For a panel discussion with the Videofreex at Renssalear Polytechnic Institute (2015)
1969 New York City
Video Freex Members: Skip Blumberg, Nancy Cain, David Cort, Bart Friedman, Davidson Gigliotti (later associated with Elaine Summers and the Experimental Intermedia Foundation, funded by NYSCA in 1969 for media work), Chuck Kennedy, Mary Curtis Ratcliff, Parry Teasdale, Carol Vontobel, Tunie Wall, Ann Woodward. In 1970 worked with Rochester Museum and Science Center with NYSCA support. Published technical information in Dumpling Ground, vol. 2.
Moved upstate to Lanesville to establish a genuinely alternative television system, the first low-power TV station, for a community. Broadcast a regularly scheduled weekly program "Lanesville TV" for and about the people of Lanesville. Members also served as producers of documentaries by and about other members of the community, as well as issues of personal interest. An example is Nancy Cain's tape Harriet. The Freex also conducted traveling workshops and performance events, and helped organize a regular telephone conference concerning technical issues; helped link upstate region.
Tapes listed in Dumping Place v. 2: Buckaroo Bart Show, Media Bus Story II, Spaghetti City Video Manual (series of tapes on repair and maintenance).; European Video Resources Tour (9 portable video projects in Europe- interviews and selections from their tapes). Maple Tree Farm was described as video resource center, with editing, open workshops and library. The community is both video producer and video consumer. We work with video producers by giving technical assistance, funding information and production knowledge. We work with video consumers by providing different kinds of programming. Our video library, our workshop programs and the benefit of our experience are available to both producers and consumers. (Dumping Place v.2).
Media Bus programs during the late 1970s included:
- Workshops - technical presentations and consultations
- Exhibitions Lanesville TV is a weekly program of live and taped materials broadcast to the community on Saturday nights
- Publications - included Spaghetti City Video Manual (1973)
- Collections - over 300 Media Bus and other independently produced tapes
- Color Equipment Pool Access to 2 portable color video cameras for use by Upstate video facilities and supported by the NYSCA
- Access to ½" open reel equipment, by project
- Telephone Technical Conferences Technicians from NYS video facilities exchange ideas about new electronics and solutions for technical problems.
From Access: Film and Video Equipment - A Directory. Nancy Legge, 1978.
Members Nancy Cain, Tobe Carey and Bart Friedman operated a post-production facility, with distribution and consulting services and also produced work, primarily for cable. Tobe Carey (1979-1984) was Director of TV Development.
"The Videofreex (of Spaghetti City Video Manual fame) have recently left their longtime home, a farm in Lanesville, for the comparative bustle of Tinker Street, Woodstock's main drag. This won combines the sophistication of an established art colony with bucolic Catskill surroundings -- with a plethora of craft shops, restaurants and a highly-regarded summer theatre within waking distance of Media Bus.
The new headquarters is a cozy old wood-paneled house with a small exhibition gallery. Since Woodstock is inundated with tourists on weekends, especially in the summer, weekdays are probably the best time to savor the laid-back working environment and Bart and Nancy's amiable company. The facility includes both 1/2" and 3/4" editing systems, character generator, proc amp and scope, turntables, audio cassette recorder, mixer, slide projector, and 16mm projector with fader. Special editing packages can be arranged in advance.
Media Bus loans 1/2" portable video equipment, with $10,000 worth of liability insurance, mainly to local artists and arts organizations. They also produce tapes, especially of performance, and are preparing a catalog of these for distribution. If a hoped-for NTIA grant materializes, cablevision will soon return to Woodstock after a 3-year hiatus, and the Freex are gearing up for busy future as cable programmers." (1)
1. Fran Platt with Ann Volkes, Electronic Arts Intermix and Anthology Film Archives and Gerry Pallor, Young Filmmakers/Video Arts, "Upstate Report part II," The Independent, Foundation for Independent Video and Film, New York City, May 80, vol. 3, no. 4, page 19.
The Video Freex maintained an extensive collection of work. Contact Video Data Bank for additional information.