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BEST KARAOKE SHOW Phoenix 2004 - Gong Karaoke

Sometimes, karaoke is good -- if we've had enough to drink. But often it is very, very bad.

If only we had a gong. Wait, we do, at Hamburger Mary's. On Tuesday nights, friends and foes alike pack the popular gay and lesbian establishment, and pay a buck for the privilege of banging the silver saucer-shaped instrument. Whichever musically impaired maestro is cattily caterwauling at that moment then gets a 30-second countdown to double the donation or be cut off. Usually the victim will plop down the money, only to get even louder in defiance, because usually it's not about talent, but enthusiasm. The stakes get higher and higher as non-fans continue to drop in dollars, and this dance repeats itself long into the night. By the time last call is shouted, the till is overflowing and will be donated to charity.

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