Waaaasssssuuuuuupppppppp?! No, we didn’t mistype that. This is a reference to a popular late 90’s Budweiser commercial that engrained itself in the pop culture zeitgeist for years to come. Now that you’re caught up, lets dust off our flannel and baggy jeans and dive into the era where Gen-X was king, and the Millennials started plotting their takeover.
The decade kicked off with a year long celebration of UNT’s 100th birthday in 1990. To mark the occasion, the 15 foot high eagle statue that you’ve seen in almost every grad photo since, first took flight.
The 90’s also brought the Environmental Education, Science and Technology building, which was UNT’s first green building, and the Murchison Performing Arts Center made their glorious debut.
Hollywood came to Denton and filmed the 1991 comedy Necessary Roughness right here at UNT. The film starred Scott Bakula, Sinbad, Kathy Ireland, and a young Jason Bateman, and is currently streaming free with Amazon Prime if you’re curious.
Our very own programming board, UPC, was still bringing the best events to campus. They hosted Pearl Jam on November 11, 1993 at the Coliseum, a.k.a. The Super Pit, while Pearl Jam was on tour in support of their second album, Vs. You can actually stream the whole thing here, in all it’s 90s grunge glory.
The Super Pit also hosted a Harry Connick Jr. concert a few years later in 1996.
Our beloved eagle mascot transitioned from Eppy to the mischievous eagle we know and love today, Scrappy.
The University Union
The Union was firmly entrenched as the center for student life on campus, and started experience growing pains or its proverbial mid-life crisis as campus continued to experience rapid growth. More students meant more support services, namely the need for a larger bookstore and eating areas. This unfortunately meant that the Rock Bottom Lounge (RBL) had to close their doors to make room. The minor renovation allowed for a larger footprint for the bookstore as well as more food options and additional seating. The live music and other programming that occurred in the RBL was absorbed by the Syndicate, much like we have today.
After these renovations in 1997, the Art Center was relocated from their hidden location on level one of the Union, to the retail row on level 2 where it was rebranded as Design Works. The rebrand better reflected the services being offered as technology progressed to more design on computers and less traditional art mediums. The second floor was now home to many offices including our scheduling services, catering, programming, and more retail offerings.
Picking out the right outfit was everything and helped identify your personality in a major way. You might have rocked a bucket hat and shapeless oversized clothing, or flannel shirts with ripped jeans. Or maybe you liked bold patterns, spaghetti straps, and chokers. Street wear was also becoming more popular amongst young people. Either way, freedom of expression extended into your wardrobe. Take a quick look around campus today and you’ll see that many of these styles are back in vogue. Doc Martens, chokers, and crop tops are all back in a big way.
The rise of gaming consoles amongst consumers, affected the arcade market. The Syndicate, for example, once had a large arcade room full of gaming cabinets and pinball. Suddenly they weren’t being utilized as much due to the rise of Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, and later Nintendo 64 and the original Playstation console.
The Fry Street Fair was thriving throughout the 90’s. It was an annual celebration started by a UNT fraternity to bring together people in Denton and boost the local businesses. The live music scene in Denton was incredibly strong during this time.
Music & Movies
Music of the 1990s. Where do we even begin. Grunge. Pop-Punk. R&B. Hip-Hop. Techno. Pop. The Latin Invasion. Boy Bands. Girl Power. Today’s music trends are heavily influenced by the precedence set by these artists; many of whom still release successful albums today. Analysts might argue that 1994 alone is one of the most important years in music history giving birth to the glory days of pop; the britpop movement; the rise of women in music; incredible film soundtracks; the explosion of indie rock; Hip-Hop going mainstream with debuts from Notorious B.I.G., Lauryn Hill and Outkast and chart breaking releases from Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Nas and the Beastie Boys; and the DEBUTS. At a time where music industry was searching for the next big Nirvana in the wake of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, 1994 gave us major label debuts from Weezer, Outkast, Beck, Notorious B.I.G., Marilyn Manson, Oasis, Korn, Aaliyah, Nas, Brandy, Dave Matthews Band, Bush, and Green Day to name a few.
Anyways, this decade of music is absolutely incredible and really runs the gamut. There’s something for everyone here. Give this bad boy a shuffle and enjoy:
Movies during the 90’s were also on another level. Here are the top 10 domestic box office performers of the decade, along with a slew of honorable mentions and cult favorites.
- Titanic (1997)
- Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace (1999)
- Jurassic Park (1993)
- Forrest Gump (1994)
- The Lion King (1994)
- Independence Day (1996)
- The Sixth Sense (1999)
- Home Alone (1990)
- Men In Black (1997)
- Toy Story 2 (1999)
Honorable Mentions: Beauty and the Beast (1991), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), The Matrix (1999), Good Will Hunting (1997), The Nutty Professor (1996), Dumb and Dumber (1994), Pulp Fiction (1994), Scream (1996), Jumanji (1995), Fight Club (1999), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Big Lebowski (1998), Dazed and Confused (1993), and much, much more.
- All that and a bag of chips – a compliment
- Talk to the hand – when you reject what someone is saying
- As if! – a sarcastic response to a suggestion
- Booyah! – an exclamation of excitement
- Scrub – a guy with no money, no job
- Fart-knocker – insult
- Aiight – all right, but shorter
- Whatever – when you’re just over it
- Fly – dope
- Open up a can of… – things are about to get physical, fisticuffs might be coming next
- You go, girl! – a celebration
Well that’s a wrap… we gotta dip. The 90’s were the bomb! No doubt.
Hopefully we don’t cause mass hysteria as we move into Y2K and the new Millenium in our next post. Catch you on the flipside!