Before I start this post - thanks so much to people who came to Karaoke. It was mostly people I already knew, but one reader, Curtis, came. I thought it was totally awesome that he read about Karaoke here and decided to go. Even better, he nailed Guns 'N Roses' Welcome to the Jungle. Also in attendance were my brother and his friends, Steve, Anissa, and Dan from work, and Todd and Doug who helped me run the show.
I had no idea what I was getting into. Things like "hey, I should probably have music for when no one is karaokeing" never even occurred to me. All I had was the leaked copy of Jay-Z's Kingdom Come, so I kept playing that. There was silence, there was no crossfading. That part of the show was a disaster. I also had no idea how to hook stuff up to their system, so the first hour was spent doing that. I felt really bad for people who came during that part.
Finally things got rolling, although I think only 4 people I didn't know sang songs. It wasn't too busy because the weather was cold.
Highlights included killing the scene with Todd. We sang a bunch of songs (some of them twice). One of the bartenders named Tony tried to sing "I wanna sex you up", but even with the help of Todd and I we couldn't figure it out.
The best part was when these drunk ghetto mexican guys came up and wanted to freestyle. They were giving me crap about my tiny laptop and stuff, but I played a beat for them. They started freestyling and then passed the mic to me. I was pretty intimidated - they sounded good and I'd never freestyled for anyone, let alone in public on a microphone. I had no option, though - this is one of those situations where bombing looks better than refusing to sing.
I started off really strong, and it kept getting better. Honestly it was probably one of my best freestyles ever and it probably seemed written. Even as it was happening all I could think of was "oh my god this is going so good - don't screw it up". I finished my turn and passed the microphone back. It was probably one of the best moments of my life - I've practiced freestyling every day since I decided to learn how to rap 6 years ago, and it paid off! Woo! I did it a few more times after that, but they weren't as good as that first one.
Anyway, it's tired and I'm rambling. Next week will be a much more polished operation - come out and sing / rap / dance with me!
A year ago there was something called "Krunkaoke" every wednesday night at a club nearby. I went religiously and became one of the few creepy superstar regulars who dropped hot gangsta classics every Wednesday. The first time I went I was really nervous, but after doing "How We Do" by The Game, I was hooked. Eventually Krunkaoke became too packed (is that possible?), and they cancelled it!
Desperate for a Karaoke fix, I started going to Rain, which is a gay club a couple blocks from where I live. They had a cool light up stage, but the mediocre sound system and guys trying to grab my ass left me looking for alternatives.
Then one night it happened. I was working late and I thought I heard bad singing at the club downstairs. Could it be... Karaoke?
I don’t know exactly when I started referring to the subway as The Cattle Cars in my head, a characterization that evolved in spite of myself and against my will, since all my previous associations with people and cattle cars have genocidal overtones. It was sometime after I stopped going into mosh pits because they felt too much like crowded trains. After I moved to Brooklyn and started spending upwards of two hours a day on the trains, pressed against people who were pretending I wasn’t there. Or, a couple times, people who were far too aware that I was there, and that I have desirable body parts. You tell yourself you’ll never put up with that shit if it happens to you. And then it happens, and the train’s so crowded you can’t tell who it is, and you’re already late to work, and you don’t want to be the crazy weirdness that all the New Yorkers watch without watching. So you shut up. Your stop is only three away. Deal with it. Ignore. Evacuate.
Late at night in Union Square station. On the upper level, a busker is playing bagpipes, an instrument not designed with low ceilings and tiled walls in mind. Every time he finishes a song, the air fills with angry shouts from the homeless men who are trying to sleep.
Even one level down, at the other end of the platform, with my music turned all the way up, I can still hear them.
In a city of eight million people, I’m the most alone I’ve ever been. I don’t really know anybody here, I don’t have any roommates, and at the mixers and get-to-know-yous and bar hours that my school’s student life organizers put together, I mill around on the edges for an hour or so before leaving without successfully talking to anyone. Sometimes it feels like days go by without me saying anything, without speaking at all. I start to listen to more Fresh Air and This American Life than is strictly necessary for anybody. Ira Glass is the closest thing I have to company. I realize that if something happens to me, it could be days, maybe weeks, before anyone at home really got worried. I start to wonder if the people on the subway aren’t just ignoring me. Maybe I really am invisible. Maybe I’m not really here.