22 January 2015

MIX TAPE: The Dream of the Nineties!

Was talking to Mikey Rega (of the concert t-shirt debate fame) and I was telling him a little about PORTLANDIA. Not sure whether or not he'd seen it, I sent him a link to the season one intro.

But I had been in a bit of Nineties nostalgia mode prior to this discussion. Has something to do with the idea of, "...it was twenty years ago today." A few weeks ago, I dug out PJ20 and listened to a bunch of old shows. Then I Googled pics of Lisa Bonet from A DIFFERENT WORLD. (Damn, girl.) All of it got me thinking what WERE the 90s and why do I care?

I turned 20 in 1994, and I know that has a lot to do with it. It was a golden era for me, as I'm sure it is for most twenty-somethings. I had killers jobs--whitewater raft guide, record seller at National Record Mart, bookseller at Waldenbooks, seller of Timberland boots, Guess jeans, and Oakley shades at American Outfitters, where I met the lovely Heidi Ruby. I am also keenly aware that my current age has finally given me perspective enough to realize the passage of time makes any era distinctive. Because news and pop culture are fluid events, eras tend to blend until we get enough distance to stand back and take a look at the collective material from the culture rather than a snippet or two.

So, how do I define MY Nineties?
In no particular order: NORTHERN EXPOSURE, Patagonia clothing, Tevas, the Alice in Chains three-legged dog cover, Nalgene bottles, SUPERUNKNOWN, PULP FICTION and its amazing soundtrack, beaded necklaces, Baja shirts, THE CHRONIC, Bill Clinton, Woodstock '94, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Lemieux, Jagr and the Pens, Drew Barrymore's Guess ad, Adam Sandler, Mudhoney, Structure, FREAKS AND GEEKS, Sony PlayStation and JET MOTO, Kurt Cobain, Silverchair, THE X-FILES, the Jennifer Aniston ROLLING STONE cover, OJ, coffee, SEINFELD, CLUELESS, THE LION KING, Netscape and Lycos, this Chicago Blackhawks jersey I loved and can no longer find... I could go on, but why?

I suppose one of the things I find most inspiring about the time period is the way some of these artists have continued to pursue art on their own terms, shunning the corporate ideals and commercialism that has reared its ugly head in some of the current era's art with seemingly greater frequency. (I know the money was present back then too, but Pearl Jam's fight against Ticketmaster is an important symbol, to me at least, of idealistically pursuing creation over money.) If nothing else, it gives me great pleasure to see MY heroes subtly rising through (with?) the ranks of Mileys and Pharrells to their rightful places as creative icons and veterans of a vicious industry. Maybe it's more a Gen X thing than a Nineties thing, but as somebody engaged in creative pursuits, I believe the ideals of that era are as important to me now as they ever were. Writing is about a fierce independence and living on your own terms. I feel like those are Nineties ideas.

Here's a little of the music I missed the first time around. (And it takes us back to PORTLANDIA.) Been loving Sleater-Kinney's new album. But here's a little taste of some older stuff to get you in that mode.

Sleater-Kinney - Live @ Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, USA, 30-04-2006

Source: Soundboard
1.     What's Yours Is Mine 
2.     Jumpers  
3.     Rollercoaster
4.     Sympathy 
5.     Oh!  
6.     Modern Girl
7.     Get Up 
8.     The Fox  
9.     Step Aside
10.  Let's Call It Love  
11.  Entertain 

Check it out here: http://livebootlegconcert.blogspot.com/2013/04/sleater-kinney-live-coachella-valley.html

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