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Nostalgia night is tonight! At vitaminwater’s Uncapped LIVE, Hillary Buckholtz, queen of memory (as displayed by her curation of the excellent and hilarious site imremembering.com) will lead a group of awesome storytellers and comedians (and me, who is neither) in a stroll down the lane of embarrassing pop-culture and personal history. There will be trivia contests. There will be references to Popples, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, Jason Newsted, and Dynamite magazine. There will be advice about Dos and Don’ts when dating Ralph Macchio.  There will be a very special visit from former “In Living Color” fly girl Conchita or a story about that I’m not sure which. There will be over 100 boxes of dunkaroos and fruit rolls given away for free. But most importantly (or least importantly depending on whether you a supergiant geek or not) there will be an ongoing expansion of the definition of what nostalgia is and when nostalgia is allowed to occur. Because not all memories can be nostalgia. Some shit just fucking happened.

In preparation for this, we at BYT have assembled a handy list to help guide you in answering the all important question:

Can I be nostalgic about this?

FIRST OF ALL:  Nostalgia has now made it up to the late 90s, but no further. Sorry teenagers, you do not get to be nostalgic about DVDs and Good Charlotte yet. The cut-off is, sorry but it is, 9/11. You can feel nostalgic about stuff after that once we win these here wars or elect Obama again.

NEXT here is a short list of things you are allowed to feel nostalgic about. It is pretty obvious why: they are all shit that happened to you.

1. Toys

2. TV shows based on Toys

3. Boardgames

4. Non-web-based video games

5. Websites not on the Wayback Machine

6. Books, movies, songs, t-shirts, dances, all that

7. Anything found at Spencer’s Gifts

8. Spencer’s Gifts itself

9. Non-meal food

10. Girl shit. (This is just a catch-all for like, barrettes and notebooks or whatever the fuck girls were doing while I was being a nerd. Have at it ladies!)

NOW the more complicated list. Here is stuff that you are not allowed to feel nostalgia about, sorry:

1. World historical events. [Remember the Berlin Wall falling? I do. But unless I was actually ripping hunks off of it, I can only remember it, not nostalgize it. Get it?]

2. Meals. [So your mom used to make the best potatoes au gratin…a food staple that has been around for a thousand years. Shut up about it.]

3. Toys (or other products) based on popular TV shows or movies [You can be nostalgic about Dr. Who, but if you want to talk about the Dr. Who comic books you are just being a fanboy. Go immediately to your mother’s basement to post on Usenet. Hey remember Usenet? Well, actually…]

4. Websites. They are usually still around or easily accessible in archive. REJECTED.

5. Anything you can find at Hot Topic.

6. Hot Topic itself.

7. Role Playing Games [actually what I mean is YOU are not allowed to feel nostalgic about the one time you played Basic D&D with your older brother for 3 sessions using a module. Unless you actually ran a GURPS campaign or something, please fuck off.]

8. The wrong decade [In the 80s, pop culture was weirdly nostalgic for the 50s. In the 90s, people were talking about the late 60s and early 70s constantly. In the 00s it was the 80s, and nowadays it is Victorian England for some reason. Unless you were alive during a decade you don’t get to be like OMG BOBBYSOX, LA BAMBA LOL. This applies double if you had no idea at the time that, say, Dirty Dancing was supposed to be set in the past.]


9. Actual people you knew. [I see this a lot. Unless you were friends with Mr. T (like a storyteller at the last Nostalgia Night was, which was amazing) nobody cares that you used to know this girl and she like almost kissed you once under the azaleas *swoon*. Save it for your diary Proustface.]

10. Stuff that is good. [Have you noticed nobody’s ever like “AWWWWW remember the Godfather? That was a movie!” or “Dude no way, Nick Cave! LOL he played music and stuff!” That’s because shit that is actually really awesome doesn’t need to be whisfully recalled. It is still present in our lives everyday, as present as when we first encountered it. Why yes this is why I am still wearing my overalls backward. Why do you keep asking me that?

Anyway this concludes the list of what things you are allowed to be nostalgic about. Of course, you don’t have to listen to me. Instead you can come out to the show tonight and prepare to be knocked on your ass by a wave of glorious and unfettered whimsy that knows no bounds or rules. In the end it’s about being jolted back to a simpler time, before you status, before you had a pager, and before you had any clue that one day you’d look back on the silly childish crap that you loved and miss it so hard you want to laugh and bawl at the same time. See you then [in your deams…]!