The musings, politics, frustrations and triumphs of an extrovertedly introverted musician from Philadelphia, PA.
Next shows: Blue Scheme: Wed., November 12 (blue scheme on last), Grape Street Pub [Manayunk], w/Lazlo and Secret Society, 105 Grape St., Philadelphia, $5, 21+, Doors at 9:00 pm
Wed., November 19 (blue scheme on first) Malokai's/Club 218 South [Center City], w/TBA 218 South St., Philadelphia $6, 21+, Doors at 9:00 pm
Fri., November 21 (blue scheme on second) Tokio Ballroom [Center City], w/Wellstar and Heather G 122 Lombard St., Philadelphia $5, 21+. Doors at 8:00 pm Yellow Brain: Saturday, December 27, Fergie's Pub, 1214 Sansom, Philadelphia, 9:30pm
So last night after my voice over class, Pete (from Fergie's) and I went out for a drink or six at Jon's at 3rd and South. We'd been there on previous Wednesdays, hanging out with a bartender whose name we thought was Monica, but actually turned out to be Colleen. Oops.
Every Wednesday they have karaoke downstairs starting around 10. Pete always said we should give it a shot, and last night we both decided to go for it. I'd never done karaoke before and had never put much thought into it. I'd always considered it something that was more fun in large groups collectively slurring their sentences. But from what I hear, a lot of places have dedicated folks who come out to listen and to sing. And many of them are very good. Two of the waitresses sang last night, and in my humble opinion, they were both among the top five performances last night.
Pete has a naturally good voice and he did a nice rendition of Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years." I decided to give Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely?" a go. I figured it's a pleasant, swaying song that everyone knows, and the verse and chorus are essentially one and the same. That way, there are no crazy bridge sections that I might forget. Easy enough, right? If only it were. You see, I am notoriously bad with lyrics. Even my own. So it stands to reason that karaoke should be something I'd excel at since the words are right there in front of me. And that's precisely the problem. With karaoke, I found that I was so focused on the words—some of which I didn't even know Stevie was saying—that I could barely think about my performance. And when you put four alcoholic beverages inside of me (forget The Weakest Link—is that even still on the air?—I'd take top honors on The Cheapest Date: "Anam, you are the cheapest date. Hello!"), my performance decreases dramatically.
Hmmm. I guess if you put enough drinks in any guy, their performance decreases dramatically.
I couldn't hear myself too well and I thought I was too low, so I decided to go up an octave. What a mistake that was. Halfway through the song, I realized that I started in the right octave and now I was too high, and I had to go higher. Now if I was as dry as your proverbial garden-variety bone, I would have reminded myself that I didn't warm up, that I wasn't mentally prepared to sing much higher than I was already, that there's no shame in an average (by my own standards) performance.
Presenting the following table for easy reference:
Number of drinks..........Advice, or "advice," courtesy of Anam's inner voice
Zero—"Don't do it."
One—"That little dose of empowerment you feel is just the beer talking. Ease up, youngun."
Two—"I know you want to do this, and it would be great if you could pull it off, but let's look at the facts here. If you truly and honestly feel ready—and deep down in your heart, you know this—then I'd say give it a shot. But really you don't have to. I've said my piece, I just don't think it's advisable."
Three—"You're so close to making a fool of yourself, which is okay, it's really okay, that's the only way you get better, by getting burned. And you can do this, really you can, but...yeah you can, no, no, yeah, ah, I'm no help to ya buddy. But I'm there, in your head, cheerin' you on! Woo!"
Four—"Anam, my friend, my buddy, my, my, my me [at this point, my inner voice puts his arm on my shoulder and tears begin to well in his eyes], if you do this, truly this will be one of the greatest days that the world has ever known. There will be parades and world peace and people will say remember when the world looked bleak and then this great day of Karaoke happened and what a wonderful era we are in now and they made you mayor and gave you a sash to wear that said "Mayor" and put a top hat upon your head that didn't even have the lid punched out of it like they did in Mary Poppins. Israel and Palestine will live in harmony because of the general good feeling in the form of cosmic smile waves emanating from Philadelphia. Wars as we know them will end because all disputes will be settled through breakdancing and then the winner buys drinks for the loser. You will be instrumental in getting cats elected to the Senate, and elderly horses will once again be allowed to roam our fair streets without fear of retribution or intimidation by those tiresome "Soylent Glue is horse!" jokes. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., all taxis will be required to play a recording of "The Theme Song from Taxi" at the rider's request. When the sun comes up in the morning, it will add two scoops of raisins to your cereal, no questions asked, unless your name is Super Mario, in which case it will angrily chase you through the desert until you knock it out with a Koopa shell. By executive order, the moon will wear shades, play saxophone as it looms over desperate skylines, and bear a striking resemblance to Jay Leno. All because of this day. Right here. Right now. The choice is yours and I'm making the choice for you. Get to it!"
Sheesh. It's more like inner noise.
Toward the end of the night, a guy in a tight, black cowboy outfit (topped off with the de rigueur black hat) started rapping. There weren't even any words on the screen. I had no idea what song it was or what the hell he was talking about. He tried to get the crowd excited with the occasional, "Now everybody say hoooooooo!" This worked the first time on sheer novelty value alone. After the fifth time, one of the karaoke operators whispered something to him. Without missing a beat, the cowboy responded, "Now I gotta goooooooo!"
Easily worth the price of admission—which, incidentally, was free.
Perhaps next time I'm there, I'll cover something by Kurtis Blow. Now that will get the party started.
:: Anam 1:34 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 10, 2003 ::
Let's play 202528how many #$%$ 36 questions. Hey wait, what happened to question #4? Sheesh. 35 questions.
This kind of thing seems to come around once a year, but I always enjoy filling it out. This time, my friend Julie sent it to me. It provides a nice diversion to the assorted nonsense that occurs daily. Taking a cue from ericalynn, I figured I'd post it for your reading enjoyment, if you can call it that.
1. WHAT IS YOUR FULL NAME?
2. WHAT COLOUR PANTS ARE YOU WEARING?
Gray, the international color of fun.
3. WHAT ARE YOU
LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Metasounds. The hum of the computer. And in spite of these thick glass windows in my building, I can hear Philadelphia--sonic bouillabaisse.
5. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU
Honey Bunches of Oats. Nothing else has that taste. Nothing else has that crunch. That's why they call it the best of the bunch.
6. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOUR WOULD YOU BE?
Half the time, forest green at twilight. The other half, ocean blue.
HOW IS THE WEATHER RIGHT NOW?
It's actually sunny.
8. LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON
Julie, in depth. Noah, in brief.
9. FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT THE OPPOSITE SEX?
How they treat others around them. If alone, I examine their body language.
10. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT YOU THIS?
Sure I do.
11. HOW ARE YOU TODAY?
It's a day. Could be better, could be worse.
12. FAVOURITE DRINK?
Probably orange juice, though I drink more Puerh tea than anything.
FAVOURITE ALCOHOLIC DRINK?
Yards ESA, the hometown favorite, would also be a favorite anywhere I am. That Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre is a good regional beer (Delaware) with punch. Vietnam Restaurant's Suffering Bastard is a tasty mixed drink in a pleasingly garish vessel.
14. FAVOURITE SPORTS?
To watch: baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer and tennis.
To play: softball, ultimate frisbee, cycling and hiking.
15. HAIR COLOUR?
16. EYE COLOUR?
17. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS:
SIBLINGS AND THEIR AGES:
4 half-sisters, 20, 16, 14 and 14.
1 half-brother, 18.
1 stepbrother, 13.
19. FAVOURITE MONTH?
November. Not too hot, not too cold. The autumn rain don't bother me.
20. FAVOURITE FOOD?
Vietnamese--it's so good, it makes me want to tie myself to a fuse, jump back and kiss myself.
21. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Laurel Canyon. Gotta love Frances.
22. FAVOURITE DAY OF THE YEAR?
Thanksgiving, I suppose. Otherwise, Christmas when it snows.
23. ARE YOU TOO SHY TO ASK SOMEONE OUT?
No, not really. But it's often hard for me to approach someone I don't know if I find them attractive.
24. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS BETTER?
Both types of movies tend to be ridiculous, but at least the happy ending movies don't tend to suck as much or as often.
25. SUMMER OR WINTER?
26. HUGS OR KISSES?
I'll generally offer hugs and accept kisses.
RELATIONSHIPS OR ONE NIGHT STANDS?
Both have their place. A relationship with the right person should be more fulfilling in the long run. All the same, you won't find me running away from any one night stands right now.
28. CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA?
29. DO YOU WANT YOUR FRIENDS TO WRITE BACK?
If they want to. Knowing some of my smart-ass friends, I'll probably get a bunch of replies that say "Back!"
30. WHO IS MOST LIKELY
Caspar Weinberger. We tight!
31. WHO IS LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
Don Knotts. He still hasn't forgiven me for ditching him in Branson, Missouri. Andy Griffith. Andy Williams. What's the difference?
32. WHAT BOOKS
ARE YOU READING NOW?
The Genocides; Written on the Body; figured I should finally start Isegawa's Abyssinian Chronicles, given it's about Uganda and all.
WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
Well, a mouse. At home, the pad is solid green. At work, there's a picture of a drill. It makes sense if you see it. Well, sort of.
34. FAVOURITE BOARD GAME?
Not Huggermugger, that's for sure. I'm a big Pictionary fan.
35. WHAT DID YOU DO LAST NIGHT?
Talked with Julie for a bit, then went to open mic night at Fergie's Pub. Did a couple of songs by myself, a couple with Noah, then jumped on keys for a jazz jam session.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE
UP IN THE MORNING?
Here we go again.
So I just turned on the NBA Finals. It's halftime and none other than Jewel is the halftime entertainment. The crowd doesn't seem to be particularly into her, but it's hard to tell and I could be wrong. A lot of people get on Jewel's case—harping on Jewel's endless referencing to living out of her van while she was trying to "make it" (honestly, I don't know if she ever referenced the whole van thing ad nauseam)—but I've always genuinely liked her.
I think the demon of heavy rotation earned her a number of enemies early on, particularly with regard to "Who Will Save Your Soul?" and "You Were Meant for Me." I remember some Saturday Night Live skit some time ago that poked a bit of fun at that.
Jewel did two songs tonight, "Intuition," of her new (and strikingly different, from what I understand) album, "0304," and "Standing Still," from her album, "This Way." I'd heard Intuition for the first time a few days ago, and I was shocked to find out that it wasn't somebody like Shakira, as it's pretty much dance pop. I can't say that I particularly like it upon first listen, but compared to the other dance-pop divas, it seems more substantive.
I've heard that this is just a direction that she wishes to explore, and I hope that's truly the case. I'd hate to think that this is some decision from on high to make her more "marketable." That's certainly possible. But I do hope that her heart is in it. I've only heard Intuition thus far, and even though it's poppish, you can still hear her within it, and I don't just mean because she's singing. So that's a good thing at least.
All the same, I don't plan on buying her album—at least until I get a chance to hear more of it and decide whether I like it or not. And considering how often I buy CDs, chances are I won't be buying it anytime soon. I'm not downloading millions of mp3s or anything like that, I just find myself listening to the CDs I've got already, checking out new bands online, or listening to 'XPN or 'RTI (there is a version of Nature Boy on right now that is absolutely kickin', just incredible—...the DJ just said this is René Marie, recorded live at the Jazz Standard—I'll be sure to put this on the to-get list). I'm not against dance music—it just has to be good, just like anything I listen to. I think the last album I bought was a dance remix album of Bebel Gilberto's Tanto Tempo—the original album is still better, but the dance album is very enjoyable.
Now I can't stop thinking about Bebel. Which is fine with me. She melts me into a pool of bliss.
:: Anam 12:37 AM [+] ::