My Night of Seriously Hilarious Karaoke

Last week when meeting some new people, I was invited to watch a Karaoke League competition.

Karaoke LEAGUE? I thought. Since when do people compete at karaoke? In a league?

I was told that it’s serious business. To the point that it almost sucks the fun out of karaoke. But that’s what also makes it so hilarious.

So, I said I was down. Not to sing. But to spectate.

Last night I headed to Midtown, and found Pulse Karaoke right next to Bryant Park. The bouncer was nice and a little flirty. The bartender quick with the drinks and queuing up the songs. Oh, did I mention it has open bar everyday from 6-7pm? Then it goes to buy one get one free for a little bit after that. I guess you gotta have good deals on liquid courage if you’re in the business of karaoke, no?

While I was rolling deep with a bunch of Koreans, I was surprised to see the rest of the club was pretty diverse. All kinds of people were there.

Before the competition began, the floor was open for everyone. Someone killed an Anita Baker song. And not in a good way. Once I got comfortable at our table, this Black man got up and sang “Ain’t Too Proud To Bed” by the Temptations. Great selection. His tone was  beautiful, and I thought I wanted to marry David Ruffin on the spot 🙂

After a few more karaoke failures happened, my girl asked me if I wanted to sing with her. She said she loves R&B and you already know I’m an R&B girl, so why not? I couldn’t be worse than these other people.

After flipping through the book thinking of some of our favorite R&B artists, we settled on “Golden” by Jill Scott. This song was perfect. It would allow me to belt out my notes, move fast to a beat, and I had a partner to carry me if I got too shy all of a sudden. Usually when I do karaoke, I choose rap songs (salt N pepa, Jay-Z, word up!)…but I could be talked into a Jill Scott track.

Nobody really cared about who was singing at this point, which was GREAT. The stage at Pulse Karaoke is really nice. Between the screens, the lighting, the decor and the mics, you almost feel like you’re famous. “David Ruffin” seemed to be enjoying my singing and told me later I did a good job. 😉

I’m pretty sure I have fallen in love with karaoke because it allows me to pretend I’m some some singing superstar, even though I know full well I am always off key, pitchy and just flat out wrong when I’m singing. But I don’t care. Karaoke beats my other stage–my shower–and there’s nobody in my shower to appreciate all this singing goodness I have in me.

He was rapping to Lil Kim's "The Jumpoff"

Once the competition got started, you could see people were really serious. People had props. Most of the men dressed up as women and sang gay anthems. One chick sang a heavy metal song which I was a bit confused about. Either way, I spent the next 90 minutes in stitches. I haven’t laughed that much, for so long, in a while.

Karaoke league is not a game. I don’t think I’m ready for the pressure, but I do think everyone needs more karaoke in their life. I’m almost tempted to have a karaoke party for my birthday or something. I can’t decide which is better though: private rooms or the public stage. There’s something spectacular about watching strangers make fools of themselves.

Central Park & The First Day of Spring

Yesterday I’d had enough of my self-imposed cabin fever and decided I would go outside. And do stuff. You see, I’m a hermit of sorts. I stay home, indoors, all the time. Sure, I come from a land of beautiful weather with beaches and lovely outside things to do, but I tend to spend most of my time inside. Watching TV, watching movies, internetting, working, reading, singing, dancing. Everything.

Let me tell you, it gets depressing.

I’ve been this way since college, and there are some healthy normal things about it, and then things just get…strange. Next thing I know I haven’t left Liz HQ in 3 days. Oops?

Hermit life gets depressing in NYC. In LA, as long as I can open my windows and blinds to let the sunshine in, I’m good as gold. But in Manhattan I have no windows in my living room, a small window in my kitchen and well, it’s easy to feel like I live in CB4.

Thus, after being in NYC for all of four days, ya girl is going crazy! I don’t know what it is, but yesterday I decided to get myself out of a would-be funk and go OUT. Anywhere. I needed excuses to go do something.

As I was on my way out the door I called Mr. C, to see if he wanted to do anything. Mr. C and I will talk for hours, about everything and nothing. It doesn’t  really matter where we are, we will have each other in stitches (most of my friends are like this btw, which is why I love them). Sure enough, he was available to hang and I was anxious to see him after all these months of being gone from the City.

We ended up in Lincoln Center, browsing for a new set of earphones at the newest Apple Store in Manhattan (I copped some BOSE earphones that I’ll probably return due to lack of noise cancellation). A few farmer’s market drinks later, and we were in Central Park, park benching it up.

We spent a few hours catching up, reminiscing, predicting the future, talking about people walking by (New Yorkers and their tourists are great fodder).

The park was nice, except the trees were all dead-looking with no leaves in sight. And I was overdressed for the warm weather. Mr. C called me out for my complaining ways, reminding me that if the leaves were out, then I’d probably be complaining about my allergies. He’s right. I need to work on being happy with the moment, in the moment. It was good to be out, and good to see friends who remind you to enjoy what you have when you have it.

A NY vs. LA State of Mind

I’ve been quiet on the blogging front because so much is going on, yet nothing is going on. All at the same time.

I’ve been in LA since mid-November, and have no plans to return to NYC until January. I know. Who does that? All that precious rent money in Manhattan going to keeping my messy bedroom warm. I told ya’ll I hate cold weather. The good thing is my friends seem to be using my apartment while I’m out. Living in Manhattan means most people want to come stay with you (or at your place in your absence) due to your location to the City. I’m always opening my home to my friends when I can (as does my roommate). Somebody might as well enjoy the fruits of my labor if I can’t.

Can I tell you how happy I am to be in LA? I see the sun everyday at home! The Target stores are all neat and fully stocked! There’s no long ridiculous line at Whole Foods! I can drive anywhere I need to at a moment’s notice! I have a car to fill up with all my shopping bounty! I’m wearing flipflops in December! I don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe just to get through 4 months of life! I’m pondering why it is I moved from this place. I miss it. Sigh.

You know what I noticed? Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” is somewhat meaningless when  you’re not in NY. When it comes on the radio in LA, I am not excited. I am not pumped. I am not loving NY. I am loving my flipflops in December! But in NY, this song is the best walking-through-the-city soundtrack. It’s the best song to sing to in the club. I feel like I’ve bought into the hype I always knew existed: New York is the greatest to only those who live there. I suppose New Yorkers have to stay positive when the sun hides behind skyscrapers, and the  City doesn’t have the convenience of fully-stocked, neat Target stores nearby. 

As another year closes, I am yet again reevaluating the meaning of life, and what it is I’m doing with myself (my year-end emo state of mind). I do this throughout the year, but the end of the year and the holidays forces me to really inspect everything. I’m sure I will come up with something interesting to do in 2010!

Back to the Chi

Chicago Skyline

It’s been a rough couple of months.

I’m not sure where the time went, but I have allowed myself to enter a time warp working on a few projects, and in between I find time to do some traveling. Some might think I travel or vacation too much, but I truly do earn these vacations. Work hard, play hard–one of the great things I learned in undergrad (though there was little “playing” being done on my part while at MIT).

Anyway, I interrupt this time warp to say I am both excited and afraid to visit Chicago this week. Excited because I get to see my chapter sorors and celebrate birthdays and see my summer friends in Chicago. Best of all–I get to peel my behind off of my couch. (I still need to work on procuring some office furniture!). Of course, this means I will be planted on my line sister’s couch this week, but any couch is better than mine. 

I am afraid of Chicago because of the cold.  As it is, your girl is having a hard time coping with the weather in Manhattan. I can’t figure out if it’s hot or cold on any given day, what degree of coldness it is and what to wear to accommodate the level of frío. I am always over or under-dressed for the temperature. I am not used to wearing layers and carrying around clothing too hot to wear because I might need to put it back on later in the day. It’s ridiculous, all this thinking that goes into wardrobe! In LA, I choose my wardrobe by looking at the sky: if it’s clear skies, then it’s warm outside; if cloudy, then it’s cold outside. See how simple that is?  I am thinking about boycotting the East Coast for the month of November.

Looking up flights to LA as we speak. I’ll take the L on rent if I have to! 

Pray that Chicago takes it easy on me this week.