What’s a “movieoke”?

It’s a portmaneau of the phrase- “movie [scene] karaoke.”

Movieoke as a concept was started by Anastasia Fite in New York City in 2003.

Since December 2008, Katy Collins and her crew have been doing Movieoke events from locations around the Chicago area- ranging from private parties to regular monthly events. It’s a lot of fun to view, and even more fun to participate- especially if you partake in a little liquid courage before heading up on stage.

The monthly Movieoke events are at The Whistler (at 2421 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood) every 1st Monday of the month at 9pm.

How does it work?

Short Version:

1) Choose a scene.
2) Have a drink.
3) Get on stage.
4) Be awesome.
(Repeat as necessary)

Long version:
Much like a standard karaoke bar, you get a list book when you enter. Except, instead of a list of songs, you have a list of movie scenes. The scenes run the gamut from classic movies to recent blockbusters, from popular fare to obscure titles, from epic speeches to multi-part ensemble scenes. The list also contains the amount of people in a scene, but if you want to perform all the characters all by yourself, that’s perfectly all right. If you want to perform a scene with friends or complete strangers, feel free. When you have chosen a scene you want to do, seek out Katy (or whoever is the host for that evening), and let her know your name which scene you want to do.
When you are called upon by the host, you will step onto the performance area (at The Whistler there’s a stage, but other locations may have just an area of the room.) There will be two screens showing the movie- a larger one pointing towards the audience for everyone to see the scene play out while you perform, and one pointing towards you so that you know how far along in the scene you are (and so that you’re not looking over your shoulder to see the scene).
Don’t remember the lines? No problem- almost all the scenes have closed captioning (and those that don’t soon will), so all you need to do is read the lines from your monitor if you’re not familiar with the scene. However- if you know the dialogue like the back of your hand, have fun with it- mimic the movements or vocal performance of the actors on screen, improvise lines in case there’s a scene with no dialogue, etc. One thing is certain, though- you won’t get booed if you miss a line or two. We in the audience know how much courage it takes to get on that stage and perform in front of strangers, so just the very idea that you’re willing to put it all on the line will earn our respect.
Just a couple tips:

  • Be careful not to stand in front of the projector- the audience wants to see both you and the movie you’re quoting.
  • Speak clearly into the microphone. We need to hear you.
  • If there’s microphone feedback, step away from the speakers.
  • We want everyone to have a shot to get on stage, so when you’re done, you don’t need to go into a comedy routine or sing. People are there to drink and see movie performances.

How much does it cost to do a scene?

Nothing! The bar may charge a cover (Whistler doesn’t, but others may), but there is no cost to actually participate in Movieoke. Just seek out the host, grab a book, and have a good time.

That one scene that I really really like from my favorite movie is not in the list!

That’s not a question, but I know what you mean. There are hundreds of scenes available, and a lot of scenes are lined up for inclusion into the list, but there are only so many hours in the day, and this is being done in the crew’s spare time. If you’d like to submit a recommendation of a scene to include in the list, you can contact the crew using the form on this site. It may not be on the scene roster on your next visit, but they’ll definitely keep it in mind for inclusion.

Why is Movieoke only done at The Whistler on Mondays?

It’s the day that was agreed upon between the Movieoke crew and The Whistler. You never know, though, if other days could be scheduled in the future. Check out this web site or the Chicago Movieoke Twitter feed (@ChicagoMovieoke) for updated times and schedules.

I’d like to have Movieoke at my bar (or company party, convention, or what have you). Can you do that?

It depends on our availability, but if given enough advance time, the answer will probably be “yes”! Use our contact form for more information and rates!

You didn’t answer my question yet!

Again, not a question, but that’s cool. For more information, tweet at the Chicago Movieoke feed, or fill out the contact form on this site!

Will you update this FAQ as more info develops?

You bet!