World of Wonder (company)  

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World of Wonder is an international media production company based in Hollywood and London. Founded in 1991 by producers-cum-auteurs Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, the company creates reality and documentary television programs, feature films, and Internet video content. The company is best known for producing Inside Deep Throat, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and Party Monster (both the feature film and "shockumentary"). Their recently aired television series, RuPaul's Drag Race, was a record-breaking ratings hit for MTV's Logo (TV channel) channel, and a third season began airing January 24, 2011 on Logo and VH1.

World of Wonder operates primarily out of its historic art-deco building on Hollywood Boulevard. Designed by architects S. Tilden Norton and Fredrick H. Wallis and erected in 1930, the building served as the original home of the Directors Guild of America. The World of Wonder Storefront Gallery now occupies the ground floor retail space, with production and management offices occupying the upper three stories. The basement, once home to the legendary punk rock club The Masque, now houses the company's video archive and a sound stage.



Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey met in the graduate film program at NYU, in the mid-'80s. Intent on becoming famous, they formed a disco-pop-rock duo called The Fabulous Pop Tarts and began performing regularly at Danceteria and other clubs in downtown New York City. They produced two albums, Age of the Thing which included their hit single, “New York City Beat”, and Gagging on the Lovely Extravaganza, which included guest appearances by Lady Miss Kier, RuPaul, Martyn Phillips, and Filthy the Dog. World of Wonder was organized initially in order to manage the Fabulous Pop Tarts, and to enable projects in television production and licensing, documentary film-making, and in helping to build the careers of their friends and fellow artists, particularly RuPaul.

World of Wonder notably shares its name with one of its early television documentaries, Died on the 4th of July: Nelson Sullivan's World of Wonder. Nelson Sullivan was a central figure in the downtown New York City art and club scene of the 1980s, obsessively videotaping everyone and everything he saw before tragically dying of a heart attack on July 4, 1989. He left behind over 1800 hours of video footage that he'd shot over the last ten years of his life. From this archive World of Wonder created the one-hour documentary portrait of Nelson which aired on UK's Channel 4, and is also included on the DVD release of Party Monster: The Shockumentary.

Television and film productions

World of Wonder primarily produces television content for networks in the US and UK, including BBC, Channel 4, FIVE, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, A&E, MTV, VH1, Bravo TV, Oxygen, Sky, Discovery and Living TV. Well known recent productions include RuPaul's Drag Race, Tori & Dean: Inn Love, Million Dollar Listing, Heli-Loggers, and Pam Anderson: Girl on the Loose. World of Wonder also produced the documentary series One Punk Under God, Sex Change Hospital and TransGeneration, which won the 2006 GLAAD Award for Outstanding Documentary.

In addition to numerous television productions, World of Wonder has also produced several feature-length documentaries such as The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Party Monster: The Shockumentary, and The Last Beekeeper, as well as the feature film, Party Monster, starring Macauley Culkin and Seth Green.


World of Wonder operates the popular blog, The WOW Report. Stephen Saban, known for chronicling '80s downtown NYC club life in the original Details magazine which he co-founded, is the lead blogger on the site. Joining him are the company's owners and founders, Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, celebrity, host, and curator of the WOW Storefront Gallery, James St. James, and dozens of other employees and associates of the company.

In addition, the company operates WOWTV, a free and public video sharing platform through which the company distributes its own experimental video shows like Daily Freak Show, and Ring My Bell. Reaching out to those video artists who are "banned from youtube" or "kicked off of myspace," the site invites anyone to create their own channel where they can upload and distribute their work for sale or for free.

From December 2005 to September 2007, World of Wonder produced the web show thisisaknife for the website of Channel 4 in the UK.

World of Wonder Storefront Gallery

In the summer of 2007, World of Wonder opened its Storefront Gallery with a one-man show of Sham Ibriham's art work called "Shamart." Lead curators, James St. James, Thairin Smothers, and Steven Corfe have since staged several more popular art exhibits in the space on themes including Britney Spears, Dolly Parton, Madonna, owls, and cartoons. The space has also been used for guest-curated shows by Lenora Claire, Vivid Entertainment, and i am 8-bit. Recently, RuPaul curated a show in celebration of all things drag for the premiere of her WOW-produced TV series, RuPaul's Drag Race.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "World of Wonder (company)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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