Last night we went with some friends to the Jaguar Karaoke lounge in Oakland's Temescal neighborhood. (We were enticed by its slogan, "Let's sing, dance, and crazy!!")
It's one of those private-room karaoke places — something I haven't experienced before. If I'm going to embarrass myself, I'd usually rather do it in front of a crowd.
Mostly I was struck by how much it resembled a brothel.
When you arrive, the "madam" ushers you through hallways painted red until you arrive at a numbered room. Along the way, you hear muffled screeching from behind the other doors. The whole thing feels vaguely shameful. (Note: I haven't been to a real brothel, but I have watched "Red Shoe Diaries.")
There's no alcohol, which is a drawback versus regular karaoke bars. But they do supply you with your own tambourine. (For when you're ready to really "crazy.")
In the end, we had a great time. And it's probably for the best that my singing "More Than Words" happens within an isolation chamber.
This tribute to Whitney Houston also will probably not be making tonight's Grammys retrospective.
Side note: It doesn't really add to the poignancy of her music when the background video is of Korean guys cleaning a sailboat.