'SCARYOKE!!!' to Bring Fun and Fear of Karaoke to TriBeCa Gallery

By Irene Plagianos on September 23, 2013 8:28am | Updated on September 23, 2013 8:47am

 A man belts out a tune in a Koreatown karaoke bar. The fun and fear of karaoke is being explored in a new exhibit at TriBeCa gallery Apexart.
A man belts out a tune in a Koreatown karaoke bar. The fun and fear of karaoke is being explored in a new exhibit at TriBeCa gallery Apexart.
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Flickr/valjean615

TRIBECA — Karaoke can be fun, terrifying — or sometimes, just plain bad.

But for one TriBeCa gallery, it’s art.

Starting in November, Apexart will be transformed into a karaoke hot spot, complete with free beer and snacks, for the gallery’s "SCARYOKE!!!" exhibit, which explores the exhilaration — and fear — of live singing.

The show will give gallery visitors a chance to sing in a variety of recreated settings, ranging from a stage to more private spots where people often belt out a tune when it seems like no one's listening, like a shower or a car, said Julia Knight, Apexart's operations director.

The exhibit, which runs from Nov. 7 through Dec. 21 at 291 Church St., is the brainchild of journalist Dan Kois, a senior culture editor at Slate.com, who wrote a feature for the New York Times Magazine about the popular karaoke scene in Portland, Ore.

Kois watched groups of friends play “Scaryoke” — a game in which one would-be crooner heads onstage to sing a surprise karaoke song chosen by pals.  The excitement and fear of the game inspired his karaoke exploration at Apexart, Knight said.

Each year, Apexart chooses two curators outside of the traditional art world to create an exhibit, which led to Kois’ SCARYOKE, Knight said.

Along with opportunities for live singing, the gallery will host a series of karaoke-related events.

John Brophy, a Portland “KJ," or karaoke jock, has chosen the playlist of 15 songs for the exhibit — and he’ll be KJ-ing the opening-night karaoke party, Knight said.

There’s no limit to how long participants can sing, and the gallery, which usually stays open until 6 p.m., will extend its hours to 1 a.m. on some nights.

The schedule of events will be available on Apexart's website in the coming weeks, Knight said.

The singers will all be videotaped, to create 15 short films, compilations of people singing each song, for a public viewing down the road.

 "SCARYOKE!!!" a new exhibit coming to TriBeCa art gallery Apexart, will explore the fun and fear of live singing.
"SCARYOKE!!!" a new exhibit coming to TriBeCa art gallery Apexart, will explore the fun and fear of live singing.
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Courtesy of Apexart

"It will certainly be an interesting couple of weeks," Knight said.

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