I could still smell coco butter the night Bauhaus and Circus Morte played. I had just returned from an aborted Hawaiian escapade with my sister.
excerpts from the VJ's Diary:
I arrived back in NY disoriented and sunburned.
It was so crowded in the club this particular evening, even my hands were sweating. The darkness and occassional strobes of light made it hard to see or focus. For once I was really happy for the ambient light from the photographers in the crowd! My personal view of the show was exquisite, but only a fraction of this was captured on video. Apparently the used tapestock had a tracking problem.
Re-scanning and playing with playback, I was able to surf the signals and catch a wave of imagery. The sound is impeccable.

Peter Murphy, Bauhaus

Little by little, I chiseled out some beautiful fragments and pieced some of it together. Here is a short sample...

I shot the concerts near or on the stage in stereo with one or 2 cameras, depending on who I could recruit from the dancefloor. This was before MTV, before music-video clips, and I improvised a constant flow of visuals with video, live camera and film loops to interpret the DJ's music.

When the bands played, that was my official break. My friend Charlie Libin who first invited me to Hurrah would sometimes videotape the bands if they could afford it. He has some really excellent recordings. One night one of my favorite bands was playing, Pere Ubu, but nobody was recording him. I felt bad that there would not be a trace, and decided from then on I would record all the bands when I was there if they were willing, and hope to find projects to do one day with the footage. That was how my collection started.

I approached the camerawork and production with a particular attitude, the visual composition is a dynamic interpretation of the sound as well as the play of light, the study of people.
It is a performance to validate every moment, not a series of fixed compositions...but one flowing composition. I encouraged the volunteers to shoot the same way.  The music is the director, and the video is a testimony to an engagement with the music.

This photo taken by EUGENE MERINOV shows the average conditions of filming the performances at HURRAH. Note the hand-held Panosonic video camera which has a cable that runs 100 feet to the soundboard in the center of the club. Sometimes people stepped on it and I was yanked around like a marionette on a string, but most of the cable was taped out of the way against the wall.

For more excellent photos of shows at Hurrah and a great number of other venues of the period, visit the site of EUGENE MERINOV PHOTOGRAPHY

Circus Mort
To fill the void of image to accompany the DJ music, I recorded hours of experimental footage by making scratch animation and projected film film loops on surfaces and people. This was then intercut with a growing collection of stock footage. Visiting artists were also featured on special nights. The club became a real alternatate outlet for video artists and filmmakers.


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