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Spirit of the Eighties: '80s Dance Party set for April 2

Fri, Apr 1st 2016 03:25 pm

Event is a fundraiser for Spirit of the Eighties

By Michelle Hosie

Special to NFP

I wonder how high school dances are now.

I'll bet they're nothing like the dances we had in the '80s. The dances we had were awesome!

Dances became the standard fundraiser for a club or the graduating class.

I'm not talking about proms. Those were nice, but we also had semiformal or casual dances. We probably had one every month. We usually had a DJ.

If there was a band, then it was more of a "concert" than a "dance." The best concerts were at the Teen Center. They don't do anything like that anymore. Those were the best!

But the dances were pretty cool, too. We were totally cool! We had big bows in big hair. We had bright colors and bold prints. We had rubber bracelets and wacky earrings. And we had music to dance to. We hopped and bounced all over the place. I can't believe how much we danced.

I try to dance with half the physical excursion I used then and I still can't make it through an entire song!

But I still love an '80s dance party. In fact, I like it so much, that's what I did for my 40th birthday party. Everyone dressed the part and had a blast doing it.

Some of us on the Spirit of the Eighties planning committee decided that we couldn't wait until August to get into the groove. We thought we needed a good, old-school '80s dance party to bring us out of our winter funk. So that's what we are going to do this weekend at Water Street Landing in Lewiston.

And to make it really authentic, we have an actual '80s DJ.

I first met Gord Sears a year ago at an English Beat show in Buffalo. He knew Michael Hanrahan, executive producer of the Spirit of the Eighties, and was excited to hear about our summer lineup.

I'm not the only one who thought Gord looked like an '80s rock star: tall and thin in skinny red pants and a leather jacket. When I saw him at a Tuesday night show at Artpark a few months later, I heard some people, quite a bit older than me, wondering who he was.

Several girls, probably around my age, were having their picture taken with him. The "older" people said, "He must be with the band, right? I mean, he looks like he's with the band." But the girls asking for photographs knew he was Gord from the '80s. Gord from The Continental. This was Gord from those legendary dance parties on Elmwood Avenue near Home of the Hits. The parties no one wanted to miss.

Gord told me that, in 1984, "A band that was playing the same night as our party said none of their friends would be at their show, they would be at our party."

Gord was young when his older brother introduced him to Velvet Underground, and he knew things in the music world were beginning to change.

"They were ahead of their time," he said. "Since art is derivative, then came the New York Dolls, which led to the Ramones, and tons of other Punk bands."

Then in the '80s, the Moogs Polyphonic Synthesizer became affordable and things really began to change. Acts like Howard Jones, OMD and Tears For Fears were able to make music that had only been done by guys who had a lot of money to work with, like Kraftwerk.

After high school, Gord hung out at a popular bar on Delaware Avenue where his best friend tended bar. The female DJ played music Gord liked, and he preferred to hang out by her booth, away from the crowd. One night she didn't show and the manager told Gord to get in the booth and start spinning. He ended up staying for two years. After that, he worked at The Continental for awhile, then other classics in Buffalo such as The Adventure Club, The Icon, The New Pink and Mr. Goodbar.

Gord officially retired from the DJ scene in 2002, but he still does special engagements at the request of friends. Luckily, Gord is a friend of The Spirit of the Eighties and he is happy to help host this fundraiser.

Suggested donations of $10 for the '80s Dance Party are requested at the door. Admission includes one free drink. The music starts at 7 p.m. There will be some fun '80s drink specials in addition to the regular SideBar menu. Guests are encouraged to embrace the '80s theme and dress the part.

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