Saturday, December 4, 2010

Karaoke Joke of the Day #1

 It's a bit late for Thanksgiving this year, but I just found this parody on YouTube and had to share it with you. It's a turkey singing "I Will Survive" her own words. Click on the photo to see the video!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bored with karaoke? Here's what to do.

I love karaoke, especially hosting karaoke parties, but I have to admit it can get boring when that's all you do.

Karaoke is more than a fad—it's a popular pastime all over the world—and it should never be a yawner. Almost everyone has tried karaoke, and I would guess at least 50% of the people who try it end up as regulars. There are even magazines like Karaoke Scene dedicated to the "sport."

Yet karaoke isn't the novelty it used to be. In San Miguel, it is possible to go out and sing every night of the week. Plus all-in-one machines, iPods and computer-based karaoke software programs are making home parties more common.

Here's what to do if you fall into a karaoke rut:

Learn new songs. This blog is linked to just a few of the many karaoke channels on YouTube, and you are sure to find songs you like. The only trick is finding them on the list at the karaoke bars. But if you buy your own karaoke CD (ranging in price from 60 pesos here in San Miguel to $15 or more per CD in the U.S.), you can take it to La Vecindad on the Salida a Celaya, as they're on a manual system that uses CDs, like I do, instead of a computer-based system.

Change your venue. If you always go to Mama Mia or Muro, and you always see the same people there, try one of the other karaoke venues listed on this blog, to the left. More and more bars and restaurants are hiring karaoke DJs or installing jukeboxes with karaoke selections in both Spanish and English. Go alone to a new place if you have to. Chances are, you'll walk out with new friends!

Costumed karaoke fans at Muro.
Dress differently. Yes, the way you dress really can make a difference in whether you feel bored or peppy. That's why Muro, La Galeria, and La Vecindad all have wigs, hats, and other fun props to coax out your inner performing artist! Start at home by dressing in sparkles if you usually wear jeans, or pulling on a pair of cargo pants instead of a skirt and high heels. You might find yourself attracted to a whole new song list.

Take a break. Sometimes you need to take a vacation to realize how much you appreciate home. If karaoke has become too routine, see a movie or go dancing instead. After a week or two, you'll hear a song on the radio and say, "It's time! I miss the stage!"

Host a karaoke party. Sometimes karaoke gets boring because you're with the same group of people, looking through the same song list night after night. If you've never done karaoke at home, find an occasion to do so, and invite either an intimate group of karaoke fans, or a larger group including people who may not have tried karaoke before. If you have microphones that plug into your TV or DVD player, you can connect a laptop to the TV and find karaoke songs online upon request. If you want to invest, you can buy a Magic Mic or similar system with popular music included for $300-$400 USD new or under $200 USD used. Or you can hire an emcee who brings all of the equipment, the music, the songbooks and the mics (like me!) to make it easier.

Karaoke is one of the most fun ways to spend an evening if you like to sing or even if you just want to hang out with friends who are having a good time. If it starts to feel boring, don't quit—just change it up!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

El lo mejor sábado de karaoke en SMA es en La Vecindad

Jason from Austin, TX, at La Vecindad.

Of all the karaoke venues in San Miguel de Allende, I'm partial to La Vecindad because it's most like family. It's comfortable. It's casual. And people really listen when you get up to sing.

La Vecindad features David Cruz at the turntable (okay, CD+G player) and wife Sarah and son Christian on stage beside him. The family feeling starts there.

Roy Soltero & friend.
It took some time and a change of ownership to work out the kinks in the remodeled venue with its new big-screen TV and super-charged sound system, but now the glitches don't happen very often and the price of a beer is still among the lowest in town.

La Vecindad has karaoke shows on Friday and Saturday nights, 9:30pm-1:00am, and if you're desperate to sing on other nights, you can request the microphone for the jukebox—they've got a few karaoke tunes in there. I like to bring my own karaoke CDs (CD+Gs) because a few of my favorite songs aren't on the list.

Call me if you want to go, and I can bring songs for you!

La Vecindad is on the Salida a Celaya, between Longhorn Smokehouse and Mega Comercial, but on the opposite side of the road. It is next to the big car wash that is for sale. See you there!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Revolutionaries love karaoke, too!

Good news! There's a bar on Insurgentes with a karaoke jukebox, and as long as the doors are open, you can sing!

It's called Los Alzados ("Revolutionaries"). Seems that Señores Allende, Hidalgo, Aldama and the rest will never see the end of fame, and now they've got a karaoke bar named after them. Hijole!

When I visited Los Alzados on Tuesday, Oct. 19, there were 121 karaoke CDs to choose from, and only a few songs in English. Most were Mexican pop and rancheras (which I like to sing, as they help me to practice my Spanish) but they update the jukebox every week or two, and they've promised to add more English language tunes.

My friend Omar and I had an hour to kill between appointments, so we dropped 10 pesos into the machine and belted out a bit of Elton John and Kiki Dee, plus a couple of cumbias.

Fortunately, the polite Mexican patrons applauded instead of putting hands over their ears.

Los Alzados is open 7 days a week at the corner of Insurgentes and Relox. Karaoke is 3 songs for 10 pesos (27¢ per song).

Have you been to Los Alzados? Did you sing? Comments, please!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Smaller crowd on Sunday night means more stage time for you!

Gaby R at Mama's Bar.
Karaoke is always a good time at Mama Mia, but on Thursday nights, and Wednesdays, too, you have to be prepared to wait a while between songs. That's why I prefer to go on Tuesday nights, and now on Sundays, when the smaller crowd means more stage time for each individual singer.

Last Sunday, we arrived just as animadora Gaby Ramirez took the stage for her opening number, and a handful of us got to sing three songs each before the request slips started coming in from other tables. The house was still rockin' when we left at 1:30, and we'll go back on Sunday again.

Aarón sings backup for Gaby.
Another benefit to smaller crowds: less of that horrible second-hand smoke in the air!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mama's Bar has karaoke on Sundays!

Okay, all you die-hards, if you want a few more turns at the mic than you'll get on a packed-to-the-gills Thursday night, then Mama Mia is the place to be on Sundays at 11 p.m. Gaby Ramirez is your bilingual host for karaoke on Sunday nights, as well as on Wednesdays and Thursdays now that Luis Fernando has moved to Club Habana. If you don't have to set your alarm on Monday morning, seems like that's a good reason to sing!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What a great time!

Thanks to Sergio and all the staff at Blue Iguana for another great karaoke night on Friday. Finally, there is a truly family-friendly place to sing in San Miguel! I'll be hosting another Karaoke Night at Blue Iguana soon. Stay tuned for the date!