From '80s Cruise to Ferris Fest, here are 16 things to look forward to in 2016
In the '80s, New Year's Eve was a mixed bag for me. On Dec. 31 in 1985, my friends and I sat in front of the TV and watched the date change on the then recently-launched Weather Channel. That was it. On the same date in 1989, I left a party early to drive though fog-shrouded streets in order to get home in time to drink a Mickey's Big Mouth alone in my apartment.
And those were the highlights.
So when it comes to celebrating the passing of one year and arrival of the next, my expectations have been set pretty low.
And yet, when I think of 2016, I find myself whistling a different tune. Well, it's actually the same tune - Paul McCartney's No More Lonely Nights - but the point is at least I'm whistling.
When I look at the calendar for 2016, I find hope for '80s fans. We may all be staring at the wrong end of 50 years of age, but at least we'll enter senior citizenhood with some events worth remembering. Well, we'll try to remember.
Here are 16 events worth living for in 2016 for those who are still stuck in the '80s:
THE '80s CRUISE: The first-ever '80s theme cruise departs Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 28 and features more than a dozen amazing bands and celebrities, including three of the original MTV veejays. Didn't go to your prom? Solve that problem on this cruise on '80s Prom Night! Always wanted to dress like Goose from Top Gun? There's a movie costume theme night for you too. I'll be on the cruise as will dozens of other Stuck in the '80s fans. And there's still room for you if you want to come. (Look at rates here.)
BILLY IDOL FOREVER IN LAS VEGAS: Hop on the Blue Highway and head to Las Vegas this spring, because Billy is playing a multi-date residency at Sin City's House of Blues, located inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, easily the preferred resort of Stuck in the '80s for its annual trips out west.
LIONEL RICHIE IN VEGAS: Hello? Is is softer pop you're looking for? Vegas is still the spot because Richie has announced plans for a Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood. His stay at the strip resort will be broken into two groupings: April/May and then again in September/October.
THE CURE ON TOUR: See a theme here? Yes, it's easiest to plan ahead for concerts in 2016. But seeing The Cure should be a bucket-list event for '80s fans. They're not stopping in Florida, so be prepared to travel for a show where the band is promising to "explore 37 years of Cure songs, mixing hits, rarities, favourites and as yet unreleased tracks in a brand new stage production that promises to be the 'must see' show of the year!"
DURAN DURAN: So The Cure blew off Florida, but the boys from Britain still love us. Duran Duran's 2016 Paper Gods tour (with opener Chic) includes three stops in the Sunshine State. Emphasis on "sunshine" because these will be outdoor shows. Easy on the mascara, Nick. Find a date near your city.
BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: Thanks to Michael Keaton and the late Christopher Reeve, both the Batman and Superman franchises flourished in the '80s. On March 25, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice pits our heroes against each other. Too much to hope for a Jack Nicholson cameo?
THE JUNGLE BOOK: Disney's original Jungle Book was released about the same time (1967) many of us were born, so we sort of know it by heart. The 2016 remake by Jon Favreau features voice work by Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken and Scarlett Johansson. Look for it beginning April 15.
FERRIS FEST: Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ferris Bueller's Day Off on May 21-22 in and around Chicago at Ferris Fest. The weekend events will include a screening of the movie "in a uniquely Ferris Bueller-centric spot with stars of the film in attendance for a special Q&A, a tour of all the filming locations, musical guests and more!"
GHOSTBUSTERS REBOOT: Eighties fans are torn on this one. Remaking a beloved classic takes a lot of guts, vision and yes, stupidity. Is it too early to just slime the efforts of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and their fellow 'busters? We'll find out on July 15.
STAR TREK BEYOND: Trek fans loved J.J. Abrams' first two Star Trek movies, but for the third flick the directing chair has been turned over to Justin Lin. (Seems Abrams is busy with another movie franchise at the moment.) Will the Trek universe continue to live long and prosper? If the trailer is any indication, then yes. If the July 22, 2016, release date holds, that would mark the franchise's 50th anniversary.
GUNS N' ROSES REUNION: I'm not a fan of this rag-tag band of misfits from the sleazy Sunset Strip, but I love watching the chaos that ensues every time Axel Rose tries to take the stage. The band reportedly will reunite to headline the Coachella festival this spring followed by a football stadium tour of America. Seems a paycheck of up to $8 million a show will be the worst of enemies friends again. Let's just sit back and enjoy the drama.
CHEAP TRICK INTO ROCK HALL OF FAME: The normally dreaded Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been fairly kind to the '80s in 2016, choosing to induct N.W.A., Chicago, Steve Miller, Deep Purple and Cheap Trick on April 8. We're so happy for Tampa Bay resident Robin Zanders on this long overdue honor. Let's hope the band can put aside hard feelings toward founding drummer Bun E. Carlos a night that even Zander didn't see coming back when Stuck in the '80s talked to him in 2011. "I don't even know if I would go if we were nominated, to be honest," Zander said. "To me, I was disappointed in them a long, long time ago."
THE RETURN OF PHIL COLLINS: The former Genesis frontman-turned-chart-topping solo artist in October declared his retirement was over. Against all odds, a new album and tour are now in the works, but we don't have firm dates yet. Hey, you gotta have some spontaneity in the new year.
BLAME IT ON RIO: The 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 5-21. The '80s angle? Well, just a shameless reason to rewatch Michael Caine, Michelle Johnson and Demi Moore in 1984's Blame It On Rio. A new DVD version of the movie was released in 2015. You can buy it on the cheap at Half.com.
ROGUE ONE: The first Star Wars spinoff story hits theaters on Dec. 16, 2016. The plot revolves around a ground of Rebel fighters assigned the task of delivering the Death Star plans to Princess Leia. As long as Jar Jar Binks doesn't figure into the plot, we're cautiously optimistic.
DEC. 31, 2016: Let's vow to turn off The Weather Channel, stay away from the Mickey's Malt Liquor, stop bashing Guns N' Roses and the Rock Hall of Fame (fingers crossed behind my back) and plan for a New Year's Eve worth remembering. After a year spent rebel yelling with Billy, dancing on ceilings with Lionel and crusing the Caribbean with our '80s heroes, hopefully the best way to spend next New Year's Eve is just resting. Have a great holiday, '80s nation!