Anything but the noodle soup
The strip mall on Freeport Boulevard that houses the time machine that is Awesome Video now features a new tenant: Blue Moon Cafe and Karaoke. For those of you not familiar with private karaoke rooms, they are labyrinthine spaces that contain a warren of rooms ranging in size, depending on the party. They are rentable by the hour, and you and your friends can sing to your hearts’ content until 2 or even 3 a.m., if you so choose.
In contrast to other karaoke establishments, which I will not name (cough, Rurulala, cough), Blue Moon’s prices are clear and reasonable, ranging from $20 an hour (for four to six people) all the way up to $45 an hour (for up to 20 people).
Blue Moon features a cafe in the front, and it’ll deliver food to your room—“Anything but noodle soup” the friendly server says, for obvious reasons. The menu is Hong Kong-style, meaning that it leans heavily on sweets, such as crepes and egg puffs and fried finger foods, such as salt-and-pepper crab.
It’ll also deliver beer, but be careful; a bucket containing a dozen Coronas will set you back $50, and it can add up to sticker shock at the end of the night.
On a recent evening I rounded up a posse of about 15 friends, and we rented the biggest room in the joint. Instead of a book listing available songs, Blue Moon has an almost impossibly complicated touch-screen system, which only gets harder to operate as the brew flows. The song selection is so-so; it has the bands you want (Fleetwood Mac, the Beach Boys), but only a couple of songs by each artist.
Of course, this is a middle-aged person talking, there’s plenty of Fall Out Boy and Taylor Swift for the young folks.
The accompanying karaoke videos alternate between the typical ’80s-era randomness (e.g. a girl clad in a high-cut string bikini roller-skating) and live footage of the bands, or sometimes, in a swank touch, the actual video for the song. In one of the random-style videos, there was a WTF moment when I spotted a quick cut of the infamous front gate of Auschwitz.
One bonus of karaoke is that you get to finally read the words of songs that you may have been singing wrong your entire life.
I gained newfound respect for the song “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon, for example. Did you know she rhymes “your scarf of apricot” with “you watched yourself gavotte” (defined as “a dance of French peasant origin marked by the raising rather than sliding of the feet”)? The song is rumored to be about Warren Beatty and those lines conjure up a powerful mental picture.
Our crew was five buckets of Corona deep when my inner mic hog came out. I know I’ve had too much to drink when I find myself: A) singing song after song, B) inserting myself into songs that aren’t duets, and/or C) rapping. I caterwauled my way through the Euro-pop smash hit “Sacramento” (“you’re in Sacramento, a wonderful town, sing sing, din-di-din”), “Kokomo,” and even conjured an appropriately husky-voiced Michael McDonald for his duet with Patti LaBelle. We ended the session with a rousing singalong of “Wonderwall” and midnight came far too soon.