A tomcat was on the prowl last Saturday evening, warily entering Nickelodeon’s cartoony courtyard. He could’ve sworn he had heard a mating call caroming from one building to the next, mixing with the warm spring air heavy with the scent of jasmine. But the mating call was starting to sound…different.
The frisky feline made his stealthy way past the four-star buffet and bar, under tables vibrating with cheerful chatter. With cautious optimism he emerged from under a wine-stained tablecloth…
…and beheld a trio of boa-bedecked human females lustily belting out “Somebody Who Loves Me.”
They say the more you imbibe, the sweeter the karaoke singing becomes.
Unfortunately for the tomcat, he was sober.
By the time he cleared the outer wall, the terrified animal had left a sonic boom in his wake. Less observant members of the feeling-no-pain audience thought that one of the trios must’ve banged her mike against something or someone.
Meanwhile, dogs howled in the distance, wishing they could jump the fence and join what surely must be some kind of canine celebration. “Let them have their fond illusions,” the tomcat snarked to himself, still fleeing at supersonic speed.
A Greek professor unburdening himself on Mikonos, and who was admittedly woo-zo from all the ouzo, once averred that karaoke is punishment meted to the gods for chaining poor Prometheus to that rock. But last Saturday the Olympians had a major consolation: Burbank Noon Rotary’s Second Annual Karaoke Fundraiser was for a great cause: helping Burbank Noon Rotary fulfill a very sizable pledge to, over the next five years, Providence Saint Joseph’s Foundation.
“It’s the single largest pledge Burbank Noon has ever made, “ stated Barry Gussow, who chairs the Burbank Noon Foundation. “And we had a very successful evening.”
Key PSJ goals are to add an expanded, state-of-the-art Emergency Room as well as a new Urgent Care facility. And only supporting such worthy goals could stay the hands of the gods. Otherwise, they’d have surely hurled lightning bolts at event impresario and Rotary Noon President Albert Hernandez, bobbing his cobra-headed cane like a majorette and prancing about in red-velvet-and-zebra bellbottoms. You couldn’t unsee something like that, any more than you could unhear his ear-rending rendition of “Superfreak.”
Not to be outdone in harmony horror, a dozen or more Noon Rotarians attacked “Happy Together,” in a sonic version of gangs gleefully rampaging on Purge Night.
It fell to Burbank Sunrise Rotary to provide a respite from the melody mayhem. When the Sunrisers sang, it brought tears of something to every eye. Even the stars in the sky gathered around them. (No, they weren’t meteors.) You’d swear that all of them had been singing like angels from the crib. Jessica Garcia, the night’s superstar with her seriously good “I Will Survive,” instantly became a member of Rotary Sunrise, whether she knew it or not.
Just about everyone made promiscuous use of props—feather boas, yachting caps, sombreros, and completely random accouterments. And then there was a certain someone who, to spare his family, shall be referred to only as “J”. As if the caterwauling weren’t enough, J would frequently flounce stage left and play the air bugle, and then the air piccolo, lurching into an interpretive dance for good measure. At least he didn’t sing.
To be fair, the karaoke singers were the pawns of fate. Under Noon Rotary’s karaoke rules, you could nominate anyone to sing a song of your choice for only $25. It’s even better if several of you each contribute $25, and better still if—how to put this in a kind way—singing is not your target’s wheelhouse. The person nominated can avoid singing the song but only if they pay $40 to sing a different one or $50 to get out of singing altogether.
But more often than not, after a glass or two or three of liquid courage, there go your friends…
…Doing a duet of “It’s A Whole New World,” except that Aladdin is singing with the Genie…
…Singing “When Will I Be Loved?” and when she sings, “I’ve been knocked down,” a sign obligingly falls on her…
…Daring to attempt “Like A Virgin,” and sounding like demented castrati, which come to think of it, actually makes sense…
…Channeling Alexander Hamilton, although that turned out pretty well…
…Crooning romantic songs with their spouses…how sweet, even if any teenager in the hearing distance just wants to sink through the floor.
Your friends should’ve paid the $50. But you knew that, terrible person.
Providing a recess from these horrors, Gussow introduced some of the leading organizers of the PSJ Foundation:
Dr. Angelique Campen, emergency department physician and a member of the PSJ Board of Governors
Renee Bianco, Executive Director of the PSJ Foundation
Angela Khurdajian, philanthropic gift advisor
Sarah Skolnik, administrative secretary for the PSJ Foundation
Always good to have a couple of angels in your corner.
Hernandez’ acknowledged event organizers Jessa Freemeyer, Barry Gussow, Renee Johnson, Greg Madore, Sunny Singer, Mike Thomas, Brian Volpei, and Natalie Worsham. Noon Rotary gave special thanks to Vicky Fenton and Nickelodeon for donating the venue.
“We owe a huge debt to our amazing sponsors, which include many Burbank Noon members,” said Hernandez. “We also want to thank our contributors. Their generosity made for a great evening and allowed all the money raised to go toward our goal.” Besides Nickelodeon, the contributors included: Backstage Café, California Eatery, Domino’s Pizza, Granada, Lincoln Beer Company, Porto’s Bakery and Café, Santoro’s, Tony’s Deli, Ugly Mug, and Zach’s Catering.
Rotary Noon is already gearing up for Karaoke III in 2020. Tomcats, you’ve been warned. Dogs—never mind, you can’t read.