In 1979 John Dorr, in collaboration with a group of artists, formed EZTV as the first video theater in the US. Originally housed in the West Hollywood Community Center, EZTV exhibited experimental videos in an intimate setting, with chairs clustered around large television monitors; the pioneering collective opened its own space in 1982. By moving video—at that time a new technology that was cheaper and viewed as more populist than film—outside an institutional museum setting, EZTV emphasized the radical, democratic aspects of small-screen technologies. Since its inception, it has promoted not just alternative media, but also queer aesthetics and politics. Throughout the 1980s, ACT UP and Queer Nation held meetings at EZTV.
Eventually evolving from a microcinema to a community-based editing facility, EZTV was home to production facilities where artists created everything from feature-length narratives to short abstract works and computer art; EZTV established one of the world’s first galleries dedicated to computer art. Currently run by co-founder artist Michael Masucci and current president Kate Johnson, who came on board in 1993, EZTV is a major site of the digital desktop revolution and continues to promote methods of video distribution beyond commercial networks. Included in the numerous collaborators or artists presented were writers Alan Ginsberg & Charles Bukowski, painter David Hockney, performance artists Rachel Rosenthal, Johanna Went, John Fleck, Beth Lapides as well as many of the seminal digital artists in California. The EZTV archives are located at 18th Street Arts Center.
CURRENT EZTV LEADERS
MICHAEL J. MASUCCI is an artist, musician, curator and producer. Works for which he is a principle collaborator have screened in venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, London; the American Film Insitute, as well as on Bravo and the BBC. EZTV’s first employee, Masucci served as co-director since 1986 and as its director since 1993. An acknowledged pioneer in the digital video movement, his writings have appeared in books such as CyberArts-Exploring Art & Technology and Going Digital. He is the co-creator of CyberSpace Gallery, one of the world’s first art galleries dedicated to digital art.
Masucci is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Cine Golden Eagle and AV Video Magazine’s Top Producers Award. He has served as International Chair in Digital Video for SIGGRAPH, on the National Advisory Board for the Digital Video Group and on the Boards of Fringe Festival/Los Angeles, Avaz International Dance Theater, Highways Performance Space and on the Art Advisory Board for the Los Angeles Free Clinic.
KATE JOHNSON is a media artist, performer and educator. She serves as president of EZTV, where she has created work since 1993. She has produced work in France, Finland and Croatia, as well as the US. Her collaborations have screened on the History Channel, BRAVO, PBS, Cannes Film Festival, Documentary Channel, as well as at MOMA, New York, the ICA in London, the American Film Festival and at festivals internationally. Her multimedia dance collaborations over 10 years Loretta Livingston were hailed by The Los Angeles Times and Dance Magazine.
Johnson began her career as an educator at the American Film Institute, where she co-directed the California Digital Artist Workshop. Today she is an Assistant Professor at Otis College of Art & Design where she lectures on film directing, music composition and sound design, interactive animation and short film production. Johnson is also the editor of the book An Artist for President by 18th Street co-founder Susanna Bixby Dakin.
Beginning every Wednesday from October 26-Nov 30 at 8pm, EZTV hosted “Hacking the Timeline v2.0”: An event driven series of five distinctly different evening programs ranging from Queer Culture to Digital Art to Neo-Riot Grrrl.
Pacific Standard Time was an unprecedented collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together to tell the story of the birth of the LA art scene. Initiated through grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time took place for six months beginning October 2011. Pacific Standard Time was an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor was Bank of America.