Have you ever made a friendly wager someone about a moment in pop culture and TOTALLY cashed in?
(That’s where my IRENE CARA story starts.)
It was 7th grade English; Mrs. Haber’s class, Shorewood Intermediate School. Though we had some great teachers (Mrs. Haber was one), the school always felt like a prison, and had just a depressing sense about it. That’s why when Mrs. Haber made a passing reference about 80s pop culture (which I was always studied up on at age 13)… “something, something… or singing ‘Flashdance’ like Donna Summer.”
“Um, Mrs. Haber,” I said, “I think Irene Cara did Flashdance.”
(She had that sort of hairstyle that would indicate she probably did a jazzercise class to the song once or twice back in the day.)
“Hmm, I’m pretty sure Donna Summer sang Flashdance,” she said.
“Mrs. Haber, I KNOW Irene Cara sang Flashdance.”
“Oh, well! You wanna wager a soda on it?”
“Heck yes I will!”
I got that Sprite from the teacher’s vending machine thanks to Irene. And sure, that was a small token of what she gave to the world with her talents.
Irene was born in Puerto Rico in 1959 and rose to fame as Coco Hernandez in the film version of “Fame.” With the song’s meteoric rise, she added more soundtrack songs to her belt, and took “Flashdance (What A Feeling)” right to #1 in 1983. She continued writing and recording throughout the ’80s, and went back to musical theater in the 1990s.
While her songs and performances through the generations kept fans yearning for more, it is “Flashdance” that stood the test of time with this iconic scene.
So, as the line goes in “Fame,” Irene; we’ll remember your name. You WILL live forever in song. And thank you for the Sprite. 🙂