Arts & Culture Collection


Extent: 752 videotapes

Dates: 1963–2013

Description: This collection explores the many facets of arts and culture, with videos of live theatre and television media, as well as looks “behind the scenes” at the people who make art of their lives. Includes tapes from Image Union, which ranges from documentary to video art to animation to music videos, as well as Making it in Hollywood, which offers insight into the lives of Hollywood actors and directors in the 1970s. In addition to documentaries about the performers, there are also several full length plays, cabarets, comedy shows and performance art pieces.

Explore the full collection.


brigid murphy

Brigid Murphy

Extent: 19 videocassettes (Hi-8mm); 5 videocassettes (BetacamSP); 2 videocassettes (Mini-DV) 2 videocassettes (Video-8) 1 videocassette (U-matic) 1 videocassette (VHS)

Paper materials (.5 linear feet): Drawer 7, collection 7, series 1, folder 1 (Vito production)

Dates: 1992-2003

Description: This collection contains recordings of Chicago performance artist Brigid Murphy, including several editions of her variety show Milly’s Orchid Show.

People: Brigid Murphy, David Sedaris, Kelly Hogan, Nora Dunn, Jim Lauderdale, Sammy Dyer Express, Matthew Owens the Clown, Edward Thomas-Herrera, The Texas Rubies, Cheryl Trykv, Rosio Sanchez, Marsha Wilke, The Rutledge Sisters, The Biggest Sissies in the World, Willie May, John Connors, Lisa Buscani, Marc Smith, Andy Martello, Donna Fulks, Robbie Fulks, The Riptones, Anna Fermin and Trigger Gospel, Kurt Elling, The Village Squares, Jane’s Country Kin, Patricia Barber, Matt Goldman Bryn Magnus, The Midnight Circus, Sally Timms, Michael Patrick King, Frank Romani, Tammy Tomani, Samantha and Her Amazing Love-Rats, John Kelly, Dan Carlson, Dagmar Onassis, Sawyer Dance Academy Tappers, Anna Fermin’s Trigger Gospel, Dag Juhlin, Susan Voelz, The Wichita Shut-Ins, Ruckus Jane, Baxter Miller, Kelly Kessler

Subjects: Brigid Murphy, Arts and culture, Performance, Live variety


Image Processing

Extent: 152 videotapes

Dates: 1971–1990

Description: A look at the work of Chicago-based pioneers of image processing. This collection shows studies in image processing as well as interviews with artists about how they create their work. Also included are documentaries and episodes of Image Union that exhibit different applications of image processing as a storytelling device. Artists include Dan Sandin, Phil Morton, Tom DeFanti, Jane Veeder, Barbara Sykes, and Mimi Shevitz.

image union

Image Union

Extent: 1 1″ reel-to-reel; 222 videocassettes (U-Matic); 1 videocassette (Betacam SP); 1 videocassette (U-Matic SP)

Paper materials (1 linear feet):

Drawer 10, collection 11, series 1, folder 1 (10th anniversary) Drawer 10, collection 11, series 2, folder 1 (A print-out of contact information for all Image Union producers)                Drawer 10, collection 11, series 3, folder 1 (press)

Dates: 1978–1999

Description: Landmark independent film and video magazine show ranging from documentary to video art to animation to music videos, as aired on WTTW-Chicago. It was created by Tom Weinberg in 1978 as a one-hour program aired 52 weeks per year in prime-time. Image Union was the first show in the United States that created a space for independent producers on television, and it was an essential outlet for up-and-coming local film and videomakers during the 1980s. At its peak, it was one of the most popular shows on WTTW, reaching about 150,000 people per episode.

People: Studs Terkel, Jay McMullen, Jane Byrne, Bucky Dennis, Lonnie Brooks, Ralph Nader, Dr. Quentin Young, Valjean McLenighan, Corky Siegel Orchestra, Tom Scribner, Joe Mantegna, Michael Bruno, James Belushi, Dale Lawrence, Edward Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Chester Smith, William J. Froehlich, Gary Sinise, Jack Wallace, Alice Peurala, Bill Veeck, Thad Bosley, Reggie Sanders, Larry Doby, Lamar Johnson, Minnie Minoso, Roland Hemond, Harold Washington, Steve Dahl, Richard M. Daley, Maggie Daley, Bernard Epton, Larry Bloom, Rob Lowe, Billy Connolly, Andy Kaufman, Jean-Luc Godard, Wilbur Stump, Melissa Leo, Michael Caine, Al Gore, Elizabeth Dole, Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis, Pat Roberts, George H.W. Bush, Jesse Jackson, Debbie Reynolds, Jimmy Carter, Elijah Turner

Subjects: Chicago history, Chicago, documentary, Image Union, experimental video, independent television, Tom Weinberg, WTTW, video art, television


Making it in Hollywood

Extent: 76 videotapes

Dates: 1976

Description: 28 hours of raw footage as well as the completed documentary of Making it in Hollywood. This unique documentary is a time capsule of Hollywood in the 1970s and the American obsession with fame. It follows a few of the thousands of people who come to Los Angeles every year to “make it” as actors and actresses—at their day jobs, going to auditions, and waiting for acting work at legendary Schwab’s Drug Store. It tells the story of Cissy Colpitts, a new young face, hoping to find an agent and become a star. It also features the perspectives of several successful actors, including Tab Hunter and Shelley Winters, discussing what it takes to survive in Hollywood and how fame changes a person. That excess is portrayed through Sally Kirkland’s legendary parties, attended by a wide variety of 1970s Hollywood players, including John Badham, John Belushi, David Blue, Dylan Cannon, Bud Cort, Dr. John, Kinky Friedman, and Robert Walden.



Extent: 70 videotapes

Dates: 1963–2001

Description: Performance is not necessarily bound to a stage or even an audience. This collection of performances from around the world features several live stage performances from theatres around Chicago, like Second City, Organic Theatre Company and other independent theatre troupes, as well as live television performances and video footage of performance art on location.

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