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The West Hollywood Years


Collection | 1983-1985

Video still of "Blonde Death", James Baker, 1984

1983-1985

In 1983, John Dorr and a group of over two dozen co-founding members pooled their resources and skills to create a permanent space for the screenings. The following is a list (in alphabetical order) of official founding members of EZTV, as published on an ad in Variety’s 50th anniversary issue:



Mark Addy
Gerald Alexander
Pierre Ardans
Brian Photar Bellamy
Strawn Bovee
Ken Camp
James Dillinger (aka James Baker)
John Dorr 
Pat Evans
B.A. Falvo
Nicholas Frangakis


Jack Friend
Samir Hachem
Mark Haggard
Robert Hernandez
T. Jankowski
Mark Kramer
Steve McCambridge
Michael J. (aka Michael J. Masucci)
Earl Miller
Pat Miller
Cordelia Reinhrad



Charles Reinhard
Sybil Rolnick
Ronald G. Rolnick
Mark Shepard
Michael Sonye
Jaime Walters
G. F. Watkins
James Williams
Phoebe Wray


The small space was called “EZTV Video Gallery” and it 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. Originally, the gallery ran four screenings a day at seven days a week, but within the first few months, it was scaled back to 1-2 screenings, Thursday through Sunday. 

According to a publication from the American Film Institute, EZTV Video Gallery was “the first independent gallery to dedicate all of its space, all of the time, to ‘the box’."




Screening at EZTV circa 1986

From the beginning, 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, feminists, multimedia and performance art. The 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. 

However, during this time, video was typically exhibited in art galleries as ‘video art’ or, when done in theatrical-style, it was seen among the adult XXX theaters that switched from film to low-cost video projection. Video was also being presented to more isolated audiences at universities, festivals, or at professional conferences. EZTV sought to bring the burgeoning diversity of independent video to a more public arena.

Within the first year, 1984, EZTV began working with LA ACM SIGGRAPH, most notably Joan Collins, in collaborating to present a then pioneering example of the multi-city interactive possibilities of the internet for its creative uses. This was to be the first of a growing number of such occasional collaborations that have continued to this day.





opening montage, 1984

An evening at EZTV would usually begin with an Opening Montage that played before the evening’s video programming. This 1984 version was typical of the way it began by combining footage from various EZTV videos, footage presented at EZTV, and would include key members such as John Dorr, Patricia Miller, and Michael J. Masucci. Old clips from classic mainstream and sci-fi films were also used. 

Founding member Mark Shepard made these numerous trailers and often comedic clips, updating them throughout his tenure at EZTV (1983-1987). 

In addition to screenings, art shows, performances, and lectures, from its earliest days EZTV threw great parties.
Here is Masucci in his "Video Man" costume, 1984

In 1985, the EZTV space was suddenly transformed following the unexpected, unprecedented, and overwhelming success of a documentary about the beat poet Jack Kerouac, “What Happened to Kerouac?” by Richard Lerner and Lewis Macadams. The documentary screened for over four months at EZTV while 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, a music lab, darkroom, production studio, various offices, and a screening room/gallery with a 99-seat capacity. It became known as “EZTV Video Center”. This became the version of the space in which the public best identified.






EZTV Video Center, 1985

The West hollywood years collection

1983-1985

1986-1989

1990-1994

Promotional still for "Approaching Omega", a Betamax film by John Dorr, 1983

Fiddler on the Hoof, 1983

Mark Kramer

“John Dorr at home” from the Los Angeles Reader, photo by John Samargis, 1983

Crushed Lilies, 1983

T. Jankowski

EZTV poster by James Williams, 1983

Chance Encounters, 1983

James Williams

VHS cover of “Henry Miller 84” interview by John Hunt, 1984

Pride Parade (excerpt from "EZTV Eye Vol. 1"), 1983

EZTV

“Hour 25”, An ongoing weekly sci-fi show in collaboration with KPFK, Mark Sheppard & Pat Miller, 1984

Santa Ana Winds, 1984

Robert Hernandez

Fela Kuti “Music is the Weapon” LA premiere at EZTV, 1984

Blonde Death, 1984

James Baker

“Mike’s Murder”, James Bridges exclusive showing at EZTV, 1984

Depth of Field, 1984

T. Jankowski

Poster for “Blonde Death”, 1984

Clear Canvas, 1984

James Williams

Comic book cover of underground icon R. Crumb, art show and screening held at EZTV, 1984

How to Tap Dance the News, 1984

Sondra Lowell

Revival screening of “Tricia’s Wedding”, Sebastian’s underground classic, 1984

Conan the Waitress, 1984

Mark Addy

Program cover of “On the Threshold”, a seminal live multi-media event in collaboration with LA SIGGRAPH at the Hollywood Palace, 1985

Justiceville, 1985

John Dorr & Sondra Lowell

Cover DVD of “What Happened to Kerouac?”, first bonafide video theater hit at EZTV, 1985

EZTV T-Shirt Ad, 1985

EZTV

Larger Than Life, 1985

Dave Curlender & David Goodsell

On the Threshold, 1985

Joan Collins & Robert Gelman

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