We want to hear from you!

We promise this is the last time we’ll ask you this year… please, if you can, donate. And thank you.

There are thousands of videos in Media Burn’s collection. Which ones have made an impact on you?

This is Adam Hart, Media Burn’s curator. Our collection is idiosyncratic and unique, and it’s huge – thousands of videos from throughout the history of the medium. They tell the stories of people and communities ignored by mainstream film and television, and preserve countless histories that would otherwise be lost. And our collection is constantly growing. We are working hard to save and share as much independent video history as we can. All free and freely available to discover and share on our website. In just 2023, we digitized hundreds of tapes, and we’ll be bringing you hundreds more in 2024. 

Below, I’ll highlight some of my favorite videos that we uploaded this year. But before I do that, I’d like to ask something of you, Media Burn’s audience.

What have you discovered through Media Burn, and what has it meant to you? Do you have a favorite video that you’ve shared with friends? Are you an educator who uses Media Burn videos in your classes? Are you a student or a scholar who’s used our videos for research? Are you IN one of our videos? Have you discovered old footage of friends, families, or neighbors? Are you an artist who’s found inspiration in the videos on our site, or a documentarian who’s licensed footage for a project? Are you a videomaker whose work has found new, appreciative audiences on Media Burn?

We know that Media Burn videos are watched by countless people around the world but the nature of the internet means that we rarely – almost never – know who’s watching or what they’re getting out of our videos.
And so, we’d love to hear from you! Let us know what you’ve seen and what you love and how it has made an impact on your life or the lives of others! Your feedback will be extremely helpful to us! 
If you’d like, please send me an email at [email protected]. It could be as short as a sentence or two or as long as you’d like – we’ll read and appreciate it all!!!!

Thank you!!!!

Bonus! Are you looking for something new to discover? Here is Adam’s list of his favorite new Media Burn videos of 2023. This hardly scratches the surface of our many, many thrilling, revealing, unique videos, but we’ve tried to choose a broad and representative selection, including art videos, documentaries, interviews, performances, and activist media. Media Burn’s collection covers a huge range of topics, styles, and genres, and we are working hard to ensure that they don’t disappear. Video is an extremely fragile medium, and the need to preserve and digitize old tapes – even not-so-old tapes! – is an urgent one.


First Impressions: Although Pat Lehman is primarily known for her groundbreaking early work in abstract computer animation, she was also a remarkably accomplished documentarian. This video goes backstage at a Denver drag bar, where the performers speak about their lives and their art while preparing for a show.


Club LaRay Talent Show: One of several videos taken at Chicago’s legendary Club LaRay, one of the city’s most exciting, most creative queer dance clubs in the mid-1980s. These videos document Talent Shows – featuring early drag performances – but also the hundreds of Chicagoans living it up on the dance floor throughout an entire night’s DJ set, making up some of the best House music mixes you’ll find anywhere online.


Beyond Disability: The FeFe Stories: A lovely, surprising, and often hilarious documentary from Salome Chasnoff and Beyondmedia Education about a group of female high school students with disabilities who seek to clarify the misconceptions that other people have about their lives.


Sons of Sappho 1995 Reunion: A key document in LGBTQ+ history in Chicago! Filmed at the thirty-year reunion of the Sons of Sappho (later known as the Sappho Socialites), a group of Black lesbians from the South Side, the women offer rare, lovely insights into their history and into pre-Stonewall queer life in Chicago: “Right now, you can see people going down the street. They’re holding hands. They’re kissing. We couldn’t do that. We couldn’t do all of that. You couldn’t even really get too close to someone…. It was beautiful, though. We had to hide it, but it was still beautiful.”


Lucile Blanch and Basil Eliescu: A truly delightful interview with two elderly artists about 50+ years of artists’ colonies in Woodstock, NY, and the remarkable art, music, and theater that had been produced there.


Introduction to the Sony Portapak and Camera: A user’s guide to the first widely available video camera from videomaker and co-creator of the New York Women’s Video Festival Susan Milano. In its day, this was a hugely useful instructional video. In 2023, it’s maybe the most complete existing explanation of early video technology… and it’s very, very charming!


Warpitout: Incredibly entertaining documentation of pioneering video animator Jane Veeder’s 1984 video game/interactive computer graphics installation Warpitout, with explanations by Veeder. The installation allowed viewers to manipulate, distort, and otherwise play with a digitized image of their own face.


Women’s Self Help: Part of a key genre of early videos in which women’s groups talked about and demonstrated medical information that was otherwise unavailable or difficult to obtain, particularly information about sexual and reproductive health. This video gives the viewer necessary information about self examinations, birth control, and the location of abortion clinics.


Dadaday!: A celebration of the Dadaist art movement on its 60th anniversary, including outlandishly hilarious theater, stunning, incredibly difficult performances of Dadaist sound poems, and a bonfire made from old art.


I Dream… of Dreaming…: One a number of stunning image processing works by Chicagoan Barbara Sykes, blending cutting edge image manipulation techniques with dance and music to create an utterly unique artwork.


Keep County Open: Paul Perez’s moving, inspiring documentary about the efforts of staff and community activists to keep Chicago’s Cook County Hospital from being shut down in the face of massive statewide budget cuts to medical services – cuts that unsurprisingly disproportionately affected the institutions serving low income people, immigrants, and people of color.

Your support means everything to us. It lets us continue this work of finding and preserving video history and bringing it to the world. We can’t wait to show you what we’re bringing you in 2024!!!
Did you have any favorite discoveries on Media Burn’s website this year? Let us know!!!



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