EP.72 - FENTON BAILEY
Adam talks to British producer and director Fenton Bailey one of the co founders of TV production company World Of Wonder, responsible for Rupaul's Drag Race, Jon Ronson's Secret Rulers Of The World and The Adam & Joe Show)
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EP.72 - FENTON BAILEY NOTES
Hello, Adam here. As I write these notes myself I thought I may as well start doing it in the first person rather than pretend I have someone to do it for me. It’s more or less a transcript of my spoken introduction, but here it is for your reference pleasure.
Podcast number 72 features a conversation with an important figure in my life, British born producer and director Fenton Bailey who, along with his partner Randy Barbato, set up the production company World Of Wonder.
In the early 90s I would stay up late and watch 'Manhattan Cable'. It was one of a number of World Of Wonder programmes that showcased and celebrated marginal culture, often with a trashy or camp aesthetic although from time to time they also produced shows like 'LA Stories' and Jon Ronson’s series 'The Secret Rulers Of The World' that had a more serious journalistic edge.
In an effort to tap into British homemade video culture Channel 4 commissioned World Of Wonder to make a show called ‘Takeover TV’ in 1995. I sent in some videos I’d made while at art school and ended up presenting several episodes. By that time Joe Cornish was also involved and we went on the make ‘The Adam & Joe Show’ for Channel 4 between 1997 and 2001, with much of it shot and edited in World Of Wonder’s office opposite Brixton tube in South London.
Although the bulk of World of Wonder’s output, which currently includes the phenomenally successful ‘Rupaul’s Drag Race’, is overseen from their offices in Los Angeles, Fenton and Randy met in New York in the early 80s. It was in NY that they formed their electronic dance duo, The Fabulous Pop Tarts, and in the course of gigging around New York’s clubs they met not only drag artist and musician RuPaul but the so called Club Kids, a group of outrageous party scenesters whose number included Michael Alig. Fenton & Randy had already begun filming the antics of the Club Kids when Michael Alig and his roommate Robert Riggs murdered fellow Club Kid Angel Melendez.
The story formed the basis of World of Wonder’s 1998 documentary ‘Party Monster - The Shockumentary’, and was further adapted as a 2003 feature film ‘Party Monster’ starring Macaulay Culkin and Seth Green.
My conversation with Fenton took place in November 2017 at World Of Wonder’s LA offices.
Thanks to Séamus Murphy-Mitchell for production support.
Music & jingles by Adam Buxton
MANHATTAN CABLE (1991)
LA STORIES - THE RIOTS THAT SHOOK THE CITY (1992)
‘PARTY MONSTER - THE SHOCKUMENTARY’ (1988)
MICHAEL ALIG & THE CLUB KIDS ON ‘GERALDO’ (1990)