We’re All Videofreex: Changing Media & Social Change from Portapak to Smartphone

 

By Davidson Gigliotti, 2013

Why are we still talking about the Videofreex? That was 40 years ago!

Clearly, they did distinguish themselves or we would not be discussing them. Just how is a matter for all of you to decide, but the Videofreex began within a context of video activity also worth discussion, if only to lead us back to the Videofreex and their place within the video community.

In 1968 that community was tiny. Nor was it properly a community as yet, because many of its future members operated independently and with little knowledge of each other. But a portion had already attracted the interest of both the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations due to the efforts of Howard Wise and Nam June Paik, and small discussion groups were forming among some artists who had discovered the portapak and had their lives changed thereby.

Most (always excepting Bruce Nauman and a few others) early video practitioners were obsessed with television. There was an obvious connection, but it is one often forgot given the evolution of video art into a museum and gallery based practice. Even leaders among the early video artists, such as Nam June Paik and Wolf Vostell (who hated television) countered television in their early works. You can see it in the names of some of Nam June’s pieces; it is TV Garden, not Video Garden, and TV Cello, Frog TV, TV Rodin, Moon is The Oldest TV, etc. The early exhibitions used television as a starting place: TV as a Creative Medium, 1969, and Vision and Television, 1970.

1969

In 1969 four events occurred that opened doors. The first was The Medium is the Medium, a broadcast at WGBH-TV in Boston on March 23, 1969. The Medium showcased six artists; Nam June Paik, Aldo Tambellini, Alan Kaprow, James Seawright, Thomas Tadlock, and Otto Piene, but of them, only Paik, Tambellini, Piene and Kaprow, would become significant in the development of video, Kaprow because of his writing on the subject. Almost every form of video that would later emerge was represented in embryo form. James A. Nadeau wrote a Master’s thesis on the program entitled The Medium is the Medium: the Convergence of Video, Art and Television at WGBH (1969). It is available online at http://cms.mit.edu/research/theses/JamesNadeau2006.pdf and is well worth reading if you are not familiar with it.

The next two events occurred simultaneously two months later; Bruce Nauman’s show at Castelli and TV as a Creative Medium at the Howard Wise Gallery. Both these shows are well known and need little comment from me. But nearly everyone in New York who was interested in video at that time saw them, and their impact is incalculable. Three video collectives — Videofreex, Raindance, and Global Village — were founded in New York that summer and fall.

The fourth event, in which the Videofreex were directly involved, was the CBS initiative, led by Don West, resulting in the Subject to Change program, repudiated by the top management at CBS and leading to West’s dismissal.

Subject to Change

Historically, this event is characterized as a failure, and, from the CBS point of view, maybe it was. Don West was Assistant to the President of CBS, Frank Stanton. Caught up in the currents of the 1960s, it was West’s idea to develop programming that would reflect that ferment (and also replace the Smothers Brothers, who had been recently expelled from the CBS stable). With permission from his boss and some funding from CBS, West formed SQN Productions and began his project. Learning that there were people in New York making video with Sony portapaks, he began scouting for production talent. He found the Videofreex. Nancy Cain, who worked for West, in her book Video Days (Event Horizon Press, Palm Springs CA, 2011), offers an insider’s detailed view of what happened next.

To make a long story short, West funded the Videofreex and some others efforts to produce footage for his intended program and the three founding Videofreex, David Cort, Curtis Ratcliff, and Parry Teasdale traveled far and wide making tapes that, in their opinion, were suitable for their project. But West and the three Videofreex were not a good fit; they had widely differing goals. West wanted a viewable program that would fulfill his notion of what the 60s were about and award him a producer’s reputation at CBS. The Videofreex wanted to reform the media totally bypassing, if not replacing, the corporate media of the day, and produced a program that would essentially use CBS against itself. In the tussles that followed the Videofreex prevailed because they had stronger personalities and a stronger, though inchoate, vision of what they wanted and were willing, and not willing to do. West could only watch in frustration as control of the project, and his future at CBS, slipped out of his grasp.

The Product

The actual tape that the Videofreex produced consisted of six sequences, plus a short colorized feedback section. The first was a sequence of Hovey Burgess’ Circo del Arte , a juggling and acrobatic performance troupe shot in a park setting with a casual audience of park visitors. The second, shot in Chicago, featured Abbie Hoffman interspersed with footage from the Weathermen’s “Days of Rage” demonstration, and some on site interviews. Then came the colorized feedback section, a session with Tony Pigg, the San Francisco disk jockey in his radio studio, a long edit of Pacific High School, an alternative school in Palo Alto, followed by footage of Norman Taffel’s avant-garde performance group. The taped ended with footage of the Ant Farm erecting a large inflatable and cavorting around in it.

None of these sequences lacked interest. Hovey Burgess (six minutes) was, and still is, a highly respected master of circus performance and education. His sequence has historic value. Abbie Hoffman was always funny, often astute and seldom doctrinaire. The camera liked him. Pacific High School (14 minutes!) was an innovative if seriously laid back experiment in education. It faded out in 1978, but it’s alumni run a lively web site at http://pacifichighschool.net/. Tony Pigg was a notable broadcaster at KSAN back in the day, and the Ant Farm went on to considerable fame. Other choices could have been made, but the Videofreex choice of subjects was, in retrospect, quite defensible. The camerawork was leisurely, though there were good moments, and the editing, too, was the opposite of tight. Still, you could see what they were trying for; a very lightly mediated translation of direct experience.

If the shooting had been focused and the editing tight the project might have gone on to the next phase, saving Don West’s job. But there was no way that the final version of Subject to Change would ever have made it to network broadcast, or even, it must said, to Lanesville TV.

Did the Videofreex blow an opportunity? I don’t think so. The Videofreex, as constituted at the time, guessed that their edit was not going to pass muster. They were addressing an audience that CBS hardly knew existed.

If they had been a more experienced and pliable group, and produced a product to Don West’s liking, they might have hung on for a while, but from a CBS point of view the Videofreex would always be amateurs. CBS was a union shop, and ultimately the unions would have had to govern any production that aired on the network. The Videofreex would have been eased out of the picture and their resulting trajectory in the video community would have been very different. Maybe we wouldn’t be talking about them now.

The Videofreex came away from Subject to Change with a profound list of advantages including a wealth of logistics and production experience, an amount of liberated video equipment, a loft on Prince Street, some new members and a useful degree of notoriety and charisma.

Subject to Change was a net win for the Videofreex, giving them visibility in the community and beyond, as well as the advantages listed above. But it was also a win for the video community of that time, because it created the impression that a bunch of unknown people, armed with portapaks and an idea, might just possibly impact the world out of proportion to their numbers.

 

Who are they, anyway?

The Videofreex established themselves as the model for such groups and kept that position well into the seventies. What set them apart?

Here are some discussion points. You may have others.

What was true in Lake Woebegon was true of the Videofreex; all the women were strong and all the men were good looking. The women were good looking, too, of course, in addition being strong. They were, just to look at them, an attractive group of people. Well, it’s a place to start.

In a conversation some years ago John Reilly, founder of Global Village, told me that, for him, the distinguishing feature of the Videofreex was that there were so many of them. “They could drop ten people onto a project at any time.”

Certainly size was an advantage, enabling them to function as a large efficient team, and also enabling them to break down into smaller units and lend themselves to diverse projects.

In 1970 they ranged in age from 20 to mid-thirties. They had varied backgrounds: married, divorced, children, jobs, beatnik life, acting, singing, talent agenting, record producing, teaching NYC public school, journalism, making art, working in a museum, orphanage, army technician, woodworking, middle class, working class, Boston, Brooklyn, Connecticut, Michigan, Maryland, Poughkeepsie, Jews, Irish, Welsh, Scots Italian, German, and a couple of Anglo-Saxon types.

The Videofreex roster never officially changed, only expanded, and that was another point in their favor. Other groups’ members came and went, though a core group sometimes remained, but the Videofreex were a model of stability in a community in flux. They also had a tight circle of friends who often became involved in their projects, were frequent visitors to their loft and, later, to Maple Tree Farm, offering additional help and advice over the years.

They had a high level of technical proficiency. Expert at lugging and plugging, they could cable together any combination of decks, cameras and monitors quickly, set up multi camera systems with intercom headsets and microphones, trouble shoot and problem solve. They could fix their own cameras and decks. They could build patch panels, breakout boxes, and a soundproof control room. Wielding soldering irons and diagonal cutters they could build or repair any cable. They knew the lingo, the proper names for everything, and could explain their function to others. No other video group in New York could match them that way. And they were generous with their skills. Upon invitation they would lug their equipment great distances, set up and do their thing, often for little or no remuneration.

They picked up a camera like a plumber picking up a pipe wrench; it was the primary tool. The first thing they did with a new camera was take off the handle, an awkward attachment the use of which ensured wobbly results. Grasping the camera with two hands, front and back, index finger on the record button, improved stability and made the camera and operator one solid unit.

The Sony camera of that time was about the size of a cigar box and weighed about five pounds. It came with a fussy zoom lens on a C mount. Most 16mm film cameras used C mounts so you could put any C mount lens on it. Part of the loot from the Subject to Change project was some very nice 12.5mm wide-angle lenses and these became the lenses favored by the New York Videofreex. The idea behind this was that the wide-angle lens most nearly replicated the natural act of seeing; if you wanted detail you had to get up close. This resulted in a style of shooting that dismissed objective distance in favor of subjective closeness, with the camera operator participating in the scene he or she was shooting; working from within rather than from without. A key word was involvement. Hundreds of hours spent looking through the viewfinder instilled a high level of confidence. Pretty pictures were not the point. It was enough to hold the camera so the information flowed smoothly into the lens without banging against the sides.

 

 

The New York Videofreex.

The evolution of the Videofreex to its final roster after Subject to Change might have been problematic if it were not for several factors; the homelessness of Skip Blumberg, the burgeoning relationships between Parry Teasdale and Carol Vontobel and, later, Chuck Kennedy and Ann Woodward and the late spring rediscovery of Nancy Cain by Bart Friedman. Carol Vontobel, Nancy Cain, and Skip Blumberg had all been associated with Subject to Change, working for Don West. They knew the Videofreex founders well. Skip Blumberg moved into the Videofreex loft on Prince Street because he lost his apartment and had nowhere else to go. Although Subject to Change had ended, romance, affinity, and the general feeling of excitement that the project had engendered had not, and before long Carol, Nancy, and Skip were easing themselves into Videofreex membership. Chuck Kennedy’s involvement was never in doubt owing to his technical skills. Davidson, a friend and fellow traveler of Cort’s, had been invited to join on the eve of the Subject to Change presentation. The roster was now up to eight.

It was not always a smooth transition; individually the Videofreex were more like cats than dogs, and a range of diverse opinions could be counted on. Morning meetings at the Videofreex loft could be passionate; the group could have yet broken up over a number of passing issues. But David Cort shrewdly understood that the way to keep the group together was to keep it busy.

David had wangled an invitation for the group to participate in Vision and Television, at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis, his old alma mater, and he herded a contingent of Videofreex to Waltham, loaded down with cameras, decks, and cables. It was there that the Videofreex met the still small video art community. And it was there that Cupid struck when Ann Woodward, assistant to Rose Art curator Russell Connor, fell in love with Chuck Kennedy, and soon moved in with the Videofreex. Another new member; now they were nine!

The next big project was the Alternate Media Conference at Goddard College that entailed the construction of a giant vinyl pink and blue inflatable rear projection structure, dubbed the Blue Calzone, supervised by sculptor Pedro Lujan, who didn’t much care about video but liked the Videofreex and became a continuing friend of the group.

The Prince Street loft was a busy place; David Cort encouraged action, and the Videofreex complied by turning the loft into a television studio with a real soundproof control room, lighting, a three camera system with intercoms, egg crates pasted on the wall to absorb sound, and furniture to house the various switchers, decks and mixers. In time they purchased a 1” IVC recording deck that enabled them to do vertical interval editing.

Bart Friedman, a talent agent and record producer, joined in the late spring of 1970, bringing the group up to ten.

Very early, the New York Videofreex instituted a weekly video salon. This was an invitation to all in New York’s small video community to gather at their Prince Street loft on Friday evenings for video viewing, conversation and networking. It was well attended; the Videofreex sometimes worked all week to prepare tapes for viewing, and welcomed the tapes of others as well. This activity gave them something of a leadership position among a growing community of unaffiliated videomakers and artists.

In 1970 the New York State legislature raised the budget for the New York State Council on the Arts from about million dollars to over $20 million. This startling jump, and the commitment by NYSCA to assume a leadership role in the arts in New York, would change the fortunes and the future of video, not only in the state, but, by implication, everywhere in America.

But it got off to a rocky start. In the spring of 1970, the Raindance Corporation, through the Jewish Museum, proposed to NYSCA to establish The Center for Decentralized Television, the purpose of which was to become the sole regranting agency dispensing NYSCA funds to the various video groups forming in the state. The amount involved was $250,000, which would have been the whole amount allotted to video that year. This sparked a video rebellion led by John Reilly of Global Village. Over the summer of 1970, amidst passionate controversy, David Cort and Parry Teasdale played a part in developing the more rational distribution program for video that ultimately prevailed, though its impact would not be felt until the following year.

[In the early 70s there was an art boom in New York City and state. Not only was video affected, but nearly every discipline thrived; dance, theater, conceptual art, alternative galleries and exhibition spaces such as the Kitchen and others, the emergence of SoHo as a concentration of art activity, publications such as Avalanche and Radical Software, all aided, directly or indirectly, by the heavy support of NYSCA and the NEA. Oddly enough, very little has been written about NYSCA’s commanding role in all this. ]

Over the summer of 1970 the Videofreex were getting low on money. Curtis Ratcliff decided to try San Francisco for a while. Davidson took a three month leave of absence

That autumn one of their parents donated $10,000, but, given the Videofreex accumulated debts for rent, utilities and other expenses, that lasted for about a week. Over the winter of 70/71, the Videofreex were living off savings and each other, and Davidson took another three months leave. David and Skip took themselves off to the Caribbean for a month.

In late April a contingent of Videofreex went to Washington, D.C. to participate, and tape the anti-war Mayday demonstrations organized by a coalition of anti-war groups called the Mayday Tribe. The Videofreex collaborated with another group from Antioch College and helped produced several edits, including Mayday Realtime by David and Curtis. It was at Mayday that they made their first attempt at pirate broadcasting.

In the meantime, NYSCA, in the person of Allon Schoerner, was making it plain to the Videofreex that competition for grants in New York City would be intense. Owing to NYSCA funding policies, moving to one of the less populated counties in New York would make it much easier to help them.

This was not particularly welcome news, but Skip Blumberg took the lead and convinced the group that this could open them up to a new, better, cleaner, and cheaper, lifestyle.

In the early spring of 1971 the Videofreex began house hunting in the country. Several locations were scouted and in June of 1971, they moved to Maple Tree Farm, a roomy old Victorian farmhouse in a high mountain valley in Greene County,. The second phase of Videofreex life was about to begin.

The Lanesville Videofreex.

The thoroughly urban were now in an environment where there was no television, where all transport was by automobile, where their neighbors knew little of art, video, the New York State Council on the Arts, or any of the urban amenities the Videofreex were used to. The move had the effect of drawing the Videofreex closer to each other. Before the move, the Videofreex had two separate living quarters. But now they were all thrown together, cheek by jowl, into one big 70 year old farmhouse on the south side of Hunter Mountain. There were adjustments. Those who had cats brought them. David Cort brought his parrot. They got used to driving everywhere, cooking meals for each other, dealing with garbage. They acquired a dog.

The Videofreex were not about to live without television. Several hundred feet up the mountain, they discovered an open area with clear view and erected a high TV antenna, and cabled it to the farmhouse below. They got one station broadcasting from Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

There were two weddings; Curtis Ratcliff came back from California and married videomaker Cy Griffin on the front lawn at Maple Tree Farm. The office was performed by Parry Teasdale, duly licensed by New York State. Who knew! And Parry and Carol were married at the Hunter, NY, town hall.

There was a birth; Sarah Teasdale was born to Parry and Carol.

 

 

The Video Inn (no pun intended)

Moving to an isolated mountain valley in Greene County could have relegated the group to semi-obscurity, but that did not happen. Instead, the Videofreex in their new home at Maple Tree Farm became a magnet for people interested in video.

Part of NYSCA’s mandate to the Videofreex was that they operate a media center. Russell Connor had installed Lydia Silman as department head of TV/Media, and her sympathies were proactive. TV/Media funded many efforts, but media centers were a priority. Video equipment was expensive. From the NYSCA point of view, if the embryo video community were to thrive it would need access to equipment, instruction, and editing facilities. Media centers would fill the bill. Videofreex first grant was to organize a media center in Rochester, New York.

Maple Tree Farm was also to be a media center. Shortly after arrival there was a flurry of building: a video equipment repair shop, an editing room, a production room, a tape library, and a darkroom.

Among the first visitors to arrive were Joan Jonas and Richard Forman. Within a year the trickle became flood. The Videofreex became innkeepers, mastering housekeeping duties, cooking for large groups, and other hotel skills. Ann and Chuck Kennedy turned out to be experienced gardeners, creating a quarter acre vegetable garden that did much to alleviate food costs. Bart Friedman established himself as a talented maître d’hôtel and front desk.

Between 1972 and 1976 over 1500 visitors came from all over America, from Europe, Australia, and the island of Réunion. Some were writers wanting to write about the Videofreex, most were video enthusiasts wanting to experience something of the Videofreex life and work. Some stayed for days, some for a night or two, but when they left they took home with them real information about the Videofreex and what they were doing, helping to cement the Videofreex’ national and international reputation in the world of small-format video.

Lanesville TV

Against the background of all this activity, the Videofreex continued their video work and this often meant being away from home. Videofreex traveled over New York State doing workshops, helping to found other video groups, attending conferences, giving technical support. David Cort was called away to Jerusalem to work on a project for the Jewish Museum. Skip, Nancy, Bart, Chuck and Parry were called away to work with TVTV, a consortium put together by Raindance alumnus Michael Shamberg and writer Alan Rucker to cover the 1972 Democratic and Republican conventions. This became a regular assignment for some; Videofreex participated in six TVTV productions from 1972 to 1975.

But home is where the heart is and, for the Videofreex, this was Maple Tree Farm; badminton on the lawn, working in the garden, evenings on the porch, swimming in Stony Clove Creek, eating together, watching the 6 0’ clock news together, all the small rituals and interactions as they evolved among the group.

Home is also where the neighbors are. Lanesville’s 2000 census population was 430. I don’t know the exact figure for 1970, but I expect it was less. Most inhabitants were clustered on or near the Stony Clove Valley floor, where Rte 214 parallels Stony Clove Creek. Lanesville is 1280 feet above sea level, surrounded by mountains on all sides. Television reception was poor to unwatchable, and though TV sets were often present in homes, they were seldom turned on.

The Videofreex had toyed with the idea of pirate television in New York, even going so far as to purchase a Jerrold cable amplifier with money from Abbie Hoffman. Pirate TV in New York City was not a practical plan. But the urge to broadcast, to have, and serve, an audience, and to exercise their view of what television could and should be, was very strong in them. And the remote and geographically enclosed location offered an ideal situation for low power broadcast.

Over the winter of 71/72 they made contact with a notorious pirate radio broadcaster in the Hudson Valley, who happened to be an expert on antenna technology. Joseph Paul Ferraro came to Maple Tree Farm and with his help they began to piece together the necessary elements. By March 1972 they were ready.

When the Videofreex arrived in Lanesville, they occupied the biggest, most prominent, house in town, situated on a low bluff overlooking the main road. At first glance, they looked like a stereotypical hippie commune. But they added to the local economy — that was welcome — and they received more mail than nearly the rest of Lanesville combined. The post office was located in the Lanesville General Store, and volume and variety of mail — official mail from NYSCA, media publications, art publications, business mail — that, and the constant stream of visitors, caught people’s attention in that small gossiping community. Certain Videofreex frequented the local tavern and all the Videofreex showed up at the general store. Slowly at first, the people of Lanesville began to be acquainted with them. Some liked them and some didn’t, but the Videofreex themselves, according to their own ethos, were never condescending or less than amiable. In a sense, the audience was ready, too.

From March 1972 to February 1977 the Videofreex broadcast 258 Sunday night shows to their Lanesville audience. The Nielsons never got around to rating them, so we don’t really know how many actually watched. But there was a high level of feedback (it was a call-in program) so we know there was a significant number.

Parry Teasdale, in his book Videofreex: America’s First Pirate TV Station & the Catskills Collective That Turned It On, gives a detailed description of Lanesville TV and the activities surrounding it.

Cowboy fantasies, cooking shows, comic dramas, interviews, madcap capers, a trout stocking tape, a show featuring a large grey wolf in the living room, a crazy boxing match between two characters from the Hunter Rescue Squad, two hours or so a week, all were sandwiched between the Videofreex theme, Sunny Disposish, from the Jukin’ album by Manhattan Transfer.

You must wonder what the Lanesvillians thought of it all or, even more, what it meant to them. After all, it was only for them. They were the recipients, and often participants, of the best that a dedicated group of young video activists could do for them with the resources at hand. And they kept it going for six years. Certainly nothing like that had ever occurred in their lives before, or, for that matter, in the lives of any small community. Did it change them in any way? Did it give them a sense of themselves that was different from that sense they had before the Videofreex arrived in Lanesville?

Many people who wrote and thought about video in the early 70s tended to refer to it in binary language; there was ‘video art’ and ‘video documentary’. Whatever truth there was to that dichotomy, the Videofreex approach to video was not so easily classified; their work often tended to fall between not just two stools but several, including elements of visual art, theater, music, comedy, tragedy, pedagogy, and outright buffoonery, and was almost always a spontaneous response to events at hand, seldom scripted in any usual sense of that term. This is not to say the Videofreex never tried their hand at their idea of what a documentary meant. They did their Fred Hampton, their Days of Rage, their Mayday, their Womens’ Lib demonstrations. But their most involving tapes always seem to offer a spontaneous and unique vision of entertainment, which runs like a thread throughout their tape list and embodies a unique spirit that could only surface among people who knew each other very well and had a high level of trust, humor, and affection. Certainly much of the Lanesville TV material came out that way.

What was it about them…?

The Videofreex had an ethos and, for the most part, they lived up to it. In part, it was an ethos of the camera. They believed that those in front of the camera and those behind it shared an equality of purpose and involvement. Objectivity, in its usually accepted sense, was discarded in favor of a subjective closeness that brought them both together. Videofreex were always their own subjects as well, conscious of the fact that their camera work revealed as much about themselves as whoever they were working with. This ethos may have been strained at times when working with people with whom they were not in great sympathy. But, on the whole…

The Videofreex were an unusually generous group. This quality extended to nearly every activity they engaged in, including their work for NYSCA where they certainly exceeded their mandate of workshops and technical assistance, their publication of The Spaghetti City Video Manual, spearheaded by Parry and Ann, their operation of the free video bed and breakfast, which was never requested of them by any funding agency, and Lanesville TV, which was a gift to the people of Lanesville as well as an outlet for their own ideal of what television could be.

 

The End…

It started with the oil crisis of 1973-74. Until then, the U.S. economy was still participating in the post war boom. There was money for the arts and money (more or less) for the Videofreex. But by 1974 the inflation rate was at 10%, and the stock market was in the depths of the biggest crash since 1929. The interest rate on the U.S ten-year bond was at 8%, the highest it had been since the late 18th century! Unemployment was at 5.6%, but would shoot up to 7.7% by 1976. The consumer price index jumped from 41.8 to 53.8 between 1972 and 1975. All of these trends were upward, and would remain so until the early 80s. Inflation with recession: it was the worst possible scenario.

[The effect on NYSCA was profound and would result in NYSCA’s total reorganization in 1978. Many video clients and other small arts groups were cut from the program.]

I don’t have figures for 1972 or 73, but in 1971 the Videofreex received about $42,000 out of a $73,500 grant to the Rochester Museum and Science Center for the establishment of a media center there that became known as Portable Channel. In 1974 they received $25,500, this at a time when the dollar was rapidly losing buying power.

The Videofreex were eating three meals a day, paying rent and buying gas, replenishing their tape stocks and occasional new equipment, and handling the influx of visitors, few of whom ever offered to compensate them for their room and board. Each member got 25$ a week, to spend however he or she wanted. But as 1974 turned into 1975, life at Maple Tree Farm became less and less sustainable for the nine people there.

Five years is a long time to devote to a project, particularly if one is growing older and one’s take home pay is 25$ a week, even when the home and meals are provided. David Cort, age 40, was the first to go, riding off into the sunset in a video-customized Toyota truck, to a number of diverse careers involving video, web design, channeling Albert Einstein for a childrens’ museum, and designing video systems for the U.S. Air Force.

Davidson Gigliotti found a home with Experimental Intermedia Foundation in New York and pursued a career in video art. Skip Blumberg married animator Jane Aaron and finally settled back in New York where he embarked on a notable video production career.

Ann Woodward went back to New York to work for Russell Connor, her old boss at Brandeis, who was now producing art-related videotapes. She would later become a video editor for Barbara Walters. Curtis Ratcliff left the farm after marrying Cy Griffin, divorced him soon after, and pursued a successful art career in the Bay Area.

Parry Teasdale and Carol Vontobel bought a house in Phoenicia, NY. Parry consulted on low-power TV, worked with libraries in New York State on video-related projects. Carol pursued a career in social work.

Bart Friedman, Nancy Cain, and Chuck Kennedy stayed at Maple Tree Farm until 1978. Bart and Nancy moved to Woodstock and continued working in video. Chuck Kennedy married Marji Yablon and they had a child, Rhea, who is active in Videofreex issues today. Chuck had a number of technical video jobs, winding up at SUNY New Paltz. He died in 2004.

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