By Rachel Enger (AKA Rac Hellion the lioness)
Welcome to Karaoke-dokey! – the blog about the Karaoke Project 22
The first question you probably want answered is what does the project entail? And why 22? And I don’t blame you for asking.
My friend Suze St. John and I have been making the karaoke circuit throughout the valley (the Phoenix area in Arizona) for a while, and making friends along the way too. Apparently there are many out there enjoying a lot of karaoke, more than we had imagined.
One good friend was regaling me with stories of a time when he and a few fellow karaoke junkies went out for karaoke 21 nights in a row! His friends didn’t last the entire duration – one only seven days, and another maybe ten. But Bosco (as he’s known far and wide in the karaoke world) made it through 21 days of karaoke – straight!
Well, I was impressed. What a crazy adventure! Unplanned irreverent whimsical fun – just the type of thing that I like. Well, except for the unplanned part, as I’m usually not that comfortable with spontaneity. So in our version, we’ve planned it up the wazoo! If you’ve been following our FaceBook event, you know what I mean.
In my mind, I’ve been challenged to beat the Bosco record. I told Suze about it, and she…okay, it was sort of a non-challenge. I said, “We can beat that!”, and Suze responded “Hell yeah!” and it was on! But no, Miss St. John doesn’t cuss. Much. She actually said, “Heck yeah.” But in my mind we had forged a deal. Twenty-two days (or nights rather) of karaoke. Hell yeah, we can do it!
Initially, we were to follow the Bosco rule, as follows: to complete consecutive days of karaoke, you must go to at least one place each night, and sing minimum one song.
Then, what I’m going to refer to as the Suzer rules took hold. In truth, I adopted many of these restrictions myself, but I kind of like pretending that she is forcing me to do these crazy things.
1) We’re going to visit a minimum of 22 different venues.
2) We must dance sometime during the evening. This can be while we’re singing, or while someone else is singing. It matters not. Just that dancing is requisite!
3) I must do a duet each night out. This can be with a friend, or with the KJ (karaoke jockey), or whomever else is willing.
4) We don’t have to drink alcohol, but since we’re out at bars of some variety each night, this has been a ritual.
5) And this rule came about after the first couple nights. This one is mine. A challenge to myself. I will not repeat any songs, except by request. I am trying many songs I’ve never sung at karaoke before, have wanted to try, or just on the fly. Scary. Much fun.
Can you tell this project was put together by two teachers? Yep. It’s true.
One thing I love about karaoke is the communal atmosphere that often grows and fills the room. Many – like me – enjoy karaoke because they love to sing. And let’s face it, singing is joyful.
There are those who won’t sing in public or in front of others because they think they’re not good enough. It’s a shame, because singing and any enjoyment of music is…so human. Music is universal, expressive, and can take you somewhere else. Okay, not everyone gets this particular flavor of joy from karaoke. I know there are some haters out there. And that’s fine. But this blog is for those that can relate, or at least wish to.
Some people sing karaoke because they love performing, and don’t pay much attention to whether they’re all that good or not. Or they strive to do well, as I do, and that’s great. It’s just not all that karaoke is about. Karaoke is for everyone.
Then there are the karaoke groupies. They are the ones who attend karaoke pretty regularly, enjoy themselves abundantly, but never actually sing.
Oh and there’s one other group worth noting – the divas. Those who love to sing, perform, be outrageous, and know they do it well. Full disclosure, I am such a diva. Sorry. The truth will set you free, right?
What leads to this communal feeling is that we’re all there to support each other. All singers are encouraged. And all behavior (restrained or audacious) is tolerated. I tend to the audacious, but what’s nice is even the shy ones get to just be themselves, and everyone gives them kudos.
The adventure will lead us to many interesting and diverse places, though mostly bars of some variety. There are dive bars, sports bars, and restaurants with bars sectioned off. Hence the nightly drinking. We must, after all, patronize the establishments we’re enjoying.
The rest of the venues include coffee shops, bowling alleys, and well, more bars…some pretty usual and some pretty unusual. And therein lies the fun. See, it’s not just about the singing for me. I’m interested in experiencing the unusual and the usual, the humanity, the connectedness, and even the disconnect (when it happens). This blog is about chronicling the experience, the ambiance and my personal reflections on it all. I also want to communicate the sheer exuberance of taking on this challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE THE SINGING. So…off we go!
Stay tuned for Days One – Eleven, as I work to catch up this blog with the adventures that have already begun (as of June 8, 2013).