Calgary open mic mainstay Koi closed earlier this year, but their legendary Thursday performances are continuing thanks to a new Inglewood venue.
Koi Open Mic Thursdays are returning to at The Attic Bar and Stage in Inglewood. Koi itself closed on July 9.
“Being able to watch the arts community flourish on the Koi stage is the reward for the love I put into this space,” said Erin Penosky, owner of Koi.
“The joy that it has brought me to work with some of the most talented musicians and artists over the years is overwhelming.”
The first edition of the revised open mic night was held on Aug. 4, with enthusiastic audience members and grateful performers.
Open mic sign-ups will be available at 6:30 p.m and performances will start at 7. Each performer is given a 10-minute slot.
There will be a $4 fee added to customer bills, which will go directly to the house band.
Koi community back in new location
“Koi was the first time that I was ever like paid for music because of a tip jar,” said Jonny Chavez, a regular performer at Koi, and Thursday night’s host.
“It was amazing, the feeling you get from being onstage, from being in a community like Koi—it’s like nothing else.”
Chavez said now that Koi has found a space to bring back the open mic it will be bigger than ever.
Penosky said she doesn’t yet have plans to open another cafe, but she wanted to continue the legacy of Open Mic Thursdays and continue to support the community.
“My first time was quite scary at first, but everyone was welcoming,” said musician Denzel Valdez.
“There was a sense of belonging when I went there. I’m so glad that they brought it back up, I can’t wait to perform.”
Seventy-seven year-old poet and drummer, Linda Stewart said it’s the humanity and ethics of Koi that makes up its ethos.
On Koi’s former walls was a manifesto, banning racism, sexism, xenophobia from the venue.
Stewart, nicknamed ‘Granny Koi’ by the community, said that the performers assisted with her “handy capabilities” by bringing her wheelchair.
Koi closed in July
Koi was open for more than a decade, but Penosky said she knew the time was right to close the café when new owners took over the building they were in. That space was repurposed to serve as storage units.
“It felt like the right time to close that chapter, although it is very bittersweet,” said Penosky.
“I want to make sure that Koi is relevant to the community and [to continue to] invite all my people to this beautiful space.”