In case you haven’t had enough of Roger Ebert nostalgia, here’s a great clip from Siskel & Ebert and the Movies from 1997 in which the two critics go head-to-head during their review of Good Burger, the feature-film adaptation of the sketch from All That featuring Kel Mitchell and current SNL cast member Kenan Thompson. Both critics found the movie pretty stupid, as they should because they are adults, but it’s fascinating to watch the Siskel and Ebert actually come up with a reason to argue about the film’s merits—Siskel trashes it completely, whereas Ebert defends it on the grounds that it’s indended for an adolescent audience.
Nostalgia for the 1990s, as we all know, is a thing. But it seems to be largely focused on which TV shows we watched and which toys (based on those TV shows) we never got in our Happy Meals. Less talked about are the grungy slacker indie rock then heavily consumed by Generation X, to help them deal with all the positivity going around. Let’s Say We Did is a band that would have fit comfortably in that scene.
First off, there’s the big meaty droner “Into Wherever.” (You seeing a pattern with these names and titles? It’s like they’re too cool to care!) It clomps and slides and wrings little phaser noises from the guitar, never anything less than full and saturated.
After that you can, at long last, learn just how the hell the game of cricket is played with this helpful video for “Goodbye!” It’s the second single from forthcoming album Hello Creatures. You know what? It’s gotta be tough work to sound this good and this gloriously lazy at the same time.
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.
I know how hard it is to consume culture that was made, like, in the last week when there’s still so much to digest from our childhood! I mean, why bother watching Breaking Bad when I have all of these Doug DVDs laying around? Game of Thrones? No thank you! I could care less about the Westeros because the Roundhouse Anyfamily has forever caught my attention. Isn’t #RememberThe90s fun? We’re a generation of Peter Pans and none of us ever have to be adults. Except, of course, for that precocious teen Clarissa Darling of Clarissa Explains it All.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Clarissa is coming back, but not via reruns on Nick at Nite. Rather, she’s the protagonist of a new novel marketing to millennials and, probably, Generation Y, because they can’t seem to shake this crazy nostalgic obsession either.
Now, almost 19 years after the series finale, Clarissa creator Mitchell Kriegman is letting our fashion-forward heroine enter uncharted territory with a new book, Things I Can’t Explain, tentatively slated for Fall 2014.
Acquired by Thomas Dunne Books editor and Macmillan Films head Brendan Deneen, the novel will follow 23-year-old Clarissa as she tries to carve out a career as a journalist and deals with the obstacles toward becoming a real adult: finding and keeping a job in a turbulent economy, the luxury of a first apartment without roommates, figuring out how to deal with parents all over again, and unexpected feelings for a really cute guy who—of course—has an on-and-off again girlfriend.
Well, those of us in our twenties now know that the twenties are the hardest years everrrrrrr, full of confusing feelings and weird body changes that cannot, you know, be explained. Thankfully, there’s an old friend from our childhood who can help us through the tough times of being an almost-grown up. I hope it’s raw and real like Girls. Will Clarissa and Sam have weird, uncomfortable sex in their on-again, off-again relationship? Will Clarissa’s friendship with Hillary survive the test of time? Will Ferguson come out? Will her parents, Janet and Marshall, finally confront Clarissa’s possible schizophrenia, which is the only explanation for why she keeps trying to break an invisible fourth wall with strange, smug soliloquies? Or will they just cut her off? I hope all of these things happen!
It’s not really even worth starting this post by asking you if you remember Zubaz, the stretchy, neon, zebra-striped pants that typified a generation of tacky athletic-inspired fashionwear. If you’re reading this, you either remember Zubaz, because you lived through them and are probably sick of this nostalgia cycle, or you think you remember Zubaz, but really you just missed the cut but you’ve just been reading too many nostalgia-obsessed listicles around the Internet and certain things have been planted into your brain.
The NYT (ON IT!) wrote about the regenerated interest of the brand in a trend piece this week, which isn’t really a full-blown comeback for Zubaz, seeing as the brand resurrected itself in 2008 after more than a decade out of the pants-designing game. But, as Dan Stock and Bob Truax, the brains behind the pants, are continuing their efforts to repopularize the brand, they got a boost this week from the neon Adidas AdiZero zebra-striped basketball shorts that were unveiled for the NCAA Tournament. March Madness, indeed.
The instant connection was made between Adidas’ shorts (which bear a different, non-copyright-infringing pattern), but the company founders reacted positively to the association with the brand they created, for better or for worse. And as Chris Robbins writes, "Zubaz are enjoying something of a rebirth. Zubaz refuse to die." Perhaps, then, Zubaz are a metaphor for our cyclical return to everything from the years between 1990 and 1999, our "Maaaan, remember this?" means of relevancy and branding, but really the comeback isn’t a comeback at all but a brief blip on our screens and maybe some really gaudy sweatpants purchased by people who can name all three Gronkowski brothers? What do the Zubaz say about the Zeitgeist? These are the questions.
Also, this video has nothing to do with Zubaz, but still seemed fitting.
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.
In case you forgot for about five seconds, there was a decade called the 1990s, and in it, people used a browser called Internet Explorer. Whereas hip, shiny Google Chrome uses a sentimental and in some cases quite emotionally punchy approach to its advertising (don’t tell me I’m the only one who straight-up wept in an embarrassing public place at the "Jess Time" Chrome advertisement with the father and daughter), Internet Explorer, often depicted as a paste-eating toddler, has launched this whole rebranding campaign for IE9 based on puns, a sassy "HI HATERS" attitude and trying to appeal to generational pathos in another way: our overblown commitment to nostalgia.
IE’s latest ad appeals directly and not-so-subtly to our #rememberthe90s sensibilities, offering promises to users of a certain age to hearken back to a simpler time when music-playing devices were clunkier and Farmville wasn’t a thing. Come with us, they say, to a bright neon world where the slime rivers flow freely and the hippos are still Hungry Hungry. There’s even a reference to Pogs, which remains forever the benchmark and is possibly still legal tender in some places. We’re pretty surprised it took a major company this long to appeal so unsubtly to that sense of nostalgia considering how ubiquitous it’s been around the Internet and beyond for the past few years. Nevertheless, here it is.
Over the summer, in a #RememberThe90s haze, we told you that lesser-pantheon boy band 98 Degrees had reunited and performed exuberantly on The Today Show. Well, to put it in #RememberThe90s parlance, they’ve not only reunited, but are joining forces with Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block to create a veritable Megazord of boy-band nostalgia. Or, as it should be really billed, Boyz II Men Open For Some People Who Were On VH1 Reality Shows. Apparently, Boyz II Men will go on first, which seems like a bad idea, because wouldn’t you want to end with the group that compels people to go home and be intimate?
NKOTB appear to have top billing here, as the tour is being painted as something of a sequel or companion to 2011’s NKOTBSB amalgam, a tour featuring a "supergroup" of the New Kids and the Backstreet Boys. Donnie Wahlberg told the audience at The View yesterday that the guys would be headlining and performing as their own entity, none of that A.J. McLean stealing his thunder nonsense, or whatever. They’re calling the tour "The Package," which is great if you want your tour to invoke images of strippers-doing-UPS-guy-shtick, the end of the movie Se7en or an important "Trapped In the Closet" subplot.
For a preview of what may be ahead, here’s NKOTB performing with the Backstreet Boys at the American Music Awards prior to their reunion tour launch. Now, how does "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)" fit in with all this? Only time will tell, friends.
Remember around this time about eight years ago when ’80s nostalgia reached its peak and VH1 had that show Bands Reunited, where a bunch of one-hit wonders either did or didn’t get back together and it was equal parts delightful and deeply upsetting? No? Well, it looks like we’ve hit that point in the #Rememberthe90s craze, the veritable Olduvai Cliff of our green slime-coated, Internet-fueled nostalgia. And the party responsible is Sugar Ray frontman and one-time Law and Order: SVU guest star Mark McGrath, who has curated a music cruise lineup that is part S.S. Coachella, part Buzzfeed rewind post.
The Mark McGrath & Friends Cruise will sail from Miami to Nassau from October 18th to 21st, 2013, on a Carnival ship. And the lineup features some key players of alternative rock radio of then and now, including Sugar Ray (who are kind of the ultimate lying-buzzed-on-a-deck-somewhere band, when you think about it), musical Guy Fieris Smash Mouth, Gin Blossoms, Spin Doctors, Vertical Horizon, Marcy Playground, The Verve Pipe, Cracker and the lead singers of Collective Soul and Live doing acoustic sets. If my visions of this cruise are accurate, then every TV on the damn boat is either playing Daria or the early seasons of The Real World, and somewhere, the "Bee Girl" from the "No Rain" video will be traversing the ship, serving up cocktails and yarns from her glory days.
I don’t know about you, but the best part of that for me is obviously the special acoustic set featuring Ed Kowalczyk, frontman of alternative radio staples Live. Sing to me, O muse, of the angst of bros at sea, the songs of many an aspiring busker playing to the lunch crowd at Potbelly.