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: Parklife DC Guide to ’80s Parties, August 2015

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Earlier this year, DC9 kindly hosted me for Synchronicity: A New Wave Party, where I celebrated 30 years since the commercial peak of new wave music.

Well, you wouldn’t know it had been so long judging from the number of parties celebrating the 1980s in DC this month! Almost all of these parties are ongoing affairs, enabling you to get your monthly fix of what some call ‘80s music every month.

Fire up the DeLorean and jump back to the future with me at all of the good parties below.

Party: Poseurs’ 32nd Anniversary Video Dance Party Reunion

The Scene: Back in the actual ‘80s, the place to be for great new music and to soak up the new wave subculture was the club Poseurs (formerly at 3405 M St. NW, DC) in Georgetown. Sadly, it’s long closed, but principals involved with the club and many of its loyal club hoppers have instituted an annual reunion party. This year that party takes place at DC9 (1940 9th St. NW, DC) on Saturday with DJ Mohawk Adam and special guests Michael Scruggs, Wayne Skate Deavers and Michael Olsen.

Although technically a reunion night, the party is open to the public. All you need is a ticket! And what better way to spend an ‘80s party than to rub shoulders with a dedicated crew who have tales to share of partying with Robert Smith of The Cure or Peter Hook of New Order in their club back in the day? Expect to hear songs from The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, New Order, Billy Idol and more, more, more.

Your next chance to go: Saturday, August. 15, at 9pm. The Poseurs Anniversary Dance Party tentatively happens annually. Tickets cost $12, online or at the door.

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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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