Something about listening to Kool & The Gang's Summer Madness around this time takes you away to a Bartles & James advert or maybe to Sally Mann's idyllic summertime in the deep south... I wish i could say it's like melodic opium, but that sounds like something a confused glowsticky raver would say about a mark farina drum loop while sucking on a pacifier and trying to figure out why his parents don't love him.
Bartles & James made way for Zima, and Lauren Greenfield became the new artchick du jour exploring female gender politics and innocence/sexuality (though in a completely different, completely inept way) - like shaq, zero of two. So it's even more impressive that after about a decade in the cellar, DJ Jazzy Jeff could take Summer Madnessto the next level with his Summertime. I consider the song much more his than Will Smith's, though it's without question the best thing Smith ever touched. On the other end of that list is WIld, Wild West - probably one of the worst movies ever made, its only artistic value is as the punch line to many jokes, the best of which is Kevin Smith's diatribe about Superman and Jon Peter's giant robotic spider.
But like so many other incredibly trashy things, the movie holds a special place in my heart. Almost to this day seven years ago I came to los angeles for the first time. I applied and was accepted to The University of Southern California without ever visiting the state, much less the school, and I remember stepping out of LAX for the first time, greeted with sunshine and palm trees and flowing blonde curlies and sexy silky soccer shorts (the woman's world cup final was being held at the rose bowl and the airport was teeming with hundreds of ridiculously cute teenage soccer girls!). I remember the super shuttle ride to campus past the oil derricks and supermercados, I remember walking through fagg park and into pardee tower to check in... i even remember the orientation advisor that signed me in, a dwarfish black art history major, spewing rehearsed college freshman / Trojan football jokes.
My roommate was this Jewish kid named eric (we didn't have Jews back home), a perfect facsimile of jonathan silverman circa Weekend at Bernies and a legacy Trojan - an evangelist, something I had never been exposed to as I was the first kid from my high school ever to go to USC. We hung all the time during orientation, but never again until Commencements at our graduation, when I attempted a drunken somersault between isles of students during a solemn keynote and landed a few feet away from him. I was trashed, but I remember saying something like, "Yo bro! Remember me from orientation?! College rules!," then ripping a fifty dollar hibiscus lei from his neck and stumbling back to tell a girl named Kate that even though I had never officially met her or talked to her, that I wanted to "fuck the dickens" out of her when we were freshmen. Funny how things work out sometime.
I remember my first crush at USC, a belle named Brooke from North Carolina. Tall, hazel eyes and carmel hair, she seemed incredibly sweet and mostly authentic, very cute and a lot of fun... i ran into her a few months later, a half-concious, fully transformed kappa being dragged down the row by some random spikey-haired shithead.
Our first night together, Eric and Brooke, Mike (a country kid and Better Than Ezra fan from small town Louisana), and Chris (the quintessential Boston kid), and Aaron and Omar (two kids I did hang out with at USC, one of whom gave me the name steazie and is currently playing in the NFL) and I all walked off campus to the university village theater to see... yeah... Wild, Wild West. It was crazy because this new place wasn't what i expected - it was like hanging out with a group of amazing friends in high school - like we had known each other for years. None of us were from Southern California, so los angeles as we knew it only existed between our dorms, the bookstore, the row, and Felix the cat on the corner of Jefferson and Fig...
At the 2006 Harbor School graduation, taylor townsend closes her address with, They say there is no one older than a high school senior, and no one younger than a college freshman...we're about to find out.
Bartles & James was created by yuppies in Modesto California and Sally Mann has been playing the new york art scene for a decade. At least Felix is standing strong and Jeff is still hip hop forever.