Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Why I Stood Up Chris Brogan for Our Karaoke Duet

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 11:30 am on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Glenda Watson Hyatt and Chris Brogan
(Photo credit: Duong Shehan)

On the Sunday morning of last year’s SOBCon (a conference for Successful and Outstanding Bloggers), Chris Brogan said he missed me at karaoke the previous night and that he had a song in mind for me; one he felt I could sing because it only has one word – Tequila!

Honestly, I had never pictured myself doing karaoke, but I was touched that Chris had pictured it and had given it enough thought to have a song in mind. “Next year,” I said with a smile!

For the most part, when I say I’m going to do something, I do it. It may take me a while, but I try to keep my word. I didn’t brush off and forget “next year”. For months after SOBCon09, I kept thinking, What have I gotten myself into this time?

Then I went ziplining across Robson Square, completely blurring the line between ability and disability, between can and can’t, and whatever other arbitrary lines that exist, and leaving me at the point where I’m saying, “Bring it on, Life! I’m ready!”

Karaoke? What’s the worst that could happen? I could make a fool of myself on stage for four minutes. Like no one else has ever done that before at karaoke! Besides, once everyone else is sufficiently imbibed, I may sound pretty good.

Shortly before leaving for Chicago, I asked Chris if we were still on for our karaoke duet. (I’m unsure whether Chris originally intended Tequila to be a duet, but I figured we might as well have fun together while I’m making a fool of myself.) In typical Brogan-style, he responded with an enthusiastic yes!

Saturday evening a group of us were hanging out at Morton’s Bar & Grill, getting organized to head over to the Blue Frog Bar & Grill to meet up with fellow SOBs for karaoke. My friend Hope kindly phoned the Blue Frog to ask if they are wheelchair accessible. They aren’t.

The group left for the Blue Frog. I went back to the hotel to go bed, disappointed. In that moment, inaccessibility wasn’t about the law, my rights, or me being part of an under tapped market. In that moment, it was about missing the opportunity to do something crazy and unexpected with someone I admire, respect and trust.

Perhaps next time, Chris!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Comment by Christine

May 18, 2010 @ 11:56 am

Sorry to hear about that Bar in Chicago. I found a facebook page for them & linked your blog post on their reviews tab.

I imagine that Karaoke performance would have been FANTASTIC!!

Comment by Glenda

May 18, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

Wow Christine, thanks! I’m curious to see what results from this post…


Comment by Bill Rice

May 18, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

Next year. We have the song and the gumption. Now, we just need the right Karaoke bar.

P.S., I’m impressed with your courage. I could access the bar and still chickened out.

Comment by Danielle Smith

May 18, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

Glenda – you are a brave soul – I was there and couldn’t bring myself to do it…. I will look forward to seeing you sing next year – and we’ll find just the right place 🙂

Comment by Chris Brogan...

May 18, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

It never dawned on me that we might have been able to just do a bit of lifting. Is that even a possibility for next time?

Comment by Glenda

May 18, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

Chris, you’ve read my book – have I ever passed up being carried by a good looking guy?! 😉

Comment by Connie Reece

May 18, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

Glenda, thanks for this post! I just sent it to my friends who plan all the Techkaraoke events and asked if they checked accessibility when booking events. They assured me they do. I was sure glad to hear that. And I would LOVE to hear that duet with you and Chris. I would be the crazy woman in the pink boa in the back screaming encouragement. 🙂

Comment by Howard Greenstein

May 18, 2010 @ 2:48 pm

Fight for your right to party, girl!

Comment by George Krueger

May 18, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

If only we had known, Glenda. I would’ve have broken down doors (or door frames) to hear that duet! But just remember, it’s Chicago … so we’ll just have to say for now … Wait ’til next year!

Comment by Judy Martin

May 18, 2010 @ 3:50 pm


Your heartfelt post needs to be seen and read. It was a courageous thing to do and humbling to read. You did a service by sharing. Awareness is everything.

As for next year – we should just rent the batman room and bring in our own Karaoke machine.

Comment by Kneale Mann

May 18, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

Next time we shall find a place to sit and watch you and Chris serenade us all night. I shall be fighting the rest for a seat in the front row.

It was an honor to meet you and chat with you at SOBCon. You are an inspiration – not for the obvious, but for the far less obvious that we all get to discover when we finally get the honor to meet you. xo

Comment by S Emerson

May 18, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

Glenda, my heart goes out to you. How disappointing after such a build up.

Chin up! You have come a long way Baby since I encouraged you to speak at our networking club those couple of years ago.

Comment by Karen Putz

May 18, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

Awww, crap! Next year, I’m sure they’ll hunt for an accessible bar or we’ll line up the dudes and bring you in with style. I just might break my leg the night before so I can get carried in too.

Comment by Keith Hosey

May 18, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

Hey Glenda,
Have you thought about putting a review on JJ’s list? It’s based in Chicago and I don’t know what good it might do, but couldn’t hurt to try.

Comment by Alli Worthington

May 18, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

Next year we will make it happen!

Comment by Glenda

May 18, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

Thank you everyone for your supportive and encouraging words. I’m sitting here, thinking about it and, to be honest, I am not mad at the Blue Frog in the least. A “non-verbal woman in a scooter” is likely not their karaoke market. That thought is kinda amusing in a way, really.

But, I was and still am disappointed. Disappointed that I missed having fun with Brogan and others. Disappointed that I ended going to bed while my friends were out partying. That felt like high school all over again. Disappointed that accessibility is still so much of an issue in every day for so many.

I’ve been at this, in various ways, for forty-something years and still there’s a problem with getting in the front the door at too many places.

I’m almost at the point where I do not want to fight any more. I’ve had enough of saying the same thing over and over. Instead, what I’d love to do is to grow and nourish disciples who go out and make things happen within their communities and organizations. So it’s not always the “bitter disabled person whining for access”. And I am beginning to see that happening – like how Christine posted this post’s link on the Blue Frog’s Facebook page and whatever else will happen in the coming days – and it’s those little things en masse that will result in significant change. I’m only the insitigator; the one who stirs the pot.

And, if anyone from the Blue Frog sees this, a ramp at the front door (or three strong bouncers) and a free round for 150 of my closest social media friends next May would be an awesome resolution!

Comment by Connie Reece

May 18, 2010 @ 9:49 pm

Glenda, getting to know you through Twitter and your blog has made me much more of an accessibility advocate. So count me as one of your disciples. 🙂

Comment by Glenda

May 18, 2010 @ 10:43 pm

Thank you, Connie. I truly appreciate your discipleship.

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