#ThrowbackThursday: Those Shoes Are Mine Betch

In 2006, my friend told me to watch this video on the YouTube. If you can recall back to nine years ago, YouTube was just getting started, so watching a video on this platform was next level EBaumsWorld. I sat there in awe of the video she just made me watch, thinking, ‘What THE FUCK did I just witness, am I on drugs right now?’ The answer is, ‘IDK’ and ‘no’. This was the video in question:

*Upon rewatching this, I realized for the first time that they filmed a portion of the shopping montage literally outside my current office.

Soon enough, it became one of the first viral sensations on YouTube to my recollection, and became a constant quoted vid amongst my college-aged peers. Then, this guy released more humorous vids, such as Let Me Borrow That Top:

And Text Message Breakup (hi Margaret Cho):

And maybe my favorite, Muffins. I still say ‘blueburry’ and all other ‘berries’ like him from time to time.

Bonus: Where Do You Think You’re Going In That, with a special cameo appearance by Emma Stone, who plays the photographer!

All these videos were made by the guy featured with the blonde wig (Kelly)/grandma wig (Mother Grandma), Liam Kyle Sullivan, or Liam Show. After his string of video hits, he became one of the first YouTube stars (watch out Tyler Oakley). In 2008, he even won a People’s Choice Award for Shoes in the user-generated category and even opened for his pal Margaret Cho for her Beautiful tour that same year. Soon, Kelly’s viral appeal went away and we didn’t hear as much from Liam as we had before. Unless you followed him constantly on YouTube. So where is he now? I did some deep web research so you didn’t have to.

Before he even gained popularity with Shoes et. al, Liam had been working as an actor in random shows like That’s Life (with Orange County Housewife Heather Dubrow), 8 Simple Rules, VH1’s I Hate My 30s, and our personal fave, Gilmore Girls (The photographer in Wedding Bell Blues – ‘Can we get another shot in?’).

Photo Aug 05, 11 09 26 PM

Liam continued to act in small roles in various shorts, TV movies and TV shows, before focusing more on producing and directing. In 2009, he wrote and produced a short called Keller and Sullivan, described as a film in which “The Miracle and her miracle worker join forces to fight crime: A silly romp through the true crime film genre told through the eyes of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan.”

In 2011, he directed Thugs, The Musical, a faux-documentary about a “‘non-urban’ black actor in Hollywood. That same year, he celebrated the fifth anniversary of Shoes, and decided to make a commentary video for his life-changing project.

In 2013, Liam focused on directing a documentary called Ian Harvie Superhero, which follows groundbreaking transgender comedian, Ian Harvie. The movie touches on his own personal journey while also unveiling his first-ever live standup comedy set for film.

As for his personal life, Liam married writer/actress Ilana Cohn in August 2009. That’s right they just celebrated their six year anniversary.

Two years ago, they created a super cute kid named Tali. Like really cute. Like, I’m not just saying she’s cute, cute. IDK why I feel weird posting it, so just click on Ilana’s Insta. Anyways, Liam and Ilana also work together on various projects, and just this past January, they worked on this video of Nickelodeon.

You can still view his videos on his YouTube page and follow him on Twitter here (even though he doesn’t update that often!)

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How Normcore Are You?

Normcore is the movement or trend or – thing, I guess? – rejecting hipsterishness and “opt[ing] into sameness” (thanks, Wikipedia!). Yeah. But what does that really MEAN? I read the NY Mag piece about it, but that didn’t help much.

  • Is it still hipsters liking things ironically, but now it’s ironic fleeces and sneakers instead of trilbys and mustaches? Mustaches HAVE been coopted by the Pinterest Industrial Complex, after all…
  • Is it because all of the cool 70s – 90s clothes have been cleared out of thrift stores, leaving Gap hoodies and Adidas windpants for the too-cool masses?
  • Is it a more realistic version of 90s nostalgia? It is basically the stuff that adults wore from 1996 – 1998. The style of Seinfeld, if you will.
  • Is it a non-sexist version of “Basic Bitch”?
  • Is it just regular people wearing normal clothes, turned into a “movement” because a journalist had an early Monday deadline for a trend piece?

I’ll be damned if I know. As we said about “ratchet,” normcore cannot be seen or heard, but must be felt with the heart (™ Helen Keller). Here’s the best Am I Normcore self-test I can come up with.


 Do you own khakis?

KHAKIS!

No: 0 points
Yes: Do you need them for work?

If yes: 1 point

If no: 2 points


Do you own a fleece?

No: 0 points

 Yes: Is it necessary for outdoor activities, e.g. hiking?

If Yes: Hiking? That’s pretty normcore. 2 points.

If No: Do you refer to your fleece as “my North Face” or possibly “the Columbia?”

If Yes: 1 point. You are possibly a college girl in a windy climate, or were in the near past.

If No: 2 points. Normie.


You are walking around the city all day. What is on your feet?

Heels: 0 points

Men’s Dress Shoes (I identify as a man): 1 point

Men’s Dress Shoes (I identify as a woman): 0 points

Women’s Flats (I identify as a woman): 1 point

Women’s Flats (I identify as a man): 0 points (strictly because I’m pretty sure the gender binary is normcore)

Canvas sneakers, converse, old-timey high tops, etc: 1 point

Sneakers (the cushiony kind, with ankle support) in color: 2 points

Sneakers (the cushiony kind, with ankle support) in black or white: 5 points (Are they Reeboks? Give yourself another point, Norm-an Bates!)


Betsy or Tacy?

Betsy: 0 points

Tacy: 1 point

… Huh?: You’re dead to me.

You know what? Tib, actually: 2 points


Pick an Olsen Sister:

Two Of A Kind: Definitely the Olsen’s normcore phase. Or was 1998 just the world’s normcore phase?

Mary-Kate: 2 points

Ashley: 3 points

Elizabeth: 0 points

Nellie: Zero points, but let’s hang out.


Pick a type of bagel

 

 

…. Are you doing it?

 

 

….Do you have it yet?

 

Any kind of bagel: 2 points. Bagels are so NORMCORE.

Donuts: Cute. That’s cute. You get 1 point. On one hand, donuts are more normcore than bagels. I guess. On the other, you lose normcore cred because a real normal person would have answered the question.

I don’t know: 0 points. Also you couldn’t come up with a SINGLE kind of bagel? You’ll never be normcore if you insist on being this weird!


You’re getting married! What would be a really good wedding song?

At Last: 1 point. You are basically more normal than normcore.

First Day Of My Life: 0 points. You are clearly normal, maybe trying to seem slightly less normal.

You Make My Dreams Come True: 3 points. What says “I like ordinary things?” better than carefully-selected Hall & Oates tunes?

You probably wouldn’t have heard of it: 0 points. You passed normcore and went straight to hipster. Congrats?


Let’s talk about your cake topper:

Traditional man/woman, man/man, or woman/woman cake topper: 2 points. Nobody has those anymore unless they are specifically trying to choose middle of the road-y things.

Lady dragging husband down the aisle, reeling in husband, chaining ball to his foot, etc: 0 points. Let’s all try to be better than this. But you probably aren’t normcore, just misguided.

Well, I saw this thing on Pinterest…: 1 point. You might be normcore, but you’re probably just normal.


Bangs Or No Bangs:

Bangs: 0 points

No Bangs: 1 point

Do you mean like on me, or just sort of generally?: I don’t know. Have a point.


You have a cat. Where did you get the cat?

From a shelter: 2 points

It was outside: 1 point

I knew someone getting rid of the cat: 3 points

A way that was super on-purpose (breeder, e.g.): 4 points. Anyone who tries to get a cat is almost putting effort into seeming normal. And isn’t that what normcore is all about?


Congrats, you have a baby! You got married and adopted a cat, what did you really think would be next? Name that baby! (It’s a girl):

Something like Emma or Sophia or Isabella: 0 points. Normal, not normcore.

Something like Louisa or Harriet or Jane: 3 points. You intentionally choose the standard over the non-standard — even when the “standard” may also be less popular.

Something like Dorothy or Edith or Mabel: 2 points. Picking an old-lady name says “hey, I’m being a bit different here!”, but picking one that everyone has heard says “… but let’s not go crazy, now.”

Something like Morningflower or Thessalonia: 1 point. The names aren’t normcore, but they’re so different that I could see you getting real into, you know, cultural movements.


Okay, add ’em up, everybody! Ready:

20 – 30 points: You’re not normcore. You’re just normal.

10 – 20 points: You might be normcore – there are some indications that you aren’t all the way normal. But you might just be a little bit normal, a little bit not. Consult a doctor you trust for further evaluation.

0- 10 points: You’re not normcore. But you might be a hipster. Maybe.

Women’s Fashion (According To A 1976 Encyclopedia)

Remember how, before the internet, we had to read real, physical books to find things out? In my family, that meant turning to the cobalt-blue 1976 Encyclopedia Americana. One volume in the set was a yearbook that detailed the world events and current trends of the age. I was so obsessed with the fashion section — both out of genuine interest and childish snark — that the book still opens right to that page.

In the mid-90s, I turned to the Encyclopedia for help with Social Studies reports. In the mid-70s, people were turning to the Encyclopedia for help with looking as fly as possible. Such was the pre-internet age.

Let’s take a walk through 1976 fashion, as described in the vibrant pose of the Encyclopedia Americana editors.

  • “Chinese fashion”

    Shhh! Nobody can tell I’m Caucasian!

* Women’s fashion was “influenced by denim and China.” I hope that means you could buy a mandarin-collared denim dress or one of those flat rice-picking hat in Levi’s blue.

* The photo of the woman displaying “The Chinese look” looks like she’s wearing a kind of racist Halloween costume. I guess at least they didn’t say “Oriental?”

* Sometimes when I read this entry, I feel like a time-traveler from the future and wish that I could just save everyone without accidentally killing my own grandfather. The editors write that “politically, the effects of detente with China may not be known for years.” Not to spoil it, but the effects are a little known now and HOLY SHIT WE ALL NEED TO LEARN MANDARIN. What are you DOING, 1976? Stop importing their beautiful silk daywear because they are going to RUN us.

* Bitches wore mad “frog closings” and “coolie” jackets, I guess.

* OK, the encyclopedia DID end up saying Oriental, and they only capitalize it like half of the time. Casual racism is one thing, but casual racism AND sloppy copy-editing? I can’t.

  • Denim

* Real sentence: “The jean craze continued to mushroom at an unbelievable pace.”

* Another real sentence: “The better the figure was, the tighter the jean.” Hey 1976, could you please give that advice to literally everyone I saw at the bus stop the other day? Because the 2013 rule of thumb is apparently: “no matter what the hell your figure looks like, just say “screw it” and buys your pants 2 sizes too small.”

* In the “most horrible thing I’ve ever heard of in my life other than disease, hunger, and genocide” category: the “two-zipper” was in fashion. Jeans closed with two side front zippers instead of the usual fly front. I don’t even understand how this would work. Maybe one of you has an engineering degree and can help? I’m picturing a weird flap that would hang down, like an overall bib except in your crotch neighborhood, with a zipper on either side. If there’s one thing I definitely don’t need, it’s a 100% increase in the likelihood that I’ll forget to zipper my pants. I imagine that if you have any kind of stomach or side fat, it will accidentally get zippered into the “side front zippers” at least once.

* Unsurprising: “work” clothes like khaki fatigues, railroad overalls, and mechanic suits took off.

* Surprising: This “was an expression of the belief in the virtues of honest labor, even if the person wearing them was not engaged in it.” Encylcopedia Americana? You’re reaching. Although, sometimes I do wear a full McDonald’s uniform or nurses’ scrubs just to demonstrate that I believe in work. Who am I to talk?

  • Ladylike Dressing

* According to this section, sometimes women wore skirts and dresses, but other times they wore pants. That’s really the gist.

* Sometimes women wore suits, with “dramatic capes and soft coats” over “multilayers of separates.” The encyclopedia isn’t scratch-n-sniff, but I’m pretty confident they also smelled like sweat and patchouli.

  • The Sporting Life

* The jumper was back. A million home-schooling moms rejoiced, probably.

* Sweaters were “an education in ethnic artistic expression.” I’d complain about the cultural appropriation issues, but I am wearing “tribal” flats right now. I like to pretend that there is just a tribe of Target People who live in the basement of one of their warehouses in Indiana or somewhere, designing these things. I bet they even have native folk songs. Maybe that’s what Taylor Swift is.

  • Accessories

* Scarfs were worn big, in the “simple peasant style” or “elaborately as Arabian or African headdresses.” On behalf of white people, I apologize. This is really bad. I get annoyed at racist Halloween costumes, but apparently in 1976, every day was Racist Halloween.

You could even wear your scarf with an elaborate Art Deco costume while shopping in a general store from the 1800s.

* “Handbags ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.”

* “oriental jewelry” was popular (read: jade). They used the lower-case “o” for oriental, so this may just be jewelry worn to the east of other jewelry, not Asian-inspired as such.

  • The Feminine Foot

* Engineers, HELP. The earth shoe was “designed to lower the heel and raise the sole of the foot for comfort.” Does anyone know how that’s comfortable? They sound like those terrible McQueen cloven-hoof shoes.

Based on the above, here is a rough sketch of The Woman of 1976.