Anton Perich presents and TV party : queering television via Manhattan public access channels, 1973-1982
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Though largely overlooked in academia, Manhattan public access television became a forum that allowed a variety of behaviors, sexualities, and genders to invade a highly controlled hegemonic apparatus in the 1970s and early 1980s. In this thesis, I argue that Anton Perich’s Anton Perich Presents (1973-c.1978) and Glenn O’Brien’s TV Party (1978-1982) worked to actively queer the form and content of television. Since these shows grew from rather exclusive underground communities, I argue that the broadcasting of these fringe personalities, genders, sexualities, and behaviors to a broader, cable-viewing public formed unique queer counterpublics. I situate Anton Perich Presents and TV Party in relation to the norms of broadcast television in order to establish the limits, norms, and codes of these diverse genres and in order to ascertain viewer’s expectations of them. By positioning Anton Perich Presents and TV Party in conversation with mainstream television shows, I identify a queerness these public access shows lent to television and its viewers through their deliberate manipulations of the medium.