So the other night I twittered (tweeted? ick, whatever) about our neighbors David and Gayla. It’s funny that they’re the best friends we have in Salt Lake right now, and they’re in their late 50’s. Ha. But they are seriously some of the nicest people I have ever met. They’re Mormon, but they’re really on the liberal side, and they are so down-to-earth and hysterical. Figures that Jamie and I would find so much in common with people more than twice our age. :) Last Friday they invited us to go to Brigham Young Park with them for their weekly outdoor free concerts. Of course, since they’re hosted by the Mormons, they’re about as G-rated and family friendly as it gets, but sometimes that’s kinda refreshing. This one featured a barbershop chorus, and they were sooo entertaining. See previous post for all the reasons why I’d enjoy listening to the golden oldies for an hour and a half on a Friday night. And then going to get an ice cream cone afterwards. Yep.
Well, yesterday they invited us to go eat dinner with them at California Pizza Kitchen, where their son works. Now their son isn’t just any old son. His name’s Noah, and he played “the shy one” on the MTV spoof about boy bands back in 2000 called “2gether.” I knew I remembered the show, but when they first told us about him I just didn’t think anything about it. Well then I went on YouTube and looked up all these clips from the made-for-TV movie and subsequent series, and I almost peed myself. It all came back to me…. U + Me = Us (I Know My Calculus), Say It, Don’t Spray It…. oh MAN! And I realized that Noah had played Chad, the one I had a little mini crush on back in the day. Back then, when Miss Amy Pratt and I had an unhealthy obsession with members of boy bands with frosty blonde spiked hair. Lance Bass of ‘NSync. Yep. Ashley Parker Angel of OTown. Yep. And various others, but the pattern was always the same. Which is fascinating because the only guys I’ve ever dated, and the one I married, are all the tall and dark kind, not the skinny little waifs who wear too-tight sleeveless teal snakeskin shirts (oh yeah, that was an actual shirt worn by Lance Bass in the infamous Madison Square Garden concert which I watched on video no less than 38 times).
(Just in case you’re totally clueless about the world of boy bands, Lance is the one in the snakeskin boots. Of course.)
To this day, it makes my heart happy to randomly hear an old-school ‘NSync song. I have THE best memories associated with them. Mainly of laying in bed at night listening to “This I Promise You” on repeat and imagining all the 1000 possible scenarios where Lance would decide to start dating girls who aren’t old enough to drive and would show up at Karns High School on my birthday or something and serenade me. Yep. EMBARRASSING. And TOTALLY TRUE.
Well, then one day I happened to be walking through Target and saw THIS:
Well, of course. OF COURSE. I mean, yeah there were all the warning signs. But when you’re an extremely naive 14 year old girl, you just don’t want to believe these things could be true about the guy who was supposed to serenade you on your birthday. Really.
And Ashley Parker Angel… well, supposedly he’s all happily married with a kid, but with a name like Ashley Parker Angel, you kind of have to wonder….
And then there’s Noah. Well, of course, he’s gay too. Gayla joked with Jamie that he didn’t need to worry about any competition when I met him (and of course the first thing out of Jamie’s mouth when we did meet him was “Man, Morgan LOVES you!” AWKWARD.) But I have to admit, gay or not, I still got kinda nervous about meeting him. It brought back all these memories of late-night slumber parties where Amy and I would cut out collages and pledge our undying devotion to guys who wore exceedingly tight clothing and who, more than likely, we’d never even meet. (Of course, we did get our hopes up when my dad found us those tickets to go see ‘NSync at Thompson-Boling Arena. I mean, WE WERE IN THE SAME ROOM AS THEM. Doesn’t matter that there were 20,000 other screaming girls with acne and braces, by golly, they WOULD fall in love with us.)
But here I was, MEETING one of them. Like, IN PERSON. Which was kinda weird. And awesome. He’s 30 now, and he’s living back in Salt Lake City because LA apparently did a pretty rough number on him, but he wants to go back as soon as he can and try it all again.
But this is what he looked like almost 10 years ago…
Awww, how cute! Even Jamie said he thought he was pretty darn handsome. Ironically, even though I was the one with the crush on him, he would be 100 times more likely to go for Jamie than me. HA. HA. HA. (Gay men LOVE Jamie. It’s true. I could tell you all sorts of stories. I practically have to beat them off. Aren’t I so lucky to be married to someone so hot that girls AND guys all want him? He’s gonna kill me for saying that. I love it though.)
It was fascinating to hear all the stories David and Gayla told about when he was REALLY famous… like the time he was at Universal Studios and a whole group of cheerleaders there for a convention spotted him and literally jumped off a moving tram and swarmed after him, chasing him and grabbing at him. Well, heck, I probably would have done the same. Leave it to teenage girls to act in the most stupid ways possible.
So that’s the story of me meeting a famous person. It was pretty awesome, not gonna lie.
And in case you never discovered the magic of a boy band spoofing boy bands, you gotta check this out:
And while we’re on the subject, may the King of Pop himself, the one who paved the way of sexual ambiguity, tight clothing, and sweet dance moves for boy bands everywhere, Michael Jackson, rest in peace. It’s a very sad day indeed.
So, as if it hasn’t been SO OBVIOUS, I’m kind of a nostalgia fiend. I am in love, obsessed, totally infatuated with the days gone by. Even the days I wasn’t actually alive for. Especially those days. What a strange phenomenon, to feel nostalgic about an era that had come and gone before I was even born, huh? I actually wrote my senior rhetoric paper on this topic (HATED that class, but strangely ended up LOVING this project… probably because I got to pick something to write about that I’m actually interested in). I was scrambling around, literally an hour before I was supposed to submit my topic ’cause that’s how I roll, and I just started thinking about The Wonder Years. Favorite show of all time, hands down. I have such good memories of watching that show with my family, back in the good ole days of Nick at Nite Block Party Summers, and I am fascinated by how it makes me feel SO nostalgic, not just about my own childhood, but about the 60s in general. From the Super 8mm film that shows kids playing football and a family cooking out during the credits, to the Arnolds’ sunny yellow kitchen, to the amazing music and the fashion, to just the way people LIVED in general…. the neighborhoods where kids played outside at nighttime instead of being glued to video games, the family dinners, all of it. The simple times, you know?
So in this paper I researched and explored how people in power have used nostalgic rhetoric to create a common public memory and experience and influence the attitudes and behaviors of the people. The stuff I read on this was absolutely fascinating, and it really made me question my own feelings about my “past,” real or imagined. I had never really thought about my love for all things old and retro from a serious academic and analytic perspective before, and it made me realize that, in many ways, I find immense comfort and happiness in my nostalgia. And when I’m comfortable and happy, I don’t think about bad things. It’s a lot easier to overlook all the problems in the world. And the “simpler times” I yearn for weren’t actually so simple. Behind the yellow kitchens and the flouncy skirts and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” was war, racism, sexism, and all sorts of other social ills. But for the most part, that period of time isn’t remembered for the bad things. Just the good. The “simple.” Our hindsight is rose-tinted. Anyway, I went into a LOT more detail in the paper, obviously, but the gist is that nostalgia, and nostalgic rhetoric, can be used for good and bad. It’s happy. It’s your memories. But it can also be manipulated by politicians, pastors, presidents, and all sorts of other people to soothe the public into almost a numbing peace so as to avoid revolt and revolution. Better to look to the past than to the future. That sort of thing.
But it doesn’t change how I feel about my beloved nostalgia. Doesn’t change my obsession with retro iconography… the VW buses, the Beatles, the high-waisted full skirts, the soda shops, the music, the James Dean, the Eames chairs, evvvveeeerrything.
One thing I found in my research that I have found to be SO TRUE the past six months or so is that in times of economic and political turmoil, you see retro everywhere. You can look at the runways and see that people are looking to the good ole days when they feel stressed out about losing their jobs or not being able to pay rent or cutting back or whatever. Look at design. Look at advertisements. Listen to music. It’s all around. Retro is BACK, BABY! Too bad it takes a recession to pull it out of hiding.
And now, what does this have to do with photography? Well, a lot actually, in my personal opinion. It seems to me that now, in this digital age, where you can do SO MUCH in camera and in Photoshop, there has been a movement toward technical perfection. Is there anything wrong with that? Well, no. A lot of the photographers I admire the most are technical perfectionists. But I learning that I am not. I’ve spent hours upon hours poring over forums, testing different lenses, getting advice about how to get my images to be sharper, brighter, more…. perfect. Like the pros, you know? But quite honestly, though I definitely want to keep pushing myself to master the technical stuff, I don’t want every image I take to be technically perfect. I want them to be full of life and emotion. I want them to be dynamic and energetic. And you can’t always plan and execute every shot to be this way. You just can’t. I’m so drawn to the drama and mystery of film… I love what comes out of the Duaflexes and the Holgas and the Dianas. Amazing what a cheap toy camera can produce, really. And I love the anticipation of waiting for film to develop. You can’t get instant feedback from film cameras, and you have no idea half the time if you “nailed” the shot or not. It’s so fun to get those images back and see them for the first time, not on a computer screen, but in your hand. Printed out. Like photography USED to be.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m so thankful for the digital age, because it has drastically lowered the barriers of entry to young lil photographers like me. I could never have afforded to get this started had it been 20 or so years ago. And it IS so much easier to learn when you have that instant feedback with a digital camera. And the Internet! I mean, how could I do this without the Internet?
Nevertheless, I want a balance. I want to keep up with the trends and the technological developments. I want to be able to nail exposure and focus and lighting every single time. I do. But I also want to keep a little bit of the mystery and the nostalgia around. I want the dreamy unpredictability that my Diana churns out. And you know something? I think a lot of other people can definitely appreciate that. At least they should, if the recession theory is accurate, huh? :)
And along these lines, Kodak announced yesterday that they’re discontinuing the iconic Kodachrome film. Yep, the same kind Paul Simon begged his mama not to take away. They gave us those nice bright colors, they gave us the greens of summers, made you think all the world’s a sunny day. And now, they’re taking it away. Between that and the recent demise of Polaroid film, I can’t help but feel that the end of an era is nearing. And it makes me so sad. And it’s all gonna be so darn expensive because it’ll be considered antique before long. I’m already bummed about how expensive Super 8 filming is to get into. Sad day.
But anyway. Stepping off my soap box now.
On an unrelated note, I just discovered a few days ago that we have a cherry tree in our backyard! How awesome is that! I picked a whole bowl full of ’em, and they are deee-licious.
And my best friends:
Look how happy she is when she comes home from her walks!
And the hot one in this relationship:
Let me just say, blogging is a frickin’ full time job. People who blog every single day make it look so easy. But it ISN’T. I’m going to try to be more diligent about my updates, though. I know I’ve said it a bazillion times, but I’m gonna!
So, today is our first wedding anniversary! Pretty crazy, huh? I just can’t believe a year has already come and gone. And tomorrow will be the 4th anniversary of us being together. Wow. We’ve had so much fun getting all nostalgic, remembering how amazing our wedding was and how blessed we were to be surrounded by so many people we loved so much. I just can’t get over how PERFECT the day was. Aside from the 5 minute downpour of rain that nearly sent me into cardiac arrest (outdoor wedding), it could not have gone more as planned. (Of course, when you spend almost a year meticulously planning every detail, the chances are greater that the plan will succeed. :) ) We were so lucky to have parents who financially and emotionally supported us through the whole thing. My mom and I had our moments throughout the process where we didn’t see eye to eye exactly, but I will always remember first and foremost all the amazing memories and the bond we created when we were shopping and planning and brainstorming and sewing (well, she sewed anyway!) together. After it was all over, I kind of had withdrawals from the wedding planning process, and I still found myself beelining toward the wedding magazines in Borders. But now I have an excuse to do that again, because I’ve gotta keep up with all those wedding trends! It sounds so cheesy, but it was cool to have this one day to show everyone our personalities, to share our style and our taste in music and food and everything else, and I was so glad our parents for the most part stepped back and allowed us to do it our way, and not necessarily the way it’s always been done. It was seriously one of, if not THE, best day of my life.
And to think about all that’s happened since then in this past year… I finally found my calling and started my own business by a crazy chain of events, Jamie figured out what HE wants to do with his life after ruling out teaching, we met the Fred and Ethel to our Ricky and Lucy in our neighbors Tyler and Erin, and we moved halfway across the country to embark on a new adventure in our lives. We figured out how good we are as roommates together. We rarely if ever get sick of each other or of just hanging around the apartment together, holing up and reading or watching Netflix or playing with Gretchen or whatever. We just GET each other, and we have very similar ideas of what’s fun… which in many cases people our age do NOT find fun. And that is what is so awesome about my husband. Well, that and the fact that he’s super weird and makes up all these crazy songs and sayings and annoys me to death with them, and that he has such a big heart and will talk to and try to help almost anyone he comes in contact with, and that he doesn’t expect me to cook all his meals and clean up after him (lately it’s actually been the other way around on the cleaning front!), and that he is usually the one who will get up at 6 am when Gretchen first wakes up to take her out and feed her, and that he would rather read than watch TV (unless Home Improvement, King of Queens, or Full House is on), and that he encourages me and pushes me to constantly be a better version of myself. He truly IS my best friend. There is no one else in the world I could spend this much time with without wanting to shoot myself or someone else. I love him. Happy anniversary, Jameson.
So, if you love nostalgia as much as I do, you can go HERE to watch the slideshow of our wedding by the incredible Andy Armstrong, which incidentally I have watched so many times that I have attached serious emotional significance to the songs in it. I’m assuming “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was a nod to my style (which of course is SO inspired by Audrey Hepburn it’s ridiculous), so I love hearing that one. One time we were eating with my family at Ruby Tuesday’s and “New Soul” (the 3rd song I think) started playing and everyone at the table just kind of sat there in silence, smiling and remembering. And when we went to the Conor Oberst and Jenny Lewis show last fall, the band played a cover of Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” and I went NUTS dancing and singing to it. It’s kind of fitting, actually, considering the path my life has taken this past year. Way to go, Andy.
But here are a few images from the day. I can’t help but be insanely happy looking at them. It might seem like I’m being a little biased by saying this, but spending money on really good quality photography is WORTH the investment. After the party’s over, it’s all you’ve got left!
All images are copyright Andy Armstrong Photography.
All the tablecloths were hand-sewn by my mom and grandmother, and we spent months scouring thrift stores for all sorts of vintage-y table decorations (most of which were painted because they were UGGGGGLY before that). This is so me it’s not even funny.
AMAZING cake made by a family friend, with a topper I bought for $50 on ebay. More than we spent for most things for the wedding, but it was so perfect I couldn’t resist.