Bravery is Rewarded — How I Finally won at Karaoke

If you know me (or follow this blog), you know I love karaoke. We go a few times a year to the Shattuck Down Low on Tuesday nights. It’s pretty much the highlight of my life.

I have tried to win their Valentine’s Day and Halloween Karaoke Contests for years. Awhile ago they started a contest every Tuesday where you could win a $50 bar tab by being awesome.

About a week ago I decided I was finally going to perform my favorite karaoke song of all, Pulp’s This is Hardcore.

I had performed it at Jenfest 2007 to much fanfare, but never for an audience of strangers. It’s one of my favorite karaoke songs because I love the song and it’s super long…which means more time with the microphone. #ilovemicrophones

There’s one major reason it’s not ideal: It’s basically about the making of a porno film. I love it for it’s drama and intrigue, but not necessarily the subject matter. Yet, I had decided that I was finally going to throw caution to the wind and sing it…

And then I chickened out, choosing my staple, Talking in Your Sleep by the Romantics, for my first song. It was a truly dissatisfying karaoke experience.

A gin and tonic later, and I was ready. I went for it. My love for the song took over any question that this was an inadvisable song to choose and pure joy overcame me.

No wonder they picked me to win. Though the emcee claimed I won to reward my courage to sing such a naughty song so well. Whatever it was, I sleep soundly now that one of my life goals has been achieved.

A good day, I’d say. Continue Reading

Halloween Karaoke Idea

Sing Chicago’s Hard Habit to Break to a dancing pack of cigarettes.  I bet I could sucker Will into dressing in a cardboard box (if I decorate it)…  If only I could sing, I might place in the top ten.  Regardless, it could be quite a performance!

Cigarettes, as I’m sure you know, are more addictive than heroin.  Why are they legal, US Government, when marijuana–with accepted medical practices and no chemical action in the brain stem (where the worst addiction mechanisms take place!)–is persecuted?  I look forward to your comments. Continue Reading

Scaryoake 2010

I looove karaoke ever since I learned I couldn’t sing at the age of 12 or so.  Karaoke was the one place where I could be proud to show off my singing skills.  My musically inclined boyfriend is baffled by my eager embarrassment, but I’ve long since embraced it as part of my nature.

I’ve participated in a number of karaoke contests, which I’ve written about.   They take place at the Shattuck Downlow in Berkeley and have over the years become overrun with people who can actually sing.  Bummer.

I always come in pretty close to last. I’ve always blamed the judges, which might not be fair, but I thought they just didn’t really understand my humor.  (It couldn’t be that they just didn’t appreciate my out of tune vocals!)

This year I decided I would really really give it my best shot, as I’ve written about here.  I took voice lessons.  I learned to breathe, and that I wasn’t tone deaf!  Awesomeness.

I picked my song months ago and practiced, practiced, practiced. I ordered the CD of the karaoke track online and perfected the timing and a cute little zombie dance to go with.  Even my musical boyfriend said I was doing okay.  My voice teacher said I was awesome.  The stars were aligning for my success.

I was so pumped when I got an email from Steve, the Karoake Jockey, informing us that ALL THREE JUDGES WERE GOING TO BE NEW.  What could stop me now??

The day arrived.  I got all dressed up and ready to go.  I went.  I met a new friend, who needed a costume.  I happened to have all the make up needed for zombification in my bag.  I offered, he accepted.

It was dark in the bar.  I followed the same exact recipe that I had used on my face.  It came out a few minutes later that I had given him black face.  Black face!  Not at all what I meant to do!!  I apologized profusely, but he was visibly irritated.

Moments later I was informed that he was a judge!  Minutes before the contest started and I managed to offend a third of its governing body!!  My heart sank.

I said so to my friends and noticed that the bar was loud that I had to shout for them to hear me.  My voice was hoarse!!

Now I had offended 1/3 of the judges, and my voice was hoarse!!  And I was nervous!!  This night was not going well.  I sipped on my gin and tonic.

I had hours to wait.  I had picked a competitive slot–11:30.  In the past, successful contestants have performed pretty late–when the crowd is drunk and ready for dancing.  I was competitive this year, but I wish I hadn’t picked such a late time slot.  I was nervous, I couldn’t talk to my friends for fear of further taxing my poor vocal chords and I wanted another gin and tonic.

What felt like months later, it was time.  I bounded up to the stage, ready, willing.  I was going to take this thing down in flames!!

I missed my first cue.  That’s okay, keep going.  I was singing, I was singing, and then it hit me.  All my training had gone out the door.  I wasn’t breathing.  I wasn’t even singing!!  I was shouting into the microphone like I normally do.

So, well, I didn’t do very well.  But I do know how to sing now, perhaps just not on stage at the Shattuck Downlow.  And I’ve learned some good lessons for next year’s Scaryoake performance.

Without further ado, my performance:

My Theme Song

I realized last week what my dream is. I’ve been planning all these crazy videos for so long, and pumping so much time and energy into my blog… but I didn’t understand how it all comes together to make me happy. Honestly, sometimes it just feels like a bunch of work. But this past week when I have actually been devoting myself to my videos, I have felt continually creatively satisfied. It has been an amazing week.

Sometime during the past week, I made the realization: I want to be a talk show host. I was born to be a talk show host. I can talk and talk and talk. Believe me! I can think of crazy skits like nobody’s business. Content will never be a problem!

I do need to work on my deadpan…I crack myself up entirely too much! Continue Reading

No, Seriously

I’m serious this year.

I have evaluated my goals and priorities and preparing for the Halloween karaoke contest is pretty close to #1. The actual #1 priority is and has been, unfortunately, predisposed with survival. And keeping the house clean.

I’m taking voice lessons.  I think this summer I will take up tap dance again–perhaps have a little routine for my song come October.  But let me be clear–I will not come in 23rd again this year.

Last year:

Continue Reading