Karaoke is an art form and let no one tell you otherwise.
Every week, hundreds of karaoke revelers jam pubs, bars and clubs in Colorado Springs, seeking their ever-elusive big break, and the adoration of a captive audience. For these die-hards, it's about more than dance moves and Culture Club hits; karaoke is about feeling like a star -- even if it's only for a few minutes.
If you don't mind rubbing elbows with Lisa Loeb wanna-bes and "Me and Bobby McGee" fanatics, karaoke makes a perfect icebreaker for new roommates, or a well-deserved respite from those all-night study sessions.
When Rob Hert purchased the Hatch Cover Restaurant (252 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.) less than a year ago, he asked his patrons for advice on what kind of entertainment he should bring in. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of karaoke. Now, what Hert calls his "big karaoke party" brings in fans and performers three times a week, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. "We can get anywhere from 20 to 80 people on any given night," he says, "and the crowd ranges in age from people in their early 20s, to folks in their 50s," making it a perfect location for some low-profile mingling.
In fact, it's easy to find places that host karaoke in just about every part of town. In Manitou, the Ancient Mariner (962 Manitou Ave.) opens up the stage Friday nights at 9, while at Classics (5943 Delmonico Drive), the karaoke gets rolling around 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. At the Tavern on the Green (3356 Templeton Gap), which happens to be an especially popular locale, karaoke is featured on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday nights.
With so many places for students and partyers to choose from, the prospect of finding the perfect, cozy, yet hoppin' karaoke joint may seem a difficult one. Brian Martinez, manager of Jack's Gold Hill Pub (1025 S. 21st St.), now offers a 10-percent college ID discount at the bar to stimulate business for his 5-month-old establishment. For Martinez, as well as other bar and club managers around town, karaoke is a natural choice for evening entertainment. It provides patrons with safe, viscerally (if not intellectually) stimulating entertainment, and gives customers an excuse to drink and drink -- that's not to say it can't get a little dangerous sometimes.
"A lady was singing one night, and when she hit a really high note," says Jennifer Greenwood from the Erin Inn (6482 N. Academy Blvd.), "the entire amp system just blew out on stage." Stay at home, Mariah.
The pure variety of different ages and styles is what keeps bringing in the crowds at these places. And whether you show up with the intention of gawking at an Elvis impersonator, or winning over the audience with your own sexy style, karaoke may be the just the right thing to get rid of those back-to-school blues. Several different bars and restaurants offer special college discounts, so ask around to get the best deals. Karaoke may not be much of an art form after all, but finding the right place to do it certainly can be.