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Laughter, applause and great music are some of the sounds you’ll hear at Refuge Live! on a Wednesday night – thanks to one dj’s desire to sharpen his skills while helping other entertainers do the same.

At DJ Manti Presents: The Stage Live, local performers show off their chops under the spotlight before an intimate crowd. Comedians, musicians, spoken-word artists and other entertainers take the stage hoping to gain new fans and more experience.

As a budding dj, Manti struggled to find a home for his talent. No party, event or venue in Chicago would book him, he says. Refuge Live! took a chance on him, however, initially giving him Sunday nights to practice on the turntables. Soon, DJ Manti learned that Wednesday nights at the downtown club were open. He jumped at the opportunity to turn Wednesday nights into a space for other creatives like himself.

“I had never promoted [an event] before. I had never invited anybody out [to an event] before. So it was really a chance for me to step outside of my lane as well as to practice,” he says.

Though this is Manti’s first venture as an event promoter, The Stage Live routinely packs the house with lively viewers and a variety of acts each month. DJ Manti says his concert series has something special to offer all artists of all experience levels.

“It’s not just an average show,” he says. “It allows [artists] that may be on TV and may be very high up in what they do to come down and do something very intimate, and it allows the people who haven’t had that experience to come up and to do something on a level that is considered professional.”

The concert series is one of DJ Manti’s many endeavors. On the first three Wednesdays of each month, he also hosts an open-mic series at Refuge Live! Regardless of whether it’s open mic or concert night, DJ Manti is turning Refuge Live! into the spot for good vibes, music and a firsthand look at Chicago’s underground entertainment scene.

What: DJ Manti Presents: The Stage Live

Where: Refuge Live!, 416 S. Clark St.

Time: Doors open at 7 PM

Cost: $10 [Women free before 9 PM]

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