Tuesday, December 16, 2008

master of karaoke...for everyone

Much like the voodoo that is Dayman of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia fame, I'm a master of karate and friendship for everyone. OK, I lied. I'm not actually a master of karate. Or friendship for everyone. But I am a master of karaoke, which is nothing to scoff at. Plus, the twisted logic in my mind notes that being a master of karaoke, in turn, aligns me at least an iota closer to mastering friendship for everyone and, actually, maybe even karate. (I've got some sweet moves.)

And, no joke, if you can master friendship in a town like DC where people seem to fear all strangers, then something must be right. Which brings me to my karaoke-master skills -- they make me friends.

Karaoke and I go way back. I used to sing along to the likes of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," which was on the first tape I owned when I was eight and continued to be my go-to sing-a-long song until I was probably 10 when Soul II Soul's "Back to Life" took over, naturally. Of course, I sang along to those precious tapes only in the privacy of my own home.

I broke onto the public scene a few years later when I joined my junior high school's choir, which proved detrimental as it nearly killed my love for singing badly and loudly. But I guess, singing "Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog" in a falsetto soprano will do that to an impressionable 13-year-old. It will also make you want to murder people, which, it seems, is not the best way to go around mastering friendship for everyone. Or karaoke. Indeed, Jeremiah was no friend of mine. (HIYO!) Although, with all that bullfroggy violence on my mind, I suppose that experience could have been a good way to master karate. But the sad fact is, that experience simply made me want to master getting the hell away from everyone else in choir and, instead, concentrate solely on perfecting my Running Man and Roger Rabbit sweet dance moves to Technotronic's "Move This."

This dark period, as it were, lasted for several years (read: Technotronic stayed on my playlist through high school) and turned me off from singing so much that I put a moratorium on inserting any discernible pitch changes into my voice until 2002 (or was it 2003?) when I was invited to join a band in Moscow, Russia, where I quickly perfected my penchant for mastering the ability to make an ass out of myself and not care.

It was then that an amateur karaoke star was born...and, as the old saying goes, an angel got his balls. Wait, that's every time a bell falls. My bad. Thank you for schooling me, official Steven Colbert Christmas ornament.

But now that you know way too much about my past and angel anatomy, let's return to present time, or better yet, last Friday when I made my first trip to a DC karaoke bar -- Cafe Japone.

In short, I killed it. I sang both "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes and Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer," both karaoke classics. And when I say "killed it," I mean I murdered it, like how a disgruntled soprano in a junior high school choir wants to murder a bullfrog named Jeremiah. And not only did I earn my own accolades (which, believe it or not, are actually very hard to earn under my strict self-flagellating point system), but I earned strangers' accolades, as well, which are even harder to earn in DC, a town scared of its own metaphorical shadow.

Not that I should be surprised that my karaoke skills earned me some fast friends (I mean, they are stellar, if I had not mentioned that), but why should karaoke be the catalyst to get strangers to interact with each other more so than, say, a "Holy sh*t, I just tripped down the Metro escalator, I'm bleeding and I think something might be broken, but why won't anyone stop to help me or at least call 911?" moment. By the way, that latter incident is a true story, which luckily didn't happen so much to me as it did to a friend of mine, meaning I guess it wasn't so lucky after all, but extremely sucky. And no, no one ever helped her, so she hobbled on, bleeding profusely until she found a more convenient spot (i.e., where people wouldn't step on her face) to help herself.

So, what's with that? You're with me in the good times, DC, but when push comes to shove (literally, down a Metro escalator), you abandon me, or at least my friend, at our time of need? What kind of city does that? DC is kind of an asshole. DC is not Dayman. No, DC, in fact, is Nightman; that is, a possible rapist.

Or maybe karaoke just attracts a cool crowd. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go practice my high kicks, which I vow to do next time I sing karaoke. And if high kicks can't help me become a master of karate and friendship for everyone, then nothing can.


I-66 said...

Please. You haven't lived til you've seen me do Baby Got Back at Rock-It Grill in Old Town, or Bust A Move at Peyote.

Just sayin'.

KassyK said...

I've seen 66 do "Bust a Move" and it was glorious.

I AM the master of friendship. I wear the medal proudly.

My karaoke classic?

Faith or Freedom...George Michael.

You need to show us those high kicks, lady!

Socrates Johnson said...

Its on next time I'm in DC. I'll either run with Billy Idol's Rebel Yell or Neil Diamond's America. I don't think DC will be able to handle our combined awesomeness.

Peter said...

Brian and I did a mean becherovka-fueled Beach Boys once in Kyiv. That was probably the moment that everyone else in the world should have stopped singing karaoke - representing, as it did, the activity's pinnacle.

Marissa said...


Do you mean "Bust A Move" on peyote? Because that would be humorous.


Apparently, your eyes hath seen one of the great karaoke wonders of the world. I think I need to see this...

And George Michael -- GOOD choice!

mr. johnson--

OH NO YOU DI-UHN'T! It is on. For serious. Fly out of India post haste and let's effing do this.


Wait a second. Were either or both of you wearing a silver jumpsuit and cod-piece a la Sunny's Dennis Reynolds. If so, I might believe it was the pinnacle. If not, then I shall trudge on in my karaoke work.