Steina and Woody Vasulka
This anthology, which was screened in 1977 at the Third Annual Video Documentary Festival in New York City, consists of excerpts from videos shot in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Participation reveals the Portapak's impact on documentary filmmaking of the time. Launched by Sony in 1965, the Portapak included a camera, a tape recorder and often a portable sound recorder. Although for the Vasulkas, the documentary style gave way to more formal experiments, they first used the Portapak to capture a New York teeming with counterculture movements.
Vincent Bonin © 2001 FDL
Participation (1969-1971) focuses on the main players of these different movements. At the time, Steina and Woody filmed indiscriminately and accumulated hours of videotape. The anthology incorporates scenes shot at Fillmore East in New York and featuring such musical legends as Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull, Miles Davis and Keith Jarret.
Other excerpts spotlight the marginal figures that gravitated around the Vasulkas at that time. Added to the anthology as a sort of interlude is Steina's video Let It Be (1970), a close-up of Steina's mouth doing a somewhat satirical lip-synch of the Beatles song. Participation also explores overlooked segments of gay life from the 1960s. In each of the excerpts, editing is limited to the bare minimum. The images are presented without narration and therefore lack commentary that could influence the spectator's point of view.
Performers : Paul Ambrose, Ian Anderson, Billy Andrews, Gary Bartz, Tally Brown, Lary Chaplan, Don Cherry, Kevin Coe, Jackie Curtis, Candy Darling, Miles Davis, Jack DeJohnette, Eric Emersion, Estelle, Christmas Eve, Michael Enderson, Jimi Hendrix, Stephen Holt, Keith Jarret, Jay Johnson, Aunt Josie, Agosto Machado, Taylor Mead, Buddy Miles, Geri Miller, Mario Montez, Airto Moreira, Paul Morrissey, Ondine, Ritta Redd, Al Sayegh, Silva, Ekathrina Sobechanskaya, Steve Stanwick, Steina, Artchie Strips, David Susskind, Tinkerbelle, Jethro Tull, Richard Weinstock, Holly Woodlawn.