// THE IMAGINATION THIEF — Literary Fiction with a touch of Magical Realism and a dusting of Horror.

Those New York ’Nineties—Reality by Rohan Quine

Those New York ’Nineties
Reality by Rohan Quine

(fun and frolic)

 

This footage that I’ve called Those New York ’Nineties (residing in the top-menu called “Film & TV Acting”) is just for fun—a frisky little soufflé laying no claim to profundity, presented for moral instruction. My presence in all these 115 items of footage probably adds up to something like one full B-movie’s worth of performance in total. A general introduction and an insufficient apology for Those New York ’Nineties as a whole is here. (See also my pages at the Internet Movie Database and the Oz TV Wiki.)

Snippets of fun, numbered randomly…

Rohan Quine - New York Montage: Intro and StillsNew York Montage: Intro and Stills. Introductory montage from Those New York ’Nineties.

This is a montage of stills grabbed randomly from the odds and ends of footage that survived from New York, assembled for fun soon after I left the city. A lot of footage was mislaid along the way of course, but a good sprinkle of video survived, incidentally yielding something of a sense of ’90s NYC in general. Its soundtrack starts off with a bit of fevered jabbering from me, but then it changes to just the beautiful background buzz of the streets and continues with nothing more than that (and nothing less): sirens, car engines and the babble of people milling around on the night-time sidewalks of the Village or by the West Side piers. These NYC sounds were copied in from the audio of one or two of the snippets of reality footage in Those New York ’Nineties.

After an initial year or so living on West 11th Street, the rest of my 10 and a half years in NYC were spent living in the East Village. This was a neighbourhood that pulsed with a feeling of enchanted, gritty, centre-of-the-world magic in the ’90s—the neighbourhood itself being a character whose variety and excitement felt as if it seeped into the human characters who lived within its grid of 14 well-worn Streets, from 4th Avenue to Avenue D. (18’02”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 1Reality 1 / Manhattan roofscape at dawn. For a flicker of those classic New York City water-tanks with conical tops, silhouetted on rooftops across the cityscape, as captured on soft-toned black-and-white silent film, this is me flitting around a Downtown roofscape at dawn.

This fragment of footage was a sweet little whim suggested by my friend Edward Vilga because he had an unused bit of old Super-8 celluloid that he felt it would be a shame to leave unexposed. So up the stairwell we headed, onto his Soho rooftop six storeys above the south-east corner of Prince Street and 6th Avenue, at a painfully early hour of the morning, some year in the early ’90s.

Google Maps’ 3D satellite view shows that those big silver pipes where I perched have all vanished now. But the gap in the roof’s eastern parapet is unchanged, through which I stepped onto the roof from a vertigo-inducing external fire-escape on that one occasion only. (36”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 8Reality 8. In the Times Square dusk, shot by Wayne: just wandering those streets and subways that feel like the Centre of the World. (2’21”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 32Reality 32 / Mallucinations.

This is a slice of ’90s analogue-video wizardry created by my dear friend Mal Torrance, with a soundtrack that mixes many evocative electronic/techno/ambient tracks that were bubbling just beneath the mainstream at the time (I recognise the Prodigy’s “Charly” in the mix). It’s an inspired piece of VHS-born mayhem and fun entitled “Mallucinations”, showing me processed and reprocessed and multiplied.

The music was the latest from Mal’s ever-current collection. As for the video, this was a pre-digital era with no software, so it required his degree of practical ingenuity and free-wheeling creativity to achieve this in his sitting-room using just a VHS camcorder and a TV. He did it through an unrepeatable spontaneous conjuration of in-camcorder effects, the TV’s image settings, and multiplying the image by feeding the TV from the camera while the camera was aimed at the TV screen—plus much connecting and reconnecting of analogue video cables in various configurations, where they coiled like black spaghetti behind the stereo system in his and Kim’s apartment at 400 East 9th Street above the south-east corner of 1st Avenue, all dusted with that scattering of dust-bunnies and stray nickels and lost crumbs of controlled substances that always accumulate on wooden floors behind stereo systems in old East Village apartments, however often one may flit about with the feather-duster and one’s little hoover-nozzle for just such awkward corners. (3’59”)

(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 12Reality 12. At the Perry Street apartment, including Mal’s Welsh-hat-and-flying-penis routine—always a hit at weddings, funerals and bar mitzvahs. (2’05”)
(See video here.)  (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 15Reality 15. A party, a “flesh”-coloured plaster, and arrangements of hands. (2’05”)
(See video here.)  (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 17Reality 17. This is a snippet of fun from my very first NYC home, upstairs at the back of 49 West 11th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. It felt like the smallest studio apartment in Manhattan, this being all I could barely afford—but hey, it was my very own first hard-won space alone in New York City, which was electrically exhilarating. The fact that I really could almost touch its two opposite walls at the same time (and had to use a shared, bathless shower room down the communal hallway) was simply part of the charm.

Shot by my dear friends Mal and Kim, it includes me holding up my ink-on-paper design for the Voguing Egyptian Boys tattoo, just a few days before they danced off that little scrap of paper and onto my left arm forever, where they’re both still happily voguing away.

I recognise the music of the Shamen at the start of the audio, playing on my boombox; and then later on, “You Surround Me” by Erasure. (45”)
(See video here.)  (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 4Reality 4 / Pride 1992. This is footage from among the multitudes at Pride 1992, showing me with Kim, shot by Mal and Wayne. Neither of those two VHS cameramen is seen here, except for Mal’s DM boots when he aims the camera downwards near the end of the footage, there at the far end of Christopher Street (a corner of the world that felt delightfully more ragged and less manicured in those days, compared with now).

A long-vanished summer day in New York City: catwalking down the centre of 5th Avenue, the World Trade Center visible through the arch in Washington Square, then through Greenwich Village all the way down a teeming Christopher Street, to those West Side piers in the late-afternoon sunlight, with the World Trade Center popping up again across squinty-twinkling water further down the grand span of the Hudson River. (2’02”)
(See video here.)  (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 2Reality 2. Four of us out in the Greenwich Village night. (54”)
(See video here.)  (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 28Reality 28. Kim, Wayne and I, as silent screens for projections of my paintings. (1’27”)
(See video here.)  (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 35Reality 35. Video re-videoed. (24”)
(See video here.)  (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 18Reality 18. Happiness as usual at Mal’s and Kim’s place, apartment #1C at 99 Perry Street, between Bleecker and Hudson, Greenwich Village. On this occasion it unfolded to the sound of Malcolm McLaren’s Fans, with mirrors, late-night fire and the Cocteau Twins. (2’15”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 30Reality 30 / the Angeldemonfish. Here’s an expert tattooing job being made of my Angeldemonfish design (still happily swimming along the right arm here), by artist Samantha Peterson in her Chelsea apartment / tattoo parlour. On view here is some long-suffering bag-schlepping by Kim, plus great videoing by Mal—who was probably also responsible for the choice of music playing on Samantha’s CD-player, namely the camp classic album Fans by Malcolm McLaren.

That dim, grungy, narrow old stairwell, beyond a fragrantly cramped street-level doorway with a small dirty panel of intercom buzzers on the wall, is just the kind of entrance behind which I and many others lived—pure, glorious New York City. (2’53”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 20Reality 20. Marijuana and acrobatics, with Mal and Kim on a night-time verandah in upstate New York. (29”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 13Reality 13. Returning from the night streets of Greenwich Village, and me bare-assed in the courtyard. (29”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 23Reality 23. Antics to the music of Foetus; Ikon interviews; and a spontaneous rap from me. (9’02”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 25Reality 25. A party at my second apartment, 126 East Fourth Street, with DJing by Mal and a very early appearance by Cradeaux. (54”)
(See video here.)  (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 9Reality 9. Out in Greenwich Village, goofing around on Christopher Street. (41”)
(See video here.)  (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 14Reality 14. A spontaneous performance comprising equal parts ham and cheese, involving lip-syncs, smoke, light-projections and undoubtedly alcohol or grass all around, shot by whoever was still sober enough to hold the camera—silly fun times and many golden happy memories of Mal’s and Kim’s apartment on Perry Street. (22”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 3Reality 3. Just the back courtyard at Perry Street, shot by Mal, with the sounds of falling rain, thunder and those familiar New York police-car sirens wailing in the distance: nothing more and nothing less. (14”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 7 & 5Reality 7 & 5. Nearing Manhattan on the Long Island Rail Road, shot by Wayne. Most people I knew would have seen this train’s journey in three easy categories: (1) its origin in obscure and deathly Long Island suburbs where people’s grandmothers lived; (2) its trundle through Queens, which was of course one of NYC’s five boroughs and therefore technically in the First World, but was still at that time a huge suburb, as seen by many Manhattanites (and on the few occasions when those Manhattanites had been there for some party somewhere, most Queens streets seemed to be named according to some heroically confusing numbering system that defied all logic); and finally (3) a wake-up during the downbeat glamour of the industrial waterfront section of Queens near the East River, depicted here … all leading up to arrival in the place where life can finally begin, on the long thin island with the skyscrapers, you know the one. (1’08”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 31Reality 31 / Alternative Fashion Week. For a sparkle of inspired fashion design, this is me modelling first “X’ray V’zyn” designs by Tania Sterl, and then “Space Girl” designs by Pamela Thompson, on the catwalk with various other reprobates at Alternative Fashion Week, shot in Webster Hall by hands unknown. (2’30”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 16Reality 16. Planning the Voguing Egyptian Boys tattoo, and discussing pecs in the hallway. (1’07”)
(See video here.)  (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 29Reality 29. This shows the tattoo artist and all-around cool Goth chick Samantha Peterson in Chelsea, making a great job of my Voguing Egyptian Boys design (still looking nicely crisp-edged on my left arm here), videoed by Wayne: two silhouetted boys in profile, as from the tomb-walls of an Egyptian pharaoh’s catamite, in mirror-image of each other; self-portraits, of course… (1’22”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 11Reality 11 / sunlight in Brooklyn. For a snippet of Brooklyn atmosphere, this is me wandering through spray-painted streets, among busy basketball courts and past abandoned buildings surrounded in rusty wire-netting, somewhere round the edges of Greenpoint, one winter day in the mid-’90s. I’d just visited my friend Koji’s place, so he could record me spouting a monologue for an audition tape (from “The Dresser”, shown in another video here), but Koji wanted to keep his brand-new VHS camera rolling in order to get to know how its controls worked; so we went for an unplanned neighbourhood walk-about while he did so, to nearby McCarren Park and elsewhere.

Whenever you crossed the East River from Manhattan and stepped into Brooklyn, at that time, then the restless traffic vanished, the pace slowed, and the late-afternoon light slanted down freely over buildings that were only one or two storeys tall, with nary a skyscraper to block it. (2’11”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 10Reality 10 / dancing in the strobe-lights. This wisp-ette of a video snippet shows me at a nightclub party called NYLon (referring to New York London). Thanks to Mal, for smuggling his VHS camera with us onto the dance-floor and filming there in the strobe-lights. (22”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 22Reality 22. Oops—trashed on the cooking-sherry already, re-videoed on Perry Street yet again and reciting Coleridge into the face of the darkness (and it was only 11 in the morning). (1’19”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 24Reality 24. Channelling odd characters for a moment, during an unrepeated wander into a small bare room in a briefly vacant apartment above Mal the cameraman’s. (1’32”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

Rohan Quine - New York - Reality 36Reality 36 / a liminal wisp. These seven seconds have so little nutritional value, they waft into soothingly empty territory. In fact this little snippet is almost not there at all, being just a digitisation of a VHS-tape outtake of a few seconds of real life recorded adjacent to my performance of a monologue for an audition tape in the mid-’90s, including imagery of the TV monitor through which the camera person (Koji) was monitoring the recording. As such, it’s a liminal husk of a thing—the entertainment equivalent of a small cheese-puff made of E-numbers. But with perverse perkiness, it seems to have hung around ever since that moment, decades ago … and of just such marginal moments is much of a lifetime made up. So, for what it may be worth, here it is. (07”)
(See video here.) (read more…)

 

 

 

The above “Reality” videos in Those New York ’Nineties are also here:

And in the Vimeo album Those New York ’Nineties—Reality:
Those New York ‘Nineties Montage Video: Intro and Stills,
Reality 1, 8, 32, 12, 15, 17, 4, 2, 28, 35, 18, 30, 20, 13, 23, 25, 9, 14, 3, 7 & 5, 31, 16, 29, 11, 10, 22, 24 and 36.

And in the YouTube playlist Those New York ’Nineties—Reality:
Those New York ‘Nineties Montage Video: Intro and Stills,
Reality 1, 8, 32, 12, 15, 17, 4, 2, 28, 35, 18, 30, 20, 13, 23, 25, 9, 14, 3, 7 & 5, 31, 16, 29, 11, 10, 22, 24 and 36. (If playback of any of these videos looks at all fuzzy on YouTube, then you can quickly and easily adjust the YouTube video-player’s playback “Quality” setting, by doing the following: (1) if you’re on a mobile device, first touch the video image, then touch the three-dots symbol that appears in the top-right corner of the player, touch “Quality” and choose “1080p” (or the highest other setting available on your device, e.g. “720p”); or (2) if you’re on a laptop/desktop device, click the cog symbol on the lower edge of the video-player, click “Quality” and choose “1080p” (or the highest other setting available on your device, e.g. “720p”).)

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ROHAN QUINE (photo by Safeena Chaudhry)

ROHAN QUINE (photo by Safeena Chaudhry)

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Film and TV Acting: Those New York ’Nineties

Film & TV Acting

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Films in The Imagination Thief (novel)