6A - Friday, September 6, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Losing my honor
at the karaoke bar
This isn't the
time to sing
By JOHN BOHN
Daily Community Culture Editor
Karaoke is a strange art, no
doubt. I say no doubt because,
well, I doubt anyone would care
to argue me on the point. Who's
talking about the art of karaoke?
No one. And that's the sweetest
Welcome to a performance
space with nothing to lose. Sing
the damn song you've been sing-
ing in the car and the shower.
Everyone is drunk, and they'll
forget your performance the
next day. Nothing will remain.
It's you, Dionysus and the void.
That's not entirely true.
Maybe to me, that's the true
pride and glory of karaoke. For
others, it's yet another proving
ground. Seriously, get the hell
out of here.
All right, I'll try and jot down
what I feel might possibly be a
rubric of the art of karaoke: 90
percent performance, five per-
cent singing, five percent the
people love it.
First of all, when people are
going to karaoke, they want a
laugh. If you make them cry, it's
over. You just made 100 drunk
people in a bar cry. Was "Jesus
Take the Wheel" really worth it?
The people must love it, and the
people love a good, light song and
a stellar stage presence. If you're
looking to show you're the next
great thing, I mean why? Now,
we love our aspiring Marvin
Gaye. You know the old guy I'm
talking about. That dude rules,
and he deserves more attention.
But for the most part, the people
demand a good song and some
presence. By presence, I mean
some ironically distanced silly-
time. Skill is a bunch of hokey-
pokey blah. Seriously. No one
I might be giving some bad
advice though. It's this kind of
thinking that may have led to
the day I lost all my cred. And
that's the story I'd like to tell.
Karaoke had been a long-
standing tradition among my
group of friends. From the
get-go of college, it was kara-
oke. I couldn't go to the bar at
first with the older dudes, but I
grinded my teeth at house par-
ties and Friends Karaoke on
the weekends. For a while, I
didn't have a go-to song. You
<em>need</em> a go-to song.
Then it hit me: "Centerfold" by
the J. Geils Band. My parents
loved that song. Rule of thumb:
Ifyour parents love it, the people
love it. The '70s and '80s are ripe
with the-people-love-it quality
music. The '90s too, but it seems
like (my) parents really don't
know what happened after Bob
Seger's peak in celebrity. Any-
way, I had found my identity. I
would be "Centerfold" guy.
What's messed up, though, is
that the song is pretty raunchy.
I didn't realize until after I had
sung through it a few times.
Here's the general plot: A guy
comes across an old crush in the
centerfold of a "girly magazine."
And he's torn up about it. And
that is basically it.
The rest of the song involves
him speculating about them get-
ting together, and then he buys
the magazine. I fhean, he's not
that bad of a guy. He hopes one
day to see her when her clothes
are on. Still. For someone who
has aligned themselves with
the principles of feminism, it's a
All right, so I start taking this
song to the big leagues, which
for Ann Arbor is Circus on S.
First Street. No cover charge.
Free pool. 75-cent PBR. Kara-
oke. I keep saying this, but I'll
keep saying it until I die: That is
the kind of bar I would want to
open - if I decided that I actu-
ally don't want to become a uni-
versity professor ... who knows
these days what will happen.
OK, so my downfall. Basically,
I sang this song at Circus mul-
tiple weeks in a row. (Turns out
everyone does that. Like I said,
you need your go-to song). And
everything was going real swell.
I (actually) got compliments like
crazy (twice). Then, one week,
I wasn't feeling "Centerfold." I
wanted something new. At the
urging of friends, I did a differ-
ent song. Doesn't matter which
one. The point is I didn't know
it as well as I thought. And I
crashed real hard. In the middle,
the DJ, for reasons unknown,
turns down the volume of the
music. I can't keep up with the
words. Out of nervousness, I
try to chug the rest of my beer
before the refrain. But that was
dumb; there's no time for that.
To add insult to injury, I swal-
low it wrong and start choking.
My friend recorded all of it.
Like I said, I might be the
wrong guy to talk to. But in my
vision of karaoke, everyone is
welcome. See you next Thurs-
"Maybe if we tooth foreheads, they won't lake me away."
hackneyed love story
By AKSHAY SETH
Daily B-Side Editor
in the moments before "Ain't
Them Bodies Saints" thrusts
us into elegiac generalizations
ry Texas, it
throws up a
title card read-
ing, "This Was
In Texas." I
neer" ... this
is NOT the
wanted to be sure we knew. Or
maybe he was giving us a peek
at the sense of irrevocability
that this film spends 90 minutes
convincingly fantasizing. Who
knows? What we get is a touch-
ing, if labored, examination of
themes older than the Alamo
itself: sacrifice, revenge, love
Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck,
"Gone Baby Gone") is only a shell
of himself when he's not with his
wife. As is evident in most of the
film's unnecessary voice-over
this is n
il' Affleck's all hot and life he had for her, but whatwe're
or Ruth (Rooney Mara, meant to see in his desperate let-
rl With The Dragon Tat- ters is an underlying assump-
he type of Texan beauty tion that Ruth will wait for him,
ds hidden pleasure in fir- no matter how long that wait
oft rifles at little kids. But may be. If not for love, then for
:o ordinary love - rather, the sake of their daughter. The
deep that Bob takes the weight of Bob's sacrifice is paint-
en Ruth plugs an arche- ed on everything within view -
exan police officer (Ben the faces of old acquaintances,
"The Messenger") using the way everyone talks to Ruth
etypal Texan six-shoot- and, to some degree, even in the
staid palette cinematographer
that ill-fated shootout, Bradford Young ("Restless City")
guides us through an all- employs.
ognizable turn of events Ruth, on the other hand, is one
ng 25-to-life, prison of the few characters in Lowery's
gag-inducing love letters world that isn't still stuck in the
course, more shootouts. past. Yes, she's classically under-
en all's said and done, written and underdeveloped
he 10-gallon hats are on along the lines of most heroines
ound, the been-there- in anything remotely related to
at nature of what Low- a western, but sadly, that's to be
> concocted never really expected. What sets her apart in
. This film, more so than the context of this film is a will-
ovies released in the past ingness to give up and move on.
about setting a mood - a She still cares for Bob, but ide-
o anchored in solemnity alized concepts of love evapo-
're left wondering how rate in the face of raising a child
1 anyone in Texas ever alone.
And when Bob makes contact
after his escape, Lowery's quick
to wrap us in a state of height-
dn't Them ened reality that spotlights the
crumbling relationship. It's a
dies' boring frenetic 20 minutes, punctuated
by spurts of violence that only
reinforce the somberness of what
Lowery has constructed. Even-
try plays up the idea of tually, the implied gravity hiding
ssed lovers separated by behind every corner of this movie
stance, but he takes spe- becomes its most glaring flaw.
e to do so only through Though most of the dialogue
many of the scenes in is meant to be a terse meditation
Affleck is alone and sep- on the past, the movie marches
rom Ruth, Lowery only forward without ever draw-
us half his face, one side ing depth out of what has hap-
in darkness to denote pened. The film never gives us
cemeal nature of exis- an opportunity to suspect what's
ithout his baby mama. going to happen at the next turn,
all honesty, piecemeal is so the one-note nature of being
rstatement. I don't think "sucked in by love" feels off-put-
has a single line any- tingly surface without context.
in this film that doesn't And ultimately, the supposition
do with Ruth. that the whole ordeal has to be
nderstandable when one grim is annoying, plain and sim-
rs he's given up whatever ple.
for a good time.
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
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got readyfor a
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to new heights?
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Melanie and Joan
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t0 Luleout of
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2t Satarn,for one
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62 "Hostel" director
63 Low grade
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5 Makes haste Bysteve Biais 09/06/13
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