Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dawn Karaoke

Being turned away from the PGA Tour was not the end of the world. I had a kickin' resume and, as previously stated, I had the Lord on my side! No sabbath-day work for this girl!

With endless optimism, I started calling and emailing everyone in Jacksonville who is even slightly interested in television production. I had my name added to the Jacksonville Film Commission website. I called and emailed and applied to jobs at all the news stations. I signed up for and applied to film and media jobs all over Florida. I met with local media enthusiasts who were occasional contractors on media projects. I had a Skype interview with some media entrepreneurs in New York City. At one point, my mom heard on the news that a film crew was coming to Jacksonville so I looked up the production company's information on imdbPro and emailed them with my interest and my resume. I think I may have directly emailed Stephen Baldwin at one point.

The point is, I did EVERYTHING I could think of to try to gain employment in my field. I even went back to the PGA Tour and met with a different division in the media department to see if they needed any production coordinators or assistants. But the few responses I received didn't lead to me working for Oprah or Steven Spielberg. They led me to some bummed out soul searching. I was 23. Unemployed. Living with mom.

Wait, why was it a good choice to move back?

My lack of employment also led me to another revelation. I didn't have any friends in Jacksonville. At least none between the ages of 16 and 40 and/or didn't live in my house. Not that I necessarily needed non-relative, non-Warner-family friends. I kept my social life quite full by sunning myself in the backyard by day and watching The Bachelor with my mom by night.

But I needed peers. I needed someone who could relate to my quarter-life crisis. I was also hoping to have a few stereotypical young-and-single experiences like the ones I had seen in LMFAO music videos. Being at BYU hadn't afforded me many (any) of those. Don't get me wrong, I love BYU and had wonderful academic experiences. But in Provo, if I wanted to go dancing, it would take an inordinate amount of effort to find someone who had the motivation, time, and resources to go with me. It also required an hour-long drive to Salt Lake City. There are no clubs in Provo. There are no bars. There are no coffee shops. There are only 35 frozen yogurt shops and a 24/7 Denny's.

The exception is Halloween, the night I looked forward to all year. This was the night where everyone and their relief society president threw a costume dance party. I would dress up as something fun, but not dance-restrictive and hop from party to party all night, boogie-ing until my feet ached.

Then I would wait 364 days for it to come around again.

Now that I was back in Jacksonville, I was hoping to find someone who would help me live out some young and reckless fantasies. No, I didn't want to wake up vomiting marijuana into a top hat. I didn't want to try any alcohol, drugs or other harmful substances. But dang it, I wanted to DANCE. And sing karaoke. And go somewhere where you have to show ID to get in. I wanted a few sketchy friends who could provide my life with variety and stories about vomiting marijuana into top hats. The starchy, sterile, poverty of Provo had made me a little stir crazy and I wanted to get a taste of teenage rebellion. Or 23-year-old rebellion. Or something.

But no job and no friends led to a lot of sunning myself in the backyard by day and watching The Bachelor with my mom by night.

Until everything changed.

One night my mother and I were at a family restaurant for their karaoke night. Tess, a kind, Filipina lady from church had invited us and I was excited because, without sketchy friends, this would be the closest I could get to any kind of party life.

We showed up at Wing-It, ordered some appetizers and Tess and I put our names on the list for singing. After a preteen finished singing Love Story by Taylor Swift, I took the stage to sing Respect by Aretha Franklin. I enjoy singing this song for karaoke because it fits my range pretty well and it's fun to be the white girl rocking out to some Aretha. The audience seemed to enjoy it and the DJ even gave me his card in case I was ever interested in collaborating on some recordings.

I may not be anywhere close to winning American Idol, but karaoke suits my talents perfectly. People aren't looking to be judgmental; they're looking to see their friends make fools out of themselves. With the bar set low, I always feel like a celebrity when singing karaoke.

When I returned to my booth, my mom hugged me and told me I did great. Then, out of nowhere, a random girl appeared in our booth.
"You did a really great job!" She said.
"Thank you!" I responded, trying to match her enthusiasm.
"Hey are you looking for a job?"
I was dumbfounded. What an odd, strangely pertinent question. "Uh. Yeah."
She launched into her next question. "Have you heard of Harmonious Monks?"
A vague bell went off in the back of my mind. Hadn't I been there once for a tai kwon do banquet ten years ago or something?

Then she went into a spiel that went something like this:

"Well there's this place called Harmonious Monks and all the servers there are singers and they put on a show and it's great. My roommate works there. His name is Ethan and he's gay and a musician and he's so funny. You should come over and jam with us some time! He would just love you. Anyway, I know the owner of 'Monks' (that's what we call it!) so I could get you an audition. I'm sure the owner would hire you. Anyway, take my number! I'm gonna give you my number! And we can get together sometime and you could sing at Monks! That would be so cool."

To be polite, I pulled out my flip phone and added her to my contacts. Her name was Dawn and I didn't know her last name, so I added her as Dawn Karaoke. She complimented my singing once more and bounced back into the night from whence she came.

The rest of the night was fun and low-key. Tess sang some Faith Hill and my mom and I cheered in support. Then it was time to go home and go to bed. Afterall, it was past 9! No one of esteemed repute does anything after 9pm.

That night, after returning back home, I flipped open my phone and looked at Dawn Karaoke's number. Should I delete it? Who was this random girl? No, I did not want to work in a bar. I was a TV producer, not a waitress.

But my itch for adventure started to kick in. She's young, single and lives with a gay musician. She wanted me to come over and "jam" with them. This could be exactly the kind of social shake-up I was looking for. A nice, non-BYU social experience. Who knows? Maybe she would even know some good places to go dancing.

I opened a blank text message and addressed it to Dawn Karaoke. "Hey it's Asia from Wing It". I made sure to leave out some punctuation so that I would look appropriately laid back.

Then I hit send.

I didn't hear back from Dawn that night. As a matter of fact I didn't hear from her for a while. I shrugged it off and continued my life as usual. I was getting really tan and beginning to feel really unemployable. My impressive resume was starting to look like a list of fun things I did in college. Maybe I could be a waitress, I joked to myself.

Then, one Wednesday night I was watching Frasier re-runs in my mom's room. I was in my jammies, no make up, head-on-pillow, ready to pass out for the night. It was 11pm. Then suddenly I got a text from Dawn. "Hey I'm at Monks and the owner is here! You have to come right now so I can introduce you!"

What do I do? Do I put on some pants and go to a bar at 11pm on a Wednesday because a random stranger texted me and told me I should?

 I showed my mom the text. She shrugged. But it was an excited shrug that was less of an "I don't know" and more of an "Adventure could await you!".

Adventure won out.

I threw on some jeans and baggy sweatshirt and jumped in my car to go meet up with Dawn Karaoke and the mysterious owner of a bar called Harmonious Monks.


  1. Asia, I'm loving this story! Can't wait to see what happens next! And for the record, I think you could do just about anything with that talented voice of yours. Especially singing with monks.

    P.S. I played one of your songs while I rocked my baby to sleep and he loved it!

  2. Heather, that is the sweetest thing I've ever heard :)


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