Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blast from the past! The Educational Video Center in NYC

Last week I had a fine old time with some old friends and I am finally getting around to talking about it here. 

When I was 17 I joined the Educational Video Center and spent half my day working and learning away from my tiny and confining high school in the Bronx. 
I earned high school credits for doing what I do best- arguing with people, writing and asking annoying questions (a process documentary professionals call an "interview").
And it's all captured on tape for future humiliation, I mean, enjoyment.
I helped make three videos but only one was being shown at Lincoln Center last week.
This one. Made in 1993 while a member of YO-TV (Youth Organized Television) the graduate division of EVC and a great platform for a college freshman looking for a meaningful job.
Lower left- That was me back when I was cool.
I remember our group's teacher, David Murdock, walking up to us as we sat around a table trying to figure out the topic we would cover and saying "HEY we have a grant to work for the Whitney Museum. We're gonna shoot the Biennial!!!"
Our collective reaction was: HUH? Whitney Museum??? Biennial?
My specific addition was:
What the heck is a Biennial? Art? I hate art! 
It's SOOO pretentious!
I was 18 and a complete dumb ass.
No, a BIGGER one than now.
Sorry for the AWFUL photo- the lighting was lowered
and I'm using my crappy low rez  iTouch lens.
So last week I got to share that moment with a large group of high school age documentarians from all over the city and it was WONDERFUL.
I wasn't prepared to stand up in front of a filled auditorium but I surprised myself with how much I remembered about the process.
I really missed talking to young people. 
I can't believe I'm using that expression! 
But let's be real- it's been 20 YEARS. 
I ain't no spring chicken.
Some of our team: wish I had brought a tripod- this photo stinks!
Anyway here's a link to the video- warning- art form the 1990's- may not be "work" safe! 
Ah go ahead- it's totally PG!

I remember that one of my biggest arguments centered on the exclamation point on the title. 
I wanted it to end with a question mark. 
It would have read like this:
THAT'S what they call ART?
With all the sarcasm and distaste an 18 year old kid can muster.
Because that's what I thought about 95% of what was hanging in the museum at the time. 
Public speaking-
some people are more eloquent than others
I helped research, interview and edit the actual video (we were a collective of 7 producers with equal decision making powers and work loads). 
I saw 9 artists explain and go through their individual creative processes.
It slowly dawned on me how important their work was (and still is). 
How important it is to paint a stick and hang it on a wall.
Or chew a giant cube of chocolate and make small candy hearts with the "bites".
Or shoot pictures and pin them to a blank wall- unframed, edges curling.

Art is about creating a market place of ideas and challenging the norm.
It doesn't have to be figurative, beautiful or "important".
It isn't inherently bad or pretentious.
It just has to have meaning.
As a creator or a viewer- YOU have equal say in what that meaning is.
I think that's pretty awesome.
That was my primary lesson from my years at EVC and one I and apply to everything I do to this day.
So yes, it was a very well spent night.

If you know of a high school age kid looking for a great internship/educational experience in the NYC area- have them look into EVC- it's a great way to make connections with other thoughtful kids, round out a college application and learn marketable skills. 


This is a series I'm working on just for FUN. I'm having the BEST freaking time!

MuChoS SmOoChEs!


  1. GREAT video!!! I LOVE it! The artists you guys featured were fantastic. Side Note: My BF lived in BX for a while, his middle/high school years and still has family there. I'll have to show him the film, I know he will love it. Thanks for sharing the film! And Love your project as well-- it's beautiful!

  2. "THAT'S what they call ART?
    With all the sarcasm and distaste an 18 year old kid can muster."

    ^^^That is hilarious!
    And gf, you look amazing just 20 years later, much the same beautiful lady!

  3. What an amazing experience you had - Sadly due to my bo-gus internet I can't watch the video - I wish I would've known about this when my niece still lived in NY, she would have been perfect for this type of project/learning experience.

    I'm totally intrigued by your newest project - can't wait to see the rest of the series. I really need to get the funds for some punchinella from Gauche......

    Totally unrelated - THANK YOU for pinning me - ahh! I feel like a school girl - all giddy and stuff - soo cool.

    1. Aww I'm sorry about that but thanks for trying! I will SEND you some Punchinella from Gauche!! Looking for you on FB! As for pinning- I recognize a great talent when I see it and I like to share! :)


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