Cable Soho

Jaime Davidovich was the prime mover behind Cable Soho (aka Soho TV), launched around 1976. This video describes its ambitions and the articles below contain critical reviews of its progress.

I had the pleasure of first working with Jaime when he was at Syracuse University as part of the Synapse Visiting Artists Program (funded by NYSCA). We stayed in touch when I moved back to NYC in Spring 1976.  It was that year that I helped him (pro bono*) make a launch video for Cable Soho.  I had spent the previous two summers working at Manhattan Cable Public Access, and the rest of the last year and change working with visiting artists.  Like Jaime I was primed about (video) art and cable TV coming together, we were not alone.  For a lot of artists in Soho, the arrival of cable was a little like the 70’s version of the arrival of the Internet.  Video Art had roots in the district and the world view of many of these artists was not dissimilar to Steve Jobs and his digital cohort on the West Coast.  All subscribed to some extent to a Whole Earth Catalog – Radical Software vision of the media future. The cabling of Soho seemed like a critical phase to reach a wider audience and change the world:)

I don’t remember to what extent I edited this video, but that is my narration so I was involved some capacity.  I better remember going around to interview the people in this video, working with Jaime and my friend Pat Ivers.  Interviewees include Robert (Bob) Stearns of the Kitchen, Shridar Bapat (RIP) of Anthology Film Archives and artists Laurie Anderson & Maxi Cohen. In the open we see English poet Max Blagg as part of a lovely time capsule of a Soho weekend in the 70s.

That is Bob Mariano my Manhattan Cable boss & mentor reading the mission statement. Bob was a colleague of Red Burns from the Alternate Media Center, who then became Director of Public Access. For more about that scene read this interview with Andy Mann.  For more about Jaime, his efforts and some context – I provide some links.

I also include these two articles about Cable Soho from my archive, one by
John O’Connor, the other by James Wolcott. Click to read them.

Soho TV NYT inset thumbnail        Soho TV VV combo thumbnail crop

Soho Television in New York Magazine with photo of Julia Heyward.

Soho Television in New York Magazine with photo of Julia Heyward.

I’m glad I found this from New York Magazine. It shows that the Soho Television series had some crossover potential and who better to feature in this context than the very talented and photogenic Julia Heyward.

*My volunteering was richly rewarded when Jaime introduced me to his neighbors on Wooster St. – Edit deAk and Walter Robinson of Art Rite. They had started work on Frankie Teardrop as a live manipulated, multi-projector film, Jaime wanted to get in on his series.  FT evolved into an early music video of the Suicide song, now up at the MoMA.  A very fortuitous introduction that resulted in a collaboration and a program for Soho Television in 1979. The half-hour slot was filled out with a 1975 performance of the Heartbreakers with Richard Hell.  I live-directed this 3 camera video at CBGBs with my collaborators from Metropolis Video – I’ll that story for another time.

About avideolife

video editor & director
This entry was posted in Manhattan Cable, Public Access, Video Art and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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