"Comedy is something that offers us the opportunity to shake the seriousness of life.”

- Nicolas Mezzanatto, Founder of Comedy & A Cause

A new monthly comedy event with a twist has found a home at Open Space Event Studios. Comedy and a Cause Comedy Competition is the brainchild of Nicolas Mezzanatto and Cody Parr, who have brought the likes of the late Bob Saget, Matt Braunger, and Pablo Francisco through Bend. Comedy and a Cause Comedy Competition is about creating connection in the comedic community and will give local and regional comics a chance to hone their craft with monthly competitions that include audience participation, a raffle, themed events, and a headliner.

Comedy and a Cause is an official partner of Save A Warrior (SAW), a non-profit that supports active duty military, veterans, and other first responders living with and healing from PTSD. At each event, there will be a raffle benefiting SAW. PTSD hits close to home for Mezzanatto, an Iraq war combat vet who fought with the 101st Airborne's 502nd Infantry and deployed to the "Triangle of Death," a particularly violent region. After returning home, he found himself fighting an entirely new battle inside his own mind, as the horrific memories of active duty combat spiraled him into depression and suicidal ideation. That’s when he found comedy. Comedy and performance art allowed him to create new purpose within himself, connect him to a wider community, and shake the seriousness of day to day life.

Cody Parr is a renaissance man of many talents. When he was attending Oregon State University, he was presented with his first opportunity to pursue his childhood dream of acting. With nearly nothing to his name, he packed his bag and headed to Los Angeles. Within his first two months of living there having never acted a day in his life, he landed his first audition for the lead role as ‘Anthony’ in the feature film “Cruisin’.” When he’s not gracing the big screen or the stage, Parr also finds time to pursue a career in songwriting and as a professional recording artist in hip hop, rap, and RnB.

Comedy & A Cause debuted with an 80’s-themed night of hilarity. Four comics battled it out in the competition portion of the evening, and the audience helped the judges decide on two finalists. While the judges deliberated a winner, nationally-recognized headliner, Amanda Arnold, laid it on heavy with the laughs in her original vintage L.A. Gears with pink and white laces. Sharif Mohni was the proclaimed winner of the Comedy Competition, taking home the grand prize, Comedy Gold, and bragging rights. We’ll see him back in December to go toe-to-toe with the other winners determined over the next months to see who has what it takes to be crowned the champion of 2022.

Our next event will be on March 3rd. Come dressed in your best St. Paddy’s Day get up because our theme is Saint ‘Pasi’ Day in honor of our featured headliner, Adam Pasi. Prizes will be awarded to the best two outfits, so come dressed to impress for a chance to win! Adam was the winner of the Portland's Funniest Person in 2019 and due to the pandemic canceling last year's tournament he's been insisting that he's 2020's funniest as well (by default) He's silly, loud, is afraid of dolls and loves his mom.

Doors at 7:30 PM | Show at 8 PM


Updated: Nov 13, 2021

By Ariel Rose

At first listen, Ari Hoenig’s most popular song on Spotify gives me snowy Sunday morning coffee by the fire vibes. The next song that pops up on shuffle transports me out of my pajamas into a dark New York cocktail lounge where I might brush elbows with a mysterious stranger dressed in black from Europe while I sip on a dirty martini. Being someone who appreciates spontaneity and versatility, I’m thrilled, which isn’t surprising considering “thrilling” is used by writers to describe Hoenig’s drumming style again and again and again. Hoenig’s subtly is just as dynamic as his versatility, and hitting shuffle on his Spotify discography is a journey in and of itself. He’s celebrated for not relegating his drumming to simply keeping tempo, but instead making it the central focus of the music he’s a part of. He’s renowned world-wide, not only for his unique and unconventional approach to drumming, but as a composer and educator as well.

Ari Hoenig was born in 1973 in Philadelphia and was exposed to a wide variety of music from an early age. His father is a conductor and classical singer, and his mother is a violinist and pianist. At only four years old, Hoenig began studying violin and piano. He started playing drums at age 12 and, by age 14, he was already honing his skills with other young jazz musicians playing clubs around Philly. After a brief three year stint at the University of North Texas, he decided he wanted to be closer to New York and transferred to William Paterson College in Northern New Jersey. True to his unconventional form, he dropped out after just one semester and moved to Brooklyn where he continued to explore and hone his craft.

Hoenig’s musical resume is extensive both as a soloist and working with other musicians. He’s currently leading a quintet, a nonet, a trio, co-leads a variety of other projects, teaches, and somehow still finds time to compose. When he isn’t on tour or traveling to teach, he resides in Brooklyn with his wife & two kids.

Ari Hoenig’s show is a part of a new series called Midtown Sessions, where Open Space in collaboration with Rimshot Productions bring world class musicians to beautiful Bend, Oregon. Join New York-based jazz drummer Ari Hoenig at Open Space on Thursday, November 18th, at 7:30 pm for an intimate night of music. Tickets are $48 and include a drink ticket as well as catered appetizers. This event isn’t one to be missed! Click here for tickets.

By Ariel Rose

As Bend's art and music scenes continue to grow, the businesses in the budding Central District have teamed up to give new flavor to a well-worn Bend tradition: First Friday. The Central District has remained true to its roots and continues to be a hot spot in town for local businesses, makers, artisans, and otherwise off the beaten path demographics. The energy was high on Friday night, and, after talking to many of the people that showed up, they were excited to escape the busy, bustling summer sidewalks of downtown for a space that encouraged you to pull up a chair, pour a pint, and stay for a while.

Solo artist, Ryan Nelson, and The Bucklys, played music under the lights on Open Space's patio while pedestrians perused local artisan booths sipping a curated selection of Pacific Northwest beers, wines, ciders, and kombucha. Miranda Kelton, a local photographer who showcased her work, said she was excited to hear about the call to artists at Open Space and to join the event. "When I first came to town, there wasn't anything like it," she said. "I'm excited to see how the BCD First Friday grows." June L. Park Art & In Stitches by Sara, both local artists, also had booths set up and enjoyed the change of pace. As the event grows, Open Space hopes to offer a monthly haven for all flavors of creators to showcase their talents.

The Central District First Friday's goal is simple: to become an extension of the already well-loved local tradition. The hope is to breathe new life into this forgotten block of Bend's history, re-purpose it's buildings, and bring a new creative and economic era to its concrete. This event is open to everyone, and we especially want to offer a platform to support new and upcoming creators in Bend that haven't been given a space to voice themselves yet. Open Space will continue to host music and artisans every First Friday, so if you or someone you know, is interested in setting up shop with us on First Friday (or any other day, for that matter!), reach out to info@openspace.studio. For a complete list of the businesses participating in the Central District First Friday event & to stay up to date on all of its happenings, follow @bendcentraldistrictfirstfriday on Instagram.



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