Glenn O'Brien's TV Party: The Everything for Sale Show [DVD] [1982]

Writer and scenester Glenn O'Brien decided to improve the production values of his public access television show TV Party in its final season in 1982 -- the show, which featured music and conversation focusing on the New York Downtown alternative scene, jumped from black and white to color, and on Glenn O'Brien's TV Party: The Everything For Sale Show, O'Brien periodically stops the show to present entertainingly clumsy commercials for bookstores, nightclubs and indie record labels based in New York City so he can pay for the upgrade. The archival videotape of the live broadcast has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and while the image quality is better than some of the earlier installments from the show, this is still a low-budget public access production and looks like it, with the color balance vivid but a bit unrealistic, the camerawork and video effects primitive by contemporary standards, and the tape showing signs of less-than-optimal storage conditions. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo (retaining the original monophonic sound mix), and the quality is rough at best, with the live sound mix wavering from audible to incomprehensible at a moment's notice and the mikes often creating as much noise as they capture. The interviews and performances are in English, with no multiple language options or subtitles included. As a bonus, this release includes excerpts from other episodes of TV Party, effectively doubling the running time of the disc. Glenn O'Brien's TV Party: The Everything For Sale Show is an accurate, warts-and-all replication of what the show looked like when it crept through New York's cable TV system in 1982, and it's an interesting historical nugget for anyone with an interest in the Big Apple's New Wave scene at the time, though the material is tedious as often as it's entertaining.
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Overview

Synopsis

Glenn O'Brien's TV Party: The Everything for Sale Show
Originally aired live in color on New York City's Channel J (a public access "commercial station") this episode of TV Party from June 13, 1982 found the producers of the show growing increasingly desperate as producer/host Glenn O Barr announces, "Everything here is for sale." He's missing a tooth, and he hasn't had a haircut in quite some time, and while the energy is there, it's obvious that the crew isn't functioning at full capacity. Lenny Ferrari, Karen Geniece, and Charles Rocket join the TV Party Orchestra, the latter plugging into a stack of Marshall amps and running his accordion through a variety of guitar pedals in order to achieve a "heavy metal accordion" sound. Recently fired from Saturday Night Live for uttering the "F" word during a live broadcast, Rocket later launches into a droll, post-modern version of the radio hit "Wild Thing". While at first it appears as if Gun Club's Jeffrey Lee Pierce won't be able to perform due to a broken guitar, he quickly gets a lender and offers a soulful rendition of a Robert Johnson song. The episode winds to a close with a thirty second meditation led by O'Barr, a punk rock poem read by a Russian poet, and a live performance of the original composition "Why Can't I Get Laid" by German new waver Lothar Manteuffel, featuring accordion accompaniment by Rocket. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Glenn O'Brien
  • Charles Rocket
    Charles Rocket
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