Videofreex: A Foundation for Participatory Art and Social Engagement

Panelists stand together beside a podium emblazoned with "New Paltz"

Dorsky Curator Daniel Belasco, Videofreex Curator Andrew Ingall, Videofreex members Skip Blumberg and Parry Teasdale, and Museum Director Sara Pasti at the Dorsky Museum event on 3/8/15. Photo courtesy Skip Blumberg.

“Videofreex: A Foundation for Participatory Art and Social Engagement”:  Skip’s report to the Videofreex re: museum event in March.

Rhea’s apology to the Videofreex in May: Sorry for posting so late!


Skip’s report

The panel at Dorsky on Sunday [March 8, 2015], organized by Janis Benincasa and attended by Dorsky director Sara Pasti and curator Daniel Belasco, went well.

Galen Joseph-Hunter recorded the less than 2-hour presentation:
Broadcast Wave Farm’s WGXC 90.7-FM and, Saturday March 21 8 p.m. ET

The student center’s multi purpose room attracted about 50 in the audience. Parry queried the crowd about their birthdates, with somewhat less than half holding up hands saying they were born after 1980. The rest were our generation.

It was a good crowd, whom we mixed with before and after the formal program. Marji came wearing a cute Carnaby Street style cap. Howard Raab had intended to attend, but health issues kept him away. A woman named Sylvia said to the crowd that she had bought MTF from Sam and Miriam (but sold it after ghosts intruded on her peace of mind) and testified that citizens of Lanesville were super appreciative of us and that our myth continued during her stay there.

Parry met a young man who said his great grandparents were named Lane and lived in Lanesville, maybe Diamond Notch Road, and who came to the event from his home in an Albany suburb. Alice Wechsler, a college chum of Janie [Jane Aaron] and Ann [Woodward], who had visited us in Lanesville several times, and now teaches at SUNY NP (altho retiring this year and moving to Costa Rica), surprised us with a visit with her husband. Indrani Kopal, a Hofstra University MFA in the Documentary Program student of mine (she calls me “Professor Skip”), and a Malaysian citizen journalist, was called upon to give the audience a brief report on her connection to the topic of the panel.

Janie’s 3 siblings (and one spouse) came… Lisa who at my request had bought a dozen copies of the Westchester NY Times with our substantial article, and Andy who just had one of his short films included in the SNL 40 Anniversary spectacular. Branda Miller, who was an early video artist, a gf of Chip for a while , and teaches at RPI, said she is producing (with Kathy High) a screening/panel about the Freex at her school with in-person appearances by Jon [Nealon] and Andrew [Ingall]. I hadn’t seen her in decades.

Parry and I both signed autographs in the catalog, which was sold at the event along with his and Nancy [Cain]’s book .

A short Lanesville TV clip, which I had edited and that’s on the web, and slides (sic) of us excerpted from the exhibition were screened. For no extra charge.

Parry and I contributed context of the 1970s, Freex history, serious politics, and droll mirth (there were many audience laughs). We each had lots to say. Bart [Freidman] and Davidson [Gigliotti] were both invited, but opted out. We did acknowledge Chuck [Kennedy] (and his importance to the success of our group) in the place to which he moved after leaving Lanesville.

Parry and I agreed about most things (one exception is that he remembered us going off the air for good the night that someone (who?) called to say we were interfering with “All in the Family” and I remembered that we came back on after AitF was over). Parry also clarified specifically that we should say that The Spaghetti City Video Manual was conceived and written by him with input from Chuck, rather than written by both.

According to PDT, “I was delighted that the audience was so engaged and we seemed to be talking about topics that interested them. Andy and Galen deserve credit for keeping it moving.”

Thanks to and from Dorsky staff who have gone back and forth since the event. They like us, they really like us. And we really appreciate them.

Before and after the program, I visited the exhibition and was pleased to see many people there (maybe 20 on a pleasant Sunday afternoon) who were actually carefully reading wall text, looking at the wall art, watching and listening to the videos. One of the student security guards reported to me that there have been regular visitors since it opened (a month ago!) She has not observed anyone who was clearly tripping on LSD.

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