Musical guests
"Family Cow" perform
their smash hit "Willow Garden"

 



Banjo Pete and Bliss Blood

TURN OF THE CENTURY
(weekly 30 minute NYC cable variety show, 1996-1999)

Created and hosted by Dame Darcy
Directed, produced, shot edited and co-written
by Lisa Hammer

The host of the show: Dame Darcy
holding her co-host Isabel H. Stanger

The Contortionist: Daisy Miller

Director Lisa Hammer coaches Daisy

 

Bliss Blood and Dame Darcy



Lisa films Isabel's close-up

Li'l Sweetie charms the boys every time!

Lisa, Dame Darcy and Banjo Pete performing
at a party at the United Nations while
a Chinese diplomat looks on...

Darcy had to send her instrument case through
the xray security machine at the entrance of
the U.N., and when the guard
saw a metal SAW passing by on the monitor,
he refused to let us in, as it was considered
a lethal weapon. I came back with an angry
"What, do you really think we're going
to SAW some dignitary's head off?". Needless
to say, he was not amused, and he was
holding a machine gun. But we were pushy
broads, refusing to leave. Finally, when Darcy
showed him that it was a "singing saw" with
pretty painted pictures all over it, and then
proceeded to play it and sing at top
volume in the lobby, he reluctantly
let us through so we would stop bugging him!

 



Jasper McVain sings a sweet song

 


Banjo Pete serenades the fireflies

Turn of the Century ran for three years from 1996-1999. We created a 30 minute show every week, which is nearly impossible to do. Dame Darcy had a concept for the show when I met her, but no suitable director that fit her style. So when we saw each other in the hallway of Film Video Arts, wearing almost the exact same dresses, we knew something big was going to happen. Up until then I had made dozens of short films, but had never attempted a project of this size. Darcy had been acting in short films, releasing her underground comic book Meat Cake and performing in several kooky musical projects. She and I had almost exactly the same film aesthetic, and boundless energy, so we decided to go for it. The next three years would prove to be a whirlwind of chaos, creativity, insanity and backache.

I purchased a hi-8 video camera that could shoot in sepiatone, and we were off! We were offered editing facilities at a friend's office, Sunbo (Creators of My Pretty Pony), during off hours, and I also edited on my primitive system of VCR to VCR cuts, which was it's own kind of hell.

We shot hundreds of hours of footage, short films, intros in wacky locations, musical performances, and guest star appearances, including a doll-making episode with Courtney Love, a Christmas special with Thurston Moore serenading us, and even a segment with Tiny Tim and Darcy singing together. We had huge, zany parties which were full of way-out guests from the NY underground: Queen Itchie, Bliss Blood, Banjo Pete, Patrick O'Clock, Jasper McVain, Daisy Miller, Li'l Sweetie, Countessa Cinorre, Duchess Daria, Lisa Suckdog, and too many more to mention. We even staged a Victorian Ladies Wrestling Match at my birthday party (pictures available below, right).

The show included staged variety acts shot behind a tiny stage façade, which looked like an Edward Gorey dream theatre. It also included our short films, clips from old silent movies, underground films from Nick Zedd, R. Kern, The Wooster Group, Ned Ambler, and many more. We had craft shows, including the doll-making show, a quilt show, which degenerated into a drunken girlie wrestling match (with siren Debbie Diamond) on top of a quilt. Ghost stories, poetry, live music, viewer hate mail, psychic events, dance numbers and other wackiness were all presented in a
kooky-spooky atmosphere.

The show was eventually awarded as the Ny Press Best Cable Access Show in their Best of NY issue in 1997. What remains of the show is a "Best Of" VHS tape, which will be available in the Blessed Elysium store very soon.


Filming the Perils of Dame Darcy
at a Trolley museum


Human Bell

 

Illustro The Great:
"He ain't Houdini, but he works cheap!"


wrestling 1 wrestling 3 wrestling 2
wrestling 4 wrestling 5  

The Ladies' Victorian Lingerie Wrestling Match!

(Click on each one to see larger photo)

 

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