Here by the beach, with a slender moon catching all the action, things are gettin’ lively at the karaoke bar. As I walk in, four young women have just told the Master of Ceremonies that one of them turned 21 that very day.
From the stage he shouts to the rest of us, “Born as recently as the 90s, and they’re drinkin’ here tonight, people!” “I have socks older than they are,” a mustachioed man remarks, but the emcee does not hear him because, like a preacher with a killer sermon, he is busy building momentum.
“Do you even know what a radio is, honey?” “Sure,” responds the birthday girl. “Didn’t I just ask to sing a Paul Anka song?”
“Later, Darlin’,” says the emcee, for he knows he has to craft the evening carefully, let the amateurs take a few cracks at the mike, then bring up enough ringers to get things really jumping.
The first young guy up sings something so wildly off key that only the two great-grandmothers at the corner table manage to smile their encouragement. Everyone else talks right over him, some wincing as they talk.
Then two ladies join forces for “We Are Fam-i-lee” (as in “I’ve Got All My Sisters With Me”) and the crowd stamps and whistles.
Next the emcee shouts “Now ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the best attorney on earth AND the moon, FRANK!” And Frank takes the stage to deliver a tender ballad called “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.”
“Yes!” cries a young woman with a drink in her hand. Then, as if to illustrate its theme, she rises and begins gyrating slowly while languidly waving one hand in the air like a sleepwalker hailing a taxi.
In response, a young man moves toward this young lady whose clothes have in fact begun doing a bit of Venus-on-the-Half-Shell thing. He smiles to show harmless intent, then yells at the top of his lungs into her ear, which is what people have to do in order to be heard in settings like this.
She leans very far forward, whether in real or feigned deafness, prompting the three other guys who had come in with this brave swain to snap their eyes over to the slow loping rhythms of the ballgame on the wide-screen. No guy wants to be seen eyeing the girl another guy has begun the Great Dance with.
Now a young guy steps to the stage and does a hip-hop song about love and body parts.
Now a stocky girl takes the mike for a growly version of Nancy Sinatra’s “Boots.”
And now a smallish young man tackles Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” the one song I have just recently been told is guaranteed to bring any wedding dance-floor to soaring life.
Finally, a man in his 70s comes forward and croons a pitch-perfect version of Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World” – at which point even that elegant Fred Astaire of a crescent moon seems to bow in homage, just ever so slightly, in this moist August sky.
(oh yeah and in this video? That’s me on the left 😉 :