Microphone Fiends

The Downtown Phoenix Public Market has made shoppers think locally about their produce and proved there are bargains beyond clipped coupons and grocery-store discount cards. Because of the market’s popularity, other homegrown items have sprouted on the downtown asphalt, including Mics @ the Market, an open-mic hootenanny that gathers poets, musicians, and performers on the first Wednesday of each month.

An open-air market means engaging a walk-through audience and staying within family-friendly subject bounds. Still, Ernesto Moncada and Anna Schuer — the ringmasters of the proceedings — feel that Mics offers an opportunity to reach members of the community who aren’t regulars at typical performance venues and haunts. “We encourage all kinds of performances, even political rants,” says Moncada, who notes that cable-newsworthy spewings have yet to surface. “Maybe,” he says, “they’re afraid there are snipers at the Westward Ho.”

A regular cast of poets includes Paul Dlouhy, Paul Jones, and Anastasia Pagonas, while music and dance performances often showcase local accordion wunderkind Andrew Jemsek and the Bedouin Tribe Dance Company, but anyone hoping to exercise his or her right to free speech can sign up.

First Wednesday of every month, 2008
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Jose Gonzalez