My handy-dandy old fashion book dictionary defines “ritual” as: prescribed order of performing rites; procedure regularly followed. I think the word “ritual” is a good description of what I saw at Nico’s in Bloomfield (Little Italy) here in Pittsburgh last night.
Nico’s has karaoke every Saturday night. The small barroom was packed and the large dinning room where karaoke is held was standing room only. Management keeps the lights low so the place feels more like a cool club than what the place actually is: a small bar with a small kitchen and a large eating room.
The place was packed with young people: college students, hipsters, young marrieds, workers enjoying the weekend off with a nice sprinkling of older customers. Everyone gets along.
The ritual begins with the karaoke DJ setting up his equipment. Then he sings the first song to make sure the system is working properly; and then he calls for singers. My favorite DJ was there last night. He’s use to my Jim Morrison inspired karaoke persona: I weave about to the music like a man who has had too much to drink as I sing, occasionally throwing the cordless mike in the air and catching it. Often times I know all the words to a song so I don’t have to look at the monitor, but can keep constant eye contact with the audience. And with me being clean-shaven with a shaved head and a black bandana and all black clothes, I think I give the crowd their money’s worth. (I haven’t dropped the mike yet.)
And you thought the Old Soldier just wrote gangbang short stories.
Still, the ritual of karaoke fascinates me. Why do I do it? Why do all those people do it week after week? Most of them can’t sing. I’m sure they know that. But I’m beginning to think that the ritual of karaoke really has nothing to do with singing. I’m guessing that the ritual is about the “idea” of singing in front of a live audience. It’s the “idea” that makes karaoke lots of fun and a ritual at Nico’s every Saturday night.
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