Luke Perry Redefined Cool and Slayed My Heart

“I always felt like something of an outsider, but I identified with people on the screen.” –Luke Perry Hearts didn’t just stop at the sight of Luke Perry; they doubled, at least for this writer. As a young and easily confused six-year-old, seeing Dylan McKay show up on the third episode of Fox’s Beverly Hills 90210 was confounding. Here was this loner, this rebel, this real James Dean type, who was a complete juxtaposition from the rest of the hunks — from Jason Priestley’s kindhearted braniac Brandon Walsh to Ian Ziering’s insufferable Steve Sanders. He defined “slacker chic”: he was effeminate, he wore his heart on his sleeve, and he won over the coolest of the West Beverly girls. It was an instant first sell, too. When we first meet Dylan, he’s literally surrounded by bolts of electricity as he slinks out of the shadows of West Beverly’s computer lab. From there, he scares off two jocks, gets Brandon to cut school, cruises around in a vintage Porsche convertible with a copy of Byron, surfs the big waves, breaks the big boards, and orders hamburgers in his millionaire father’s hotel suite with some Beverly babes. Though, as we all learn […]

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Beatles: When the Fab Four Met Ed Sullivan

The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery “Struck by lightning.” That’s how my father describes the sensation of watching The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. “I had never been so excited by any musical group or performance like that.” It’s a definitive event from his childhood — as it was for millions of other Americans — as monumental as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy or the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The next day at school, it was all he and his classmates (and their teachers) wanted to talk about; in the days that followed, he remembers spinning his copy of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” while he and his sisters pretended to be The Beatles, playing along on broomsticks as if they were guitars. [embedded content] Listening to him talk about his memories of that performance 55 years ago, I realize that it can never happen again. The world’s gotten smaller, but the culture’s gotten larger; TVs have more than three channels, and “rock music” is no longer synonymous with “pop music.” It’s impossible now for any musical act, let alone a rock […]