TV Party was a cable access TV show in New York City that ran from 1978 to 1982. The show was hosted by Glenn O'Brien, co-hosted by Chris Stein and directed by Amos Poe. Walter "Doc" Steding was the leader of the TV Party orchestra.
Brink Films is re-releasing some of the best of the 80 plus episodes on DVD.
In 1978, Glenn O'Brien, who had been invited to be on a friend's public-access TV show, was astounded the next day when repeatedly approached by viewers who recognized him from the program the night before. Only days later, Glenn, along with Chris Stein hosted the very first episode of TV Party on December 18th, 1978. Featuring Walter Steding as leader of the TV Party orchestra, TV Party soon became a lexicon of underground music, featuring No Wave acts such as DNA, James Chance and The Contortions and a vast array of both American and international musicians. Subsequently, TV Party became infamous for championing the DIY television philosophy and it's catch phrase, "TV Party: The cocktail party that could be a political party." became well recognized in the New York underground. The show was eventually even broadcast in California.
Development and StyleEdit
TV Party, a live show, is known for it's peculiar aesthetic. Until June 13th, 1982, when TV Party switched to a color network, the show was in black and white. According to Glenn, depending on how intoxicated director Amos Poe was, the cameras were known to rapidly pan from angle to angle and quickly in and out so fast that it was nauseating. The show was notably uncouth, laden with excessive on-air pot-smoking and alcohol consumption, and the show's crew repeatedly proclaimed the name of the tavern at which they "prepared" for filming before the show. Often times, the microphones were broken rendering the cast inaudible.
For a brief period of time, New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was a member of the TV Party crew after having appeared on an episode wherin Glenn discussed with crew member Fab Five Freddy Basquait's contribution to New York graffiti under the alias "SAMO". Basquiat, usually in the control room, would punch out accompanying lines of text to be shown on the screen-predominantly aphorisms that commonly appeared in his artwork.
TV Party was filmed before a small audience, usually composed of the cast and crew's acquaintances, that seldom interacted on the show. During most episodes, the cast accepted telephone calls from viewers who often heckled the cast and repeatedly screamed obscenities which were never censored.
TV Party came to an end in mid 1982 as much of the cast dispersed and Glenn O'Brien was to be married. A vast portion of the cast members later became famous.