By JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer on Apr 5, 2012, at 2:21 AM Updated on 4/05/12 at 4:04 AM
Perhaps Tulsa’s biggest annual party, ’80s Prom celebrates its 10-year class reunion.
Helmed by local DJs Lynn and Rob Robertson for most of those years, it’s exploded from a gathering of 100 or so retro-loving music lovers to sold-out blowouts of 1,000 or more people.
“When it first started, I was doing a lot of ‘themed’ parties, and someone suggested we do an ’80s-themed prom party,” he said. So many people showed up and people were “so over the top” with enthusiasm and outrageous clothes and music that “I knew we’d have a repeat.”
What he didn’t expect is the runaway popularity of the blush-streaked, hair-sprayed, Spandex-celebrating ball. Why is it so popular all these years later?
“I honestly don’t know,” he said, then laughed.
This year, ’80s Prom has expanded to three rooms with distinctive music and culture at the IDL Ballroom, Enso and Electric Circus on Saturday. Get tickets early. He expects them to sell out.
“This is the first time we’re breaking the event into themed rooms,” he said. “It was a natural progression of the event. We now have one of the biggest prom parties in the nation, and it just keeps growing.”
More than half the tickets are already sold, he said. “Which is way up from last year. About this time, we had less than one-third sold.”
Enso transforms from a quiet after-hours bar to a hip-hop haven “from rap’s golden age,” Robertson said. “Expect stuff happening everywhere.” That includes breakdancers, rappers, fans in Run-DMC outfits and more.
Likewise, Electric Circus goes underground as it’s flooded with new wave, post-punk and alternative music. Flock of Seagulls hairdos? Check.
The main attraction will be IDL Ballroom, featuring the pop and club hits of the ’80s, a fashion show, and, like, totally loads more.
The noobs, or newbies find easy garb – tacky, era-defined cheap tuxedoes and puffy, gaudy prom dresses. “The more seasoned come as other things,” he said.
Which brings us all to what Robertson said is possibly the most popular and hilarious event of the night – the night’s Prom King & Queen contest. Last year’s queen was dressed as the popular ’80s pop hit “99 Red Balloons.” Its king? A man dressed as a Rubik’s Cube. Winners earn more than applause – they’ll also win prizes from local businesses, including goodies from Nightingale Theater, Tulsa Zoo, Philbrook Museum, Elote, Spexton Jewelry and others.
Popular event “guests” include everyone from Billy Idol to Madonna to “Teen Wolf,” “Goonies” friends and “Weird Science” nerds. Totally.
“Anything and everything you can think of, people do it,” he said. Past years’ fashion shows highlighted classic movies, including “The Lost Boys.”
“It’s a big, 25-minute ordeal. The crowd just goes wild every year,” Robertson said.
Each year, too, the gala gives back to its community. Local retailers are featured in the fashion show, and a portion of proceeds go to charity, he said. Charities often include the H.O.P.E. Foundation, Nightingale Theater and the Shawn Howard Fund, Robertson said.
featuring DJs Robbo, Lynn K, Sean Kibble, Demko, Kylie, Xylo, Falkirk and Samurai Jack; comedian Hilton Price will emcee
When: Doors open 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: IDL Ballroom, Enso and Electric Circus, 230 E. First St.
Tickets: Must be 21. Tickets are $13 in advance and $17 day of event, available at Dwelling Spaces, Enso and Starship Records.