New Year's Avant Day
September 6, 2016 12:10 PM   Subscribe

What do Laurie Anderson, Yves Montand, George Plimpton, John Cage, fireworks, Peter Gabriel, Merce Cunningham, Allen Ginsberg, Joseph Beuys, Philip Glass, Oingo Boingo, and Nam June Paik have in common? Good Morning, Mr. Orwell, a one hour show broadcast on New Year's Day, 1984.

Warning, a perfectly nice John Cage performance is ruined with fireworks.
posted by OmieWise (14 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
I remember seeing this on that New Year's day, in the morning. My room-mate came in and asked "What is this?" and I (thinking along the lines of something like Max Headroom) said "It's a live broadcast, on all the channels" but then I lost interest after the first Laurie Anderson song ended. Thanks!
posted by Rash at 4:24 PM on September 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tnx for posting OmieWise -- what a different time that was indeed. Sorry the quality is so poor on the YouTube link. Cant help with the entire broadcast but here is a properly deinterlaced HD uprez of "ACT III" (music by Philip Glass) and here is a similar link to "This Is The Picture" (music by Laurie Anderson & Peter Gabriel). I miss Nam June :-(

(Mods: much apologies if this violates the comment policy.)
posted by Dean358 at 4:25 PM on September 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


I've gotten to the second Anderson appearance and so far THIS IS AMAZING!!!!
posted by oddman at 4:37 PM on September 6, 2016


What do Laurie Anderson, Yves Montand, George Plimpton, John Cage, fireworks, Peter Gabriel, Merce Cunningham, Allen Ginsberg, Joseph Beuys, Philip Glass, Oingo Boingo, and Nam June Paik have in common?

To make the question even harder, what do any of them have in common with George Plimpton?
posted by layceepee at 5:37 PM on September 6, 2016


I remember this.
posted by vrakatar at 5:38 PM on September 6, 2016


Define ruined.
posted by Bistle at 7:07 PM on September 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can I program all of my relatives' TVs to play this at midnight on 1/1/2017?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:32 PM on September 6, 2016


To make the question even harder, what do any of them have in common with George Plimpton?

The answer is Nam June Paik.

Nam June (July 20, 1932 - January 29, 2006) was a Korean American artist who is rightly considered to be the father of modern video art. "Good Morning Mr. Orwell" (01/01/1984) was the first of his three satellite broadcasts, followed by "Bye-Bye Kipling" (1986) and "Wrap Around The World" (1988).

If you’ve never known a world where you couldn’t edit cat videos on your iPhone you might have trouble picturing this, but getting access to video equipment in the 1980s was a really big deal. Video edit suites took up lots of space and cost millions of dollars to build and operate. Getting access to a satellite...well, absolutely unthinkable.

But Nam June had a charm about him that came from his genuine delight in pretty much everything. And while he was very serious about his work he maintained a hilarious sense of humor at all times. The combo of charm, sense of humor and brilliant work allowed him to convince WNET (the PBS station in NYC) to give him satellite time and help pay for the program.

Nam June's delight in the world crossed all boundaries - from John Cage to Robin Bird. He liked George Plimpton's work and so he invited him to host the show. I don't recall if Plimpton got paid to host, but if he did it wouldn't have been very much. But who could turn down Nam June? There was a small budget for "This Is the Picture" so we created it -- from production all the way through post -- over a single weekend. ACT III already existed (1983), so without hesitation John Sanborn and I donated it to the project just to be part of the broadcast. That was pretty much the way most of what got aired was selected.
posted by Dean358 at 8:36 AM on September 7, 2016 [27 favorites]


Very cool that you are here, Dean!
posted by OmieWise at 9:39 AM on September 7, 2016


Tnx OmieWise. Certainly do enjoy the Blue. And at the risk of asking a dumb question, have you heard Pentangle's version of "Omie Wise" ?
posted by Dean358 at 10:55 AM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah! It isn't my favorite, but it's good and weird in the way that only British Folk can be.
posted by OmieWise at 1:44 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Marvellous stuff - I had no idea this happened because it didn't, not in the UK.

That whole explosion of invention around computer graphics was such fun to live through, even as a spectator and dabbler, and it's sometimes hard to remember how fast and massive it was. I think we got our first colour TV in the mid 1970s: ten years later I was playing with an Amiga and drowning myself in pulsating geometric rainbows. And watching people use a Quantel Paintbox for the first time was revelatory.

The sound track to all this was, of course Laurie Anderson and Phllip Glass, Eno and Kraftwerk, Ultravox and Joy Division. The digital was crystallising out of the future into the present, and you could taste it happening.

Such times to be alive and curious.
posted by Devonian at 8:32 AM on September 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I remember watching this from the Centre Pompidou. I'd been spontaneously partial to Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass and Nam June Paik, and this seemed important to witness. I even remember Urban Sax appearing en masse.
(Then again, I may have spliced this together to form a kind of cathodic memory of my teenage intercultural ambition.)
Thanks for the post.
posted by progosk at 7:15 AM on September 12, 2016


I saw "The Worlds of Nam June Paik" exhibit at the Guggenheim in 2000 and it blew me away. I still think about it often. His work with lasers was just fantastic, like nothing I'd ever seen.
posted by exogenous at 2:51 PM on September 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


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