptability, resiliency and the dynamic nature of individual and collective identity particular to Filipino Immigrants/Americans in NYC.
“I am an avid viewer of public television, which I believe is an absolute necessity for educational access, connection between cultures, knowledge sharing, and more. The influence public TV has on my art is hard to measure. I’ve had countless ideas that were borne from watching Nova (I studied physics), Masterpiece Mysteries (the craft of storytelling), Masterpiece Contemporary, and PBS News Hour.”
Coco Fresh recently arrived on the New York comedy scene from Charlotte, NC. A Comedy Zone Comedy School alumna, former Host of Club Vibrations Saturday Night Live Broadcast on Charlotte’s Old School 105.3FM, and entertainment reporter of ESPN980 The Morning Man Cave, The Hollywood Scoreboard. This little lady’s stories of her childhood nightmares to strip club memoirs will tickle your funny bone enough to have completed an ab exercise. She is no stranger to television and has appeared as a dancer on BET’s Born to Dance, 106 and Park, MTV’s The Wade Robson Project, and CMT’s The Ultimate Coyote. She is also a former dancer for the WNBA and NBA. Twitter: @CocoFreshcomedy
Having grown up in a small town on eastern Long Island, John Santiago found himself living in Westchester County attaining a Masters Degree in Psychology. Upon completion, he quickly realized that songwriting was his true passion and moved to Brooklyn to pursue his dream of constantly writing and creating music for a living. Six years later, he has found himself doing just that, having released 52 songs, one per week, in the year of 2015. John continues to write solo material while also fronting Blues-Rock outfit, Johnny & The Bootlegs and playing Bass in Alt-Rock band Of Clocks and Clouds. Hear his music on the site JSanti Music.
Nineteen-year-old Jessica Torres is a multi-dimensional, spoken word artist, poet, R&B singer, song-writer, model, and actress based in New York. She was born and raised in Queens and could never imagine living anywhere else but the insomniac city of dreamers and doers. She articulates her soul vividly with purpose — with intentions of provoking a discussion, triggering a response, and ultimately absorbing and exuding inspiration. Twitter: @xojessicatorres
Buzz Off, Lucille
Buzz Off, Lucille is a sketch comedy group that performs live in New York and produces funny videos. They met as members of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade after moving to New York to pursue comedy. They specialize in bringing social issues to the forefront and commenting on society through comedy. Ultimately they hope to make change through comedy. You can see their live show, “Balls Deep,” at UCB Chelsea in New York and their videos online. Members include: Abby Holland, Jenn Roman, Molly Gaebe, Julie Rosing. Twitter: @BuzzOffLucille
Crosstown Vocal is an ensemble almost as diverse as New York itself. They are comprised of both native New Yorkers as well as people who moved here to pursue the dream. Crosstown Vocal includes a professional opera singer, a lawyer, a theater actress, a student, and a PR professional. They live in Park Slope, Harlem, Bushwick, Midtown and Astoria. Group Members: Brian Mangan, Lindell Carter, Andrew Orsie, Lyle Jacobson, Kate Fields, Linda Huang, Erin Borain, Maggy Kucera, Mark Sobel, Eric Walpert, Anya Fetcher, Kiran Kumar. Twitter: @CrosstownVocal