REFLECTIONS


from Jack Hirschfeld's Archives

 

 

Here is what I remember about the taking over of the Detroit News Reel. I think someone asked about this one time and I finally got around to writing it up. We, George D., Barbara and I, were... (CONTINUED)

Jane Capellaro

 

 

12/15/2008

Just ran into Marilyn Mulford on the street, and it prompted me to get this message out of the "draft" folder.

Amazing and sweet to see all of you. I'd been thinking about Detroit -- what brought it back to consciousness? -- I guess working and traveling for the Obama campaign this past spring and fall, and the contrast between the organization, intense cooperation among all ages, classes, personalities and ethnicities and our daze of mayhem. My memories of the Motor City: sleeping fourteen on the floor, sound cutting "Finally Got the News" in the film facilities of the Ford offices (How did I get in there?), "actions" in the shopping malls with the Weathermen, the Flint convention, White Panthers, GdP et filles . . .

At the risk of sounding like a personal ad, here's a brief roundup of post-Newsreel life. Boston and the Women's Movement: meeting with the North Vietnamese in Budapest and organizing a huge women's conference in Quebec; worn out by working-class lesbian separatist faction demanding to know Vietnamese "position" on said issues. Cross country to San Francisco: live with Mach, Lynnie and Zingbat. Embark on musical ventures: wiritng songs; managing and playing in some women's bands; performing at various local clubs. Recross country to rural Maine: cabin in woods, no pumbing or electricity; snow; form girls a capella group, The Twatones. And back to California. Settled here in Oakland. To library school at UC Berkeley: 15 years as librarian/information specialist. Lately, teaching ESL, but on a bit of a hiatus from that. What next?

Warm thoughts and thankfulness for the community and values we shared.
Ella

 

 

 

 

Poem 1968-2008
by Barbara Stone


Happening
For years
Before and we
Did abhor
This war
That made us all
Open our eyes
And scorn and despise
And recognize
Those who ordered
The killing and burning
Of people and fields
And children and
Napalm and hate
In 1968

(continued...)

 

Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2008 09
From: Richard Eagan <eaganr@earthlink.net>

Hello All-

It is with regret that I will not be able to see you all this coming weekend. I am behind schedule in a big way in production of my own work, several shows of which are forthcoming. I've spoken with Larry Mead, Tivo and Bev over the past month or so, and anticipated coming to SLC with my daughter Molly- she is writing, and like so many of her generation feels like she was born "thirty years too late" for "all the good stuff", but I suspect there will be plenty to occupy her and those coming up behind her to make her own grandchildren envious- but in the end, there is thankfully too much to do. "Chop wood, carry water".  (continued...)

 


 

From my ( Jack Hirschfeld <jack@his.com> )archives:

Here's a proposal for a caucus of the oppressed.
Any idea who wrote it?

 

 

 

and

 



 

DRAFT OF NEWSREEL/THIRD WORLD NEWSREEL ARTICLE
FOR YAMAGATA FILM FESTIVAL

by Christine Choy

Newsreel, the prolific, in-your-face, agit-prop filmmaker's collective that emerged out of the turbulence of the 1960s, was one of the American New Left's most potent consciousness-raising tools, a veritable Celluloid Vanguard that its cadres hoped would usher in a brave new world of people's democracy. With an image of a machine gun spitting out its logo, Newsreel films were militant and confrontational: at the opposite pole from the syrupy Hollywood feature. In the years before television, the documentary newsreel occupied quite a different place in American popular culture, with millions of moviegoers afforded a once-a-week glimpse at world and national news via the newsreel trailers that accompanied feature films and cartoons at neighborhood movie houses from coast to coast.  (continued... )

 

 



NR balance sheet (March 1968 - Feb 1969)

[from jack's archives]

 

 

SOME NOTES ABOUT NEWSREEL AND ITS ORIGINS
From theYamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2003

What follows are pieces of information and ideas. They are uneven, tentative, but I hope useful in outlining aspects of Newsreel's beginnings and early development

by Allan Siegel

(continued...)


 

VARIOUS POSITIONS ON THE HIGH SCHOOL FILM
'STATE OF THE UNION'


 


From: "Barbara Stone" <stone.babs@googlemail.com>

In the euphoria of having the first black/white/mixed race American president in our history, I want/need to feel that the '60's laid some kind of foundation. Is this presumptious? I think not. My children, as all of your children, grew up hearing us talk about the sixties and what we were all working towards. That is their heritage. And when we multiply that number of people who thought they were trying to make a better world, it all gets added into the mix which now can be seen in this historic election.

It was all worth it - the disappointment that we could not change the world immediately - we were younger, but we have lived to see this.

NOW!11 WOW!!!

 

 

NOW PLAYING


Staring At The Sunshine from 1st Vanguard album

from john's archives

 

 

From: "David Wallace" <naturedave@msn.com>

I think you are doing a really great thing organizing this Newsreel get together. I wish I could attend, but the season is beginning and we are completely full until January 10th.

My life was 29th Street Video, Inc for 20 years (until 2000). I started the company (production & post) with Tami Gold (and two others).

I start in motion pictures was with Newsreel and Bev showing me how to use a movieola (Nigeria One). I made the decision to switch from Film to Video at Newsreel when I got my hands on a Sony Porta-Pack in 1972. My TV production life ended with the advent of digital editing. I LOVED Video and I was good at it. The screens keep getting bigger and the content keeps getting smaller.

Newsreel also was a learning experience about office procedure (believe it or not).

Most important, Newsreel was most where I learned a lot about group dynamics, and how to relate to so many beautiful and strong women.

The experiences I had at Newsreel have lasted me a lifetime. And I thank you for it.

I now own one of the best Boutique Hotels in the Caribbean
(reviews at http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g671541-d554624-r20457951-Nature_s_Paradise-Marigot_Bay_St_Lucia.html).

Even at Nature's Paradise, I read our reviews as a form of criticism/self criticism.

What a wonderful life.

David Wallace

Nature's Paradise

Marigot Bay, St Lucia, West Indies

 


A little discarded history: in 1967, in my case about 9 months after I'd been released from a 27 month residence in Federal custody for refusal to serve in the US military, I and Peter Kuttner and Kurt Heyl formed in Chicago a politically oriented filmmaking coop. That was sometime around Oct-Nov 1967. In December we went to NYC and met up with Newsreel and "joined up" and became Chicago Newsreel. In the next months we showed Newsreel films, plus some of ours - Peter, Kurt and myself all had films of political content which we screened where possible, though as it turned out they didn't much fit the Newsreel style. I worked out of the Mobe office, at the time living with SDSer Marilyn Katz (who remains a good friend and where I stayed on a recent quick US tour, having a nice breakfast at her home with Peter and another prison-met friend of mine in the brief slice of time available), and living Uptown with the police parked out front as we were "organizing" and hence, Red Squad bait.

In April there was a post-MLK assassination demonstration at the Federal Plaza which turned into a police-riot. I wasn't there, but Peter was, and there were some others who shot stills and some film. We were asked, I forget by whom but know it was some comfortable suburban "communist" to make this into a film, which I organised, edited, did some voice over for (all, typically to my experience, unpaid for by the champions of the working classes...) using the material Peter and others had made. As a "Newsreel" film it was perhaps a bit too sophisticated, not abiding by the lower east side anti-Hwd aesthetic that seemed the ideologically OK way to work coming out of the NY section.

In summer of 68 the New York contingent of Newsreel barged in, to make their Convention film. I use "barged in" because it accurately describes the arrogant pushy manner in which they behaved, certainly regarding we Chicagoans as "second city" (or worse). Kurt and I were the first busts of the convention, a few weeks before it even started. He and I had gone down to the Stockyards to shoot the little White House portico they were building onto the convention building. On returning to his little VW, 6 police cars swooped down on us, and arrested us. We looked like raving hippies, long hair, beards, shabby summer shorts and t-shirts, with a Bolex and tripod. We were interrogated by the precinct guys, the Red Squad, the FBI and the Secret Service (interest diminishing as we went up the totem pole of power and they understood we weren't the would-be assassins of Mayor Daley's finest's imaginations). I got released after 8 hours, and Kurt got out later that night sprung by his wife. He'd been held over owing to some automotive infraction. We reported this to the Mobe, which might have clued them, and all of us, into the impending events, but it was glided over. I do recall talking with Tom Hayden, who noting my 2+ years in prison, said he didn't think he could (or would) be able to do such. It didn't set well with me later on when a horde of Mobe folks went down the streets chanting "Free Tom Hayden" when he was busted and spent the night in the joint. Quivering Tom.

Meantime the NY contingent basically walked over we Chicagoans, busy making their film, using and abusing. This too didn't set well, though it meshed with their performance before, and alas, ever since. I believe some of the footage our group shot was incorporated into one or several NY Newsreel films, though to my recollection with no notice. You know, all the "collective" stuff.

During the Convention I recall being in Grant Park, surrounded by National Guardsmen and police, while the masses of people who had materialized after the police had gone berserk were led with chants by the slumming big names who showed up to grab the spotlight: Norman Mailer, Alan Ginsberg, Jean Genet and others. Those masses hadn't shown up owing to the labors of the Mobe which had failed dismally to get the 100,000 they were looking for (about 10K showed up thanks to the Mobe's efforts), but were first mostly local kids looking for some action, later joined by others from around the nation, all thanks to the over-reactions of Mayor Daley's guys in blue. Politically the Mobe had been a failure and was only rescued by the worst failure of the city managers.

At the end of the Convention Marilyn and I were riding out to some farmers place, west of the city, invited for a picknic to take a break after the mayhem of the week. I was sitting beside Rennie Davis, who was wearing his head bandage, a little blood on it. He looked at Marilyn and I, and lifting it off, said "I guess I don't need this anymore." My sense of comradery shrank to nothing: the "leaders" were just like the folks on the other side - manipulative people who would fake for advantage, who couldn't do time. The subsequent stories of Rennie and Tom (and Rubin) tells all too much of what it was really like.

And history makes clear that the entire "Movement" was a failure - America, conned by Nixon, lurched to the right, and basically kept on going there. The Vietnam war dragged out with another 25,000 US dead, and a million or two Vietnamese (and Cambodians and Laotians) left dead as well. The 60's overall proved little more than a short-term fashion, the folks wearing bell-bottoms shifting easily from Yippie to Yuppie, like Rubin, ready to follow the Dylan line ironically another way "don't need a weatherman...." and the wind was blowing from the Right, and money became fashionable, and here decades later $4 cups of fancy-ass coffee is the norm.

Of myself, after the convention Marilyn and I went to California, where she (censored censored) and I hung around the edges of political actions around Berkeley, the smell of tear gas and helicopters overhead echoing the Chicago events. I checked in with Newsreel people there and checked out thanks to the doctrinaire leftism I found. Marilyn returned to Chicago and full-time political work; I - like many others - went rural. Oregon and Montana for 6 years. During which time I made Speaking Directly, which tried to survey the wreckage of America in a large ambitious film, made over a year, 16mm color, for $3000, while living in a no electricity, no running water, no heat shack, naturally with no money, 30 miles from Canada near Kalispell. Much to my amazement it went to festivals, and was bought and broadcast by the UK's Channel Four a decade later. They also funded its follow up, a 2 hour essay on America, PLAIN TALK & COMMON SENSE (1985) and showed it. It has a line in it, which was true then, and remains true, something like: "This is a film made by an American for Americans, which will never be shown in America." And it hasn't been.

I kept in vague touch with Newsreel and the people around it for years, watching it mutate, change its name with the convoluted internal politics which had made me quickly leave it. The same narrow doctrinaire behavior of most people involved in politics pushed out those of artistic inclination, those unwilling to swallow the latest turn on the day's political correctness. Thanks in part to this, Newsreel was a complete failure in real-world terms, though periodically it is romantically celebrated, as I suppose your current event will do. I was at such a celebration at the Yamagata festival a handful of years back (because one of my films was showing there), where a few old Newsreelers were feted, and no one mentioned the word "failed" but rather waxed dreamily about the revolutionary good old days.

Unlike many of my friends, I do not look back on the 60's or Chicago 68 with any nostalgia. It was, bluntly, a failure. We (all of us) were young and more or less stupid regarding the larger world. Idealistic maybe, but ignorant and easily taken by romantic notions. I recall my first introduction to Newsreel New York, going into an office where Robert Kramer played with his gun, and the girls were bossed around in the worst of sexist manners, but seemed themselves attracted by the macho Che posturing. Robert left Newsreel too, or maybe he was kicked out, though his ICE - a preposterous piece of fantasy in which Robert played heroic revolutionary of NYU - is periodically trotted out as a sterling example of the fervor of the times. Again, its infantile politics, (which Robert - whom I bumped into occasionally on the festival circuit before he died - continued to pursue to the end, always politically wrong, blinded with his phony Marxist BS, probably to counter his real world situation of being the son of a well-off doctor who never spent a day of real discomfort) were never mentioned, nor in the case of his other equally wrong-footed films. The last time I saw Robert he was still playing his role, the rich-kid revolutionary. But he was 60 and should have learned better.

Anyway time flies. Most of us are soon headed to the grave. In a few more days we'll see if the long drift to the right in the USA takes a turn, bottom of the pendulum, and the long overdue corrective commences. Rather late in the game, but unlike most of my left friends, who have for some time acted like whipped dogs, while acknowledging the grimness of the moment, I was optimistic that the shift would come, in terms most American and we can ride the gentle tide of history's wavelength up a bit. Along the way it's best to learn from one's mistakes and look the judgment of one's own history straight in the eyes. Newsreel, along with the overall left, whatever name you care to affix to it, has largely been a failure. We need only look around us to see it.

Last little note: Kurt Heyl lives in Brooklyn NY and Cerillos NM, painting, playing free improvised music; Peter Kuttner lives just outside Chicago, works as a camera assistant in Hwd type films, and is a union organizer in said business. Jon Jost obtained his first real job last year at 64 and went from college drop-out expellee (1962) to "Professor" in one rather long fell swoop. Now living in Korea with my wife, Marcella (Italian). I keep busy making films as an extremely bad habit, making them for a world in which, for some time, there has been absolutely no "market" for what I do, and frankly I don't give a damn. I think a bit after the political pendulum lumbers leftward, we'll see a cultural shift as well, as the public pukes up the "entertainments" of the corporate world, and a little cell here and there looks for other things. But, please, let's not do anything like a re-run of the 60's.

If interested in further information on yours truly, see the website and blog, (and also www.cinemaelectronica.wordpress.com).

best
jon

Professor Jon Jost,
Yonsei University
Graduate School of Communication and Arts
134 Shinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu
Seoul 120-749, Korea

website: www.jon-jost.com
blog: www.jonjost.wordpress.com

Residence: ??? ??? ??? 160-10 2? 201?
Gangseo-gu, Hwagok-dong, 160-10, 2fl 201
Seoul 157-010, South Korea
82.10.9903.3990

WARNING: Due to presidential executive orders and signing statements, and provisions passed by the previous Republican-controlled Congress, the National Security Agency may have read this posting, as well as and any other private correspondence of mine, and may listen to my private phone conversations without warrant, warning, or notice, and certainly without probable cause. They may also arrest me without telling me of any charges against me, even transport me outside the United States, and hold me secretly and indefinitely in an undisclosed location without notifying my wife or relatives, and deny me access to an attorney. They may take my property under the executive order of July 17, 2007, never to be returned. They may torture me without fear of penalty or repercussions to them for their actions. They may do all these things to me, or to you, with little or no judicial or legislative oversight. This danger became ever more apparent, and ominous, on Sept. 19, 2007, when the U.S. Senate failed to reinstate habeas corpus as an inalienable right of American citizens. I/We have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current president and vice-president, and voting to remove all rubber-stamp Republicans and neocons from office, as well as other elected officials acting only in their own interests instead of those of the People and the Constitution, be they occupying local, state, or national positions of authority. 

 

 

 


From: BEVGRANT1@aol.com


Well, Jon, I don't know you, but I feel sorry that your experience was so negative and that you can't look back and feel some satisfaction at being a part of a history that I, for my part, thoroughly enjoyed, even though I can look back and say, "What the fuck was I thinking". It was a time that felt really hopeful and purposeful. I learned a lot, I grew a lot, and I continued to look forward, even when we weren't successful in making the revolution. Of course we made mistakes and messes and history is just that way, I think. Not very tidy. Anyway, I have particularly fond feelings towards Allen as well and I think many of us have differing opinions about what our history was and that's just fine with me, so long as I get to include mine in the mix. Looking forward to the weekend. Bev Grant, NYC Newsreel from 1968 - 1972, former member of the central committee. I think we were more Maoist than Stallinist :-)


 


 

 

From: Roz Payne <roznews@aol.com>

jon jost wrote " I recall my first introduction to Newsreel New York, going into an office where Robert Kramer played with his gun, and the girls were bossed around in the worst of sexist manners, but seemed themselves attracted by the macho Che posturing. EXCUSE ME, The Che image is in you head. Robert was always Robert . He was attractive as were most of the men and the women in Newsreel , but none of them were Che.

I was one of the "office girls" I opened up the office every morning and I was Not BOSSED AROUND BY ROBERT, none of us in the office were ever bossed by Robert. INFACT, IF THERE WAS ANY BOSSING IN THAT OFFICE IT WAS ME BOSSING PEOPLE AROUND at times to clean films, take films to the PO, writing or NOT writing checks for them to spend .

I do not remember you . Robert never played with a gun in our office . that I ever saw. Many of us had K55 cat knives ( girls and boys ) and we liked to sharpen them during meetings while we were sitting and discussing issues, many of us would also crochet so at the end of the meeting we would have a hat or scarf. . Do you know the difference between props and real guns? After 40 years , your memory must not be clear. It sounds like you are jealous of Robert and a "male chauvinist to think we were "bossed by him" I could call Robert other names , but not a boss.

I was in Chicago 68 during and before the Democratic convention. You do not remember me from that period or from Chicago NR office. I was there . By the stories and names you drop your eyes were only on the men Robert, Rennie, Tom, all friends and big shots. You drop names like my pear tree dropped pears this year. I also went to the farm that you talked about after the convention ended and had a wonderful time with the farmer and his family who opened their home to us , fed us and brought us blankets. We slept in the hay loft of the barn. We stayed a few days and it was wonderful. One day, we went to the county fair with them where Jonathan Chernoble NR ( now an Israeli settler , saving Israel from the palestinians) gave out copies of The Rat newspaper and almost got busted. The reason I remember all this is because I was always shooting stills of everything we did and have photos of everything. Rennie took off his bandage because his head had stopped bleeding , no need for a bandage anymore, very natural. . Newsreel was a collective of different people. it is clear by what you wrote and your web site that you do not work collectively .

Newsreel produced so many films because we worked together . shared equipment, film,production $, our homes and at times our lives. It was a joy for me to be in Newsreel. It was and continues to be a family to me. Sometimes it was hard , but altogether it was one of the best times of my life. I can not think of any other place I would want to spend the sixties Many of the members are still my closest friends, we are aunts and uncles to each others children . I am so very happy to see old Newsreel members when we meet. We have shared a time together for a number of years and produced films that are now used in schools, universities, libraries . Most important political organizers today are still using the films to learn, to organize, to teach history , and to show "how it was" The films Newsreel produced are valuable and help to tell the history of the Sixties and Seventies. NR films are shown in schools, theaters, homes all over the world. Our diverse films have helped to preserve part of the the history of that period. And, diversity is one of the keys. so many diverse NR folks made a diverse collection of films. Because we were a collective we could make all sorts of films by following our hearts and minds. We have womens films, workers films, student films, ecology films , hippie films Vietnam War, struggles in latin american countries and at home. Our films were made for us and other groups to use to help and make our lives better Black Panthers, Young Lords, & La Raza .

Today, Newsreel films are part of the history of America. The history of diversity , our collectivity, we were part of The Movement and the movement was part of us. Newsreel was not for all , you, Jon Jost fell thru the cracks and landed in the mud with your bad memories of us. I am sorry

Today , Newsreel films are part of the history of the USA and the world. Newsreel helped to make the world better with our stories and films. Robert might say to me bullshit. , but that is ok, because I could say bullshit back to him .

" All power to the people and all power to Newsreel " roz payne www.newsreel.us

 

and later:

Gosh Jon, I have not said "all power to the people, all power to newsreel" since the Sixties
I did it for you. :)

 

 

 


From: ALLAN SIEGEL <allan@kekbicikli.hu>

Gee Jon, these are some very profound words...

"And history makes clear that the entire "Movement" was a failure....

I do not look back on the 60's or Chicago 68 with any nostalgia. It was, bluntly, a failure."
Jon Jost (edited for clarity)


FAILURE seems to be the operative word here... AND while some people mellow with age, even acquiring a bit of wisdom, others turn sour and cranky... which seems to be the case with your little diatribe. Your vignettes actually provide some sense of that history but your self-righteousness and myopia belong in the rubbish bin.

 

 

 

From: Jon Jost <clarandjon@msn.com>

To which we note in this case my banishment to "the mud" which I am not
sure is better or worse than Allan's eviction "to the rubbish bin."
Having for some years lived on a little no nothing place in Montana,
with a big garden, I don't really regard mud as a bad thing, rather a useful one.
Ditto rubbish bins, having in times in life
been a "dumpster diver" and - and even still today -
one who takes useful things from the garbage.

Rennie took off his bandage because his head
had stopped bleeding , no need for a bandage anymore, very
natural.

My recollection of things, clearly, is rather different. I do know
that I sat beside Mr Davis when he pulled off his theatrical head bandage,
like a cap. It was a propaganda prop. Roz was not in the car. Marilyn Katz and I were.
Yes, Roz, I know the difference between props and the real thing.
Be it guns or bandages.
My memory of Robert and the gun fondling, and seeming sexism, was prompted by a reminder, during a breakfast a few weeks ago with Peter Kuttner, by Marilyn Katz,
who was there in the Newsreel office back in early 1868 with me.

" All power to the people and all power to Newsreel ">

This kind of shallow and empty left rhetoric,
which was certainly the Newsreel style once the artists had left,
is one of the reasons I departed. That anyone holds onto
it 40 years later suggests an ossification of life,
or perhaps (kind of the same thing) a desperate nostalgia.

The intolerance of these letters from Roz and Allan both
provide ample indication of why I left Newsreel early on.

Out here in the rubbish bin, wallowing in the mud, in the last
few years we've completed 3 new feature films (1 regarding a returned
Iraq vet; 1 a parable about the Bush years; and the third a portrait of
Stephen Lack, actor and painter.) Also managed a few half hour shorts,
video installation, and have several others features on the editing line.
I guess mud and rubbish are productive environments.

 

 

 

Singer Michael <mrsinger@mac.com>
Date: October 19, 2008 10:33:40 AM EDT

Lynn Philips and I began the New York Media Project. The idea for the project was conceived by Robert Kramer. The purpose was to organize media workers in the "overground" media: newspapers, TV networks and publishing, to help them ,understand the truth about the war in Vietnam, as we saw it from the left, and to understand how much bias there was in the so called "objective" media. We met in a large church on the west side. At its height we had 250 members attending meetings. We published our own newspaper
called Pac-O-Lies which was distributed to all media institutions by members who worked there. They did this at great risk of their jobs in some instances.The paper refined our positions on above ground media's so called "objectivity and we reported on actions taken by media workers who were against the war. We wrote a very tough critical response to a Newsweek cover story on the Black Panther Party. We made the critique into a handout and distributed it at Newsweek. It caused a big discussion among workers there. The project lasted a year(1969-70) and change.
I spent weeks at Columbia shooting film of the actions there. None of it was used in NR films. I spent I spent the year of 1968 working on Robert Kramer's feature called "ICE." I acted in the film, worked as a gopher, shot "B" roll for the film and finally, worked as an assistant to the editors, Kramer and Bob Machover. I was sent to Detroit with Ellin Hirst to represent NR in national meetings.

 

 

Southern Exposure | Robert Machover

In the fall of 1969 New York Newsreel received a desperate plea for help from the fledgling Atlanta Newsreel. Atlanta was seriously understaffed, with just four members. They wanted New York to send them as many people as we could spare. I found out about this call for help during the first Newsreel meeting I attended following my return from an ill-fated four month filming project in Cuba (described in Revolution 2). Finding someone who could be sent to Atlanta was a major item on the agenda. My name was mentioned and I began to panic. “Of course,” people said, “he’s a perfect fit.” They talked about how good I was at leading discussions with audiences. Better yet, I was one of the few people in Newsreel who had much in the way of filmmaking skills. Above all, since I had just returned from Cuba and wasn’t involved in any specific project and had nothing better to do with my time, I was “available for assignment”. (continued...)

 

 

On Oct 27, 2008, at 10:52 AM, PKUTT@aol.com wrote:

Comrades-

As a former member of the Chicago Film Coop and the Chicago Newsreel Collective, I feel like the airbrush of history has blown the Windy City away. I feel like Stalin's hatchet men swung wide while vacationing in Mexico with Trotsky and lopped off an important appendage to the Newsreel's history. What happened to Chicago? After accepting an invitation from Melvin Margoulis at the Columbia premiere screening of No Game, I came to a couple of months of meetings at Blue Van(?). Norman and others suggested I return to Chicago to help with logisitics for filming the events around the 1968 Democratic Covention. After a meeting of independent filmmakers a small group of us joined with the Chicago Film Coop, a group of organizer-photographersworking with SDS in the Community Union Project in Chicago's Uptown (a sister project to Newark as seen in the Kramer-Fruchter-Machover film, Troublemakers. Housed in the offices of the National Mobilization to End the War, the Coop made April 27 (Jon Jost produced) which predicted the police violence later recorded in Newsreel's Summer '68 to which we contributed footage (and where would the NY Newreel crew have stayed if not at my apartment ? It was an address later misused by dozens of Weathermen on their arrests during the Days of Rage a year or later.) After the Convention, we shared an office with the Chicago Regional SDS and became Chicago Newsreel. We served the Midwest with all the Newsreel films. Besides SDS (both factions) we were able to develop a relationship with the Black Panther Party and its chairman Fred Hampton which continues to inform, for some of us, our political aand media work. We showed the Columbia film behind locked doors at other building takeovers. The film shot at the University of Chicago occupation opens Kartemquin's HUM 255 which follows expelled students back to the UofC a year later. As a result of the many showings, the collective became involved in organizing projects. We started a film on hunger - contrasting the abundance of the Fulton and South Water wholesale food markets and the Panthers' Breakfast for Children Program. All the elements of that film were lost in a fire. Salvaged from that fire, though, was Trick Bag - a discussion of racism among gang members, Vietnam vets, and factory workers. It came out of the work of Newreel members who became part of Rising Up Angry - an organizing project which had grown out of the above-mentioned Uptown work, Trick Bag was finished by the Kartemquin Colective in 1975. By that time Newsreel was gone from Chicago. What is that film of a group of people meeting in a large room discussion the Chicago Convention which will happen . Great shots of old Chicago which i think john shot ? I have copy of I cll it Chicago convention Hope you are doing well , and it would be nice to see you sometime Love roz

That said, I'd like to arrange to include April 27 and Trick Bag and the opening of HUM 255 in the screenings at Sarah Lawrence.

Let me know when and who needs the films (all on dvd). I'm looking forward to seeing you all in November.

Thanks.
Peter Kuttner


SEND NOTES AND THOUGHTS OF THOSE YEARS
mailto: jdouglas@gmavt.net or RozNews@aol.com

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