POSTED ON APRIL 7, 2010:
It's a dance party flashback with DJ Robbo's '80s Prom
Although people love to dance and Tulsa's DJ scene is thriving, there's perhaps no dance party or DJ event that's been more popular and looked forward to during the last few years than the '80s Prom. The music, the fashion, the excuse to get out and dance -- it all comes together for one night and one giant party.
If you don't agree that this has become one of the biggest parties of the year, you might want to take a glance backwards. Now in its eighth year, the '80s prom started out as a small event with maybe 100 people in attendance at South Boston Liquid Company, but it quickly grew the next couple of years to near room capacity, drawing roughly 400 before moving to the Mooch and Burn (now The Marquee) and selling out a capacity of 500 three years ago.
The party wasn't finished growing, however, as the '80s Prom encompassed the Blank Slate (now IDL) complex last year and again sold to capacity of near 1,000 in attendance.
This year, the party is on yet again and has moved to the Flytrap Music Hall, giving the event an even larger capacity and also containing it all within one huge space, instead of splitting it up between three rooms. By most accounts, it's expected that this will be the biggest '80s prom yet.
But what's really the draw of '80s Prom? Most of all, doesn't everyone love the retro factor? Whether you're a child of the '80s or not, there's a (sometimes) embarrassing sense of cool that goes with the decade: the music was fun, the fashion was many times bordering on ridiculous, and as a party, it's all about having a good time.
DJ Robbo said that the idea for the '80s Prom originally came about when he'd been browsing the Internet and found a monthly party in New York that changed themes. When he saw "'80s Prom" pop up, he thought "Wow, that sounds like it could be fun," and ran with the idea.
Now, eight years later, it's one of Tulsa's biggest parties of the year.
In case you're wondering: Yes, attendees are encouraged to come dressed for the occasion. Whether it's in retro '80s prom gear (tuxes and dresses with big hair) or costumed as your favorite '80s pop icon or movie character, dressing up is part of the fun. Teen Wolf, The Ghostbusters, Karate Kid, Tom's Cruise's character from Risky Business, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince -- they've all shown up to '80s prom throughout the years.
In fact, according to Robbo, if they were an '80s icon, they've probably been to the '80s prom. As a whole, you don't run into many people who aren't dressed appropriately for '80s prom.
The costumes and dress are only part of the party, however. The '80s prom includes six DJs this year: Robbo, Demko, Lynn K, Chris Close, Kylie and Deathjest, and as such the night will encompass all aspects and genres of the '80s music scene. Pop, punk, new-wave, hip-hop and dance: all of it will be covered and as the DJs rotate throughout the evening, it will keep the party from stagnating or staying in any one genre for too long.
Add in the fact that VJ Xylo will be controlling the video screens as well, and it becomes a multi-media party.
Armed with a 13-foot by 17-foot "Retro Vision" projection screen onstage with Xylo playing '80s movie clips, vintage commercials and '80s PSAs to keep the retro party vibe alive all night.
One of the biggest parts of the evening every year, however, is the fashion show. Featuring only local designers and local vintage shops, the models are not only dressed for the fashion show, but they are set up to reenact scenes from '80s movies onstage. This year's participating designers and shops are Raspberry grunt, UPC Fashion, Lois & Cluck, Popettes and Cheap Thrills Vintage.
Add in the requisite King and Queen contest, where the night's best dressed will be picked and voted on by the audience at midnight, and you've got a full Prom on your hands. The prize package for the winners changes year to year, but usually includes a free night at a hotel, gift certificates to local clothing shops and donations from the local designers.
This year's '80s event is Friday night, April 9, at Flytrap Music Hall and tickets are only $10 in advance or $15 at the door. It's an 18 and over event with a full bar for those over 21. Doors open at 8pm with the music going until 2am.
So, just what is it that makes this such a popular party? I can only speculate, but DJ Robbo said, "I think there's just something about the '80s in general that appeals to everybody, young and old. Many people have told me that they didn't go to their prom, so some people use it to substitute for their prom. Plus, there were so many genres that were popular, you can throw an '80s party and please so many people..."
Whatever the case, it's one of the biggest, most popular parties of the year and a night that's virtually guaranteed to be fun. If you haven't got your '80s fix lately, don't miss the prom.
Rock for a Good Cause
Saturday night, April 10, Mike Depetrillo (former drummer of Lock and Load and president of Drum Day Tulsa) has organized yet another event to help address the fight against hunger with "Rock the Hunger" at Club Utopia, 520 E. Third Street. It's an all-ages event with entry granted for a minimum donation of $5 or five canned food items. All donations and proceeds will go to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to "fight hunger and feed hope."
Music starts at 6pm on the outdoor stage with eight bands throughout the evening. The Joint Effect, Mourning Tree, Sybil's Machine, Bad Things, Beyond What's Given and Delay the Day will get the evening started out before wrapping up with co-headliners Hector Backwoods (who won KMOD's DOMK! Contest to open for Kiss this past winter) and Mercy Street.
Inside the club, a handful of local comedians will be performing on the indoor stage between acts, spotlighting the local comedy prowess of Jack Merrywell, Susan Freeman, Hilton Price and Jay Dee (read "Humorist Manifesto" at urbantulsa.com about Jay Dee).
The event will also be streamed live online at jukezoo.com, and food vendors will be on site so you can arrive at 6pm and settle in for the evening. Any and all donations are accepted, and it's for a good cause, so you need to check this one out, especially if you're a hard rock or metal fan who's been missing what Tulsa's local music scene has to offer.
As the weather has warmed up for spring, so have the local shows. Whether touring acts or local guys, everyone has finally waken up and taken to the stage. If you're looking to get out, it won't take much of a search to find something cool -- you'll just have to pick wisely.
On Thursday, April 8, the town is busier than normal. If you're looking for local artists, then your best bet is to stop in at The Hunt Club where Steve Lidell and Eric and the Adams will be sharing the stage for the first time.
If you're looking for a bigger show, however, the only question is what style and how big? Afroman will be appearing at Flytrap for the hip-hop and niche market crowd, while Reckless Kelly brings its brand of Texas music to Cain's Ballroom with Two Steps Back. Mainstream country fans, however, won't be able to pass by the BOK Center when Tim McGraw stops in Tulsa with Lady Antebellum and The Lost Trailers opening the show.
Friday, April 9, offers a plethora of live music options if you choose to skip the prom yet again. Heartless Bastards headline Bob's on Friday night for the Indie-American crowd, while Turnpike Troubadours return to Mercury Lounge to show what Oklahoma country really sounds like. Poor Paddy reigns at Arnie's for a night of carousing and good ol' Irish drinking music. Perhaps the most impressive show of the night, however, will be Monte Montgomery at All Souls Acoustic Coffeehouse. He's an amazing guitarist and the All Souls show will be the most intimate gig he's played in Tulsa for years, so you won't want to miss it. This one's sure to sell out, though, so you'd better hit Ticketstorm.com now to get your tickets.
Saturday night, April 10, might not have as many big headliners, but it's still a busy night. Besides the aforementioned "Rock the Hunger" show, Brandon Jenkins will be returning to Tulsa for a night of Red Dirt at Flytrap, while Electric Rag Band holds down the fort at Mercury Lounge. Elsewhere around the downtown area, Dante and the Hawks play The Hunt Club, Guardant and Daniels play Soundpony and the party continues at Arnie's with Alex and the Anders.
Saturday's big touring show is actually a great pick for Christian rock fans as Disciple headlines The Marquee with support from Decyfer Down and Satellites & Sirens.
The rest of the weekend is rather quiet, but Monday night's show at The Marquee is a hint of what Tuesday will bring when John Lefler of Dashboard Confessional plays a solo show.
Amazingly, Tuesday, April 13, is stacked with three big shows that will prove hard to choose between. First up, Dashboard Confessional opens for Bon Jovi at BOK Center. Meanwhile, a skip across the tracks to the Brady District finds 30 Seconds to Mars headlining The Brady with Mute Math and Neon Trees, while Artic Monkeys take over Cain's Ballroom. Too bad there's not an all-access pass to bounce between all three shows. Since there's not, you'll have to consider and choose wisely.
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