Karaoke Chronicles

Karaoke means empty orchestra. I don’t care about who’s in the orchestra, what I do like is when the dance floor’s bumpin’.

Singing for my dancers at 1 a.m. in Brooklyn.

You may remember that karaoke had it’s hey-day in the 1990s. However I wasn’t introduced to it until 1999 when all my theatre school kids went to local pubs to battle karaoke cowboys in Calgary, AB. Most of the time I sat back watching my friends win over the crowd as I meekly flipped through the catalogue of songs I didn’t know.

Then in the early 00s I discovered the Karaoke Box; a place where you could rent a room with only your friends to have a non-stop singing party. This is where I began to feel comfortable in the medium and learnt how to train my musical theatre voice into a pop star voice – ie) stop belting into the microphone.

My friend Kitty LOVES karaoke. So much so that I think she was disappointed that during our 6 days in NYC we only did karaoke twice. That’s right; I didn’t see any theatre (unless Upright Citizens Brigade counts), but I was part of a show.

Our first night in Brooklyn was dedicated to tacos and karaoke. There was a little Mexican restaurant called Papacitos that filled with hipsters after 11 pm. Hosted by the enthusiastic Ellan who took a few of the photos in this post. Kitty took to the mic with a show stopping musical number. My standby is “Like A Prayer;” it’s always a hit when a group of girls are out celebrating a birthday and they become my choir. Luckily such a group existed when we were there.

What I particularly loved about this karaoke spot was that despite the smallness of the crowd the energy surpassed anything I’ve seen in Vancouver. Let this photo stand as evidence.

What's going on here? All the men took off their shirts and spun them around their heads.

This is what happened when Kitty sang “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” by Celine Dion. Yeah, I don’t know why either, but it was incredible.

My second song was “Fergalicous” which went over well on the crowd that was fixed in early 90s rap jams. For my last song I sang “Downtown” with my new-found fauxhemian friends on my side.  Kitty was giving the closing song which in karaoke nights apparently is a big honour.

When in doubt, hair flip. At Pianos.

For our second NYC-oke we made it to Pianos in the Lower East Side. I expected it to be a classy piano bar where I could drink martinis, lay on the piano and sing “Fever,” but it was another hipster spot hosted by a guy that looked as if he was in a death metal band.

What I love about NYC hipsters is that they like to have fun, at least the ones that go to karaoke. There was none of this apathetic non-stop judgment through crossed arms holding PBR.

They were all about the dance floor and so were we.

Me and my friend Andrew having a dance battle.

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