Karaoke! The word looks—to this english speaker—exactly like the scene that inevitably plays out every time I engage in the activity. It’s chaotic, noisy and, above all, fun.

You should know something about me; I don’t like people. You may already know that, which is perhaps why when you read that I regularly attend karaoke events, you scratched your head a bit. But no, the karaoke I’m talking about is private karaoke. In a studio. I’m not making this up.

Only my friend Hugh could come up with this as a suitable birthday celebration activity, and believe me, I was fairly pissed off the first year he instituted the birthday karaoke event, but I really like the way he does it. He found a place called Toto Music Studio nestled in the heart of Koreatown in Manhattan, New York City that rents rooms to people who just need to sing. So you see, the idea here is not about embarrassing yourself in front of a few friends and lots of strangers, it’s all about out-embarrassing yourself in front of a bunch of your closest friends.

And so, following the surprising death of my friend Bil, his friends from college talked of meeting up over the holidays to engage in this karaoke thing, Toto Style. When you get a bunch of former theatre majors in a room with beer, bourbon, wine, microphones, disco balls, blacklites, and a karaoke machine, you have, well, you have a cocktial for fun.

And what fun we had.

Now, I have a few standards that I have honed a bit, so I cannot accept the accolades my friends have been showering upon me for my rendition of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” (though I do think my “Brandy” is better than Looking Glass’ original). No, I must give the Golden Mike award to Dawn and Joe for their “Gypsies Tramps and Thieves” rendition.

May next year bring more people to the party, and Bill Thomas with his frighteningly accurate “Mercedes Boy” rendition. Pictures are sure to follow, as Jeff was there with his ever-present camera, and when he wasn’t totally nailing “Blue Moon” right down to the last ba-ba-ba-ba and dang-de-de-dum, he was vigorously snapping away. I’m quite certain I noticed the flash going off while I was engrossed in “mommy’s alright, daddy’s alright, they just seem a little bit weird, surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away, aaaayahhhaayyy, aaaaaaaaAAAAAAA, AWAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!”

The pictures, as good as I am certain they will be, will not tell the whole story. Sadly, you could have been there and you still would not get the whole vibe. As Tim said, “nobody gets us but us”. I’m sure the same could be said among any circle of friends. That’s why you all need to find a karaoke studio and have at it.

Jeff, will ya post the photos for chrissakes?