Image consultant – music video maker Dan Rucks – Brief Article

Jeremy Kinser

When Cher and Madonna want to put the pop in their videos, they call on visionary Dan Rucks

When Dan Rucks left New York University’s film school in the late 1980s, he took with him a proverb from a campus sage: The director shoots the movie, the editor tells the story. “I just tell the story differently than most,” says a grinning Rucks, the visual artist divas turn to when they want fast-paced, inventively edited versions of their videos for dance-club play. Chances are, you’ve seen his work: Rucks has put his wild spin on several Cher videos (including a kaleidoscopic take on last year’s inescapable hit “Believe”), delivered playful, big-screen montages for the Judds’ current reunion tour, and is about to direct his first traditional video–for disco doll Erin Hamilton.

His drive? Rucks, whose talent has earned him the alias Dan-O-Rama, likes the notion of people “laughing and smiling,” he says. “What’s the point of watching a depressing video when you’re in a club?” he tosses, sitting in the West Hollywood, Calif., apartment he has decorated a la Pee-wee’s Play-house, right down to the oversize children’s furniture in his bedroom. But it was the antithesis of fun that set his career in motion in the early ’90s. “I was so tired of glum memorial services for friends who’d died of AIDS, so I took a chance,” he says. As a tribute, Rucks merged audio of one of those friends quoting dialogue from Mommie Dearest, mixed the sound bites with actual film footage, and played it at the funeral. Says a proud, out Rucks: “The mourners began to roar with laughter.”

Soon Rucks was melding campy film clips with hit dance tracks for video bars such as Splash in New York City and Revolver in Los Angeles. One work, boasting a ’60s-era Ann-Margret shaking her hips to match the vibrato of her voice, nabbed the attention of the bombshell herself. A meeting was arranged. “I was speechless,” Rucks recalls. “Here was my idol pinching my cheeks like an Italian grandmother.”

But Rucks’s material world really exploded in 1994 when he turned the dour Bowery-chic milieu of Madonna’s “Secret” video into something more dance floor-friendly. Thanks no doubt to his remix video, the stalled single suddenly shot to number 1 on MTV’s countdown. Madonna later commissioned Rucks to tweak three more videos and to create a three-screen visual extravaganza to accompany her MTV awards performance of “Ray of Light.” Her reasoning? “She told me I have the eyes of an editor and the mind of a dancer,” Rucks says. All of which bodes well for his next projects: helming a short film starring Judy Tenuta and out comedian Jason Stuart as well as a video compilation of his work.

Kinser also writes for the Spanish magazine Dirigido.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Liberation Publications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

You May Also Like

Penalty phase – cash settlements in gay discrimination cases

Penalty phase – cash settlements in gay discrimination cases John Gallagher Hefty cash awards in recent bias cases could be a sign t…

Digital Queeries

Digital Queeries – Brief Article Eric Mueller Comic relief Archie and Jughead are the latest in a string of celebrities to c…

Riding the Rave scene

Riding the Rave scene Benoit Denizet-Lewis In warehouses and stadiums across the country, gay youth have found an open, accepting, …

Kiss Me, Guido.

Kiss Me, Guido. – movie reviews Jan Stuart Quick test: If you can swallow the possibility that there is any grown man who liv…