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  • Ruth Ratny, chronicler of the Chicago film industry

    Ruth Ratny, chronicler of the Chicago film industry

    “Screen was the Bible of the Chicago film industry, and Ruth was, well, Ruth was Ruth.”–Scott Jacobs. Photo from 1987 courtesy The Polaroid Wall. It might sound trite to say Ruth Ratny was a force of nature. Like the Chicago wind, she was forceful and persistent. Ruth Louise Ratny died in her sleep last Tuesday, February 21. She was in her 80’s and lived her whole life in Chicago. Ruth was the queen of all media in Chicago — film, television … Continue reading

  • Valentine’s Day video present from Australia

    Valentine’s Day video present from Australia

    Love is a many-splendored thing, or so the song goes. It’s that time of year again, when people get to express their undying devotion to one another. This sometimes takes the form of a card and wilted flowers picked up at the local drug store on the way home. But for the two love birds in this video, true love is a reality, at least in the unreal world of commercials. Unfriendly onlookers and the occasional flying bathtub can’t stop … Continue reading

  • Richard Stamz, Pervis Spann, and Carl Wright: They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Any More.

    Richard Stamz, Pervis Spann, and Carl Wright: They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Any More.

    Blues & More was a local Chicago talk show on cable channel 25 during the 1980s and 1990s. It combined host and entertainment entrepreneur Pervis Spann’s offbeat sense of humor with music videos from R & B and blues artists. In this 1994 episode of Blues & More, Spann talks with movie actor and performer Carl Wright and longtime Chicago radio personality Richard Stamz, about Stamz’s career across a changing entertainment industry. Spann was 61 at the time of the … Continue reading

  • “Adverse environments are a crucible to test your willpower.”–Oscar Lopez Rivera

    “Adverse environments are a crucible to test your willpower.”–Oscar Lopez Rivera

    Yesterday, President Obama commuted the sentence of Oscar López Rivera, a Puerto Rican nationalist linked to the radical group F.A.L.N. In the 1970s and ’80s the F.A.L.N. plotted bombings in Chicago and New York with the goal of securing Puerto Rican independence. In 1981, López Rivera was sentenced to 55 years in prison after being convicted of several charges, including a seditious conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. and Puerto Rican governments. In 1988, he received an additional 15-year sentence after … Continue reading

  • “Where do we go from here?”–Dovie Thurman on the death of MLK

    “Where do we go from here?”–Dovie Thurman on the death of MLK

    Monday is a celebration of the life and work of beloved civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His many and great accomplishments in the struggle for equality during the ’50s and ’60s live on in his inspirational words, which continue to guide the practices of nonviolent activism today. His assassination in 1968 was a terrible shock felt around the world and to all who fought for civil and human rights. In this video from the archive, Studs Terkel … Continue reading

  • The Polaroid Wall: A Look Back at IPA, The Editing House

    The Polaroid Wall: A Look Back at IPA, The Editing House

    IPA was founded in 1982 and for the next 18 years served as a creative home for the Chicago area video community. On the wall in its kitchen was a collection of 2,620 Polaroid photos taken over the years of production shoots, late night editing sessions, new equipment installations – remember your excitement over 8” floppy disks? –and its legendary parties. Now The Polaroid Wall is available as an app for iPhones and iPads you can swipe, zoom or search … Continue reading

  • This isn’t just a “job” to us

    This isn’t just a “job” to us

              Dear friend, Today our office is quiet–most people in the building have already left town for the holidays. Nevertheless, we’re here because we know our work is vitally important, and no one else is doing it. We don’t make a big fuss about ourselves, but we are making a major impact. This small and unassuming group of people is doing a tremendous amount of work for an astonishingly small amount of money. We have served … Continue reading

  • “Militarism has become the very fabric of our culture”–Blase Bonpane”

    “Militarism has become the very fabric of our culture”–Blase Bonpane”

    An outspoken critic of the American military interventions for decades, Blase Bonpane is a former Maryknoll priest who has been director of the Office of the Americas since 1983. In this archival video from 1991, Bonpane made the case for the U.S. as a militaristic society. It was originally shown on THE 90’s series on PBS and shot by Nancy Cain and Jody Procter. At 87, Bonpane is still fighting for peace through his work writing books and on KPFK … Continue reading