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Videodrome's Blythe Russo turns déclassé 1980s images into funtastic flyers

Posted by Jonathan Donaldson  April 29, 2012 10:26 PM

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If you are an aficianado of the Boston music scene, you may have noticed flyers around town (or on Facebook) that look like these:


These posters are the work of Blythe Russo--a graphic designer and illustrator who also promotes long-running area dance night "Videodrome," now held bi-monthly at Somerville's Radio (the next will be held Sat. May 5th--see details below).

If a good advertisement is supposed to give you a good idea of what the product is, then Russo's tableaus are killing it. Russo's posters scream of Videodrome's effortless memoralization of the eighties, complete with vintage MTV icons glowing beatifically and rainbow colored sans-serif banners (see also Videodrome's awesome gay-friendliness).

Glam/synth-pop icons like Dale Bozzio (Missing Persons) and Mark Almond/David Ball (Soft Cell) make for obvious choices, as do the Village People, of course, who are one of the most rainbow-licious acts of all-time. But it's the lesser obvious choices in Russo's work which are the most interesting.

Blythe Russo, who grew up in Northampton and studied at Simmons College for Graphic Design & Studio Art, says that her designs are inspired not only by album artwork but also by fashion magazines of all eras and abstract collaged paintings. "The design goal is to encapsulate and represent the essence of a night at Videodrome in a single image," says Russo, also citing Videodrome's use of both the best and worst of pop/camp footage from decades past as another key visual component that "represents and enforces our ethos and intent."


Here's a poster of Hall & Oates, where a black and white cropped image of the famously great/corny duo notoriously wearing make up is super-imposed over a pastel 'peacock tail' rainbow and a feast of fonts. It's almost saying, you might be a blue-eyed soul boy in a sportcoat Monday through Friday, but on Saturday, we're putting blush on you and letting loose the rainbows.


This one of Prince is one of my favorites, with his Purple-ness posing shirtless in what looks like a driver's license photo, on top of polka-dotted ribbons, and an asymmetrical banner around the date. It's almost saying, wake me when the party starts.


Here is the bravest of the bunch---Randy Newman, whose music isn't particularly Videodromey, making fun of KISS' commercialism with dollar-sign facepaint (and note Russo's neon graffiti-like accoutrements). It's almost as if the poster is saying, yeah, we know, Randy Newman is a famous songwriter with opinions, but we love commercialism. Bring your bubblegum and your Fangorias and your t-shirt dresses and let's dance to some serious Altered Images.

Saturday, May 5
379-381 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143
9PM-1AM, $5, 21+

(Blythe Russo is available for contract and freelance work)

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Jonathan Donaldson is a Boston-based musician, writer, and second-generation music junkie. An Ohio native who moved to Boston in 1998, Jonathan's musical loves include R&B, psych, punk, bubblegum, country, electronic, More »

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