In mostly everyone’s “Recently Watched” section of Netflix, Stranger Things is surely listed. The show is fueled by the culture of nostalgia, and in a short span has garnered a cult following. For most films, like Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Room, this takes at least a few years to gather steam and harbor very specific demographics. However, within the month that Netflix released Season 1 of Stranger Things last year, nearly 15 million Americans from every age range were already hooked.
Promoters have certainly taken notice, and every major city seems to have a Stranger Things party every few months. Charles Rasputin, party planner extraordinaire, has two sold-out such themed parties in Richmond and Norfolk this month (just pre-sale – don’t worry, you can still stand outside for hours to get in).
Popscure asked him about the power of nostalgia, and how streaming has changed our relationship with TV, somehow finding unity in asynchronous consumption.
WHY DOES NOSTALGIA SELL?
“I think nostalgia functions in several ways to intrigue viewership but two are very specific to the phenomena of Stranger Things. The show provides familiar details and context for those who have experienced the 80’s first hand, but it also allows digital natives to see the rise of the digital age. There are parallels to coming of age in the 21 Century within this group of folks from all age groups facing the unimaginable.”
Rasputin brings up a good point here. We live in a time, surrounded by inventions that were once impossible feats solely existent in science fiction. Who would’ve thought we could have a wealth of knowledge, camera, and telephone within one device at our fingertips? The past few decades have seen increasingly rapid and fantastical changes; it’s almost as surreal as the Upside Down.
Unimaginable still is how much time has passed and how much society has stayed the same — as far as racism and sexism that still torment everyday life of minorities, which just now in 2017 is being divulged. Our president is reality’s Demogorgon — monstrous and too ridiculous to be true.
HOW HAS BINGE WATCHING CULTURE CHANGED OUR RELATIONSHIP TO TV SHOWS?
“I think binge-watching has created a form for digesting visual media that is very much like reading a book, rather than time released episodes featuring advertisement-driven sequences. One’s excitement for a story can manifest in watching all of it immediately and not being forced to slowly process at the pace of the network or the calendar.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SHOW & WHATS THE BIG DEAL?
“I think the show is great, and I’ve loved seeing it grow from a one-season concept to embrace the need for multiple seasons. I also love that it’s exciting for adults and for younger viewers who didn’t necessarily grow up in the 80s. The thing that drove our team to produce a dance party inspired by the aesthetic of Stranger Things was the thoughtful simplicity of the art direction and the accessibility for materials and settings to replicate the vibes of the show itself.
The culture of fandom is largely driven by cosplay and the ability for people to insert themselves into a character or story. Stranger Things is rich with characters and costumes that are relatively easy to assemble and the ability to create an immersive version of the story is a breath of fresh air that the “80s dance party” vibe desperately needed. We were excited to see the second season so well received on Netflix, and we knew we had to bring it back for a second round in Norfolk at O’Connor Brewing.”
Whether it’s your goofiest version of Barb or classiest prom-ready 80’s garb, bring your spirited wardrobe out Friday night at O’Connor Brewing Co. and dance the night away.