Events — 15 December 2011
Vol. 1 Brooklyn Presents: The Greatest 3-Minute Stories About The 90s at Matchless Bar

The 90s are back! Well, at least some stories from this highly transformative decade are back. Last night at the Greenpoint, Brooklyn favorite watering hole Matchless, writers and authors spoke from the heart about their experiences in the decade where styles came and went and legendary figures suffered untimely ends. All in three minutes.

This amazing collection of speakers wouldn’t be telling their 90s era tales if it weren’t for the highly creative people at Volume 1 Brooklyn. Founded in 2009, Vol 1 is a multimedia project whose sole mission is to highlight the culture that many of us out there appreciate. Vol. 1 is also a website, an event production company, and an indie publishing imprint, dedicated to sharing literary culture with the masses.

Each speaker had his or her foothold on the decade, providing a funny story with a nostalgic 90s twist. After all, this was a decade where much of what occurred rebelled against the excesses of the 1980s. One of the first speakers told a quite humorous 3-minute story about his band who were about to break big, netting a large record contract. Then because of their moral stance against greed they instead broke up. Perhaps other factors played a larger role in the “breaking up” part, but the gist of his diatribe regarded a time where art was considered more sacred than money. On a lighter note, one of MTV’s top bloggers relayed stories of her sexual conquests in Arizona with members of popular post-grunge bands like The Gin Blossoms.

One of our favorite speakers of the evening was writer Rob Tannenbaum writer of, “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Revolution.” This recently released work features an overload of details describing the birth and evolution of the music video medium. During his reading at Matchless, Rob chose a story about the 90s defining group, Nirvana. Frontman, Kurt Cobain was known to rebel against the corporate powers that be, who he thought wanted to control the image of Nirvana in order to turn a buck. The setting for the story was the filming of the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video, which turned the tide against hair metal, which had previously dominated the mid to late 1980s rock music scene. The story goes that Cobain clashed with the director of the video who didn’t “get” Cobain’s vision of having ugly cheerleaders, and bleachers filled with all African-American youths.

The director in question wanted pretty girls, and a more diverse crowd on the bleachers. Even though he finally won out on this choice, the crowd who filled the bleachers were drunk and trashed the set “just like at a Nirvana show!” said drummer, Dave Grohl.  Tannenbaum’s tale provided some much needed insight into a band and into a lead singer who has since become more urban legend than truth.

Having been born in the early eighties I was able to see the entire nighties unfold. I saw its trends come and go, from “Slap Bracelets” to “Tickle Me Elmo.” I witnessed many of my heroes and some of the world’s villains pass on. Yet while living it, I always seemed to revere life in the 60s, 70s, or even the 80s, since they always seemed much cooler to me. In retrospect the 1990s had plenty going for it. That’s probably why we’re talking about it today in 2011.

- Jay Rubin

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