World of Wonder (production company)
|World of Wonder|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Official website||Official World of Wonder website|
World of Wonder is an international media production company based in Hollywood and London. Founded in 1991 by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, the company creates reality and documentary television programs, feature films, and Internet video content with a particular focus on sex, sexuality and the erotic subculture. The company is best known for producing Inside Deep Throat, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and Party Monster (both the feature film and "shockumentary"). They also produced RuPaul's television shows The RuPaul Show, RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul's Drag U. RuPaul's Drag Race, was a record-breaking ratings hit for Viacom's Logo channel, and has already completed seven seasons (plus an "All-Stars" season) on Logo, VH1 and OUTtv in Canada.
World of Wonder operates primarily out of its historic art-deco building on Hollywood Boulevard. Designed by architects S. Tilden Norton and Fredrick H. Wallis and erected in 1930, the building served as the original home of the Directors Guild of America. The World of Wonder Storefront Gallery now occupies the ground floor retail space, with production and management offices occupying the upper three stories. The basement, once home to the legendary punk rock club The Masque, now houses the company's video archive and a sound stage.
Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey met in the graduate film program at NYU, in the mid-'80s. Intent on becoming famous, they formed a disco-pop-rock duo called The Fabulous Pop Tarts and began performing regularly at Danceteria and other clubs in downtown New York City. They produced two albums, Age of the Thing which included their hit single, “New York City Beat”, and Gagging on the Lovely Extravaganza, which included guest appearances by Lady Miss Kier, RuPaul, Martyn Phillips, and Filthy the Dog. World of Wonder was organized initially in order to manage the Fabulous Pop Tarts, and to enable projects in television production and licensing, documentary film-making, and in helping to build the careers of their friends and fellow artists, particularly RuPaul.
World of Wonder notably shares its name with one of its early television documentaries, Died on the 4th of July: Nelson Sullivan's World of Wonder. Nelson Sullivan was a central figure in the downtown New York City art and club scene of the 1980s, obsessively videotaping everyone and everything he saw before tragically dying of a heart attack on July 4, 1989. He left behind over 1800 hours of video footage that he'd shot over the last ten years of his life. From this archive World of Wonder created the one-hour documentary portrait of Nelson which aired on UK's Channel 4, and is also included on the DVD release of Party Monster: The Shockumentary.
Television and film productions
World of Wonder primarily produces television content for networks in the US and UK, including BBC, Channel 4, FIVE, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, A&E, MTV, VH1, Bravo TV, Oxygen, Sky, Discovery and Living TV. Well known recent productions include RuPaul's Drag Race, Tori & Dean: Inn Love, Good Work, Million Dollar Listing, Heli-Loggers, and Pam Anderson: Girl on the Loose. World of Wonder also produced the documentary series One Punk Under God, Sex Change Hospital and TransGeneration, which won the 2006 GLAAD Award for Outstanding Documentary.
In addition to numerous television productions, World of Wonder has also produced several feature-length documentaries such as The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Party Monster: The Shockumentary, and The Last Beekeeper, as well as the feature film, Party Monster, starring Macaulay Culkin and Seth Green.
World of Wonder operates the popular blog, The WOW Report. Stephen Saban, known for chronicling '80s downtown NYC club life in the original Details magazine which he co-founded, is the lead blogger on the site. Joining him are the company's owners and founders, Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, celebrity and host, James St. James, and dozens of other employees and associates of the company.
World of Wonder Storefront Gallery
In the summer of 2007, World of Wonder opened its Storefront Gallery with a one-man show of Sham Ibriham's art work called "Shamart." Lead curators, James St. James, Thairin Smothers, and Steven Corfe have since staged several more popular art exhibits in the space on themes including Britney Spears, Dolly Parton, Madonna, owls, and cartoons. The space has also been used for guest-curated shows by Lenora Claire, Vivid Entertainment, and i am 8-bit. The critically acclaimed artists prvtdncr and Bodega Vendetta had the only solo store front gallery exhibition featuring the Sweaterqueens installation in the windows and filling the entire space with drawings, photographs and life size mannequin sculptures. Recently, RuPaul curated a show in celebration of all things drag for the premiere of her WOW-produced TV series, RuPaul's Drag Race.
- Pike, L (2006). "Channel XYZ: drag queens, club kids, and amateur erotic filmmakers make WOW TV the online outlet for artists on the edge", Los Angeles Magazine, as archived on gcnext.com, retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Stransky, T (2009). "RuPaul on 'Drag Race': Five rules for a killer comeback", Entertainment Weekly, February 26, 2009, retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Bailey, Fenton; Barbato, Randy (2013). The World According to Wonder. Hollywood: World of Wonder Productions. ISBN 0985583401.
- Vargas-Cooper, Natasha (February 2013). "Freakshow: World of Wonder is Hollywood's Nuttiest Production Company". Out.