In Wedding Crashers we learn that Crab cakes and Football are what Maryland does. Well in BU: The Movie (due out in Summer 2011), we will learn the two things that Bloomsburg does are Block Party and T-shirts.
I love Block Party for many reasons, but the biggest one is how the town is transformed in the weeks leading up to the event. For 11 months of the year, students could care less about Bloomsburg politics. Then every April, the town tries to introduce some new half-baked idea to curb Block Party, and next thing you know students are boycotting Bloomsburg businesses and calling the ACLU. For 11 months of the year, half the students leave every weekend to escape boredom and terrible weather, but every April thousands of young-adults travel from across the tri-state area to visit Bloomsburg. The weekend becomes a strange cross between Woodstock, the end of The Field of Dreams, and Animal House.
Then we have T-shirts. The student section goes nuts at every football game as the cheerleaders throw five shirts into the crowd with none of them having the chance to pass the 12th row. Half of every Bloomsburg organizations’ budget comes from t-shirt sales promoting events like Homecoming and St. Patty’s day. Groups of students spend more time in the library planning out the designs for their intramural t-shirt uniforms than on the group presentations due during exam week.
Bloomsburg student’s simply love Block Party and T-shirts, and this is that magical time of year when the two come together. So I have come out of retirement to review this year’s nine best Block Party t-shirts (and one honorable mention).
1) Proof God Love’s Us
[singlepic id=167 w=320 h=240 float=] [singlepic id=168 w=320 h=240 float=]
Great shirt, but I have two hesitations. First, I think Beer is proof that God likes us as a friend. The Lunch Box (beer + amaretto + orange juice) is the real proof that God loves us.
Also, isn‘t Bloomsburg a state institution? What ever happened to the separation of Church and State? I have to penalize for making me decide between my love of beer and my respect for the founding fathers.
Furthermore, I can’t say for sure, but I don’t believe God would be too pumped for Block Party. Unless the god we are referencing is Bacchus, the Roman God of wine. In that case, Block Party would be right up his alley.
Bonus Thought- This T-shirt inspired me to create a new product and market it towards Bloomsburg townies. The front will say “Block Party 2010” and the back will read “Proof that god hates us” with a image of a stick figure peeing on someone’s front lawn.
2) Drink, Drank, Drunk
[singlepic id=164 w=320 h=240 float=]
I consider myself a reasonably smart man. I even have the diploma from Bloomsburg to prove it. For the life of me, I can not figure out what this shirt is about. It makes me feel drunk just sitting here trying to understand it.
What do the playing cards have to do with anything? Is there any significance behind the hand being a Royal Flush? Why are the cards on the back hearts but the blank card on the front is a spade? What does it all mean? This is like watching an episode of LOST.
I was just going to leave it off the list until I had a crazy thought. What if this shirt can only be read and understood when you are drunk. Maybe it is like a shirt with all the letters backwards and you have to look into a mirror to find it’s meaning. Or one of those “Magic Eye” puzzles that you have to stare at until you go cross-eyed and can see the 3D image. Or maybe it is just a stupid shirt. I really do not know. The jury is still out.
3) Look at them once, then delete
[singlepic id=174 w=320 h=240 float=] [singlepic id=173 w=320 h=240 float=]
This shirt will share its’ quote with every Facebook Block Party photo album this year. Which gives me a great idea. Why don’t we act out this phrase? We already spend the next week after Block Party retelling our drunken adventures and scouring Facebook for the best new profile pictures. Why not create an event where we can all do this together?
Rent out a hall, sell tickets for 10-15 dollars, make it 21+ so booze can be served, and show a photo slideshow set to music reliving the best and worst of Block Party 2010. You could even go the extra mile and make it a red carpet affair. Students can wait outside while local media eagerly await the arrival of “the guy caught on camera peeing inside of a car’s gas tank” or “the girl who was on the front page of the press enterprise getting arrested for spanking a police horse.” It would be a combination of an awards show and one of those MTV reunion episodes aired after the Real World seasons. We can even give it a clever name like “The Block Party Hangover”. I love this idea. Someone make this happen. Greek Life, I’m looking at you.
4) Super Smashed
[singlepic id=172 w=320 h=240 float=] [singlepic id=171 w=320 h=240 float=]
If Block Party shirts had awards shows, this one would win for “best art-work”. It really does look like Super Mario is holding that mug of beer, which appeals to the 5-year-old and the 21-year-old in all of us.
Now, the negatives. Luigi is unnecessary and next year should be replaced with Donkey Kong holding a keg over his head. I feel like this was a massive missed opportunity on the part of this shirt’s designer. Even better, have Donkey Kong throwing the keg as Super Mario jumps over it still holding his brew. That’s a t-shirt I would spend 10 dollars on.
As for this year’s version, I am a little confused with the theme. What is the relationship between Bloomsburg being the king of college parties and the Super Mario Brothers? Where is the connection between Budweiser and Nintendo? I don’t see it. There are more plot holes here than in the Super Mario Bros movie. (Speaking of the movie, apprently Nitendo is considering giving it another try. No Joke. Hollywood is so strapped for ideas, we are now re-creating train wrecks).
5) Party don’t stop…
[singlepic id=166 w=320 h=240 float=]
This represents both a new high and a new low for Bloomsburg University. On the positive side, we now have interactive T-shirts. With this product, you can bring a sharpie around town with you and complete the Block Party “check list”. I guess this idea started at “Graffitti Parties”, but now you can customize your t-shirt based on your block party experience rather than just drawing a penis on your friend’s lower back.
On a sadder note, this t-shirt is grammatically incorrect. “The party don’t stop… Light Street road.” Huh? The word “till” is missing right? I know this is nitpicking, but our reputation already takes enough of a beating at Block Party without showcasing our lack of English skills. No worries, just bring a red marker with you and make the correction yourself.
[singlepic id=176 w=320 h=240 float=] [singlepic id=175 w=320 h=240 float=]
Let’s get the negatives out of the way. Sure, the quote really doesn’t make sense or relate to Block Party in anyway, but the creators smartly addressed that problem by having Roongo double fisting two keystones. Speaking of Roongo, there is a good chance this shirt is illegal considering our school’s mascot is being used to promote drinking. Now its stupid to pretend that the majority of Bloomsburg students won’t be participating in Block Party this year, but Bloomsburg University is the school that once tried to ban using chalk on campus sidewalks. So I’m just saying the administration might not be above stepping in on this t-shirt.
Finally, a Husky is not really a wolf. I personally don’t care about this, but from first hand experience I know that the Bloomsburg athletic department is very protective of his image. My first semester with The Voice I used an old clip-art photo of a wolf to fill some white space on a page, and the next day I found myself in Tom Mcguire’s office being lectured on the differences within the canine family.
Beyond all that, this is still a strong contender for “T-shirt of the year”. It really perfectly captures both the drunkenness and the sense of community that makes Block Party so great. Well Done.
7) The three best friends…
[singlepic id=177 w=320 h=240 float=] [singlepic id=178 w=320 h=240 float=]
So the hangover was a pretty popular movie this year huh? I like this shirt mostly because of the awesome potential it has as a viral marketing campaign. If I created this shirt, I would absolutely set-up Facebook profile pages for these three alcohols. It would just be great to read on a mini-feed that “Kevin Ward is now friends with Bankers Club and Keystone Light.” It would be even funnier to see all those status’ changed to “it’s complicated” on Sunday morning.
8) Staying lean…
[singlepic id=170 w=320 h=240 float=] [singlepic id=169 w=320 h=240 float=]
I’d like to give this shirt my blessing for being funny and well-done, but I can’t get my mind past one major flaw. The character on the back isn’t leaning on anything and I am pretty sure he is poor guy from the “Caution: Wet Floor” signs. Sure, I am glad to see the “Wet Floor” character finally get a new gig, but couldn’t we have given him a nice prop to work with? The designers even named four props (bars, tables, chairs and poles), but still opted to make our cartoon friend look like Jason Werth (minus beard), sliding into home.
8) I remember my first beer.
[singlepic id=161 w=320 h=240 float=] [singlepic id=162 w=320 h=240 float=]
I’ll admit it. I wrote an entire review about how average this shirt is before realizing that the blocks on the front spell out “bar”. The designers really snuck one by me and now I have a soft spot in my heart for the shirt that fooled me. Plus, on second look the stick figure on the back again appears to be the “Caution: wet floor” guy. Only this time he has a beer in his hand and was allowed to show off his acting range by giving us his drunk face. The lesson? Never judge a book by it’s cover, and if you are ever writing a t-shirt review it would be best to take the time to study the front of it. My mistake. I remember my first newspaper article.
10) Can Hands
[singlepic id=163 w=320 h=240 float=]
Can Hands are a game changer. My prediction is that Can Hands will do for Block Party merchandise what Avatar in 3D has done to movies. The rules have changed and we are now through the looking glass. Stop and think about how genius this product is. First off, Can Hands offer double the economic possibilities compared to t-shirts. You can only wear one shirt, but I suspect we will see boatloads of Block Partiers double fisting with the red hulk-hands.
Not only are these hands a huge money maker, but they are also practical. This new invention will solve the violence issue. All those drunken, dangerous brawls will now turn into hilarious, glorified pillow fights. With everyone wearing these giant foam hands, the late-night scuffles outside of Hess’ will now resemble grade school slumber parties after the host broke out the new Sock’em Boopers his mom just bought.
I’m guessing that Can Hands will be a great success, and once they catch on who knows what will come next. Hats and underwear will be the next logical step. Within five years I wouldn’t be shocked to see Block Party Snuggies. Very exciting times. I’m glad I’m alive to see it.