Around Town: Pretty in Pink @ AMC Hoffman Center 22, 2/17/16

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Blane, Andie, and Duckie of “Pretty in Pink” (Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures)

Editor’s Note: To mark the 30th anniversary of the movie, a special viewing of John Hughes’ “Pretty in Pink” screened nationwide on Sunday, Feb. 14. You can see it also on Wednesday, Feb. 17, in DC metro at AMC Hoffman Center 22 (206 Swamp Fox Rd., Alexandria, Va.), with showtimes at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are available online. Parklife DC contributor Neal Keller caught the film and shared some thoughts with us in this essay.

A Valentine for Andie

Among the things I could appreciate without hesitation was the soundtrack of now-classic 80’s New Wave tunes in “Pretty in Pink.” There were some misgivings nonetheless. While the film’s music credits were definitely a draw for nascent hipsters like myself back then, I’ll confess that I never liked the New Order song that debuted on the soundtrack. I always thought “Shellshock” was New Order by the numbers, and a sign that they were getting ready to sell out. Already a strike against the film, before it even hit the theaters!

But let’s talk about the notion of “selling out.” It’s an entirely teenage accusation that probably shouldn’t survive into adulthood. Nevertheless, the accusation was thrown at the character of Allison (Ally Sheedy) in “The Breakfast Club.” Allison forsakes her proto goth girl soul for a date with a member of the wrestling team. Well, if submitting to a makeover for the sake of the jock in “The Breakfast Club” counts as a transgression, then threadbare Andie’s leap to the other side of the tracks for the sake of a preppie rich kid in “Pretty in Pink” must rate as a mortal SIN.

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Music Park: The Jesus and Mary Chain @ 9:30 Club — 9/27/15

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Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain sings at NOS Alive in Portugal on July 11, 2015. (Photo by Ana Viotti)

When The Jesus and Mary Chain debuted in 1985 with their powerful album Psychocandy, they set out to do something different then what they heard on the radio. Band leader Jim Reid has said there was so much electronic music at the time that he wanted to make a great guitar record.

And make a great guitar record they did. Psychocandy has endured as a much believed masterpiece that made people stand up and take notice of noise pop and set the stage for the rise of shoegaze throughout the United Kingdom within the next couple of years.

So it’s a very potent thing that The Jesus and Mary Chain chose to mark the 30th anniversary of the album with a world tour to commemorate it, playing the album from start to finish along with a handful of their other well-known songs.

The brothers Jim and William Reid, the two-part keystone of the band, and their bandmates brought the show to the 9:30 Club in DC on Sunday night to a very full house. The club never announced the show was officially sold out, but damn I’ve been in sold-out shows there that had a lot more elbow room!

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Don’t Miss: Mike Peters (of The Alarm) @ The Hamilton Live, 9/8/15

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Mike Peters on the Strength Tour 2015 in Winchester at The Railway. (Photo courtesy Mike Peters Organization)

Mike Peters of The Alarm spent much of 2014 celebrating the 30th anniversary of his band’s first full-length album, Declaration. In doing so, he made a solo visit to Gypsy Sally’s in Georgetown.

“All in all, Peters put on an incredibly satisfying and entertaining show in a venue well suited for his solo performance and witty recollections,” I reported for the sadly defunct We Love DC on the show, held August 7, 2014.

A little over a year later, Mike is back, celebrating another anniversary! This time around, it’s the 30th anniversary of The Alarm’s second full-length album, Strength. And the celebration takes place locally in a solo show at the Hamilton Live on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

As a “one-man band,” Mike will play the album Strength along with other songs while sharing stories and images to honor the album, his band and their history. The album includes such beloved classics from The Alarm as “Spirit of ‘76” and “Walk Forever by My Side.” The album and much of its material is inspired by Mike’s own fight against cancer.

Watch a somewhat recent acoustic performance of the “Spirit of ‘76” in a video for the song on YouTube:

Mike continues his own cancer fight, but he also fights to help others. Over the last four years, Mike’s Love Hope Strength Foundation:

  • found over 1,500 potentially life-saving bone marrow donor matches;
  • built the first ever children’s cancer center in Tanzania;
  • supported the Bhaktapur Cancer Center in Nepal with life-saving equipment; and
  • registered over 90,000 donors through its “Get On the List” program.

Tickets are available online.

Mike Peters
The Hamilton Live
Tuesday, Sept. 8
Doors @6:30pm
$15-23
All ages

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Around Town: The Breakfast Club @ Local Theaters, 3/31/15

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Allison Reynolds, portrayed by Ally Sheedy, in The Breakfast Club

Editor’s Note: The Breakfast Club is playing in some DC movie theaters tomorrow in a restored print for its 30th anniversary. Neal Keller, DJ at the long-running 80s Dance Party, recently caught the screening, and he was compelled to share some thoughts on it, inspired by a documentary featurette that runs before the film. Keep up with Neal and the 80s Dance Party on Facebook. And stay tuned for the next 80s Dance Party, monthly at Tropicalia (2001 14th St. NW, DC).

Did Allison Sell Out?

Allison is one of the essential cinematic Goth Chicks of the 1980s. If you don’t know her, it might be because she likes it that way. She is one of five high school kids “forced to sacrifice her Saturday to detention” in the John Hughes movie “The Breakfast Club.” Draped in black clothing, beneath thick dark bangs and blackened eyes, she is determined to be ignored. And for the first part of the film, she more or less succeeds.

Unfortunately, her best efforts at going unnoticed are undermined by her subconscious longing to be noticed. The film originally came out in 1985, and in the many times I’ve seen it since, I never noticed her very much — at least not before my latest screening of it. At a recent theatrical reissue held to mark the 30th anniversary of the movie’s release, I found myself spending much more time focused on her character. This was prompted in no small part by a featurette that preceded the screening, in which the cast and guests offered their perspectives about the work 30 years later.

Filmmaker Diablo Cody (best known as the writer of “Juno”) accused Allison (played by Ally Sheedy) of “selling out” by the end of the film when she transforms from gloomy caterpillar to radiant butterfly at the film’s climax. I mean, no self-respecting Goth Chick would give up her black eyeliner, ESPECIALLY in order to *gasp* catch the eye of the star athlete, would she?! Did Allison allow Claire (played by Molly Ringwald) to recreate her image just to get his attention?

My 20-year-old self would say — did say: “SELL OUT!” But my 50-year-old self started to see it differently as I watched the film again, and pondered the question anew. I was surrounded by my current peer group at this anniversary screening, most of whom are about the same age. I suspect I wasn’t the only one wondering if I too had sold out, which proves that the film is still striking a nerve deep within us after three decades.

Of all of the films John Hughes created, this is the necessary one.

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