SING, DRINK AND BE HORNY
Pornaoke at the Pegasus
'The acrid smell hit me like a Viking hammer."
(Writer's note: This very apt opening line brought to you by Pegasus denizen Joe Murphy. And the letter X.)
There are no ringers at the Pegasus Lounge. Karaoke "professionals" do not come here to hone their chops. It's a tired-but-still-kicking bar (with full package service, no less) in north Tampa, the kind of place where the salt of the earth gather to drink unencumbered by the burden of the latest trends, be they in beer or bar wear. (Oddly enough, the Pegasus has been north Tampa's place for live music for the last couple years, second only to the Brass Mug. Guess the scenesters have adopted it.) I'd heard about Pornaoke from freelance Planet photographer Valerie Murphy, and was immediately and understandably intrigued. Being somewhat crippled by an inability to sing in public myself, and having not a wisp of longing for a spotlight of any kind, I've always been vaguely amazed/amused by karaoke fans. The depths to which their love for the activity runs has always struck me as somewhat peculiar, perhaps even desperate, like someone who eats fucked-up condiment combinations on a dare for a bit of attention. Why, then, would someone up the discomfort factor by choosing to sing songs they didn't write, in a voice they haven't perfected, in front of people they don't know, while drunk and with porn playing on a big screen behind them? The reason, it would seem, is both surprising and obvious: because it's fun.
The porn began at precisely 11:30 p.m. Soft-core, no-penetration-shots cable-variety (although Joe assured me he's seen hard-core from time to time). As with any karaoke event, the patrons thumbed through books of some 7,000-plus songs provided by the event's host, Lazer Ray, and gave him their selections on slips of paper. One by one they got onstage and did their thing. A chick going by the alias "Boobs" (yeah, she had a rack) did a not-so-bad version of Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle." Some guy butchered Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" (as much as that song can be butchered) with a backdrop of chaste nipple kissing on the screen. Valerie bucked up for a rousing rendition of "That'll Be the Day," by Buddy Holly. The patrons cheered for each performer and, as with most karaoke nights, the same eight or so people seemed to be sharing the mic, selecting song after song for their amusement and the patrons' entertainment. Everyone was very respectful of each brave performer. And no one paid too much attention to the action on the screen. Maybe that was because the action was tamer than what has probably taken place in most bar parking lots. Maybe because karaoke fans don't need the frills. Or maybe it's because of the clientele itself, which inspired the following by Joe:
Barroom brawlers, lifetime squalors, in the depths of a whiskey binge/ Out at night, to start a fight, lifetime of memories in a jigger of sin.
Amen. And Sing on.
Pegasus Lounge, 10008 N. 30th St., Tampa (813-971-1679). Pornaoke takes place each Wednesday. Admission is free and drinks are cheap.
Fireworks Hints and Tips
We all know somebody who lives to acquire those fireworks that the state of Florida has deemed either legal only for licensed and insured pyrotechnicians, or prohibited outright, in time for the Fourth. Hell, some of us might know several somebodies who've made it a family tradition — employing complicated underground smuggling operations, designing incredibly intricate launch sequences featuring unbelievably half-ass methods of ignition, and ultimately drinking far too much before staging their display in extremely conspicuous environs. (For some reason, most of these people never get caught or injured, while you will almost certainly be jailed for indecent exposure if you wander 50 yards down the beach from the spectacle to take a discreet leak.) There are those for whom the right to get drunk and aim Roman candles at one another ranks up there with keeping and bearing arms. And no county, state or federal government is gonna tell them they can't duct-tape a dozen bottle rockets (the exploding kind, naturally) together and fire 'em out of a Christmas wrapping-paper tube at Uncle Steve's keister while he's bent over, trying to figure out which red plastic keg-party cup is his. That is, after all, what America is all about.In the interest in reducing both serious burns and post-Fourth News of the Weird items about really embarrassing serious burns, we've compiled a short list of basic firework-safety Dos and Don'ts. If they seem fairly obvious and common sense-oriented to you, well, then, you've probably never experienced the thrill of dropping a lit M-80 into an empty beer can, then waiting for the perfect moment to toss it, so it'll explode in mid-air rather than returning back to Earth before sending gorgeous aluminum shrapnel in every direction.