Dyke TV: “Best of” 4 VHS Set
For many years I have wanted to watch Dyke TV. I perused the films at Scarecrow Video and over and over these 4 VHS tapes stood out. But no one would watch them with me and it felt lonely watching them alone.
Until one day, just weeks ago. My friend Colleen was in town for the film scholar conference. We attended a film screening at Scarecrow of a video called “Adjust your Tracking.” The filmmakers traveled the country interviewing total VHS addicts who binge purchase videotapes when movie stores close.
In addition to this inspiring film, Scarecrow Video had recently publicly acknowledged their financial troubles. My head throbbed.
What if I never see Dyke TV?
What if Scarecrow closes its doors and those Queer VHS tapes disappear, sold off to a collector? I couldn’t stand it.
I went home and told my roommate Paul the plan I was hatching: To watch all of the Queer films at Scarecrow Video. The first thing out of Paul’s mouth: “CAN WE WATCH DYKE TV?”
I couldn’t believe it: A fellow Dyke TV admirer in my very own house. I rented all four tapes.
Dyke TV began in April of 1993. They had a production office in Brooklyn and the show was televised on over 60 public access stations across America.
Producers from all over the country mailed in segments. My favorite segment: Lexa’s Innercity Goddesses. Check it out.
This collection will send you to another planet. Call me old fashioned, but I miss militant lesbians and angry feminists. They just don’t grow them like that anymore. Watching these collected films reveals a painfully obvious void in our modern queer culture. We are no longer a people of the late 1980s and 1990s, united to fight HIV, Ronald Reagan and homophobia. We are no longer Northwest fags and dykes, side by side at the Capital Theater Backstage, jumping up and down to Sleater-Kinney and chain smoking between sets.
Do we even cruise anymore?
How did we end up so lost?
Why are we all dressing the same?
Just because Sleater-Kinney broke up and left us with some really boring solo albums and a TV show that’s only funny half the time, and mostly only because we we’re already laughing at Portland anyways, doesn’t mean we have to follow suit.
DYKE TV reveals a world that gave a shit. It cost $4,000 to make and distribute each episode. That’s 1993, $4,000. They practically went door to door getting donations, sponsors and grants.
It’s not that I want to go back in time. But I want people to give a shit like they did then. I want them to use everything in their means to make art, political statements about their world, fantastically beautiful objects, meaningful and stupid and trite and flippant comments about whatever the fuck they want. I want people to stand out in a crowd.
Look at this amazing militant lesbian!
This week I went to Vancouver BC. The sun was out, queers abounded, blatantly cruising. While walking down Commercial, AKA the Drive in East Van, we admired 2 older women in a smart car, the sun roof open and the thumpa thumpa blaring. They were partying and dancing at the stoplight. They caught our eye and as they drove by us, they threw an arm up out of the sunroof and dropped a “Limp Wrist” our way: The one-handed homosexual salute known round the world. We cried out with delight. I could not have been happier.
The clear message to take home from DYKE TV: Isn’t it time we try harder? Take back our culture that straight people are stealing from us. Build queer community. Stop being totally racist dickheads. Support the Trans community. Kick a frat guy in the balls once a day. Let your wrists forever hang limp and your lisp grow shrill in tone. Fan your flames, cause no one else is going to do it for you.
Reviewed by Clyde Petersen.
Clyde Petersen is currently watching and reviewing every GLBT film from Scarecrow Video, starting with the VHS collection. In his spare time, Clyde likes to MAKE movies including the popular “Boating With Clyde” series and the upcoming animated, feature length “Torrey Pines” which should hit cinema screens in 2015.