About Tuesday Night Cafe
Tuesday Night Cafe is our flagship free public arts and performance series. Launched in 1999, TNC has since become one of the longest-running free arts series in Downtown LA and is the oldest still-running Asian American mic series in the country.
Tuesday Night Cafe maintains a passionate, positive space with a focus on bridging art+community through new original work from Asian American/Pacific Islander communities and the greater Los Angeles area. The series runs on the 1st & 3rd Tuesday of each month, April through October, and features a curated program of multidisciplinary visual and performing art as well as an open mic section.
Tuesday Night Cafe is presented in the Aratani Courtyard of the Union Center for the Arts in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles through the support of their fiscal receiver, Little Tokyo Service Center. The space has served as a cultural/community entry point to Little Tokyo for thousands of people since its beginnings. Average audiences at TNC have grown to 100-250 people at each event, with people spilling onto the sidewalk and adjacent parking lot.
Now a destination for many Asian American performers across the nation, Tuesday Night Cafe has been recognized by USA Today's 10Best as the best Los Angeles Open Mic and by LA Weekly as the Best Free Downtown Performance Series Los Angeles 2013 and one of Ten Great L.A. Open Mic Nights for Music!
Tuesday Night Cafe begins at 7:30pm on 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, April through October, at the Aratani Courtyard/Union Center for the Arts - conveniently located two blocks from the Little Tokyo/Arts District Goldline Metro stop.
Open Mic Guidelines
Tuesday Night Cafe primarily features a lineup of curated artists, but also includes an open mic lottery.
We have three 5-minute slots at each show. The time limit and number of performers is strictly enforced.
Anyone who wishes to perform must be present before 7 p.m. to sign up. Time slots are not first come first serve, so please consider this if you will be traveling a far distance.
Lottery: At 7 p.m. If more than three people signed up (which is often the case), we will hold a lottery for the spaces. One spot per show will be held for a performer who is female-identified, LGBTIQ, or age 17 and under.
Instruments: Because of the limited time, we cannot accommodate set-up for full bands during the Open Mic. Artists can use up to two vocal mics and 1 Direct Input unit (DI). Guitars are fine; keyboards are discouraged. No loop machines or pedal boards.
Season limits: To encourage as many new voices as possible, no artist may perform more than twice during a Tuesday Night Cafe season and the two performances cannot be back-to-back shows.
While we believe in free speech and expression, we encourage artists to consider TNC's commitment to building community and celebrating diversity in all of its forms.
Transport and Accessibility:
The venue is close to the train stops for Gold Line Metro, and bus stops for the DASH Downtown A, and Montebello Bus Line Route 40.
Available street parking is free after 8 pm.
Parking is also available at:
Aiso Street Parking Lot
1st and San Pedro/Judge John Aiso
$3 Flat Rate after 5pm (lot open until midnight)
Japanese Village Plaza Parking Lot
1st and Central Ave
Max rate of the plaza parking is $10
$7 if parked after 4 pm.
There are a limited number of chairs in the center of the courtyard. There are also benches in the Jist Cafe outdoor seating area. There are rails near the side benches. Wheelchair users can be accommodated to be placed near the front. People with mobility issues are not in any obligation to stand.
There are two gender-neutral bathrooms located inside the theater on the first floor. It can be accessed both by the stairs upstage and the ramp on the house left of the courtyard. Both the ramp and stairs have rails.
Food is provided for featured artists, organizations, partners, as well as staff and 5pm setup volunteers. Food and restaurant venues are located throughout the Little Tokyo neighborhood, with the closest on 1st street, between Judge John Aiso St/San Pedro St and Central Ave.
There is amplified sound.
Submitting to Perform
Submissions for the 2017 Tuesday Night Cafe season are now closed.
We invite those still interested in performing at the space to consider signing up for our open mic lottery at each show, which is detailed above.