Times Square in “Tiger Beat”

This was a full-page advertisement in the October 1980 issue of Tiger Beat.
Thank heavens for large promotional budgets; I was a fairly regular reader of Tiger Beat at the time, and women or girls rarely featured on its pages.

Posted in Fandom, Nicole "Nicky" Marotta, Pamela "Pammy" Pearl, Popular Culture, Robin Johnson, Times Square (1980) movie, Trini Alvarado | 4 Comments

“Times Square” fan t-shirts

Black flock
(courier bold)
on vintage 80s
heather grey
mock turtleneck.

Marotta Brigades “work shirt”
(my design, revised and printed at
“My Cup of Tee,” Jakarta,

Posted in Fandom, Nicole "Nicky" Marotta, Pamela "Pammy" Pearl, Popular Culture, Times Square (1980) movie | Leave a comment

Times Square colour lobby cards

Posted in Fandom, Nicole "Nicky" Marotta, Pamela "Pammy" Pearl, Popular Culture, Robin Johnson, Tim Curry, Times Square (1980) movie, Trini Alvarado | 5 Comments

Nicky and Pammy’s blood oath: NYC, pre-HIV

In my previous post, I alluded — again! — to one of the many sites of loss in Times Square. Pamela (Trini Alvarado) has awoken to find Nicky (Robin Johnson) gone. The shot reverses to reveal Pamela’s viewpoint: Nicky’s now-empty bed, and through the window behind it, the World Trade Center towers.

Contemporary analyses of Times Square frequently note that the film presages the loss of a city. This loss of buildings and neighbourhoods extends beyond “mere” architecture — as if architecture ever designates material structures alone — to a cultural geography that maps absence.

But the loss that I feel most sharply when I now watch the film can be evoked by a single image:

Nicky and Pammy’s blood oath, with Nicky’s assurance that she will not hurt Pammy, the drawing of (first) blood, the frenzied yet desperate calling of each others’ names, functions as a cinematic coding for loss of virginity / sexual activity. But it is the literal mingling of fluid in the blood oath that now makes me shiver: at the moment of filming, at Times’s Square‘s release (1979-80), New York City was about to become one of the epicenters of the AIDS epidemic. As Joseph F. Lovett’s remarkable documentary Gay Sex in the Seventies (2005) demonstrates, a culture was about to be devastated. Such an image could never be viewed innocently again.

In memory of those “not lost, but gone before,” on World AIDS Day.

Posted in Cultural Geography, Cultural Studies, Fandom, Lesbian Representation, Nicole "Nicky" Marotta, Pamela "Pammy" Pearl, Popular Culture, Queer Spectatorship, Robin Johnson, Times Square (1980) movie, Times Square (location), Trini Alvarado | 1 Comment

Times Square, Here no More

each day the long light dims and fades
not lost, but gone before
(the breeders)

Posted in Cultural Geography, Popular Culture, Times Square (1980) movie | 1 Comment

Robin Johnson in “Film Review,” Oct. 1980

This article is from the October 1980 issue of Film Review. It is part of a two-page feature on new films about young women in music; the preceding page focuses on Hazel O’Connor in Breaking Glass (dir. Brian Gibson, 1980).

As with most contemporary reviews, the article posits Time Square as a film in which the desire to become a rock star propels the narrative and drives the protagonists. I find this really interesting, because to me, this is an almost incidental aspect of the film. (Unless “become a rock star” is dyke code for “get a hot girlfriend”; it’s possible, because I was and remain out of the loop. Nevertheless…)

Otherwise, the article focuses on the film as debut for the “witty and talented” Robin Johnson, a “pretty girl displaying a keen sense of humour.” Until reading this article I didn’t know that to prepare for the role of Nicky Marotta, Johnson had “voice lessons, singing tutorial and dance and movement classes.” Also that she had never eaten flowers before.
Sheltered, eh?

Posted in Fandom, film theory / review, Nicole "Nicky" Marotta, Popular Culture, Robin Johnson, Times Square (1980) movie | 4 Comments

Times Square press kit photographs: Nicky and Pammy (1981)

This post is my final in the series of Times Square press kit photographs. I do not have individual slips for these 1981 photographs, but this is the general promotional description of the film:

Times Square, a contemporary drama with music starring Tim Curry, Robin Johnson and Trini Alvarado, is a Robert Stigwood Presentation, produced by Stigwood and Jacob Brackman and directed by Alan Moyle from Brackman’s screenplay, based on a story by Moyle and Leanne Unger, with Kevin McCormick and John Nicollela the executive producers and Bill Oakes the associate producer.
The EMI Films motion picture will be released on Friday, October 17 in the U.S. and Canada by AFD (Associated Film Distribution).

© 1981 Associated Film Distribution

© 1981 Associated Film Distribution

© 1981 Associated Film Distribution

And my favourite of them all…

© 1981 Associated Film Distribution
… in which Robin Johnson (as Nicky Marotta) does her version of Dorothy’s “We’re Off to See the Wizard” dance from The Wizard of Oz (dir. Victor Fleming, 1939)!
(Like many women of a, i.e. my, certain age, I’d always dreamed of Robin Johnson as a “friend of Dorothy.” Sadly, this is probably as close as I will ever get to that…)

Posted in Fandom, Lesbian Representation, Nicole "Nicky" Marotta, Pamela "Pammy" Pearl, Popular Culture, Robin Johnson, Times Square (1980) movie, Trini Alvarado | 1 Comment