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Inspired by Flashdance

In the Ortega household, our favorite decades are the Roaring Twenties, and the Prosperous, Preppy Eighties. Is it because both are characterized by bold fashion statements and lots of parties? (Please, just say no to cocaine, and/or absinthe, opium, and whatever else they did in the twenties.)

Whatever the reason, when autumn rolls around, it hits me: time for eighties movies. That back-to-school feeling practically begs us to revisit and work through teenage angst via Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, or your other favorite John Hughes brat-packer. What’s your favorite eighties movie? Goonies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Adventures in Babysitting, Sixteen Candles? Almost too much goodness to handle.

This fall, for the first time, we saw Flashdance, and it did not disappoint. It kind of felt like the perfect 1980s film, with music montage after music montage. (They were not over doing it, because dancing is a big part of the plot!)

You’ve also got some classic breaking through of class barriers, with our main character, a welder by day and “dancer” by night, who aspires to trade in those jobs for ballet school in Pittsburgh.

Also: Pittsburgh. I don’t know that I’ve seen another film or show set in that city. Perfect for the gritty eighties.

The visuals—warehouses, train tracks—gave Israel the initial inspiration for Mary Tobin’s upcoming birthday party, which he wanted to call “Ballerinas and Teamsters.” Too political, so it got downgraded to “Blue Collar Ballerina” (attire: hard hats and tutus) and will take place at Union Market here in DC, a suitably modern day version of the juxtaposition of industrial and upscale.

Self indulgent parents, we are. Do not tell Mary Tobin the origin of her party. It is inappropriate for a two year old to emulate an “exotic dancer” even if she does aspire to classic ballet greatness.

2[For the record, she loves both dancing and trucks, so we haven’t completely disregarded her preferences!]

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5 thoughts on “Inspired by Flashdance

  1. “This reminds me of a little girl from a steel town who had the dream to dance. She had to strip down to nothing, she had to sit in that chair and arch her back and she reached up and pulled that chain to nowhere and doused herself with water!” – Billy, The Internship

  2. I always loved Adventures in Baby Sitting and Goonies from your list, but I think that The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally are also ’80’s movies, aren’t they? I think the only one of those four I actually saw at the theatre was WHMS; I didn’t see many from your list at the theatre, either. Last year when the remake of Footloose was released, some of my younger friends were really excited about it. They couldn’t believe it when I said I never saw the first one and asked why not. When I thought about it, I realized that I spent a big chunk of the eighties pregnant, nursing, out of money, out of time – or some combination of all four! We didn’t get out much.

  3. Funny story about flashdance. I’ve never seen it, mind you, but many years ago, when the Lykins still lived on Rich road,. they were giving away movie posters that came from an old job of Uncle Steve’s, and had several Flashdance posters among them. I remarked in what I was sure came across in a sarcastic, or maybe joking tone, that I would love to take the “Flashdance” posters off her hands. My joking, and clearly non-serious tone was not conveyed accurately, because somehow, and I’m not sure how the exchange occurred, I came into possession of the posters. I do remember that Aunt Kace gave them to me, and I feel like it might have been in person, but it might also have been by proxy of leaving them at our house (we were at 761). However I remember with clarity what I felt when I received them. On one hand, you can’t not accept a gift that someone has given you to be nice and thoughtful, because they thought in earnest you wanted a copy of, say, a “Flashdance” poster. On the other hand, when you, as a 12-ish year old boy, accept the gift of three copies of a “Flashdance” theatrical release poster, you either convey the fact that you want to move to San Francisco and get a nice flat in the castro district some day, or that you maybe are beginning to turn over the idea of beginning 12 year old boy activities. And who wants their Aunt to think either of those things? Not me. But who wants to turn down a really well-meaning present from their aunt and potentially make them sad? Also not me. So, to this day, I have three copies of the “Flashdance” theatrical release poster tightly furled in the depths of the abyss that is my closet. And my Aunt is waiting for me to move to San Francisco any day now. So there’s that.

    Love ya’ll. Mean it.

  4. Or Ben, perhaps your Aunt Kace heard the snarky, biting sarcasm in your voice and, being a wise a** herself, thought it’d serve you right to have to actually receive 3 posters with a poorly dressed frizzy haired girl from that tragic decade. And no, it wasn’t me I was just describing. Coulda been. Just not poster size.

    PS- you can sell those beauties on EBay. You’re welcome. ;)

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