I've been suffering from both insomnia and nostalgia.
The nostalgia results from my recent reminiscence of our old karaoke days in Chelsea Piers. I know how corny karaoke sounds, but it was so much fun! It's the best way to live out one's inner rock star. Of course, the reason most karaoke venues are bars is because most people need a bit of alcohol to exorcise their own personal Diana Ross, Freddie Mercury, or perhaps Frank Sinatra.
In the Chelsea Piers days, the karaoke room above the bowling alley was the best, and safest, place to go. It wasn't strictly a bar, as many of my friends were underage and had full access to the "stage", the little space in front of the dj's equipment. I rarely drank myself, unless you count the hot tea I predictably consumed to help out my voice (the cigarette smoke tended to be stifling, this is before recent smoking laws were enacted).
My first impression of the place was that the dj (Spencer) was a bit of a ham himself. He would walk around with the "good microphone", as opposed to the mediocre ones attached to the screen, and would sing "Always and Forever", "Maria Maria", or whatever, directing lyrics to the females in the audience. By time he was finished crooning, we'd all be in the mood to have a turn. We had slips to fill in our song choices (I'd usually fill out four of them - yes Marie I am the Karaoke Hog) with our names. I of course used Gata, mainly because I liked how it sounded being announced by Spencer ("give it up for La Gotta!").
It was fun when there was a good crowd to cheer you on, but not so large as to make it feel rowdy. One woman was so excited about being up there that at the end of a Mary J. Blige song she put in her own lyrics: "I'm singin', I'm singin', I'm singin" in Chelsea Piers!" What a great way to unwind on a Friday evening.
On recollection, I only made it there a handful of times. Marie was there the most, and maybe Erica. I brought my camcorder twice, and got some awesome blackmail footage (of myself, too...how did I think I could sing a Wham song?) But those were some of the best Fridays or Saturdays in recent years. Even preparing for it was fun, dressing up a little, planning which songs we'd like to try. This is what made it so sad the day we came all ready to go and found a pool table in place of Spencer. I still don't understand why Chelsea Piers stopped having karaoke: was it not cost-effective? Was the sight of two white boys singing "Baby Got Back" too traumatic for Spencer? Not that I'd blame him.
This was five years ago, and much has changed since then. But, cheesy as it sounds, I put a good Karaoke night up there with a great book, a fragrant Darjeeling, or a purring kitten.
Speaking of which, now that she's in heat, little Zenobia has kept me up the past few nights with her constant wailing and moaning. I think she's having her own karaoke nights. Make it stop!