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Rocking out with her brass balls out

Saturday night was a night out at Universal Citywalk. My wife, her friend Lisa, and I went over to Emeril’s for dinner, where they sell their merchandise on the menu. It was moderately expensive, but I don’t mind paying $100 for a meal that includes a filet mignon that good. Unfortunately, Amy’s meal had pork in it, and as she’s a vegetarian, she ended up with just a house salad.

Afterwards, we headed over to The Rising Star, a great karaoke club that doesn’t have any karaoke machines. Instead, the karaoke singer is on a big professionally lighted stage supported by a backup singer, two backup dancers, and a full band who play each song. It’s a great show that is packed with good and bad performers all singing their hearts out in front of a crowd of at least 100 people.

The doors open at 8, and the seats fill up quickly. Additionally, if you want to do karaoke, you have to get your name in, along with your top two song choices, as early as possible. We had a reserved table, so we went in and sat down and waited for Britt and Jared to join us. Since I knew that Britt would want to do some karaoke once she had enough to drink, I decided that I should put Britt’s name down for her. I’m charitable like that.

Britt and Jared joined us a few minutes later, as I was filling out the sheet to submit. “Are these two songs okay?” I asked, pointing to “Like a Virgin” and “Before He Cheats”.

“Sure, whatever. I’d better start drinking, though.”

Soon thereafter, the show started and we all settled in for some fun. The big screen on the wall showed the lyrics to the song being sung, so we could sing along, along with the notes about which person was up next. As Britt nursed her drink, I nervously checked each time, hoping that it wasn’t going to be her turn yet. As she got to her second drink, I was less nervous, but still pretty worried. If she got called to sing before she was sufficiently socially lubricated, she would probably stab me in my nuts after she was done. Luckily, the second drink went and the third drink showed up. And that’s when Mike Raymond happened.

The emcee (and lead backup singer) spoke into his mike. “Mike Raymond, it’s your turn. Everybody put it together for Mike Raymond!” The crowd applauded and shouted and then fell completely silent as Mike Raymond started climbing the stairs.

He was a man in his thirties. His eyes were closed, his head was cocked to the side. His arms were in an awkward position, and he had a tambourine in his hand. He walked slowly up the stairs as he was being led carefully to the position by someone who appeared to be his mother. Yes, Mike Raymond was mentally retarded. My guess is a severe type of autism.

Startled, the emcee composed himself quickly. “Alright, we got Mike Raymond on stage and he’s going to be singing “Born to be Wild”. Let’s hit it!” The band started playing the intro.

Mike Raymond started banging his tambourine in rhythm. His eyes were closed, so he wasn’t seeing the words. He wasn’t even moving any part of his body except for his tambourine. The audience felt palpably nervous – was this going to be horrible?

“Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space”

A strong voice, in tune and in rhythm, burst from the microphone. Not only was it not going to be horrible, it was amazing! As soon as he started singing, keeping in perfect beat with his constant tambourine, the audience went crazy, clapping and cheering. The emcee was amazed.

“This guy’s great!” I shouted over the sound to Amy.

“I know! He’s amazing!” This was no hyperbole. We’d listened to some talented singers get up there, but this guy was bringing it all.

Bouncing my head to the music and singing along, I said, “I feel bad for whatever poor fucker has to go on after him! Even if they’re any good, they can’t even compare. This must be what it would be like to go on after the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, but if the Beatles were all retarded and still played perfectly.” And as I said that, I looked up at the giant screen to see what poor anonymous karaoker was going to have to follow Mike Raymond.

“Now On Stage: Mike Raymond . . . Up Next: BRITT”

And on an unrelated note, don’t forget that I’m giving away an Apple iPod Touch!

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46 Replies to “Rocking out with her brass balls out”

  1. bluepaintred

    I hate waiting Adam. A lot. Feel free to email me with a simple YES or NO. Seriously.


    you aren’t going to email me are you?

    I’m going to have to wait until Sunday to find out, aren’t I?

    I kinda fee like stabbing you in the nuts myself right now.

    Or crying.

  2. Little Miss Sunshine State

    Is there video? How did she do?
    My co-workers are amazed that I’ve never done Karaoke, because I sing at work all the time. I told them I’d HAVE to be totally shit-faced to do it, but they said no problem, because EVERYONE will be shit-faced.

    I’ll have to put it on my bucket list.

  3. Becky

    I’m so happy to read that other people are finding your contest as hard as I am! I’ve only eaten at one Emeril’s and it was ok. Poor Britt. But I give her major kudos for taking the stage after an act like Mike. I would’ve hid in the bathroom! Anyway, glad you had a great night out!

  4. Sarah

    I’ve never done karaoke before and I’m pretty sure I never will.

    However if you are one of the poor bastards that happens to be stuck in a car with me that’s an entirely different story..

  5. B.E. Earl

    I did a kick-ass version of Jimmy Buffett’s “Come Monday” one night at a local karaoke joint some years ago.

    No one remembers that because the next week, the “special” bus rolled up on the joint and one of the specials did his own version. It was like Warren from “There’s Something About Mary” sings Buffett. A tour-de-force.

    I’m good, but I can’t compete with that!

  6. Ioma

    Aww, poor Britt! Speaking of drinking, someone should get her a Forget Me Shot. Then she won’t have to remember what happened.

    And good for Mike! I know all about the awkwardness, including getting up on stage. People take one look at my eyes and see my limp and assume I’m mentally challenged. I was in school choir and band for 12 years and 6 years, respectively. I had to fight like hell just to get in, and even harder to get any solo parts. When I was up on stage, I put my heart into it and hoped someone would see that, despite (probably) having underestimated me.

    Sorry for the extreme length (I’m sure the ladies hear that from you all the time), but it hit kind of close to home. If I’d have been there, I probably would have cried. :’)

  7. Turnbaby


    I’ve been there–I had to follow a guy who did a killer version of “I Touch Myself” that had the whole place going. Just as the furor was dying down they call MY name next.

    I’m certain Britt did great :sexytime:

  8. Grant

    We had an Emeril’s in Atlanta but it closed. The first time I went with friends every aspect was absolutely fantastic. After that, it never measured up again. The last time was a complete embarrassment – the valet parked my car 10 feet from where we were, then disappeared with the keys. Service was annoyingly friendly. Nobody was blown away by the meal, especially me. I had a kobe gouda burger that tasted better than McDonald’s food but not as good as TGI Fridays or other chains (I’d rate it on the Wendy’s level for quality). Then I had to alert the staff to help me search for the valet so I could have the keys to my unlocked car sitting in front of the restaurant. Good riddance to Atlanta Emeril’s, although we will miss the banana cream pie.

  9. Avitable

    Karen, they escaped without injury!

    Amanda, she did very well, given the circumstances!

    BPR, you are not a patient woman.

    LMSS, she did a good job! No video, though, but you should totally go check that out some night.

    Winter, it was fate.

    Jay, Google won’t help, but you’ll kick yourself when you see the answer.

    SportsFan’s Daughter, thanks for the visit and comment!

    Becky, she was a trooper!

    Sarah, never? What if you were drinking?

    BE Earl, I don’t know any Jimmy Buffett songs and I’d like to keep it that way.

    Thursday’s Child, the third drink wasn’t quite enough but she still kicked ass.

    Mik, she did very well!

    Ioma, look at your eyes? Is there something wrong with them?

    Poppy, I was annoyed that they didn’t even mention that a mushroom pasta dish had pork in it!

    Hello, the crowd was very gentle – she kicked ass!

    Britt, I saw him outside earlier with his parents. He wasn’t blind. He was severely mentally disabled.

    Turnbaby, it’s hard to follow the stars!

    NYCWD, I was encouraging her to gulp.

    Grant, that must have been why it closed.

    Metalmom, I laughed so hard when I saw her name next that I almost peed myself.

  10. little_lj

    Aw man, I wanna go karaoke with Britt, it sounds way fun!

    And all it took was a story involving a mentally disabled future American Idol contender to make me see that!

    No, I don’t know how my brain works either…

  11. Mattie

    I hope the world doesn’t end before I hear the rest of the story.

    I yelled at you like you could actually hear me. It was just as bad as watching Stargate Atlantis and seeing the “to be continued” at the end.

    Frak yeah. That sucks.

    And did you get your money back for the pork that Amy could not eat?

    Here’s hoping nothing happens to the world while I’m waiting so impatiently for the “rest of the story.” (I forget who used to say that on their radio show…Paul Harvey. Yeah, that’s who it was. Man, am I getting old.)

  12. yoshi

    that is just hilarious! I love it. It’s times like this you wish there was a camera crew following you making the movie of your life.

    I’m sure Britt did just fine though! and even if not, who cares, it had to be fun!

  13. Shamelessly Sassy

    My mentally challenged brother-in-law is an awesome singer. But he won’t sing in public and if asked, he moons the person asking. Seeing a 30 year old man’s hairy ass isn’t my cup of tea, so I haven’t requested any songs yet.

  14. Stephanie

    No video? Dammit, man. Which song did she sing? Do you ever go up and sing? Does Amy or Jared sing? Did you yell at them for putting pork in Amy’s dish? Do your nuts hurt? DoyouknowhowmuchfuckingcaffeineisinRedBull?

  15. Faiqa Khan

    Is that the closest you come to a feel good story? So sad. BTW, I can’t *believe* you had the nerve to say your contest was easy. Easy if you’re a geeky bastard who sits around watching boring ass movies all day. Fuck. (Are you proud of me, I used three curse words in this comment. Now you’re going to tell me that bastard doesn’t count, aren’t you?)

  16. Ioma

    Why yes, there is something wrong with my eyes. I was born missing most of my right eye, which I wear a prosthesis over. It looks totally normal (except when it falls out in public), but is completely blind.

    My left cornea was covered in scar tissue when I was born. I had a corneal transplant when I was 5 weeks old, which rejected. So about 3/4 of the iris is all white and clouded over.

    I also have ligament failure and a floating optic nerve thanks to EDS, so my eye shakes around (which makes everything look like it’s bouncing up and down, it’s wild!) and my vision goes in and out constantly.

    So yeah, I’m almost completely blind!

  17. Avitable

    Robin, being stabbed in the balls?

    Finn, she kicked ass so she forgave me.

    Em, it almost did!

    TMP, exactly!

    Little LJ, it’s very fun, and Britt is the bravest one out of us, too.

    Mattie, that is the end of the story. We didn’t get charged for the item that had pork, and Britt sung very well.

    Shelli, “Like a Virgin”.

    Sybil, she kicked ass – she’s Britt!

    Yoshi, it would be rated NC-17, with all the nudity and porn.

    Donnie, I barely escaped.

    Dawn, oh, we all laughed our asses off.

    Delmer, I understand about half of what you just said.

    Sassy, well, people will absolutely love him if you can convince him. This guy really made us all cheer and give a standing ovation.

    Sarah, one of these days – do karaoke, have sex, it’s all on a list here.

    Evil Genius, yeah, she’s pretty awesome.

    Tracy, when she gets up there like that, mine too!

    Stephanie, Britt’s the only one of our party who sang, and she sang “Like a Virgin”.

    Kris, yeah, that would have been horrible!

    Karl, we didn’t have a camera that did video with us.

    Faiqa, I’m a big cynic – this is as close as I can get to anything feel good, unless you’re talking about my feeling myself and saying “ooh, that feels good.” Oh, I don’t think “ass” counts, either. That’s pretty much a non-curse word, too. At least you didn’t abbreviate “fuck” this time! 😀

    Ioma, so, as a result of this disability, your other senses have been honed to a supernatural level and at night you fight crime as Ioma the Avenger?!

    Kapgar, it was so soft and good, too!

  18. martymankins

    Is “Before He Cheats” that song by Carrie Underwood? I think it is… if so, there’s the same chick that gets up twice a night to sing that song at Club 48 (the bar I frequent with karaoke). She sings that song like she’s been cheated on. And you expect her when she’s done, to walk out the door and go smash out headlights on someone’s truck.

    And here I thought karaoke was something you did when you were drunk and wanted to show how cool “Sweet Child O Mine” could sound.

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