Pat and Emily presented one of the first video programs sponsored by the Anthology Film Archives for the February 1979 gala opening of PS1 in Long Island City. Pat and Emily’s rock and roll classroom was a dark and smoky room, with a few battered desks and chairs, holes in the floor, and a loud two-hour NIGHTCLUBBING program shown on six B/W monitors and projected on a hand-drawn TV outlined on white seamless.
In March 1979, at the Mudd Club, Pat and Emily presented the first video music program in a NYC nightclub. Their huge B/W projector looked like a Dr. Strangelove missile. Multiple TV monitors of varying sizes TV stood on pedestals draped in animal print. By the end of the night the fabric had been stolen by the Mudd Club guests.
NIGHTCLUBBING presented a record-breaking show on May 1979 at the New Cinema on St. Marks Place. The tiny independent theater had never seen anything like it before, with lines of fans snaking down the block.
In 1979 when Pat and Emily began their weekly TV series there was no cable television below 59th Street. Downtowners could not watch NIGHTCLUBBING, except at a handful of bars. Beginning that October, for 26 week, Anthology Film Archives presented the weekly at 8PM and midnight. The Anthology packed them in and stayed up late.
From their first public show at PS1 and throughout their artistic careers, video installation and audience viewing environment have played a big part in the video work of Ivers and Armstrong. They worked with prototype video projectors at a time when video projection was rare. Also their groundbreaking use of lightweight video cameras in live performance documentation paved the way for the era of music videos to come.
In 1980 Pat and Emily were commissioned to design a video installation for the opening of the art nightclub, Danceteria. Their resulting project, the Video Lounge, was such a success that it became a permanent feature of the club. The Video Lounge recreated the stereotypical family room viewing environment. Programming included Pat and Emily’s music video archives, video art by independents such as Keith Hering, Kenny Scharf, Robin Schanzenbach, and Paul Dougherty, early music videos, films by Frank Hennenlotter, horror clips, trailers, and found and gifted video footage. While bands performed, their shows were simulcast in the Video Lounge, shot in Pat Ivers’ distinctive, intimate, up-close style.
Finally, one steamy summer night Danceteria was raided by the NYPD for being an unlicensed after hours nightclub. Pat and Emily were handcuffed and chained together with their fellow employees: Keith Haring, David Wojnarowicz, Haoui Montaug, Max Blagg, Zoe Leonard, Alexa Hunter and Michael Parker. They drove downtown in a paddy wagon and spent the night in jail. All charges were dropped but Pat and Emily decided to leave nightclubs behind and to focus on showing their work at museums and art galleries.
Since then, NIGHTCLUBBING has been screened at over 60 programs in museums and galleries through the world including the Art Institute of Chicago, Beauborg Paris, London ICA, Whitney, Walker Art Center, Warhol, Long Beach MOCA, Chicago MOCA, Experience Music Project and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Pat and Emily are in production of a documentary, NIGHCLUBBING, where the personalities of that time tell the story in their present words and through their live music from 1975-80.