Tuesday “News:” 90s Media I Discovered in the Last MONTH

Tis’ the busy season for those of us in the hospitality industry (since writing currently pays 0% of my bills), and I have been so exhausted that it takes all my energy to drink a beer while sitting down. I have not written a word since June 4th which is a travesty, sham, and a mockery. However, it does mean I have A MONTH’s worth of 90s exploration to catch you up with.

1. Seinfeld Tracker

When I last wrote, I was beginning season 9. Since then, I have watched over half the season: “The Blood,” “The Junk Mail,” “The Merv Griffin Show,” “The Slicer,” “The Betrayal,” “The Apology,” “The Strike,” “The Dealership,” “The Reverse Peephole,” “The Cartoon,” “The Strongbox,” “The Wizard,” “The Burning,” and “The Bookstore.”

It’s all too much to summarize now, but I think there are more standouts in the first half of that list than the second. In “The Merv Griffin Show,” Kramer finds the trashed set from-duh-the Merv Griffin Show and sets it up in his apartment. He hosts, and the rest of the gang appears as guests each time they enter Kramer’s apartment.

“The Betrayl” worked backwards from end of the episode Momento-style. I’m not sure why Jerry Seinfeld wanted to try that for one episode, but I thought it worked well. In “The Apology,” George never got the apology he hilariously insisted on throughout the episode:

In “The Strike,” I finally beheld the glory of Festivus, and I was in awe. With a bit of additional research, I discovered a website summarizing the Festivus traditions and another selling Festivus Poles. Here are some handy party favors for the holiday as well. All this left me in the Festivus spirit, and I have decided that I must celebrate it this year. December 23rd can’t come soon enough!

2. Simpsons Tracker

I am embarrassed to say that in the last month, I have only watched six Simpsons episodes: “Treehouse of Horror,” “Two Cars in Every Garage And Three Eyes on Every Fish,” “Dancin’ Homer,” “Dead Putting Society,” “Bart vs. Thanksgiving,” and “Bart The Daredevil.” My favorite of these was probably “Dancin’ Homer,” which is set at a baseball game for the Springfield Isotopes. Excited and fairly intoxicated, Homer dances on top of the dugout, excites the crowd, and wills the ‘topes to a win. He is subsequently hired as the team mascot and becomes known as “Dancin’ Homer.”

"For the first time in my life, people weren't laughing at me; they were laughing towards me!"

“For the first time in my life, people weren’t laughing at me; they were laughing towards me!”

And how about this national anthem.

3. The Cranberries

At some point last month  I listened through the first few Cranberries‘ albums: “Everybody else Is Doing it, So Why Can’t We,” “No Need to Argue,” “To The Faithful Departed,” and “When You’re Gone.” I had already seen their Unplugged session and recognized some of their hits (“Dreams,” “Linger,” “Zombie,” and “I’m Still Remembering”). The Cranberries have such a soothing sound. Probably the best song I discovered was “Free to Decide:”

Listening through these albums got me thinking about other rock bands with female lead singers that I need to check out as well: Hole, Garbage, No Doubt etc.

4. Glengarry Glen Ross

Last week I finally got back to watching 90s movies with Glengarry Glen Ross, starring Alec Baldwin, Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, and Ed Harris. The film is based on the David Mamet play, making it naturally dialogue-heavy. It follows three under-performing real estate salesmen’s attempts to generate clients using a list of bad leads. Since this film amounted to 100 minutes of intense dialogue (mostly the characters screaming and calling each other “cocksuckers”), I understand why anyone would walk away feeling like they wasted their time. However, I did appreciate the film’s attempt to deal with themes of jealousy and greed, but I probably wouldn’t see it again. Also, Alec Baldwin’s profanity-laced rant in his single scene appearance is something:

5. Clear and Present Danger

A day later, I watched Clear and Present Danger, a summer 1994 movie starring Harrison Ford, Ann Archer, Willem Defoe, and James Earl Jones. I have not read any Tom Clancy novels, and this is the first of the five Jack Ryan movie I have seen. The movie reminds us throughout that it is set in the 90s with the tv news fonts, the car phone, and the computer operating systems. I enjoyed it and would see again. Just based on the cast, you should already know what’s going to happen: stuff going to blow up, and Harrison Ford wins.

6. Spotify 90s Playlist

I opened Spotify a while ago and saw this:

spotify

I think Spotify finally figured me out. These playlists are great because they have one hit wonders that would have been difficult for me to find otherwise: 90s Pop Radio Hits, 90s Alternative Rock, 90s Jamz, and 90s Smash Hits.

7. The Discovery Channel’s 90s Special 

This Sunday night at 9 PM EST, The Discovery Channel will air part one of a documentary called “The 90s, The Last Great Decade.” The second and third parts are playing Monday and Tuesday nights respectively, also at 9 PM. The series will cover everything from arts and entertainment to news and politics, and I’m sure it will be worth a watch.

 

HT: Luke Helm, Linda Dennison

Tuesday “News:” A Recap of 90s Media I Discovered Last Week

The catering world is slow right now, so I had plenty of time for 90s exploration last week:

1. The Cranberries Unplugged

I’ve been working my way through MTV’s Unplugged shows from the 90s, and last week I watched The Cranberries. I haven’t listened to a lot of their stuff, but I did recognize “Linger” and “Zombie” (from last year, mind you). I’m for Irish rock. Throw in a female singer with a soothing voice and it’s an interesting combo.

2. Nirvana at the OK Hotel

This week I found a video of Nirvana’s full concert from April 17, 1991 at the OK Hotel (I was hoping to see this stage when visit Seattle, but the building was destroyed by an earthquake in 2001.). In addition to being the first time the band performed “Smells Like Teen Spirit” live (toward the end of the show), there are other reasons this show is significant. It takes place just a few months before the release of Nevermind sent Nirvana-and with it, Seattle-into the mainstream. At this point, they were another regional band playing in a club where people just wanted to come and lose their shit.

The whole show comes across as very informal. The band does not have extra guitars on stage, and Kurt has to change his own tuning more than a few times. In the middle of “Polly,” Dave Grohl says “Can you turn my vocals up some?” Before the encore, Krist Novoselic says, “This next song is going to be our last song, but we’re not going to go in the back; we’re just going to sit out here for a little bit.” There are a few funny moments. At one point, Novoselic (in addition to mumbling nonsense throughout the show) makes fun of The Stone Temple Pilots, raising his hand and yelling “STP” in a mocking tone.

The audio quality and camera work are terrible, but for an hour, there you are in the mosh pit of a Nirvana show in the thick of the grunge movement. Mind blown.

3. Super Bowl Seinfeld Reunion

The highly-anticipated Seinfeld Reunion doubles as an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, none of which have felt like a waste of time to me. I saw the Super Bowl commercial but hadn’t gone back to watch the entire thing until recently. It’s pretty good! Check it out here.

4. Jerry’s 3-D Apartment

Last week I discovered that some genius made a 3-D model of Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment. Cool. (HT: Alex Stathakis)

5. Soundgarden 

I worked my way through most of Soundgarden‘s discography last week, and I have three more albums to go. The consensus seems to be that most of their stuff was good but not great. SG also had the unfortunate luck of putting out their best albums at the same time as Nirvana and Pearl Jam were putting out theirs. Seattle was loaded. I’m hoping to post about it soon.

6. Q101 Shirts

I recently received my Q101 T-shirt, to which I responded:

This is probably the last batch of these shirts they will make, so I was happy to get one. If you don’t know, Q101 was the flagship alternative station in Chicago through the 90s and until it was taken off the air in the late 2000s (sigh). I found Q101 when I was in college, and it was my first limited but real exposure to 90s music. The station is surviving online for the time being.

Q101

7. Boondock Saints

I finished my St. Patty’s Day watching Boondock Saints. It had been years since I saw it last, and I forgot how quotable it was, and also, the profanity.