Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What's with the "-palooza" everything?

Who's askingAnna Bragdon, China, ME
Anna asks: "When did everything become '-palooza'?  Enough already." 
Good question, but first, a few birthdaypalooza greetings: belated happy birthdays to Susan Kinsolving and Abera Lechner (one year old yesterday!), and happy birthday today to Mary Maschino.  Also, anyone looking for a slightly higher-class holiday party should stop by Gaslight Theater's group reading of A Christmas Carol, tonight at the American Legion Hall in Hallowell.  Festivities start at 6:30.
The word "lollapalooza" means "something outstanding of its kind," and its origins are obscure.  Rube Goldberg drew a character named "Lala Palooza," but the character took her name from the catchphrase, not the other way around. 
Modern use of the word, and the current Everythingpalooza (I found "PowerPoint Palooza" and "Algebra Palooza" in my Google search, which just overwhelms me with the tragedy of humanity), date back to 1990, when Perry Farrell created a music festival to serve as a vehicle for Jane's Addiction's farewell tour.  The first Lollapalooza is now legendary: the line-up included Jane's Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, the Rollins Band, Siouxsie & the Banshees, the Violent Femmes, Ice-T & Body Count, Living Colour, Fishbone and the Butthole Surfers.  The second year was a full-scale tour with main and secondary stages and traveling sideshows.  The Lollapalooza tour became a staple of the music industry for the next five years, finally grinding to a halt after the 1997 tour.  Farrell revived Lollapalooza in 2003, but the 2004 tour wound up being cancelled.  It returned in 2005 and 2006 as a weekend-long festival in Grant Park, Chicago. 
For people now in their early 30s, the Lollapalooza Festival represented everything that was coolest about the rock-and-roll lifestyle: great music, disrespect for authority, piercings, tattoos, extreme sports, and life-threatening stunts.  Like Woodstock, Lollapalooza came to represent a generation, and many people claim to have attended Lollapalooza shows who never got near them.  (During the '90s, I was busy making the world safe for state bank regulation; I never went to a Lollapalooza show, and would have stood out like a sore thumb if I had.) 
Anyway, the Lollapalooza Generation is now working in midlevel marketing positions, teaching high school math, selling bedroom furniture and otherwise living lives of quiet desperation.  When asked to come up with names or marketing blurbs, the coolest, most exciting thing they can think of is Lollapalooza; "This Christmas bazaar is going to be as great as Lollapalooza," they say.  "Let's call it Yule-a-Palooza." 
And that, Anna, is what's with the "-palooza" everything.  It's going to be with us for a long time. 
At least it's not "-stock."


Anonymous said...

I went to the Raleigh, NC, show during the first Lollapalooza Festival. Body Count pretty much stole the show, as I recall. I also recal that there was absolutely no shade at the stadium and that aftenoon temps were in the high '90s. Not great times, but I can produce my ticket stub if anyone is interested. That's got to count for something.

Also, I quit my midlevel Office Space-esque job earlier this year, so I guess I must have picked up some of the rebel vibe that hot August day.

-- Ed

Peggy & Scott said...

I wasn't lucky enough to catch the first year but made it for the second in '92 & the '94 show. I saw the Breeders (Kim Deal - wow!), the Beastie Boys, Lush, Green Day, A Tribe Called Quest and the most intimidating, evil sounding band I've ever seen, Ministry. Those were great shows!

Speaking of disrespecting authority, I missed the first day of my first "real" job because I was convinced by my "good friends" to stay over in Charlotte, NC after the show, "we can drive back first thing in the morning dude, don't worry about it". I didn't make it that first day but luckily the owner of the company had his own history of disrespecting authority and gave me a break.


Anna said...

Thanks, Elle! I get it now. I couldn't name ONE SINGLE SONG sung by any of the bands which you, Ed or Scott have named. I need "hip Mom" lessons, clearly!

Yule-a-palooza! Cracked me up!


Anonymous said...

I was so wrecked in 1994 at Raleigh I was seeing fractals. Ended up getting out of the sun by hanging with some gypsies in a tarot tent. All I remember was that it was close to the MAPS (Multidisciplinary Asscoiation for Psychedelic Studies) booth. I think one of the gypsies was Casey Niccoli. Ever since then I've had a thing for gypsies even buying an Esmerelda doll. Because of that I am publishing this anonymously.