HOFFMAN and JACKIE
SHARP of TARGET VIDEO
Interview by Ginger Coyote
I was lucky enough to get a chance to chat with Jackie Sharp and Jill Hoffman from Target Video. I hope you enjoy the interview....
Punk Globe: Thanks so much for the interview Jackie and Jill. Could you tell us how you got involved or started Target Video?
Jackie: Well I (Jackie) was going to UCLA film school when Target first got started in Oakland . After I graduated I went up to San Francisco to house sit for the Stench Brothers and ended up staying. A friend of mine knew Target and said I belonged over there. I went over one day and that was that. I was an LA/SF person, I guess. Now that I'm in LA everyone assumes I am from SF.
Jill: I was in my first year at California College of Arts & Crafts, in the fall of 1972 and living in the dorm on campus, which by the way was really small. My dorm neighbors were Sally Webster and Sue White. Also attending the college was Dave Caruthers and John Gullack. Joe Rees was working on a body of sculptures for his Masters Degree. We met and started dating. After my dorm rental was used up I moved into his huge, beautiful loft in low rent Oakland, and we made it quite the home and gallery for our work. I was so lucky to have my end of the semester shows in my own gallery/studio where all my instructors came to grade my work. His studio was downstairs, where he made these most incredible concrete sculptures and evolved into neon art pieces that were eventually shown at the gallery at UC Berkeley, Governor Jerry Brown came to the opening. Anyway, we also rented out smaller studios downstairs to other artists where Joe gave me a small studio turned into a darkroom. Another good friend who came around during these days was Ted Falconi (Flipper). Joe and I traveled a lot including a five month trip to Europe meeting artists at the Dokumenta in Kasel and in Bologna, Italy. The adventures were total stories in themselves.
that's how Joe and I got started.Then one
day our friends started a band that
was going to play on our little campus at the top of the stairs
Mutants. After seeing them, our lives
changed.That's when I cut my long hair
myself, and sprayed red hair paint and changed my entire persona.
Punk Globe: What year was that?
Had to have been 1976
Punk Globe: How did you meet Joe?
Well, I walked through the door at the Van Ness
warehouse and was working on a shoot moments later… I think it might
Flipper. I just loved the process and documenting music and art.
Punk Globe: Who was the first band that Target filmed?
Jackie: Probably the Mutants. We have more Mutants footage than any other band or artist.
Punk Globe: What ever happened to Sam? Are you still in contact with him?
Jackie: You know we all lost track of Sam. He had a girlfriend, I think her name was Carmela, and one day they took off for New York and no one heard from them again… until the other day.Joe and I were at the Berkeley Art Museum show and I was sitting next to Vale (Search and Destroy.) Vale says something like, "Oh, hey Sam!" I'd seen this guy looking at me and I'd didn't recognize at all: grey beard, long hair. It was, indeed, Sam. It was great to see him again. Joe and I still work together, of course and we talk about him often.Turns out he is in the Bay Area and lives also up in Mendocino.
I lost touch with Sam in 1983 when I left SF. Sam
traveled in Europe with us and was just always there helping.
He used to live next door to our loft
downtown Oakland, before the fire. The fire
happened the night we took our 8mm
camera to the Sex Pistols at Winterland and came home to see the last
of the fourteen
fire trucks it took to put the fire out. Joe
lost everything. It was devastating.
I had recently moved into a little studio
apartment really close to
campus, so we at least, had a place to sleep.
My darkroom got flooded. The
incredible thing about it, the last room to get the flames was where
his slides and documentations created up to that point. All
of his sculptures and artwork was totally
damaged, but, the slides were saved. Truly a miracle.
Punk Globe: My first introduction to Target I think was at The Mabuhay Gardens. Primarily with The Mutants shows? I remember you had a building on South Van Ness in San Francisco's Mission area.
Jackie: Actually it was 18th and So. Van Ness. It was a big 3-story brick warehouse. The front was solid black, the whole thing was black. The first floor was the studio, 2nd floor editing and Judith and Max's loft space. The third floor was a huge open space that was full of art "stuff," Jill's loft space, my loft space, the kitchen, the bathroom, several other loft spaces and finally a huge space that was Brad Lapin's Damage Magazine space. It was like a village in that building. It was like a club, a workspace, a hangout, a home.
Jill: Joe and I created Target together. He created the name, but we made it happen together. We threw a party for the Mutants in the first Oakland loft and about 300 people showed up. I can't remember but I think the Mutants played at that party. I have a few really good stories about that loft. That is where we heard our first punk song, which was "Safety In Numbers" by The Adverts, along with "Warm Leatherette" by the Normal.
after the fire Joe found another loft in Oakland and that is where
we shot the first color video of the Screamers. It is also where we
produced our videos
for the half hour wed night
cable TV show. We had no editing equipment then, so we used letraset
graphics and shot things like writing on a chalk board, or shaving
cream on a
piece of glass and shot that for our credits and titles. It
was creative and fun. We would dash to the
city to broadcast our
latest TV shoot every wed night. Of course Joe would throw in some
montage that reviewed current events like Patty Hearst's bank robbery
with the SLA .
Punk Globe: During that era the Mission District was really dangerous . Do you remember incidents that happened? I remember the walk from The Native American Center and The Deaf Club was brutal at times.
Jill and I once went to the Mexican restaurant
around the corner on Mission St. ,
the one where all the cops ate. Tepatitlan? Anyway, there were
these cholos in a van who'd followed us over there. We'd
driven there for some reason (it was
only a few blocks away) and had parked across the street. When we'd
finished eating we went outside and
noticed they'd parked right behind our car, waiting for us. Instincts
being what they are, we decided
go back inside the restaurant as a couple of cops had been eating
there. We asked them if they would walk us over
our car, explaining only that these guys had followed us. They said,
"Sure." Now, for a couple of
chicks dressed in black to ask cops in the post Moscone/Milk "Diane
era was very weird, but we were pretty spooked by these guys. Well, the
cops walked us to the car and
proceeded to roust the cholo guys out of their van, getting them down
ground …the full "spread 'em" scene. In
the end we were more nervous in the weeks ahead as the cholos knew
lived. Everyone around there knew the punk
warehouse. We looked over our shoulders
A LOT those next weeks, even if we were just going to the corner for a
Jackie: Well, there were shoot parties on weekend days and afterhours parties on weekend nights and then just parties. I was always working shoot parties so I was usually busy, but afterhours parties were pure fun and lots of artists socializing. And, other than the party that the cops busted (a party for the Plastics from Japan ) I'd say party for The Clash. I think that was the same night that the English Beat were there. We always had turntables set up and lots of bins of LP's. Sometimes I'd DJ, sometimes Jill, sometimes others. The night of the Clash Jill and I were switching off. Jill was probably into some major Johnny Cash and I was going wild with reggae. Mix that with local bands and punk classics as well. The music scene back then was not "purist." There were so many influences. But, you can't please everyone. I kept getting punk kids wanting me to play more DK's, etc. and meanwhile the English Beat guys kept plying me with beers so I'd play more reggae. I drank so much beer that night! Another thing about parties was the day after. There warehouse always smelled like an alcohol soaked ashtray (Remember smoking in clubs???) We had to clean things up and it was always a miserable task. So we'd start breaking bottles against the brick walls while we played tunes on the jukebox. It was great.
Jill: I was living
NYC during most of this era. I had
there in 1980 with Vicki and Silke. Silke and
I went to the Virgin record label office, which was a nice
brownstone in the west village. They
ended up calling me a couple of weeks later and offered me a job. Joe
was in NYC visiting when I got the
call. I didn't even hesitate, I just
said "yes!". That was the greatest job
and even though I was hired as receptionist…..I developed their video
by requesting videos from the London office, getting them duplicated
and started showing videos in night clubs
around the city. The first video shown
in NYC was "Money" by the Flying Lizards. I showed it at Hurrah's. They
said to my suggestion to do this……"no one wants to watch TV in a
club/bar!!! I said you just wait
see. History was made. Also,
I didn't have to pay to get into the
clubs, all I had to do was call them and say it's Jill from Virgin and
I have 3
friends tonight, put us on the list. We
would have just enough money to buy one or two beers and a cab for
only. The reason for my going to NYC
originally was to promote our first Target show there in Glenn
club. We called it "Electronic
Cinema." I had posted flyers all over
the place. Joe came out for the show and
after that I started booking shows in Boston , Philly , D.C., etc. So
while Joe and
Jackie were heavily working SF I was working the East Coast. I missed a
lot of good parties there.
Punk Globe: I remember meeting John Waters at one of your afterhour parties. We went over to get something to eat at the fast food place across the street from Target.. What was the name of that place? I think it is still open.
Jackie: I don't remember John Waters being thereI would have liked to have met him. I do remember the night Robin Williams showed up at an afterhours. I think Sally Mutant brought him over. There were always people coming over to look at tapes.
The place you are thinking of was the "Whiz Burger." Whoopi Goldberg had a burger named after her there and they had to change it because she didn't want them taking advantage of her name or something. We always went to the little Asian grocery store on the corner. The couple that ran the place was always really nice. They made great tuna sandwiches and sold bottles of Andre champagne. Five stars! Another great (but questionable) joint was Clown Alley. Everyone ended up there after shows at the Mab. Clown Alley was to SF what Oki Dog was to LA.
I remember Robin Williams, too, and I couldn't remember
his real name and I called him "Mork". He
didn't like that and I felt like an idiot. I hated that moment. But now
I laugh at the story.
Punk Globe: If memory serves me right it seems that you had Mordam Distribution Company also in the building. Am I right?
No, I believe you are thinking of the Alternative
Tentacles warehouse. Ruth
shared it with them. However, Ruth and I
were roommates with Shoshana Wechsler over on Haight and Fillmore, but
later. It was a really great household. We
always had good food. We were
right above the healthfood/produce store on the corner. Everytime we'd
go downstairs for something
see someone we knew and invite them up. We also "hosted" a lot of
friends who were
waiting for the Fillmore or
Haight buses. Wonderful pad.
Punk Globe: The list of bands that you have done video's with is almost endless... Which bands stick out in your mind as some of your favorites?
Jackie: I have my favorite bands which aren't necessarily my favorite shoots. Being from LA I came with favorites like the Weirdos and X. As for SF, I loved Mutants shows. In between the two cities would be the Kinman and Escovedo brothers' bands: Dils, Rank and File, etc. With shoots and the standouts were probably Black Flag, Flipper, Bauhaus…
Jill: My favorite
shoot was Cramps at Napa . We were still
using reel-to-reel black-and-white video. There
was a great group of
friends who all went to hear them play along with the MutantsMany of
them took LSD that day and it was
hard to tell who was a patient and who was just a visiting punk. I took
still photos often and that was one
gig I took many slides and photos of. I
moved to NYC and lined up shoots there and one great one was "Young
Giants." They were great and we were able to shoot them and the Bush
Tier 3 before they opened so there wasn't an audience to deal with.
Another NYC great shoot was Rank and File
before the whole band was even formed. Chip had just written "I Went
and Alejandro had joined him and was there for the shoot. David
Johansen was at the shoot and we also
shot Snooky Tate's "He's The Pope" with our extra video tape. I was
handling the East Coast while Jackie
was working the West Coast. We hadn't
even met yet but Jackie and I clicked over the phone and became friends
we even met each other. One of my favorite
tapes is Tuxedomoon "Jinx." I thought
Joe's camera work and editing is brilliant! I have to mention one more
was John Cooper Clark. I was a
fan of his.
Punk Globe: Were there any bands that you were unable to film that you really wanted to work with?
Jackie: .Believe it or not PiL would have happened if not for Bill Graham and his policies. Joy .was a lot of anticipation for their coming to the US. It would have been interesting to shoot U2 back then. I remember when they first came as club band.They were all at the Mutant's 1stSt. loft by the bus station, the Fun Terminal and the Wagon Wheel. I seem to remember they were evangelizing Sally. Not the usual band aftershow discussion.
Jill: I wish we
been able to get a real good Clash. It's amazing we got who we did,
including Iggy Pop. That almost didn't happen. It was scary approaching
him, he slammed
dressing room door in my face. (Jackie: And mine too, he was a bit out
Punk Globe: A priceless Video- that will forever stick in mind is the one shot at Napa State Mental Institution. What was the story about that? It seems that the late Dirk Dirksen was involved with that show. I remember Olga de Volga telling me something about how she and Heidi were posting flyers and were busted.
Jackie: Jill? Was Dirk involved? I don't think so. I think the Mutants put it together. Actually the Mutants played after the Cramps but the tape is very poor as it was natural light and the light just disappeared as the day got late. The hospital people were actually glad to have the bands show up. Back then nobody gave a shit what happened to people in mental hospitals. Actually, they probably don't give a shit now as there aren't any state mental hospitals. Reagan closed them all. Anyway, the Mutants were always putting together great stuff. We have wonderful footage of them playing for kids at the School for the Deaf in SF (not to be confused with the Deaf Club) There was a sign language interpreter on the side of the stage. The kids could "hear" the music from the vibrations in the bass tones. They loved it.
Ya know what? We were still living in Oakland and not real involved
with Dirk yet,
I don't remember Dirk being there. He
wasn't there. If he had posted flyers, I
had nothing to do with that.
Punk Globe: What is the farthest you have traveled to film a band? I know at The MOCA show you had video's that were filmed in London .
We went to Europe in 1980 and more times in the years after that. In
1980 we were mostly in England and France although I took
off for Germany and Holland to do some shows.
Actually, in Germany I met up with the Dead Kennedy's who were on tour.
We'd all connected in London when we first
went over. They were staying at the Virgin
Townhouse. We'd go over there for free
meals. Jill and I were staying with
Nicky Tesco of the Members in Ladbrooke Grove. In the end, to answer
the question, we
taped several bands in England , some in France and Joe taped some in
Italy on another tour. If we could
set it up,
we'd tape it. Bauhaus was great. We taped it at the University of
London . They were getting big in England and it
was an exciting show. Though we
tape them we saw the Ramones and Tuxedomoon in Paris . I remember Jill
and I were in the lobby of
Bataclan at the Ramones show.
Over Jill's shoulder I see Dix Denny (of the Weirdos) walking over. It
was a bit of a shock after weeks of
French people. It turned out he was
visiting his girlfiend (his wife, Annick.) As always it's a small world.
Jill: I think the farthest shoot was Copenhagen, and the farthest show was Helsinki, Finland. Can you even believe that one? It was in 1982, I think.
Punk Globe: Jayne County writes for Punk Globe. I mentioned that I thought Target had filmed her. She was wondering where you filmed her at?
Yeah, we did tape her at the Berkeley Square, maybe in '81? I haven't
looked at that tape in a while.
Punk Globe: At the time did you have any idea that these video's were going to have the impact they now have? Funny, but both Punk Globe and Target Video were making history..
Jackie: Well, for me I knew the minute I walked in the warehouse that Target was what I was going to be doing. I worked on a feature down in LA and worked on commercials, none of which was my thing. I had ideas about music and film that couldn't be realized in LA because it was too commercial. Target was art and music melded with visuals. Understand that this was not only pre-MTV, but record companies were barely making music videos. They were making them, but they didn't really seem to know what to do with them. They knew they had to have one but not what to do with it. When I came back down to LA to do the shows at the Whiskey I had all these network types coming up to me as if I'd answered their prayers. It was not hard to see that Target was cooler than "Fridays." I'd have to say Penelope Spheeris was getting it right. But, yes, I knew that what we were doing at Target was historical and important. The "industry" wasn't on board which in some ways made things easy, and in other ways made things quite difficult for us. Europe was way ahead of the US in terms of video. Maybe it was because of their very limited television programming. At Target shows in Europe kids would sit on the floor (or stand) for hours watching Target video. When it was over they'd sometimes ask us to play it over from the beginning again. The same audience would stay to watch it all over again.
Jill: I knew we were doing something extraordinary, because the performances were so extraordinary and exciting. I have to tell you though, those shoots were really hard. Shooting at the Mab, was hot, crowded, really really hard carrying all the shit around, when you'd rather be partying, so it got hard for me since I wanted to work the taping but I wanted to be in the moment too. When we got home from a shoot, we were exhausted. But happy.
Punk Globe: I know for myself - It was Dirk Dirksen (R.I.P. ) who urged me to continue when I was down. .. He told me that in the years to come it would garner me much respect. He really was inspirational..
Jackie: Dirk always gave me a hard time …but then let me in for free. Years later we developed a bond based on Christmas card exchanges. He was always good about staying connected with people.
Jill: We were all
fortunate to have Dirk at the Mab. I
can't say if we would have been able to do what we did if someone else
that position. We were never really
close, but he was always nice and accepting of me, and I just
him. He was so straight looking and
he'd come on stage in some stupid "get-up" and crack everyone up. I am
really thankful for all he did.
Punk Globe: If memory serves right. in the early 80's Jill-- you moved out of San Francisco and Target eventually lost the lease on the Building. Where did you relocate to Jackie?
Jackie: Actually, the building was red tagged after the earthquake in '87.
I left a few years eariler. I ended up in Austin , TX . I was moving to the Virgin Islands where my family is from. I'd stopped there to hang out with the Kinmans and Alejandro (Escovedo) as Rank and File were living there. While I was there the whole Virgin Islands move fell apart and they suggested I stay. So I did. Later I came back to LA and worked on "regular" music videos and with MTV and VH1 and later still moved to NYC where I was Vice President of Production and Original Programs at VH1 back in the 90's.
I had to leave SF for my sanity and to save my
life. I moved to Sarasota, Florida,
where I still live. I was just going to stay there (my mom lived there)
little while, but that was 25 years ago. I now am a pretty established
and show my paintings in a
gallery. I married Dennis Kowal who
sculptor and we rock the town there.
Punk Globe: After all the hard work and time that you all put into filming bands. Did you take some down time just to focus?
Jackie: You mean focus back then, at the time? No. Never. It was non-stop shooting, or planning to shoot, or editing or parties. In the end I had to leave town or it would have been the end of me. Now, since then, sure. I am blessed with a very good memory so I can enjoy the reflection.
Jill: I took down time when ever I could. That's why Jackie is so helpful, she remembers more than I. Jackie and I would relax by going out and raise some hell and drink whiskey. We got on stage and sang with the DK's one night, rode a skate board down a staircase at a party, and just plain cut loose when we could. Shopping at Salvation Army or Goodwill and making clothes was always a fun past time too. Even then, I was doing my artwork, so that was something I did on the side. I also worked at Aquarius Records, so I had to go to a job during the day. It was a wild and crazy fun time and time for refection was not a conscious thing.
Yes, we all had day jobs. I worked
at a lot of wacky places, the
ceramic mime mask factory was a classic.
Punk Globe: Jackie moved to the Los Angeles area and Joe relocated to Reno while Jill is on the East Coast...When did the resurgence of Target Video begin? I remember getting emails from people trying to locate Joe to get footage of videos as far back as 10 years ago.
Well, you know, life intervenes. Joe
got married and had kids. I moved
to NY and was working at VH1 for a
few years then came back to LA. And
was working on her painting in Florida. A
few years ago people started making punk
documentaries. Many people. They were bound to find us. Actually, MVD
distributors wanted to put
Target material on DVD so we went band by band putting together the
releases. Joe and I started working
actively with the DVD releases and the museum shows and now, with the
documentary. It's tentatively
"Underground Forces," a name that is carried over from a series of
put out in the 80's. It's about
but also the SF art and music scene.
Punk Globe: Where was your first show for the re-emergence of Target Video?
Jackie: The first show was pretty much the Getty Museum show. It wasn't actually a "Target Show" with a live audience, etc., but it was a full hour (if you went to the "study room.") People really loved the material and the fact that it was there at all. The Getty opening was so great as the museum wanted the bands there. We got some great group shots that night.
Jill: I call it
the ghetto to the gettyyyyy"
Punk Globe: Can you tell us about some of your current shows that you have had and have booked?
Well, we are doing a show with Flipper, the
Avengers, the Mutants and Negative Trend at the Fillmore on July 26th.
Beyond that we'll have to let you know. We are focusing on our feature
Target and the SF music and art scene. We will be out there doing
our old friends who want to
tell their story. That's not to say there won't be shows, I'll just
have to let
Punk Globe: If I could afford it I would have hired you to show some video at the Punk Globe 30 Year Anniversary Party. It would have been so fitting..
Jill: Now that I
in LA on vacation and went to your 30th
anniversary party, I can say
we certainly had a good time. Tons
photographs. Maybe you can post
along with this interview and people can see how we look now. It was a
and the bathrooms were really clean.
Punk Globe: Has Target filmed any of the new bands that are playing around?
Not really. We are focusing on preserving the library
and making sense out of all
the events we taped. That's why the
documentary. We have all this
but it needs some context. There
many bands that won't hold up as a DVD release, but put into the larger
and context they work incredibly. For
people to "get" what was going on we need to give them the background:
Mutants were important and Dirk and Punk Globe and the Sleepers or the
the Soul Rebels and many bands no one's heard of now because they never
big…or even to LA.
Punk Globe: Who are some of the bands and people that you are still in close contact with from the old days?
Jackie: I'm in contact with a lot of bands. The Kinmans have always been close friends. The Dead Kennedys. Flipper. Mutants, of course. I stay in touch with quite a few LA bands as well.
Jill: I stay in touch with Andy Schwartz publisher of NY Rocker, Chip and Tony of course, Sally and Ted Falconi. And of course You Ginger! I love chatting it up with you!!
from the Cramps (R.I.P.) lived in Sarasota for a while. and…
I talk to Joey Ramone
in my dreams.
Punk Globe: Do you have a My Space Address or a Website that readers can visit ? So readers will really see the impact that Target Video has on today's culture.
We have a myspace page: www.myspace.com/targetvideo
and they can use www.targetvideo.net
which is a blog page at the moment and will hopefully be a website
soon. Sorry, there are no videos
There is so much bootlegged Target Video footage on YouTube now that
become a problem for us. There are
some people in England who
restaged the "Cramps at Napa "
video EXACTLY, casting the entire thing. They then taped the restaged
performance and are now showing it at festivals in Europe. It could be
a nice tribute if they had
us credit instead of treating it as if it was some garage tape. Oh well.
Punk Globe: Any last words of wisdom or added comments that you would like to make to our readers?
Jackie: Yes, if anyone knows any movie studio that wants to get involved in the Target documentary let me know!
It isn't about the fashion, it's about the emotion,
creativity and determination. It
my mind to see punk rock clothes at K-Mart.
Thanks For The Interview Jackie and Jill.... YOU RAWK!
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