Glenn Belverio: An Interview

Video Data Bank

2020 | 01:19:49 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Interviews, Single Titles

Tags: AIDS/HIV, Activism, Camp, Gender, Interview, LGBTQ, TV production, Television

Glenn Belverio is an independent filmmaker and drag artist who lives and works in New York City. In 1990, he began producing and co-hosting the popular Manhattan Cable series The Brenda and Glennda Show, a talk show that mixed activism with comedy as it took drag out of the clubs and onto the street. In 1993, the show became Glennda and Friends, a post-queer task show featuring provocative co-starts such as gay pornographer Bruce LaBruce and guerrilla scholar Camille Paglia. Belverio’s work has screened at venues including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, Nottingham Contemporary, and the New Museum, New York. 

In this interview, Belverio begins by speaking of his upbringing in Hope, New Jersey and his early experiences in New York that were fundamental to the creation of his show. On the mid to late 1980s, Belverio recalls the stark contrasts between the dynamism of the New York club scene and the horrors of the AIDS crisis, which was ravaging his community at the time. As a result, he turned to activism, joining ACT UP and participating in a number of protests. At the same time, public-access television had become a phenomenon, allowing producers to screen anything they wanted. This underground domain was the ideal launching pad for The Brenda and Glennda Show. Belverio discusses the development of Glennda and a number of the show’s many highlights, including collaborations with Joan Jett Blakk, Vaginal Davis, and Camille Paglia. Meanwhile, he maps out where the show sat amidst the turbulent political and cultural landscape of New York in the 80s and 90s.

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