“I hated those press bullpen situations. I found them degrading to cover, and everyone got the same boring, staged photo. When Madonna made her first trip to the American Music Awards (in ’82), I was there and I was taking photos for the producer, Dick Clark, and I could go anywhere I wanted. I got in position, called out ‘Madonna’ and took the photo. The photo was published everywhere, and I remember the publicist told me to never do it again since the logo was not in the background! Can you believe it?” -Brad Elterman, from his new book Dog Dance (Photo: Brad Elterman, via LA Weekly)
Tag Archives: Press
Nice, substantial, blush-worthy review/overview by Niall O’Conghaile at Dangerous Minds of our World According to Wonder coffee table book, which you might already be aware of.
Excerpt: “Interspersed among the pictures is the story of World Of Wonder itself, eloquently and entertainingly told by the company’s founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato; from its beginnings in 80s New York, its early work with upcoming drag legend RuPaul and British TV station Channel 4, through expansion into full-length documentary features, all the way up to the present day, a slew of coveted awards and its position as brand leader for all things queer/drag/alt on television…. If there’s any message, here, I would say it is “believe in your vision and never take no for an answer” and The World According to Wonder is testament to how dreaming big, and thinking outside the box, can ultimately pay off.”
In the current issue of Out magazine Natasha Vargas-Cooper visits with the World of Wonder founders, our fearsome leaders, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, and over the course of four packed pages, all is revealed, including the answer to which one of the two is cuddlier. Her takeaway from the experience is summed up in the story’s headline: “Freakshow: World of Wonder Is Hollywood’s Nuttiest Production Company.” You’ll want to read it. Click here. (Photos: Jeff Minton)
Have you ordered your copy yet? Well, why the hell not? This is something that only comes along once in a generation. It’s a real, honest-to-goodness Coffee Table Book With a capital C!
For all you kids out there, that means a few things. First, it was designed by an actual designer! That means someone who knows all about design things. They know about kerning, trapping, and how to pronounce the word ‘leading’. They didn’t just have mommy buy them a Mac and say, ‘go have at it’. It also means that this book is big, it’s heavy, and it comes in its own custom-made box. Need more? It includes 290 never-before-seen photographs of celebrities you know, love, laugh at, and hate! OMG! Never-before-seen photographs in the age of the internet! Excuse me? Yes, and they’re printed on paper. These aren’t low-res photographs you can look at on just any old dirty blog! They were shot by REAL photographers, Idris Rheubottom and Tony Craig! See, now you’re jealous! But don’t be, order it on Amazon so you can have your very own copy!
OMG. You were too late. It’s already sold out. God. I’m so annoyed with you. I thought we were friends. Ooh, wait. I’ve just been told, Amazon will order more copies! Lucky you!! Go to Amazon now and put your name in—they’ll send it to you as soon as it comes in. God, I love you. (Say it like Annie Wilkes in Misery ’just before she breaks Paul’s ankles with the sledgehammer). (via kellygreenblog)
From the website: “Available Feb. 5 on Amazon, The World According to Wonder is a covetable coffee table book celebrating 21 years of entertainment from Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato‘s prolific production company World of Wonder, which has made sickening documentaries and reality shows such as Party Monster, Becoming Chaz, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, and Logo’s legendary RuPaul’s Drag Race. Wet your whistle with 10 of the book’s best gay celebrity portraits shot by the incredible Idris + Tony.” (Check out the 10 at Gay.net)
The World According to Wonder got reviewed in Instinct magazine on the page with a few other weighty (but not nearly as heavy) books. The type up there is probably too tiny for you to read, so we’ll tell you the review is very positive. It starts by calling the book “part freak yearbook, part LGBT media history book” and concludes with “For any pop-culture connoisseur, a trip in this world is simply a must.”
This rarely seen photo of World of Wonder honchos Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey caught with their pants down is just one of many surprising images in the giant coffee table book The World According to Wonder, which drops next week, February 5. The book is all about celebrity, pop culture, and the rocky rise of the onetime pop stars who founded the World of Wonder production company at the very beginning of reality TV. The nearly 400-page book is filled not only with eye-candy photos, but also often-hilarious behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the partners’ triumphs, failures, and often hilarious adventures over 21 years of professional experience. “We’re a production company that’s focused on people considered by many to be marginal or outcasts,” Barbato told the New York Daily News. “We’ve seen a whole new class of celebrities created by reality TV,” said Bailey. “This book is a celebration of that. Some people say reality TV is the end of western civilization. I don’t agree. It could be its finest hour.” (Order your book on Amazon)
Coinciding with the release of the WOW coffee table book The World According to Wonder, The Advocate‘s Neal Broverman sat down to talk with the boys “about the past two decades, their hilarious WOW Report, celebrity, failure, and LaToya Jackson.” Here’s a quick excerpt:
When you started making shows and, eventually, movies, when did you think, We could actually do this and make a living at it?
Barbato: We still don’t.
What project have you done that you feel hasn’t gotten the attention it deserved?
Barbato: All of our projects (laughs). That’s hard. Part of me thinks, all of the projects we’ve never made, But, that’s not it.
Bailey: The truth is, if you’re in TV, or even in pop culture, you want to reach as broad an audience as possible. And one of the things we’ve always run into is being told. ‘That’s nice but that’s a very marginal idea, or niche.’ In general, there’s an assumption when something is niche, only a few people are going to be interested in it, but I don’t think that’s true. In pop culture, the more specific a thing, the more likely people are going to be interested. Generally, people know much more now because there’s so much more media and, as a result, they’re interested in things they don’t know about. It is a continuing dynamic in our work; presenting ideas that executives say are too niche. I think audiences are much more curious than we give them credit for.
Was RuPaul’s Drag Race seen as too niche?
Bailey: This is a show we pitched for about 10 years. It wasn’t until Tom Campbell came here and headed up development that he suggested we take it out. We were like, ‘No. We’ve taken it everywhere. To Logo a million times. No one’s going to buy this show.” We’ve been told no one wants to see drag queens on TV, or that’s so gay and very niche and marginal. We even were told that at Logo. So it did take a long time. If it wasn’t for Tom Campbell, we would have given it up.
It wouldn’t work without RuPaul. You actually worked with Ru at the beginning of WOW. How do you guys maintain successful relationships so long?
Barbato: We have a history; we’re sisters. Even over 20 years ago when RuPaul would walk down the street in a jock strap and boots, we could still have really exciting and intellectual conversations. He’s always been in our soul family and always been a star. The history just makes all that richer. Back then we used to hang out in the East Village and he wore a jock strap. Now, we hang out on Hollywood Boulevard and he shows up in Yves St. Laurent and has his own office on the top floor of World of Wonder. And he’s exactly the same. Same with James St. James, one of the co-editors of the WOW Report, and Stephen Saban of the WOW Report. We know them from the club days.
Bailey: That speaks to why we wrote the book. The secret to longevity is refusing to go away. That was the message we wanted to share.
Reading the WOW Report, it looks like you guys have so much fun in that office on Hollywood Boulevard. How do you get anything done?
Barbato: Right now, we’re wearing caftans and wigs (laughs). It’s a really special place filled with special people. There’s a great vibe. Every now and then Fenton and I have to be grumpy to keep people in line. That energy is the World of Wonder. It’s all these unique people who work here and it gets a little crazy sometimes.
Would you ever consider a reality show about WOW?
Barbato: They’d have to pay us a lot of money. Talk to us in about five years. When we have plastic surgery.
Read the entire interview here.