From 1978 to 1982 Glenn O'Brien hosted an insane punk rock New York City cable TV show called TV Party. Co-hosted by Chris Stein, from Blondie, and directed by filmmaker Amos Poe, the hour ... See full summary »
From 1978 to 1982 Glenn O'Brien hosted an insane punk rock New York City cable TV show called TV Party. Co-hosted by Chris Stein, from Blondie, and directed by filmmaker Amos Poe, the hour long show took television where it had never gone before: to the edge of civility and "sub-realism" as Glenn would put it. Walter Stedin and his band provided a musical accompaniment to the madness at hand, and many artists and musicians, from Jean-Michael Basquiat to David Byrne to Arto Lindsay were regular guests. It was the cocktail party that could be a political party. Written by
A celebration of access cable and its role in the halcyon days of low-rent postpunk NYC - not only are the hipsters and bullsh*tters and wasteoids and accidental superstars put on unfiltered display for the world to see, they're also running the asylum, with Basquiat typing madly all over the screen and Amos Poe doing his best to simulate or provoke serial nervous disorder from the switching room. Debbie Harry on her pogo stick, David Byrne in his cowboy hat, "Jerry Wexler" on the phone - you want to jump on screen and join in the fun, even if you can remember or intuit how much baggage went with the tomfoolery. Unfortunately the question of how to make a movie out of all this is resolved with the infuriatingly lazy "heading" approach to documentary: one part about bands, one part about celebrity guests, one part about call-ins, one part about pot, one part about theme shows, and on it goes. I'm not saying Vinik should have given in to the chaos, but he could have at least tried to simulate it. On the other hand, you could interpret this laziness as not giving a f*ck, which is in the spirit of the show. And, I'm sure, easier to take.
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