Monday, December 14, 2015


Great lyrics to a great early nineties song by Mathew Sweet. "Sick Of Myself"

Cause I'm sick of myself when I look at you
something is beautiful and true.
World that's ugly and a lie
it's hard to even want to try.
I'm beginning to think
maybe you don't know.

Friday, December 11, 2015


She kept pushing the envelope at this time. All the while, burning the music charts. Many years after, her sex appeal is still present and her music is still credible.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Last Sunday marked the first time since 1991 since the Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau field. Back in 1991, the Lion's best player was their great running back, Barry Sanders, who was in his third season in the NFL. Wayne Fonte's was their coach and that year they won their division and beat the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs. #Lionstimecoming #barrysanders #1991

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Obviously what is burning up in the movie theaters recently as we head for the final days of the summer is the movie "Straight Otta Compton". The movie, though filtered or not,  is a biography of the trials and tribulations of the band N.W.A from their beginnings, to there feuding and breakups, until the band member Easy E's death. Recurring themes in the movie include depictions of police brutality of inner city black youth that culminated in the Rodney King beatings and LA riots in 1992. Thus, in the early nineties, at a time when the band lost its member Ice Cube and eventually disbanded with the other members finding successful solo careers, their music became prophetic and middle America was seeing the realities of the inner city on their television sets. The brutal honest reporting that the members of the band reasoned for the music's controversial lyrics and glorification of gangster life was now becoming the most honest form of reality TV. But what the band also helped make happen in the early nineties was not just America's realization of the realities of the inner cities, but pop cultures obsession with it. Among the plethora of rap songs portraying and romanticizing life in the "hood" at that time, there also box office movies (ie. "Boys In The Hood" and "Menace To Society"), cultural trends, and fashion fads that dominated the American conscience at that time. The subgenre of gangsta rap that the group help develop will be seen as more than just a seminal moment in music history but their legacy may be credited with helping to bring a social struggle to consciousness in the annals of American history.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Lollapalooza started in 1991 when Perry Farrell conceived of the idea as a farewell tour of his band Jane's Addiction. This became a touring festival in the United States and Canada from 1991- 1997. The original lineup included a diverse range of artists but the following years featured mainly grunge bands due to the musics rising popularity. In addition to the music performances, there was also non-musical features and displays such as virtual reality games, art booths, and information tables for environmental and political groups promoting counter culture. 
Critics soon, however, pointed out the corporate encroachment on the concert and the heavy ticket prices, as well as having mainstream acts. Later, in the decade,  the popularity of the venue fizzled as alternative rock's popularity died down. In 1998, the festival was cancelled. 
In 2003, Farrell relaunched the Lollapalooza tour with his reunited band. However, this festival achieved only marginal success and was cancelled the following year. In 2005, Farrell in collaboration with Capital Sports and Entertainment launched it as a two day destination festival in Chicago, Illinois. This was successful and the current format is going strong today, in fact, the festival is going on this weekend in Chicago. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Sex, Sensationalism, and Single young people. They don't make TV shows like they use to. Wink, wink!

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Remakes of old movies are the rave this summer. Now that raises the question of what will be the rave of future summers. In other words, what will be remade or retro in the future? The answer to this is complex. So much that one may ask  if our current obsession with the past will still exist? What, you may ask am I talking about here? Well, let me explain. In the past we did not have limitless television stations. The sentiment was evident as early as 1992 when Bruce Springsteen released the song "57 Channels and Nothing On". Whether his song was about really having so many channels and choices that there is a lack of any with particular value or that the channels represent the many materialistic luxuries that our society is so focused on that we become shallow and our lives empty remains. But if we go with the first notion, then we can relate here to what the Boss is trying to say. What is happening is that America, and the world for that matter, has lost its collectivity.
In the Seventies, CBS ruled Saturday nights with its schedule line up of "All In The Family", "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", "The Bob Newhart Show", and "The Carol Burnett Show". There was no Tivo, Hulu, or even VCRs then. If you wanted to see these shows, you had to tune in at the same time (on each time zone, of coarse). But that is lost now. Now with the avalanche of a million channel stations and numerous internet TV outlets, viewership is no longer a collective cultural experience.
In another example, people remember where they were when they saw the last episode of the television series MASH. In 1983, that episode drew close to 106 million viewers and remained the most widely watched broadcast in US history until 2010 when it was surpassed by the Superbowl. Now, besides mega sports events, there is rarely a collective experience so big. In a way, the mass diversity of choices has also segmented the family to a degree. In the past, usually a family would have a single television set or watch a popular show on one main television set. That, in a way, brought the family unit together and provided a shared experience for everyone. That still exists today, but certainly not the the same level.
So, in many ways, the fact that the options were limited, the shared experiences and commonality was numerous. It even happened with other facets of pop culture. For instance, in the early Eighties, the video game Pacman was so popular that it transcended age and racial differences. Even if your grandfather did not play it, he sure knew about it. Pacman was iconic and a shared cultural phenomenon. What video games are now doing that?
Fad and trends in pop culture have shaped our cultural collectivity in the past. Now, that can change as fads and trends become so many, so diverse, and so fragmented. But there is another shared collectivity in the United States right now. And that is a shared collective struggle in finance and economics. Yes, this long American downward spiral has created struggle as a common fact to many. Your family doctor, your kid's teacher, and your plumber all share it together. Thus, if common pop cultural phenomenons won't have enough juice to bind us together, our mutual struggle for money will. It is becoming common to most.


"I Got Five On It" by Luniz was one of the biggest songs in the summer of 1995. For better or worst, this song with a potent  catchy base line is one hundred percent about marijuana. Well after 20 years, the verdict is in and marijuana is legal in certain states. Did the pop culture in the past, oh, twenty five years and mainly in the hip hop industry help sway this legislation?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Around 20 years ago, in the summer of 1995, the song "Kiss From A Rose" from one of those Batman movie's became the number one song and a formidable balled for many years to come.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


In soon time, Caitlyn Jenner is going to have a reality show called "I Am Cait". The show is primed to be  a series documentary that follows her life as a transgender. For the future viewers that watch the show and, especially,  for those having a gender identity crisis and are seeking inspiration from the show, I have one thing to say, BEWARE! Why? What we term now as "reality TV" began in the early nineties with the MTV show, The Real World. Here MTV took random young people and put them in a house and taped them while documenting the issues they were  facing in their lives. The show was a novelty for that time but found success and the performers on the show were paid dirt cheap. TV found a new formula. The rest of the Nineties saw a plethora of new reality shows as this became America's new obsession. But this overdone motif remained throughout the early millennium all the way to the present. Now everyone and their mothers have a reality show and mega celebrities like the Kardashians have reached Trump status by just having their lives recorded.

The problem here lies in the old adage that viewers influence whats in the media but also, vice versa, that the media influences the viewers. This is what's at play here. The reason is that because very little about reality is actually reality. The stories are all scripted as are the roles of the characters. And some people buy into this false reality. At least in the past, entertainment influenced people without the false pretense of being real. Sitcoms were just that, sitcoms.

The issue of gender benders in the media is not a new phenomenon either. There have been many gender benders in the history of our pop culture. Some names that come to mind are David Bowie and the early rise of glam rock in the Seventies, Boy George of Culture Club in the Eighties, and Rupaul, a cross dresser who made a name for himself, along with music videos and a his own show, in the early nineties. In those times, these androgynous celebrities were taken as just that, celebrities. The general population did not focus on their personal struggles. The stars, themselves, profited from their external flamboyance without trying to dive into their own histories and reasons of why they were uncomfortable in the bodies they were born into.

All that is in the past now. With Caitlyn Jenner, we have an influencing celebrity who is actually now a transgender. But, the reality of his sex change and the influence it has over others who are thinking about a sex change is going to be portrayed in an arena of false reality. The dangers of this is that people can be fooled into thinking that surgery can solve all their problems. Many psychologists and psychiatrists agree. If Caitlyn Jenner wants to help others who have gender identity issues, maybe she should use other forums than reality TV. Maybe she can hold public workshops and group meetings, but, of coarse, these would be less profitable than a reality series. Because after all, the only thing real about reality TV is that it's on TV.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


The movie that has dominated this summer so far is obviously Jurassic World. In just a little over a month, it has grossed over 1.3 billion dollars worldwide and is currently the seventh top grossing movie of all time. But what is the verdict on this remake of an Early Nineties classic. The jury is out and the film scores an A. Why? Here are the reasons.
Check: The special and technical effects.
Check: The action
Check: A good story that is not too complicated or intertwined with government conspiracy
Check: A movie that really is worth seeing in 3D
Check: Good number references to the original Jurassic Park
Check: Good character development
Check: Story involves some coming of age themes from some of the main characters
Check: There is some hint of romance in the story, but it is just enough not to be cheesy
Check: Albeit some specific details, the story does adhere to some scientific possibilities

For all these reasons, this huge mega block buster is still a must see for this summer.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Remember hypercolor shirts? These were popular in 1991. Manufactured by the Genera Sportswear Company of Seattle, these fabrics changed colors based on changing temperatures. The science involves the same concept as the mood rings, which were popular in the 70's.  Leukodyes, the color changing molecules, were encased  to the permanent colored fabric. The change in increasing temperature caused an increasing PH and that created a chemical change, allowing the molecule to release light instead of absorbing it. However, multiple washing and washing in heat would leave the fabric in a permanent, static color.
The genius in the science, however, did not correlate with management. From February 1991 to May 1991, in a three month span, the company sold 50 million worth of items. But, soon overproduction and mismanagement  led to "FADING" demand. One year later, in 1992, the company went bankrupt.
The shirts may have come and gone, but the memory of them changing colors on me after I received my test score in 1993 will be embedded in my mind forever!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


20 years ago, the 5 pick in the NBA draft was Kevin Garnett. Drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves, he was the first player in over two decades to be selected from high school. He went on to have the best basketball career of anyone else in that draft year and won the MVP title in the 2003-2004 season. He finally won a championship in the 2007-2008 year when he led the Boston Celtics to the championship. Garnett's success paved the way for future high school athletes, such as Kobe Bryant and Lebron James,  to enter the NBA straight from high school until the "one and done" rule was implemented in 2005.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


This legend is Michael Crichton. Jurassic World has just made over half a billion dollar this past weekend and credit has to be given to the man who wrote the story of the original Jurassic Park. Mr. Crichton was not only a writer, director, producer, but also a medical doctor. This consummate workaholic would spend weeks locked inside a room to finish his novels. Topics of his novels generally included biotechnology and failure of man's efforts to control it. In 1994, Mr Crichton had his simultaneous works as charting number one in television with his writing in ER, a number one film with Jurassic Park, and a number one book with Disclosure.


Sunday, June 14, 2015


More than 21 years ago,  the leader of the so called grunge phenomena, committed suicide. Many have labelled this exact time as the end of the grunge. I have to vehemently disagree. It was not even the beginning of the end. Grunge and alternative movement had a stronghold on music until 1997 when Hansen released "MMMBOP". That's when the music execs realized that once again they can make money from preteen and teen girls. For more evidence regarding this, please see the Smashing Pumpkins and the year of success they enjoyed in 1996. Still today, Cobain's legacy serves to influence musicians. But in a tragic prophecy, it almost seems fitting that Cobain, the most recognizable face of Grunge, would pass away at the height of success of grunge and leave that short time of music history as a time of mystery and for some a memory of the halcyon days before the internet and boy band explosions. Who would Cobain have been today? Would he still be performing alternative music or would be have moved on to other forms of rock music? Would we have ever known of Justin Timberlake if Cobain did not commit suicide? These answers will never be known (at least not in this lifetime). What has happened is that the grunge movement made a dip in rock music history and pop culture history. That dip at the time, seemed like an enormous seismic event to shake the world forever. However, soon after, the world restored order. But from time to time the aftershocks of that event can still be felt along with the memories of that time and that time's leader.


Around 21 years ago, Madonna's song "I Remember" was a commercial and critical success. It reached #2 in the Billboard charts (hey no one is perfect). It also helped create a new image and style for this legendary pop artist as there was a backlash from both critics and fans from her previously provocative and sexually tainted image. The song was the single for the soundtrack of the film "With Honors" (a thoughtful and insightful film). For a fan that has been following Madonna since she debuted as a prominent artist, I feel that her music at this time in the early and mid nineties was her best. Please also hear "Bad Girl", "Rain", and "Take A Bow".


There was a period of time between the end of 1991 and, oh, about the end of 1995 where music was mainly about the music. This was after glam rock had faded out and before boy bands took over.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Drive around in Los Angeles, or in fact, any major city or middle sized city in the United States at this time, and you will find many billboards advertising movies playing that have links to the past. Jurrasic World is being released this weekend and a new version of the Terminator is out soon. Further, there is a Pacman revival phenomenon with the movie Pixels coming out in July. For the most part, unless you live in a cave you have to realize that obsession in the past is everywhere. Turn on the radio (if you still do)  and you'll hear an oldie song. Turn on the television and a something from the past is featured (ie. CNN is currently featuring a weekly presentation on the Seventies). Even social media,  a relatively new phenomenon, celebrates the past (ie. Throwback Thursdays, Flashback Fridays, etc).
But retro is not a new revival (pun intended). The decades before had their  niches for decades before as well. the Seventies celebrated the Fifties. The Eighties glorified the Sixties and the cycle went full circle in the Nineties with the Seventies coming back in full throttle. And now, everything from the previous millennium is glorified.
So what makes of this? Why has the word vintage become as powerful as gold. And no, it is not because the world and times were so much better back then. There was still war, poverty, tragedy, and bad music  back in the "good ol' days". So the question remains. For us who are old, why is the familiarity of something make it so grandiose. And, for the new generation, why are they buying into this "blast from the past". Well, my speculation is that the answers are both scientific, psychological, and social.
First, some of the answers to this are easy to answer. Things from the past that were popular, although familiar to the older generation, are still new for the younger generation. In addition, most of what was popular in the past must have had some appeal to the general population. Thus, for the new generation this appeal is new. The song you loved as a child is now new (even though it's old) to your nine year old daughter.
Second, when a song, an ad jingle, video, etc. reminds you of your past, their is a filter of reminisce that, although not absolutely accurate, brings on some sort of bliss full feeling. Why so? For one thing, the past has general advantages. First, obviously, the past is a time when you were younger. Youth has its rewards. It includes your first crush, your first kiss, and other memories like your first car. A jingle from that time can bring about memories of those firsts. And usually we associate a pleasant event with these relics of the past. But recent studies show that even our memories can trick us. We all know that our recall of an event is not perfect. Think of distant event in your life. Now go back and look at the video from that event (if there is one), and you will see the disparity between your memories of the event and the actual event. The accuracy of our memories are definitely not pristine.
Further,  according to Karim Nader, a Neuroscientist at Mcgill University, memories are not static and are easily distorted, every time they are remembered. This is called reconsolidation. In other words, every time you have a memory of an event, it can be altered and tweeked so that your memory of an event is hardly a pristine account of what actually happened. Further, the emotional aspects of a memory are controlled by a pea shaped small part of your brain called the Amygdala. The Amygdala releases hormones  that affect the emotions of a recall. This has been used to treat patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after they recall the disturbing event by administering a drug that blocks the release of the hormones from the Amygdala, during the recall. Thus, the emotional aspects of a disturbing memory can be forgotten. With this knowledge, can it be that a familiar, appealing song can enhance the emotions related to a memory? In other words, can a familiar, admired song that triggers a recall of memory, make that memory seem sweeter?
According to Michael Marvi, a Neurologist who treats Alzheimer's patients at Providence Hospital in Burbank, California, memories are ingredients that make an individual recognize the self. Accordingly, it gives us cues to prepare for what we might have to face in the present and future. And from the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless" were are reminded by Jim Carrey's character of what angst losing your memory can cause to someone.
So with all this knowledge, it is common sense to do as so many friends, family, and therapists remind us to do. That is to enjoy the present. Why? All this reminiscing of the past brought on by our pop culture, can leave you nostalgic and longing for your past, a time and world which you want but can't have back. With this in mind, now you know to enjoy the immediate present, because in a split second it becomes your past.

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Around 20 years ago, Bill Clinton's Health Care Plan was ousted. The year before a task force was set up and led by Hillary Clinton to come up with a comprehensive plan for all Americans. The bill was a complex proposal of over a 1,000 pages and its core ideal was to have employers provide health care insurance to their employees through competitive but regulated Health Management Organizations (HMOs). Conservatives and health insurance companies complained that the plan was heavily bureaucratic and restrictive of patient choice. By the summer of 1994, the proposal was fully shut down.


In early 1994, the movie "Reality Bites" starring Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawk, and Ben Affleck (in his directorial debut) was showing in movie theaters. The movie dealt with issues faced by young adults who were just graduating from college at the time. These included disenfranchisement, poor employment opportunity, promiscuity, the struggle to deal with one's sexuality, and non sensible love. Any of these issues seem familiar today? The movie became the embodiment of Generation X and launched Lisa Loeb's music career.


21 years ago, Courtney Love's band, Hole, was having success with their second album, "Living Through This". The album was released right after Kurt Cobain's suicide. The album featured hits with the theme of female insurgency and themes of self image.Lyrics in the album deal with depression, insecurity, and motherhood.  The band gained more popularity from Love's crazy onstage performances. By the end of the year, Living Through This, received much critical acclaim. With songs like "Doll Parts", "Miss World", and "Violet", Courtney Love soon became the queen of alt.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Just two months ago, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck was released. It is a documentary  about the man who was on top of the music world and the world of pop culture in the early nineties. But he, ultimately,  shot himself in a tragic fashion and left a suicide note. A question as to why this would happen would also raise the question of why the music he made popular in this time was even popular? At this time, our country was not in a war, the economy was recovering, and the world was about to be introduced the world wide web. But deep in the confines of Cobain's struggle, we find some answers. Mental illness? Well, Cobain was not the first genius to suffer from Bipolar Disorder. But maybe, one of the few to take his own life during what one would think would be the "Nirvana" of his life. Certainly, he was not the first to suffer from the pressures of success and all that comes with it. A man that was chosen, not by his own choosing, to be the spokesman for a generation that for the first time saw themselves to have a bleaker future than their parents. So in a tragic irony, it was fitting that a man who had reached the pinnacle of success would pass away not by the gluttony and riches that his success brought him, but rather, by the fact that he was not comfortable in the new shiny clothes that dressed his skin.


Around 21 years ago this month, the Houston Rockets, with the help of their MVP center, Hakeem Olajuwon, defeated the New Knicks and Ewing to became NBA champions. Remember, this was the series in which one of the games was interrupted by the OJ Simpson police chase. This was their first back to back championships and Hakeem the Dream went on to have a hall of fame career, as did Patrick Ewing, the center for the New York Knicks. It should also be noted that Michael Jordan did not play in the NBA that season (1993-94) because he was playing minor league baseball.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


In the early nineties, music was polarized by the alternative grunge movement and gangster rap. However, a closer look at that time would show that pop and middle of the road rockers were still on top of the music charts. Pop female artists such as Mariah Carey and Celine Dion were becoming mega stars. Middle of the road rockers like Rod Stewart, Elton John, and Billy Joel were releasing songs and getting heavy radio airplay.


In 1994, Starbucks introduced its first drive through store. The company was hesitant at first to do this becomes they felt it would hinder from people coming into their store for the atmosphere and the leisure. But, the lure of fast and convenient ways to get the caffeine high won over. In the early nineties, Starbucks and other specialty coffee shops, such as Coffee Bean, were exponentially growing their chains. The Starbucks expansion took off when Howard Schultz bought the company from the former owners in 1987. In 1990 there were 84 Starbucks outlets in the US. By 1994 the number of stores reached 425. At the end of 2013, there were 19,676 Starbucks locations worldwide.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


21 years ago this month, The Flintstones movie, based on the 1960's cartoon series, was released. The movie was a box office success, though critics claimed that the content dealt with too many adult issues to be entertaining for kids (hey, even kids have to learn some time). At any rate, the release of this movie was just a sample of the nostalgic fascination that was going on at that time and continues to this day (ie. our page). In other words, were looking back at the time when we were looking back. Please also see the rebirth of disco music.


In 1994, sensationalism and tabloid news took center stage. This was the year that launched tabloid news to its height we see today. The year started with the underpinnings of the Lorena Bobbitt trial and then progressed to the Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan scandal and then, of coarse, climaxed in the summer with the OJ Simpson murder conviction and chase. What also happened was that the Jerry Springer show hired a new producer, Richard Dominick, after the show's ratings were low. The show, which first aired in 1991, was legitimate in it's early days and featured relevant issues such as gun control and homelessness. But ratings when down until the new order took over. Ratings then spiked when the show featured most anything that was crude, obnoxious, outrageous, and sensational. The rest you can say is Shock Television History.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


In 1994, the BRITPOP craze that was taking place in England was crossing over to the US. Bands like Blur, Oasis, and Suede were emerging the British alternative music that was influenced by the British guitar pop music of the 1960's and 70's. Further, these bands wrote about strictly British topics and issues, a sort of anti-grunge notion that was taking place there at the time. The crossover was so present in the US that Blur's song "Girls and Boys" was blaring in the clubs of New York in the Summer of 94.


In the fall season of 1994, the hospital drama first aired on NBC. In my opinion, the first two years of the show rank it as one of the best dramas ever in the history of television. The show featured fast-paced situations in the ER but also dealt with personal life issues of the main characters. It had good characters, good acting, and great stories. The first two years also tackled many controversial issues such as AIDS, teenage pregnancy, incest, and a good looking thirty- something year old doctor who got hoards of women (aka. George Clooney). Interestingly, the first year of the show was produced by Steven Spielberg, in collaboration with Michael Crichton, the creator. And, in fact, one of the episodes in the first season was directed by Quinten Terrentino.


In late 1994, Notorious BIG's career had just gotten underway after he had released his prophetic titled album "Ready To Die". The song from the album, "It's Juicy", was released in the summer of 1994 and chronicles his rags to riches story from a life of poverty to his then current lavish lifestyle as a rap artist. He was instrumental in bringing on East Coast rap to the spotlight when it was dominated by West Coast rap. Unfortunately, this rivalry led to his untimely death in 1997

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Around 20 years ago, the whole OJ fiasco was in full swing in a  case of the decade that dragged for
15 months until the jury found the defendant, OJ Simpson, not guilty. This landmark trial fostered many pop culture and societal phenomenon that are still prevalent today. Here are a few:
1. The trial detailed the anatomy of a crime. Questions were raised whether the crimes were premeditated or based on the instinctual rage of the defendant
2. The chase and trial spawned celebrity sensationalism at its best. Fame was made of the personalities involved in the trial(ie. Kato Kaelin)
3. Reality TV found a big audience. The chase and trial did not give rise to reality TV, but it sure helped make it it big after executives found out that people would tune it for all the chase and court related drama.


In 1994, reality TV, for better or worst, was making its initial headway.The Real World, still airing today, is a reality show that premiered on MTV in 1992. Back then, the show initially focused on the real subject matters, such as sexuality, politics, and drug abuse, that young adults had to deal with. A central figure was Pedro Zamora, who appeared on the show in 1994 and was openly gay and an educator of HIV/AIDS. That season featured his commitment ceremony with his boyfriend, Sean Sasser. Sadly, the show that year also chronicalled his dealing with his own affliction with AIDS until his passing. Pedro become a mentor not only for those dealing with a deadly disease but also for being open about his sexuality. Please remember, this is still the early nineties.
Well, let's flash forward about 20 years years. Gay rights and gay activism have come a long way, one has to admit. But an overlooked figure in this movement is the star of the reality show, Shahs of Sunset, Reza Farahan. Yes, the show has it's critics and haters. But one can not deny the courage that Reza has endured in being openly gay on the show. I know that it's 2015, but one must understand that the Reza is opening up in front of a community that has had a long history of being closed in this matter and many would say in a community that has shunned this issue.
Besides his sexuality, Reza Farahan also transcends the religious divide between the Muslims and Jewish Iranians in Los Angeles. For one thing, he is both a Jew and an Muslim and not afraid to assimilate with either identity. He is naturally a uniting figure. I can see this man soon breaking out from Shah's and having his own reality or talk show.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


In the early nineties, The Cranberries, an Irish alternative band, became a major act in the alternative and, for the most part, the national scene. In 1994, they released their second hit album "No Need To Argue". With hits from the album such as "Ode To My Family" and "Zombie" and behind the impeccable voice of lead singer Doloris O' Riordan, The Cranberries were achieving great mainstream success in the US. Although, they were an alt band, there songs did have pop appeal, in addition, to certain songs having heavy guitar hooks. The angelic voice of Riordan stood in contract to the hard guitar chords in some of their tracks on this record, but this formed a winning ingredient. This wasin contrast to the their breakout album, Everbody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We".  However, it helped formed their later identity, as did the lyrical content of their music. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015


In the early nineties,  Bungee Jumping was a major fad (not gonna lie, never tried it and probably never will). This activity involves jumping from a tall structure such as a bridge while being held by an elastic cord. The cord stretches and the jumper oscillates up and down until the energy in the cord is all released. Injuries and deaths have been reported with this activity. Please take caution!


Around a litter over 20 years ago, the DIetary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 was passed. This act, for the most part, allowed supplements to go unregulated without appropriate proof of efficancy or safety of the supplement. The law was passed by the successful lobbying against the tightening restrictions and regulations for supplement labeling. It also classified dietary supplements as foods rather than drugs, hence lower regulations for them. Seen here is a commercial to help pass the law at the time. Mel Gibson is being arrested for eating Vitamin C. After more than 20 years, this law now has made it feasable for just about any kind of supplement to be freely sold in the open market. In fact, vitamins and supplements are now sold in outlets such as the 99 Cent Store and at your local swap meet and flee markets.

Friday, May 8, 2015


The answer is simple and easy to understand. But it needs a little history lesson of some, oh, 21 or 22 years ago. You see, in the early nineties, the country had already had  its taste of sensationalized stories. For instance, in the late eighties, there was the whole Tammy Faye Baker affair and who can  forget the Gary Hart national non-news worthy incidents. Now well into the 1990's, sensationalized tabloid news that became headline national news was now the norm (please see the OJ Simpson murder case). And no story was bigger at the time than John Bobbit's tale about how his wife cut off his penis with a butcher knife and drove and threw it out onto a field. What tabloid newspapers could only dream of telling was reality and became national headline news. The abusive relationship between John Bobbit and his wife Lorena took a backseat to the bazaar, yet comical, lead story. Who had time or enough attention span to care about relevant foreign matters at the time, like our nation's involvement in Somolia or the genocide that was taking place in Rwanda. This was more funny and jaw dropping. A president having sexcapades in the White House is much more interesting than his economic long term plan.
Now we do a little, but definitely not complete, list of shock events that made national news since then: The Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan ice skating fiasco, the Marv Albert sex scandal, Janet Jackson's Superbowl wardrobe malfunction, Michael Vick killing dogs, Octomom, Tiger Wood's sex scandals, athlete's using steroids,  Lebron James leaving Cleveland for Miami, Lindsey Lohan going to jail, Donald Sterling making racist comments over a phone conversation, Bruce Jenner's sex change... to name a few.
And now we have come to this. The good looking, husband of a supermodel, four time Superbowl championship winning, football player and every American man's version of having a dream life is going under fire (or under air, pun intended) because he knew that some footballs were deflated by a few psi during last years AFC championship game. This has became center story not just in the world of sports but in the news of the nation. CNN' s Bradley Cooper spent over an hour on this topic on his news show last night. So what is all to make of this and how will this change your life or your neighbor's life. It will because it keeps you occupied. The father of Communism,  Karl Marx,  once referred to religion as the "Opiate of the Masses" in a paper published in 1844. At that time, he contended that religion is a made up phenomenon that was created to keep class divisions that existed stable and to provide a solace for the Proletariat as so they not rebel against the dominant Bourgeoisie. Well today's "religion" comes in the form of Kim Kardashian, The Shahs of Sunset, headline tabloid news, the Internet, etc. Anything not substantial enough to change your life but to take your focus off your mortgage payments, your credit report, your taxes, and the list goes on, is substantial. In this paradox, one can see that the media is providing us a form of escapism from our own real realities. The concept is certainly not new but the delivery has had some changes over time.
But there is good news for Tom Brady as their was for John Bobbit well over twenty years ago (besides the fact that doctors were able to surgically sow his penis back together). This silver lining is the fact that tabloid news, like our attention spans, gets old really quick. Tom Brady's time in center stage will quickly dissipate once the media picks another "interesting" story to barrage us with. So my advice to Tom Brady is to just sit back and take it. Soon enough, your story will be forgotten and just be another notch in the timeline in the long history of sensationalized tabloid news.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


In the early nineties, a sub form of alternative music known as grunge that grew from the Seattle area, dominated the national music scene. Idealistic music expressing anger with distorted guitar riffs and loud vocals was addressing the angst, isolation, and despair for the future. This was felt at the time by young people, a cohort termed Generation X. The over the top, self indulgent, glam rock star of the earlier decade was replaced by the more conscience, real, and substantial front men of bands that looked like they could be your friends. Arena rock was ousted by “unplugged”.
This angst was especially felt in Los Angeles. The decade before, in the eighties, LA was experiencing a booming decade that has been referred to as the Big Eighties. In the mecca of entertainment, not only were most films made in LA but most films and songs were written about LA (ie. all the movies centered on the San Fernando Valley and, of course, Randy Newman’s “I Love LA”). The cultural melting pot was thriving. Real estate was at an all time high and businesses were expanding. Major sports teams brought many championships. The four major sports teams won a collective total of nine championships. The hip city with two NFL teams also hosted the 1984 Olympics and was even able to pull in the biggest star in a sport that normally took a backseat in LA sports when the LA Kings acquired Wayne Gretzy in 1988.
But as the nineties rolled in, all this changed. The early nineties brought a short recession nationally, but it hit LA hard, especially the retail sector. Packed malls became empty. The real estate bubble burst. And socially, LA became the focal point of racial and civil unrest with the Rodney King beating and eventual LA riots in the  spring of 1992.  Even our sports teams never won a championship in all the 90’s. There were floods, fires, major earthquakes, and celebrity car chases. The early nineties could be thought of as the dark period in LA history. But even at times when you CAN see the forest from the trees, you can still relinquish in its hidden beauties. In an ironic medley, the dark times in this cosmopolitan city at that time provided me with the glory days of my youth.
The spring and summer of 1992 was a transition culturally on the Sunset Strip. In essence it was the last summer where you would find the long haired rockers or rock fans huddling around outside the nightclubs of the Sunset Strip. Interspersed between those rocker men were pretty dolled up ladies with their own long hairs, wearing short clothes. In retrospect, after the summer of 1992, the LA nightlife became less glam. One can think of a dark, less extravagant scene. The one related to River Phoenix’s overdose at the Viper room in 1993. But to a newcomer to the scene, that was all I knew and it was fun and exciting. LA lost some of its glam from the decade before, but Sunset was still Sunset. Let’s get started at the beginning of the strip going east.
In the early nineties in urban Los Angeles, with a fake ID you could into a club called Bar One, half the time, if the power freak bouncer would let you in. But if you got in, it was a ticket to heaven. Bar One became the first staple of an adult, mature club for myself and my friends. Within its doors, you would be lost to the outside world. The DJ played Captain Hollywood and Ace Of Base along with disco (yes 70’s disco had a revival in the early nineties). And women were at your disposal for a dance, if you had the courage to ask them. One night, I spotted a beautiful boxom blond at a table with a bunch of her friends. I was later told that she was the new hot chick of Baywatch, Pamela Anderson. Another night Mr. Brian Austin Green celebrated his 21st birthday there. Since then, Bar One  has transformed to many other club destinations such as The Room and Trousdale. Now it is home to a 60’s art deco inspired nightclub called Bootsy Bellows.
A couple of blocks away, in the heart of Sunset, there was Roxbury.  Here you could see a view of Sunset boulevard from its window view seating. This was a bar/restaurant/dance club before it turned into the once popular Sushi joint, Miyagees, and now there stands  Pink Tacos. Further east, on La Cienega boulevard, there was the ultra exclusive Gate. The only way you could get into this club was if you were a celebrity or if you forked over at least a hundred bucks for dinner.
But Sunset was not the only outlet for night clubs. In Century City, the club Trips featured not one, not two, but three dance floors and even an outside patio area. It soon would transform to The Century Club, which was popular for most of the 90s. Now the building is demolished and the land is sitting idle.  On the third street promenade in Santa Monica there was the short lasting Renaissance. It featured high ceilings, a spacey dance floor, and free drinks before 10pm on Tuesdays. In Beverly Hills on Canon Dr, there was Tatou. A stair trip downstairs would provide a perfect escape from the outside level world. I once spotted the late Wilt Chamberlain there. For retro fans, there was Club 70’s and the Palladium on Friday nights, which featured flashback KROQ hits. But one of my favorites was a Hawaiian style tropical club joint in Santa Monica on Pico called Kelbos. You could drink tropical drinks from a big bowl with your friends in their eatery before you went dancing on its club floor. But soon Kelbos transformed to a strip club called Fantasy Island.
And so these were the spots of exploits of my youth in the early nineties, living in urban Los Angeles. Soon full adulthood and responsibilities would become paramount. The novelties of youthful club life would become less sweet and less memorable as we grew older.  But that is not surprising. The world becomes much colder when you released into it, rather than looking at it from an edge of a slightly open pot hole cap. At nineteen, your allowed to run through it for a short time, without being still to realize the freeze.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


The Fresh Prince of Bel Air aired from 1990 to 1996. It featured Will Smith as a fictionalized version of himself. On the show, he was a street smart kid from West Philadelphia who was forced to move in with his uncle in Bel Air after being involved in a fight. His uncle and his family are a well to do black family and the show revolves around the cultural clashes between Will and the family. At this time, in the opinion of this writer, the show was genius. Will Smith represented the hip hop that was taking over the landscape in America at that time. The family represented the well to do elite. The clash of the different classes was classic. Furthermore, Will Smith on the show was just polished enough to appeal to white America. The rest of the cast included James Avery as his uncle Philip Banks, a responsible slightly snooty but overall generous patriarch. Alfonso Ribeiro played his cousin, Carlton Banks. He was conservative and proper but clueless and had an exuberant dance move known as the The Carlton Dance. Also of mention was Hilary Banks played by Karyn Parsons. She played the pretty, self absorbed, money-loving, superficial cousin of Will Smith. #freshprince #freshprinceofbelair #willsmith #thecarltondance #jamesavery #alfonsoribeiro #karynparsons #hiphop #earlynineties

Monday, March 23, 2015


Christian Laetnner and the Duke Blue Devils beat Chris Webber and the  Michigan Wolverines' Fab Five Starting Freshman, 1992. #earlynineties #christianlaettner #chriswebber #duke #michigan #ncaa

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


This month Madonna's 13th studio album, Rebel Heart, was released. It is just a new addition to this original material girl's illustrious career. She has transcended so much iconic imagery and changed styles so many times  through the years. But, the imagery she had in the early nineties was the most controversial. At that time, Madonna was provocatively enthralled in pushing the envelopes in her sexual performances. These included in performing sexual charged acts on stage, showing explicit content in her videos (ie. Justify My Love), releasing the Sex book in 1992, and appearing on the David Letterman show with profanity and sexually charged antics to name a few. But in the opinion of this writer, this was also the time that Madonna gave us her best work (ok, her Like A Prayer and her  Ray of Light albums might have been close seconds). The decade started with her iconic megahit "Vogue". Soon "Justify My Love" and "Rescue Me" were to follow but were eehh. But what followed next was amazing. Right before the heat of the Sex book phenomena, she not only starred in but had the hit from the movie A League Of Their Own with "This Used To Be My Playground", a nice easy to listen to ode to loss and childhood memories. Soon her Erotica album featured the pop hit with the big innuendo  "Deep and Deeper" and a pop remake of "Fever". But where the album really shined were the underrated hits "Bad Girl" and "Rain". In "Bad Girl", a vulnerable Madonna sings as if with a ironic mirror twist on her own real life about a girl who resorts to provocative behavior after a heartbreak. "Rain" is a pop ballad that embellishes on the healing power of love and its comparison to rain.
Change is good and this artist turned one hundred and eighty degrees as she responded to her critics charge of being overly sexual and crossing the line. Later in 1994, she released "I'll Remember", another beautiful song about loss and remembrance. Soon she would release Bedtime Stories. With this album,  a softer Madonna released "Secret" and "Take A Bow". In another ironic twist on her one life, "Take A Bow" is about a love that she can not attain because of her man's fame. #earlynineties #earlyninetiestrends #madonna #earlyninetiesmusic

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Which celebrity was huge in the late seventies, gone for most of the eighties, and made a huge comeback in the early nineties. If you guessed John Travolta, you are right. But. let's not also forget about Meat Loaf. After the success of his album Bat Out Of Hell in the late 70's, this artist fell bankrupt in the mid 80's. But soon he was selling to packed clubs and bars in the late 80's and in 1993, in collaboration with songwriter John Steinman, the album Bat Out Of Hell II: Back To Hell was released. The album featured the huge hit "I Would Do Anything For Love" which reached number one. However, the third released single from the album, "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are"  is the masterpiece. Here Meat Loaf describes his autobiographical tale in three major verses that represent summer, fall, and spring. With opera type vocals and heart felt drama, Meat Loaf speaks close to the heart, as only he can, in this cinematic tale. This is great music!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Joan River's Red Carpet Show on the E! channel premiered around 20 years. Her show became so popular that it became somewhat linked to the Oscar Award show ever since then. The show featured her candidly interviewing celebrities and other movie personalities before the award show. However, her satirical humor became part of the interviewing and her honest truth telling was in clash to the new found political correctness that protruding at that time in the early nineties. Later, her abrasive style was more abound on the Fashion Police shows. This prominent entertainer and comedian once stated that "she would not bow down to political correctness".