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Mall Memories: Rodney Mullen Skate Demo Sponsored by Swatch at Great Northern Mall, June 11, 1989

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  Photo from the Swatch collection of skateboarder Jürgen Blümlein. Found online. Swatch watches were all the rage in the late eighties. And it felt like they came out of nowhere, too. It's like one day, you're reading a pile of magazines, and in every one of them- from Sassy to Thrasher-there was an ad for Swatch. Swatch watches were fairly cheap, usually around $30-$35. They were colorful plastic, you could switch the bands, and they were waterproof. They provided a nice alternative to the standard Timex watches all the nerds would wear. They caused Beanie Baby-levels of hysteria in some markets. It was no surprise that these tough little watches crossed over perfectly into skate culture, where bold prints and individuality were celebrated. Around 1987, Swatch started to sponsor skateboarders, who they would then send out on skate demos at malls around the United States. One of their featured skaters was Rodney Mullen, who is now known (and rightfully so) as the godfather of

Flannelkimono's Akron: Satanic Panic in Kenmore! 1985.

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I grew up in Kenmore, on the south side of Akron. We lived on what most townies refer to as the "fake side" of Kenmore,  in a small development of homes known as Castle Homes. My elementary school, Guinther Elementary, was a short walk from home. But, they only went from kindergarten to third grade. From fourth grade until sixth grade, I would have to make a longer walk (or get a ride) to Highland Park Elementary.  From our house, the easiest way to get to Highland Park was to cut through Lisa Ann Park, a small park tucked back into the neighborhood. The back of the park butted up against the back part of the fields at the elementary school. There was always a gang of us who would be cutting through there daily. That is, until the summer of 1985, when the local newspaper warned citizens of SATAN WORSHIP SUSPECTED IN KENMORE.   First, a little background on Satanic Panic. Even Oprah was scared!   In the eighties and into the nineties, there was a societal fear of the occult (c

Flannelkimono: The Mixtape.

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  My first concert. I was 12! So, I finally did it. It's been years in the making, but I finally got all of my concert tickets sorted, by date. It doesn't sound like much, but when you consider how long I've been going to shows and how many i've been to...it was a huge project. I started going to shows in 1989. I spent a lot of time with my cousins growing up. They were older than me, and they exposed me to all of the music that I got into. I got into punk rock at the beginning of my 7th grade year. I tended towards more poppy punk than punk; I would rather listen to Descendents and Bad Religion than Sex Pistols. I really loved The Dead Milkmen. They were clever without being Weird Al levels of dumb, which really appealed to me. I had bought a copy of their newest album (at the time) Beezlebubba on cassette from National Record Mart at Summit Mall and played it over and over, either on an off-brand walkman type cassette player, or on my pink boom box with the broken ha

Saturday Night Mall Crawl: SouthPark Mall

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Center Court at SouthPark Mall, June 2021. I went out to dinner with my friends on Saturday. We haven't been able to celebrate much of anything, so we decided to get together, dress up a bit, and grab some food. We went for tacos, which were great. The drinks were too strong, but that didn't deter us. Buzzed and full of chips and salsa, we decided to walk our dinner and drinks off at SouthPark Mall, right across the street from where we had eaten. We got there around 6:30pm, parked by Dillard's, and started our slightly buzzed, slightly busy mall experience.  Dillard's stores all look the same to me. I suspect it's because Dillard's has never remodeled their stores, especially in our area. So when you walk into a Dillard's in Northeast Ohio, you're reminded of the old Higbee's stores. This mall opened in 1996, and by then I believe the chain was known as Dillard's, but they apparently kept the same interior designers. They use a lot of the same m

Mall Mixtape: Tiffany "I Think We're Alone Now"

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  Welcome to the Mall Mixtape! This is where we will discuss all of those songs and videos that take us to the mall. The obvious starting point (at least for me, a Gen-Xer), has to be 80's pop darling Tiffany and her breakout hit, 1987's "I Think We're Alone Now". This was a cover of a song first made popular by Tommy James and the Shondells in 1967. But, by the consumer driven mall frenzy of the late eighties, nobody remembered that.  First, here's the video. Watch it in all of it's mid eighties shot on VHS glory.    My MST3K-style notes: Tiffany was killing it with those hand flourishes.  I identify as the girl with the big hair who is singing every single word (you'll see her). The video is pure chaos. She goes from sexy train hobo to mall performing teen queen to dancing on a boardwalk in very fast succession. Also, none of her outdoor looks are actually seasonally appropriate. Why is she wearing shoulder pads at the beach like a divorcee at h

A Mall and a Movie: Monroeville Mall/Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

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  Monroeville Mall: the Zombiest mall of all. Welcome back to a mall and a movie, with me, flannelkimono! Today's movie is a personal favorite. Why, do you ask? I was in this movie! <3 I love Kevin Smith's movies. Many, many years ago, longtime homie and pop culture vulture SuperNoBueno used to work at a video store that I frequented. His staff picks were always solid, and that was how I saw Clerks for the first time. Clerks blew my mind, because I was at the time toiling away in thankless retail jobs, and I couldn't believe how many "I'm not even supposed to be here today!" moments I would have at work. We also fucked off supremely at said retail jobs, just like in Clerks, although  nobody ever fucked a dead guy on the clock that I know of. I was very active on the View Askew boards, because when I like something, I REALLY like it and want to know everything about it. The community of fans at the time were great, and I have always loved and appreciated ho

A Mall and a Movie: Sherman Oaks Galleria / Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)

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Sherman Oaks Galleria starring as Ridgemont Mall in Fast Times at Ridgemont High   Welcome to a mall and a movie, with me, flannelkimono! When I wasn't hanging out at the mall, I was definitely at home, watching movies. My family always prioritized having cable over everything, so we always had cable with HBO and Showtime. Ridiculous, right? But I'm thankful for that digital babysitter. Now I'm a wealth of ridiculous pop culture nuggets! Fast Times at Ridgemont High was absolutely one of the movies I watched repeatedly on HBO. I still wear the same black and white checkered Vans slip-ons that Jeff Spicoli wore in the movie. And the carrot scene from that movie was absolutely in my head the first time I ever gave someone a blowjob. Ah, youth. Like many of the movies of this time, the mall acted as a central character; it was where all of the stories and the people came together. It could absolutely be argued that this movie is the one that planted the idea in my head that t