Dallas has always had a collective soft spot for cable-access weirdos.
The Big D is, after all, the home base for the Church of the Subgenius, that irascible '80s collective of local weirdos based out of a ramshackle house in East Dallas, who put out books, videos, and 'zines (and who count among their "ordained ministers" Mark Mothersbaugh, Paul Reubens, David Byrne, and Bruce Campbell).
The '90s saw a new generation of alt-media folks slaving over VHS decks in dark suburban studios, creating a visual counterpart to the 'zine craze that helped define the grunge years.
Cable-access DIY shows have become scarce since the advent of YouTube; now that high-tech recording equipment is widely available, everyone and their kid can make a show that looks a lot slicker than the cable access programs from years past. But it was just that low-tech quality that made these shows endearing. Purveyors of such legendary DFW cable-access gems as "The Edna Jean and Pitiful Show" and "The Hypnotic Eye" were working with little more than a video camera and a couple VHS players, and, as such, their now laughably low-end productions were labors of love, constructed from the blood, sweat and tears of a couple dedicated folks who had a way with giant, unwieldy video tapes.
Which brings us to local musician, video host, and all-around lovable oddball George Quartz. He's obviously familiar with this format.
The former Faux Fox frontman has been putting out webisodes of his fake cable-access interview show,After Hours with George Quartz
, for a couple of months now.
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Part Alan Partridge, part Lionel Osbourne, Quartz deadpans his way through fake celebrity interviews. Really fake, turns out: The celebrities are portrayed by people who look nothing like the actual celebrity -- Joe Namath is played by a pretty young woman and Jane Fonda is played by a scruffy bearded guy. And Quartz's imitation of an awful cable-access interviewer is dead-on. The questions are awkward, the pauses are long, and his gaze is decidedly creepy.
Shot in grainy, '80s-video fashion, After Hours is an oasis of non-sequitur weirdness in the desert of slick production on the internet. Quartz's band, also called After Hours with George Quartz, backs him up on the show, noodling through the intentionally awful theme song with tongue firmly planted in cheek. (Fun fact: the After Hours band features Lisa "DJ Wild in the Streets" Bush on saxophone. Talented young lady, that one.)
Next on Quartz's docket is a live taping of this show, which he'll do this Friday, July 29, at the Texas Theater, beginning at 10 p.m.
If you've got a taste for the unusual, head over for a glimpse into Quartz's weird, wonderful world.