a degrassi high formal in burbank

Someone on my kickball league decided that “80s Prom” would be a great theme for the end of season party.

I’m not going to lie. I agreed that this was a great idea. Although my original grad dress (now a few sizes too big) is still in my parents house in Victoria, I was pretty damn sure I could scare something up at a local vintage store. And I didn’t really get a prom anyways – Oak Bay High had a grad night that required formal dress, and then a grad party where we just wore street clothes. And said party wasn’t even a dance – just one last all-night event held at the Princess Mary, a ship recreated as a meeting facility on the far side of the harbour in Victoria. We had to stay all night in order to prove that it was a “Dry Grad” (where no one was leaving to go drink), so we would qualify for local grocery store sponsorship. It wasn’t too bad – parents ran a casino night, a local ska band came in to play, and nights are short in June in Victoria anyways. But it still wasn’t a prom.

So here was my chance to get to dress up, AND go to a prom. This totally justified my $60 for the season. And I went shopping yesterday for my very first real prom dress. Unlike the original grad dress, I found this one within ten minutes of flipping through the racks at my local Aardvark’s store here in Venice. I picked up three dresses: a strapless black one with a ruched stretch bodice and poofy knee-length skirt (too big), an off-the-shoulder black one with gold bows and rhinestone trim (too small) and the one I bought: a sleeveless black velour bodice, with a triple-layer skirt. The bodice had that wife-beater shirt shape to it, and had rhinestones all over it, and the skirt was dark gray taffeta over a couple layers of netting and lining to make it puff out. It was more 1992 than 1985, but I wasn’t going to get picky at the last second. Especially not for $12.

When it was time to get dressed, dug out my black satin heels, and my elbow length silver gloves (from last Hallowe’en) and located some pink lipstick and blue eyeshadow, and voila! I even wore artificial pearls just to really give it that late 80s look. Then I shanghaied a guy friend into going with me as my date (he lived close to the event and was bored), and I was set to head off to Burbank for a Prom in an Elks lodge!

I walked in, and immediately spotted my team, the Pregnant Cheerleaders, sitting around a table by the door. Then I looked up. There was a cluster of people down at the front of the room, by the DJ. There were groups of people scattered around, and almost no couples. And a Billy Idol song was playing. It really was like a high school dance! Therefore, I had to immediately go locate liquor. Which is why my “date” found me at the bar, midway through a Jack-and-diet-Coke that was mostly Jack, with a little bit of Coke for color, and cost me all of $4.50. “I love this place,” he said. “It’s close to home, there’s a smoking area, cheap booze, and free parking!”

The prom itself was absolutely ludicrous. A lot of people had taken the 80s theme to an extreme, dressing up in full 80s style – off the shoulder tops, sideways ponytails, heels with ruffled socks. One girl in my division had an outfit I exclaimed over, a blue net off the shoulder top and matching fingerless gloves. I spotted a couple full Don Johnson white suits, as well as my team captain’s pink button down and gold chains. I saw a lot of original T-shirts – AC/DC, Madonna, and an actual R.E.M. Document tour shirt. The DJ was wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt under a blazer. Other people had taken the prom theme to an extreme, as I had, raiding the thrift stores for taffeta dresses in pastel colors or bringing out suits from the back of their closets. But almost everyone dressed up – which is one of the reasons I love the kickball people. They’ll take any opportunity to play dress up and act goofy.

There was also a lot of hilarity on the dancefloor. I looked up, and everyone was doing a coordinated line dance to one of the songs from Grease. Turns out that they were just doing the Electric Slide. Since I have never been to a wedding where the Electric Slide was performed, and it has been over ten years since I learned how to do it at a Scout camp in central BC (long story, involving Scouts Canada, Girl Guides, and a crapload of snow), I couldn’t join in. I could only marvel that so many of my teammates were able to coordinate their dance steps when they had been drinking since noon.

We stayed to drink through the dance, and then went to hang out at a dive bar in Burbank, under the shadow of the Warner Bros. building. And I noticed a water tower on the way in, and realized, it looked very familiar. “Hey, is that -”

“The Animaniacs tower? Probably.”

Fortunately, we got to the bar before I could launch into the Animaniacs theme.

My computer is going to freeze, so I’m going to post this before it does. It was a good night though. I enjoyed Prom, I got to catch up with a non-Westside friend, and I got to drink at a dive bar by the Animaniacs tower. Yay, prom!

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2 responses to “a degrassi high formal in burbank

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