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Best New Open Mic 

The Shanti

Anytime less-than-talented performers, armed with a guitar and delusions of grandeur, use drunks as guinea pigs, things can get ugly. Open-mic nights are always a gamble. The Dimby Production Open-Mic Night on Tuesday nights at the Shanti, however, has better odds than most. Here, the drinks flow, Lenny the bartender is friendly, even the bad acts are at least interesting and the music is surprisingly good. Everyone gets his or her 15 minutes of fame -- more, if the crowd demands it, but host Michael O'Brian manages to diplomatically (at least most of the time) cut off the most obnoxious stage hogs and get them to share the stage. O'Brian also adds an element of the absurd, such as the haiku death match. The best part of this open mic, however, is the talented showcase of young musicians such as Kelly Lea Reinhart, Celia and Helliphino, who often stop by just to say hi but usually end up centerstage.

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