This week I had the opportunity to do something I haven't done in 30 years ... caddy! Fellow Louper Stephen M. needed someone on his bag for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and I jumped (ok, reluctantly raised my hand) at the opportunity. For those of you who haven't been to the Monterey Peninsula, it is quite possibly the most gorgeous cluster of golf courses in the world, certainly that I have ever scene. Then add in the ability to watch two pros play these courses behind the ropes, as well as a smattering of celebrities, and you have an amazing couple of days.
It reminds me of my caddy days with Louper Brendan S. at Bob-o-Link, as well as the classic 80's movie Caddyshack. Those were amazing Summers in the 80's; we would get there early in the morning and wait around for our loop. Waiting would consist of playing video games, Rubik's cube, cards, and generally shooting the sh*t. Those were carefree days, which is why in this week's Loupe I am feeling nostalgic about the 80's ... the movies, the TV shows, the music, the culture, the fashion, the food and, of course, the video games!
Ready Player One
by Ernest Kline
This book is quite possibly my favorite, certainly a top 5. It was introduced to me by fellow Louper Brett V .(my brother & voracious reader) and lies at the intersection of two of my favorite topics, science fiction and 80's nostalgia. It is the first book written by Ernest Kline, and it is a monumental accomplishment. He has managed to weave 80's culture (mostly movies, television, and video games) into a fascinating story that will keep you reading until the very end. It has won a ton of literary awards and a film adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg is currently in production (see you at the Premier in Spring 2018?). I don't want to spoil anything, but sadly it describes a world we are slowly heading towards. But, it does so in a way that will have you longing for the past. It was a simpler time ... ahhh! You will enjoy this book, whether you lived through the 80's or not.
For me, and many others, the 80's was very much about video games. Fellow Louper Seth R.'s father developed them and had several of them in his basement. We frequented arcades and dumped our allowance into those stand-up machines. It was the precipice of computing power, and it seems most of that power was being used by gamers to gobble up coins and avoid Ghosts! Now all those arcade junkies are all grown up and can legally drink. Therefore, a number of enterprising entrepreneurs have tapped into this unmet demand of a grownup establishment where patrons can drink good beer (and other cocktails) and play retro style video games. My first visit to Barcade in Williamsburg was when it opened years ago. Just recently, I checked out one on their newer locations in Chelsea. This is a typical bar with every possible 80's game you have ever played around the perimeter. Patrons happily drink artisanal beers and cocktails while playing Donkey Kong, Centipede, Frogger or my favorite, Q-bert! With vintage video games on my mind, last week I went to check out Coin Op Game Room in San Francisco. This is a two level bar where the entrance looks like a Star Wars Battle Cruiser launch bay and they even have a Tron themed private room. Have to say, I'm back to thinking that the 80's were/are totally tubular!
The list of 80's movies still blows my mind: Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Stripes, Caddyshack, Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Top Gun...the list goes on and on and on! You must go back and share with the next generation these classics! But even more classic is the soundtrack to these movies, which were the soundtrack of my life. I speculate that the music you listened to as a disenchanted teenager is typically the music that will stay with you for a lifetime. For me, it is music that evokes a time and a place. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson (#1 Mar 5 – Apr 22, 1983) transports me to my 6th grade social studies class. I Want to Know What Love Is by Foreigner (#1 Feb 2 – Feb 15, 1985) takes me to my first dance at my Bar Mitzvah! I can go on and on, believe me! If you want to really get nostalgic, you must go see Jessie's Girl play all (or some) of your favorites from the 80's. It is Rock of Ages on steroids with less production value and lower priced drinks.
When I think of the 1980's I think of .... shoulder pads, Madonna style laceless gloves, Jiffy Pop, wine coolers, scrunchies, breakdancing, mullets, hacky sacks, TAB, Gordon Gecko, John Hughes movies, Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons work out tapes, valley girls, Dynasty .... the list goes on and on. However, I can't help but feel that the 1980's are making a comeback ... like it or not, look who is sitting in the White House, the ultimate poster boy of the 1980's! Above I mentioned how I became nostalgic for the video games and counter nerd culture, but how about the food -- where carbs weren't the enemy, but rather the recommended diet! So, I decided to go back to the restaurants that epitomized the high-flying 80's in NYC. We're talking Mr. Chow's, Indochine, The Odeon .... and Raoul's! Last night, I grabbed my date (Meri) and headed to Raoul's, the Soho institution that was the epicenter of the fashion, music, film and art scene of the 1980's. I was happy to see that it is alive and kicking (just like the other classics above) ... the bar was lively, the music apropos (think Kool and the Gang), the food was just as good as I remember, and honestly, the vibe was spot-on! I recommend the artichoke, the classic Steak au Poivre ... and for burger enthusiasts, the burger (only 12 available per night and has been hailed in Esquire as the best burger in America)! Check it out ... again (heard the weekend brunch is HOT)! As you now know, everything old is new again!