The 1980s were a unique and universally identifiable decade in America. The music, the movies, the Aqua Net bangs and Hypercolor T-shirts all conjure up feelings of nostalgia in Generations X and Y, and they're often replicated for entertainment purposes and enjoyed even by those who weren't alive to experience them firsthand.
One such relic is '80s Prom, founded by Rob Robertson, a.k.a. DJ Robbo, now in its ninth year. The party, which happens Friday, May 13 at Cain's Ballroom, 423 N. Main St., features '80s music spun by DJs Robbo, Sean Kibble, Demko, Lynn K. and Kylie; movie and music video projection and remixes by VJ Xylo; a fashion show; a burlesque performance; and the naming of prom king and queen.
Robertson got the idea for the event on a trip to New York City, where he saw a flier for a party there by the same name.
He brought the idea home, and the first event was held at a club he owned at 18th Street and Boston Avenue called Club Dym.
"The very first year was put together by local sponsors, like Cheap Thrills, Hybrid Retroactive Clothing and Deco to Disco," Robertson said. "A lot of local stylists and designers got involved. There was a lot of hype around it because so many people were involved with putting the party together."
About 100 people attended the first event, which far exceeded Robertson's expectations and encouraged him to reincarnate it on an annual basis.
Last year, a sell-out crowd of 1,200 people showed up at Fly Trap Music Hall for the event. Lynn Robertson, a.k.a. DJ Lynn K., Rob Robertson's wife and co-organizer of the event, said they're expecting 1,500 this year.
"When we first started out, it was more underground," Rob Robertson said. "We were just throwing a party for a small group of people, the hipsters at the time."
But as word got out about the event, more folks have donned their '80s garb and shown up. Some people have been working on their costumes for months, he said.
Part of the event's popularity is that it's a ton of fun, and another part rests on the fact that people love the '80s. It has a way of unifying people, Robertson said. Whether you listen to rap, pop, rock or country music, you can enjoy music from the '80s because it spanned those genres and more. That's evident in the broad range of people who attend '80s Prom, Robertson said.
Also, people love to play dress-up.
"The fashion of the time, as forward as some of it was, is constantly coming back," Robertson said. "It's campy and goofy, and you can get away with so much. I think (the popularity of the '80s) has a lot to do with how ridiculous everything was."
For Rob and Lynn Robertson, '80s Prom is, in part, the reason they're married. They'd known of each other for a few years, but they received their first formal introduction to one another at the event in 2005.
"I had one of my friends bring her up to the stage, and I said, 'Remember the time in Dirty Dancing when they jumped off the stage?'" Robertson said. "She said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Put your drink down.'
"We danced, then we jumped off the stage, and less than a year later we were married."
Perhaps sparks will fly at this year's event, too.
In addition to the constant spinning of '80s music, movie and music videos from the era will be projected onto a screen made to look like a 15 by 20-foot television. The fashion show will feature clothes from Cheap Thrills, with the models acting out scenes from movies being projected behind them.
Prom king and queen will be decided via a costume contest, with both the audience and a panel of celebrity judges making the pick. There will be '80s Prom photos, a performance by TwoLips Burlesk, replicas of the DeLorean (from Back to the Future) and the Ectomobile (Ghostbusters), and the emcee stylings of comedian Hilton Price.
The event is open to folks 18 and up, and tickets are $13 in advance and $18 at the door. Tickets are available at the Cain's box office or Starship Records & Tapes, 1241 S. Lewis Ave. Doors open at 8pm.
This weekend, Heller Theatre presents Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moises Kaufman, opening Friday, May 13 at the Henthorne Performing Arts Center, 4825 S. Quaker Ave.
Kaufman, author of The Laramie Project, brings to life poet and author Oscar Wilde and the public trials that ruined him. Wilde, on trial for "gross indecency," was at the height of his fame as the author of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray. He first treated the trials as if they were theater, but later found himself fighting for his freedom and his life. Using real quotes and transcripts from the courtroom, Gross Indecency shows a man having to defend himself -- and his art -- against a society's intolerance.
The cast includes T. J. Bowlin, Patrick Hobbs, Ron Friedberg, Victor Muse, Marcus Wohl, Paul Henry, Christopher Clark, July Mvnte, and Tim Krenz. Julie Tattershall directs.
Performances will be May 13-14, 20-21 and 24 at 7:30pm and May 22 at 2pm.
Tickets are $10 and may be reserved by calling 918-746-5065.
American Theatre Company, in partnership with the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice and Conner &
Winters, Attorney and Counselors of Law, continues its run of Romulus Linney's play A Lesson Before Dying, based on Ernest J. Gaines' novel of the same name.
In it, Jefferson, an innocent young man, is condemned to death in backwoods Louisiana in 1948. A teacher, Grant Wiggins, is called on to teach Jefferson how to die.
Robert Walters directs Vanessa Adams-Harris, Keith Daniels, Andy Axewell, C.J, Harris, Sharae Johnson, B.J. Johnson and Chris Williams. Performances are May 12, 13 and 14 at 8pm at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center's John H. Williams Theatre, 110 E. Second St. Tickets are $24-$30 at the tulsapac.com.
Theatre Tulsa presents D.L. Coburn's The Gin Game May 12-14 at 7:30pm at the Tulsa PAC's Liddy Doenges Theatre. It tells the story of Weller Martin, who is playing solitaire on the porch of a seedy nursing home. He and Fonsia Dorsey, a prim, self-righteous lady, discover they both dislike the home and enjoy gin rummy, so they begin to play and to reveal intimate details of their lives.
Tickets are $15 and available at the PAC's website.
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