I hate karaoke. Really. The very thought of drunken businessmen from out of town completely humiliating themselves, is enough to give me the chills. Even worse are those electronic devices used for creating the total karaoke experience in the home. This is obviously a deterrent to any family member learning to play a live musical instrument, thus rendering it another nail in the coffin of Western civilization, and all that we hold dear.
With full knowledge of this, Sal loves karaoke, as do most Filipinos, or so I'm told, for reasons that mystify me.
My son also loves karaoke, which mystifies me even more. He also has a great singing voice. It might be even better than mine. I'm not sure, because I've only heard it once. That was in the summer of 2003 and we went to Seattle. He got a permit for a street musician at the Pike Street Market. Every morning he'd take the bus downtown, alone (he was going on eighteen) with his trusty blues harmonica in hand, and attempt to work off the cost of the permit.
But tonight, I'll hear it a second time, during the 2nd Annual H Street Karaoke Competition Final at the Rock and Roll Hotel in northeast Washington, DC. Sal is coming along, as I expect to be somewhat out of my element, and her presence tends to ... uh, let's just say, compensate. We'll order dinner, and watch with hundreds of screaming fans, as Paul and his cohort Robert Johnson (not to be confused with the great blues guitarist who, according to legend, sold his soul to the devil for the mastering of his craft) compete for the grand prize of $500.00!
I'll just keep telling myself that he's in it for the money.
[PHOTOS: (1) Source and date unknown. (2) Paul with Roy Carrier, Catonsville, Maryland, March, 2003; Copyright 2003 Alex Poliakoff, used without permission or shame.]