Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Brat Pack


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Brat Pack
by Susan Basko, esq.

You've probably seen the marvelous video above, which features now U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez back when she was a student at Boston University.  In the video credits, she is listed as "Sandy Ocasio-Cortez."  What are the origins of this great little video?

Back in 2009, the French group named Phoenix released a catchy pop tune called Lisztomania.  The term, Lisztomania, refers to the freaky fandom that was rained down upon the composer Franz LIszt in Berlin in the 1840s.  Liszt was like the Justin Timberlake or Shawn Mendes of his day. 

Someone using the name AvoidantConsumer created a perfect dance video using the Lisztomania song from Phoenix with footage from the 1985 John Hughes movie, The Breakfast Club.  "It stars Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy as teenagers from different high school cliques who spend a Saturday in detention with their authoritarian assistant principal (Paul Gleason)."

The actors that starred in The Breakfast Club and other teen movies of the 1980s became known as The Brat Pack.  John Hughes made a series of movies depicting the lives of white teens from Chicago's wealthy northern suburbs.  Those movies included The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  The John Hughes movies followed in the footsteps of the 1983 movie Risky Business by Paul Brickman, which also depicted lives of wealthy white Chicago suburban teens, and Class, directed by Lewis John Carlino, which did the same.  In the mid-1980s, it became a movie genre unto itself to tell stories of mischievous wealthy white teens challenging authority in suburban Chicago.  Their big freedom escapades often involved driving from their sleepy suburbs into downtown Chicago.

This rich Chicago teen genre and its tropes got turned on its head by 1992's Wayne's World, directed by Penelope Spheeris.  Wayne's World depicted ersatz Chicago suburban "teens," played by the older Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth.  Wayne and Garth did not drive fancy sports cars; they had a 1976 AMC Pacer, a funny little car with huge windows that looked like a circus clown car.  Wayne and Garth were not pondering what to wear to the prom; they were busy making Public Access TV shows down in the paneled-and-brown-plaid finished basement.

The AvoidantConsumer video (below) was imitated by young people in Brooklyn, and then in Boston, and soon in cities all over the world.  You can see in the video below that the role that AvoidantConsumer created for Ally Sheedy was later imitated and reprised by Sandy Ocasio-Cortez in the Boston remake.  Allegedly, AvoidantConsumer's Youtube channel was shut down for Copyright infringement claimed against the video.  That person has resurrected on Youtube as AvoidantConsumer3. 

The first spin-off video was made on a rooftop in Brooklyn in New York City.  Notice it is pretty faithful to the AvoidantConsumer - Brat Pack original.

Rome, Italy, came up with a nice mashup of the video:

Michigan State University did a decent rendition:

This group from Moscow, Russia, does a pretty good job once they get up to the rooftop.  They capture the spirit of the original, even if they lack a brunette dancer for the Ally Sheedy part.

These folks in Rio de Janeiro look like they are having a lot of fun against the gorgeous scenery.

Students at University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, get points for a diverse cast and good dance moves.


These folks in Vienna, Austria, posed against the scenic local backdrops to make their Lisztomania mashup.

A family in Curitiba, Brazil, cast the mom, dad, and kids in the roles.  They made the video as a thank-you to Curitiba, which they enjoyed visiting.

These people in Versailles, France, look like they are having a lot of fun.  While they did not imitate the original Brat Pack video, they made up for it in energy and fun.

A shop in Paris, France, became the scene for this remake. Not everyone has a rooftop where they can go to dance around.

Dancers in Taipei, Taiwan, performed their mashup on a city train and on a big staircase. They stayed true to the energy and spirit of the original video, if not to its specifics.

San Francisco put forth an excellent version, with a producer, director, and choreographer listed in the credits.   The video is cast with beautiful young women and men, as one would expect in San Francisco. 

This group of dancers in Rimini, Italy, made good use of the charming local scenery.

Lecce, Italy, cast a beautiful brunette woman in the Ally Sheedy role.  The whole cast looks like they are having lots of fun.  

The Israeli version was performed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Jaffa.  Parts of it were shot using what looks like a big orange Alexander Calder sculpture as a backdrop.  They do some couples dancing as well as some folk dancing moves. 

And finally, this ambitious group from Amsterdam, Netherlands, bring their dancing energy to a scene of graffiti-painted rocks and a water taxi boat.

If I missed any videos, please email me the link if you want me to add it onto this post. 

 Happy Dancing!