Political sing-along 

Tough political times call for creative ideas. And with American pop culture being what it is, it makes sense that someone would use this election to sing votes, instead of swing them.

That said, doo-wop and Dubya dissin’ will be the theme for karaoke or we should say Kerry-oke — tonight (Aug. 11) at Fifth Avenue Billiards in Royal Oak.

Five citizens from Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge three advertising reps, a school psychologist and a paper stock salesman organized the event because they are hell-bent on raising enough energy and awareness to help give the current White House resident the boot.

“We came up with the idea when we were sitting around one day brainstorming,” says co-organizer and school psychologist Kelly Elliot. “Someone just started going, ‘Kerry … Kerry-oke’.” The idea stuck, and planning commenced.

News Hits had to laugh at the promotional postcard for the event, a picture of Kerry dressed as Elvis Presley and posing in front of the word “KERRY-OKE,” which appears in disco lights.

While Kerry, with his stiff, Herman Munster jawline and forehead, is hardly a rock star, patrons can be. For a $25 entry fee, and five more bucks per song, participants can murder their favorite tune, or at least one that’s appropriate to the theme of the night.

If you’re not the musical type, don’t sweat it. Non-singers can pay to nominate someone else to croon for them, or kick out a few dollars to gong hapless wannabes off the stage. It’s a zany scheme, the kind that is often inspired by stiff drinks, not a stiff jaw.

“I think we’re all gonna try to sing,” says Elliott of her co-planners. “Maybe we’ll sing some patriotic songs. Bush fans who show up can sing ‘I’m a Loser’ by Beck.”

The committee says the lighthearted nature of the event does not change the bottom line. Ann Perry, an advertising representative who says she passed out more than 1,000 postcards at Kerry’s Taylor visit alone, characterizes herself and her friends as “concerned citizens who want to help make a change in the White House.”

She says they are representative of a new wave of nontraditional voters hovering below the radar of traditional polls. “Kerry-oke,” she says, is an example of the imagination it takes to tap those constituents and get them involved in the political process.

“It’s an amazing grassroots effort,” she says, suggesting that polls showing Bush and Kerry locked in a dead heat may not be accurate in determining anti-Bush angst.

“There are a lot of people who aren’t being reached. [Pollsters] are not reaching people’s cell phones. I don’t answer my home phone anymore; just my fax is on that. And the Internet is changing this election a lot. It’s exciting.”

While members of this group, ranging in age from 29 to 40, are sticking their creative feet in the presidential race, Republicans seem to be sticking to more traditional methods of swaying voters. Still, they say, they’re having a ball.

Scott Pascoli, field director for the College Republicans National Committee, which is currently working to attract new party members on campuses across the state, including the University of Michigan, says the GOP is just brimming with goo-gobs of glee.

“We have fun stuff,” he says, “We have a program called ‘Operation: Pigskin,’ where we go to football games and hand out palm cards. We canvass dorms. We go out, we have social events. We have pizza. It’s just real fun. And people tell their friends. It just cascades through.”

The GOP, he says, tends to stick to events that create opportunities for discussion.

For more information on Kerry-oke, call 248-506-7456 or 248-321-7567. Proceeds will be donated to Moveon.org.

Although we feel unclean for passing this info along, if you want to find out more about college Republicans, direct your Web browser to crnc.org.

Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]

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