Karaoke highlights the night life at Beverly Beach
BEVERLY BEACH -- On Saturday night, Pat Mynes and her "buddy" Sid rock the mic at The Shark House in Beverly Beach.
Mynes, who lives in the Hammock, has performed karaoke at the restaurant and bar for the past 12 years -- with dummies. The ventriloquist has performed with dummies for more than 30 years and often at The Shark House with Sid, the old biker, or Joe, the smoking camel who coughs while he sings.
Mynes calls the dummies her "buddies." They sit on her lap and croon along to the songs, she said.
Sid -- who wears a leather vest and sings with a gruff voice -- loves to belt out tunes like "I Love This Bar" by Toby Keith or "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher, Mynes said.
People who are initially hesitant to sing before crowds often loosen up after they see Sid, Mynes said.
"I bring him out and have him do a song or two," she said "So it kind of breaks the ice."
Mynes, who performs three times a week, said she loves singing karaoke with her "buddies" and the locals who come to The Shark House. "I have a great time," she said.
And so do the regulars. Mike Morgan of Palm Coast is one in a community of singers who takes pleasure in karaoke. The retiree who was in a band "about 100 years ago" is known around Flagler County for his Marvin Gaye renditions.
"I guess it's like how somebody would wear a Dale Earnhardt shirt," he said. "It's just a small way to say, 'Marvin, I miss you.' "
Regulars say about 50 to 200 people or so travel from bar to bar during the week throughout the county. They've become friends from their routine, cheering and slow dancing during the four-hour shows.
Flagler Beach resident Gladdys B. Chesser started singing karaoke when she was 76. Now 80, she's a regular, and residents say they've seen her dancing at a Flagler Beach bar, Finnegan's, until 2 a.m.
And some folks have gotten married, said karaoke show host Harry Smith.
The host runs his show, Harryoke!, six nights a week, a favorite among locals. In 2004, residents had a 12-hour benefit concert for Smith after he broke his neck and split open his head in a car crash. He didn't have health insurance at the time.
And after months of recuperating, Smith is back in action. He said the karaoke industry has changed some over the years.
He's wary of hosts who use pirated music to offer a wider selection. And though television show "American Idol" has encouraged more people to practice their singing, Smith posts an essay on his MySpace Web page about the pitfalls of "American Idol" and how he thinks the contests are rigged.
His waist-length ponytail blows in the air conditioning on stage as he nimbly shuffles through his thousands of songs and calls singers "Angolalala" or "Sassy" onto the stage.
"If you have an interest in getting a tattoo, you'd seek it out," he said, drawing a comparison to the karaoke following. "Other people work up to the idea, and once they get down to it, it becomes a lifestyle."