Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Defining the 2000s

I was talking with a friend the other night about the way our culture seems to be becoming more homogeneous. We talked about the distinctive, definable styles of the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, into the early '90s, but found our ability to pin down what has defined style since becoming fuzzier. Is this just due to our proximity to the times, or has the ubiquity of mass media, and particularly the Internet, led to an evening out of our culture?

In the tradition of long lists of stuff blogs like Stuff White People Like, one blogger has set to defining what the current decade has been about in his blog You AUGHT To Remember. He's counting down the top 100 "trends, fashions, memes, personalities and ideas that shaped the first decade of the 21st Century." I expect we'll be seeing more and more efforts like this as our decade comes to a close in less than two months.


Hiking: Griffith Park and Taylor Mitchell

So, I'm going hiking tonight in Griffith Park for a special pre-Halloween hike. As my hiking group's Web site describes it, "Bring glow sticks, bracelets, headbands, or whatever other glowing or blinking accessories you can get your hands on and we'll scare and glow our way around the trails and then through the dark and eerie ruins of the old zoo." I was very excited about this. I then decided to go on the Internet.

What should I happen to come across but this: "Teenage folk singer Taylor Mitchell killed by coyotes." The first paragraph:

"A teenage folk singer has died after being set upon by two coyotes as she hiked alone in a national park in Nova Scotia."

It's a tragic story, and I hesitate to even write about this, and wonder if I'm being sensitive to the situation. From my own limited perspective, it's one that puts a little fright into a late night hike at a park known for its coyotes. Of course, as the article notes, coyotes are generally shy, and I'll also be hiking with a large group. Still, I suppose it's natural to have a little fright going into Halloween.


Why seeing U2 live is for suckers

I'm one of the 96,000+ descending upon Pasadena's Rose Bowl this weekend to see U2 in a sold out concert (or at least the small dots that I will assume are U2 from my seat). However, while you can't beat the energy of a live crowd, the best view may be had by all the people not at the show.

This show will be streamed live via YouTube. You can view the video making the announcement here:

The show was already being filmed for an upcoming DVD release, so it ended up being an opportunity for the organizers to take the show to the Web. It's one of their last concerts of the year, with more to come in 2010.

It's a smart move, as they weren't going to be able to sell any more tickets for the event. I do wonder, if this type of live event online becomes a growing trend, if it could cut into any live performance revenues, which have become even more important as the record industry collapses. Still, as mentioned before, it's hard to compete with the experience of a live concert, the fan moment of being in the same venue as a favorite musician, and sharing your passion with a mass of people.


Remembering pro wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano

Pro wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano died this morning. There've been some untimely deaths in the wrestling industry, but Albano lived a rather full life, dying at age 76.

Albano is one of the personalities that crossed over into mainstream pop culture in the 1980s alongside Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. I'm someone who's watched pro wrestling over the years, and while I didn't get into it until later on, I knew who Captain Lou Albano was.

Albano gained his greatest fame and perhaps most lasting legacy by appearing in a number of Cyndi Lauper's music videos, such as "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," "She Bop," "Time After Time," and "Goonies 'R' Good Enough" (below):

Those music video appearances made him a big part of the early days of MTV (back when they still played videos all day), and MTV News covered Albano's death.