The New Museum Remembers the ’90s (And It Actually Sounds Cool)

It seems like everyone wants to get a piece of the ’90s nostalgia explosion, but nobody wants to actually use this reexamination of the era to create anything new or explore the hows and whys. It’s all a regurgitation of brief cultural signifiers, a cry into the echo chamber of "Who loves orange soda?" That is, until now, when the New Museum is remembering the ’90s in an interesting and constructive way that connects New Yorkers to their city’s history, culture and two decades of change.

For New York, 1993 was a pivotal year—a year where the city, in a bit of an identity crisis (and much bigger crises, from crime and violence to the HIV/AIDS epidemic), began to see some real changes. To give city-dwellers a bit of oral history, the museum has rigged 50 pay phones around the city, so that when you dial 1-855-FOR-1993, the phone will give you a story of what that neighborhood, that block was like in 1993 by the people who lived it. "1993 was a war zone in New York," Fernando Mateo, the creator of "Toys for Guns," tells you out of a phone in Washington Heights, at 183rd and Broadway. "Cabbies were being killed, 30 to 60 a year." In Midtown, Robin Byrd regales about the good ol’ days when Times Square wasn’t so family-friendly. Some familiar voices, including James St. James and Michael Musto, are featured at certain phones. 

The pay phone project is part of a larger exhibition, "1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star," named for an era-defining Sonic Youth album. The Museum will feature works from 1993, from big events like the Whitney Biennial and Venice Biennale, along with much more obscure works, as to try to show a more complete picture of what the art world was like two decades ago. As the exhibitors explain on the New Museum’s website:

"Centering on 1993, the exhibition is conceived as a time capsule, an experiment in collective memory that attempts to capture a specific moment at the intersection of art, pop culture, and politics. The social and economic landscape of the early ’90s was a cultural turning point both nationally and globally. Conflict in Europe, attempts at peace in the Middle East, the AIDS crisis, national debates on health care, gun control, and gay rights, and caustic partisan politics were both the background and source material for a number of younger artists who first came to prominence in 1993. This exhibition brings together a range of iconic and lesser-known artworks that serve as both artifacts from a pivotal moment in the New York art world and as key markers in the cultural history of the city."

Watch the teaser video for the project and start your exploration. 

Mark McGrath Cruise, We Hardly Knew Ye

So remember how like a month ago we told you about this ’90s nostalgia explosion cruise where Mark McGrath was bringing along his pals from Sugar Ray, Live, the Gin Blossoms and other iconic bands of yesteryear to rock the high seas? Well, major apologies to those of you who were trying to finagle press passes or started IndieGoGo accounts to try to raise funds to go or who booked your honeymoon on it, because yesterday, McGrath and friends annouced the cancellation of #Rememberthe90s On A Boat. I know, I know. It’s going to be okay. I promise. 

McGrath took to his Twitter account to announce the cancellation and apologize to fans, citing the recent Carnival "nightmare cruise" "I’m really bummed as well…that poop cruise did us no favors." But it’s really going to be okay! Sugar Ray is still touring this summer and will likely, as they did last summer, bring other sing-along artists of yore along for the ride, or you can still see Smash Mouth all summer hanging out at Guy Fieri’s restaurant in Times Square, probably. And even if there will be no Mark McGrath cruise, the bands’ music will still be with you all summer, in state fair tribute bands and karaoke bars all across this great nation. 

And now, for the only possible appropriate way this could end.

’90s Rockers Stone Temple Pilots Have Fired Scott Weiland

Hello, and welcome to 1998. Today’s top story: Scott Weiland, co-founded and frontman for Stone Temple Pilots, has been fired from the band. A single-sentence comment from the band’s publicist states, "Stone Temple Pilots have announced they have officially terminated Scott Weiland." Weiland apparently learned about his "termination" from news reports rather than first-hand from his bandmates. Couldn’t they have call him on his flip phone? Harsh, dudes. I haven’t been this disappointed in since The English Patient beat Fargo for Best Picture last year. (That reminds me, the Oscars are next month! Do you think L.A. Confidential has a shot?)

[via Fox News]

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

90 Things We Remember About The 90s

With some assistance from Wikipedia, at least.

1. Ninety is the atomic number of thorium, an actinide. 

2. The 97th United States Congress met during the Ronald Reagan administration.

3. 99 is the NBA record for Most Free Throw Attempts in a 7-game series, set by Elgin Baylor of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1962.

4. The aliquot sum of 94 is 50 within the aliquot sequence (94,50,43,1,0), 94 being the ninth composite number in the 43-aliquot tree.

5. Bahá’ís use prayer beads to repeat the prayer Allah-u-Abha (God is most glorious) 95 times.

6. 97 percent of the Earth’s salt water is located in oceans and seas.

7. Ninety-three is the number of the French department Seine-Saint-Denis, and as such used by many French gangsta rappers and those emulating their speech.

8. 10-98 in police code means "Assignment Completed."

9. "92" is a song by Avail from their album 4am Friday.

10. Psalm 91 is known as the Psalm of Protection.

11. The Qur’an alludes to the 99 Names of Allah.

12. 95 South was a Miami bass duo.

13. 90 is a pronic number.

14. 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is normal body temperature.

15. 99 = 23 + 33 + 43

16. In normal space, the interior angles of a square measure 90 degrees each. 

17. There are 92 Johnson solids. 

18. A 92-story Xujiahui Tower is proposed to be built in Shanghai, China.

19. The code for international direct dial phone calls to India is 91.

20. The latitude of the North Pole and the South Pole are 90 degrees.

21. Agent 99 on Get Smart was played by Barbara Feldon.

22. Ninety-seven is the number of different characters that can be used with a standard English Keyboard.

23. There are 92 Johnson solids. 

24. Messier object M97 is a magnitude 12.0 planetary nebula in the constellation Ursa Major, also known as the Owl Nebula.

25. In statistics, a 95% confidence interval is considered satisfactory for most purposes.

26. In The Mighty Ducks, Adam Banks wears the number 99.

27. 91 is a repdigit in base 9 (111).

28. Z-95 Headhunter is a fictitious starfighter from the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

29. Since it is possible to find sequences of 92 consecutive integers such that each inner member member shares a factor with either the first or the last member, 92 is an Erdős–Woods number.

30. Ninety-two in the Shade is a book by Thomas McGuane.

31. The movie 95 Miles to Go (2004) stars Ray Romano.

32. 97 is the smallest factor of one more than the product of the first twenty-five terms of the Euclid–Mullin sequence, making it the twenty-sixth term.

33. The Kemah Boardwalk Boardwalk Bullet roller coaster begins with a steep 92-foot (28 m) drop.

34. The 95th Infantry Division was a unit of the U.S. Army in World War II.

35. Oldsmobile 98 was a full-size automobile and the highest-end of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors.

36. In cricket, it is considered unlucky if you reach 99 due to most batsmen getting out and not making the century.

37. 92 is the number of pounds of sugar the average American child consumes per year.

38. British Columbia Highway 97 is the longest continuously-numbered route in the province, from the Canada/U.S. border at Osoyoos to the British Columbia/Yukon border.

39. Martin Luther wrote the 95 Theses.

40. "Power 98" is the official nickname of radio station WPEG, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

41. Dogme 95, an avant-garde filmmaking movement, was started by Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg.

42. Ninety-seven is the number of leap days that the Gregorian calendar contains in its cycle of 400 years. 97400 is close to the fraction of a day by which an average tropical year exceeds 365 days, so with this proportion of leap years, the calendar does not accumulate seasonal drift of a full day until after more than 3000 years.

43. The Guinness record of the longest placename, "Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaurehaeaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu," has 92 characters.

44. Ninety-eight is the number of sons of Ater in the Census of men of Israel upon return from exile (Holy Bible, Ezra 2:16).

45. Interstate 95 runs from Florida to Maine.

46. 96 is an octagonal number, a refactorable number and an untouchable number.

47. I-94 is the form used to declare to US Customs Officers by international travelers the items in their possession, purpose of visit, etc.

48. The Old 97’s are an alt-country band that took their name from the song "The Wreck of the Old 97."

49. The sum of Euler’s totient function φ(x) over the first seventeen integers is 96.

50. 95th Street is a major east-west thoroughfare on Chicago’s South Side, designated as 9500 South in the address system.

51. Number 96 was an Australian TV show that ran in the mid-1970s.

52. 97 is the 25th prime number (the largest two-digit prime number in base 10), following 89 and preceding 101.

53. CommSuite 95 was a communications software suite of products launched by Delrina in 1995, created for use with Windows 95.

54. Saab 94 was the model number Saab unofficially used for the first generation Saab Sonett.

55. United Airlines Flight 93 was one of the airplanes hijacked on September 11, 2001.

56. 96 is the natural number following 95 and preceding 97.

57. 90 is divisible by the sum of its base 10 digits, thus it is a Harshad number.

58. The M-94 was a piece of cryptographic equipment used by the United States army in use from 1922-1943.

59. Every integer greater than 96 may be represented as a sum of distinct super-prime numbers.

60. The ASCII character set (and, more generally, ISO 646) contains exactly 94 graphic non-whitespace characters.

61. Ninety-Three (Quatrevingt-treize) is a novel concerning the French Revolution by Victor Hugo.

62. Ninety is the number of minutes in a football (soccer) match.

63. The car number of Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson and the main character in Disney/Pixar’s Cars) was 95 because 1995 was the year Toy Story was released.

64. Madden NFL 97 was the first John Madden NFL American football game to be created in the 32-bit gaming era.

65. The 91st Space Wing (91 SW) is a Minuteman (missile) III unit of the United States Air Force, based at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

66. The highest jersey number allowed in the National Hockey League is 98, as 99 was retired by the entire league to honor Wayne Gretzky, and major-league sports only allow one- or two-digit uniform numbers.

67. Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series on October 8, 1956, throwing a total 97 pitches.

68. There are 92 "atomic elements" in the Look-and-say sequence, corresponding to the 92 non-transuranic elements in the chemist’s periodic table.

69. Ninety-four was used as a nonsense number in various contexts by the British satire magazine Private Eye. Most commonly, spoof articles end halfway through an intriguing sentence with "(continued p. 94)". The magazine never extends to 94 pages: this was originally a reference to the enormous size of some Sunday newspapers.

70. 99 is a common price ending in psychological pricing (e.g., $1.99 as opposed to $2.00).

71. Pathfinder (OV-098) is a Space Shuttle simulator built by NASA in 1977.

72. 95 is an 11-gonal number. 

73. The AN-94 is a Russian assault rifle.

74. One of two ISBN Group Identifiers for books published in India is 93.

75. 98 is a Wedderburn-Etherington number and a nontotient.

76. The length of an NBA court is 94 feet.

77. Major League baseball bases are 90 feet (27 m) apart in distance.

78. The Trail of ’98 is a 1928 western film.

79. The Marching 97 is the marching band of Lehigh University.

80. "93" is a greeting among Thelemites based on the numerological value of Thelema (Will) and Agape (Love) in Greek letters.

81. For n = 8, there are 92 solutions in the n-Queens Problem.

82. In classical Persian finger counting, the number 93 is represented by a closed fist. Because of this, classical Arab and Persian poets around 1 CE referred to someone’s lack of generosity by saying that the person’s hand made "ninety-three."

83. The sum of Euler’s totient function φ(x) over the first seventeen integers is 96.

84. The New General Catalogue object NGC 91 is a single star in the constellation Andromeda.

85. Bay Ridge–95th Street is subway station in Brooklyn, on the R Train.

86. Each February, Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago hosts Hustle Up the Hancock, a race up 94 floors of the John Hancock Center in Chicago to raise more than $1 million for lung disease research and programs.

87. 92 is a pentagonal number.

88. 91 is a solitaire card game where the object is to move cards so that the top cards total 91.

89. Nike Total 90 Apparel is a brand name of football apparel and football equipment from equipment bags to goalkeeper gloves.

90. Ninety facts is too goddamn many.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter

‘American Idol’ Alum Teams With All The ’90s Bands For Doubtful Guest

Reference something that happened in the ’90s, and a surprisingly large subset of the population will begin salivating over it like tasty, artery-clogging nostalgia bacon. It’s a strategy that works for Internet websites, retro t-shirt companies, TV networks (remember those few months where the Internet was stoked that Kenan & Kel was back?) and other people in charge of creating things.

The latest recruit in this unspoken but ubiquitous global mission to bring the ’90s back at any cost is former American Idol contestant Siobhan Magnus, who regularly covers tracks by earlier rock artists like KISS and Led Zeppelin at her shows, but is a fan of the grunge sound. Magnus will be joining a roster of supporting players from a number of popular ’90s bands to form a hard-rock cover super-group called Doubtful Guest. Her bandmates: Everclear bassist Sammy Hudson, drummer Tommy Stewart of Godsmack and Fuel, guitarist Tony Fredianelli of Third Eye Blind and still-active Candlebox guitarist Peter Klett. (Side note: Candlebox are still around!)

“We are all outcasts from something,” Magnus told the Hollywood Reporter. “Only Peter still plays in Candlebox. Then you throw American Idol on top of it, and it’s, like, ‘What are you doing?’”

What are you doing? You’re capitalizing on the excessive ’90s nostalgia thing happening right now, for one. But even with the tendency to get all sour grapes over this obsession with our sordid, badly-dressed cultural past, I defy you not to enjoy a little Third Eye Blind every now and then. And perhaps this project’s greatest weapon isn’t the #Rememberthe90s card, but the fact that Magnus can sing, and sing well. 

The band will make their debut in February and take to Kickstarter for some financial backing to get off the ground, where the incentives will include show destinations, picking set lists and more. And hey, it could work! If the band put together a set of all Third Eye Blind deep cuts, I’d even consider chipping in. For a slight hint of what’s to come, here’s Magnus tearing into KISS’s "Love Gun" at a show. 

In Non-Election News, TLC Is Planning A New Album

Although the details of this #rememberthe90s musical nostalgia-fest are still fairly nebulous, it is something of a relief to see "TLC" in a headline and know it doesn’t refer to the television network that begat that creepy family with 19 kids or the Honey Boo-Boo phenomenon. No, the other TLC, the ’90s R&B group that brought us such wonderful hits as "No Scrubs," "Waterfalls," "Creep," "Unpretty" and many others, announced they would be releasing their first album in 10 years at the MOBO Awards in Liverpool, England last night. Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas were at the ceremony to receive an Outstanding Contribution award for their work with the group, which also featured the late, great Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who passed away in 2002.


"We’re going to still sound like TLC, evolving to whatever level we need to be at this time," T-Boz told the BBC. She later added, ""We’ve always grown throughout the years and have always had our own sound. That’s what works for us and we don’t have to worry about anybody else."
In addition to the new album, T-Boz and Chilli will be executive-producing a VH1 biopic about the group, because nothing marks a proper comeback quite like a VH1 biopic, and will, according to the BBC, be casting the actresses that will play the group members. This makes sense, of course, as you’d certainly want to ensure the legacy of your group with accurate casting, but that must be the strangest sort of audition experience. The duo will also be touring, and there have been rumors about for a while about plans to tour with a hologram of the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. So if you’re still at the polls and deciding who to vote for, just pick the candidate you think is most likely to prevent this from happening, and then watch this clip of TLC’s great final live performance with Left Eye at MTV Turns 20.