sourced from the EZTV archives at 18th Street Arts Center & ONE archives at USC
additional materials sourced from the Patric Prince Archives at the V&A, London & Zina Bethune archives at UCLA
This online museum is dedicated to the archives of the Los Angeles-based alternative art spaces, which operated under the names EZTV, EZTV Video Gallery, EZTV Video Center, EZTV Arts Foundation, EZTV Media and/or CyberSpace Gallery, from 1983 to the present.
EZTV’s roots began in 1979, when founder John Dorr, after years of attempting to work in the Hollywood film studio system, began experimenting with home video equipment.
Dorr made three feature-length films with his home equipment and was working on a fourth, when he organized a group of several other video makers, including Ken Camp and Richard Moyer. They held several evenings, screening their work at West Hollywood’s Community Center. Playwright Terry Mack Murphy and actors Michael Kearns and Strawn Bovee became key collaborators.
This began, at least locally, the concept of a legitimate theatrical-style ’video theater’, better known today as microcinema.
In 1983, Dorr, and a group of over two dozen co-founding members most notably Michael J., Masucci, James Williams, Mark Shepard, Patricia Miller, Sondra Lowell, Robert Hernandez, Nicholas Frangakis, T. Jankowski, Pat Evans, Earl Miller, Jaime Walters, James Dillinger, Phoebe Wray, and B.A. Falvo, pooled resources and skills and created a permanent space.
The space was called “EZTV Video Gallery”. It was a small space with housed a 40-seat screening area, and two editing systems. Two 25″ video monitors displayed the videos being publicly presented. The screening combined work produced by the in-house core group of artists, as well as a diverse selection of international work.
According to a publication from the American Film Institute, EZTV Video Gallery was nothing
Massive projection piece for opening of "Pacific Standard Time" (2011) Kate Johnson
less than “the first independent gallery to dedicate all of its space, all of the time, to ‘the box’."
At that time, video was, usually, either exhibited in art galleries as ‘video art’ or else, when done theatrical-style, it was only seen in the adult XXX theaters that had switched from film to low cost video projection. It was also being presented, to more insolated audiences, at universities, in festivals or at professional conferences. EZTV sought to bring to a more public arena, the burgeoning diversity that was independent video.
EZTV was an early advocate of work under-represented by either mainstream Hollywood, or the mainstream of the contemporary art/museum culture. Such under-represented communities included LGBTQ, computer art, physically-challenged artists, feminist, multimedia and performance art.
Originally, the gallery ran four screenings a day, seven days a week, but within the first few months that was scaled back to one or sometime two screenings, Thursday through Sunday.
EZTV Gallery also served as a space for the exhibition of wall art. James Williams was its first wall gallery curator. Soon, live performances, such as spoken word, music or performance art began to weave into the programming as well. And the additional promise of the digital revolution also emerged.
Within the first year, EZTV began working with LA ACM SIGGRAPH, most notably Joan Collins, collaborating in 1984 to present a then pioneering example of the multi-city interactive possibilities of the internet, for creative uses. This was to be the first of a number such occasional collaboration which have continued to this day.
In 1985, following the unexpected, unprecedented and overwhelming success of a documentary about beat poet Jack Kerouac (“What Happened to Kerouac”) by Richard Lerner and Lewis Macadams, which screened for over four months at EZTV, the space was suddenly transformed. Three other “EZTV Affiliate Theaters” around Los Angeles simultaneously screened what the LA Times called the ‘first video theater hit”.
Now an ‘overnight success’, EZTV moved into a three-floor facility, with six editing rooms, music lab, darkroom, production studio, various offices and a screening room/gallery with a 99 seat capacity. It became known as “EZTV Video Center”. That became the version of the space with which the public best identified.
In 1986, Michael J. Masucci created the West Hollywood Sign, and as a result was named C0-Artistic Director. He greatly expanded the programming to include more and more live performance art, and interactive project. He reached out to the greater arts community and served as an member of the Board of Directors for a number of non-profit organziations, including the Fringe Festival/Los Angeles, Avaz International Dance Theater, and on the Arts Advisory Board for the Los Angeles Free Clinic.
In 1988 John Dorr began a three-year collaboration with Lewis Macadams, producing the 26 part documentary series of leading writers “The Lannon Literary Series”. These were included in library collections across the U.S. and was screened on various TV outlets as well.
"The West Hollywood Sign" (1986) Michael J. Masucci
Participation from many of the core group diversified the exhibitions, so no one curatorial voice overpowered the programming. James Williams introduced controversial wall art. Michael J. Masucci expanded the focus of EZTV and encouraged the exhibition of computer based arts, and with artists such as Victor Acevedo, and ia Kamandalu, hosted many showings of digital art, something rare at that time.
In 1992, within EZTV, Michael J. Masucci and Patric Prince, founded CyberSpace Gallery, with the help of artists Acevedo, Kamandalu, Michael Wright, intern Lisa Tripp and others. CyberSpace Gallery was among the world’s first galleries dedicated to digital art, and in 1995 launched one of the very first websites exhibiting digital art.
Founder Dorr died of AIDS complications in 1993. Masucci became director, named ia Kamandalu as Vice-President, and over time, and in partnership with Kate Johnson, transitioned the space, allowing for its survival, and the preservation of its early history. EZTV left West Hollywood, and since that time, has operated out of three subsequent spaces (currently the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica), as well as participating in several joint locations with other groups.
Now EZTV has existed longer without founder Dorr, then under his leadership. It has been located at 18th Street Arts Center far longer than at any of its previous locations.
Since its inception, hundreds of screenings, art events performances, workshops and lectures have taken place, Some were well attended, other, still other worthy events were not. Today, it continues to produce and curate work, and collaborate with other artists and particpate in other multi-organizational efforts.
This online museum attempts to chronicle and preserve many of the most interesting projects from throughout EZTV’/CyberSpace Gallery’s diverse heritage. From cinema style narratives, to documentaries, and experimental work, from safe to challenging.
“the first independent gallery to devote all of its space, all of the time to ‘the box’.”
- Mitch Tuchman, American Film Magazine (American Film Institute)
“Los Angeles’s premiere alternative video production and exhibition organization.”
- Steve Anderson, IFILM.net
“EZTV, an avant-garde video production company and digital art center.”
- Chris Oakes, Wired.com
“an alternative to the studio system…where projects could be distributed without the mechanisms of big distribution”
– Heidi Duckler, Dance-Zine
“Already 20 years it has led the way in the fields of art as well as media.”
- Oiva Knuuttila and Tekniikan Nakoalat (translated from Finnish by the author)
“High-tech filmmaking” – Paul Karon, Variety Magazine
“EZTV is not a start-up organization, impetuously plunging into a sea of glitzy technology, it has been around for 16 (now 20) years and consistently encourages artists to try new methods and approaches with video and its allied systems. Yet while EZTV is no stranger to the formidable players of Hollywood, its reputation stems from its less conventional work, pieces such as Masucci’s…‘Hero’s Welcome’”
– Miles Beller, Artweek
“EZTV has become a focal point for video’s new frontier…the gallery has become a launching pad for explorers of the outer limits of the visual arts.”
- Patrick Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
“Closest comparison I can make with EZTV is the early film studios of 70 or so years ago…this place could easily be the fledgling Warner Bros. of the video world.”
- Maria Montgomery, Option Magazine
“Showing a product unlike anything you can see on a network or most cable and unlike in a feature film theater…They are drawing audiences because the videos themselves are gutsy, audacious and full of surprises with the rare range of subject matter…This is not the future, this is now.” – Michael Ventura, L.A. Weekly
“The EZTV video gallery has established itself as the showcase outlet here for feature length independent productions shot entirely on tape.” – Tom Girard, Variety
“EZTV is one of those rare birds in the world of artistic endeavor an institution that nurtures and supports work being produced in all facets of a particular medium.”
- Diana Rico, Daily News
“Who needs Hollywood when you’ve got EZTV?…America’s first video theatre.”
- Lewis MacAdams, California Magazine
“Los Angeles’ prime viewing spot for independent video.”
- Terry Atkinson, Los Angeles Times
“If you haven’t heard of EZTV you should have. This collective of video artists is one of the most prolific and innovative in the medium.” – Exposure Magazine
“The focal point of alternative video entertainment in Los Angeles.”
- David Crook, Los Angeles Times
“EZTV gained reputation for presenting adventurous, exciting, eclectic video features.”
- Lewis MacAdams, Arts & Antiques
“Nothing less than opening up a whole new marketplace for a product that didn’t even exist a decade ago.”
– Diana Rico, Daily News
“A Los Angeles based video gallery and production co-op that would nurture “Off Hollywood” product a stones throw away from the Hollywood studio system.”
- Jay Padroff, Millimeter Magazine
“The center of a burgeoning artform.” – Steven Mikulan, L.A. Style
“An art gallery with television monitors instead of Van Goghs…a place where independent filmmakers can show their work on video to an appreciative audience and it was a place where audiences could find something different from the standard movie and live stage fare.”
– David Keller, Los Angeles Independent
“You can watch the development of this hybrid of cinema and experimental art… you may see a work by a future DeMille of videomaking.” – Bill Ross, Sunset Magazine
“At such video showcases as EZTV, LACE, AFI and LACMA one is more likely to find daring and committed work than at 95% of the movie theaters in L.A..” - John Powers, L.A. Weekly
“Today’s video filmmakers are the aesthetic equivalent of the Beat Generation’s underground poets. L.A.’s eclectic video filmmakers have found a permanent showcase for their work at EZTV.” – Clark McCann, PSA Magazine
“Unlike the Kitchen’s emphasis on more experimental work, EZTV’s programming covers the full spectrum of the electronic art including comedy, music and documentary.”
- Barton Weiss, The Dallas Morning News
“EZTV’s strong suit is its support of works that would never get a national endowment or a commercial producer. It’s a place where the camp and the zany can find an audience. It’s good to know that there are so many video makers out there eagerly pushing the envelope of creative bad taste.” – Ellin Stein, Video Movies Magazine
“It’s the Hollywood Indie community which has spawned EZTV, its own video theater and production facility, EZTV is a place where videomakers refer to their tapes as movies. Where dreams and projects come true after all the majors have let you down.”
- Renee Tajima, The Independent
“It contains something to alternately amuse, irritate, puzzle, disgust, in a word entertain anybody.”
– Charles Mitchell, The Dallas Observer
“The EZTV Video Gallery offers something for everyone.” – Bob Ickes, USC Daily Trojan
“EZTV is the best known of the handful of the video galleries that have sprung up around L.A. in the last few years. For those who can’t get enough on the tube, or who like to keep up on what’s happening on the cutting edge of the medium, EZTV is the place to go.”
- Janrae Frank, MovieLine Magazine
“A new concept of video viewing is on the horizon-or TV screen- for people interested in something more than cable can offer.”
– Dallas Downtown News
“EZTV which supports artistic experimentation with newer computer technologies, also supports work that falls between the worlds of traditional artfilm and commercial cinema.” - Collette Chattopadahyay, Artweek
“EZTV is the place to be…A fascinating range of works that will be of interest to computer officianados as well as those just discovering the vast creative possibilities of this medium.” - Venice Magazine
“There’s more to life than MTV and movie rentals you know. For the past 11 years EZTV has been a gathering place for video artists.”
– L.A. Reader
“EZTV, America’s First Video Theater…the rapidly advancing technology and accessibility of the medium has made it a viable form of movie making.” - Darren Leon, Orange County Register
“EZTV is a unique establishment that blends movie going and TV watching into a single experience. For video makers EZTV offers a showcase for works which might otherwise never reach the public ranging from experimental shorts to narrative features.”
- Abby Bernstein, Dramalogue
“Not a collection of “Leave it to Beaver” re-runs or an “I Love Lucy” pageant, but 90 minutes of new video. TV that you won’t see at home. This is the sort of thing that makes you glad that you don’t live in Los Angeles.” – Steven Reddicliffe, Dallas Times Herald
“I still have no idea what EZTV is, but I can hardly wait to go back.”
- West Hollywood Paper
ABOUT CYBERSPACE GALLERY( EZTV’s DIGITAL ART GALLERY)
“clearly one of the world’s first galleries for the exhibition of computer art”
- Who’s Who in Executives & Businesses
“CyberSpace Gallery is beyond doubt one of the most prominent digital art galleries”
- Oiva Knuuttila and Tekniikan Nakoalat, (translated from Finnish by author)
“EZTV CyberSpace Gallery…the only electronic gallery in town…helping digital artists break into museums.”
– Nancy Hays, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications
“History tells us that the process of acceptance and assimilation of any new medium can be mighty slow…Those that are sticking their necks out are softening the risk… CyberSpace Gallery is a rare animal in its commitment to showing almost exclusively computer generated art.” – Gary Pfitzer, Computer Graphics World
“The fledgling gallery is the only exhibtion space in the country to consistently showcase computer art…Clearly CyberSpace Gallery is a place to watch.” – Hope Urban, L.A. Reader
“One of the city’s most unusual art outposts, the only paint in the place is that covering the walls.”
– Donna Frazier, Los Angeles Times Magazine
“While we’re being dazzled with the prospect of virtual reality, let’s not forget the folks who had the early ability to cross breed creativity with the computer.” - Lesa Sawahata, Exposure Magazine
ABOUT EZTV'S EARLIER WEBSITE, www.eztvmedia.com
“It’s website is recognized internationally for the exhibition of compelling digital art”
- Who’s Who in Executives & Businesses
“Read up on the history of EZTV to learn more about how artists use computers and video in their work.”
– Richard Raucci & Elizabeth Crane, (From the book) Yahoo! Yahooligans! Way Cool Sites
“A nice place to investigate…worth the effort.”
- Bert Deivert and Dan Harries, (From the Book) Film and Video on the Internet: The Top 500 Sites
“EZTV a pivotal organization in the history of Los Angeles video and digital communities, bridges the gap between fine art and Hollywood” - Dean J. Rositano, Robert A. Rositano, Richard D. Stafford, (From the book) Mega Web Directory
From its inception, EZTV received numerous recognition in the popular press. At a time when the printed newspaper and magazine was the de facto proof of cultural relevance, the widespread reportage of the space’s exhibitions as well as original productions gave it a footprint within the diverse arts of Los Angeles.