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LA (AND BEYOND): RINGING IN THE NEW (WHILE SPORTING THE OLD)

By Nora Zelevansky / January 3rd, 2011

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HAPPY NEW YEARS, LINTERS!!!

Do you think EVERY January 1rst, we say something like, "Wow, this past year was particularly crazy"?

I'm really not sure.  Perhaps.  I know I am prone to the dramatic.  But, still, it needs to be said: 2010 was a year full of intense ups and downs too.

There were short posts and long posts and then (gasp!) no posts at all.  First class photos, grainy camera phone pictures and sometimes just stolen images from who knows where?  Some days we had clear skin.  Some days we broke out.  We ate fried pickles, sure.  But were they all good?  I can't say that they were.  And the haircuts?  They varied from great to not so good too.  Yes, it was a tumultuous year.

But that's on a more macro level, you know, with major global impact.  Some big up and downs happened in my own life too.  But I'm not superficial enough to get into those.  Let's stick to the important stuff.

ANYWAY, am I foolish in believing that many people had exceptionally good New Years parties this year?  It seems that way.  Normally, I'm just trying to sort of get through New Years without any extended moments stuck outside in freezing cold weather, at a boring ass party or at some new club, where I can't find a seat.  Boo.  Hiss.

This year, The Dreswer and I sang our brains out (thanks to a rented karaoke machine), drank Proseco and ate more meatballs than bear mentioning from Bay Cities – with some old friends, but also some very new ones.  I wore the above Rebecca Minkoff dress, which I can't say is fresh from the shop, but it's still new enough in a comfy kind of way (although it's looking kind of bunched and weird at the waist here).

Well, maybe that's a lesson for the New Year: Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other is Rebecca Minkoff.

Either way, I wish you all a Happy Happy Healthy New Year!  May your skin be clear and your fried pickles be crisp.

And may you clean up my cat Mina's puke, as she's sort of bulemic and she just threw up across the room from me yet again all over my nice plastic bins.  Sigh.

xo – N.

Q & A: Karaoke Question, Best Place To Belt It Out?

By Nora Zelevansky / February 25th, 2009

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(M. & P.S. Bring Down The House Echo Park-Style)

Question:  (posed by Connor via "Ask Lifestyle Questions"–02/18)
Hey Nora, what's the best place to go for group Karaoke?  Where you can rent a room for a large group?  Or maybe a bar with karaoke?
I love your blog!  Hugs, Connor

Answer:  First of all, I'm afraid you're only permitted to read this answer if you agree never to karaoke Sir Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back.  Hearing people drunkenly karaoke that song is like watching people dance to I Will Survive at weddings.  IT MUST STOP.  TOO MUCH.

Now that I've said my piece: I feel I'd be remiss in answering this question without first addressing the above photo.  My friend M. is the Karaoke Queen.  And, as anyone who has had ample karaoke experience knows, her royal highness fits the "unassuming" profile.  It's always the quiet, demure ones, no?

Anyway, M. not only transforms from adorably awkward, proper lady to maniac crooner at the first sign of an old school Britney or Destiny's Child ballad, but she also works serious dance moves.  It's truly a sight to behold.

Lucky for us, I have pictures:

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ANYWAY, here are some of my favorite places in LA, where I've watched M. go nutty:

EAGLE ROCK (and M. rocks too):

Okay, I know that All Star Lanes is TECHNICALLY a bowling alley and a trek, but bear with me.  First of all, they have bowling AND karaoke AND a bar on Saturday nights (double check cause the schedule changes).  Second of all, you're like blocks from Casa Bianca, so–for my 29th birthday for example–I had a bowling party, followed by drunken karaoke, followed by eating our weight in crazy inexpensive yummy Italian food at Casa Bianca (they take reservations for parties over six, I believe).

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(Bowling at the 29th in Andrew's Glasses and Then At Casa Bianca With My Prizes NOT For Birthday, But For My Impeccable Bowling and Karaoke Skills–YUP)

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(Yum, Casa Bianca that night too . . . )

HOLLYWOOD (and so would M.):

AMAGI is a bar situation in Hollywood.  I'm not sure about private rooms, but their karaoke area in intimate enough not to feel intimidating, so . . .

BRASS MONKEY is an old standard for locals; they've actually been open since 1971.  This is a great option if you want drinks AND snacks, as they're actually a cafe too.  Every night of the week!

LITTLE TOKYO (and big M.):

OIWAKE in Japanese Village Plaza is always festive and you can eat sushi and drink sake while you sing.  I just really like the Little Tokyo karaoke scene cause I get it feels authentic.  Apparently, City Cat Karaoke has private rooms, but I know a bunch of the Little Tokyo spots do.

Metromix offers some other options and City Search did a "Best Of" LA Karaoke for 2008, which lists some Sawtelle and Korea Town options. 

I know K-Town has some great spots, but I haven't experienced anything except Zip for cocktails.  Same with Sawtelle.  So, if anyone can recommend some good Korea Town and west side spots, then please "comment" below and let us know!

Also, it's hardly a private room scenario, but bars like Barney's Beanery and Guys (sorta underground star-studded) totally do weekly karaoke nights.

Kinda makes you want to sing.  And dance.  Right, M.?

xo – N.