Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Confessions of a Screen Queen

Sounds like I need to read -- or at the very least add to the mile-high stack on my nightstand -- legendary World of Wonder co-founder Fenton Bailey's "Screen Age: How TV Shaped Our Reality."

Boy Culture writes:
With the book, Bailey describes how his lifelong interest in all things pop would eventually be distilled into a series of successful and culture-shaping endeavors from the early '80s on, leaving plenty of time to dish on events he helped create/for which he was present, and to gossip, gossip, gossip.

He walks us through the East Village scene of the early '80s -- Madonna, MTV, Andy Warhol, Nina Hagen, the Pyramid -- and the formation of their own little band, the Pop Tarts, their first show (a public-access series called "Flaunt It!") and first success (a public-access series called "Manhattan Cable"), but it was all leading to RuPaul, who announced himself with posters that actually read: RuPAUL IS EVERYTHING. 
It is bizarre to read about their [Fenton and creative partner Randy Barbato] story, the story of queer culture becoming mainstream (right before its current implosion into being public enemy no. 1 again, thanks to the rise of right-wing bitterness over that normalizing), and to realize it is HISTORY. Not even particularly recent history. And thank whatever god you pray to — perhaps Grace Jones? — that Bailey is documenting it, to remind us. So many of the people who lived through this time did not live past it, and aren't able to frame it for us.
More details plus ordering information HERE.

The Fabulous Pop Tarts: Randy (left) and Fenton from British GQ

"Another Grey Day in London": This was the boys' first video that got played on MTV. Lots of great vintage NYC footage, including "Madonna," the Twin Towers and the Pyramid Club ... love the chyron backstory!

And on this segment of Fenton and Barbato's long-ago cable-access show "Manhattan Cable," Laurie Pike interviews Queerdonna, aka Greg Gostanian, the "ultimate" Madonna fan and impersonator, who carried on for the camera before everyone did. RIP.

No comments: