Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Creeping Toward the Dark Side

My little singing hobby is poised to turn me into a person I've always judged. A person I immediately deem a loser without even knowing him or her. A person I've never really wanted to know.

That would be a person who does karaoke on a regular basis.

And so loves their karaoke habit that they will swing by a karaoke lounge alone just to sing a song or two.

I'm not quite there yet, but I'm dangerously close. Now, I do think hanging out in a karaoke lounge alone is probably better than hanging out in a regular bar alone, but just barely. At least in a karaoke lounge singing, good or bad, is the focus, as opposed to just alcohol. And honestly, the last few times I've done karaoke, I've eschewed the liquor and just sipped sparkling water while I awaited my turn at the microphone.

Believe me, I have no delusions that my life has not taken a pathetic turn, but that's the way it goes sometimes, I suppose. Last night, Sheela and I went out for a karaoke evening. We have confirmed that they no longer feature karaoke at Julie's Supper Club (stinky Julie's!), so we were on the hunt for another good venue. Our quest lead us to Amnesia on Valencia, where they have Rock Out Karaoke on Tuesday nights. Sheela and I both love Amnesia and were excited about the possibility.

However, once there, we discovered that maybe that particular karaoke night isn't for us. First of all, the crowd was a tiny bit... um... okay, I'll just say it: scary. I have, at various times in my life, fancied myself a Mission hipster, but the Mission types who showed up for karaoke last night at Amnesia were nothing like me. It may be because I'm getting old. Or I'm not as hip as I believe I am. Or. I am hip, but these people really were just scary.

Any of those explanations are plausible.

If the crowd wasn't enough (and for the record all the people were very nice... well, except maybe the guy who took Sheela to task for supporting Hillary Clinton), when we sang, we learned that Amnesia's sound system isn't really that conducive to karaoke. We could each hear the music but not ourselves. Only when I really belted my notes out, could I hear myself. That may explain why everyone who sang before me seemed to be yelling; that's the only way the poor dears could hear what they were doing. Not to mention, the bathrooms at Amnesia are more frightening than the crowd. And I'm a girl who has been in plenty of bar bathrooms.

All of that said, however, I can't say I won't give karaoke at Amnesia another try one day.

But last night, Sheela and I bolted from Amnesia after one song each and went to.... yes... the Mint. It was crowded at first, but a birthday party soon cleared out, leaving all of 10 of us in the place. Perfect. It took forever for my songs to come up, and I would accuse the guy running the karaoke of pandering to the regulars, but honestly, I think he was just unorganized. As we were leaving, a poor guy in town on business from New York, tried to talk Sheela and me into staying and hanging out with him, but we declined. He was actually kind of cute, if a little cheesy (he'd been at the Balboa Cafe before coming to the Mint), but he was a stranger, and it was almost 1 a.m.

It was when he tried to persuade us to meet him there tonight that it happened. I came precariously close to the Dark Side. Sheela turned down the guy's invitation for tonight outright, but I am going to a playreading at a cafe somewhat near the Mint. So I took the lonely fellow's card and told him I'd call him if I felt like singing after my playreading. Now, I have very little, if any, intention of calling the New York business traveler, but the idea of swinging by the Mint for a song or two is actually very appealing. Even if I go by myself. Not to mention that Encore Karaoke (mentioned in a previous post on this space) is a place I imagine I'd feel comfortable going alone.

See, I'm on the verge of becoming one of those tragic karaoke people. The good news is that my work schedule, which has been a bit wacky for the past month, is about to get back to normal. So I'll be going to open mic in Alameda next Tuesday to sing with Rosa. The open mic we go to is a little pathetic in it's own right, but it's a step or 10 above karaoke.

I think I really just need to join a band. However well I do or don't sing.

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