Against my better judgment, I committed karaoke last night. I met up with some folks at Armida's and really just wanted to retrieve my hat and gloves from a friend who had them. Still, I'm a sucker for peer pressure and a beckoning stage so I knew it was simply a matter of time. To access my courage, I ordered the biggest beer they could carry; I had to lift it with two hands – perfect! Then I ordered some beef tamales and began perusing their overwhelmingly comprehensive song catalogue.
There were a handful of talented folks present who could honestly go pro – including one Stevie Nicks-looking chick who actually sounds better than Stevie does now - but more importantly, there many more who were just plain awful. These people instantly become my heroes. Within each terrible, off-key voice was a quiet urging: "Look at me! I have no musical skills whatsoever! You've got nothing to lose! Tra-la-friggin'-la!" I loved them all.
But none as much as the tall cowboy guy who brought up a stuffed dog (for support?) and a tambourine supplement. I can't even recall what the songs were since he was determined to make them his own. He also incorporated some fancy dance moves and as I watched (trust me, it was better than listening) his long leather denim-ed legs attempt fancy choreography, I felt a strange mixture of admiration and disgust. Kinda like how I felt when Hunter S. Thompson offed himself.
The guy was clearly a freak and so naturally, we became instant friends. He offered his business card and "The Sicilian Clown" has no less than five aliases (though he introduced himself as "Randy") and professes to be a comedian ("Professional Smart Ass!"), singer, percussionist, dancer, actor, promoter and "Wise Guy." To the left of all this info was some random clip art of a teddy bear with hearts. Bonkers? Pretty much. However, I prefer to regard him as an eccentric individualist since sanity is highly over-rated and painfully common.
At one point, three young girls got up and did a Vanilla Ice rap, which caused me to comment: "There's something strange about watching three white girls impersonate a white guy who impersonates black guys." But hey, that's just me.
As for my singing debut, I eventually decided on Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" since it appeared lively party music inspired the entire room sing along and would thus drown out my flat, cracked voice. (It was between that and Donna Summers' "Bad Girls.") However, this plan backfired when I quickly realized that there were not nearly enough gay men in the room for this strategy to work – no one really knew the song!
Ever the quick-thinking stage hog, I opted to make it a physical comedy routine when telling the sad, sad story of Lola, the showgirl, who ended as a lonely old woman wearing her aged cha-cha feathers in a bar and marinating herself to death. Funny stuff, huh? I tried to leave my audience with a very clear warning: "DON'T … fall in love!" I think Lola learned a lesson for all of us, truly.
When I got back to the table, my new friends assured me I had "stage presence" which may have been a nice way of saying that perhaps a tambourine would've helped ... ?