Vanilla Ice, TMNT and Other '90s Phenomena in Dallas: A Pretty Epic Party, Actually
The last time Vanilla Ice played a show in DFW at Grover's Bar and Grill in Frisco, an interesting, pop culture conversation popped up among my fellow concertgoers in the men's room. We tried to recall one of the songs in Ice's repertoire that wasn't "Ice, Ice Baby."
The pause that followed was interrupted by the chant of "Go ninja, go ninja, go," the familiar refrain the Famers Branch native performed in his cameo for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. We immediately laughed.
It was a little funny to Ice at the time, too. After getting Grover's crowd to chant a few bars of "Ninja Rap," he egged the crowd of suburbanites by shouting "I can't believe y'all remember that shit."
Well, not even a cold reading psychic could have predicted that a massive, expensive party would be thrown in honor of that strange pop culture chant. What's even more amazing is that such a cheesy, cornball performance would be able to create such a rolling wave of joyous energy, even if you're not a fan of the music or that weird moment from your childhood.
"Jared's Epic Party," the crowd funded concert created by Jared Guynes of Rockwall that aimed to reunite Vanilla Ice with four movie-grade costumed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the first time in 22 years, exploded all over Gilley's South Side Ballroom Saturday night in a hot pink mist, with just about everything a stereotypical young boy from the late '80s and early '90s would dream about having for their birthday party if money were not an obstacle.
In Guynes' case, he had $72,778.69 to spend on his dream party and vowed from the beginning to spend every red cent he earned and then some on the people who shelled out (no pun intended) $55 to $155 for a ticket. We don't know if he really did that, for sure, but given the roster and the endless amenities, we wouldn't be surprised if he did.
He stocked the back rooms with classic arcade and pinball machines and even held an old school, Wizard-style Nintendo tournament that gave away nostalgic goodies like (what else?) a Power Glove. He promised pizza from Cane Rosso to anyone who showed whether they purchased a regular ticket or a VIP pass, an offer that went so fast that they ran out of slices well before the halfway point of the night, leaving stacks of empty boxes as if the Turtles themselves had gotten to the stash in between battles with the Foot Clan. He delivered inflatable party games, a magician, special appearances by TMNT II's Ernie Reyes Jr. and Back to the Future's Claudia Wells, DJs, movie-grade replica cars, costumes and props from Ghostbusters, Back to the Future and RoboCop (the one that was actually good, not the flashy, unnecessary remake) and a monkey. It was a sight to behold if you had the patience to actually get into the place.
There were bound to be problems with such an unusual undertaking, and one of the biggest was the line, which snaked down South Austin Street to just around the adjacent corner on Belleview Street. It took a whopping two hours just to get into the place if you didn't have a VIP pass, a Crowdtilt ticket or the foresight to pick up your "will call" ticket before Saturday. Guynes acknowledged the problem on his Facebook page: Mr. Robert Van Winkle just had to do a long, last-minute sound check. It caused a lot of sore feet and backs. By the time we could actually see the entrance to cheesy pop Valhalla, the only thing I really wanted to see was "Jared's Epic Men's Room."
Thankfully, Jared's Epic Party offered seating options. There were Fatboy bean bag chairs scattered around the arcade room and hallway, so everyone could spend some time trying to move the blood out of their feet.
"I hope you're all feeling a little better now that there's not a line of doom outside," Guynes said onstage in between the night's many musical acts.