Monday, June 09, 2008

Amagi Karaoke and the Bizarro World of Gower Gulch

Last night was a scene out of a movie. That scene in which four people find themselves in a Chevy Aveo at 9:30 pm on a Sunday night, after watching a charity concert of B-list TV actresses singing A-list Broadway duets in downtown Los Angeles, and these four people suddenly decide that a karaoke bar would be the best possible option at that moment in time.

Flash forward to the perfect karaoke bar... A Japanese restaurant (Amagi Sushi) located at the Gower Gulch (aka a strip mall at the corner of Gower and Sunset, in the bowels of Hollywood, with an Old Western theme, of course) where the crowd is sparse and the restaurant interior carries a scent that could only be described as the inside of a Ramen noodles bowl.

The cast of characters was... interesting... in addition to our four protagonists, there was the exotic yet trashy looking bartender, the old man in a gray suit, his grayer hair pushed back in a long ponytail, who when we arrived was in the middle of belting out a great 80s tune; next up, the man with all the power--the karaoke DJ, another septuagenarian, who singed songs in the key of Frank Sinatra when he wasn't handling the music selections of the crowd. The awkward fellow in the army pants and red shirt--Dale--sang a few numbers, doing the best he could, but clearly karaoke wasn't his strength; just a passion. My favorite would have been the man in the Hawaiian shirt and crochet skull cap, with a monkey clinging to his shoulder. The monkey was a girl and he named her Gizmo. When he sang "Superstition" (originally by Stevie Wonder) Gizmo was crawling all over him, like a 4-year old at a playground. Cutest little monkey I've ever seen in a karaoke bar.

It was us, and them, and we joked it was that scene where it's awkward and quiet and then a QUICK CUT to four hours later and the place is packed and everyone's singing "We Are the World."

Well, midnight rolls around, and after our crew had cruised through our collection (hits including "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "La Isla Bonita," and the incredible "Bang Bang" by Cher) the place was packed, the crowd was rowdy. No group sing-alongs, but the perfect showing otherwise. Other highlights included a young couple on the Best Date Ever (they sang "A Whole New World" from Aladdin) and the Asian line dancing we discovered on our way out the door.

Yes, this in fact, how I spent my Sunday night. This story is 100% true. (Although in my screenplay it will be a Silverback gorilla climbing on his shoulder, for drama's sake, bien sur.)

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