DAY 9 June 16th at the Cash Inn in Central Phoenix
Sunday, Father’s Day
My kids are with their dad, and it’s time for Suze and I to go visit a lesbian country bar – giddy-up!
Getting to know you
Karaoke on Sundays at the Cash starts at about 7 pm – early! So we got there a quarter til, and ordered drinks before happy hour ended. I asked the barkeep, Dusty, if she had a signature drink, and before you know it we were hooked up with two tall fruity drinks, brimming with alcohol. The “panty-dropper”. We know it was filled with multiple shots cause we saw them being built. But the pineapple juice helped mask all that, and we were happily sipping on very strong and palpable cocktails. [Spoiler alert: I don’t, however, recall any panties dropping that evening. Unfortunately.]
Kat was the bartender from 7 pm on, and the KJ was Liz aka Monroe.She is an independent, but like most KJs is familiar with the other providers and well-known KJs in the valley. We chatted amiably with Monroe, and shared acquaintances. I, of course, told her of my karaoke quest. Monroe had a helper with her that night, a guy who went by the name of Hatchet. Monroe was nursing a sore throat, so she didn’t sing much. Both were super friendly and put on a fun show that night.
The lay of the land
The front of the establishment is inauspicious; you know you’re about to enter a divey bar. However, once inside, you notice it is large, and the décor is country, and maybe even a little kitschy – for example, there are three barber chairs sitting off to the side by themselves. You know, just because. It’s cool. The mood is friendly and comfortable, all are welcome here. I read some Yelp comments before coming here, something I rarely do. I think I was trying to remember if I’d been here before, way back in the day. I knew I hadn’t, once there. But it still seems vaguely familiar.
Anyway, Yelp. Some yelpers were out of joint, and said they felt uncomfortable. Some said the opposite. A couple comments said if you were male, you were made to feel unwelcome. I would have to refute all of that negativity. There was no hostile vibe at the Cash Inn, and nothing suggesting exclusivity. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I don’t know what it’s like when it’s crowded – we were among maybe a dozen people at first, which then grew to double that. I imagine it’s all the more friendly and fun when full. The night we were there, – although a fairly diverse mix – certainly, no one seemed out of place.
As you enter, there is a bar to the left, horseshoe-shaped with bar stools. There were a few people at the bar when we arrived. The very large dance floor takes up most of the indoors, with stools flanking and overlooking the dance floor. Most nights there is undoubtedly much two-stepping, line dancing and other forms of dance on that spacious floor. This place, after all, is famous for country music, and for the ladies.
The two restrooms are identified as one for females, and one for both (M/F). The DJ / KJ booth is in the far left corner, and a huge screen for karaoke descends and dominates one end of the dance floor. This arrangement basically turned the enormous dance floor into a kind of makeshift stage. This left room for roaming about as you sing, and of course, dancing.
There were several other high tables with stools lining the right side of the large room, and we took our seats there. Past that on the right were doors leading to a small patio. One thing I’ve noticed in places with a nice patio area, it tends to be dominated by smokers. Let’s face it, since banning smoking in bars and restaurants in Arizona, there has to be someplace for them to go. It’s nice for smokers to have a patio. Not as nice if you don’t smoke. Oh, well. What do they say? You can’t please everyone…
Revelry and Reverie
We were joined by our friend Stevie, who had recommended the place, and Suze’s niece Andrea. We all had a great time there together singing our hearts out on a Sunday evening. We did our best to fill that dance floor, with our presence, and dance moves, while we took turns singing.
One of the DJs at Cash was there that night to hang out and sing some karaoke. I especially liked her rendition of a Muse song. I went into a crazy frenzy at the sidelines, while during much of the song she was safely hidden behind the screen, oblivious to our shenanigans. Lots of head banging – or hair shaking, rather – behavior. Stevie shed her normal reserve and joined me in the enthusiasm. We got Suze up on her feet too, even though the requisite dancing had been satisfied. We just love her interpretative dance moves. This prolonged moment of reverie and abandon was one of the highlights of our many outings, in my opinion.
The other songs I sang were Hopelessly Devoted to you (Olivia Newton John), Gloria (Laura Branigan), and Mean to Me (the Linda Ronstadt version). I was most pleased with Mean to Me. I love this song, but had never heard Linda Ronstadt’s version. I didn’t know what to expect as far as the key, the tempo, etc. It was a successful experiment. Now that I know it, I love this version! It was a perfect fit for me, it turns out. I could follow the downbeat and play with it in a jazzy sort of way. It’s very freeing, to make a song your own.
Sometimes there’s karaoke success. I was stoked! Other times, well, you just file it away under, yep, I did that, and now it’s done. That’s happened for me too. I try a song I like, but it just doesn’t work for me. And so what. At least I tried it. I recommend you set your fears aside, and try to sing for the fun of it. With karaoke there’s little to no pressure. Be prepared to revel in success, or to groan and laugh it off – both are fleeting sensations. There is no excuse but to be bold.