Who's asking: Anna 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."