Nite Dreems With A Blonde & BrunetteWednesday, January 02, 2008
In 1972 photographer Robert Frank temporarily retired his Leica to produce, direct and film a documentary of the Rollings Stones on tour called Cocksucker Blues. Scenes of the Stones shooting up in a hotel room assured that this film has rarely been seen by anybody as the Stones imposed restrictions on when and where Cocksucker Blues could be viewed. Unless you have been able to buy or see a bootleg version your only chances are to go to Robert Frank retrospective (it was one at Presentation House quite a few years ago where I saw the film for my first time). One of the groupies in the film is a relatively unknown eyeglass wearing Annie Leibovitz. Cocksucker Blues pioneered everything that is considered normal now in MTV. MTV was a phenomenon when it began to broadcast in 1980 and by then few remembered Frank's contribution. Even fewer would remember Vancouver's.
It all started with a couple of men, one short and one tall. The short one, J.B. Shayne had many monickers including the one important to our story, Raouel Casablanca. The tall one, "Long"John Tanner, managed to drive his wife's Mini in spite of his 6'4" frame.
These two attached themselves to a decidedly uncool (he played jazz drums on the side) but supportive producer, Don Fraser (a.k.a. Mr. Tasty, wearing a white hat in the photographs here). The three hired two beauts, one a blonde, Deborah Jarvi and the other a brunette, Susanne Tabata. Their program, Nite Dreems went on the air on Cable 10 (at the time Cable 10 was at the foot of Cambie and Marine Drive).
Nite Dreems featured very early music videos including the Modernette's Barbra which to this day looks and sounds as fresh as it did in 1980. While Barbra was done with no budget (free I have been told) the folks at Nite Dreems managed with a very low one helped by Don Fraser's frugal habits. Connoisseurs of the active punk movement in Vancouver, of the incoming New Wave and other music that was off the charts and not on AM or FM watched Nite Dreems. They also might have enjoyed the skits and the humour. My reasons for watching it were more mundane. For me it was all about the blonde and the brunette.