Long-time friend of GLONO and frequent discussion contributor, Helen Wilson, dusts off the four-wheelers for a good cause…
Rockin’ and Wheelin’
The WLUW Indie Rock Prom Brings Back Childhood Memories
As a past DJ and board member of a struggling college radio station that lost its antenna in a hurricane, I am all for attending any events that support college radio. The Loyola University Chicago radio station, WLUW, learned last fall that for the first time in its 24-year existence it would no longer be fully funded with tuition dollars. Due to the shaky funding situation, the station has launched a prolific fundraising initiative, including a Christmas show at Schubas, a series of shows at the Hideout, and the first annual “indie rock prom” at the Rainbo Roller Rink last Thursday.
In addition to being an advocate of college radio, I just couldn’t resist an event including indie rock and prom in the same phrase, and, moreover, that involved roller-skating. According to Shawn Campbell, Program Director, the event was concocted after she attended another fundraiser at the Rainbo and thought it would be fun to get people to dress up AND roller skate. A creative event, the indie-rock prom featured live music from three local bands and college kids dressed in thrift-store formal attire or costumes from various time periods. I went without a costume, but the chance to revive my long-retired roller-skating skills took me way back in time.
The event brought back memories of the countless evenings I spent at Sparkles Skating Rink in Atlanta between the years of first and fifth grade. Roller-skating parties are probably a vivid aspect of many of our grade school years and were certainly one my favorite activities. The public school I attended had a monthly fundraiser at the skating rink, including prizes for the class with highest attendance, couples skates with disco lighting, and the hokey-pokey. Besides these monthly roller-skating nights, of which I missed very few, birthday parties at Sparkles were quite popular. Despite all the time that I spent roller-skating as a kid, I hadn’t put on a pair of roller skates in at least 15 years. I quickly learned, however, that much like riding a bike, you don’t forget how to roller skate. Racing around the rink to the 80s pop music played between live sets made me especially nostalgic for my childhood days at the roller rink.
The roller rink was among my earliest venues for hearing popular music as a kid. Growing up with parents who didn’t listen to popular radio stations, discouraged MTV, and whose record collection was limited primarily to classical music and a few Dylan and Beatles’ albums, I didn’t have a lot of access to the music other kids my age were listening to. The roller rink was where I discovered Cyndi Lauper, Prince, and Michael Jackson. Favorite hits from my roller skating days include “Thriller,” “The Heat is On,” and “Man Eater.” And I can clearly remember rockin’ out air-guitar style to Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” during breaks from skating. Perhaps my lack of musical knowledge as a 10-year-old and my under-appreciated skill at the air guitar explains my inevitable lack of a partner during the couples skate, but I think those nights at the roller rink had to have contributed to my passion for rock music.
For information on future WLUW fundraising events, check out their website at www.wluw.org. Donations can be sent to WLUW, 820 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.