Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's official ...

Step One: laying a base at Gronk's.
Every year Chuck and The Great Archivist have a double birthday party at a different venue in West Duluth, ranging from Chinese restaurants to bar-bars to bowling alleys to dive bars where pull tabs count as live entertainment. They call this The Birthday Rally in Spirit Valley and their crazy maniac friend from Minneapolis sets the tone with his rock 'n' roll and devil horns and either six people show up or sixty and it's always at least kind of fun if not the best night ever. And it is always different. No two birthday rallys would ever be confused, even if you met them in a dark alley and they were wearing the same hat and you could only see out of one eye.

This year's party was held at a coffee shop (a coffee shop that also serves beer and wine) and included a local jazzy space lounge band wearing shiny baby blue choir robes.

Here are a few facts from the 40th Annual Birthday Rally in Spirit Valley:


Old Knifey set up a craft station with pipe cleaners, red and green beads, coloring books and crayons. I didn't think it was a terrible idea, but I didn't realize it was a great idea until I'd made myself a wreath bracelet and colored a picture of two elves. "Do you think I'm being antisocial?" I asked Chuck when he found me hours later at this table in the back of the coffee shop. "No," he said. "You're coloring with friends."

True story: The band stalled its set to read a proclamation from the mayor of Duluth declaring December 14, 2012 Rally in Spirit Valley Day. It had an official seal and was contained in a menu-like binder. Meanwhile, the mayor looked on and nodded his approval. This is only shocking if you don't live here, but cool either way.

I didn't get a good photo of the band, but here is a video by them that I really like:



Old Knifey also brought a Santa suit to the party -- not sure why or how he managed to bring a costume and craft station with him on the bus -- and introduced the special guest with an acoustic version of something Christmas-y that escapes me now. Santa passed out CDs, Candy Canes, holiday mugs. I would definitely recommend inviting Old Knifey to your birthday rally.


After the coffee shop closed, we all went to a bar across the street. People had been sneaking off there all night anyway to chug shots. It was karaoke night.

Here's Chuck with some of his birthday loot. Photo by Millsy. 
The Lake Superior Cacophonic Choir performed "I Got all the Fucking Work I Need" which, oddly enough, seemed to delight the regulars who joined in on the very catchy chorus, simply "I Got All The Fucking Work I Need." Like, when The Great Archivist yelled out "Just the men!" they complied. Same with when he yelled "Just the Roller Dames!"


Apparently I've been tossing out my "voice of an angel" compliment in a way that has been deemed willy nilly. When Old Knifey, who has earned that distinction, saw Nels, who has earned that distinction, he said "Oh, yeah. You're one of three people who Christa said 'has the voice of an angel' at her birthday party." I actually mean it literally every time I say it. These people are great singers. Later, while Nels was performing an Alan Jackson song, Knifey admitted: "You're right. He does have the voice of an angel."

Millsy and Nels! Love these cute faces. 
Aside from poorly lit karaoke photos, I seem to have stopped taking meaningful photos at this point. Chuck performed "Gin & Juice," but crapped out on "Jump Around." The Great Archivist sang "MacArthur Park," a song I'd never heard but that Millsy said was part of the lineup on an old player piano she had when she was growing up.

I only sang new untested material, including Whitney Houston and Madonna. For JCrew I broke my personal karaoke regulations and agreed to perform a song I've never sung with another person. We did "Knowing Me, Knowing You" by ABBA, which wasn't terrible. Although she mostly stood there and sang quietly and later told me she didn't want to bust it out because she is "afraid" of me. She should be. I hate duets to non-duet songs and I hate novelty songs. I take karaoke pretty seriously. The DJ only calls your name so often, and I never want to waste a round on something silly. On this occasion, I decided to stop being such a fucking snob and to live a little. I'll probably go back to my old ways the next time I'm near a microphone.

At the end of the night we packed up Chuck's loot -- mayoral proclamations, mugs, gift certificates and Christmas ornaments -- and hit the Taco John's drive thru. "I like the No. 6," Chuck said before we even saw the menu board. "With chicken." We went home and watched part of "Alive." I ate the remainder of Chuck's No. 6 -- he's right about that -- and put another Birthday Rally in Spirit Valley to bed.

1 comment:

Mach1 said...

I still love that his name is Old Knifey.