Tag Archives: The Ritz

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Young men coming of age in the 1980’s in New York City was an amazing time, with many stories to tell.

One of my favorites takes place at our go-to club, The Ritz, where many bands of the time were heard and good times were had.

1984: We show up at the club to see Sheila E, a protégé of an artist at the time known as Prince, knowing that he would be a shoe-in to show up to promote himself.

sheila24n-1-webShe puts on a great show, and even gives us a few thrills as she has wardrobe malfunctions and flashes us some flesh.

The night could only get better.

She plays her last song and leaves the stage but comes back out for an encore.

When she returns, the music strikes up for a song she has a duet with you-know-who.

When she introduces him, the crowd goes wild.

They finish and go off stage but now the crowd is stomping and cheering for him to come back out.

As he returns to the stage, holding a tambourine in each hand, he bows and tosses the instruments out to the audience exactly as he does in his hit movie.

Unfortunately we were nowhere near where they landed, so no souvenirs for us.

Prince performs a couple of his hits and brings down the house.

What a fantastic impromptu, intimate experience!

But the fun wasn’t over.

We worked our way down to the men’s room before leaving. What we found there has stayed in my mind.

Two lucky people left the club that night with tambourines touched by Prince himself.

The guy we saw in the bathroom didn’t get one but one had skimmed across the top of his head and slit open his scalp.

He was bleeding like a stuck pig, smiling his ass off since it was something “given” to him by that famous artist.

Lucky dude.

I guess every time he scratches his head and feels that scar where no hair grows he’ll remember that fantastic night at the Ritz.

“The Americans”: A Great 80s Throwback

If you think watching “Mad Men” is a time warp, you’ve got to watch the FX TV series “The Americans.”

The show, which just wrapped up its third season, is a delight for those of us who came of age in the 1980s.

For the uninitiated, the series’ plot centers on a husband and wife who were recruited as teens in Mother Russia by the KGB and implanted in the U.S. as deep, deep covert spies.

They blend in with the tapestry of American life in a way that no one would suspect they are masters of espionage.

And don’t be fooled.

The lead characters, husband and wife Philip and Elizabeth, are not some Russian spy knock-offs like Boris Badenov and his sidekick, Natasha Fatale, from the “Rocky & Bullwinkle Show” of my youth.

No, they are truly bad ass.

As a couple, they engage in all kinds of counter-intelligence, blackmail and violence. And did I mention – plot twist! – that they have an FBI agent as a neighbor?

But apart from all of the mind-bending turns, suspense and intrigue, the thing I so absolutely love about the show is the way it nails the look and feel of the 80s.

“The Americans” is set during the height of tensions between the U.S. and USSR when Ronald Reagan was president, an anti-missile defense shield positioned in outer space was considered a real possibility and the threat of nuclear holocaust hardly seemed far-fetched.

The show captures that universal unease and brilliantly reflects the styles in clothing, cars and culture of the 80s.

The women are depicted in oversized glasses, multi-colored sweaters and big hair.

The TVs in the series play news segments and commercials of the era.

And the cars! Oh! The cars! These huge tanks are glorious to behold.

But the thing that might have won me over more than anything is when this third season featured snippets from a duo known as Yaz and music from their debut album “Upstairs at Eric’s.”

Yaz and those songs hold a special place in my heart because I saw those performers live at a club called The Ritz in the Village way back when I was in college.

Bottom line: If you want to enjoy great television AND want to be transported back in time, catch “The Americans.”