Monday, September 13, 2010

The Hip Parade

L.A.'s recent FYF Music Fest (FYF= Fuck Yeah Fest) showcased some real SoCal Martians, reminding me yet again that I will never be hip. I'm just too Planet Earthy.

The lineup consisted of three stages full of bands representing hardcore, punk, post-punk (which is so cool I don't even know what it is), indie, stoner rock, electronica, contemporary folk, and something called "psychedelic doom." My Indie cred, previously at negative 812, was boosted to 5 just by showing up and standing in line with a bunch of 20 year old girls courting yeast infections by wearing too-tight skinny jeans in 90 degree heat. Making it all the way to the last show, Panda Bear (from Animal Collective, if that means anything to you--I confess it means nothing to me), raised that cred to at least 30. I earned that cred the hardest possible way--twelve hours of standing around with nothing to do but gawk at the Hipster flora and fauna while pretending that the huge waves of pot smoke bothered me no more now than they did when I was 16. ("Damn these kids today. And why is the music so loud?")

My little excursion (which included a literal trip down Memory Lane--a street in Santa Ana that led us to Polly's Pie Palace, whose brilliant marketing copy included the cartoon word-bubble "Pie is American!") led me to devise a new game. Feel free to play it while standing in line at your next concert for ridiculous people in SoCal: Hipster Bingo.

The rules are much like the Bingo game we all knew and hated as children (and will hate again as bluehairs in a depressing church basement somewhere). No one calls out letters and numbers; instead, as they see them, players check off Hipster cliches on game cards.

Cards include such Hipster necessities as black patchy punk skinny jeans, spider web elbow tattoo, ridiculously expensive messenger bag, Mohawk, Camel Crushes, knit wool hat in 90 degree heat, preppy Oxford tucked in over a fat ass in linen pants a la Vampire Weekend, glasses with ridiculous frames, California Goldrush beards on 19 year-old boys, blonde Afros, sockless Oxford shoes, and of course, the tee shirt so ironic it bores even me. Additional Hipster accoutrements include huge purple thigh bruises exposed under mini-minis (usually on women, but not always), ripped fishnet stockings, handmade purses, Smiths buttons, neon-framed Wayfarers, dirty hair, hoods attached to nothing, infants named Eudora breastfeeding while their parents munch Falafel and discuss the relative upsides to terrorism, keffiyehs (Arab head scarves worn as neck scarves by Hipsters--although this trend is slowing mightily--too popular), form-fitting flannel shirts, canvas boat shoes, sockless loafers, capri pants on men, mental lists of obscure band names to trot out in every conversation, and copies of Noam Chomsky books with titles in print large enough to read from a very great distance.
There can be cards made for forays into the dens of Hipsters with items such as beer brewing equipment, sauerkraut fermenting in a bucket, vegan non-cooked cookies (or any evidence of a restrictive and trendy diet), hydroponic grow rooms, Apple products, a creme brulee torch, mid-century modern lamps, absinthe, dog-eared philosophy books, ironic ashtrays, and at least one cat.

Hipster Bingo cards can be further deconstructed into specific camps of Hipsters. There are those who espouse the preppy 1980's look, those who espouse the punk 1980's look, those who espouse the grunge/hardcore 1990's look, those who long for the days of Goth, those who go in for Indie, and those who are nerdy engineers looking to get laid by a kite-high, compassionate Hipster chick. Generally speaking, the Hipster chooses his or her "look" based solely on its relative unattractiveness on his or her body type, shooting for the Bulgiest Ever award.

The one thing every Hipster everywhere agrees on? Morrissey is hip. No matter what. No matter where. No matter when. Whatever your opinion on his music, you simply must respect his cross-functional hipdom.

The list of Hipster cliches is so long as to be nearly inexhaustible, so make up your own cards and play anywhere, anytime. When you do, post the results here.


  1. I figure as long as I keep up my distaste for Morrisey, I will never be tagged with the epithet "hip."

    Probably just wishful thinking, though.

  2. And there's the subset of hipster guys who only date Asians.