Karoake with a splash of 'Cosmic Slop'

Heralding the resurrection of the shut-down and much-missed Northeast Minneapolis music venue Stasiu's, which reopened earlier this month as Stanley's Bar Room, DJ Joel Stitzel will launch his contribution to the ancient art of karaoke with The Infernal Singalong Machine.

Featuring over 20,000 songs from the last 50 years of pop music history, The Infernal Singalong Machine (ISM) is a chance for people to satisfy their need to make fools of themselves by attempting to sing popular songs in public. They can do so with the eclectic music collection of the unpaid--but far from amateur--music historian Joel Stitzel.

For those who aren't familiar with the man, Stitzel is the former co-host of Cosmic Slop, Radio K's weekly celebration of forgotten hits, album tracks, demos, and obscurities from the first three decades (1950-1980) of rock 'n' roll history. Since he and co-host Chuck Tomlinson called it a day in 2004, fans of Slop have had to make do with Joel and Chuck's occasional revivals of their show on podcast and Joel's solo appearances at special events, spinning selections from a digital and vinyl collection that spans into infinity. ISM marks the first regular, weekly gig for this rock scholar in quite some time.

Stanley's Bar Room will keep inspiration going with a lineup of 32 tap beers, including the ubiquitous Surly brews and other four-star microbrews. Should potential ISM talent suffer from too much inspiration, or for that matter stage fright, they can relieve their burdens in the establishment's classic restrooms. These repositories continue to boast the vintage 1940's design that were the hallmark of Stasiu's--right down to the urinals where men in mid-drink can rest their beers while performing their, ahem, vocal excercises.

Those who think karaoke is a relic of the Clinton presidency should take note that it continues to fill bars and night spots across the country, including local haunts such as the Saloon and Vegas Lounge. What makes Stitzel's addition unique is that should patrons wish to test their mettle on a tune by the 1960's one-hit wonder band The Shocking Blue that is not their lone U.S. hit, "Venus," or a deep track from the 1980's two-hit wonder trio Banarama that is not their cover of "Venus" (or "Cruel Summer"), chances are good that Stitzel will be able to satisfy that request. Beyond that, he should have every major Billboard chart hit from the mid-1950s to today in stock, as well as those B-sides and deep cuts that some of us sing along to far more than the hits from the same albums.

So, send your dancing feet and singing (and drinking) gob over to Stanley's Bar Room on Wednesday nights and submit yourself to the one Idol contest where nobody loses--though there is no guarantee that there won't be a Simon Cowelllurking in the audience ready to send you crying to one of those inspiring restrooms.

Joel Stitzel's karaoke night will be held 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Wednesday nights at Stanley's Bar Room (2500 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis).

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