In the campaign to save the Astrodome with the upcoming Proposition 2 referendum, someone has decided that just the thing to put it over the top is a bad Bruce Springsteen parody. Like, really bad.
Monday, an outfit called "Jalapeno Pixels" posted a YouTube video called "My Dome Town," a four-and-a-half-minute tribute to the Harris County Domed Stadium set to the tune of Springsteen's "My Hometown." The introductory text includes this somewhat laughable assertion: "In Houston, we don't break history. We make it." Have these people ever been to Houston? Maybe they stayed at the Shamrock Hotel.
Anyway, Tuesday the video caught the attention of HardballTalk, the baseball section of NBC Sports' site. Author Craig Calcaterra was less than kind:
It's rusting and obsolete and requires over $200 million to renovate the place back into usability. It'll cost way less to simply wreck the place, though even the price tag for demolition is high. In short: There are no great options for a stadium that was once cool and state of the art but is now a giant mess.
Sad to say, that much is true. But the creators of "My Dome Town" do absolutely nothing to advance their cause with their video. First, they've selected the most dour song on Springsteen's Born In the USA, indeed one of the most depressing tunes in a repertoire that also includes the albums Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad. Second, these are some of the new lyrics they came up with.
Mosquito bites, rained-out nights Scratchin', nearly drowned Colt .45s, pistols were fired Our county broke new ground
The first of its kind Right Stuff redefined Eighth Wonder it was crowned In '65, Astrodome arrived. Houston's famous now
Yikes. How about some more?
The future is bright We're making this right No one can tear us down We'll soar to new heights Our beacon of light New Dome, beautiful sound
Okay, that's enough. After that, as a colleague remarked Tuesday, we kind of want to see it torn down too. Conveniently, "My Dome Town" skips over the part where the Dome was allowed to lapse into neglect for almost a decade following its use as a shelter for Hurricane Katrina refugees. Of course, Harris County fathers finally noticed how squalid the facility had become when the NFL started sniffing around Reliant Park again, ultimately awarding Houston Super Bowl LI in 2017.
No idea where "My Dome Town" came from, or if "Jalapeno Pixels" is connected in any way with the various organizations, committees and food trucks now lobbying for Prop 2's approval. But at the very least, its makers have access to some pretty choice photos, Future Dome artist renderings and related film clips. There's bits of Sinatra, Elvis and George Strait to go with behind-the-scenes footage and scattered 'Stros games, Ali fights, bull rides, the UH-UCLA Final Four showdown and a bit of the Bad News Bears film that was shot there. That alone makes it worth a spin, as long as you mute the sound.
Story continues on the next page.
But somehow Selena's famous Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo performance, which set the stadium's all-time attendance record in 1995, got left on the cutting-room floor. So did the event that broke it, Wrestlemania X-Seven in 2001. At four and a half minutes, it's long enough that they could have easily squeezed footage of those in. (And where's Brewster McCloud?)
It's not so much that the lyrics of "My Dome Town" are offensive. They're just awful. It's that using a song by the epitome of all things New Jersey as a rallying cry to save one of Houston's most beloved buildings is more than a little tone-deaf. Springsteen never even played the Astrodome, not even in his peak Born In the USA years.
How hard would it have been to borrow a song by an artist whose connection to the building is a little more tangible, like "Sharp Dressed Man" or "All My Exes Live in Texas"? Or hell, Selena's "Fotos y Recuerdos," whose nostalgic theme should be exactly what Jalapeno Pixels is looking for?
But as shoddy as its current condition has become, the Dome remains one of Houston's true landmarks. As recently as 2007, it was ranked No. 134 in an American Institute of Architects poll of the nation's favorite man-made structures. The amount of goodwill for the stadium just got another boost thanks to former Oilers coach Bum Phillips and Oilers/Titans owner Bud Adams, whose recent deaths have put the "Luv Ya Blue" era -- arguably the Dome's finest hour -- back in the headlines.
So not surprisingly, there hasn't been much opposition to Prop 2, beyond the usual chorus of people who say that money would be better spent on other projects. From what Rocks Off can tell, it looks like smooth sailing all the way to the ballot box on November 5. Still, we recommend Mr. or Ms. Pixels pulls "My Dome Town" before it goes viral and becomes a reason to vote down the new Dome all by itself. It really is that bad.
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