In 1978, two revolutionary trends emerged in New York City, public access cable TV and punk rock. These two phenomena came together spectacularly in Glenn O'Brien's TV Party. Hipsters tuned in to follow the antics of the TV Party gang and such guests as Iggy Pop, David Bowie, P-Funk's George Clinton, The Clash's Mick Jones, Kid Creole, Klaus Nomi were featured; also live performances.
Public Access TV: Glenn O'Brien's TV Party
February 17, 1981. Reagan was the new President. Iran had just released its American hostages, and Israel and the PLO had rejected Egypt's peace plan. It was a grim moment and TV Party decided to do something about it. The TV Party Orchestra, featuring Chris Stein, Lenny Ferrari on flute, sorcerer Patrick Geoffrois slide guitar and Walter Steding, performed punk medieval music.
This episode plays with ideas of time and space, ("time is money" and "dead air") alternating between aggressive boredom and quick wit. The TV Party Orchestra (Walter Steding on violin, Lenny Ferrari on the New Yorker magazine, and Tim Wright on guitar) jams while host O'Brien performs the sublime feat of rolling a joint blindfolded while smoking a joint.
There were two TV Party Heavy Metal Shows: one taped at the Mudd Club, now lost, and this live studio sequel featuring a "Mock Penis Envy" backdrop by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and a guitar line up of Chris Stein, Lenny Ferrari, Patrick Geoffrois of the Contortions, plus Glenn, Basquiat, Snuky Tate and Walter Steding on guitar and vocals, and Bradley Field on electronic drums. As Glenn and Walter send up rock clichés and discuss the natur...Read More
The first 10% of this show sums up what we don't get on TV anymore. Technical difficulties. TV Party was live and improvised, and this meant casual disaster. This early episode gets off to an artistically agonizing start--the sound person is late, overdosing on drugs or both. Or it was the broken down equipment. Once the sound kicks in the show gets lively. Compton Maddux, a droll singer songwriter, is backed up by Debbie Harry and Gl...Read More
TV Party's final season was broadcast live in color on Channel J, a public access "commercial station." TV Party tried to pay the extra expense of going to color by selling ads to downtown clubs and underground record companies. "Everything here is for sale," Glenn announces. Desperation is in the air. Glenn is missing a tooth and needs a haircut. The party is spunky but the cast is depleted and possibly drugged. The TV Party theme, m...Read More