Brooke and I went out last Wednesday evening to celebrate our Third Anniversary. After walking downtown to our favorite $1 dumpling stand in Chinatown, then to our favorite neighborhood speakeasy for a drink, then to dinner, we went to a place we've been meaning to visit since we moved here - Marie's Crisis Cafe. This bar has the wonderful theme of a showtunes sing-a-long. A piano player in the center of the room constantly plays selections from some of the most popular musicals of all time and invites the crowd to join in as much as possible.

Brooke tipped him a dollar and asked for something from The Music Man. Ten minutes later, we had already flown through 4 Meredith Wilson songs. Not bad for a dollar. I was hoping for a little "Trouble in River City" to no avail - maybe next time though. I suppose that's a hard song to pull off unless you're Robert Preston.

Next, we listened to our waitress, Suzanne, sing a heartwarming version of Mama from Minnie's Boys. She also gave us a free round of drinks when we mentioned it was our anniversary. I later asked Jim the piano player if he knew Stairway to Paradise by George Gershwin from An American in Paris. He knew chorus, he said, so we all sang it through a couple times. That is another difficult song to learn. Although the chorus is straightforward, the first two verses have these steadily climbing changes that were just awful to figure out. And the final chorus modulates up a half step, which is always fun to figure out how to chord properly.

As we were leaving a guy sitting in front of the piano with his girlfriend asked me if I was straight too, to which I replied with a strange look, "Uh, yes." He then put out his fist for one of those hip new handshakes and said "Alright!" Weird, I thought. Anyway, it feels good to sit in a bar and sing with other people. It doesn't matter if it's showtunes or Czech folk songs; it's the same level of comraderie. I can't wait to go back.