Back to the ’80s with Rock of Ages

By: Tony Rastigue

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Sam Harvey in ROCK OF AGES National Tour – Jeremy Daniel, 2018

As I eagerly anticipate my first ever experience with Rock of Ages: 10th Anniversary Tour at Miller Auditorium on Jan. 16, it is easy for me to reflect upon my love for classic rock music from the 1980s. While I may have been born years after this “tubular” decade, the music that emerged from that time continues to stick with and energize me more than any other genre.

I was introduced to the genre by my father at a fairly young age. As he would drive me to school, he’d always play the greatest hits by his favorite bands that he frequently jammed to while in college. I favored the works of Van Halen, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Queen, Poison and Scorpions, many of which were formed in the 70s and ultimately created a vibrant culture in the 80s. My dad would always associate a fun and crazy memory with every song and it would allow him to recall times of spontaneous and rebellious fun.

He would always tell me how he preferred to listen to this type of music specifically because each song always took him back to the fun of his youth. It made me realize that the enlivening and powerful music of anyone’s youth has the power to resonate with them for years down the line. 80s nostalgia has continued to be popular as multiple forms of entertainment immerse audiences into the radical decade of mullets and power ballads.

The 80s were a time where American youth were often less supervised and laid back which allowed for them to thrive in a decade of exciting times echoed by timeless music. It is easy to see why the 80s culture has carried into new generations as a reminder for how distinct and unique that time was and how our current generation can be inspired to bring back that enthusiastic atmosphere for both the youth and reminiscing adults to continue enjoying.

Learn more about Rock of Ages on their official site and tickets for the Miller Auditorium performance are available now at https://www.millerauditorium.com/rock-ages.

American Girl Memories

By: Tony Rastigue

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When I was 12, my family and I ventured off to explore Chicago. Upon experiencing a shopping spree unlike any other, one particular stop intrigued me–especially since an upcoming Miller show made me think back to that time. My younger sister was beyond eager to enter the American Girl store and while any other doll store would’ve bored me, this specific brand has held my interest even to this day.

It was a pretty big deal for my parents to purchase an American Girl doll for my sister. As I got older, I recognized the importance that the brand brings to its line, which showcases cultural significance as a doll’s American personality is carefully implemented. Since each doll comes with a set of books that detail their life in America, young girls are easily immersed into the doll’s life. More importantly, these books depict specific time periods of historic social issues and how the doll’s character deals and overcomes these issues. Each doll’s story complements relatable topics that younger girls appreciate and provides uplifting elements of femininity, racial identity, ethnicity and what it means to be an American.

As American Girl Live, an all-new musical coming to Miller on Jan. 5, 2019, brings some of these fictional characters to life, I anticipate that this show will warm the hearts of many in a way similar to the joy I saw in my sister’s eyes after she first held her Kit Kittredge doll. Conveying can-do attitudes and inspiring emotions aligns beautifully with true American spirit. American Girl’s fictional stories in historical settings can beautifully inspire young girls with confidence and lessons in American history.  It astonishes me that these dolls have the power to accomplish these wonders, which makes them not only a part of brand, but a cultural sensation.

You can learn more about American Girl Live at http://americangirllive.com/ and at https://www.millerauditorium.com/american-girl-live