Poor teenagers. Nearly out of time, likely out of money and almost certainly out of patience with lame-oid parents as they enter the final run up to the start of school in August, they’re just about out of ideas for summer fun, too.
No need to get all over-dramatic and angsty about it. Here, we’ve rounded up three free outings perfect for teens looking to rack up a few more good memories before going back to the books: open mic nights. Whether they’re artsy, expressive types and stormy with creativity or more introspective kids too shy to get up on stage, these hangout spots make perfect places to unwind, exercise a little independence, and see and be seen.
SWEET CAKES CAFE, MESA
What: It could be the young guys and gals behind the counter or the yogurt bar stocked with candy, cookie crumbles and coffee drinks. Or maybe it’s current performances like the Hot Body Boys’ recent acoustic bluegrass rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” Whatever the reason, this downtown cafe’s all-ages open mic makes a wholesome yet alluring hangout for teens.
When: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. every second and fourth Saturday of the month
Where: 19 W. Main St., Mesa
Cost: Free, but bring money for the irresistible snacks at the yogurt bar; the cafe has made national TV for its baked goods, after all.
Information: (480) 461-9529 or facebook.com/scakesopenmic
BLACKBIRD MUSIC & ART CENTER, QUEEN CREEK
What: This free-spirited, family owned music and art playland with seven colorful music studios and art classrooms is enough to make anyone want to sit down and color, stat — I don’t care how old you are. But its performance stage, coffee and snack cafe, and dedicated following of music students (young and old) and pro musicians make it a fun spot for open mic.
When: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. the first Friday of every month
Where: 18911 E. San Tan Blvd., Suite 121
Cost: Free, but coffee and snacks are available for purchase
Information: (480) 677-4159 or www.blackbirdcenter.com
TEMPE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
What: How often do you get to rock, or simply chill, alongside a guitar signed by all the members of the Rolling Stones? Teens can do just that at the teens-only open mic night held in conjunction with the “Cars and Guitars” music and automobile memorabilia exhibition in the TCA Gallery. Revered local musician Walt Richardson hosts the casual affair with coffehouse-style refreshments, where teens can also play Wii “RockBand,” watch concert footage of famous axemen like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck from comfy low couches, and check out specialty guitars and vehicles. For serious young musicians, there’s also a free mentoring clinic with local pros, where teens can get feedback on songs or ask questions about the industry, before the show starts.
When: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 28; mentoring clinic starts at 5 p.m.
Where: 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway
Information: (480) 350-2829 or www.tempe.gov/tca