The first time I ever experienced karaoke was in The Peg about 25 years ago. The karaoke fad had just come to Canada and was all the rage. So when Winnipeg's local lesbian bar, Ms Purdy's, advertised a karaoke night, a friend and I made sure to attend. We got there early too because the joint was packed!
Speaking of Ms Purdy's, here's a photo I took of it around the same time period. It wasn't quite as seedy inside as it looked from the outside, LOL! Ms Purdy's was a small place but managed to pack in a pool table, a good-sized stand-up bar, about a dozen tables and chairs and a small mirrored dance floor. Its windows were, of course, unbreakable one-way glass so we could see out but no one on the street could see in. The front door led into a security foyer where you'd first have to run the gauntlet of a couple of big dyke bouncers before being allowed into the bar itself. The purpose of that was to keep out gaybashers, religious nuts seeking to condemn us and/or save our souls, irate husbands/boyfriends looking for their AWOL wives/girlfriends, and men of all descriptions.
[Photo © Debra She Who Seeks, 1990]
Anyway, back to karaoke . . . .
A number of women got up and sang a few songs. OMG, they were dreadful! But everyone, being Canadians and members of the Sisterhood, clapped politely and did not boo them off the stage. Finally, at the end of the rather desultory evening, a chunky middle-aged lez with short salt & pepper hair went up to the front. She grabbed that mic and proceeded to just blow everyone away with an absolutely rockin' rendition of "Old Time Rock & Roll."
The whole bar erupted sky-high with clapping, stomping and cheering! She shut the place down too because no one had the nerve to follow that act at the karaoke machine, LOL! Later I heard that 10-15 years earlier, she had been one of the lead singers in a popular Winnipeg tribute band. And man, she still had it, baby!
Next post -- Karaoke at the Old Bastards Club