Let’s get back in time… to last Thursday, when I was honored to be invited to the Montalban Theater in Hollywood for the launch of Nike’s new MAG shoes. Yes, these are the shoes inspired by in Back to the Future II, and, in one of the most brilliant marketing twists ever, all their proceeds will support Michael J. Fox’s foundation to eradicate Parkinson’s disease. Your calculations are correct: This is heavy.
As Back to the Future was one of the most formative films of my youth (the other being, you know), this detail-perfect experience easily topped my previous adventures into local McFly lore. My first brush with the films here in LA was when I discovered that a gym in a church near my old house was used as the location for the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. Then a few years ago I went to the Gamble House, ostensibly to see the gorgeous turn-of-the-century Craftsman architecture. But I really just wanted to see where Doc lived.
The event last week was packed with Future freaks just like me (although, oddly, very few of them were female). Indeed, there was a time machine made out of a DeLorean parked out in front. Doc looked a little different than I had remembered him.
Always a fan of alternative transit, I arrived on my hoverboard, of course.
We stepped in to the theater and were confronted with walls of actual props from the films, including one that I had replicated in my youth using an old video camera case, Doc’s 12-pack of plutonium. I didn’t see any blue VW vans in the vicinity, thank god.
Upstairs, we stopped for a Pepsi Free at “Cafe 80’s.” (Look at the pattern on the countertops, the “vintage” candy… at this moment I realized this could totally be a viable restaurant concept today.)
My friends at Wieden+Kennedy made a film that debuted at the launch featuring several of the original cast members. See how many you can spot (hint: the guy behind the counter is going to clean up this town). I especially love that there’s now a Nike store at the Lone Pine Mall.
There was no Huey Lewis performance, however, the DJ did play “Back in Time”—which I performed a routine to with my friend Lelia at the neighborhood picnic in 1985. But the night would not have been complete without an appearance from Christopher Lloyd. Here he’s being introduced by the evening’s host, Joel McHale, to a standing ovation. Great Scott!
And it was a huge honor to meet Tinker Hatfield, Nike’s shoe guru, who designed the concept for the Nike Airs featured in the film 23 years ago, then helped bring the actual shoe to fruition. And yes, they are working on actual power laces to make them more like the ones in the movie (you can read my story at Fast Company to find out more). Power laces? That may be more impressive than designing a flux capacitor, in my book.
A pair of the shoes were auctioned off live. I was never clear if the final amount was in 1985 or 2015 dollars. You can buy your own (and check out more fantastic references to the film) at Back4TheFuture.com
As I mentioned before, the most amazing part about this whole event was that it all centers around raising money for Fox’s foundation to “erase Parkinson’s disease from the space-time continuum.” He wasn’t there that night, but he used this opportunity to make several awesome appearances promoting his work for Parkinson’s this week: One on Letterman, hyping the shoes, and one on last night’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which may have been the funniest episode I’ve ever seen.
For the whole story on the party, as well as my interview with Tinker, head over at Fast Company’s design site, Co.Design. Go ahead and click over there now. I’m serious. Make like a tree, and get out of here.
More photos from the future.