Would you like to hear New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones sing the hits of Kelly Clarkson? Sure, we all would! Thankfully, The New Yorker has us covered. Sasha wrote an entertaining piece on auto-tune (the software that corrects pitch problems and can also be used to make wacky robot vocals), and then went to Hoboken with a sound crew to get auto-tuned himself. Attached, a clip of Sasha singing "Since U Been Gone." Click through to the whole piece to hear him get all T-Pained out. [New Yorker]
When the Daily News needed to illustrate a story on karaoke bars, guess who appeared in the photo? Julia Allison, omnipresent media figure and karaoke aficionado! Her face is the mandated illustration for at least one-third of all breaking lifestyle stories within the confines of Manhattan. And her singing partner is none other than Tumblr founder David Karp, no doubt belting out "Ride of the Valkyries" as undercover PepsiCo advertising operatives furiously scribble notes. Though this song lasted but a moment, the blog debate over the song will surely consume hundreds of hours. Julia Allison's Tumblr'd question that night: "What are the top Geek songs of all time?" Oh, the synchronicity. [via NYDN]
"If you've never heard of PowerPoint Karaoke, that probably means you're neither German nor a hardcore techie." By god, we'll have to admit that that's an accurate statement. This trend may have been around in German techie circles for a while, but now that it's hit the media at large, expect to see it in as a weakly-attended theme night soon at a bar near you. The Boston Globe reports that the trend of taking a random PowerPoint presentation and putting together a narrative for it on the fly is just about as much fun as any crowd of "extroverted geeks" can handle. Plus they're all drunk at the time! Actually, it does sound like fun.
In what could accurately be described as a gross perversion of natural law, a PR firm is attempting to hold a cutesy karaoke mixer party entitled "Flacks, Hacks, and Friends." This phrase makes no sense. Hacks are certainly not friends with flacks, on general principle. Most hacks aren't popular or social enough to have friends at all, so I don't know what the extra "and Friends" is for. Also: karaoke, really? Red Branch PR wants to "put aside all the ruckus for an evening of harmony, or lack thereof." So feel free to go and start a bar fight. Full invitation—for YOU—below.
Britney Spears, who is currently being kept, Rapunzel like, in a Los Angeles mental facility, apparently does not approve of karaoke. Or at least when someone sings one of "her" songs. An insider at the ward says that Britney got really upset when someone sang "My Prerogative" during the inmates' karaoke time. Crazy Britney gets crazy mad when crazy patient sings crazy Britney's cover of a song first done by a crazy man (Bobby Brown.) I don't know what's more off-putting: that there is karaoke at a mental ward, or that someone in a mental ward is sending anonymous tips out to gossip blogs. [LA Rag Mag]
"The media went on a rampage, blaming me for the whole O.J. book debacle. They came out, guns blazing, and tried to kill me. I felt like Faye Dunaway's character in the final scene of Bonnie and Clyde. Bullets flying in every direction," former publisher Judith Regan writes in her hotly-anticipated Harper's Bazaar profile of herself. You know, the one where she talks about having sung 'My Way!' It's on newsstands now, and it is all about how she "took the blows." In fact, this phrase comes up several times. In one instance she writes that something happened "after a month of taking the blows without protection." Shots! Blows! Attempts on Judith's very life! What is fact here and what's hyperbole? Does Judith Regan believe in distinguishing between the two?
Super-cougar publisher and current Sirius radio chat-show host Judith Regan writes in the December Harper's Bazaar that , after she was fired from her own HarperCollins imprint, she went off to China and found some of herself. Then she came back to New York and enjoyed a cathartic moment when she belted out "My Way" in a downtown karaoke bar." Well! We are extremely please to report that, while she declined to reenact that performance for us, Ms. Regan has sent us the audio of her version of "My Way." (Yes. We are being serious.) Honestly, it is amazing. Not "Chocolate Rain" amazing—more like Jennifer Hudson amazing. We made a video of the first half! [Karaoke video: Blakeley/Stein Film Starship]
If you watch only one video of a drunken, one-legged, dwarfish man with congenitally deformed arms warbling Billy Joel's "Piano Man" at a Boston area karaoke bar today, make it this one. If you watch more than one video of a drunken, one-legged, dwarfish man with congenitally deformed arms warbling Billy Joel's "Piano Man" at a Boston area karaoke bar, you should probably get professional help. [CBITC]
During a recent visit to Winnie's, the onetime Chinese mafia hangout and current downtown karaoke dive, it occurred to us that in every karaoke bar in this town (and really, all over the world), one encounters the same cast of characters. They vary in accent and affect but, for the most part, karaoke is the closest thing to commedia dell'arte we have. In an effort to prepare you for the battlefield that is not only love but also karaoke, we've put together a field guide to karaoke archetypes, or as we call them, karaokarchetypes.
• Too weak to even walk through a grocery store, Nicole Richie must ride in a shopping cart pushed by assisted living specialist Mischa Barton. [TMZ]
• If youth is wasted on the young, then it's the same with karaoke. In Flushing, however, Grandma can get her groove on. [NYM]
• SpotBit is an electronic archive of several current magazines — all of which you can download for free, in full. We'd encourage you to go and stick it to the man, but this shit likely won't make much of a difference. [via Big and Sharp]
• Axl Rose and Sebastian Bach hit 6's and 8's, party like it's 1984. [Animal]
• In order to tame and defeat Eurotrash, you must first learn to understand the bare-chested breed. [Save Manny]
• It's hard to care about celebrity lookalikes. But it helps if the doppelgangers are making porn. [Fleshbot]
We've admitted before our fondness for the dark arts of karaoke. (Every now and then, after enough drinks and among the right people, your usually mild-mannered Gawker editors have been known to miraculously transmute into Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.) And so the Media Christmas event to which we were most looking forward was last night's singalong celebration for New York magazine.
Six or seven years ago, a bunch of friends got together to buy half of us a karaoke machine for our birthday. One person collected the money and was in charge of buying it, but a few deals fell through and then she left New York for law school, and so she gave us a check for the money they'd collected and told us to buy the machine ourselves. We never did, and we still feel a touch of guilt about the cash, which we never returned.