It’s only Rock and Roll, but I like it. For about an hour.
Radiation Level: Traveling in a light beam /laser rays and purple skies / In a computer fairyland
Listening To: Bad Romance by Lady GaGa (though not by choice)
Addendum to SeoulGirl’s Karaoke Party:
In Korean culture, karaoke is called noraebang and is the pastime where food, drink and song come together. The party was at Rosen Music Studio in Koreatown where said birthday girl rented a traditional private-room, preferred by many Korean-Americans over the perform-your-guts-out in front of strangers type.
When you arrive at the W. 8th St. address, you’ll find a sketchy if not unwelcoming facade locked up like Fort Knox. I parked on a side street and did my walk-down-the-middle-of-the-street-so-you-don’t-get-jacked walk. Don’t try and get in through the front — those doors don’t open and people will stare at you and know you’re not in the Koreatown inner circle. The inner circle entrance is found around back where you can valet your ride and save yourself a jacking. As you walk in, you’re immediately transported into a world of partying Seoul-style. The uber-eager to please staff quickly ushers you to your party room in that subservient, happy Asian way.
Rosen has 33 private rooms and depending on the size of your group they can accommodate 5 to 40+ people. The rooms have disco-style laser lights which immediately made me regret not bringing Excederin and my fog machine. A little fog and white girl could have taken it to a whole notha level. The room has a server button – just push and the waiter with a headset appears almost instantly to bring you another bottle of Hite or replace a mic that is *mysteriously* not working.
The rooms are comfortable and clean with padded benches flanking the walls so as to leave maximum space in the middle for headbanging, shaking your money-maker of just being the center of attention. There’s a binder of about 2000 songs, but curiously, Korean-Americans seem to disregard many songs from the ‘80s, including my go-to song Father Figure! Of course without the cane, it’s not a true performance, but I was forced to switch gears and sing Billy Jean which wasn’t exactly a stellar act, but I made it through. There is this mysterious “Ziller” rating system that gives you a 96 to 100% rating, though I never could determine how it calculates the score (anybody know?).
Later I sang Chain of Fools and felt like that was a better fit. There was this one curious behavior that I’m calling DTM, or Drop the Mic. When someone felt that they had nailed a song, maybe even got a 100% Ziller score, they held out the mic and dropped it onto the stone floor. Not very good for the mic, but I guess the gesture meant “I killed it”. This gesture was also replicated on last night’s SNL, so I think it really is something if not a ploy by the mic industry to make one purchase a new mic after every show. The mics at Rosen were surprisingly durable and we only had to replace one.
When I wasn’t singing, I sat back and watched SeoulGirl sing numerous songs in both English and Korean. Her voice was surprisingly good and listenable. Though towards the end of the night I could tell by a few sour notes she’d had too many Hites, but she was having a blast. I can’t say I’ve ever been to a birthday party where the birthday subject had more fun. She was full of smiles, bouncing around, singing and dancing. It brought me back to Jr. High when my girlfriends and I would sing with a hairbrush into the mirror for hours and hours. We didn’t need drugs or alcohol, we didn’t need boys, we just sang our hearts out. It was really fun to see a reprisal of this old-school joy last night.
At least for about an hour. Then the music, the laser beams and the fried food all started to catch up with me. 3 hours in and I was a walking headache. This might not have been the case if I drank more, but I was driving and left Rosen stone-cold sober. Fortunately, this was nothing a cheeseburger from In-N-Out on Venice Blvd. couldn’t fix.