I may be the only person on the planet who does not require getting smashed to sing in front of an audience of complete strangers. Maybe this is due to the fact that they are strangers. That are drunk themselves. And probably won’t remember. This has been authenticated by the amount of applause I’ve received, as I make my way around the South Florida karaoke circuit, singing a tone-deaf, yet high-energy version of Darling Nikki.
Mostly, I think it’s due to the fact that I have closet ambitions of being an entertainer. Now, I know I cannot sing to save my life, but I have killer dance moves and an ambition to make a fool of myself. I have also daydreamed about countless scenarios, which include the following:
- Making it to the last round of American Idol, belting out “Don’t Call me When You’re Sober”, which is when people finally realize I can actually sing (this fantasy also includes Eminem being my “Michelle’s Husband” camera-pan away from the stage)
- Serenading my crush with Beyonce’s “Flaws & All”, causing him to fall madly in love with me
- Auditioning to replace the drummer from Linkin Park, with my sweet rendition of Faint, all the while singing in my best Chester-voice
The literal Japanese translation of the word karaoke is “empty orchestra”. Which makes a lot of sense, as most performances border on an empty sense of chaos. You oftentimes look up at the stage and wonder, “What the hell is this guy doing up there?”
I remember the first time I graced a karaoke stage. It was actually just the front of the dining area of a small cafe, Sergeant Pepper’s, that offered little more than sandwiches, wine, beer, and really bad singing from 9pm-1am on Friday nights. As I watched some woman yodel a Jewel song, I thought, “I would never get up there and embarrass myself like that!” I just knew that everyone that went up there was drunk, until a woman decided to bring the mood down by signing “God Bless the Child” (badly, I might add). Surely, she wouldn’t drink and singing a gospel song. Wait…. who sings a gospel song at karaoke?!
Then I was propositioned with an offer I couldn’t refuse. My roommate bet me $5 to go up and sing my favorite Prince song. At the time, gas was about $4.99 a gallon, so I was definitely intrigued. And since I usually ride pretty close to empty on a regular basis, I felt I couldn’t pass up this offer- drunk or not. So I put my name in and waited. One by one, people went to the front of the room and embarrassed themselves. As it neared closing time, I started to feel pretty sure that my name wasn’t going to get called, and I was relieved.
“Up next, let’s hear it for… MIIIIICCCHEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!” That’s how the girl said my name, literally. I cursed under my breath, as my friends started screaming and clapping. As the words ” I knew a girl named Nikki/I guess you could say she was a sex fiend” lit up the karaoke screen, all my inhibitions disappeared. For some reason, so did the people sitting in front of me, enjoying the libations that flowed from a restricted liquor-license establishment. I wasn’t in Downtown Dadeland anymore. I was on stage, at First Ave, performing with the Revolution, and singing/yelling at Apollonia.
I knew a girl named Nikki/ I guess you could say she was a sex fiend
I met her in a hotel lobby/ Masturbating with a magazine
She said, “How’d you like to waste some time?”/ And I could not resist when I saw little Nikki grind
She took me to her castle/ And I just couldn’t believe my eyes
She had so many devices/ Everything that money could buy
She said, “Sign your name on the dotted line”/ The lights went out and Nikki started to grind
The castle started spinning/ Or maybe it was my brain
I can’t tell you what she did to me/ But me body will never be the same
Her lovin’ will kick your behind/ Oh, she’ll show you no mercy
But she’ll sho’nuff, sho’nuff/ Show you how to grind
Darling Nikki, oh
Woke up the next morning/ Nikki wasn’t there
I looked all over and all I found/ Was a phone number on the stairs
It said, “Thank you for a funky time/ Call me up whenever you want to grind”
Oh, Nikki, oh
Oh come back Nikki, come back/ Your dirty little Prince wanna grind, grind, grind, grind
Grind, grind, grind, grind, grind!
(BTW, this is the best part, as you just get to scream incoherently, but I decided not to hump the ground)
I walked away from this performance with a sense of pride, and one gallon of gas. I felt like I could take over the world. I didn’t want to stop! My Interracial Posse and I (will delve into this phenomenon in a future post) continued to sing our worries away at this establishment, until its demise a year later. I continued on to other watering holes with awful singing, and I certainly recommend the following:
- Seven Seas- located on Bird Road, on the way to the airport, this is a place you wouldn’t even know was there, if you flew by. The size of a small studio apartment, its decor suggest a shabby boat dock, but the presence of a rabid dog in the adjoining storefront suggest a ghetto dog fight den. There’s barely room for the bar and a few tables, but it’s an awesome place with no pretentious air. I’ve shredded “Dirty Diana” here, and I keep coming back
- Any Discovery Cruise, 1-day excursion- this will prove especially scintillating, if you go during the week in the winter, where the guests are scant, along with the lame activities offered. You will definitely never see these people again, and the fun factor is upped a notch by the fact that you are sequestered in a gold-trimmed ballroom on the sea, watching 15 year-olds belt out Beyonce lyrics. As the cruise ships’ technology is somewhat behind the times, you will also enjoy the dated graphics on the karaoke screen. I have lovely memories of my 28th birthday, as I sang No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak”, with a backdrop of a 1985 bikini model, rolling around in the grass with big hair and a lion, relaxing in the desert.
- Lastly, the place where I dwell the most- Little Hoolie’s. Located in South Miami, this place has become a permanent home of mine, mostly because “Karaoke Wednesdays” also coincide with “Ladies Night”. Free shots of well-vodka fuel a most exciting experience for myself, along with my friends. This is the stage I have graced the most, regurgitating my Nikki song, Linkin Park, Evanessence, and most recently, “Me So Horny” (not my choice). The laughs are bountiful, as well as the plethora of prime Cougars, who enjoy dancing in front of the stage.
I imagine I will always have a spot in my heart for karaoke. It is my only way to realize my dream of being semi-famous. So if you ever want to have a good laugh on a Wednesday night, turn on SW 136th street, off US1, and head on over to Little Hoolies. You might catch me screaming out “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor”, but most likely it will some 65-year old woman, doing her best to murder “Black Velvet”.
-Keep It A Hot Mess
(Next Week: Will I say ‘Yes to the Dress?’ Month 3 is coming….)