In 1983, a crew of young, DIY documentarians visited Long Island's Roosevelt Field Mall to study mall culture. This is Mall City. (via r/ObscureMedia)
The 1980s were a pretty sweet time to be a lower-middle class kid in Ontario. Marineland (which I now know was a terrible place for the whales, dolphin and deer they held captive there) and African Lion Safari were only a few hours away, for most of us. Canada's Wonderland, our first major theme park, opened its gates in 1981 and there were miniature golf courses, freaking everywhere. Not a one of them held my Star Wars-focused attention like Tour of the Universe did.
Housed in the basement of the CN Tower, Tour of the Universe was a space flight simulation ride set in the far-flung year of 2019. Upon entering Spaceport Toronto, passengers would be issued a round-trip ticket to Jupiter before passing through security, intergalactic customs and being subjected to a medical—inoculation against the Ganymede Rash and Alien Dropsy were a must. Upon entering your shuttle to Jupiter and strapping in, you'd be subjected to a quick, immersive space adventure: the 'trip' took place on a large screen inside of the cabin built out of the bones of a 747 flight simulator that was moved around on hydraulics in time to the action on the forward display. It was the first ride of its kind, anywhere in the world. American kids would have to wait a number of years for a similar experience when Disneyland picked it up and retooled it as Star Tour.
Directed by Topper Carew, "Breakin 'n' Enterin'" (1983) documented the Los Angeles B-boy scene emerging at Venice Beach and MacArthur Park's Radio-Tron nightclub. Keep your eyes peeled for a young Ice-T, Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers, and Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones who all appeared the following year in Breakin'. The dancing in this documentary is much better than in the feature film though -- more complex, raw, and aggressive.
This excellent 1982 TV commercial for Mattel's Intellivision game console features a "computerized" futuristic newscast that predates both Max Headroom's cyber-pisstake on the media and A-Ha's rotoscoped classic "Take On Me!"
Enjoy the c.1985 promotional video below for the Cypress Cove Nudist Resort in Kissimmee, Florida! It looks like everything you could want from a resort but with, y'know, less clothing. Based on the reminiscing and raving over at r/nudism, The Cove is still a happening scene. You can even live there, but only by purchasing a mobile home from a current resident.
And don't forget the reminder from the cheerful narrator: "Volleyball is popular among nudists, no matter what your level of skill." Read the rest
Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd remade Dead or Alive's classic 1984 new wave club anthem "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)." Original below. Pete Burns, RIP.
According to Burns, the record company was unenthusiastic about "You Spin Me Round", to such an extent that Burns had to take out a ￡2,500 loan to record it, then once it had been recorded "the record company said it was awful. It was unanimous – it was awful, it was rubbish." Burns stated that the band had to fund production of the song's video themselves.
Mark Hollis, lead singer of Talk Talk, has died. He was 64. While the UK "post-rock" band may be best known for their 1984 synthy single "It's My Life," Talk Talk's true masterpiece was the much more experimental 1988 album "Spirit of Eden" that dripped with ambient, jazz, and avant-garde influences. It's an absolute stunner.
From The Guardian:
Talk Talk’s bassist Mark Webb, aka Rustin Man, paid tribute to Hollis on Instagram. “I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis,” he wrote. “Musically he was a genius and it was a honour and a privilege to have been in a band with him. I have not seen Mark for many years, but like many musicians of our generation I have been profoundly influenced by his trailblazing musical ideas.”
In an interview with Q’s backpages at the time, later republished in the Guardian, Hollis expressed awareness that he could be “a difficult geezer” but that was because he refused to “play that game” that came with the role of musician in the spotlight.
“It’s certainly a reaction to the music that’s around at the moment, ‘cos most of that is shit,” Hollis also said of Spirit of Eden. “It’s only radical in the modern context. It’s not radical compared to what was happening 20 years ago. If we’d have delivered this album to the record company 20 years ago they wouldn’t have batted an eyelid.”
Posted on Instagram by Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb aka Rustin Man:
Read the rest
The video for Weezer's cover of A-ha's "Take On Me" stars Calpurnia, the rather wonderful indie rock band fronted by Finn Wolfhard who plays Mike on Stranger Things. The song is included on Weezer's new "Teal Album," a collection of 1980s cover songs including their acclaimed version of Toto's "Africa."
And just for kicks, here's Calpurnia's "Greyhound":
Mallwave is a microgenre of bedroom electronic music and smooth jazz meant to evoke nostalgia for the vibrant mall scenes of the 1980s and 1990s that many of the music's composers are too young to have experienced or at least remember.
Think of Mallwave as a hauntological soundtrack for an Orange Julius-fueled consumer culture where Suncoast, Merry-Go-Round, and Spencer Gifts anchored suburban reality. (Or, in the case of some of the moodier tracks, the kind of muzak that might play in your mind as you wander an abandoned mall in a Ballardian trance.)
“The nostalgia is so real you can cry and wish you went back in time,” reads one comment underneath the video “Neon Wave Mall (Vapor Mix).” “I feel a certain sense of… familiarity watching this footage. Almost like I myself have set foot in these places,” adds a viewer of “Corp Palm Mall.” Under the same video, another person opines: “Why wasn’t I born in this time? This video makes me realize how much things were not as advanced as we have now but it was better. I could be wrong, but sometimes I feel like living around the ‘90s sounds fun. Lifestyle is different, mindset is different and not as much laziness.”
According to writer Joe Koenig, this kind of feeling — a “nostalgia for a past you’ve never known” — is called anemoia. In his ongoing project, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, Koenig describes it as “the desire to wade into the blurred-edge sepia haze that hangs in the air between people who leer stoically into this dusty and dangerous future.”
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Just now, I tried to recall what I had for lunch the other day. I had to wrestle with it for a few moments before I was able to pin a chicken chimichanga at Espi & T's to the mat for a ten-count.
I don't remember the face of the the woman who broke my heart while I was in my early 20s nor what happened to the boxes of the comic books I used to own. But my head absolutely refuses to let go of the theme song to The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin -- a cartoon that I watched MAYBE twice in my life. It's been slowly driving me insane for the past few days.
Share in my pain. Read the rest
Watching this 1987 video of two Radio Shacks (one with Madonna music in the background) makes it clear that 30 years can be a long, long time ago. Prancing Skiltaire (the person who uploaded this video) said, "This was shot in Garden Grove, CA and Buena Park Mall, CA. The person who recorded was an employee working with a regional manager who was inspecting under performing Radio Shacks they were going to renovate." I was fascinated for all 15 minutes of this spellbinding video.
Be sure to check out Prancing Skiltaire's other amazing videos, like the Equicon Costume Presentation (1988):
And the first Furry Convention! (1989):
There is a dream, and they all spread the word that they can save this world.
(Thanks, Jeff Ahern!) Read the rest
In 1985, HR Giger created a Japanese ad campaign for Pioneer's Zone home audio system. Apparently the biomechanical masterpieces seen in these print and TV campaigns were originally created by Giger for Alejandro Jodorowsky's never-made adaptation of Dune.
Future Punk created retro logos and motion graphics for today's Internet companies if they existed decades ago. The artist was "inspired by great work of Sullivan & Marks, Robert Abel & Associates, Computer Image Corporation and various other early CG/Scanimate companies."
And if you're not hip to Scanimate:
Scanimate is the name for an analog computer animation (video synthesizer) system developed from the late 1960s to the 1980s by Computer Image Corporation of Denver, Colorado.
The 8 Scanimate systems were used to produce much of the video-based animation seen on television between most of the 1970s and early 1980s in commercials, promotions, and show openings. One of the major advantages the Scanimate system had over film-based animation and computer animation was the ability to create animations in real time. The speed with which animation could be produced on the system because of this, as well as its range of possible effects, helped it to supersede film-based animation techniques for television graphics. By the mid-1980s, it was superseded by digital computer animation, which produced sharper images and more sophisticated 3D imagery. (Wikipedia)
The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than 100 were made. In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Cameron's father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love. It is his passion... It is actually a Modena GT Spyder, and it's currently being put up for auction in California:
From Mecum Auctions:
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The three cars used in the film were not Ferraris at all, but rather three Modena GT Spyder Californias built by Modena Design and Development in El Cajon, California, were utilized. This is one of those cars used in the movie, complete with documents from Modena Design attesting to such. Modena incorporated a number of Ferrari-style elements, such as the windshield, turn signals, grille, hood scoops, fender vents and a custom fiberglass body that was supposedly modeled after an MG, creating a close profile to the original Ferrari. The chassis was of the rectangular steel-tube frame design, built by Bob Webb, who worked on Roger Penske’s Zerex Special. After nine months of refreshing and updating by one of the founders of Modena Design, Neil Glassmoyer, this car emerged looking stunning. Chassis No. 0003 of the 3 cars built, it is powered by a 5.0L V-8 engine fed by four downdraft carburetors, and the attention to detail throughout largely sets the Modena GT Spyder California apart from its competition. The engine uses black crinkle-finished valve coves, retina-searing red paint on the exterior, and the interior reflects all too well the timeless beauty of this machine with rich tan upholstery, exquisite gauges, inspiring switchgear, a period-looking radio and wooden steering wheel.