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Thursday, July 10th, 2008
1:47p - The Milky Way is on suicide watch

First things first. Here's a pic from my favorite number in Whorehouse. We had a blast with that show, and thanks to everybody who came down and checked us out!

Secondly, I had a great family reunion last weekend. Kicked ass at volleyball, ate way way too much amazing food. There were about 50 of us, and lots of interesting conversation.

One surprise visitor was my Grandad (my dad's dad - this reunion is my mom's family). He flew in from Iowa and I spent a solid few days hanging out with him and my parents. This is the same grandfather who came to visit me in Boston last year, the southern Baptist I had to hide my legendary liquor collection from. At one point, the four of us were watching The Painted Veil, and he pipes up:

GDAD: What are the three worst words to hear while you're having sex?

ME: Uhhh, what, Grandad?

GDAD: "Honey, I'm home!"

That is just, awesome. I guess when you're 86 you don't care if your grandkids know you tell dirty jokes. Or when you're 60, you don't care if your neices know, as proven by my father who cracked out the "What's the difference between an epileptic clam shucker and a diarhetic prostitute?" joke for my teenage cousin. Ah, good times.

At least, I was having good times until the Milky Way took a giant dump on me. Karaoke at the Milky Way is a four-year-old institution and for those of you who don't live in Boston or haven't talked to me in the past 2 1/2 years, I've been going there every Tuesday since aught 6. Some of my friends have been going every Tuesday since its inception. The Milky Way totally opened up my social life here at a time when I was starting from scratch, and I've been grateful to it for the connections and relationships that formed, and for being the reliable bright spot in every week, where I knew I could dance my ass off, sing some rock and roll, and cheer on all my friends. Up until last fall, every other week the Nickel and Dime band played live music for you to sing with, adding another level of awesomeness to the night. Back in the day, there used to be a line to get in, even though it was on a Tuesday. I wasn't here for those glory days, but Tuesday night karaoke has had the best crowds of any mid-week night, and the most die-hard fans.

Recently though, patronage has been down. Management forced out the Nickel and Dime band, which was a huge blow. It took them months to find a replacement band, and they do a decent job, but they've been playing for months now and they STILL don't know enough songs to play for more than half the evening. On top of that, management hasn't bought a single new DJ song in probably three years. And they don't seem to be doing any promotion whatsoever. 

The solution they've landed on? Rather than invest any money in karaoke, which has huge potential, they have decided to offer karaoke ONCE A MONTH. This is the business equivalent of opening up a vein.

Once a month will never work. Why? Let's see. For one thing, people will have to keep straight which night that is. Whitefire has never come to karaoke without asking me if it's a live band night, and most of the time, he guesses wrong. I use him as an example, because he is an intelligent, literate guy who theoretically can do the basic math required to determine which Tuesday of the month it is, and on top of that, he's someone who knows that he can walk in the door on any Tuesday and know a half dozen people at minimum. What about people who aren't all that bright, or who don't know the regulars, or for whom karaoke isn't, like, a top life priority? Does the Milky Way expect them to write it on their calendars? It's not like the Allman Brothers are comin' to town, people, it's karaoke. Be realistic.

And then there is the subject of regulars. They're the lifeblood of a mid-week night. Most employed people of drinking age are not roaming around Boston on a Tuesday night wondering where the party's at. But once you get a regular hang, you work it into your schedule. At the moment, I'd say it takes about two weeks to get noticed and adopted by the regulars, and by the third week, you're one yourself. So, what, now it'll take three MONTHS? Not going to happen.

You also have the crowds of strangers who come in and give the place an infusion. The birthday crowds. Karaoke is awesome for birthdays, because you take over the place, your friends are there to back you up, it's much more social than going to a rock show where you're just sort of bopping your head in isolation, and it's much cheaper than dragging your poor friends out to dinner. Milky Way karaoke attracts a lot of birthdays. Now I guess if you aren't born in the first week of the month, you're shit out of luck. And it's one thing to bring all your friends out to a reliable karaoke night you've been to once or twice, and quite another to bring them to Trannie Bondage Night, or whatever the hell they're going to use to fill in the other Tuesdays.  

Next week is the last hurrah.  It's really depressing me.

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