Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pittsburgh Love: We've Got Random Vegans and Hilarious Karaoke DJs

So, I'm a big fan of karaoke.  I just love it, it makes me feel good!  I used to be a music snob, poo-pooing all kinds of songs I thought were "bad," but karaoke actually broke me of this.  It made me understand that different people love different music in all kinds of different ways, and who the hell am I to judge any of it?  OK, sure, I do get sick of a couple songs that people always sing, and always sing badly, but I don't mind if it's sung well!  I also don't actually mind if you are not a good singer.  Thing is, you have a right to sing no matter what!  These songs are a part of our shared culture, and since we don't have folk songs passed down through generations anymore to sing together sociably, now we must get together and sing pop songs.  The pop songs belong to us all for singing at karaoke.

In Pittsburgh, my favorite karaoke night is Fridays at Del's with DJ extraordinaire Mike Moats.  Del's is kind of an odd space with a giant bar and not that much room for people to hang out and do karaoke, and yet, somehow, it works.  Also, although the restaurant itself is over 50 years old and something of a Bloomfield-neighborhood tradition, it's most famous these days for having been on Restaurant Impossible and, I've heard, not actually changing their food as a result of it.  Of course, I don't eat there because I'm a vegan and Del's is an Italian restaurant, but they pour a mean rum and diet Coke, so I'm down. 

So, anyway, I'm at karaoke at Del's and I hear tell that a woman across the bar from me has brought a vegan carrot cake.  OMG, what???  Vegans are everywhere, even in Pittsburgh, even at Del's!  It was true, one Suzanne Ferguson was having a birthday, and she'd brought a vegan carrot cake to karaoke with her girlfriends to celebrate.  If you check out the link I put on her name, it takes you to her web site that is about her "Spiritual Mastery" business.  The card she gave me says, "Leadership coaching for effective alignment."  Hey, I don't know about all that, but the fact that she's vegan does lead me to trust her ability to master spiritual realms more than some hypocrite who spouts feel-good stuff on one hand but continues to practice violence in his or her food choices on the other hand.
I got to eat some and it was delicious.  She had walnuts with her to sprinkle on top also, but she'd left them off for her walnut-hating daughter.  I asked if she made it from a recipe, and I think she said that she ordered a mix off the internet and then changed it a bit.  I'm always too lazy to make carrot cake myself -- all that carrot shredding!  When I was a kid, my mom loved carrot cake and we used to get Entenmann's brand a lot. This tasted identical to me, so, yum.
Happy birthday, Suzanne, random Pittsburgh vegan I met!  She made my night.

Also, remember I mentioned above about karaoke DJ extraordinaire Mike Moats?  He's a really funny, creative guy, and he'll do the harmonies on your song if you want him to (thank you, Mike, neither The Who's "I Can See for Miles and Miles" nor Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" would be even close to as good if I did them without your harmonies).  But Mike made his own version of Jay-Z's song "Empire State of Mind" about Pittsburgh instead of New York, and it's freaking hilarious, and sometimes when his friend who does the Alicia Keys part is at karaoke, they'll do the karaoke version that he also made himself.  I took some video of it last night so you can see how damn funny it is and how much people love it. 

Also, you just HAVE to watch the entire video he made of this song.  OK, if you're not familiar with Pittsburgh, you may have to Google some of the references, but this video is still golden and it makes every Pittsburgher, natives and transplants alike, lol so hard.

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