Remembering Red Burns (1925-2013)

Early on in this blog I did a post about a video mentor of mine Red Burns. I got a big kick when that post somehow appeared on her radar and she made a sweet, memorable comment (below).  Red passed away in August 2013 and I was lucky enough to attend the NYU memorial for her this Fall.  I’ll provide some links here to obits, tributes and memorials…. both written & video, but first Red in her own words.

In the early video era of the 1970’s I met many people who I thought would change the world, Red was one of them… but she was one of the few who *did* change the world.  I always felt that you could draw a line between the porta-pak era and YouTube, maybe more so than anyone else her life was that line.


The tributes from the memorial do a better job describing her than I can. It really struck me what a powerful impact one life could have on others and all the odds and adversities she overcame along the way. She had this a vision that both humanitarian and down to earth… not blue sky. One person said a good motto for her would be “Chutzpah in service of humanity.” In operating in and shaping the digital media world, she never put the techie cart before the horse or trafficked in techno-buzz double-speak.   She did so much with her life and I was very lucky to have been in her orbit.

Tributes and remembrances from the Red Burns Memorial.

In her post Red references a “band of angels” – this was almost entirely a group of her NYU students I worked with at (then) Manhattan Cable’s Public Access Dept. in the mid-70’s. She “caste” this group, and I am remain connected to them till this day.  This group became Metropolis Video went on to be among the first to videotape bands at CBGB’s.

  • Red Burns says:
    December 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm
    Paul: It was great to run into you – it makes me happy to see that everything changes and nothing changes — you make me smile and proud of our early mistakes and triumphs -= my best to each of your band of angels – with much affection RED

It’s a funky photo but that is my dear friend Pat looking at Red Burns with great affection at the ITP 30th Anniversary Celebration! October 2009 that honored Red. Her expression well captures our shared feeling toward this Icon who mentored us.

ITP 30th Anniversary Celebration! October 2009

ITP 30th Anniversary Celebration! October 2009

More Links

Red Burns Memorial: What I Learned From Red

Wired’s Obituary for Red

NYU-ITP Facebook page for Red

About avideolife

video editor & director
This entry was posted in Early Video, Manhattan Cable, Public Access and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s