I have an intense fear of karaoke bars. I always have. Well, at least since my high school days, when my mother and my older brother Mikey helped bring the “art form” to the unwashed.
I am not kidding. After finishing theater rehearsals, Mikey and his “girlfriends” – apparently not having gotten their fill of the karaoke machine at school – would come over to the house and abuse our karaoke machine (yes, we had one at home) until early in the morning.
A body can only take so many Men at Work, Grease, and Aladdin numbers before a certain, mild form of trauma sets in.
Mom wasn’t any help either. When she wasn’t hosting karaoke nights at the Westside dive The Attic Lounge, she’d have parties at our house and do a set (or 12) of Tina Turner and/or Dolly Parton songs – in full costume, BTW.
Needless to say, I spent a lot of time in my bedroom, watching “Skinamax” or “reading” Playboy or plotting my escape until the house cleared out.
So last weekend when I had to go to two (count ’em, two) karaoke bars in town, I was a little – how you say? – scared out of my freakin’ mind! (So how, you may ask, did someone with an abnormal fear of karaoke bars get finagled into going to two of them? In one night?! Well, let’s just say that yours truly was a victim of psychological blackmail. And that’s all I’m sayin’.)
I swear that my drinking buddy had to pry me out of the car and literally drag me into the first club. But once I got there, did several (dozen) shots, and just took in the scene, I realized that what was once a source of deep shame could actually, believe it or not, be something to be proud of.
First stop, Vino’s, a mom-‘n’-pop Italian restaurant in Hurst that sits in a strip mall next to a laundromat. (Which isn’t a knock. Just a fact of life. Every retail joint in Hurst seems to sit in a strip mall next to a laundromat.)
Anyway, compared to the kidders at Vino’s, Mom and Mikey looked like Babs and Sinatra.
As for the second stop, Asian Nights, I still haven’t picked my jaw up from the floor. Not because I have a thing for Laotians, but because I could not believe the “We Are the World”-ish diversity there. And they were singing songs from their native country in their native tongues! How cool is that?!
I’m not saying that, back in the day, if my brother had sung in a foreign language I would have spent fewer nights with my head wrapped in pillows. I’m just saying that I’ve got a newfound appreciation for what he, Mom, and the Laotians at Asian Nights do.
I’m not ready to give up the “Skinamax” yet. Or the Playboy subscription. I’m just sayin’ …
2904 N Beach St, FW.
750 E. Pipeline Rd, Hurst.