Through Saturday, December 21st: Scaryoke: Russian Roulette-Style Karaoke

    Date: 11/07/2013 - 12/21/2013

    Time: All Day

    Location: apexart (291 Church St., Manhattan)

    How safe do you have to feel to sing in public? How dangerous does singing in public have to feel before it thrills you? What if you're invisible? What if your friends sing with you? What if you don't even know what song you're going to sing? Reporting a story on the fertile karaoke scene in Portland, Oregon, I encountered four friends who performed what they called "scaryoke": Going up on stage with no idea what song was coming up, as it had been picked by your friends and submitted without your consent. I still remember the joyful surprise with which one of the group greeted the opening chords of Donna Fargo's chipper 1972 hit "The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA," as the other three members of her group danced like backup singers behind her. It was a pure performative moment: a song sung as a matter of survival, chosen without pretext or dick-measuring intent, picked by friends for a friend with the specific intent of giving her a good time. It's that feeling of unfettered pleasure I'm attempting to recreate – or at least interrogate – in SCARYOKE!!!. Depending on which of our singing environments you choose – the private shower, the semipublic car, or the karaoke stage – other visitors will be able to see you a little, a lot, or not at all. You can sing by yourself or with a friend or a group of friends or however many strangers you can stuff into the shower with you. With the help of John Brophy, KJ and creator of Baby Ketten Karaoke in Portland, I've chosen 15 tracks specifically for the different challenges they offer singers. There's classic rock, hip-hop, contemporary pop, indie rock, punk, country, and more. Songs range from 7-minute epics to an under-three-minute nugget of pop perfection. You won't know what song is going to start playing when you press that button. But they're all fun to sing – that's my guarantee as your friend. And as your friend I'm also urging you forward, even though you're nervous. You've never sung in front of people before? Give it a try! You don't know all the songs that well? Sing 'em anyway! Embrace your fear. Find your light. Sing like everyone's listening. Click here for more information.

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