Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Z. Cavaricci

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

Well, this is it. We've come to the letter Z. And for my final post, Z is for Z. Cavaricci

You know, the pants that was all the rage from about 1984 until the early 90s. They had a $70 price tag, and only the cool rich kids could wear them. You could spot a pair of Z. Cavaricci's pretty quickly.

1) They were worn pretty high up. Like tuxedo pants. Or maybe like how your grandpa wears his trousers. We're talking up to the rib cage.

2) Kids usually sported a silver belt to go along with the pants.

3) They flared out like MC Hammer pants with multiple pleats, and then came down to a tight taper around the ankles. Most also rolled and pegged the bottoms to make them extra tight. Made everyone look like clowns. 

4) Finally, you could spot the little white tag right on the fly that bore the name: Z. Cavaricci

5) Most of the guys that wore them were douche bags.

The epitome of cool





Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for (The) Young Ones

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

It was around 1985, and MTV had evolved. It's previous format since the beginning in 1981 was to play music videos 24/7. But the started to air other shows like The Week in Rock, MTV News, and Club MTV. But one particular show caught my 12 year old attention.

The Young Ones.

This British import was so f#@$ed up! The show is about four crazy students living in squalor in a disgusting flat. Although there usually was a plot, random stuff would just happen. It would often make no sense, but it was hella funny.

The Young Ones are:

Rick: A paranoid Marxist/Anarchist
Neil: The hippy that reminded me of Eeyore.
Vyvian: A hardcore punk that scared me a little.
Mike: The smooth talking ladies' man.

Every single episode included a performance by a hard rocking punk band. Seriously, the show made no sense. Out of nowhere, the show would cutaway to something that had nothing to do with the plot.

The funniest episode I can remember had Mike getting sick of the poor hygiene of his flatmates, so they make a trip to the laundromat for the first time in THREE YEARS. I think a pair of Vyvian's socks literally get up and run away before they are killed.

During the washing of their nasty-ass clothes, the machines spit them out and all the washing machines refuse to wash any further. 

Later, they get on a train in order to get to a college quiz bowl. But after reading a sign that warns passengers not to lean their head out of the window, Vyvian does just that and gets decapitated.

I know, crazy right?

Check out a snippet from this episode. If you skip to 7:20, you'll see how Vyvian "loses his head."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xanadu

Just opened a Facebook author page. I'd love it if you'd go and LIKE! And if you have any advice on how to utilize it, I'd appreciate any nuggets of knowledge you might have. Thanks!

Jay's Facebook Author Page.

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

I must come clean. I have a guilty pleasure, and it's called Xanadu.

Yes, I know. It's cheesy. And the movie was pretty dumb.

But I was obsessed with this movie. Maybe it's because I thought Olivia Newton-John was a goddess. Or it could be the cool dance scenes. How about the soundtrack that featured ELO? The movie is also based on Greek mythology, another one of my loves.

No...it's because of Olivia.

The movie is about an artist named Sonny who's depressed with his job as an album cover painter. He finds himself infatuated with some gorgeous blond on roller skates, who also happens to be a legwarmer-wearing, roller-skating Muse. Kira has been sent to Earth to help inspire Sonny pursue his dreams, but instead, the two end up falling in love.

Sonny also befriends an ex-big band superstar, Danny McGuire. The two forge an unusual friendship, and McGuire asks Sonny to find him a new place to build his dream: a super cool place for people to listen to great music and get their groove on.

They find the perfect building, and McGuire finances the renovation to make their dreams come true. But it's time for Kira to go back to Mount Olympus. Her departure leaves Sonny devastated, but this is Hollywood. So Sonny straps on his rollerskates and hurls himself at a brick wall with a painting of the Nine Muses.

He's transported to Mount Olympus where he pleads with Zeus and Hera to let Kira come back to Earth. Zeus refuses, and Kira is left to sing a solo about being sad and wanting to suspend time and space to be with her man. Zeus decides to let her go.

It's opening night at the new dance club, named Xanadu, and Sonny gets the surprise of his life when Kira shows up to play a super-long set of all kinds of songs. Yeah, I know, this sounds pretty lame.

But it's all hella good!

I mean, Gene Kelly is zippin' around on roller skates. How cool is that???


Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Weird Science

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

The 80s was the first decade that celebrated geeks and nerds. Alongside Nerds and Back to the Future, the movie Weird Science showed audiences how cool science geeks could be cool. John Hughes made a flurry of teen movies during this decade, and Weird Science may not be one of the better films he made, it sure is the goofiest.

Plus, the soundtrack fetures Oingo Boingo. You can't get anymore 80s than that.

Two geeks, Gary and Wyatt, are tired of being picked on by a pair of bullies (one of the jerks is played by Robert Downey Jr.). When they have the house to themselves for a weekend, they decide to build the perfect woman a la Frankenstein.

As they're using their computer, which is tied into the government's mainframe, a bolt of lightning strikes the house, and their creation comes to life. The gorgeous woman, played by Kelly LeBrock, utters, "So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?"

They name their creation Lisa, who apparently also has superpowers.

She plans the biggest bash of the year to help Gary and Wyatt become cool. But really, all these two geeks want is to have girlfriends. Through manipulation and 1980s magic, our two heroes finally land their soulmates. 


Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for...V

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

In 1983, a two part miniseries on TV (NBC) brought science fiction into the mainstream. V had all the human vs alien-goodness that I wanted, plus the drama and wardrobe of other 80s primetime shows. Basically, V was Dynasty with aliens. Shoulder pads and big hair, with laser guns and starships.

So the story starts off with 50 "Visitor" ships coming to Earth asking for help. They need some minerals and water to save their home planet. In exchange, the aliens will share their lifesaving technology with us. At first, it seems to be a good deal, but underneath the humanish exterior of the Visitors like vicious reptiles bent on taking over the world.

Then it becomes a good 'ol fashioned war between the Visitors and a band of civilians-turned-rebels. Marc Singer plays the male lead, and does a great job despite me thinking "Beastmaster" every time I see him. The female lead is a doctor who heads a growing resistance group against the aliens.

What's really interesting about V was its take on propoganda and the media. Earth is coaxed into thinking that the aliens mean us no harm. By manipulating the media and fueling it's pro-Visitor agenda, they infiltrate society very quickly. And before you know it, the aliens make their move. There are some strong parallels and symbolism between the events in this mini-series and the Holocaust.

But they didn't count on the tenacity of us humans. The mini-series ended on a cliffhanger. The Visitors pretty much rule the world, and the resistance hopes to fight back and regain the planet.

V: The Final Battle came out the following year. This three part mini-series picks up where the previous mini-series left off. An alien gets a human pregnant, the resistance continues to gain in strength, and the Visitors aim to unleash some doomsday weapon to clear the Earth of us pesky humans.

Using human ingenuity, the resistance creates some red dust that kills only the Visitors. Yippeeeee!!!

Oh wait, but there's more. From 1984-1985, the decided to make V into a weekly television series. I read that it cost over $1 million per episode to produce. I'm pretty sure that's still a record. The tv show sucked eggs. I remember seeing the same battle footage being replayed over and over again, which is laughable.

Too much of a good thing can sometimes just be plain bad.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Units

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

80s fashion just boggles the mind, and oftentimes, I find myself thinking, "What the hell?"

However, Units was a line of clothing that not only looked stylish, but was practical for those on a budget. You could buy just a few coordinating pieces and have almost an entire wardrobe that you could configure. You couldn't go into any mall during the late 80s and not see a Unit boutique.

Just like a lot of the fashion of the 80s, Units was a one-sized fits all clothing line. Girls would buy belts, pants, short skirts, shirts, and leggings. The pieces were meant to be mixed and matched, and this phenomenon was called "modular clothing." 

I know they later sold Units for men, but I remember thinking that it made dudes look like Sinbad the Sailor. Although I'm pretty sure I could make a pretty kick ass ninja outfit using a few of the pieces.

At the mall, I remember seeing girls wearing a few Unit pieces, usually using the stretchy tube top as a belt, and then pairing an oversized shirt with maybe some stirrup pants. Put on some Madonna-esque fingerless gloves, a scrunchy, and some blue eye shadow, and that was THE look back in the day.

Now where did I put that Member's Only jacket???


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Top Gun

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

I can't think of any other movie during the 80s that seemed to permeate culture like Top Gun. It was a flick that seemed perfect for date night. For the dudes, you had kick ass aerial dog fights, fast jets, motorcycles, and a hot babe.

For the ladies, you got a love story and the volley ball beach scene.

For those that have never seen the movie, FOR SHAME! If I had to summarize the plot, I'd say that it's about a pilot named Maverick, that lives up to his nickname. He makes it into Top Gun - the elite competition among the best Naval pilots in the country. He falls in love with his instructor, and he learns to let go of all the anguish and pain in his life in order to kick some serious Russian ass in an F-14.

The soundtrack to Top Gun was incredible. Kenny Loggins' "Highway to the Danger Zone" and "Playin' with the Boys" got tons of radio airplay. And after the movie came out, naval recruitment went up 500%. Also, every single flight simulator game was purchased by wannabe Mavericks.

I also remember aviator sunglasses becoming all the rage after the movie came out.

Check out the list of big time actors in this movie: Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Kelly McGillis, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer, and even Tim Robbins. Of course, Michael Ironside, plays a Top Gun instructor. The guy always seems to play tough military dudes.

Check out the original 1986 Top Gun trailer below.


Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Smurfs

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

Back in the 80s, one of the things kids looked most forward to every week was Saturday morning cartoons. I'd sit plastered to the TV from morning until about lunchtime. My morning would start with Superfriends, followed by The Smurfs.

I was a big fan, but I'm not sure why. The stories of these little blue creatures with white hats who lived in mushrooms captivated me. You had your heroes, all led by Papa Smurf. And of course, you had your antagonist in the form of Gargamel, who is obsessed with capturing some smurfs for dinner and using them in some magic potion to create gold.

The smurfs all had distinct personalities, and were thus named as such. You had Brainy Smurf, Handy Smurf, Jokey Smurf, Grouch Smurf, Clumsy Smurf, Vanity Smurf, and of course, Smurfette (the only female Smurf). There's also another billion more nameless Smurfs.

Usually, there was a lesson to learn with each episode, but I can't recall any of them! Many people have speculated about some of the hidden meanings behind the cartoon, like the white hats was a nod to the KKK. Or that Gargamel represented Jews. Or how about the Smurf Village being one big Marxist Utopia. All of this isn't true. 

Although, I did read somewhere that the Smurf creator, Peyo, was a sexist. Smurfette was created by Gargamel, originally, and she was the seductress of the group. She'd get any Smurf to do her bidding just by batting her eyes and throwing her curves all over the village.

But all that controversial stuff was over my head back in 1981. The Smurfs, to me, were cute innocent little beings that just wanted to live in peace. I also remember that a bunch of kids had Smurf lunchboxes (include me), t-shirts, and collected the little figures. Smurfs became a brand back in the 80s.

The show was a powerhouse for NBC until it was cancelled in 1989. Saved By the Bell took its place, and that was the death knell for Saturday morning cartoons.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Rubik's Cube

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

Invented by Hungarian architecture professor in order to show how to move individual parts without destroying the structure as a whole, he didn't know he had created an amazing puzzle until he scrambled it and worked to restore it. Ideal Toy Corp. eventually bought it, and the rest is history.

Solving the Rubik's Cube might seem easy, but it's not. I remember being is grade school and trying to figure it out. I was awesome at solving one side, but only a handful of kids could do all six sides with no problem. I remember seeing Rubik's Cube contests on TV, and the speed these people would turn the pieces and solve it in a matter of minutes boggled my mind.

I remember seeing the commercial back in '82, and Sir Isaac Newton looked dumbfounded trying to solve the damn thing.

I also recall seeing a book on how to solve the Cube at book fairs. Although I was tempted to buy it, I wanted to figure out how to do it on my own. It took awhile for me to figure it out, and the secret is to solve it in "layers." And then go one by one, solving the top, middle, and then bottom layers. 

The World Record for solving a Rubik's Cube is 5 minutes, 55 seconds held by Mats Valk.

I personally never came close, but I surprised myself by actually solving it without throwing it out the window.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Queen

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

Queen set the standard for stadium rock in the 80s. They first came into prominence in the late 70s, but they reached iconic status in the 80s.

From 1975-1979, Queen released two songs that I will forever associate with sports: "We are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You." Other hits in this decade include: "Somebody to Love," "Fat Bottomed Girls," "Bicycle," and "Don't Stop Me Now." Who doesn't love "Bohemian Rhapsody?" Just a great decade for Queen.

As I kid, I remember hearing "Crazing Little Thing Called Love," and it was such a departure from their normal rock style, I thought it was an Elvis remake. On the playground, we'd sing "Another One Bites the Dust" when playing basketball or soccer, followed by "We are the Champions." By the way, Michael Jackson actually convinced them to release "Another One Bites the Dust" as a single.

Science fiction fans know Queen for their Flash Gordon soundtrack (1983) and Highlander (1986). The music from both movies was so energetic, I still listen to them on my iPod when I exercise. Gets you pumped up!

In the late 80s, I remember seeing Freddie Mercury on TV and was shocked at how thin he looked. He passed away in 1991 from complications from AIDS.

Despite the tragedy that befell the group, and the wordwide headlines it made, my fondest memory will always and forever been Queen's 1985 live performance for Live Aid. Queen just completely dominated Wembley Stadium. Freddie Mercury had all 72,000 people on their feet, and he controlled the energy in there like a maestro. Queen ruled the world during that performance.

The 20 minute set has often been voted the best live rock performance EVER. And I agree.




Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Pac-Man

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

When you think of 80s video games, the first thing that pops into any mind of a child of the 80s is Pac-Man. In the 80s, you couldn't go to any arcade and not see a crowd gathering around a Pac-Man cabinet, fiddling with the joystick and trying to not get eaten by the ghosts.

Pac-Man was then released for the Atari game system. Oh man, it was both cool and horrible at the same time. I think the game retailed for around $40, and that was a lot of money for a video game back in the early 80s. On my Atari 2600, the game only slightly resembled the arcade version. Nevertheless, I got blisters on my hand playing. But yeah, the home game version sucked atomic donkey balls.

Although it was just a video game, Pac-Man was everywhere. It was on t-shirts, toys, and even a cartoon show. Hell, there was even a song inspired by the Pac-Man phenomenon.

The game itself is simple: you control Pac-Man, a yellow character that looks like a pizza with one slice cut out. And you're hungry, so you start devouring these little dots all over a maze. Suddenly, these colored ghosts start coming after you. Each ghost has a name, and they are: Blinky, Inky, Pinky, and Clyde. If they catch you, you're dead.

However, if you eat a power pellet, you turn the tables and can go after the ghosts, but only for a few seconds.

Simple, but addicting as hell.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for (The) Outsiders

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

I grew up reading YA novels, and S.E. Hinton is one of my all-time heroes. Her novel, The Outsiders, painted a vivid 1965 world where social status dictated everything. Huh, not much has changed. The book and the movie center around Ponyboy Curtis and Johnny, two friends known as The Greasers. They live on the rough side of town, and they're known for their tough exteriors and greasy hair.

Then there's the Socs, the socialites of the day. Rich and snobby. They drive nice cars and are the football players and cheerleaders of the high school.

The two sides constantly clash, and then one night, things get out of hand and Johnny kills one of the Socs in self defense.

Susan Eloise Hinton wrote this coming-of-age novel while in high school. Her classmates and a teacher encouraged her to continue to write and improve her story, and it was published while Hinton was still a freshman in college. The publisher decided to abbreviate her name, since boys wouldn't want to read a boys book written by a woman. Interestingly, that truth still exists today (i.e. J.K. Rowling).

The 1983 film adaptation was a smash hit as well. Just look at all the young actors that would one day become huge stars: Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane. Hell, Leif Garrett is even in it - as a Soc that gets stabbed to death by Johnny.

Directed by Francis For Coppula, the movie propelled both the novel and these up-and-coming actors.

The theme song is one my all time favorites too. Stevie Wonder captures the movie and the central theme of the book/movie which is inspired by Robert Frost's poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay. I had to memorize this poem in middle school. Do they still have kids do that in English class? 

I don't think so, which is sad.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for The NeverEnding Story

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

I had watched the cartoon version of The Hobbit, and the fun Dungeons & Dragons game introduced me to a world of magic and fantasy. But as a twelve year old, the movie The NeverEnding Story was not only so much fun, but it painted such a vivid world that many kids wished they could visit.

The movie departed from the novel quite a bit, but the fact that the main characters were my age drew me in. I'm not going to bother giving you a synopsis of this awesome movie. If you've never seen it, I pity you! But seriously, go watch it. The NeverEnding Story has everything you can imagine in a child's fantasy world: magic, a warrior hero, a quest, and evil bent on destroying the world.

At the heart of The NeverEnding Story is the message that a child's imagination is something to hold onto. It is powerful, profound, and most of all...inside all of us.


Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for MTV

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

It was the summer of 1981. On August 1st, I sat in front of the television in my parents' bedroom, eagerly awaiting a brand new cable channel that supposed to revolutionize music AND TV. My father had read about this debut, and wanted to make sure I watched the birth of music television. Although it was summer, I was normally in bed by 11, but not that night. 

The screen lit up with footage of a space shuttle taking off, and then an astronaut walking on the moon. The flag blazed with the MTV logo, and the bedroom filled with an electric guitar riff that would soon become iconic. The first thing I noticed after the intro was Mark Goodman's fro. Then we got to meet all the "VJs" that would play music videos 24/7.

MTV's very first music video was the Buggles' appropriately titled song, "Video Killed the Radio Star." Looking back,
this debut video has proven to be so darn prophetic. After that, I was introduced to Pat Benatar, and I was able to put a sexy face to the sexy voice I had heard on the radio.

I was hooked. Rod Stewart was next, and then The Who. The rest of the videos are a blur, but I do remember seeing a lot of REO Speedwagon and Rod Stewart.

The Video Jockeys were cool, especially Martha Quinn, and it took a little bit of time for them to get comfortable with their revolutionary new roles. This was a new way to experience music, and I'll always remember the day MTV was born.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Level 42

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

There's lots of great bands that just don't get much attention. For me, Level 42 is one of those 80s groups that have been grossly under-appreciated and underrated. 

Up until 1984, the band gained fame only in the UK and in Europe. There's big breakout album was 1985's World Machine. I, like many people, first heard of Level 42 when their top 10 single "Something About You" rocketed up the charts.

Their sound was a mix of some funky-jazz, laced with a a little R&B and pop. I do believe the band, musically, stood out. Lead singer and bass guitarist Mark King. He has this slapping technique that is just amazing to hear. I'm pretty sure there's some stuff on YouTube of King slapping the hell out of a bass guitar like there's nobody's business.

In 1986, they had another hit, "Lessons In Love." This song went #1 all over the world.

Other than the band's musical quality, I think their lyrics are poetically profound. Here's a snippet from "Lessons In Love"

For restless eyes egos burn
and the mold is hard to break
now we've waded in too deep
and love is overboard
heavy hearts token words
all the hopes I ever had
fade like footprints in the sand

Unfortunately, the music video is 80s-cheese. LOL!


Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Karate Kid

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

1984's The Karate Kid was cool in so many different ways:

1) Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi. This actor/comedian launched his career after Happy Days with this movie, didn't he? He was simply awesome. RIP, Mr. Morita. You say, "Wax on, wax off" in a crowded elevator, at least 9 out of 10 people know EXACTLY what you're referencing

2) Ralph Macchio: Hard to believe this dude was 23 when he played Daniel LaRusso. He did an amazing job capturing the bullied underdog. After getting his ass kicked a bunch of times, you just felt sorry for the guy. Even in the end when he wins, you still realize in a real street fight, Johnny would still beat him down

3) Which brings me to Johnny, played by William Zabka...can you imagine a better douche bag of an antagonist? He's the star pupil of the Cobra Kai Dojo, and despite following orders and sweeping Daniel's leg, he in the end hands the trophy over to the victor. There, see? He's not so bad!

4) The soundtrack. Joe Esposito's "You're the Best" is....THE BEST!

Enjoy this funny music video called "Sweep the Leg," by the band No More Kings. It's a hilarious take on William Zabka wanting Johnny to finally gain some respect. If you watch the whole thing, you'll see a FANTASTIC cameo towards the end. Actually, this video is FULL of awesome cameos from beginning to end). Skip to 6:48 if you want to see this amazing reunion.

Oh, and funny tidbit: Ralph Macchio TODAY is the same age as Pat Morita back in 1984!



Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Journey

* I'm in Dallas this week on business. Won't get much free time, as my days and evenings are already scheduled! I will catch up as best I can this week. Promise!

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

I personally cannot think of any other band that can be called an iconic figure in 80s music. Journey could easily be labeled overly commercial and musical junk food. Sure. But you can't deny the impact this band has had on this decade. When you think of 80s music, Journey has to be one of the first bands to come to mind.

They formed in the 70s, and didn't do much. The record company said they needed to change their jazz-fusion rock and roll sound and get a front man. Enter Steve Perry. When I listen to any Journey song from the 80s, I am still in awe of this man's voice. His range and his power is unequaled. In the late 70s, Journey started to taste some success. But they became mega-stars in the 80s.

Their 1981 album, Escape, went NINE times platinum. Hits included: "Who's Cryin' Now," "Don't Stop Believin'," and "Open Arms." (Sigh) I think of roller skating parties in junior high when I hear these songs. Me personally, I think "Stone in Love" is just a great rock song, although most people have never heard it.

Their 1983 follow up, Frontiers, was also a smash. It went SIX time platinum. I remember rockin' out to "Separate Ways" on the school bus when our driver was in a good mood and played the radio. "Faithfully" was a big hit as well, 

After a temporary break, they came back pretty strong in 1986 with Raised on Radio. I remember watching the music video to "Girl Can't Help It," and I thought it was funny how Steve Perry wore a coat with tails along with denim jeans. Another great song off this album included "I'll be Alright Without You."

Journey's 1988 Greatest Hits Album continues to sell 500,000 - 1MM copies a year. Yowza!

Here's "Stone in Love."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I if for Ishtar

* I'm in Dallas this week on business. Won't get much free time, as my days and evenings are already scheduled! I will catch up as best I can this week. Promise!

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

Okay, I know you're thinking, "But this is supposed to be stuff from the 80s you LIKED!" True, but I'm also listing stuff that seem significant, looking back at that strange decade.

I did not like 1987's Ishtar. At all I didn't watch this turd of a film until the middle 90s, as I wanted to see just how bad it is. And damn, it's one helluva bad movie. Why I'm including it in my A-Z posts is because it's the first big budget blockbuster I can recall that really set the standard for big time film busts. To me, Ishtar gave birth to the modern Hollywood FLOP.


If you were to take the film's losses and adjust it for modern inflation, the movie lost over $83 MILLION. Not as up there as 2011's Green Lantern, clocking in at a whopping $108MM loss, but Ishtar does beat out some big duds like Hudson Hawk and Osmosis Jones (yuck).

There had been some big budget "Titanics" prior to Ishtar, but this was the first big movie to get so much press about how awful it was. Expectations were lofty because you had two big-time actors starring in it: Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty. 

I'm not going to talk about the plot of this stinker, as I feel I've probably already spent too much time writing about Ishtar. Regardless, it set the stage for other Hollywood stink bombs like John Carter, Battlefield Earth, The Postman, Waterworld, and The Adventure of Pluto Nash.

And seriously, I thought John Carter was fun. Not fantastic, but not a big hot stinky turd that many others believed.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Hairstyles

* I'm in Dallas this week on business. Won't get much free time, as my days and evenings are already scheduled! I will catch up as best I can this week. Promise!

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

The 80s was the decade of hair products - for both the guys and gals. I remember walking down the halls at school and getting hit with stray hairspray from one of the girls teasing their locks before class. Hairstyles during this fun time were so distinctive, and crazy thing is...some of these styles have come back!

The ladies:

The higher the better...and the more flammable!

The side ponytail! Can be used as a weapon too.

Crimp it to win it!
And the dudes:

Mullet: the more party in the back, the better
The rat tail...makes ya want to grab a pair of scissors


Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Ghostbusters

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

How can a film with comedians/actors Billy Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis not be funny? Throw in a bunch of paranormal elements including ghosts and demons, some proton packs, and green slime, and you have yourself a big 80s hit movie.

Ghostbusters is about a group of parapsychologists who lose their jobs at a university because of their work in the paranormal, and decide to go into business together busing ghosts. At first, they're not doing so well, but eventually, they make a name for themselves by catching all of these annoying ghosts and hire a fourth Ghostbuster to help out.

Everything's going great until they investigate a bunch of weird stuff happening at some lady's
apartment, and soon they find two demons who want to reunite and rule the world. Of course, the Ghostbusters kick some demon ass and save the day.

I think what makes this movie so great, apart from the funny acting, are all the memorable moments and lines. You've got the angry Stay Puft Marshmallow Man rumbling through NY City. The fantastic special effects - especially the cool proton packs. And then there's the infamous line: "I am the Keymaster, are you the Gatekeeper?"

Interesting little known fact: Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis originally wrote the movie with Eddie Murphy and John Belushi in mind.

Who you gonna call???