January 27, 2010

She would merengue, and do the cha-cha

If it's Barry Manilow, it's got to be karaoke.

Last weekend, the Fort Greene/Cinton Hill Knit & Crochet Group held our 2nd annual Secret Santa gift exchange and holiday party at Duet 35, an AWESOME karaoke bar just north of Manhattan's 2-block Koreatown. Actually, it's a karaoke box, as they're called in Japan. You reserve a windowless private room for your party, pick up some Korean take-out (I got mine at Woorjip), settle in with a couple of microphones, songbooks (in English, Korean, Mandarin and Korean), possibly a few drinks and there you have it: instaparty.  We made our first visit there last year when we had our going away party for Brooke , and it was crazy fun, so we decided we to return.

The winter holidays can be stressful for crafters who make gifts, so we planned our exchange for after the holidays, thereby maximizing creativity and enthusiasm while minimizing burnout. The party was also scheduled very close to our girl Oiyi's birthday, so I made a cake to help her celebrate.

Red Velvet with toasted pecans.  Cream cheese frosting, yum! 

So the party was super fun, but that was no surpise. 

We ate and sang for a few hours before we got down to cake

and presents.  I've learned a couple of things since I first karaoked.  Here they are:

  1. No rap songs, unless you really know how to rap.  It's super hard to get the breathing right, and the singer always ends up huffing and puffing. You may love singing along to Kanye on the radio, but it's a bust in the karaoke box.

  2.  If you don't know how a song begins, pass on it.  You'll start off awkwardly and never recover your sense of joy and excitement.

  3. Ditto if all you know if the chorus.  Yes, it's fun to sing "I'm hot, sticky sweet, from my head to my feet," but there's more to Pour Some Sugar on Me than those lines.

  4. No one cares if you have a bad voice (you're not getting paid or anything), so no apologies, please.

  5. Avoid songs that have looonnnnggg instrumental interludes, e.g. Sympathy for the Devil.

  6. Avoid songs that have repetitive endings, because you'll likely peter out.  I made this mistake once at a karaoke party when I elected to sing Turn Me Loose, by the Canadian rock band Loverboy. It was bad.

  7. I do much better with duets (thank you Judy, Lissa, Angela and Rima) than on my own.  Except for Berlin.  I can tear it up with The Metro sans assistance.

  8. Consider bringing a set list with you, because for the past few days, I keep thinking of songs that I wish I'd have sung.  Arrgh!

I drew Tomo's name in the Secret Santa exchange, and while she's a very easy-going, unfussy person, she's also a rather accomplished knitter (perhaps you've seen the room she helped to knit), and I was a little anxious about what to make for her. In the end, I decided to do something she wouldn't be able to do for herself: crochet.

Pattern: Improvised shell stitch from The Encyclopedia of Knitting and Crochet Patterns
Yarn: Rowan Kid Classic
Hook: 5.0mm/H
Started & Finished: January 2010

This was my first crochet project in quite a while, and I tried out a couple of awkward or poorly written patterns before deciding to try a little imrpov, which is unusual for me.  I tend to like guidelines, rules, patterns and precision, explains in part why I prefer baking to cooking.  It drives me batty when I read teh words "season to taste," because, really, what the hell does that tell me?  However, a little freewheeling action proved to be just what I needed, and once I decided to make like Stevie Nicks and go my own way, I was very happy with the results.  More importantly, so was Tomo (seen wearing the scarf below, with Okay Knits and Emily).


I was very happy with the present Jessie made for me, and it was a decidedly spot on choice.  Unfortunately, I don't have any photos yet, but those will come. Soon! Until then, let's pretend it's 1983, shall we:


Oiyi said... Best Blogger Tips

I love your summary of the party! I am already making a playlist for next time. I keep thinking of songs I would have liked to sing, too.

Thank you for the cake. It was delicious! And so extremely nice and thoughtful of you to do that for me. Way more thoughtful than my parents who didn't even call me yesterday. You know, because it's really hard to remember your 1st born's birthday.

Sayschnicklefritz said... Best Blogger Tips

It was my pleasure! And you should send them this link and really rub it in their face that they forgot.

littlebirdbigcity said... Best Blogger Tips

I am insanely jealous right now. Who wants to come to Portland and karaoke with me? Anyone? The scarf it beautiful and delicate. I love it.

Lissa said... Best Blogger Tips

Such fun! Am happy to sing with you anytime. :) (Also I saw your comment; I will most definitely participate in the exchange next year!)

Rima said... Best Blogger Tips

You will do very well as a "what happened at the event" writer. Thanks again for the cake. And of course, happy to sing again...anytime...with my extremely "off" (aka, I cant sing) voice.

Trish said... Best Blogger Tips

What a great party....especially the singing bit! You are so lucky to have these women in your life!

Sayschnicklefritz said... Best Blogger Tips

Trish: I am, indeed. They're a super fun crew.