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Video Killed the Radio Star.

* Executive-produced and directed by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey * Part 1 of 4 debuts May 8 on VH1; rebroadcasts to follow; check listings

Having just about exhausted what's Behind the Music for every artist ever let into a recording studio, VH1 cleverly gives us a documentary that goes behind the music video. One of the many amazing things you'll realize watching the first two one-hour installments of the four-part Video Killed the Radio Star (the final two were not available at press time) is just how gay music videos are. Of course, it probably doesn't hurt that the special was created by out duo Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (Party Monster, The Eyes of Tammy Faye) and their company, World of Wonder.

This VH1 series--named after the first video ever played on MTV, in 1981--credits Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" with launching what we now consider the music video (a misnomer, by the way, since now virtually all videos are shot on film). But who knew that it was former Monkee Mike Nesmith who came up with the idea of a 24-hour video channel?

Video Killed makes good use of gay artists such as Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Holly Johnson and also points out the gay inspirations behind the scenes. For example, Russell Mulcahy, who directed many of Duran Duran's videos, says he based the clip for "Wild Boys" on the homoerotic William Burroughs book of the same name. Mulcahy also directed Bonnie Tyler's hunk-filled video for "Total Eclipse of the Heart," during which the singer called him a "prevert." "I think she meant `pervert,'" he cracks.

All in all, Bailey and Barbato's slickly produced confection is both insightful and entertaining, stuffed with enough of your favorite video clips to keep you glued to the set and tied together with Pop-Up Video--friendly trivia--like how Madonna met Sean Penn while filming "Material Girl." And did you know that the Spice Girls included a floating vibrator in one of their videos? Well, now ya do.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:J. E.
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Television Program Review
Date:May 23, 2000
Words:337
Previous Article:HE GOT HIS MTV.
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