Family Grind, Bump-N-Grind new to town

Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2006

A group of Juneau artists is starting a monthly open-mike variety series at the VFW Hall in conjunction with First Fridays and wants to get the word out to interested performers.

The first two shows are Friday, Feb. 3.

At 7 p.m. is the all-ages Family Grind. At 10 p.m. is the 21-and-over Bump-N-Grind.

Acts of any kind, and performers with any level of stage experience, are allowed. All performers will have one minute to set up, and up to five minutes to perform.

"It's an open-mike variety show, with an emphasis on variety," organizer John Leo said. "It's a call to anybody who has any talent, anyone who wants to get on stage. My hope for it is that it becomes something in the vein of vaudeville. It'll be fun to see an opera piece next to a dramatic monologue next to a clown act next to someone playing their fiddle next to a comedy troupe."

Kids are encouraged to perform at the Family Grind, which should last about 90 minutes with an intermission. Admission is $5, or free if you bring a dessert to share. A different family will host the Family Grind each month. The Pisel-Davis family will emcee in February.

The Bump-N-Grind will last a little more than 90 minutes. Collette Costa will emcee, and the night will include a contest to see who can last the longest as her co-host.

Both shows will also have a community "Roundabout," where audience members can stand up and make their own announcements, a la KINY's "Problem Corner."

Performers can sign up their act on the night of the show, or call Leo at 957-2776 to reserve a spot ahead of time.

Leo was inspired by Ketchikan's Monthly Grind, a tradition there for almost 15 years. He also saw a similar event in Denver.

"We have the folk fest, but it's mostly music," he said. "There's no venue for experimental stuff in a low-key setting. I also see it as way to shamelessly advertise things. I'm hoping for people who are doing shows to get on stage and give little snippets."

Tickets will be sold at Hearthside Books, starting about a week before the show. Those who decide to bring desserts to the Family Grind will have their money refunded at the door.

The VFW Hall, on the corner of First and Gold streets, is the red building behind the Baranof Hotel.

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