Ashley Blewer: Digital Archiving, Open Source Work & Systems of Strength

My friend and colleague Ashley Blewer is one of the most inspirational people I know. She makes hard things seem simple because she enjoys them so much. She has this brilliant gift of being talented at digital preservation and moving image archiving yet not coming off as intimidating or pretentious. She always seems willing to answer questions you might have and goes out of her way not to make you feel stupid for asking.  Ashley has spent countless hours working on projects that provide educational access to folks who might want to learn about moving image archiving but may not have the funds to do so.

I am incredibly proud to know this fabulous human being, count her as one of my friends and get to watch her be the mighty rock star that she is!!!

Please enjoy our conversation and check out the links and the bio just underneath here. Please note that this episode was recorded in advance so forgive date discrepancies

Bio:

Ashley works as at Artefactual Systems as their AV Preservation Specialist, primarily on the Archivematica project. She specializes in time-based media preservation, digital repository management, infrastructure/community building, computer-to-human interpretation, and teaching technical concepts. She is an active contributor to MediaArea’s MediaConch, a open source digital video file conformance checker software project, and Bay Area Video Coalition’s QCTools, an open source digitized video analysis software project. She holds Master of Library and Information Science (Archives) and Bachelor of Arts (Graphic Design) degrees from the University of South Carolina.

The absolutely amazing Beyoncé articles that Ashley wrote that we discussed:

https://bits.ashleyblewer.com/blog/2016/04/29/lemonade/

https://bits.ashleyblewer.com/blog/2016/02/09/format-ion-video-playback-errors-in-beyonces-latest-music-video/

The other OMGWTFBBQ mindblowing piece that she wrote on the recent Netflix doc series, Wild Wild Country:

https://bits.ashleyblewer.com/blog/2018/04/01/wild-wild-country-and-the-magnetic-media-crisis/

MOAR FUN ASHLEY LINKS!!!:

avpres-training resource https://training.ashleyblewer.com/

Patricia Ledesma Villon: The Challenges of Home Movies & the Complexity of Asian American Representation

This episode is the official Home Movie Day episode and it is extremely exciting! As you may recall, other guests have discussed the critical value of home movies. The exceptional Snowden Becker  was a guest and she is one of the actual founders of Home Movie Day, Erica Lopez came on and spoke on her vital and unique work on Mexican home movies, and Lynne Kirste  was a guest and we examined the way classic Hollywood depicted themselves in the home movie genre and why those films are such incredible gems in their own right.

I couldn’t be more excited to have Patricia Ledesma Villon be representing and speaking about home movies for Home Movie Day, 2018. In my eyes, she is exactly what the archiving and library world should be embracing and looking for in their new hires and future generations. If you are an employer reading this, take my advice: the qualities Patricia has are those you want. Passion, honesty, conviction and dedication.

As she and I discuss on the show, home movies are not simple nor are they just about fun nostalgia. Many times they are incredibly challenging and they can produce great discomfort in the viewer. This is one of the very important aspects of this moving image genre.

When home movies are shown, class, culture and representation are key elements and should always be part of the presentation. Yet this is rarely done. Home movie texts can always be enjoyed on the basis of narrative or nostalgic pleasure- they are so much fun and so pleasurable to watch– but it does them a disservice to deny their complex historicism and social meaning. Patricia’s work as an intern with CAAM and her own archival scholarship stand out in this manner as she introduces powerful ways of examining these critical moving image works, especially vis-a-vis Asian American communities.

Finally, although we touched on the importance of hiring people of color during our discussion, Patricia emailed me afterwards to emphasize that we should highlight black, indigenous, queer and disabled archivists in our community, especially as we remember the cultural significance of Home Movie Day.

Her bio & some REALLY TERRIFIC links are below, as usual. Hope your Home Movie Day rocks!!

PATRICIA LEDESMA VILLON is an archivist based in Oakland, California. A Bay Area native, she has worked for several Asian media nonprofits in the area. Patricia most recently interned at the Philippine Film Archive (formerly known as the National Film Archive of the Philippines) where she digitally restored a short film submitted to the 2017 Short Film Festival of Switzerland. She is currently interning at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) where she works on Memories to Light, a project preserving the home movies of Asian American families on Super 8, 8mm and 16mm formats. She received her B.A. in media from the University of California, Berkeley and is a member of Low Light Darkroom and Black Hole Collective Film Lab, a DIY member-run analog still image and motion film collective.

 
Here are some links:
 
About Low Light Darkroom and Black Hole Collective Film Lab: https://lowlightblackholelab.org/
 
About Memories to Light: https://caamedia.org/memoriestolight/
 
Kip Fulbeck’s home movie collection featuring Santa’s Village on Memories to Light: https://caamedia.org/memoriestolight/2015/12/30/throwback-thursday-kip-fulbecks-santas-village-visit-in-1972/
 
Dawn Bohulano Mabalon’s home movie collection featuring Stockton’s Little Manila on Memories to Light: https://caamedia.org/memoriestolight/project/bohulano-family-collection/
 
African American Museum & Library’s “Representing Ourselves: Black Home Movies for All Audiences” on Home Movie Day Saturday, October 20 from – 2:00-4:00pm: http://oaklandlibrary.org/events/african-american-museum-library-oakland/home-movie-day

 

 

Jordan Hale: Learning in Public, Enduring Online Toxicity & Being Kind

I wanted to call this episode “Jordan Hale: Badassery In Action” but that doesn’t really explain what they do or who they are except that they are exactly that- a total badass.

I would not be the same person if I didn’t know Jordan. This episode starts off with me laughing and I am so glad that it does because Jordan brings me joy. I cannot imagine anyone meeting Jordan and not being folded into the joyful, strong and brilliant person that they are and continue to be.

We agree and disagree, they teach me so many things. Speaking to Jordan on this podcast and listening to them tell me about their work, I learned so many things that made me fall even more in love with archiving, preservation and the kickass people who make up this community. I’m all starry-eyed for Jordan Hale and not just because we have great cat conversations (although that’s a big plus cuz their cats are like majorly adorable mmkay?).

 

Here is Jordan’s Bio:

Jordan Hale is a landscape geographer and cat friend who is presently the Digital Repositories Librarian at the University of Waterloo. Their dream is to work as a media archivist for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Here are some of the amazing things that they have written, some of which we discussed on the podcast:

Here is the NBD (No Big Deal) campaign that Jordan & I both love!

Here is the Little Free Libraries piece that raised such an uproar. IT’S GREAT. Read it!!

Click on this link for Jordan’s incredible piece on the ethics of archiving sex-worker’s lives.

And I know that many of you will be as interested in Jordan’s thesis as I was so here is access to their work on the memorial highways in Canada.

Lynne Kirste- Home Movies at the Academy and the Brilliant Power of Representation

Welcome to Season 2! I am so excited to begin this season with my friend and colleague Lynne Kirste of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. While many of you may only know the Academy for That Awards Show, this institution does way more. Lynne is only one of many other wonderful humans that I know and treasure there. But what she does is (to me) particularly special and unique which is why I was so excited when I was able to welcome her to the program and why she is the first guest on this new season!

Last season we spoke about the topic of home movies with the illustrious Snowden Becker and the fabulous Erica Lopez, these women are critical engineers of the home movie world and introduced major discussions that I invite you to revisit if you have not listened to those episodes. The home movie/amateur film genre is one of the most critical areas of our profession.

Here we go a step further into our classical film past. What Lynne Kirste does at the Academy as the Special Collections Curator is truly mindblowing. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed spending time with a woman who I consider to be a true mentor and, like Snowden and Erica, is one of the great talents of our moving image archive world. Below the podcast link you will find her very rich bio and some great links! Please check them out!


Lynne Kirste Bio:

Lynne Kirste is Special Collections Curator at the Academy Film Archive, where she cares for materials that include the Archive’s extensive collection of home movies. She joined the Archive staff in 1997 after earning her MFA in Film Production from UCLA. Lynne believes it is crucial for archives to collect, preserve, share and provide access to moving images by and about people who are not well represented in mainstream media. Lynne has spoken about this topic at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, the Outfest Fusion Festival, the Stan Brakhage Symposium, the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, the Society of
Cinema and Media Scholars conference and many other forums. Lynne is passionate about sharing material from the Academy’s collection. She has curated over twenty home movie programs and presented them with live commentary to audiences at a wide range of venues, including the Academy’s Linwood Dunn theater, the Turner Classic Film Festival, Walt Disney Imagineering, the historic Old Town Music Hall, the British Film Institute and the Archivio Nazionale del Film di Famiglia in Bologna, Italy.
Lynne’s publications include articles in Mining the Home Movie, edited by Karen Ishizuka and Patricia Zimmermann, and the Cinema Journal. She provides commentary for a home movie selection on the DVD set Treasures V: The West, produced by the National Film Preservation Foundation, and talks about LGBTQ home movies in the documentary Reel in the Closet.
Lynne is proud to be a member of the Outfest Legacy Advisory Council and of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, where she chaired the LGBT Committee for several years.

Links mentioned in the show & other recommendations to check out!!!!

Japanese American National Museum Home Movie Collection

JANM’s main website

http://www.janm.org/

Home Movie Clips from JANM’s Collections

http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/nikkeialbum/albums/270/

This link takes you a page featuring the Dave Tatsuno Collection Album (plus a list of other JANM home movie collections on the right side of the screen under the heading “More albums by HNRC.”) You can’t click yet on the large image in the player. There is a text description below that image. Below the text you will see the “Slides in this album” thumbnail photos. Click on any thumbnail photo and it will link you to the actual home movie clip that you can now play in the viewer. After you’ve loaded one clip, you can click on the numbers above the screen to see the next clips.

You can click on any of the other collection albums to view their clips.

It’s easy and totally worth it!

Latinos and Latinas in Hollywood

Hollywood Home Movies: LA/LA Special Edition (2017 Academy program)

This review discusses the program’s content and points about Latinas and Latinos in Hollywood.

http://www.thevintagecameo.com/2017/10/hollywood-home-movies-lala-special-edition/

Negro Leagues Baseball

Kansas City Monarchs vs. Indianapolis Clowns, featuring Reese “Goose” Tatum

https://www.filmpreservation.org/preserved-films/screening-room/t1-negro-leagues-baseball-1946

Complete footage and information from the National Film Preservation Foundation site.

Satchel Paige pitching for a team of Negro League ballplayers in an exhibition game against Major League players in 1948.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyjLJ96iFBM

Click “read more” on the YouTube page for an excellent description of the footage.

LGBTQ Home Movies

Trailer for Reel in the Closet, a documentary about the historic value of LGBTQ home movies with some amazing clips.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9yiA-SRjgw

Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation

https://www.outfest.org/about-the-legacy-project/

Mona’s Candle Light Bar – a “bohemian” bar in San Francisco, circa 1950 – preservation of home movie with sound (very rare to find an early sound home movie) that features drag king Jimmy Reynard and singer Jan Jensen.

https://archive.org/details/monasCandleLightCa1950s

People with Disabilities in Film

Interview with Marlee Matlin (2017)

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-marlee-matlin-oscars-20170202-story.html

Think of Me First as a Person

This wonderful home movie/documentary by a father about his son who has Down Syndrome is on the National Film Registry.

http://www.thinkofmefirstasaperson.com/film.html

https://amateurism.wordpress.com/2010/02/14/preserving-think-of-me-first-as-a-person/

 

Episode 15: Courtney Dean- Punk Rock Archives, Better Labor Practices & Community Strength

Welcome to the final episode of season one!

I couldn’t think of a more powerful and amazing guest than the talented and inspirational Courtney Dean. Doing this episode with her was just plain fun and reminded me of all the reasons that I got into this world: to have colleagues like this. People who will stand by you and laugh with you, speak your language, protest with you and party with you.

That’s what this show, ultimately is about. I hope that during the next few weeks while I am on a mini-hiatus you can go back and listen to past episodes and check out all the other guests who TRULY fulfill the same function in this landscape that this week’s guest does.

 

Of significant importance, I hope that everyone who listens to this signs the letter/petition included in Courtney’s links. The contract issues we discuss are not business practices exclusive to UCLA and they need to stop. Archival workers, librarians, we are important. We are growing and radicalizing as a field, no longer allowing the rotting structures of the past to rule. and bringing our own beautiful identities to the table and critical lived experiences to our work. We need visibility, job security, unions and everything that Courtney and the inspirational team behind this letter are calling for. Sign it. You don’t have to work or even know a librarian or archivist to sign. Just sign it “caring citizen.” 🙂

Anyways, I love all of you who have been supporting this show and my guests. THANK YOU FOR THAT. I’ll be back in a bit with more amazing people rocking this space.

For now, here is Courtney’s bio and the amazing links to her other highly recommended archives and materials. I will second/third/infinity all of them as well. COURTNEY RULES!!!

BIO:

Courtney Dean is the Head of the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT) in UCLA Library Special Collections, where she provides hands-on training in archival methodology to graduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds, and facilitates creative engagement with special collections materials. Prior to UCLA she worked as a Project Archivist at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In 2014 she co-founded the Los Angeles Archivists Collective (LAAC), a community-driven local professional organization with a focus on students and new professionals. She is an active member of the Society of California Archivists and Society of American Archivists, where she is currently the Issues & Advocacy Section’s Vice-Chair. She earned her MLIS from UCLA in 2013.

 
 
Los Angeles Archivists Collective (LAAC): http://www.laacollective.org/
 
 
 
Louisville Underground Music Archive: https://library.louisville.edu/archives/luma
 
Alliance for Local Music Archives (ALMA): http://www.localmusicarchives.org/
 
 
 
Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP): https://www.qzap.org/v8/index.php
 
Issues & Advocacy Section of SAA: https://issuesandadvocacy.wordpress.com/

 

Ettarh, Fobazi. Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves. In the Library with the Lead Pipe. January 10, 2018. http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2018/vocational-awe/

 

Karly Wildenhaus on LIS Internships: https://tinyletter.com/lis-internships
 
Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Umoja Noble