In October 1980, Bowie filmed a brief cameo for the Herman Weigel feature film Christiane F. Although most of the film was made in Berlin, Bowie’s footage, during which he lipsynced to the Stage version of ‘Station To Station’, was shot at the Hurrah club on 32 West 62nd Street, Manhattan.
The following day, Bowie and director David Mallet returned to Hurrah, where the set was reused for the ‘Fashion’ video.
The same musicians were used in both productions: guitarists Carlos Alomar and GE Smith, bassist John Kumnick, and guitarist Steve Love on drums.
From the opening shot of the clip to the end, all of the scenes showing David Bowie and the band are shot on the Hurrah stage and dancefloor. We see the club draped in a khacky grey canvas fabric which must have been rented because normally the decor was black. There is some choreography on the dancefloor where you can see the characteristic faceted mirror wall which distinguished Hurrah’s decor, creating a real-life effect that was somewhat like a magic lantern. There are ancillary scenes shot throughout NYC and some studio footage, the funniest stuff, which may have been shot anywhere.
I was invited to help out on this shoot but declined since I was working til 4:00 A.M. the night before and the shoot was in the afternoon while the club was closed to the public. The clip was produced by Tony Visconti who also produced and occasionally performed on many of Bowie’s albums. The director was David Mallet, and the clip was shot on Beta-Cam video.
I did coincidentally work on a different music feature with David Mallet a year earlier, Eat To The Beat, the Blondie LaserDisc. I did costumes & decor for one of the songs and was assistant to the art director throughout the production.
David Bowie was a friend of the club owner, Robert Boykin, which was how he came to choose Hurrah for a location. He sometimes came to the club to see shows and was there the night Bauhaus played. He watched the show from my videojockey booth while I was onstage shooting.
Another little known fact I would like to share is that David Bowie came to the aid of his friend Klaus Nomi at the end when he needed help the most. This kind fidelity has always touched me.
In addition to the Hurrah footage, scenes were filmed around Manhattan. Appearing in the video was May Pang, John Lennon’s former girlfriend, then in a brief relationship with Bowie. She later married Tony Visconti.
May Pang appeared in the video. She’s one of the people who says ‘Beep-beep’ in a close up. This was made during a period when she and David were dating.
Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy
Another extra was Alan Hunter, soon to become one of the first five presenters on MTV.
I am the guy with the blue striped mime shirt and suspenders, but didn’t you notice my black dance tights? Yowza! Great gig: 3 days, 3 square meals and $50/day and I got to meet the thin white duke. Only 3 months later, I got the MTV gig…how prophetic.