The PopRox Summer Concert Ticket Giveaway Starts Today

(Stick around long enough, and there’s a cool contest in here.)

A couple of months ago, this blog won the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors Award for best newspaper blog in the Pocono Record’s circulation category. It was a humbling honor that I was wildly excited about, since, like I’ve said before, this blog started as nothing more than a way for me to waste time at work.

I hadn’t mentioned anything before because I really didn’t want to do the horn-tooting thing. I also realized the award has very little to do with me — it’s more about you, the readers who come around every couple of days to listen to me spout off. If you didn’t keep coming back over the last three years, my bosses would have made me stop doing this a long, long time ago. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am to all of the readers of this blog. Up until now, it’s been with long-lost YouTube videos of awesomeness like this one:

But you deserve better than that and I realized how I actually could start — free stuff.

mountain laurel is opening again, and we'll have tickets to give away coming soon

mountain laurel is opening again, and we'll have tickets to give away

So today starts the PopRox Summer Concert Ticket Giveaway. For the last month, I’ve been reaching out to some local concert venues asking for whatever tickets they could spare to their summer shows. Then I hoped they wouldn’t laugh in my face. Luckily, the response has been all I could have wished for and more. I got a stack of tickets from Bethel Woods Center for the Arts just over the Pike County border in New York (thanks again Katrina!) and a commitment from the good people at the new Mt. Laurel Pocono Performing Arts Center — or PAC, as you’re going to be hearing — for tickets to their shows.

All told, I’ve got about 30 tickets to give away to about 10 shows this summer — and there could be more on the way. I’m not going to say what shows they’re for just yet, maybe next week when I get a final list.

The only warning I’ll give is that these tickets come at a price — me plugging the shows. It sounds like selling out, and I thought long and hard about that because the last thing I’ll ever do on this blog is sell out. Instead of plugging random stuff for tickets or extra money, I’d just scrap the blog and never give it a second thought. But the tickets I’ll be giving away, and have always given away, are to local venues that I truly want to see be successful. The places I’ve plugged with ticket giveaways in the past — the Sherman Theater, Pocono Community Theater, the Garlic Festival, Pocono Brewing Company, etc. — are local events and businesses that I personally want to support. And most times, these places come to me asking if I want to give stuff away to my readers. Of course I do! But I wouldn’t give the tickets away if I didn’t think they were worthwhile. I believe the Poconos needs places like these so there is a reason for people to come here, live here and want to stay here. Without these places and the people behind them — like Rich Berkowitz at the Sherman and Kim Fisher and Skip Scheetz at PCT — this area will die culturally. No one wants that.

Plus, I want to be able to reward the people that read this blog. You put up with my rants, the least I can do is offer you something in return. If that means me plugging a show or two that I wouldn’t go to myself, so be it.

the motels, animotion and when in rome. i'm oddly excited

the motels, animotion and when in rome. i'm oddly excited

So let’s start the PopRox Summer Concert Ticket Giveaway off with a show I would go to — the Lost 80s Live concert at Mount Airy Casino Resort on May 29 (the Sunday before Memorial Day). I remember seeing this announcement a couple months ago that When in Rome, Animotion and The Motels would be coming to the casino and I immediately thought, “Awesommmmmmmeeeee” in that weird voice I use when I see something I think only I would find interesting. But apparently I’m not the only one, so yay 80s for staying relevant!

The winner of the contest will get two tickets to the show inside Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub at 7 p.m. and two free dinners at The Buffet at Mount Airy, all Supplied by Mount Airy. That’s a pretty nice little package.

The deadline to enter will be next Thursday, May 26, at noon. The normal PopRox contest rules are going to apply:

–Entries are accepted electronically only, so you have to email your entry in to me. Just include your name, town, age and your daytime contact information.

–One entry per person, per e-mail address. If I get two entries from the same e-mail, I’m deleting them both.

this is animotion. now you know.

this is animotion. now you know.

–You can also enter by messaging the PopRox account on Facebook or DM-ing on Twitter. If you enter that way, it counts twice. The last couple times, 80 percent of the entries have come through e-mail, but easily more than half of the random winners have come through Facebook or Twitter. Do the math.

–Whichever message method you choose is the only way you can enter. If you email your entry in, you cannot Facebook it in too. If I get an email entry and a Facebook entry, I’ll be deleting the Facebook entry. That means instead of getting two entries through Facebook, you’ll only get one entry through email. 

–Please know that you can go if you enter.

I’m an 80s music freak, which is why I got excited about the show. Indulge me with a couple memories of these bands:

Animotion: Two songs off the tip of my tongue from them — Obsession and Room to Move. For some reason, those two songs always fascinated me because those songs are completely different, like historically different. Darius Rucker turned himself into a country star, but the music still has a Hootie feel to it. Madonna songs now sound pretty much like Madonna songs from the 90s, which was a logical step from her 80s sound. But from Obsession to Room to Move? It’s hard to believe it was even the same band. Was it? Can we completely prove that it was? Maybe someone at the show can ask them.

The Motels: No memories of them, sorry.

When in Rome: I couldn’t tell you one other song When in Rome did other than The Promise. But I’d fight any person who says When in Rome sucks. I like The Promise that much. It’s a cinch for my top 20 songs of all time.

Three life memories I have of The Promise:

1. The time between, say, 2000-2003 was a pretty weird time in my life. I was as close to “functional alcoholic” as is possible without necessarily being a functional alcoholic. Actually, I probably was. Because of that, I did a lot of bad things during that time. One was a messy habit of, umm, driving when I shouldn’t be driving. My functional alcoholic friend and I went out just about every night, and whoever was in the best shape at the end of the night would drive. This was not good, and I’m not proud of it. I’m seriously lucky I’m still alive or that I didn’t hurt someone else. It’s one of the few things I regret in my life. Anyway, we had a mix CD we would play on the way home that consisted of three songs we’d make sure to play every night — Joey by Concrete Blonde, Your Love by The Outfield and … The Promise by When in Rome. It might be the most underrated drunk song that’s ever been made because it’s in an easy key so anyone can sing it, the words are pretty easy to remember and there’s a fun mix of quiet and loud. Next time you’re closing a bar at 2 in the morning and someone suggests hitting up the jukebox with Friends in Low Places or something of that ilk, counter with The Promise and watch the magic happen.

2. Sitting in the theater watching Napoleon Dynamite, and after 90 straight minutes of laughing my @ss off, I let out an audible, “F***!!!!!!!” when The Promise started playing over Napoleon and Deb’s tetherball game and then the credits. I wasn’t p!ssed because I don’t like the song. Obviously. But up until then, it was on a short list of my favorite songs that hadn’t been used in a movie yet. I always had a vision of how I wanted to use it in a movie script I had in my head. I even started to outline it and write it a little bit. The moment The Promise would have been played in the movie was a pivotal point and, I was sure, the song would be synonymous with my movie for the rest of time. Then Napoleon Dynamite came around and effed it all up because the song was used so perfectly and could/should never be used in a movie again. I was beyond crushed. I completely stopped writing the movie and have never gone back to it — all because The Promise surprisingly showed up at then end of Napoleon Dynamite. I’ve seen the movie about 50 times since then, and it’s honestly difficult for me to watch the last minute of that movie because of this.

the guy on the right -- tell me that doesn't look like eddie vedder

the guy on the right -- tell me that doesn't look like eddie vedder

3. It’s hard now to believe these two were so close in timing, but Pearl Jam broke onto the scene like three years after The Promise came around. Right when Pearl Jam was blowing up I distinctly remember seeing Eddie Vedder in an interview and thinking, “Wait, the guy from When in Rome is some crazy rock god now?” The resemblance is uncanny. Or I may be completely crazy.

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