10/10/21: Coast to Coast with Nancy Cain

Our friends at Nightingale Cinema have programmed this wonderful tribute to Nancy Cain, who passed away in August. Head out on Sunday to enjoy this in-person selection of Nancy’s videos from Media Burn Archive and Video Data Bank.

Sunday, October 10th
7:00p CT
in person at Nightingale Cinema
1084 N Milwaukee, Chicago, IL
Proof of vaccination is required, and masks will be worn at all times.

Nancy Cain

“In the beginning there was video and it was good. Back then video technology was still virtually unknown…. I would see people pointing at me and my camera and they would be smiling and waving. They’d want to know how much it cost, was it heavy, and what was it for. It cost about fifteen hundred dollars, the deck and camera together weighed about twenty pounds, and it was for adventure and freedom and possibilities and truth. It wasn’t movies or television, it was video. Video was a rover. Video came along for the ride. Video was immediate. It was participatory.” —Nancy Cain

A celebration of the life and work of Nancy Cain, showcasing a selection of Cain’s videos recorded from 1971-1992 across the United States. Cain was a founding member of Videofreex, who later became a camcorder correspondent for the alternative PBS show THE 90’s, and the co-creator and producer of CamNet: The Camcorder Network, America’s first all-camcorder channel. In these works, Cain examines the commodification of the American Left and continually thwarts mainstream expectations of how the media should operate. Programmed by Zach Vanes.

Program Details:

Shot in New York


A classic Videofreex face swapping experiment sent to “The Weight” set at chipmunk-speed, featuring Parry Teasdale, Bart Friedman, Carol Vontobel, Skip Blumberg, and Nancy Cain.

HARRIET, 1973, 14min

Nancy Cain’s experimental portrait of her working class neighbor in Lanesville, NY. In the tape, Cain uses an innovative editing style to deconstruct verite production and empower her subject.

Shot in Illinois

HUMAN HAIR, 1979, 13min (excerpted from 27min)

Made in collaboration with Bart Friedman as artists-in-residence at the Chicago Editing Center. Industrial waste, insurance fires, and a trip to the top of the world’s tallest building are all captured in this wry portrait of the City of Big Shoulders.

Shot in California


Celebrities attending include Barbra Streisand, Goldie Hawn, Leonard Nimoy, Mariel Hemingway and her baby. The celebrities drive up in their limos, step out for a minute or two, then drive away.

MUZAK, 1992, 4min

A light-hearted visit (with Orwellian undertones) to the Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach, California to learn more about the Muzak system.

AT HOME, 1988, 7min

A video journal entry that documents a fundraiser in Venice Beach for orphans in El Salvador that gets increasingly out of hand when protesters show up. Ed Asner makes an appearance.

Programmed by Zach Vanes. Videos courtesy of Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Media Burn Archive.



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