1983 - 1983
Dir. Harry Gamboa Jr., 3/4 Color Sound 00:34:00
Gamboa's first cable-access produced video IMPERFECTO (1983) is an absurdist drama about a schizophrenic street preacher (Humberto Sandoval) released from the insane asylum that harasses individuals on Broadway with unsolicited philosophical anguish. Scripted, shot, and edited for broadcast within forty-eight hours, Gamboa's cable-access Asco videos of 1983-4, which also include BLANX, VAPORZ, AGENT X, and BABY KAKE, were produced on an average budget of $150. Inevitably, the accelerated tempo, financial constraints, and limited access to (often defective) hardware, informed, if not determined, their "raw" aesthetics. Rather than disguise or attempt to compensate for such limitations, however, the conditions of production were incorporated directly into the aesthetic project. As such, the stylistic technique of straight cut edits, poor lighting and rough camera motion actually complement these campy, melodramatic, and hybrid renditions of social realist documentaries and telenovelas (Mexican prime-time serial melodramas). Broadcast on public access in the San Gabriel Valley, this assortment of ethnic dystopias in the face of assimilationist aspirations and suburban dreams, aired at least once a week for approximately sixty-five weeks until several complaints were filed by concerned citizens disturbed by what they saw as the propagation of negative stereotypes. Such disparaging responses were unsurprising to Gamboa; in fact, the name Asco, Spanish for nausea or repulsion with the impulse to vomit, connotes and acknowledges the response that their work often provoked. As Gamboa recalls, "We created images that tended to upset everybody, because they didn't match anything that people were looking for."
[Source: C. Ondine Chavoya, Social Unwest: An Interview with Harry Gamboa Jr.]