Friday, June 3, 2011

REVIEW: Karaoke Beer Fest at the Shelter

A good time was had by all on Saturday, May 28, as singers grabbed their suds and ascended to the stage at Shelter Theater. Beer and karaoke go ever so well together, don't they?

Four of our singers were self-proclaimed "karaoke virgins" when the evening began, but no longer! Purple heart medals for bravery all around!

Delicious international beers were provided by The Beer Company, now open on the Ancha de San Antonio and ready to deliver to your home or event venue. One of my favorites was Minerva Viena, made in Mexico.

Stay tuned for the next karaoke event at Shelter Theater, coming soon!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

At La Galería, karaoke fans & "microphobes" can feel equally at home

Ron and Rossalba
There are karaoke bars, and then there is La Galería. This venue has a raised stage, costumes, lights, and a sophisticated sound system. It's not the kind of place where you can hide in the shadows and mumble your way through a song you thought you knew.

La Galería on a Wednesday night isn't as casual as Mama Mia, where karaoke starts at 11pm, reducing the average age of participants by 10 or 20 years, and significantly upping the blood alcohol levels.

At La Galería, the stage is the center of attention and singers are able to see faces in the audience, which you really can't at Mama Mia, since the TVs are placed up high and facing the DJ booth.

While each venue has its merits, I'm loving karaoke at La Galería because both performers and audience get the best of both worlds. We start early—9pm—and keep it going until 2am, when we usually end up pushing the tables aside to make way for a dance floor.  We have the biggest songbook in town in both English and Spanish, so it's not uncommon for someone to find a song that compels them to break the mold and sing for the first time in their lives!

For die-hard karaoke fans, it's a kick to be in the spotlight, especially in an upscale place like La Galería. It makes a singer feel like wearing tap shoes and a hat, or a long, sparkly gown.

Suzy and Gene
For people who would rather extract their own wisdom teeth than sing in front of others, La Galería is a beautiful, comfortable room in which to hang out, stay cool (air conditioning!), and enjoy the surprise of a really good singer once in a while without paying for a concert ticket.

Last week we were lucky enough to have three professional entertainers in the house: Aarón Romo, who co-hosts on Wednesdays, Rossalba, who sings on Friday nights at La Galería, and Doug Robinson, whose jazz compositions are available on CD.

Ponchis, Irma, Alexis, Gerardo, Adri
We were also delighted to have La Galería server Josune, who sings Yuridia's Ángel like (you guessed it) an angel; crowd favorite Ron, aka Louis Armstrong; Olga Rodriguez Ramirez, who won last year's karaoke contest at Mama Mia; and Alejandro de León, Guanajuato, who quietly ate dinner and nursed a beer for hours, then finally sang a most impressive El Triste!

The rest of us, for better or for worse talent-wise, had FUN, and those who shied away from the songbook said they had fun, too. Which is the whole point! It's nice to have a venue where karaoke fans and microphobes alike can feel at home.

Karaoke at La Galería with Ani & Aarón
Wednesdays 9pm-2am
Plaza Alhondiga (behind the Banamex across from Mega)
Dinner Reservations 154 42 88

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Karaoke Ani with Aarón Romo, Wednesday nights at La Galería!

What makes an unforgettable karaoke night? Well, first you need hosts who are dedicated to making the night fun for you, and that's us: Karaoke Ani, Aarón Romo, and Juan Manuel Cervantes, owner of La Galería bar and restaurant!

Every Wednesday from 9:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. starting April 20, we'll bring San Miguel's biggest songbook to La Galería, the comfiest karaoke spot in town. It's an air-conditioned room with high ceilings, so it doesn't get smoky, and you can enjoy singing on-stage or at your table.

La Galería has a great sound system. It makes you sound better, even after a few beers! Really! (We also have wigs and other fun props in case you still want to disguise yourself.)

WEDNESDAY NIGHTS, NO COVER, FREE PARKING, full bar, and great food! (I order steamed mussels with a glass of white wine; Aarón likes a burger and a beer; and others rave about the pizza.) Te esperamos!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Doctors say karaoke is good for your health!

Much has been written about the health benefits of singing, and when you sing socially—karaoke!—you get even more goodies psychologically and in relationships. 

According to actor and voice coach Nikki Slade, it's important to sing socially whether you're talented or not. "By connecting with our true sound we release the social noise that binds us from within and, as old and redundant patterns of behaviour dissolve, a space is created from the inside that is our true identity. This is the experience of our own inner freedom and it is from this place that the inspiration for the whole of our lives arises."

And then what happens? "We become clearer in decision making; we allow our talents to manifest and shine and become ready to enter new depths of relationships with ourselves and those around us that are free from judgement and pain," says Slade.

"Karaoke—combined with moderate drinking—has the backing of mainstream medicos," says an article in the London Daily Telegraph.

Karaoke nights out are good for your health, scientists have claimed, who found drinking and singing with friends helped reduce heart disease and strokes.

"Drinking responsibly with a good friend makes you feel happy and healthy," says Japanese professor Takeshi Tanigawa of Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine. Singers use deep breathing, which is good for the nervous system. After singing, they usually receive applause. It is a good kind of social support, and helps in the face of adverse occasions or stressful events." (I figure the Japanese ought to know!)

According to mom-blogger Ellen Joy Castel Cayaba, singing karaoke has physical health benefits including:
  • karaoke exercises your lungs;
  • karaoke tones up your diaphragm and your chest muscles;
  • it can improve your sleeping habits and
  • improve your blood circulation by decreasing muscle tension;
  • karaoke can improve your posture;
  • it will help you become mentally alert; and
  • it improves your immune system.
What else can I say? Come out and sing for your health!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Karaoke scores at The Zone! Karaoke gana en La Zona!

If you haven't yet experienced karaoke Friday nights at The Zone (#36 Umaran), why not plan on this week? The first turn at the mic is at 9pm, but happy hour 2x1 ends at 8pm. Hmmm, what to do?

Si aún no has experimentado karaoke viernes por la noche en La Zona (# 36 Umaran), ¿por qué no piensas en esta semana? El primer turno en el micrófono es a las 9 pm, pero la hora feliz con 2x1 termina a las 8 pm. ¿Qué hacer?

Well, some folks have made it a habit to come early (say, just before 8:00) to browse the extensive songbooks and get their requests in while ordering burgers, wings or hot dogs and a beer (make that two...for the price of one!). The Zone also offers house cocktails for only 50 pesos all night long.

Bueno, algunas personas han hecho el hábito de llegar temprano (por ejemplo, justo antes de las 8:00) para buscar los amplios libros de canciónes y dar sus peticiones, y en el mismo tiempo que ordenaba hamburguesas, alas, o hotdogs y una cerveza (disculpa, ¡dos cervezas! ... por el precio de uno). La Zona también ofrece cócteles de la casa por sólo 50 pesos durante toda la noche.

In the casual, no-pressure atmosphere that Brian Cuffney has created at The Zone, you can try songs you love even if you've never done the karaoke thing before. We'll help you! (Some of our selections offer con voz versions—so it's just like singing with the radio except instead of the steering wheel, you will be holding a microphone.)

En  la atmósfera informal y libre de presión que el dueño Brian Cuffney ha creado en La Zona, puedes probar toda las canciones que quieres, incluso si nunca has hecho lo de karaoke antes. Vamos a ayudarte! (Algunas de nuestras selecciones de ofrecer versiones "con voz"—por lo que es igual que cantar con la radio.)

Thanks to all of our "regulars" and huge applause for those who've come to try karaoke for the first time. As my Minnesota friend Margaret and her pal Hannah and I proved last week, We Are A Family at The Zone, and it doesn't take skill to have a great time singing!!!

Gracias a todos nuestros habituales, y un aplauso enorme para aquellos que han venido a tratar de karaoke por primera vez. Mexicanos y extranjeros iguales, somos una familia en La Zona, y si alguien no tiene talento grande, no nos importa porque el punto de la noche es que él o ella puede disfrutar de cantando!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The Zone (formerly Tapas & Tini's) at #36 Umaran will begin offering karaoke on Friday, February 4, from 9pm to midnight. I'm hosting!

More good news: NO COVER!

The Zone is right in the middle of the action if you're planning on dancing at Mint, El Grito or Mama Mia later. They've got 40 different tequilas, all your favorite beers, and a cool new space.

Bring your friends and join Karaoke Ani at The Zone, Friday nights from 9pm to midnight, starting Feb. 4!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Record yourself singing on Facebook!

Karaoke fans, here's a new Facebook page, launched yesterday, on which you can play the karaoke song-of-the-day and record yourself singing along! It's called Daily Karaoke.

The instructions on the Daily Karaoke page say to use the Facebook Video Recorder or, if that doesn't work (and it didn't for me), you can use your own video camera to record yourself singing, then upload the video to the Daily Karaoke page.

To record yourself singing the song-of-the-day, open the song in a separate window and play it while singing into the camera and microphone. If you don't have a microphone separate from the camera, it's not going to sound the best, but try it anyway, just for fun!

Note to Mac users: The Daily Karaoke folks tell me the problem with using the Facebook Video Recorder is that the video components for Google Chat interfere with the FB recorder's ability to access the camera built into the Mac. They offer the following solution:
  • Open Finder, then click on your hard drive and look for the Library > Quicktime > Google Directory.
  • Look for the following files and move them to the trash:
    • Google Camera Adapter 1.component
    • Google Camera Adapter 0.component
  • Empty your trash and restart your browser, and you should see your camera as an option the next time you go to the recorder.