Where to relive the '80s and '90s in NYC
Sing-alongs, Saturday morning cartoons and ironically bad movies for generations X and Y.
Mon Jul 19 2010
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
Wait, what? Are we seriously getting nostalgic for stuff that practically just happened? Never mind the fact that there’s plenty to lament about the ’80s and ’90s. (Zubaz pants were popular! Greed was good! Doesn’t anyone remember the horrors of Milli Vanilli or Color Me Badd?) It simply doesn’t feel like enough time has passed to reminisce about these decades. Nevertheless, the ’80s revival has been in full swing for some time: Clubs like Pyramid (101 Ave A between 6th and 7th Sts; 212-228-4888) and Sway Lounge (305 Spring St between Greenwich and Hudson Sts; 212-620-5220) have held new-wave nights for years, while event organizers such as Labyrinth (labyrinthny.com)—which recently pitted Siouxsie and the Banshees against the Cure (Siouxsie won audience-favorite)—keep the spirit of the decade alive.
But the ’90s don’t quite feel like history—surely it’s not time to be looking back wistfully yet? Some event organizers around the city disagree. “I love the ’90s,” says Michael Austin, who launched popular nostalgia-fueled Sing-Alongs at Legion (790 Metropolitan Ave at Humboldt St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-387-3797); the next event, a fest celebrating Madonna and Michael Jackson, takes place August 13 at 9pm. “[There was] great music, weird fashions...as odd as it is to say, it was a simpler time,” Austin says. With the help of nights devoted to power ballads or Prince, the Sing-Alongs offer a sort of communal trip down memory lane.
That’s also the idea behind Spoons, Toons & Booze (Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave at Havemeyer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 347-529-6696, bk.knittingfactory.com; Sat at noon; free), a party anchored by screenings of Saturday morning cartoons (like G.I. Joe and Garfield and Friends), and emceed by Austin and comedian Jerm Pollet (who’s a member of comedy troupe the Raspberry Brothers). “We take everyone on this journey to try and relive their childhood a little bit,” says Austin.
This notion seems to be the point of the ’80s and ’90s nostalgia movement: So many of NYC’s culture-makers are in their twenties and thirties, which leads to an increase in events based around the decades in which they were born and raised. “I’m all for it,” says Pollet, who, along with his cohorts in the Raspberry Brothers, hosts Comedy Over Movies (Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave at Havemeyer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 347-529-6696, bk.knittingfactory.com; Tue at 8pm; free), during which the troupe screens—and mocks—films. (Think of it as sort of a live-action version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, minus the robots.) “I’m glad to be part of a scene that celebrates and, oddly, supports the preservation of the culture from my generation.”
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