Comics and Musicians Don't Get Along

The upstairs tenants who forced Twiggs to cease live music in February have left the building, says Twiggs' former music coordinator John Ciccolella. But the music won't be coming back to the University Heights coffeehouse.

"It's no secret Twiggs is moving," says Ciccolella. He says it's unclear whether the new Twiggs will have music after it moves "...down the block and around the corner."

When Twiggs ended its five-night-a-week live-music series, Ciccolella started booking acoustic shows across the street at the Mueller College of Holistic Studies. He's been hosting live shows there every Friday and Saturday since March.

The weekend shows at the new venue, he says, "...have not been as successful" as they were at Twiggs, but he hopes the resurrection of a Wednesday open-mike night at Mueller College will bring back some of the old Twiggs mojo.

"When the Twiggs open mike closed, a lot of local musicians left the circuit," says singer/songwriter Josh Damigo. Ciccolella recruited Damigo to host the new Wednesday open-mike series that started last week. Damigo says open-mike participants will sign up at Twiggs to play across the street.

Whereas comics were not welcome at Twiggs in the past, Ciccolella says, "Right now we'll take everything." If the open mike becomes top heavy with comics, "We may have to reevaluate; comics and musicians don't get along."

Previous hosts of the Twiggs open-mike nights have included Jeff Berkley, Tim Mudd, Jefferson Jay, and Carlos Olmeda. Damigo says the open-mike host gets paid from the tip jar.

"People don't tip much [at open mikes]." He says a host can expect to take home between $20 and $50 for a night of dealing with musicians who are all maneuvering for a good time slot.

"If you are a host, you definitely get a lot of people who want to get on your good side," says Damigo. "But it doesn't work that way here." Damigo says performers at his open mike get their ten-minute slots by way of a random drawing held before the show begins at 8:30 p.m.

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