Best Open-Mike Night Houston 2002 - Helios
Readers' Choice: McGonigel's Mucky Duck
If all you want is a few minutes in front of a working microphone, this odd little venue has nearly cornered the market on the open-mike night. Their weekly 8:30 p.m. Wednesday slot has hosted everyone from Native American poet Soldier Blue to the "Gay Poet Laureate" Howard Mikehael, and was the platform that sent the Houston Poetry Slam Team off to the national competition in Minneapolis. The reading is followed by its bawdier counterpart, the O.P.P. poetry open mike at 11, where you'll hear everything from feminist porn to guys lamenting their wish to be lesbians. And that's just the poetry. Monday nights, while DJs spin jazzy varieties of house for a chess tournament on the first floor (the coolest concept night outside San Francisco), the Trade leads a jazz open-mike upstairs. Aspiring blues musicians flock to the 9 p.m. Tuesday jam sessions, and musicians of all stripes have the chance to play a few bars at 9 p.m. on Thursdays. The talent varies, but the location is steady and reliable.