This is the first time anyone has shared a birthday drinkalong, but I think it’s pretty cool. I asked a bunch of people what they were thinking of choosing for their birthday movies, and both Kim and Ceridwen wanted Purple Rain AND were both available the same weekend. And that it’s this weekend, just a little past the anniversary of his death seems like it must mean…something.
Anyway, I asked them both if they wanted to write a little something or come up with some rules. Ceridwen was happy to let Kim take the reins on the rulemaking, but they both wrote cool little stories about why they love this movie and/or Prince.
Check it out and wish them both a happy belated birthday.
It was late summer, 1984. I was fourteen.
When the movie came out, my friend and I knew we had to see it. We had two problems. One, her parents were crazy hella strict. Scary strict. They never ever would have let her go. Two, I spent weekends with my grandparents. They wouldn’t let me go either because it was a Rated R movie so there was no point in asking.
It was playing at the theater in town with a Steve Martin movie called All of Me. I was an established superfan of Steve Martin. So he became my alibi. All we had to do is gather enough intelligence about the movie we were going to claim to have seen and get tickets. So we employed our first two unwitting accomplices: Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.
Siskel and Ebert was on every Saturday afternoon. We watched their review of All of Me so we could glean enough details about the movie to have a convincing conversation about it once we got picked up.
Saturday night, we popped into the music store in the same strip mall as the theater. I took guitar lessons there. The friendly burnout at the counter went to the box office and bought our tickets for us, being twentysomething and Allowed. At this point, this was the most elaborate bit of rule breaking I’d engineered in my entire life. We were in! And we got away with it, though I always thought my grandmother had a vague suspicion of us that she never pursued.
It was darker and meaner than I expected. I guess I figured it’d be a Prince infused Xanadu.
Wendy and Lisa became my hairdo muses for several years.
I’ve already gotten good and sloppy about Prince’s death more than once, so rather than do that again, I’m going to tell a funny Prince story.
So, I’ve lived in Minneapolis most of my life, and because Minneapolis people tend not to move much, lots of folks I know are lifers too. I learned pretty quick after his death that anyone who has lived here has a story about Prince – if not more than one. I know the woman who did fabric dyeing for him (such as the infamous assless pants, which actually have a panel of sheer fabric dyed his skin tone – I never learned if she actually got to see his butt). I know the guy who was his driver forever. I’ve met roadies and gone to high school with people who ended up in the NPG. He was very committed to this city.
Maybe two days after he died, me and my neighbor and her sister ended up holding a wake of sorts in her kitchen. There was booze and storytelling. Both of them are a little older than me, just enough to be in prime Prince story age. One told this story that is solidly friend of a friend at this point, but for sure it’s 100% true. One of Katherine’s friends met Prince at a club – I think Glam Slam (his club here downtown in the mid-90s), but I’d have to ask her. She was there with a couple girlfriends, and Prince invited them back behind the velvet rope and bought them drinks and all that.
Everyone hung out having a smashing time until bar close, when Prince basically invited himself back to her house using the slick “I’ll give you a ride home” macking technique. She and her roommate were game, so Prince came back to their incredibly shitty apartment. For whatever reason, she wasn’t going to sleep with him (I mean, I guess that’s a choice you could make), so she and her roommate made him tea and gave him the grand tour of their garden level apartment. Prince was horribly offended that she only had some crap futon lying on the floor, like how do you even sleep on that. So they chatted for a while, Prince got tired and went home, end of story.
Until a couple days later when dudes show up with a mattress, box spring, and bed frame, courtesy of Prince. He totally bought some rando who wouldn’t even put out a bed because he thought it was terrible that she didn’t have one. There was a nice note and no strings attached. She slept on the bed that Prince bought her for years and years. I know! I just love that man to pieces.
So that’s (one of) my Prince stories. Onward to Purple Rain!