Just because MTV has all but shunned the art form, music videos are still alive and well. Philly pays tribute to the audio-visual medium this week with the first-ever Philly Video Music Festival at PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th St.) from Thursday, Feb. 26 through Sunday, March 1.
The festival kicks off with a showcase of locally directed music videos — in a variety of musical genres, aesthetic styles and production levels — selected by a panel of local tastemakers. See their choices and listen to a discussion concerning each selection on Thursday, Feb. 26. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the first screening following half an hour later.
Like history class, only way more interesting, the history of the music video (from the beginning of time through 1993) is outlined by entertainment writer, VJ and music video historian Stephen Pitalo on Friday, Feb. 27. Starting at 7:30 p.m., Pitalo will traverse the history of the music video, beginning with early jazz films through the golden age of MTV to the Seattle sound of the '90s. Expect excerpts from interviews with video directors, photos and music vids themselves.
Utilizing multiple songs from an album and unifying them throughout one visual narrative, longform videos gained popularity in the 1980s. David Bowie's "Jazzin' for Blue Jean," ABC's "Mantrap" and Mick Jagger's "Running Out of Luck" will all screen, starting at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 28.
Iron Maiden, Kiss, Deep Purple, Motley Crue, among others, are featured in "Incident at Channel Q," a feature-length film where a local metal VJ gets some less-than-positive reactions from a suburban neighborhood. See it on Saturday, Feb. 28, following the premiere of the short "Buffalo Juggalos." Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Weird Al and They Might Be Giants-themed burlesque may be quite possibly the only way to spend a Saturday night. A curated lineup of quirky burlesque performers will perform to the music of the parodists starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28. After the show, stay for a Retro Video Dance Party, where you'll get down to best videos from the last three decades.
Recover on Sunday, March 1 with a documentary screening about a free music video TV channel, V66, in Boston that lasted a mere 18 months. Doors open at 4 p.m. for the Philly premiere of "Life on the V: The Story of V66."
MTV's alt-rock dedicated program 120 Minutes, which spotlighted artists like Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, The Replacements, Nirvana and more, will be celebrated on Sunday, March 1 with a history of the show, clips and a "Guess the 120 Minutes Video" contest. Doors open at 7 p.m. with Rock Video Monthly (the VHS video-by-mail subscription service) pre-show.