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BACKSTAGE WITH MARIAN
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Story outtakes, celebrity confessions and the latest pop culture news in the Bay Area

About Me
I'm a pop music writer for the San Jose Mercury News. I cover pop, hip hop, punk, rock, dance, and ethnic - well, basically everything you can dance to.

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1. R. Kelly: "Trapped In The Closet"

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  • Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    Karaoke love

    When I was in Hong Kong, I made sure to stop by a karaoke club. Embarrassingly, I'll admit, I love karaoke. In college, after finals, I spent almost a full day at a karaoke club with 20-some other friends.

    In Hong Kong, locals informed me that after shopping and eating, karaoke is one of the more popular forms of entertainment.

    I'm not talking about the type of karaoke where you go in front of the whole bar and sing your lungs out. I'm talking about the kind where you get your own room and sing privately with some friends.

    Unlike karaoke joints of that type here in the Bay Area, the one in Hong Kong was much more luxurious. Its lobby looked like one for a fancy hotel.

    It was also more tech savvy -- instead of searching printed books filled with songs, a second screen, next to the karaoke one, provided lists of songs you can choose from. All you had to do was use its remote. Also, it was much cheaper. At a typical karaoke place here, it could cost upwards of $20 during the non-happy-hour times. But for four hours there was about $10 - this included two non-alcoholic drinks.

    And although they were stocked up on all kinds of Asian songs, they didn't have many popular top-40 English ones. We made do with Eminem's "Lose It" and "Grease"

    If you're looking for some good karaoke here in the Bay Area, here are some of my favorite joints:

    Music Tunnel KTV
    Pacific East Mall
    3288 Pierce St. #A-128, Richmond
    (510)526-8810, (510)526-8048

    Music Box Karoake
    4390 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
    (510) 658-8995

    And, if it's really too embarrassing, check out the videogames Karaoke Revolutions and Get On Da Mic - those two are sure party pleasers that you can try out in the privacy of your own home.

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    Photo of Marian Liu by Stephanie Grace Lim, Mercury News
    You can e-mail me at mliu@mercurynews.com.