Soundcheck: Dirty Frank's Dirtyoke

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Wigs, feather boas, velvet hats and a prom dress. All of them are inside Collin Clemons' costume bin, and most of them make it on to one of the patrons of Monday-night karaoke at Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace - call it "Dirtyoke" for short.

"It just makes the karaoke a bit more silly and more fun," explained Clemons, the rookie karaoke jock who's been running the night under the name KJ Dirtyoke. "I think it tends to get people up to the mike easier if they can dress up and pretend it's not them. They won't be as embarrassed or whatever."

Last week that was certainly the case, as customers crowded their way to the front of the bar to belt out everything from Will Smith to Metallica to Sublime while wearing some of Clemons' ridiculous wardrobe.

He inherited the costumes and the karaoke equipment from Amy Brennick, a friend who used to run various karaoke nights around town before getting a "real job." Before Dirty Frank's owner Harold LaRue offered Clemons the night, he had only hosted three private events as a KJ.

The learning curve has been quick, though, thanks in part to a devoted crowd of regulars that sprung up pretty much immediately when the Monday event began three months ago.

Bryan Sears shows up frequently. After being barraged with show tunes at local gay bars' karaoke nights, he appreciates the variety of music performed at Dirtyoke. As for the costumes, he could take 'em or leave 'em.

"If you want to put it on, you can," Sears said. "I did not, but that's because I'm vain."

Minutes later, Sears got up from the bar and joined a friend halfway through singing Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice."

Gaudy garb like a cowboy hat, an inflatable guitar and a wig with a clothesline and clothespins hanging off it appeared on stage as singers busted out novelty tracks like Bloodhound Gang's "The Bad Touch" and Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy." Despite the occasional lull, the party kept picking back up.

One area Clemons hopes to improve soon is his song selection, which hovers around 2,500 - paltry compared to some of the million-strong collections around town.

The tunes he does have seem to keep his crowd happy, though, as was evident when a guy and gal hopped up front to lead the entire bar through a rousing take on "Hey Jude."

Dirty Frank's Dirtyoke

When: 9 p.m. Mondays

Where: Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace, Downtown