Posts Tagged With: United States

Singing in Seattle: the sounds of H-Bomb on the Puget Sound

H-Bomb at the Space NeedleI gallivant all over the world, but some of my favourite karaoke adventures have come in my home country, the United States.  For example, this past summer, I had an incredible time visiting, and singing in, Seattle.  Although I was in town for less than 24 hours, I made every second count.

It came about as follows: in July I spent several days in Alaska. My return itinerary from Anchorage to Newark included a connecting flight in Seattle; and never having been to that city, when I was booking the trip I’d made my layover there into an overnight stay. This would enable me to add a new city to my World Karaoke Tour. 🙂 My arrival in Seattle was planned for a Saturday night, and I knew that would be a prime night for singing opportunities. Also on my agenda were seeing some of the distinctive architecture for which the Emerald City is famous; and feeling the vibe of a town that’s often regarded as one of the most livable cities in the world.

Seattle joins the World Karaoke Tour

Naturally, karaoke was my very first activity after I rolled into town on Saturday evening, July 6. After landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, I rushed to my downtown hotel to check in and change into a fresh set of clothes for my karaoke appearance. Then I headed to the Hula Hula Lounge, a tiki-themed bar in Seattle’s Queene Anne neighbourhood that I’d pre-selected for the occasion based on its very promising Yelp reviews. Continue reading

Categories: North America, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Karaoke in Brooklyn? Fuhgeddaboutit!

When most people from other parts of the world think about New York City, they visualize Manhattan. But the Big Apple’s most populous borough, and one whose grittiness perhaps better represents the real spirit of New York, is Brooklyn. Indeed, if Brooklyn had not been consolidated into New York City in 1898 but had instead remained independent, it would, even today, remain the fourth largest city in the United States — just as depicted on the sign featured in the opening credits to Welcome Back Kotter. I enjoy spending time in Brooklyn; visiting Brooklyn Bridge Park, and strolling the boardwalk at Coney Island, are two of my very favorite things to do in this city.

One thing that my forays into Brooklyn had never included, prior to Sunday night, was karaoke singing. In the over 16 years that I’ve been a New York City resident, I’ve sung in Manhattan on hundreds of different occasions; and I’ve also made multiple karaoke appearances in the borough of Queens. But Brooklyn had never witnessed an H-Bomb performance. Until now. Continue reading

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Country no. 1: the United States

Two weeks ago, Portugal became country no. 24 on my World Karaoke Tour. This is the first in a series of posts that will review the first 23 countries on that tour. Today our topic is the place where it all began — the U.S. of A. In this, my most personal post yet, I discuss how I was first exposed to karaoke nearly 21 years ago, and how that hobby gradually came to assume a position of pre-eminence in my life.

It started with a nursery rhyme. Although I’ve sung hundreds of different songs over the years, the very first time that I grabbed a karaoke mic the song I belted out was “The Farmer In The Dell.”

The first ten years: 1991-2001

On the night of March 4, 1991, I was celebrating my 21st birthday. I was living with my parents in my hometown of West Orange, New Jersey; the previous year I’d graduated from Johns Hopkins University, and I was in the midst of a two year stint as a paralegal at a small law firm in Newark. My enrollment in law school was still nearly a year and a half away.

This was the milestone birthday on which I became “legal” to purchase alcoholic beverages in the United States. Of course, it was not as if I’d never imbibed (or never become intoxicated); but reaching the magic age of 21 still carried a certain symbolism.

To honor the occasion, I was hanging out with my high school friends Jon and Andrew, who had also returned to West Orange after their university studies. During the course of our evening wanderings, we entered a bar in West Orange that happened to be holding a karaoke night. Karaoke was relatively new to the United States at that point. The first karaoke bar in the country had opened in Burbank, California in 1982; nine years later, karaoke was still relatively unknown in the U.S. I’d first become acquainted with the concept while watching an episode of The Simpsons that aired on January 24, 1991. In that episode, Bart and Lisa Simpson had sung the theme song from Shaft at a Springfield-area sushi restaurant.

Now, less than six weeks later, I found myself in the presence of karaoke for the first time. I flipped through the song book, in search of a song title and number to submit to the KJ. Continue reading

Categories: North America, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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