Last night I made my first ever visit to the Midway Cafe. Thursday night’s the Midway plays host to Queeraoke. It is a “gay” karaoke night. The story goes that I am researching an article and was told to scope out four karaoke places. This is one of the ones my editor mentioned, so I checked it out.
My trip there: trying to find a wingman, shuttle bus, wait forever at Sullivan, arrive at Green street at 10:09, sketchy yet un-incidental walk to the midway + I wasn’t 100% sure of where I was going/things look different at night (didn’t realize was right next to Doyle’s which I’d been to before after the Sam Adams Brewery tour)
Upon entering the Midway I had to show my ID (something I’m not used to doing at HK) and was faced with a $5 cover charge. This meant that your boy, cheap as he is, wouldn’t be getting himself a drink. The bar was a dive but in a fun way. It had the creepy charm of the Korova milk bar from A Clockwork Orange. There was at least one white plaster bust of some historical figure and colorful Christmas lights hanging around the entire place.
It is immediately apparent that this is not your ordinary karaoke night. I suppose none are ordinary and all have their unique flair. I guess I’ve gotten so used to Highland, but this, this was out of control (in a good way). For one, the floor is packed with people standing, dancing, chatting, and singing. Hardly anyone is just sitting at the bar, or the few tables, enjoying a drink. For another, the mics are cordless (HK could learn from this) and there is a stage, an actual elevated stage where the performers go up and sing; center of attention. Additionally, there is a laptop, that’s right, a laptop, where you type in the song or artist you’re looking for, select it, then enter your name and it puts you into the queue.
Though I am typically outgoing, in new places when I’m by myself, I am kind of shy. I found a spot for my coat and, after putting in my song, soon made my way to the middle of the dance floor. I sort of stood and danced, awkwardly observing and feeling out the crowd. Eventually, I talked to a few people. I even ran into a guy, John, that I went to college with. I tried to avoid him but he soon spotted me and we chatted for a bit, NBD. I found my stride and was soon dancing like I would at a wedding or anywhere else I feel comfortable. It also helps when the song is one you know.
Then, all of a sudden, the karaoke stopped and it broke out into a full on dance party. It was exactly what you would expect with the lights low and the Doof, Doof, Doof, music. I felt like I was at a rave. I couldn’t really get into it until some Daft Punk came on. After ten or so minutes of that, the karaoke resumed. I knew I was going to have to leave soon in order to make the last train. Assuming it left [leaves] Forrest Hills at midnight, and that the walk from the bar to the station take roughly ten minutes, on top of the fact that I am a very punctual person, I knew I was going to have to leave at around 11:40, 11:45 the latest. So, in spite of telling the MC my predicament, and in spite the fact that there was only one more person up before me, at 11:43 I split, avoiding an awkward goodbye from John as I did.
I got to the station and asked the T worker what time the last train leaves. 12:36 she said. Damn. I could have stayed to sing my song. Oh well, I’ll for sure go next week, and I’ll be sure to get there earlier and to stay later. It was still a fun night.
I made my way down to the platform and nervously noticed the electronic signs were only displaying train arrival times bound for Forrest Hills. Were they not running trains inbound back to Sullivan? Eventually, at around 11:56 they displayed an incoming inbound train that was 5 minutes away. Forgetting they were bussing and assuming I’d be able to get off at Oak Grove, I made my way to the last car. I rode all the way to Sullivan and then was reminded to get off.
I made my way to the escalator and at the top, a weird twist of fate. Amongst the random heard of sheeple, there was my friend Evan. He was walking out with his brother Ryan and Ryan’s GF (whose name I forget, sorry). We hugged and exchanged the typical “What the fuck are you doing here?” exclamation. They had seen Neutral Milk Hotel at the Orpheum. (Which was weird because one of the girls I texted to join me said she couldn’t come because she too was at that show.)
We started to make our way down to the shuttle when Evan and I noticed that Ryan and his GF were not right behind us. We stopped and turned around to see that they were chatting with some other dude they know. What the fuck! We chatted with them before parting ways and hopping on the bus. It was cool to not have to ride home alone (photo at top of post) and to chill one-on-one with a couple people from my circle of friends that I usually only see with the rest of my friends. It also made me totally forget about not singing. To top it off, I assumed since they live in Malden that they were going to get off at the Malden Center stop. However, they said that Oak Grove was actually closer for them.
We rode all the way to the last stop together before saying our goodbyes (although I’m going to see them tonight at a house party) and parting ways. It made my lonely walk home a little less lonely. Plus, it was fortunately not very cold outside, and on top of that, I got a few good pictures on the walk home. A really nice way to cap off a long and ridiculous (but good) evening.