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TRANSLATION: MEMPHIS: Karoling A La Karaoke

TRANSLATION: MEMPHIS

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Do you ever find yourself languishing around the house on a Friday or Saturday night, unsure of what to do?

Let’s just say you’re a bit listless and eager to be amused. You want to have a bit of fun, but don’t want to go far, and for whatever reason don’t even care what kind of triviality might pull you off of the couch for a little while.

I found myself in this predicament this weekend, and somehow was enticed to go check out one of the sillier mainstays of the Memphis weekendÑkaraoke at Yosemite Sam’s.

And indeed, it’s nothing if not ridiculous, which is not a criticism exactly.

Yosemite’s has to be one of the few real dives left in the city. It seems that time stopped in this little venue quite some time ago, although that’s what lends it a certain lowbrow charm that the newer bars can’t emulate.

I mean, you’ve seen the outside of the place, haven’t you? If that paint job isn’t old school, then I don’t know what isÉ

And the karaoke? This is standard, bad, karaoke, which isn’t so bad what with the cheap, free-flowing pitchers of beer that scatter the tables en masse. In fact, I recommend a drink or two if you’re brave enough to brave the best of the worst.

It’s hard to pin down exactly what makes this cultural phenomenon so enticing. Maybe it has something to do with the media-driven culture of celebrity that pervades every moment of our lives as consumers. Is it that a moment with a microphone and some backing tracks gives us the chance to reclaim our pop idols and make them more our own?

Perhaps.

Either way, it’s fun as hellÑat least once. Plus there’s no cover, which is always a motivating factor for me. Yes, I’m cheap, and I’ll stand proud and admit it!

On the particular evening that I traveled into this odd vortex of song and parody, there were quite a few people there, eager to show off their, um, talents.

There was not-Patsy Cline, not-Garth, not-Bon Jovi, and even a not-David Allen Coe.

Come to think of it there were quite a few voyages back into the splendor of 1980’s Bon Jovi rockdom, strangely. I heard a guy over my shoulder commenting that it’s nice how it’s cool to like Bon Jovi again. As if we ever stopped.

But the latter, the David Allen Coe tune came to infect my weekend with a vengeance.

Actually, it was the Coe rendition of the Steve Goodman song, You Never Even Called Me by my Name. You probably know it. “You don’t have to call me darlin’, darlin’. You never even called me by my name…”

Of course, I had never heard it before, which probably makes me a big fat loser. In my defense, though, my parents didn’t listen to country, so I never got to hear these classics in my Yankee childhood. Only now, in my Southern youth, am I discovering such things.

No matter. When my boyfriend heard the song, he spent the rest of the weekend singing it all over the house, in the car, in the shower. Now that song is a part of me, all thanks to Yosemite Sam.

As I said, an evening in this Midtown haunt is not by any means a highbrow event.

But it is fun, and on certain weekend nights that’s really all that matters.

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