There was a period where I worked for certain owl-themed social media software company and, as part of building internal community goodness, there were occasional festive parties/activities put on by various departments who were allotted at $300 budget and attempted to constantly one up each other with what they could pull off.
My beloved department (community) was paired with another and chose the theme of 1980s homecoming dance.
I played the role of principal, making various announcements and instigating various contests and hi-jinks including a poorly executed “king and queen” election which was thwarted by an incompetent accountant.
As usual, there’s more to say and more artifacts exists but this gem of an invite shall be your guide.
And yes, the theme was very familiar to me because indeed I attended these sorts of events in the 1980s right out of the pages of Napoleon Dynamite. Evidence follows:
PS We made a video time capsule that night where folks could riff their memories or thoughts or well, who knows… but the time capsule is really legitimately lost to time. In fact in those days of the company, I also created old office tours, various messages and other community videos which have been scrubbed from the Internet. Maybe one day some things will surface again, probably not.
Somehow, somewhere between my first couple trips to Japan (frankly it’s a little bit foggy after a plan to go to Mexico and live on the beach didn’t materialize, hemp fests, Dead concerts, flower sticks & hemp bag selling), I was in Logan, Utah (where i had spruced-up my Volkswagen bus “the Earthship” only to abandon it) where my Mom rented a rambling old polygamist house in the shadow of the LDS temple which she rented as a boarding house for various students plus a few randoms living in the backyard in a sort of tent/van village.
Logan isn’t my favourite place (so many cops and rules!) but, here I was and as such, I put together a party to reunite with old friends, share stories, collect lent items, play some music and hit up hot springs.
I designed this “aerogramme-inspired” invitation (meaning the paper was both an envelope and a letter), including various snippets of haiku art, doodles, maps and intentions, and floated them out into the world. The party was called “Far Far West” in homage to a Gary Snyder poem about going to Japan and my westward facing, Pacific centric geographic mindset.
Wasn’t sure what to make of it all as addresses were stale, friends were transient, memory scare, but, as it goes, worked out just wonderful as dozens of people came throughout a few days with folks camping out in the backyard to the chagrin of the neighbours who tried to poison the dogs (seriously!) as well as called the police who stealthed into our backyard campfire while we were singing along to Larry’s autoharp and Marty Kendall’s ceramic drums and, surprisingly, the police were rather chill about everything / they asked us to play a song, we did, they told us to have a good night, they left, we laughed and we sparked up another one and kept on going.
As it goes, there was a *loaves and fishes* vibes as my wonderful Mother put on big pots of curry and different stews with ingredients folks brought along, and we kept pots of coffee and exotic teas going in a truly freeform fun for all couple of days.
I recall the 2nd day included a trip out to a derelict hot spring on the side of a forgotten highway which had sort of been roughed in by a dangerous assortment of bricks. Nevertheless, we soaked, we played banjo music… and I have a photo of me and Sensei Larry to prove it (somewhere in the boxes there might be a few more snapshots).
I will say that I was surprised to see this invitation – both the original layout as well as a production copy printed on 50% post consumer recycled “redrock” paper and dutifully printed with some copywriting that somehow makes me smile still. (Note: included the layout and production versions for posterity and archiving).