Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Karaoke Chronicles: The Seventh Night of Russmas

The Seventh Night of Russmas really isn't much to blog about. My girlfriend and I went to the local Sunset Lounge, where we met a co-worker of mine, I sang a song, then we bounced. Still, the venue deserves some review, also considering its role as our plan-C on last week's never-ending Friday night.

When I began going to the Sunset Lounge a few years ago, the joint was Fullerton's smokiest dive bar, despite laws to the contrary. While the song selection is great and the karaoke rotation is fluid, many friends of mine refused to go back because of the joint's hazy atmosphere. Interestingly, just a few weeks ago, I overheard the bartender explaining to a fellow customer that the police had begun to crack down on the illegal puffery, fining patrons, the bartender, and the owner $300 each. That means every smoker in the place made the city an easy grand, give or take. So, the Sunset is now smoke free -- and as anybody that has watched the Los Angeles sun set knows, without a little smog, it's not nearly as colorful. Still, the karaoke remains, and the Sunset Lounge is a haven for rockabilly twenty-somethings looking to croon Creed or whatever other guilty pleasure they've decided to inflict upon others.

I sang U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name," a song I'd heard on the radio early that day, and the lyrics of which actually suited the windy, rainy weather outside. "The city's a flood/And our love turns to rust/We're beaten and blown by the wind/Trampled into dust/I'll show you a place/High on ta desert plain/Where the streets have no name." Awesome imagery there. Now, I'm putting myself on a pyre when I confess that I'm not a big U2 fan, though their radio hits are catchy and more poignant than most airwave fodder. In the context of Russmas, I sang the song to remember my high school speech coach and mentor Mr. Martin, who immersed me in Batman canon even more than I already was at the time. More importantly, he instilled in me a self-confidence that manifested through impromptu speech, and through his coaching I won second, first, and third place in the category at the 4A Arizona State Championship three years respectively. Those skills drive me to this day. Mr. Martin was a huge U2 fan and included a few of their songs on the proverbial personal soundtrack he bequeathed me when he moved to Colorado. I don't remember if "Streets" was one of those songs, but considering the tumultuous climate that night, the choice was serendipitous.

"Where the Streets Have No Name" also betrays a sense of idealism indicative of the Sunset Lounge's recent plight, not to mention my twelve day quest to achieve karaoke nirvana. (Not sing Nirvana, but achieve -- oh, never mind.) While the city cracks down on smoking, smokers are forced to find another place to crowd and cloud, and though antagonists, both these folks and the vigilant police are on a the same quest -- to find that perfect place to hang. We all want that perfect sunset at the end of the day, but when the streets have no name, it's pretty hard to find.


johnny_justice said...

Just past the midpoint of his journey, it seems our hero now realizes the magnitude of the task at hand. Will he be able to sing his way through all 12 nights? Will all his companions abandon him near the bitter end?

Well I will be at the Sherwood Inn with gift in hand, a fine bottle of liquid courage, to help you find your way. I hope you like Stout beer!

But if you stick around long enough to sing only one song, I will be taking my gift back so I can drown my sorrows.

I'm trying to drag Mary along as well, so maybe you can cook up a Meatloaf duet: "I would do anything for love".

egieling said...

Just when things start to look gloomy for our hero (Following Johnnys lead) His trusty sidekicks come in to help him with the ideas of new songs! While I cannot be there to belt out a few of my classics that I sing to help eleviate to the fight for our hero... I can offer up some emotional and rejuvinating songs for him.

1st - With or without you! You know why

2nd - Sweet Caroline

3rd - Call and Answer

4th - Have you done your Michael Jackson yet?

5th - The always popular Friends in Low Places.

6th - A little Journey!

7th - A rare find but a good one when it is sung (is that a word) Dennis Miller's Asshole

8th - What about another classic Billy Joel Still Rock an Roll to me or We didn't start the fire

9th - The Monkees... anything is good

10th - This one is a personal favorite although not sure it has ever been sung. Greatest American Here

11th - If none of that works... grab a wig and sign a little Celine Dion Vegas style baby!

12th - If signing solo is getting boring I am sure you of all people could entice a nice young lady to join up on stage and sing some summer lov'en!

With that said... even though I will not be in attendance... my full quiver of ideas is yours to use to help conquer the night with songs of cheers!