Postcard invitation for the L.A. Digilantes, 1997
The years 1995-2000 were years of re-defining and re-aligning for EZTV.
At the recommendation of LA Freewaves director Anne Bray, EZTV moved out of its expensive offices on Melrose Ave. and into a very inexpensive (and small) room at the back of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE). This great reduction in overhead allowed EZTV to begin to recover from the devastating economic burdens which resulted after John Dorr’s death.
After successfully surviving the transition from analog to digital, EZTV also began to build a new commitment and relationship with the contemporary art world, especially those that were community-based. Because of the low-cost rent now available at LACE, EZTV was slowly able to let go of all but its most creative clients as it continued to operate its media lab and offer screenings to those who would otherwise have no such opportunity.
Michael J. Masucci in the analog days, 1995
Starting in 1984, Michael J. Masucci learned to engineer, modify, and expand the capability of the group's equipment. He system-designed, wired, and configured complex analog routing systems which are used in one form or another to this day. During the LACE years, in the early days of transition between analog to digital video, Masucci confided a complex system combining both traditional analog tape decks & switchers with computers and digital controllers & processors, allowing for an advanced capability when it was still rare, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in engineering and implementation costs.
EZTV’s original work continued to go against the grain of the prevailing winds of contemporary video art theory. Just as the world was finally catching up with EZTV’s long-standing advocacy of digital imagery, it created a politically-based send-up on gun fanaticism, Islamaphobia, and racism in this short work created in 2000, using puppets, which premiered at FreeWaves:
In this quirky, sardonic parody of gun nuts, conspiracy theorists and prejudice, a gun-toting NRA-loving cross between Charlton (Moses) Heston and Rambo, attacks a Las Vegas celebrity impersonator. The Jimi Hendrix impersonator is shot while performing at what the insane attacker believes must be a stronghold for Arabs terrorism in America; the Luxor Hotel & Casino. This mash-up of pop culture and political paranoia combines miniature puppets, live-action party-goers, actors playing gun militia bimbos (and a gun kid), nazis and animated UFOs.
Written & Directed by Michael J. Masucci
Puppetry created and performed by Lee "The Puppet Guy" Zimmerman
Presented by American Film Institute's Maya Beaton, EZTV was honored for its contributions to the emergence of digital production, hailing it as “some of the core pioneers and advocates of digital production in the moving image arts”. In celebration of EZTV’s 20th anniversary and the creation of CyberSpace Gallery, AFI presented a weekend-long series of screenings, panel discussions, and an exhibition of CyberSpace Gallery’s leading artists.
Pioneering digital art historian and CyberSpace Gallery co-founder Patric Prince wrote this statement as part of the program notes:
"EZTV joined forces during these years, with filmmaker Patrick Creadon, who brought in his then state-of-the art non-linear digital editing system, the Media 100. Patrick went on, in 2006, to direct the critically acclaimed documentary 'Wordplay'.
It was also, during these years, that EZTV began to develop an understanding of the role that mobile media would take. This was an extremely early articulation of what wold become commonly accepted a decade later, namely that mobile communications would transform global society in ways never before experienced. In 1999, Michael J. Masucci met Oiva Kuuntila, then a technology attache at the Consulate of Finland in Los Angeles. Masucci invited Oiva to participate, at a panelist, at the upcoming AFI anniversary tribute to EZTV
In 2000, Michael J. Masucci and Kate Johnson were invited by Finland’s Ministry of Technology (TEKES) to give a keynote speech at the University of Helsinki. It was during this speech that Johnson laid out a vision of what the early 200o’s would be, and Masucci first publicly said that mobile communications would be 'the electric guitar of the early 21st century'."
- Patric Prince
The American Film Institute's "Celebrating Digital Cinema" was a weekend-long series of screenings, digital art exhibitions, and installations, as well as several panel discussions, in honor of the 20th Anniversary of EZTV with a focus on its CyberSpace Gallery.
Hosted by AFI's Maija Beeton, this panel titled "EZTV, Past, Present & Future" was made up of EZTV's Michael J. Masucci & Kate Johnson as well as Art Historian & Curator Patric Prince, Physicist Oiva Knuuttila, DV Magazine Editor Dominic Milano, Producer Robert Gelman, Web Developer.com, Editor David Fiedler, Filmmaker Nina Rota and Digital Artist Robert Lowden.
NOTE: there is a short period of bad technical quality. The video ends with Nina Rota introducing the premiere of her documentary on EZTV founder John Dorr, called "Who Needs Hollywood!"
Part of the CyberSpace Gallery Exhibit
Michael J. Masucci, Dr. Timothy Leary