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Video Days: and What We Saw Through the Viewfinder Paperback – March 14, 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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About the Author

NANCY CAIN began playing with video as a member of Videofreex, the radical video collective in New York that shot footage of the Woodstock Festival and the Chicago Eight. She worked on the first video pilot ever shot for network television with the Videofreex at CBS in 1969, and ran an offbeat weekly video show at the Videofreex loft in Soho. She cofounded Lanesville TV—known as “Probably America’s Smallest TV Station.” The pirate broadcasts were made possible by a transmitter donated by Yippie activist Abbie Hoffman. Along with TVTV, she defined the video documentary movement of the 70s, known as “guerrilla television.” Cain was a co-creator and producer of The ’90s, a weekly hour-long alternative show for PBS, which the New York Post called “refreshingly irreverent, opinionated and outlandish.” She was the co-creator and producer of CamNet The Camcorder Network, America’s first all camcorder channel. Rolling Stone designated CamNet second only to HBO in their list of “the ten things in 1993 that didn’t suck,” and heralded CamNet as “a brilliant and democratic vision … a peoples CNN,” and “the inevitable next stop in the liberation of television from network owners and broadcasters.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1468006800
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468006803
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,035,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Before Youtube and reality TV, there was Nancy Cain and the Videofreex. This book is a really fun, super-readable account of the early days of guerilla documentaries by someone who was everywhere in the days when being there involved dragging heavy recorders and bulky cameras. Her prose is as revealing and accurate as her camera was. An insightful look into the origins of our now-pervasive do-it-yourself, tell-all culture. It makes you want to grab your smartphone and start making movies - or better yet, go back in time and do it with Nancy and her colorful committed cohorts.
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Format: Paperback
This is the most exciting book I've read in a long, long time. Nancy Cain's Video Days brought back all the intensity of the 1960s and 70s when political radicals believed in the "revolution" and embarked upon a million activities to bring it about. One of these activities was alternative television, and Video Days presents the full scope of its impact for the reader to enjoy.

Beautifully written and rich in historical detail, the book took my breath away with its scope and accuracy. Cain is a master of the cryptic comment, the elliptical phrase and the sequenced non-sequitur. Her writing is funny, engaging and meaningful to all those who relished the ironic realities of the so-called counterculture, as Cain and other media radicals provided alternative coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions from 1972 to 1992 along with other political milestones. Cain's genius is to reveal how the ideals and messages of this counterculture have shaped present day media in a way 60s radicals never would have believed.

Video Days should be read by everyone wanting to know the spiritual heritage of social media---this is where it started, kids.

Update, Sept. 24, 2015: The new chapter, "Psychic in Retrospect", added in 2014, lends an important note of historical ideology to the book, linking pirate TV to Citizen Journalism and thus to Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. It would be well to include Video Days in the curriculum of college Mass Communications programs, as we endeavor to construct a paradigm for today's mass media.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved her adventures in the global video village. (The above Kindle sample gives a feel of the openness and creativity flowing.)

Recently read this article regarding a documentary about Nancy Cain's group of Videofreex and other early portapak backers:

http://www.current.org/2015/03/new-films-remember-video-avant-garde-of-the-1970s/

Can't wait for feature film depiction of those heady times, which will be ten times brighter/funnier than Coen Bros' "Inside Llewyn Davis" was dark.
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