May 1, 2022 at 7:30 pm
The Brenda and Glennda Show
With Glenn Belverio & Karl McCool
Co-presented with Video Data Bank
We are so excited to host film and video maker Glenn Belverio at UnionDocs as we tune into his popular Manhattan Cable series The Brenda and Glennda Show!
Glenn Belverio began producing and co-hosting the popular Manhattan Cable series The Brenda and Glennda Show in 1990, a talk show that took the art of drag out of the nightclubs and into the streets, mixing politics with humor. In a 2020 interview with Emily Eddy at Video Data Bank he said, “I was inspired by my street activism with ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and WHAM! (Women’s Health Action & Mobilization), and also the drag queen scene at the Pyramid Club on Avenue A. Brenda Sexual (Duncan Elliott) and I wanted to do something for cable TV that was political but also didn’t take itself too seriously — so we combined activism and drag.”
Co-presented with Video Data Bank, and with an introduction from Distribution Manager Zach Vanes, this evening will include three episodes of the iconic show. From a group of drag queens going on a trip to Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal Hotel, to meeting Joan Jett Blakk to discuss Blakk’s presidential run, to attending a Radical Faerie event in New York City, Brenda and Glennda take us on quite the journey!
We’ll open the doors at 6:30, with the bar and backyard open for social mingling. Come through to meet Glenn, and gear up to tune into the show and conversation. Following the program we’ll discuss possibilities for public intervention, artist produced tv, the 90s downtown scene, queer performance, and possibilities for art, humor, and politics to coincide in a dialogue between Glenn Belverio and Curator Karl McCool.
Seize Control of the Taj Mahal by Glenn Belverio
14 min., 1991, United States, English, Color, Mono, 4:3, 8mm video
In this episode of The Brenda and Glennda Show, Brenda and Glennda lead a group of drag queens on a trip to Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Intended to be a drag queen gambling getaway and a public stage for drag visibility, the trip turns into a moment of protest and reflection incited by homophobic discrimination. The group is kicked out of the gambling area for supposedly wearing excessive makeup and inappropriate, flashy attire — somehow unlike and worse than that of the casino’s showgirls and other heavily powdered female patrons. What emerges on the Boardwalk outside of the casino is a talk show taking the form of a series of interviews with workers, onlookers, and fellow drag queens that reveal the polarized attitudes towards drag, gender, and sexuality in everyday America. The many topics discussed include discrimination against gays and drag queens, President George Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and presciently, Donald Trump.
On The Campaign Trail with Joan Jett Blakk by Glenn Belverio
29 min., 1992, United States, English, Color, Mono, 4:3, Hi8 video
In this episode of The Brenda and Glennda Show, Glennda meets up with guest co-host Joan Jett Blakk to discuss Blakk’s 1992 presidential run. The pair interview people on the street outside of the 1992 Democratic Convention. They discuss topics including the police state, weaknesses of the two-party political system, feminism, and political elitism.
An episode of The Brenda and Glennda Show, hosted by Brenda Sexual and Glennda Orgasm. This episode was co-hosted by guest star Joan Jett Blakk.
Fagtasia Solstice by Glenn Belverio
20 min., 1992, United States, English, Color, Mono, 4:3, Hi8 video
In Fagtasia Solstice, Brenda and Glennda attend a Radical Faerie event in New York City to commemorate the Summer Solstice. Through interviews with Faeries and footage of their walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, the group proposes to reclaim the city as a safe space for queer people, and discuss reorienting queer consciousness toward spirituality.
An episode of The Brenda and Glennda Show, hosted by Brenda Sexual and Glennda Orgasm. Featuring the Radical Faeries. Thanks to Julie Clark and Dana Nasrallah.
“Brenda and Glennda march across the Brooklyn Bridge with a group of radical faeries on the Summer Solstice to witness and discuss the modern, urban equivalent of the Stonehenge solstice phenomenon: the sun positioning itself between the towers of the World Trade Center. Definitely a time capsule for the Radical Faerie viewpoints and the still standing Twin Towers.”
— Glenn Belverio
Glenn Belverio is an independent film and video maker who lives and works in New York City. He began producing and co-hosting the popular Manhattan Cable series The Brenda and Glennda Show in 1990, a talk show that took the art of drag out of the nightclubs and into the streets, mixing politics with humor. In 1993, the series became Glennda and Friends, a post-queer talk show featuring provocative co-stars such as gay pornographer Bruce LaBruce and guerrilla scholar Camille Paglia. Belverio and Paglia’s collaborative project Glennda and Camille Do Downtown later became a short film, and was well received at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival. Glenn’s work has screened at venues such as the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and the New Museum, NY. Glennda and Camille Do Downtown won the Best Short Documentary prize at the 1994 Chicago Underground Film Festival.
Karl McCool is the Director of Distribution at Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), a nonprofit resource that fosters the creation, exhibition, distribution, and preservation of moving image art. From 2011 to 2016, he was a core member of Dirty Looks, a roaming series for queer experimental film, video, and performance, and since then has continued to organize screenings and events for EAI and independently. He has programmed screenings at Artists Space, The Broad, The Kitchen, The Museum of Modern Art, The Pera Museum, Participant Inc, PPOW Gallery, UnionDocs, and White Columns, among other venues; and has participated in panel discussions and talks at Anthology Film Archives, Film at Lincoln Center, The Museum of the Moving Image, Skowhegan, and Slought Foundation. He lives in Queens, New York.