In the East Village of Manhattan, The Man From Mars dances on the sidewalk. After a couple of steps, he walks to a window and peers through the bars, seeing Debbie Harry holding a part of her lace shawl over her mouth. She takes it off and walks into her family room. There, people stand with glasses while some others sit on the couch, watching television.
A nurse twirls around in Harry’s family room. Harry stands back-to-back with a friend. She dances with a few men.
She talks to the DJ (Jean-Michel Basquiat) for a few moments and then goes outside. She sees two living mannequins in the storefront window. A woman leans against the window, her hand on the hips, sneering. Artists Fab 5 Freddy and Lee Quinones spray paint a mural on the wall, supporting hip hop music. The Man From Mars eyes her. Uncle Sam reaches for her as he sits on a garbage can. An American Indian rises up from the bushes.
She walks to the left again, passing a line of people waiting for the phone booth. In the corner, an amateur ballerina waves her arms and attempts a turn. She talks to The Man From Mars and they perform a dance, leaving to the right. A woman stares as she takes her goat for a walk while The Man From Mars dances by himself.
She walks to the left and then back to the right, standing by a spray painted column and acknowledges the artists. She walks to The Man From The Mars and stands behind him, forming a line of people dancing with him inside the club.
The Man From Mars glides up the stairs, a line of people following him into the dark of the night.
The Man From Mars, a cartoonish character in the song who devours entire cities of its buildings and people, takes on a cultish presence in the video. Among the artists in the eclectic neighborhood, he seems to represent the rigid mainstream, antiseptic and riskless.
Debbie Harry passes by someone on the street, trying to make their voices heard through their art. An amateur ballerina dances in the street, dreaming of Julliard. Street artists paint a mural, hoping it will lead to a commission of a major, long-term project. Two people pose as mannequins as form of performance art, expressing their point of view regarding materialism.
However, bills must be paid (symbolized by Uncle Sam), limiting the people’s art and continuous rejection by judges (the woman with the goat), their choices clouded by profit. People line up behind The Man From The Mars, changing their art and opinions, to coincide with corporate ideals.
Directors: Keith McMillian & John Weaver Year: 1981
This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from items purchased through them