Band: Various Artists
Album: Flashdance
Best song: Oh, whatever.
Worst song: What a dated record.

There’s something about memory that’s lovely and nostalgic and a little disjointed. A lot of this project involves my reconstructing memories that don’t quite fit and picking out the things that have stuck out in my early years, on some level.

I haven’t seen Flashdance in, probably, 25 years. I don’t have a ton of incentive to see it again, as it’s largely a relic of a completely different time. I don’t really remember the plot; I could easily lie and look it up on Wikipedia for the purposes of this piece (though, I did just peak at the Wikipedia page and see that Joe Esterhas(!!!) wrote it. How great is that?). But, ultimately, this project is more about memory than it is about accuracy and my memory of Flashdance solely remains in Jennifer Beals.

Ms. Beals was, indeed, my first celebrity crush.

Sure, I remember the big dance scene and I remember the music and I remember the ridiculous fashion. But, considering its influence, a lot of that may just be reconstructing shit from derivative works.

But, really, I remember Jennifer Beals.

Videotape is such an anachronism. I’ll not get into the notion of the speed of technology other than to say that our family had tons of videotapes at our house when my sister and I were kids. Many early memories are of sitting in front of the TV, using the VCR remote and watching tapes of movies we enjoyed.

This is, undoubtedly, how I first saw Flashdance. And it’s odd to think about that. Said technology is about as useful as a manual typewriter. Sure, it does a job, but so many other things do the job better.

Do you know anyone who owns videotapes and actually watches them? I don’t think I do. I make fun of people who have hotmail.com e-mail addresses. I couldn’t imagine meeting someone who is way into his or her VCR.

We all have movies that define our youth and, oddly, Flashdance is one of those for me. The movie is famous largely for its styling; it was directed to include sequences that truly looked like the burgeoning new medium of music video. The dance sequences brought up “Maniac” and “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” the movie’s essential theme. I don’t care much for the music now — after all, those songs are pretty dated.

But, man. Jennifer Beal in that off-the-shoulder sweatshirt. Young Ross loved that thing.

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