It's been a slow week for most people. Those pesky holidays and something about the weather. But there ain't no party like a Chopsticks party, cause a Chopsticks party don't stop. (Until 2am) I don't think a chasm to hell opening up in the parking lot would stop that place from running. Hardened karaoke singers trudged through the snow and sleet and slush and mush and washed themselves in rivers of silver-tongued vanity.
Perhaps it was because their love for the gift of song was greater and more important than dry feet. Perhaps it was because other, fair weather karaoke joints were closed. Nevertheless, they came.
I've been working more than usual this week, to cover for people who've traveled to other parts of the country to visit this thing they call “family”. Sunday, Tuesday, and my normal Thursday shift.
Sunday, with the Snowgasm on, I expected to serve a docile, moon-eyed crowd, cowed into submission by mother nature, having braved the weather, with barely any energy left to sing. Surprise! Sunday was the Chopsticks holiday party, and before 7:00, the most hardcore crowd of regulars you'll see all year, along with nearly all my co-workers, had already packed the place. I even started early.
Even David Chow, the owner and the face on the fliers and “How Can Be?” t-shirts, got up and sang his heart out, an event which takes place once or twice a year, I'm told. Also present was Nathan Jr. a former KJ (the prototype Chopsticks KJ) and Chopsticks legend. Nathan was, at one point, the only KJ at Chopsticks, working six nights a week. Having him hand you a song slip is like having Freddie Mercury asking you to sing him a song. It's like God tossing you the world-building stick and saying, “Hey Buddy. Let's see what you can do.”
Most of the hard-core left by 10 or 11 and then it was a pretty normal crowd, with the exception that they'd slogged their asses of out in that horrible crap to be there. The snow fell relentlessly and I was half-frozen by the time I finally made it home myself.
Tuesday saw a dance-happy crowd. It's always great when people start getting up on the dance floor together. Chopsticks has an eclectic community, andÃƒâ€š you see characters mingling on up there who might never be around each other otherwise.
Oasis Cafe on Hawthorne had their holiday party at Chopsticks that night.
Among them was April, who thrashed out one of the raddest metal performances I've ever seen. She even crushed a PBR tall boy can against her forehead, causing the crowd to go absolutely nuts. She knows how to rock. I asked her to marry me on the mic, but then I got cold feet a few seconds later and said “Never mind.”
Then, of course, I worked on Thursday, which was also Christmas. Being one of the few places open that night, we got a pretty good crowd. Chopsticks has a huge selection of songs, including Christmas music. At the beginning of the night, I was terrified that I would be forced to listen to douchey, ironic versions of Christmas songs all night long. At first, there were a few, but those people left quickly, bless their stuck-up little hearts. I gave a little nod to Christmas myself, singing Al Yankovic's “Christmas at Ground Zero.” early in the night, which is a song about nuclear war breaking out on Christmas Eve. Good stuff.
The intrepid Julian Chadwick, who may or may not be the editor of this publication also showed up, had a couple beers, and took this blurry iPhone picture. Tweep @Tanqueray also showed up and partied all night with her many friends.
Now the snow is melts, fast as those sugar plum dreams fade. Time to get this holiday crap over with and march on, with a douchey, ironic song in our hearts. I'll be working on New Years Day. See you then, if you're not too hungover.
<3 ——- <3
Will Radik, as well as being a KJ at Chopsticks Express, is a visual artist, audio technician, podcaster, and serial volunteer who grew up mostly in the SF Bay Area and Chicagoland. You can find his personal blog at inyourwater.wordpress.com.
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