Where are they now?
As the new year approaches, most of us find ourselves reflecting on the past and making resolutions for what’s to come. I’d like to devote this week’s Deep-Fried Romantic to the former. Two years and 45 low-culture slap happy columns later, I look back with wonder at this slice of Americana, and any changes that may happened.
Veni Vidi Vici di Vino
Way back in March of 2009, the idea of looking at low culture through the lens of 19th century artistic philosophy was born, and it all started with a test drive of $3 wine at Wal-Mart. I still purchase that tasty vino, along with Trader Joe’s “Two Buck Chuck” and recently I’ve discovered the joy of Bandit Wine, which comes in a handy type of juice box…for big kids.
Now, the low-culture mania has focused on the multi-state ban of “Four” beverages (Loko and MaXed), a line of alcoholic energy drinks likely borne out of the nightclub invention of mixing Red Bull and Vodka. In this particular case, however, a 23.5 oz. container of Loko sports the equivalent of four beers, a lot of caffeine, guarana and taurine.
And myself? I’m keeping close guard on the last remaining bottle of Dandelion Wine that a family friend made for us back in 1976 and has been hiding in the basement ever since. My father playfully opened the sister bottle this summer, but instead of a vinegar mess I was overcome by a sweet, gentle, fruity vino that was finished off poolside one hot July day. Don’t tell my sisters about the last bottle. It’s all mine.
The Dawn of another Dimension in Entertainment
The very next article I wrote came out nine months before the premier of Avatar, and the pilfering of our wallets has never been the same. Way back then, it was still a cute anomaly for blockbuster hits to be fitted for the new technology of “Reality Camera Systems” like ‘Real 3D’ and ‘Digital 3D’. They still played off the kitsch value when films in the golden era (1952-1955) were mostly fitted for low-grade horror movies.
In the past two years, as the technology re-emerged, it has been either designed for many animated and action films, or disastrously retro-fitted (see: Clash of the Titans) to suit the market. As of this writing, just about every corporate-owned multiplex has installed the proper equipment to show 3D movies and has found use for it almost every week in 2010. At the current moment, there are six movies now playing that are available in 3D.
At that time, 3D movies at Marcus Theatres required $3 extra dollars for glasses you couldn’t keep (there were burly ushers posted at the exit with hands out). 18 months later, the regular ticket price has increased as well as the fee for 3D showings. An evening show can cost $10, the 3D version $14, and if you want to see it on the Ultrascreen in 3D, it will run you $19 per ticket.
In fact, if you wanted to use the valet service at the Majestic in Waukesha, eat the combo popcorn and sodas, watch the film in 3D on the Ultrascreen with reserved seating on a Saturday night for two people, you’re looking at a $65 date.
The Applesaucing of the Internet
In April of 2009, I made a bold prediction that MySpace would fail and that Facebook could face similar degradation if allowed to become commercial. I was sort of right.
MySpace has continued to go the way of the digital dodo, only conceding under the sheltering wing of Rupert Murdoch late in 2010 that it would re-tool to become a kind of loose website hosting service and social media provider for burdgeoning bands, movies, and pop culture references.
Facebook has also ramped up the action while remaining true to its controlled environment and look. There are multiple ways to make money by advertising or making games and apps for the site, and the programming staff have worked furiously to solve the myriad of privacy issues. It remains a mushy food paste we cannot live without.
The Treehouse that Never Was (July 2009): eventually got built, ignoring most of the codes and best practices. I still would like to fashion a zipline and retractable canvas roof to keep the pine needles out.
As Seen on TV (Dec. 2009): For the hometown Parish Festival bake table this past summer, I made several Big Top cupcakes, including an Elvis-themed Banana and chocolate cake with a peanut butter center. For Christmas, I received the “Perfect Brownie Pan” and so the culinary adventure continues.
Get Ready for Dave and Busters (Feb. 2010): Visited at last 10 months later and yup, kiddies everywhere. The private rooms even had 7-year-old’s birthday parties going on.
Project Winter Beard is a Go (Nov. 2010): Fully formed and in charge. My 2-year-old niece called me “Santa.” March 19th cannot come soon enough.
Have a safe and joyous New Year’s Eve. I’m going to spend the night taking in the burlesque and freakshow-lovin’ Dead Man’s Carnival at the Miramar Theatre. Have fun with your caviar and champagne!
Front page photo of a Deep-Fried Twinkie by Hopefoote, courtesy Flickr’s Creative Commons License.