The glorious RuPaul
Los Angeles-based World Of Wonder productions are marking 21 years in the business of televisual entertainment, and to celebrate they have just brought out a new coffee table book, The World According to Wonder featuring exclusive portraits of practically every person they have ever worked with; from stars like Pamela Anderson, RuPaul, Dita Von Teese, Elvira and John Waters, to many of their behind-the-scenes crew, and even the staff at their popular The WOW Report blog.
The list of portrait sitters for The World According to Wonder‘s photographers Idris & Tony and Mathiu Andersen is huge, and the book (which has been a few years in the making) is very impressive indeed. When I say “coffee table book,” I mean if you stuck legs on this thing, it would be its own coffee table. (It weighs 8lbs!)
James St James and companion “Harvey”
Chaz Bono and ex-partner Jennifer Elia
World Of Wonder have brought us some of the best television of the last 20 years, shows and documentaries like RuPaul’s Drag Race, Becoming Chaz, The Adam & Joe Show, The Divine David Presents, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Inside Deep Throat, Pornography: The Secret History Of Civilisation, Jon Ronson’s Crazy Rulers Of The World, and Party Monster: The Shockumentary (not forgetting Party Monster the feature film, starring Macaulay Culkin as Michael Alig, the murderous king of the NY club kids, which has gone on to influence a new generation of club kids and become a cult classic in its own right).
Interspersed among the pictures is the story of World Of Wonder itself, eloquently and entertainingly told by the company’s founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato; from its beginnings in 80s New York, its early work with upcoming drag legend RuPaul and British TV station Channel 4, through expansion into full-length documentary features, all the way up to the present day, a slew of coveted awards and its position as brand leader for all things queer/drag/alt on television.
As an early 90s TV junkie, glued to late night BBC 2 and Channel 4—oh those really WERE the days!—this book brings back a lot of good memories (and reminders of forgotten but influential shows like Shock Video and Manhattan Cable) and it is inspiring and instructive to read how these shows came to be, directly form the people that made them. If there’s any message, here, I would say it is “believe in your vision and never take no for an answer” and The World According to Wonder is testament to how dreaming big, and thinking outside the box, can ultimately pay off.
You can download the first chapter of The World According to Wonder as a pdf here.