Tag Archives: 1980s

“Are you guys the only white rappers?”

I’ve been digging Blank on Blank, an animated videos series from PBS where they take interviews of artists and interesting people from a range of sources — you can send one in — and animate them in a rough and charming style.

Here’s an early interview with the Beastie Boys from 1985, when they were on tour opening for Madonna (a double-bill that I would have boggled at at the time but now would give all my teeth to have seen).

Other interviews I’ve found so far include David Foster Wallace and James Brown. I’m watching Jim Morrison next. Do check it out

The Weekend Dress, circa 1986

In the late 1980s, I was a big fan of Banana Republic. Actually, I’ve bought items from Banana Republic many times since then, but the Banana Republic of today is very different from the Banana Republic of then. 

It used to be that Banana Republic was more of a catalog experience, where the catalogs were printed on cream colored, heavy stock paper. The items were not photographed but illustrated, and they were described in expansive, worldly prose. Continue reading

Hair so big it could block out the sun

Cynthia Closkey, circa 1984

I’ve been invited to a birthday party next month, the theme of which is "1980s Prom." The theme was chosen because Ann, the birthday girl, was born in April 1984.

I didn’t go to my senior prom — prom dates were hard to come by in my all-girls school, but I wasn’t inclined to attend even if I could find one. Most of my class did though. I’m sure at least a few of them were shopping for dresses on the day Ann was born.

I could go to the party dressed in my high school uniform, but I don’t want to frighten anyone.

I’m instead going to dress as someone who would have attended a rock show in Boston in the 80s. A show, for example, like this performance by Human Sexual Response of "What Does Sex Mean to Me?"

I didn’t arrive in Boston until 1984 so I missed seeing HSR. But I was a big fan of the Zulus, a band that included former HSR members Larry Bangor (singing lead on this song), Rich Gilbert (playing guitar; later to join Frank Black’s band for a while, now making music in Nashville), and Malcolm Travis (drums, later played with Bob Mould’s band Sugar).

A close approximation of my late 80s club attire can be found in this Echo and the Bunnymen video, "Lips Like Sugar." The two girls at 0:14 seem to have both raided my closet and stolen my hairspray. (I don’t know where they came up with the outfits they wear later in the video though.)

I am looking forward to firing up my crimping iron and creating some big, big hair.