This is the true story… of eight strangers… picked to live in a house…work together and have their lives taped… to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real…The Real World.
You know what it is. With one measly sentence, the world was introduced to what would become known as Reality TV. What better place for the format to debut than MTV (Music Television), a station that until shortly before The Real World‘s 1992 debut, primarily played new wave music videos? Well, that’s what the show’s co-creators Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray thought, anyway. We have them to thank (or blame) for 20 years of sex, booze and bitch slaps (not to mention my favorite reality TV image, Survivor champ Richard Hatch’s pixelated penis.) But the truth is, the network that today drags TV down to new depths with trashploitation shows like My Super Sweet 16 and, of course, Jersey Shore, was once a magnet for young (and weird!) artists with fresh voices. (more…)
In 1949, George Orwell wrote 1984 and, with one book, armed us with the lexicon and perspective to understand and describe some of the scariest and most rapid political and social developments of the last century. (more…)
There is a little-known story from the history of The Monkees, the band that were a bunch of TV executives’ answer to the overwhelming popularity of The Beatles. They were initially hired just to sing the songs and be the faces of the show. Over time, the band wanted to show they were more than pretty faces/actors and started demanding to play on their own songs, as well as perform live as a real rock ‘n’ roll band. So, out they went on tour. (more…)
Ah, the 1980s…the global tension, the regrettable fashions and Max Headroom. It all made so much sense to us back then. Now, looking back, it looks as absurd as wearing leg-warmers while standing in line to buy Spandau Ballet records. And yet, at the time, so many of us did just that. (more…)
Not always, actually quite seldom, is the distinction between art and absurdity a relevant one. It certainly doesn’t matter when in a TV show you combine live music, in-studio party, fancy dress, videotapes, punk, disco, anarchism, new wave, visual arts, rap, interviews, phone-in sessions, shaky camera angles, crude advertising and live drug taking. All this featuring guests such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Lurie, David Byrne, George Clinton, Fab Five Freddy, Tuxedo Moon, Debbie Harry, Maripol, Iggy Pop, Chris Burden and John Feckner, just to name a few. The uniqueness of TV Party, however, was not as a celebration of the apotheosis of the underground, but that this played out on the mass media it rebelled against. (more…)