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S-Z

Alumni

Karen Sharpe

Producer

At VW provided children when needed (trafficker?); writer/producer—marijuana, Jonestown-CIA, KiddeoWest, presidential debate with Zippy and others, beauty seen by feminists, pollution in the Bay, Lawrence Livermore Lab, news show, et al (a pattern here?). Post VW: magazine and book editor, book packager, ghostwriter. Have been living in Paris since 2000, teaching at university, writing, editing, trying to stop imperialist wars and injustices (not been very successful here…), enjoying living in a different culture and language.  How does one get 40 years into 50 words? Thank goodness for memory lapses…

Aisha Sharpe

Former Videowest child star

Aisha Sharpe, former VideoWest child star, grew up, became an adult, and moved to New York, where she still happily resides.

Zoe Sharpe

Talent / Exploited Child Labor

I came to VW as a child actor, having memorable roles in Attack Trained Children, Sock-it-to-me and Beach Blanket Armageddon (roles acquired through nepotism as my mother was a producer on the show). VW proved to be the peak of my professional acting career, though seeing as I was only paid in Twinkies, I am not sure it actually constituted a professional career.  I went on to receive a BA in Classics. I worked in film advertising and publicity, then moved to London, where I started a career in packaging, working on DVD and BluRay packaging. I live in Burbank and manage all toy packaging for the Disney stores.

Curt Shaw

Writer / Producer / Prop Master

I made props for the likes of Leila & the Snakes, the Swiss Army tube, and Beach Blanket Armageddon. I also wrote some sketches that Joe Dea directed (U.S. Cadaver Corps, Orifice Perfume), and produced "The Death Show."  When our first kid came along, I had to figure out how to make some money, so it was goodbye VW, and computers and real estate from then on.  I recently went through a binder of stuff from VW that was a time capsule -- old phone lists, video production rate cards and promo sheets, upcoming schedules, and lots of half-baked ideas for comedy sketches. It brought back the anarchic sense of frenzy and fun that made those days so seductive. I feel lucky to have been a small part of it.  

Larry Shore

Writer / Producer

I learned to create video at Videowest, the greatest training ground in the world. That led to five years as a producer at KPIX TV, which landed me a local Emmy.  Then, in pursuit of a French beauty, it was off to Paris where I started producing babies. I became a screenwriter, working five seasons for the Highlander TV series as well as others. Co-developed French sitcom Une Famille Pour Deux. In 1997, I returned to SF to work at IFusion in an attempt to stream video, a tad too early. Old habits die hard. I co-wrote a French feature film, Pars Vite Et Reviens Tard. Currently living the life in Provence while hocking my feature film script, I See London, I See France, and adapting the French play, L’Heritage d’Ana into English for the London stage next year. Thank you Videowest! I couldn’t have done it without you. Lawrence Shore IMDB

Blaise Simpson

Producer

At VideoWest, I co-produced The Beauty Show with BJ McAllister and Rob Fruchtman.  After, I became a reporter for the SF Examiner and later was Arts and Entertainment editor at W Magazine (and WWD.) I also wrote for the LA Times and Vanity Fair.  Returning to SF in the 90s, I was Director of Marketing at  Meadowood Resort, Napa. In the late 90s and 2000s I became a Public Relations executive in Silicon Valley, working with Pixar, Yahoo, Adobe, Palm and many other companies. I retired in 2007 to sail in the Mediterranean with my late husband, Tom Dugan, and then to care for him during his long terminal illness.

Michael Siporin

Editor

I haven’t edited anything in 35 years.  After the Disney Channel, I studied IT which led to a job with Oracle and over time I became a Senior Programmer Analyst.  I later worked for PG&E where I was a DBA and linked IBM Mainframes to UNIX servers. I drove databases that tracked 10% of all freight in and out of the West Coast and worked for Health System Design in Oakland to port a UNIX medical claims processing app to MVS. I have driven a database on everything from a PC to a $35 million IBM Mainframe. I’m retired now and live in Southern California where Carol and I help our daughter, a pediatrician with Kaiser, with her two sons. We have returned to fine art painting, our first love. 

Jim "Germ" Smith

A/V Technician

I did audio and PA stuff at Videowest. Went on a road trip to LA with Mike Feeney and Art Freyer. Was too sick for the Mötley Crüe shoot but there for Devo warehouse.  Part of a roving crew for the Halloween broadcast. Appeared as a ghoul in the Red Rockers video.  I was a DJ at KUSF as "The Germ" for about 20 years and released two compilations of SF bands: Germ's Choice (first Primus on vinyl ever) (1988) and Germ's Choice 94 (1994).  Worked about seven years at ZDTV/TechTV until it was sold.  I now work at SFGovTV broadcasting City meetings and events 24/7 on Channels 26 and 78.

Timmy Spence

Talent

My first music video, Brand New Dance, was produced by Videowest. I love it to this day and wish it had gone national, but apparently there were some legal issues with another group who used that name. I was a member of the Blowdryers and did Beach Blanket Armageddon with Jennifer Blowdryer.  We were not punk, we were New Wave! I have been a SF drag legend, made it through AIDS and six different cancers, taught AP Calculus in high school for over 10 years, moved to Southern California, and still have the same place in SF that I had in my days with Videowest!

Kim Spencer

Producer

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Bonnie Steiger

Production/Talent

Paula Stein

Editor

 IMDB

Robert Steiner

Producer

Started at VW answering phones. One day someone was needed to do an MTV segment and I said, sure, what's MTV?  I did about 25 or so of those. I was also an extra in The Scorpions’ video shoot - all night in the Alcatraz prison cells. Spooky. Since then…coached figure skating (e.g., Al Franken), stint at the Village Voice followed by a long career in the sustainability world.  Initiated SF's solar program, produced Ecotopia, a feature film (didn't happen), numerous influencer events in private residences in SF, NYC, LA, featuring notables (Gavin Newsom, the Blue Man Group, a live mountain lion), and launching electric cars; etc. etc.

Mercey Tondre

Anything for a Buck

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John Torcassi

Camera

An ace cameraman who excelled at special effects, John left his artistic stamp on at Videowest. As a Director and Director of Photography for 25 years, John’s clients have included CBS, Apple, IBM, HBO, Showtime, PBS and MTV, among many others. His work includes advertising, rock videos, independent movies, documentaries, and corporate image pieces. He has won awards from the Chicago, Houston, New York and U.S. International Film Festivals; the Telly Award, the Gold Cine Award and an Emmy from the NATAS, San Francisco. His work has also appeared in both Communication Arts and Graphis Annuals. He is currently Creative Director and Director at Seed Communications. 

Dan Tucker

Producer

Danny logged tapes for Ed Aardvark before he began writing and producing his own segments, beginning with Mike Varney and the Titans of Metal (?) and culminating with Elvis Costello. Dan snuck in a line calling Costello “one of the great songwriters of the twentieth

century” over the objections of Erik Nelson, and never regretted it. He remembers being staff representative, but couldn’t tell you the first thing that he did. Now he writes and produces books in Brooklyn, where he lives with his wife Megan, his-14-year-old daughter Stella, a dog Hiro, and a cat Oona.

Jim Turner

Talent

Jim Turner was Zippy the Pinhead in the mini-series. After leaving Videowest, MTV ran his character, Randee of the Redwoods, for President in 1988. It went as well as Zippy’s 1980 presidential run. Jim’s done lots of actoring in all shapes and sizes on teevee and film in NY and LA, but he’s most proud of the various live shows he’s created: 2 Headed Dog, Girly  Magazine Party, Clowntown City Limits, Sashay Gigante, DIABETES: My Struggles With Jim Turner, Walk A Mile In My Head, etc. He is currently writing a memoir about his 50 years as a type-one diabetic and how it’s impacted his screwball showbiz career. IMDB

Liduina Van Nes

Production / Talent

I came to Videowest through friends in the SFSU Broadcast Department. Those years are a bit of a blur but I do remember my first acting gig and scrambling some numbers. After years of living in NYC and some overseas, I am retired and now spend summers in Mexico and most of the year in my sweet North Beach home working on immigration issues.

Natalie Van Osdol

Production

Natalie was one of a legion of volunteers “learning by doing” production and PR in the early days of Videowest (1978-79.) After living in NYC for a dozen years, she returned to the Bay Area in 1992, where she continued to work for Pacific Interface, a small international consultancy that produced video reports, demonstrations, and conferences about emerging technologies in networking and digital cinema. She is also one of the co-founders of CineGrid where she served as co-executive director for over 10 years. Natalie lives in Oakland and continues to spend a good deal of time in NYC.

Joe Vertino

Camera/Producer

Videowest was the right place to be, way ahead of its time. 

Marty Balin told me of Videowest. The following week I started shooting camera and producing. I asked Marty to host the show I was producing “San Francisco Rocks”. This started what would become a close, lasting friendship.

After 3 years I co-founded a SF video production company. Eventually moved to Orlando, produced infomercials, health series “O.R. Behind The Mask” and “The Beat Goes On” for Fox. I started another production company. Co-produced “Living Legends Music” show for PBS and Amazon Prime. Produced 10 albums with Marty Balin.

Chris Vincent

Production / Props Master

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Mark Ward

Talent

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Richard Weiss

Camera / Talent

Ace camera person at Videowest. Also technician, teacher, actor. Most famously, known for the iconic phrase that defined the era: “We like to party! What else is there to do?" Traveled all over the world, shooting for CBS news and other media outlets.

Andy Yakas

Editing

I consider myself an SF native despite being been born on Staten Island. My first lucid memory is watching the propellers spin on the United flight that brought us to SF. I grew up in the SE corner of the city. Television was my babysitter. I watched cartoons, Jack LaLanne, Ernie Kovacs, Alan Watts. My idyllic life ended abruptly when I got drafted in 1969. Afterwards I wandered about, working in bookstores, a stint as a plumber’s apprentice for a time.  Then I saw Videowest and saw a chance to see if I had any TV production chops. I did. Enamored with editing and Evelyn Messinger, I was a clever, creative editor.  After 30 years, I dropped editing for a living. The camaraderie at Videowest was warm and welcoming. The friendships continue. It was fun.

Ed Zzardvark

CEO

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