May 14, 2008

Skinny Ties, Rubber Limbs, Roller Skates, and No Videos: The Scene

Formed in 1975 by a local branch of the Free Masons, Detroit's WGPR-TV (an acronym of "Where God's Presence Radiates") was the first wholly African-American-owned TV station in the US. Although it never acquired any more than a niche audience and could afford little more than low-priced movie packages like the Carry On series, it was home to some truly interesting and exciting programming; such as a Middle-Eastern variety show called Arab Voice of Detroit and The Scene, a "no videos" all-dancing local version of Soul Train which ran until 1987. In the course of its decade plus run, The Scene featured funk, hip-hop, electro, and the beginnings of one of that city's most significant contributions to contemporary music, Detroit techno.

The video at the top of this post comes from a year slap bang in the middle of that run (ie 1982) when local artists were just starting to toy with Teutonic electronics, and skinny ties, rubber limbs, robot dancing and roller-skating throwbacks were all rage. The track being played is Sharevari by A Number of Names. (via WFMU)

Posted by Warren at May 14, 2008 08:16 PM | Videos