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  • Remembering Harold Washington: Join us at Black Cinema House, February 1st, 2 PM

    Remembering Harold Washington: Join us at Black Cinema House, February 1st, 2 PM

    Harold Washington’s time in office was relatively brief, but he still continues to hold a memorable place in our political history, as the first and only elected African-American mayor of Chicago. Locals remember his thrilling potential as a reformer and the deadlock caused by the “Council Wars” as “the Eddies” (Vrdolyak and Burke) thwarted his every move in the city council. Washington died suddenly on November 25, 1987, shortly after beginning his second term in office.On February 1, South Side … Continue reading

  • A look at the early career of 2015 Golden Globe Winner Jill Soloway

    A look at the early career of 2015 Golden Globe Winner Jill Soloway

    Everybody gets started somewhere, and for a lot of comedic actors and producers, that place is and has been Chicago’s improv comedy scene. In this video, we look back at a time when Jill Soloway (creator of Transparent, which just won the 2015 Golden Globe for Best Television Musical or Comedy and writer for Grey’s Anatomy and Six Feet Under), Jane Lynch (now well known as one of the regular actors in the Christopher Guest mockumentaries and for her role on … Continue reading

  • A Look Back At A Special 2014

    A Look Back At A Special 2014

    Dear Friends: With your help, we’ve come a long way in our first decade. From a storefront full of tapes and a core group of early believers, Media Burn has become an internationally respected leader in the moving image archiving community. Our videos have been viewed more than 12 million times around the world. 2014 was our best year ever. (See below for details). We’ve been able to thrive due the generous support of funders like the National Endowment for … Continue reading

  • D.C. Mayor Marion Barry: “It’s got nothing to do with drugs.”

    D.C. Mayor Marion Barry: “It’s got nothing to do with drugs.”

    Marion Barry, former Mayor of the District of Columbia, passed away last week. Elected in 1979, he was the first civil rights leader to become mayor of a major US city. He was well-loved by many of D.C.’s residents, earning the nickname “Mayor for Life.”In 1990, Barry was arrested by the FBI following a sting operation where Barry was videotaped smoking crack cocaine. He was ultimately convicted and served 6 months in prison. After his release, he ran for a … Continue reading

  • Echoes of Rodney King

    Echoes of Rodney King

    Last night, a grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown. As protesters took to the streets, they chanted the words, “No justice, no peace”—an echo of similar protests that arose in 1992 after a jury acquitted the officers involved in the Rodney King beating. Many of the same issues and outrages that surrounded the Rodney King trial are flaring up again in response to the events in Ferguson. So today, we’re … Continue reading

  • Remembering Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne

    Remembering Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne

    By now you’ve read a lot of stories about her, and seen what the TV stations have broadcast. But you probably haven’t seen most of the video that is in our archive. We’ve preserved several dozen videos with Byrne during her short period as mayor, and we’ve put together a perspective that may differ a bit from other accounts. It features footage shot by Nick Despota, Tom Finerty, Scott Jacobs, John Mabey, Cindy Neal, Lilly Ollinger, and Tom Weinberg, as … Continue reading

  • Filmmaker Jerry Blumenthal (1936–2014)

    Filmmaker Jerry Blumenthal (1936–2014)

    Today we mourn the loss of colleague and friend Jerry Blumenthal, a filmmaker and founding partner of Kartemquin Films, who passed away yesterday morning. We present this short video tribute from Media Burn founder Tom Weinberg, followed by highlights from some of Jerry’s early work with Kartemquin. We’ll have more on Jane Byrne later. For now, you can check out this campaign commercial, footage with Byrne on election night 1979, and Byrne’s Easter at Cabrini–Green.

  • Rocky Horror Picture Show

    Rocky Horror Picture Show

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show first debuted in 1975 to mixed reviews, but it soon developed a cult following like nothing before, and very little since. Fans of Rocky Horror come dressed in character and screenings grew to include pre-screening performances and audience interaction. The film now holds the record for the longest running theatrical release, and still shows in theaters all over the country. In Chicago, the Rocky Horror cult following developed around the Biograph Theater, which picked up … Continue reading