Episode 10: Anne Marie Kelly- the Power of Oral History, a Good Haircut and Preservation As a Political Practice

Not only will this be the 10th episode of Archivist’s Alley but it is also Pride Month. Therefore, this month I thought it would be wonderful to showcase some of the most exciting work and wonderful queer archivists in the preservation community. I hope that you all are as thrilled about it as I am. It’s going to be a Fabulous month, in every sense of the word!

Full disclosure: I was incredibly moved putting together episode 10. Anne Kelly’s work, passion and eloquence is inspirational. I first met her while she was writing an excellent column on Katherine Hepburn called A Year With Kate which we talk about a bit on the show. Thanks to TCM Film Fest, we got to hang out even more and shared such great times. You’ll learn how she moved from TCMFF and this incredible 52-week Kate Hepburn extravaganza to interning with the ultra brilliant Teague Schneiter at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to her current position as the Program Specialist for New Dimensions in Testimony at the USC Shoah Foundation.


But our conversation focuses on much more. We talk about the critical nature of oral history and the oral tradition. Genocide and the fact that it is still a problem. It is on-going and it has not stopped and that many simply associate the term genocide with the Holocaust and that continues to allow people, entire cultures, to disappear.

I talk to Anne about her identity as a queer woman in the archival landscape, community and the thing that has brought her and I together so strongly for so many years: our love for and belief in the revolutionary nature of memory work.

I am so excited to present this episode for you to kick off a month where we need to support and celebrate each other and erase erasure now more than ever.

Guest Bio:

Anne Marie Kelly is a Project Specialist at the USC Shoah Foundation. She is a recent graduate with her Masters in Cinema & Media Studies from USC with publications in The Cine-Files and Spectator. Anne previously worked in film sound restoration for Deluxe Entertainment and consulted at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oral History Projects on the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Oral History Interviews collection.

Link to the USC Shoah Foundation: https://sfi.usc.edu/

Episode 9: It’s My Birthday! Meet My Mom, Enid Kent Sperber!

I turn 40 tomorrow, May 20th.

My mom asked me what I wanted to do.

I decided that I wanted to record a podcast with her.

So I did.

I have some shouts out to some folks in here that inspired me to become who I am. Check it out.

But to be honest, every guest that is on here inspires the hell out of me.

My mom, Enid Kent Sperber, is amazing & I love her. I hope you enjoy this episode.

Archivist’s Alley will be back in June with Pride Month!

Episode 8: Rachel E. Beattie – Canada, Community and Cinema!

My friend Rachel is the best.

From our first connection working together on the AMIA Diversity Committee (SO MANY CONFERENCE CALLS WHERE I HAD NO IDEA WHAT SHE LOOKED LIKE….JUST “CANADIAN”) to a constant teammate at the AMIA Trivia Night, Rachel has been and continues to be a treasure.

I look forward to pictures of her Oscar parties every year because the food names are always good (she and her friends name them after the year’s movies…including the shorts!).

She has a sitting apparatus in her home named Judy Bench. You just can’t get much cooler than that.

And yet…..You totally can.


Rachel is absolutely critical to this community of memory work, media appreciation and preservation. She and I are both GIANT fans of three things: social justice, archiving and film festivals/film exhibition. These make her both an amazing woman, a great archivist and a wonderful friend.

Within this episode, you will hear us chat about David Cronenberg, TIFF, AFI fest, Nollywood, White Privilege and the OMFG!!!!!!!!! work that she does with her colleagues at University of Toronto’s Media Commons Media Archives. And so. much. more. Please enjoy the episode and all the links and media that Rachel has so graciously provided!!!

Rachel’s Bio:

Rachel E. Beattie is an assistant media archivist at University of Toronto’s Media Commons Media Archives. She is a white settler working on the traditional territories of the Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation, Anishnawbe, Haudenosaunee, Wendat, and Huron Indigenous Peoples and works to acknowledge all the privilege that entails. She is also the chair of the Sound and Moving Image Special Interest Section of the Association of Canadian Archivists and the chair of the Community Engagement Committee at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. She is equally passionate about film, archives, and social justice.

Media Commons – https://mediacommons.library.utoronto.ca

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)- http://tiff.net

Film Reference Library (TIFF’s Library and Archives) – https://www.tiff.net/library/

Toronto’s year round documentary showcase and annual documentary film festival – Hot Docs – http://hotdocs.ca/

Barbara O’Leary’s Directed by Women project:  http://directedbywomen.com/

the Patreon to support Directed by Women:  https://www.patreon.com/barbaraannoleary

The trailer for Sweet Country, which TOTALLY rules & you all should check it out!!!

The trailer for the fabulous woman-directed film that Rai & I are obsessed with from Myanmar…

This movie is one that IS UNREAL. I must see this again & highly recommend. Rachel & I haven’t stopped talking about I AM NOT A WITCH since she saw it at TIFF & I saw it at AFI.

Episode 6: Erica Lopez- Mexican American Home Movies, Being “Seen,” and Gauging Class in Amateur Films

The best thing to come out of the last election was that I met Erica Lopez.

As you’ll learn about in the first few minutes of this week’s episode, we met at the AMIA conference in Pittsburgh, PA. It was November of 2016.


 

 

The sad thing was that the actual conference was amazing. Some of the best panels I’ve ever experienced at AMIA. But we were all so goddamn numb because of the election results that we were somewhere between zombie, “Is this real life?” and wanting to go to sleep forever or the next 4 years (whichever came first).

But I met Erica Lopez and her badass partner-in-archivey-action Caroline Oliveira and I was so thrilled. These women were my kinda ladies!!!!! These women were still students and considerably younger than me but I was so excited to find women who were just as passionate about the field as I was in a positive and pro-active way!

Obviously I kept in touch with both women.

Erica got in touch with me earlier this year and told me what her thesis was going to be about and I was floored. Her title, as presented at the end of March, is Mi Voz: Latin@ Self-Representation in Home Moviesand this was the description that was posted in the schedule for NYU MIAP thesis presentations. “The portrayal of Latin@s in the media has been constructed by stereotypes that attempt to suppress their voice. This thesis will focus on home movies of Latin@s, primarily on Mexican-American/ Xican@ communities. These movies challenge, threaten and question stereotypes of  Latin@s because these are images of self-representation. This thesis will look at different collections of home movies, specifically looking at the content, film format, the year they were shot and the year they were acquired in a cultural institution. The thesis will also consider how this community is represented in metadata since Mexican-American, Latin@, Hispan@, and Xican@ are labels that connote problematic issues. The thesis will end with a case study on The Fuentes Collection of home movies, which has been added to the National Film Registry’s list. After giving an historical background of the Fuentes family, I will discuss how they represent life in a border-town-space.”

I genuinely love home movies but let’s get real: the ones that most people see and the stereotype of the “Home Movie” is pretty damn white.

Home Movies are not white. Looking at those in the US, they are African American. They are Japanese American. They are Mexican American. They are Italian American. They are Pilipino American. So why do we just imagine blond babies toddling by the Christmas tree while Dad drinks a beer when we consider the “home movie”?

Erica Lopez is subverting the dominant paradigm by saying: I’m looking at Mexican Home Movies, movies that people have been ignoring. Films that have been sitting there because they are of people of color, cultures who have systematically disparaged and considered “less than” by a structure that still requires fixing. Erica Lopez is a critical scholar in this area. She did exactly what archival professionals are supposed to do: she saw a void in our field and said, “Oh hell no. I’m gonna fix that!”

Full disclosure: Erica is one of my best friends. So of course I’m going to say amazing things about her. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to praise her scholarship or social justice passion if it wasn’t present. That would not fit my ethical guidelines for myself and how I live my life.

I invite you to listen to this podcast that I did with a woman who continues to impress me the longer I know her. I think you’ll enjoy it.

I know we enjoyed doing it.

Erica’s Bio:

My name is Erica Gloria López. I am a graduate student at NYU Moving Image and Archiving Preservation program. I’ll be graduating this May, hopefully, so the pressure is on to join the ‘professional’ world is scary, for many reasons, and obvious ones. Growing up in a Mexican family, living in America, was an experience that with time and experiences, has influenced my life. I never thought I would be an archivist, let alone, ever imagined finishing school at my age, 35, since I did not go to college after High School. I was too busy going to punk shows and dancing to 80s music in Downtown LA. But, for some odd reason, I stumbled across this program. It’s been one of my biggest life challenges, and the most rewarding.

Check out The Fuentes Collection:  http://www.texasarchive.org/library/index.php/Category:The_Fuentes_Collection

 

Episode 5: Elena Colón-Marrero, Digital Preservation, Forensics and Creating Your Own Field

 

Every episode of this podcast gets more exciting to me but I think having this conversation with Elena was deeply personal in a way that I never expected it to be. We’ve been Twitter pals for some time and I knew that she worked with Jarrett Drake so she already had major bonafides there. But I’m always really nervous when I go to talk to people about digital preservation because I’m still learning SO MUCH.

In my last job, they thought I knew a LOT more than I did about digital materials. I told them I didn’t at the very beginning but they didn’t seem to get it? It was a disaster. So I get really nervous about the idea of what I do/don’t know and how that comes across. Part of the reason I started Archivist’s Alley was to help myself better understand some of the things that I don’t completely “get” in the areas of preservation that I know BRAINBURSTINGLY INCREDIBLE people in.

Elena went beyond what I ever would have expected or thought. The work that she is doing and how she is going about it is revolutionary and our conversation left me jumping up and down and super excited. I hope that you get that from this.

One of the most (if not THE most) difficult things to do in preservation is to discover a void or area that has not been worked on/with and then go for it. This is what Elena Colón-Marrero is doing. When you have little to no research or previous work to assist you, it can be the hardest thing in the world and LONELY AS HELL. But it’s also super freeing because it means YOU are the one to develop the field. Period.

I can’t say that I’ve had that experience with something as complex as digital preservation but I MOST CERTAINLY have had the experience of wanting to do less traditional preservation work than your average bear. My entire career has been spent searching for those voids in our field. It’s very exciting work but GOOD GRIEF. It’s exhausting and frustrating and sometimes you feel like you’ve got 2 strikes against you at all times. It is an exceptionally tough road to travel down. But it’s so worth it.

Clearly, Elena knew what formats she was going to work with from the VERY start.

I feel extremely lucky to have been able to have this conversation about digital forensics, preservation, personal identity and the incredible work that this woman is doing.

Speaking of work, let me link you to some of her brilliance!

A short bio:

Elena Colón-Marrero is responsible for processing and reading the Museum’s digital collection with an emphasis on historic software objects. Colón-Marrero has a Master’s of Science in Information from the University of Michigan and B.A. in history from Christopher Newport University. Prior to joining the Museum, Elena was the 2015 John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Archival Fellow for Princeton University’s Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.

Some of her written work:

Also, here is a link to the 2017 Core Magazine. On page 17 (pdf pg 19) you will find a great article entitled, “Preserving Software with Digital Forensics” that Elena wrote, highlighting her work at the Computer History Musuem. Check it out here:
Finally, here is the website for the ultra fabulous Computer History Museum! Go! Visit! Check it out! Tweet about it and join their social media pages!!

http://www.computerhistory.org/