Salon Salon Arts &
Entertainment print email
.Arts & Entertainment
Books
Comics
Health & Body
Media
Mothers Who Think
News
People
Technology
Travel
Columnists

 

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Also Today

For a full list of today's Salon Arts & Entertainment stories, go to the Arts & Entertainment home page.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - -

barnesandnoble.com

Find deep discounts and great selection on the books you need to read at
barnesandnoble.com


  
 
Karaoke cool
[ 06:59 p.m. PST- 04/09/99 ]

In the hierarchy of things considered hip and cutting edge, karaoke would probably rank just a few spots above Vanilla Ice and the Macarena. Once mentioned in the same breath as K-Tel records and Mr. Microphone, the Japanese-imported pastime is about to get the Hollywood treatment in not one but two high-profile films.

First up is "Duets," which gives karaoke the official stamp of in-crowd approval since it stars newly crowned Hollywood princess Gwyneth Paltrow. The recently wrapped pic, directed by the Oscar-winning beauty's much-thanked father, Bruce Paltrow ("St. Elsewhere"), centers on wannabe singers who hustle karaoke contests.

"Duets" isn't the only sing-along action in town. Ben Stiller is slated to star in the Tom Shadyac ("Patch Adams") comedy "Karaoke Knight" for Universal Pictures. The actor, whose portrayal of the agony of zip-locked franks and beans in "There's Something About Mary" was cruelly overlooked by the Academy, will stay away from bodily harm (and fluids) this time around by playing a singer with charisma to burn but a voice that wouldn't even get him on "The Gong Show." He finds renewed hope and success through the miracle of karaoke.

Stiller himself is no stranger to the karaoke culture. He directed 1996's "The Cable Guy," in which Jim Carrey, with typical restraint, bounds through a psychotically hilarious karaoke version of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love."

Adding to the vast wasteland that is Saturday night programming is USA's "Happy Hour," a chaotic, over-the-top game show hosted by Ahmet Zappa, with brother Dweezil along for comic relief. On the program, 10 (five men and five women) C-list celebrities (e.g. Park Overall, Garrett Morris) compete in several games, including a cringe-inducing version of dueling karaoke. Generation Y is also hot for karaoke, as evidenced by the many MTV programs currently featuring fans mangling popular songs.

By next fall, the world's scariest karaoke hits the small screen, as the syndicated "Your Big Break" debuts. The variety-competition show, produced by the indefatigable Dick Clark, gives ordinary (albeit outgoing) folks a chance to get into costume and perform their best impression of their favorite musical star for the amusement and ridicule of fellow couch potatoes.

So it looks like karaoke is here to stay, at least for a while. Our advice: Brush up on your favorite songs and start singing in the shower -- you never know when you're going to be on karaoke camera.
-- Kat Giantis

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Sound off
Send us a Letter to the Editor

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Become a Salon member.


 

Salon..Search..Archives..Contact Us..Table Talk..Newsletter..Ad Info..Investors..Membership..

Arts & Entertainment | Books | Columnists | Comics | Health & Body
Media | Mothers Who Think | News | People | Technology | Travel

Copyright © 1999 Salon.com All rights reserved.