Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Karaoke Chronicles: The Second Night of Russmas

Friday, December 12, 2008. When the second night of Russmas began, it seemed cursed . . . no, burdened, like Jacob Marley in Dickens' A Christmas Carol, virtually chained by other events and variables throughout the evening. First of all, I had to attend a dual nighttime event at work, one-part fundraising sock hop, one-part staff Christmas party, and between folding up tables and chairs and finally getting to our obligatory white elephant gift exchange, I didn't hit the road for El Torito until after 10 p.m., a full after after I'd hoped.

Secondly, on the heels of the makeshift Christmas party, several co-workers planned to attend Russmas, as well, but the location created a bit of controversy. "Is El Torito even open this late?" "Are you sure they do karaoke there?" "Will there be enough room for us to sit?" Yes, yes, and yes, I assured everyone; the venue was recommended by one of my staff and we scoped it out weeks ago. The bar remains open when the restaurant closes, the K.J. is a large, lovely woman with a strong set of pipes, and, for Russmas' sake, a friend was saving enough seats for everyone. Despite the delay, the Ghost of Russmas Future seemed to boast a positive portent . . .

Until my girlfriend got lost coming from another pre-scheduled Christmas party! Fortunately, she arrived just a few minutes after we did. Then, another singer performed Wham's "Careless Whisper," one of the tunes I planned to croon! Feeling completely foiled, I decided to go for broke and submit my two most favorite karaoke songs: Billy Joel's "Piano Man" and Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name." When I sang "Piano Man" at that El Torito those weeks ago, the K.J. surprisingly played harmonica behind me, so I asked if she'd blow harp again, "for my birthday, of course." By the end of the song's five minutes, thirty-eight seconds, the cantina's crowd had been swinging their beers in jubilation, and the night found its silver lining. Oh, little did I suspect . . .

My time on stage (sans stage) had just begun. Before I could retreat to my seat, the K.J. asked me to sit at the bar so she could give me a birthday surprise -- her rendition of "Nasty Naughty Boy" by Christina Aguilera. Remember, this K.J. can sing (unlike other K.J.s that insist on hogging the mic), but she's also a larger gal, so lines like "I wanna give you a little taste of the sugar below my waist" had an ironic flair to them. My girlfriend was in charge of picture-taking, so needless to say I don't have any photographic evidence of this sultry serenade, but considering the looks on my co-workers' faces, I think the best memories were on my side of the table, anyway.

Since I'd announced my upcoming birthday, I got free flan. Delicious. Also, my rendition of "You Give Love a Bad Name" got some hands clapping, which is always satisfying. Unfortunately, our hands were silenced prematurely, as the bar closed just before midnight. My girlfriend and I probably would've been happy enough with the two songs' and free flan's worth of karaoke, but my co-workers wanted to keep the party going. To quote the one we called Governor, "I feel unfulfilled." We chased last call back to Linbrook Bowl, where the Kopa Room was all kinds of packed -- the complete yin to Thursday night's yang. I finally suggested the Sunset Lounge, scheduled for the seventh night of Russmas, but close enough to the Kopa to squeeze in one more tune. Yes, I felt uncomfortable jumping the gun on this location, but I'm certain that I won't have as many Russmas participants in future nights, so the majority ruled. To that end, I revisited the Killers' "All These Things That I've Done," a song I could never sing at our fave karaoke venue Durty Nelly's because of another regular's claim, so I'm milking these different venues for all they're worth.

Did I mention the free flan?

So the second night of Russmas was as up and down as the two turtle doves of the second day of Christmas, with a happy ending complete with the proverbial sunset. If only the third night of Russmas went down sans hiccups . . . To be continued!

1 comment:

Kat said...

MANNNNNN! I wish i were there! But at least I can live vicariously through your blog haha. Sock Hop AND Staff xmas party all in one night??? Ouch! Did anyone get "accidentally" drunk this year?? I say all this like I don't envy you but I do. Even with it's quirks the Staff xmas party was still really entertaining. Anyways, hope all is well and Russmas continues to be awesome!