Best Things of the Week!

1. This one should be obvious.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to write another five-hundred-word essay about how I got dorky for Jordan Knight.  Because the Backstreet Boys were also there!


I genuinely love this song.  And if I haven’t already made it clear, I had an excellent time at the NKOTBSB concert.

 

Harry Potter 7 poster

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

2. Harry Potter and the End of the Tradition
Of course I’ve read all the Harry Potter books.  Of course I went to the movie the first weekend, and of course I loved it.  But more importantly, I’ve loved the tradition that came with it: I went to every HP movie from Chamber of Secrets on with my oldest friend, CK.  Even though we haven’t lived in the same part of the state in eight years, we have always made a point to get back together for the movies.  Sometimes it winds up being the only time we get together all year, which means we spend the hour or so before the movie using all our words at once to bond/gossip.  A lot of things have changed since I was five (well, kind of), but CK is a forever friend.  She is an excellent person and she makes me feel tall.  We will have to pick another movie series to keep the tradition going; maybe The Hunger Games if Jennifer Lawrence can do justice to Katniss Everdeen.

3. Street Festivals! Extremely hot street festivals!

A friend shared a personal rule with me, and I’m trying to follow it: you can either complain about the heat or the cold, you can’t complain about both.  I personally choose to complain about the cold, so I’m really trying to keep it together during this week of extreme heat.  But then I see things like this:

Weatherman's tweet

You can't spell "damn" without MN.

And this:

94 is buckling

Not great.

When things get life-threatening, I think I can break the complaint rule and join with the rest of the Minnesotans in our unofficial state motto: “Some weather we’re having, then!”

Anyway, despite the extreme heat over the past few days, I ventured out to two separate street festivals this weekend: Highland Fest and Barbette’s Bastille Day Block Party in Uptown.  Both featured a lot of sweaty people, music, kids being super cute, and fair food, but only one featured carnival rides.  Highland Fest wins!

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#NKOTBSB (New Kids, Old Technology, Backstreet Boys)

Honestly, I haven’t thought that much about the New Kids on the Block in the past two decades. It would be weird if I did. But you cannot unlove the things you loved before you were twelve, and I loved NKOTB, hard, from about ages 5-7. There’s a reason I never got rid of that t-shirt – and not just because my brother bought it for me (he was 9 and I was 5, how adorable is that?). It was so I’d have something to wear 21 years later when I finally saw the, um, “New Kids” in concert.

Rachel in the NKOTB tshirt now

Once again not wearing pants; that's a skirt.

It gets better, of course, since the men of my childhood dreams are on tour with the men of my teenage dreams, the Backstreet Boys.  They have combined into some new entity called, and I still wonder if they’re kidding about this, “NKOTBSB.” Really guys?  Are you sure you want to go with that?

I dragged my “but I was an NSYNC girl” best friend Lacy* along for the ride.  I think I wore her down with repeated viewings of this video:

She could not resist those moves or outfits.

Lacy and I arrived at the concert in time to see the opening act, Matthew Morrison (yes, the guy from Glee), which would have been more exciting if either of us liked Glee.  And while he is amazingly talented, he was not in a boy band from our childhood, and couldn’t quite hold our interests.  Instead, we people-watched and joked.  Lacy posted a few of our choice statements on Facebook through her BlackBerry, and I thought, “this would be a great event to live-Tweet.”  Unfortunately, I seem to like my cell phones like I like my boy bands: from the ’90s.  My phone makes and receives calls and texts (most of the time), but that is the extent of its power; Tweeting was not an option.

I’ve been thinking of upgrading my phone for a while now, as I live in a world where instant communication is expected and goes beyond just phone calls or texts.  I’ve resisted out of a strong desire not to spend more money on something I’ve lived without so long (for a social-media-expert-in-training, I can be a real curmudgeon).  I can check my email at home; I do not need to “check in” everywhere I go because if it’s fun or awkward I’ll just write about it here later; and GPS? Try a paper map from 1989 that doesn’t even include the Target Center.  I’m all set!  Right?

There’s also the benefit of paying attention to reality.  Had I had my eyes on my cell phone, I would have missed the nostalgic magic.  And a strange kind of magic it was; the kind that can only exist in a room of 15,000 screaming 20-40 year old women.  The kind that made me realize I will never not be five years old, because the second Jordan Knight came on stage I lost my damn mind.  If I had been able to Tweet, there’s a good chance I just would have gone “Squeee!” and then forgotten about it anyway.  So here’s a more coherent translation of what I thought during the event:

1) All of these dudes aged really well.  Surprisingly well.  I did not come into this evening expecting to develop a crush on Donnie Wahlberg, but these things happen, right?

New Kids in Minneapolis

Donnie Wahlberg, commanding the Target Center with his abs.

2) I know all the words to songs I forgot existed.  Good job, brain.  You could be doing other things, like remembering your friends’ birthdays, but no, this is clearly a better use of your time.

3) Donnie wore a “Public Enemy” t-shirt, much like the one he wore in the “Step By Step” video, except glittery.  Drink that in for a second.

4) I’ve never heard Howie from Backstreet Boys speak before, and it turns out he sounds exactly like the cartoon character Phineas from Phineas & Ferb.

5) Like every musician who comes to Minneapolis, both bands referenced Prince and yelled “Minneapolis” a lot.  To which I say “I’m not from Minneapolis! Give some love to the right side of the river!” If I ever become a major pop star and play the Target Center, I promise to give St. Paul a shout out, too.  And reference Prince.

6) There’s Jordan Knight again, SQUEEEE!

7) The Backstreet Boys wore white suits during “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely,” then threw the coats on the ground during “Incomplete.” White coats are for complete people!  Or doctors!

8 ) Near the end (but before “Hangin’ Tough, much to Lacy’s annoyance), the Kids introduced the Boys and vice versa.  This is a nice idea, but I’m fairly certain that if you’re at an NKOTBSB concert, you know the names of the band members. And possibly their birthdays, star signs, marital status, hopes and dreams as described to Teen Beat in 1989, etc.

9) 12 year old girls who are currently obsessed with Justin Bieber…we are your future.

10) This was so much more fun than I expected.  Really, I bought the tickets out of a strong desire to giggle and experience ridiculous things, but the reality was even better.  Oh-oh-OH-oh!

What do you think? Was the Twitterverse at a loss without these deep thoughts on Friday night?  If the New Kids on the Block can’t convince me I need a smart phone, who will?

*At this point I should add that Lacy is a good sport, a great friend, and usually has way more “highbrow” tastes than me. But she also appreciates the silly side of life, which is how we’ve stayed friends for the past decade.

#SocialMediaDay, or how Twitter is making me go broke

Today is Social Media Day.  The part of me that grew up in the ’90s kind of can’t believe this is a real thing, but I also realize that I now use social media on a daily basis (wrote Captain Obvious in her blog).  ’90s-Rachel also can’t believe I’m about to say this next part, but these days, Twitter is increasingly important to my life.

I started using Twitter for the most noble of reasons: to stay up-to-date on my favorite celebrities.  I gradually added in local restaurants, news outlets, stores, and more.  Within a few months, I realized the free service of Twitter was actually causing me to spend money.

There’s always something going on in the Twin Cities, and Twitter makes it easier to stay up-to-date on the ones most exciting to me.  A recent highlight was seeing Chuck Klosterman at the Fitzgerald in St. Paul at an event called Wits — not only did I find out about it through Twitter, audience members were asked to tweet during the show.  Would this appeal to everyone? Definitely not, but it appealed to me and other followers of MPR and Chuck Klosterman.

Another big coup was finding out about (and subsequently buying early tickets to) Paul Simon’s concert at First Avenue.  I took my mom for Mother’s Day, so thank you, Twitter, for making me daughter of the year.

The Twitter madness is not limited to arts events: this weekend, I’ll be cheering on the Minnesota Twins in Target Field thanks to tickets from the American Diabetes Association.  The ADA offered free tickets to anyone who raised a certain amount of money for their Step Out to Fight Diabetes event.  I was planning to donate to the event anyway, and I love the Twins, so this was exactly the motivation I needed.

Oh, and I also found out about the upcoming New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys concert through Twitter.  Now that’s something ’90s Rachel can get behind.

NKOTBSB

Dreamy.