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  • Searching for the Mountaintop

    Searching for the Mountaintop

    The power of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life—his clarion oratory skill, his burning prophetic demand for racial and economic justice—tremors through the consciousness of our society today. Yet the urgency of his message and radical call to action, it could be said, proved not just from the transformative clarity of his vision but in the way this vision defied the proximity of death’s shadow. “Each morning as I brush my teeth and wash my face,” King would say, according … Continue reading

  • Home for the holidays? Dig out those old tapes!

    Home for the holidays? Dig out those old tapes!

    Hanging out at home for the holidays? Why not rummage around in the attic or basement to find your old video tapes and bring them to Home Video Day! Attendees are invited to bring a tape to be projected for the audience, or to simply show up and enjoy what’s on the screen. Videos will run the gamut from birthdays, parties, pageants, weddings, sports, movie re-enactments, to who knows what! We invite you to laugh and cry at the touching … Continue reading

  • You are part of the Media Burn family

    You are part of the Media Burn family

    Dear friend, We’re writing to you from our fourth-floor office in River West, looking out over a mostly empty city on this dreary gray day. It’s quiet except for the occasional Metra commuter train zipping by, the bells of St. John Cantius, and the clicking of computer keys. That faint tapping is the only evidence of the work we do every day at Media Burn. This isn’t just a “job” to us. We’re part of a small family here at … Continue reading

  • Republicans on Clinton impeachment: “A lie is a lie.”

    Republicans on Clinton impeachment: “A lie is a lie.”

    Tom DeLay (R-TX), 1998: “What the defenders want to do is lower the standards by which we hold this president, and lower the standards for our society by doing so.” On Wednesday, Donald Trump became the third president in history to be impeached by the United States Congress. We took the occasion to look for contemporary perspectives on the last time a president was impeached. In a collection from the late Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL, 1959-1995), we found a VHS … Continue reading

  • December 4, 1969: Fred Hampton murdered in his bed by Chicago Police

    December 4, 1969: Fred Hampton murdered in his bed by Chicago Police

    In the early morning hours of Dec. 4, 1969, a team of police officers organized by Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan stormed an apartment ostensibly in search of illegal weapons. The apartment was the residence of Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, and it served as the chapter’s headquarters. Nearly 100 shots were fired. When the haze of gun smoke cleared, Fred Hampton and another Panther, Mark Clark, lay dead. The raiding officers … Continue reading

  • Once Upon a Time Down Clark Street

    Once Upon a Time Down Clark Street

    Twenty-four years after the release of Down Clark Street, a documentary uncovering the now bygone Clark Street of the 1960s and 70s, legendary filmmaker Tom Palazzolo has released a new book of photographs revealing yet another remarkable and candid glimpse at a street integral to Chicago’s history. Simply titled Clark Street, the book contains dozens of photographs taken by Palazzolo himself in addition to essays by artists who have known both Palazzolo and Chicago for decades. In 1962, Palazzolo moved … Continue reading

  • The View from East Germany

    The View from East Germany

    The media has given much attention to the 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s collapse, lauding the often-facile narrative of democracy over communism, of freedom over tyranny. Yet, the reality of historical events and their impact on the lives of ordinary people is never quite so simple. Often lost amid the spectacle of politicians, policy makers, and the mass media are the ways that ordinary people have grappled with their extraordinary circumstances, ranging from the heroic, the tragic, and the … Continue reading

  • Nixon Resigns: The Legacy of Impeachment

    Nixon Resigns: The Legacy of Impeachment

    August 8, 1974.  It was a different world, a different president and an unprecedented American crisis.  That was the night Richard Nixon sat in the Oval Office and made the surprise announcement that he was resigning as President of the United States. Some independent video producers obtained a videotape recorded in the moments before the speech.  It was the European pool feed, never intended for broadcast: a rare glimpse into the curation and production of a president’s image. We think … Continue reading