Courtesy of Dave Doyle.

Dollar City’s Fun City Store is holding their eleventh and twelfth open mic shows on Jan. 11 and Jan. 18. People of all ages and talents are welcome to perform in front of a crowd during the event, including comedians, poets and jazz musicians.

Isaac Collins, the show’s founder and performer, said, “We get a variety of different artists. Anyone can show up. We get kids, elders and a lot of different varieties of people.”

Collins, whose stage name is Lyrical I, has been living in Santa Cruz for seven years. He also takes part in performing throughout the downtown streets of Santa Cruz to promote Fun City’s open mic. The shows began last June, after Collins helped out with a friend’s show.

“I really wanted to bring open mic back to Santa Cruz on Front Street because there’re not a lot of open mics,” he said. “I thought it would be nice to bring some back to the community.”

Collins brought the open mic shows to the community with the help of Dollar City’s live stage. Last March, the store first started presenting live performances by bands. Their stage is a free space for entertainers of all kinds to rent. Store clerk Dave Doyle said this is a way to promote both entertainers and Dollar City.

“People are starting to recognize us as a local store with live entertainment,” he said.

Liisa Luck and her husband Lucky heard about the open mic event through word of mouth and have attended every show since then. Luck said the show is a great place for street entertainers to show their talents in a new environment and isalso a nice way to relax and listen to music outside of clubs.

“It’s just really an all-around fun event,” Luck said, “and it’s on Front Street, where so much music was played 20 years ago and it’s all gone now.”

Musicians and other performers of all kinds are encouraged to show their talents as they wish. Performers have no time limit on their acts and are welcome to come back to the stage multiple times throughout the night. Performers are asked to restrain from any cursing or negative dialogues in order to keep the event family friendly.

“We pretty much say leave the f-bombs outside because in here we’re trying to make a family fun environment and not have a lot of negativity,” Doyle said. “We prefer people to say positive things and leave the negative rants and profanity somewhere else.”

Luck said this is a positive event for the community with messages about change and music.

“Music’s been cut from the schools in so many communities,” Luck said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for children to see other people playing instruments and maybe they’ll get intrigued.”

Collins said he is interested in attracting more students to perform on the stage.

“It’s a free event and it’s beautiful for any poets that want to do slam poetry here,” he said. “This is the stage for all kinds of expression.”


The open mic will be held at the Fun City Stage on the second and third Friday of every month. The shows start at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 and 18. Admission is free.