Dale Hoyt

in memoriam

Steve Seid

Former media curator for Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive

Dale Hoyt is gone. I’m not in the least happy about this. Too many of us have left this place of late. We weep for a moment, shrug our shoulders, then move on. But Dale is gone. I’ve known him since he was a punk sleeping on the roof of the Art Institute. He brought something different to video art. He brought Dale to video art, ironic, iconic, and bitterly original. Dale of recent years, leaning into his cane, not a geezer but a bit of a wheezer. But the core, the Dal...

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Liz Belmont

I met Dale Hoyt at the Jab on the campus of Syracuse University during a Flashcubes gig back in 1977. Andy Warhol called him "that asshole," and I think Dale loved that more than anything else in the world. I'm stunned and saddened that my dear old friend has passed. RIP, Dale.

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Jasmine Moorhead

Former Creative Director Krowswork Gallery

Dale Hoyt was an unofficial muse both in person and purpose of my Oakland gallery, Krowswork, during its seven-year run. He was a consistent visitor, supporter, and of course I showed his work on several occasions, including his 1981 Who Shot M.M.? in my first year and his 2015 3-D work Farm, which debuted there on New Year's Day of 2016, the last year the gallery would be open. I had the good fortune to discover him from the Youtube video site Television for Ghosts, h...

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Doug Hall

It is hard to imagine the Bay Area without Dale Hoyt. I have known him since he was a student in the first class I taught in the Performance / Video Department (now New Genres) at SFAI in 1979. His raw, funny, disturbing, uncategorizable videos challenged my critical skills as I groped, along with others in our cohort, to find the critical language and insight to discuss them. He challenged us even as he challenged himself. I admired him for his refusal to compromise...

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Catherine Taft

Deputy Director & Curator LAXART

Everything about Dale was legendary, from the rumors that his work was appropriated by early MTV, to the stories and artwork about his father’s career as a Muzak engineer, to his genuine, outsized love of cats. I first met Dale around 2007 while helping present his work at the Getty Museum as part of the exhibition California Video. In so many ways, Dale embodied what it might mean to be a California artist; he was a wild, expansive thinker who bucked convention and th...

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Zoe Elton

Director of Programming, Mill Valley Film Festival

Dale somehow connected with life and art with an uncommon grace and whimsy, with an irrepressible eye and sensibility. It seemed like he lived in the state, the truthful state, of being an artist: an artist-being like no other, really. That young video artist who emerged from SFAI, fully fledged and ready to fly; and evolving into one who created and curated, who thought and taught. Dale was kind; and, yes, one of a kind.

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Linda Montano

Dale Hoyt. When I thought of you I always saw soft pillows.

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John Sanborn

Dale Hoyt was the living example of the artist as outsider, and he wore that badge proudly. We met when I was teaching a summer session of video art at SUNY Buffalo (savor those words). He was not much younger than I, but existed in a world of his own creation, obvious from our first words, when he asked "what the fuck do you think you can teach me?" Pause. He was an able student, although he was correct - no one could teach him, and if they were smart, wouldn't dare...

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Clark Buckner

Creative Director Telematic Gallery

Dale Hoyt was a friend of the gallery. He and I knew each other for many years. We were colleagues at SFAI and we crossed paths at innumerable events, but we really became good friends only recently after I opened Telematic in SoMa in 2018. Dale lived a few blocks away at a residential hotel on 9th Street. He came to most of our shows and frequently attended our openings. Sometimes, he would just come by to chat. He had a keen eye, liked the beer that we serve, a...

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Cameron Ember

Dale was the most genuinely encouraging teacher I have ever had. What I learned from him: Keep making art. Be interested. Be interesting. I was Dale’s student in approximately 1992 at SFAI. Beyond my admiration for him as a teacher he also became a very good friend to me, a regular presence in my life. I don’t even know how it happened. Dale was generous with his unconditional love and support. I will miss him greatly.

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Jennifer Locke

From a dramatized interpretation of Anne Frank’s diaries to shaving his head and making a sweater out of it for his hairless cat, Dale’s video work dealt with the humor, pathos, and bittersweet impossibility of communication in various relational contexts. Dale dressed in a signature rumpled suit and, despite always looking like he just rolled out of bed, projected a dignified, gentlemanly air. He was a participator, frequently attending openings and always ready to e...

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Stephen Thurston

It must have been 1979 when I connected with Dale. At first I thought he was overly interested in pop culture, but before long grew to admire what was in actuality a compassionately trenchant social awareness that when combined with his personal psychological eccentricities led to really interesting art production. I know that sounds a little dispassionate, but it’s a fall-back position from a certain welcoming of chaos that he inspired. Maybe that’s love, I don’t know...

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Bruce Pollack

I first met Dale back in our college days at SFAI . I always liked him because he was really down to earth and I think his work really had that aspect. Recently I was always bumping into him on the streets of SF and we would chat for a while which was great. It was Dale who introduced me to my ex-wife Deena back in the day, so I will always remember him for that. I am looking forward to seeing his last show this May.

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Ingrid Hägerström

Dale and I talked more about cats than Art… he told me stories about the secret life of his cat Blarf. And recently when my big outdoor boy Tommy-no-Tail went missing he offered support and hopeful sentiments. Dale was deeply excited for me at his safe return, and said, I told you so, Orange cats are survivors, I knew it! I’ve never known anyone as capable of having so many deep caring friendships. You are missed Dale Hoyt.

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Tricia Nordone

I met Dale Hoyt through my brother, John Martin. They both attended the SFAI in the early eighties. Amazing time. Dale was making a film called “The Complete Anne Frank”. He approached me to play one of the Anne Franks. There would be four actresses that would play the role of Anne. I narrated as well as played the last Anne. I was even lucky enough to have screen time with Pope Ondine. Working at the direction of and side by side with Dale I witnessed him approach his...

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SFAI Library & Archives

Remembering Dale Hoyt We were so sorry to hear about the passing of the amazing Dale Hoyt, a member of the SFAI community for decades. Of his time at SFAI in the early 1980s, Dale wrote, “I came of age among what I think was the most pivotal and vivacious rabble of young artists: the early years of the performance/video department at the San Francisco Art Institute. [...] As I remember it, the aesthetic of the time could be best summed up in one word: “Wheeeeeeee!” Dal...

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Wendy Garfield

He was a man unlike any other with a VERY big heart & wonderful wandering mind like a magical mystery tour.

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Sonya Andrews

Dale and I became friends in the Summer of '74, in a little town called Marcellus. I was 14 years, old the only Southern kid in a Northern town, Dale was unique always dreaming of going to California and being a movie producer or an artist, neither of us fit in, but we became good friends. I guess our differences is what drew us together. We would sit on swings and contemplate life, love and sexuality. Young and innocent, we knew nothing about any of it. Dale talked me...

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Minnette Lehmann

I miss Dale’s calls. He kept me up-to-date and aware of his crowd’s enthusiasms. For the tortured soul he was, he managed to be upbeat, engaged and brilliant.

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Glenn R. Phillips

Senior Curator, Head of Exhibitions, Head of Modern & Contemporary Collections, Getty Research Institute

The first time I saw Dale Hoyt’s work it felt like my skull had been removed and I’d been punched in the brain. He was a curator’s dream. Dale’s youthful work was electric, acidic, insane, and he never ceased his lifelong pursuit of perfect beauty through dissonance. The wicked and incisive intelligence of his video work was and still is a joyful shock, and he was equally inventive as a writer, a critic, a curator, a fire marshal. In 2018 Dale started uploading a few o...

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Alex de Lazslo

R.I.P Dale Hoyt. It is with great sadness that I must report that Dale Hoyt passed away this morning after a brief illness. Many of you knew Dale through his far-ranging interests and artistic endeavors. Dale and I first met in the summer of ’76 while high school students attending the State Summer School of the Arts, Media Study, at SUNY Buffalo. We both sat seminars and workshops under the mentorship of avant-garde filmmaker, Tony Conrad, and quickly acclimated to th...

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Chip Lord

I knew Dale in the early 1980’s when he was the Boy Wonder, maybe “Bad Boy” wonder, of the video scene gathered around the San Francisco Video Festival. I left to start teaching at UC San Diego in 1983, but I had the opportunity to hang with Dale in his hometown, Rochester, NY, in 1986 or 87. Maybe for that reason I favor Braille, of all his video works. It was subversive, a subversive documentary about Musak\. Dale’s father was the Musak representative for the area,...

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Michael Friedman

During our lifetime, if we are lucky, we may have a friend that stands out from all the other people we meet. I have been blessed with several of these friends, but I lost a dear friend April 12, 2022 who really stood out from all others. Dale Hoyt was an artist that was not only extremely talented but had one of the most brilliant minds I ever knew. His understanding of the art world was huge and intense. And even before the internet, Dale had an encyclopedic knowledg...

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Annie Sprinkle

My Life with Dale Hoyt Film script by Annie Sprinkle Lights. Camera. Action! The year is 1990. Annie Sprinkle, a thirty something year old buxom porn starlet with long auburn curly hair wearing a red sheath dress, sashays into the small messy office of the film curator at Manhattan’s avant-garde art hotbed, The Kitchen. Dale Hoyt, a likeable curmudgeon, looks to be in his late 20s. He has VHS tapes and papers piled on his desk. On the wall hang a few punk rock posters...

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Justin Charles Hoover

Independent Curator and Executive Director of The Chinese Historical Society of America Museum

Dale thought about things differently. He took the blur of life and made it into a bizarre time lapse. Dale never had a concern for the acceptable way of doing. He just had his own way about being. Dale was my friend. And someone with a powerful sense of dignity and a soul that the universe didn’t really know what to do with so the gods shoved it into a body and plopped it onto earth. I always thought that his spirit belonged somewhere else, and that his body was like...

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Monet Clark

Dear Dale, I feel so fortunate that I was part of a completely magical couple of days as your lead actress in FARM, watching you shoot each vignette of various melodramatic characters in different locations within this square block of urban farm, a farm it turned out which was started by Tree. When he showed up during production to tear down the greenhouse while we were shooting it was so apropos, because it was old San Francisco being disassembled before our eyes by t...

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Adrienne Ferrari

Until recently, I knew very little about grieving. Both of my grandmothers are still alive. My parents are alive. I also have the good fortune of having lost very few friends. However, this last month feels like a crash course in grieving and all the sadness and the frustration and occasional beauty that comes along with those feelings. Something I understand now is that, like how tears can flow for an eternity, all those feelings you have for someone do not disappear ...

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Scott Stark

I remember seeing Dale everywhere in my first years in SF - he was doing it all - not just attending art events, but making things happen. It was only years later when our paths crossed more formally that I got to know him as the kind, thoughtful and generous person that he was. His work was unclassifiable and was built on a deeply engaged creative vision which lay below the surface of whimsy and humor. Dale and his work resonated throughout the community; his was a un...

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Liz Walsh

Dale was a friend. We became friends after I took his video class at CCAC in the early 2000s.He didn't always appear the video prince that he was, he shuffled, channeled Jerry Lewis, sometimes in a tattered brown suit, but he truly gave his heart to all his students.I had recently lost a brother, around the time I met Dale, and I think he filled part of that large void for me. I looked up to him and believed he could see me. I loved his chaos, his observation and his...

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Michael Neimark

Dale and I have known each other since the early 1980s and interacted not often but regularly all of these years (except 1998 - 2002, when he appointed me to the Board of Advisors for his Coalition of Artists and Life Forms, CALF). I’ve been equally partial to his non-tech art, Kittens and Houston being most memorable, as his tech art, but that said his 3D video FARM with David Lawrence is exemplar by any 3D video standard. His artwork aside, Dale once made a brief ...

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Fred Rinne

I knew Dale Hoyt because of Punk Rock. I wasn't in a band and neither was he, but there was something compelling about the scene around it that led both of us to San Francisco around the Year of Our Lord 1980. Punk Rock wasn't merely rebellion, more like developing a whole new set of manners to be human in an America gone mad. He was in film. I was a screamer and or painter so I didn't meet Dale for years. It was weird because I heard about him for years. He knew ever...

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Andreia Vizeu

Dale took chances in life, and he also gave many. Dale was a key person in my coming to New York. In 1989, he (and Eileen Clancy) helped me put together a Video Art Show for the Winter Arts Festival at the Federal University of Minas Gerais and a Videomaking workshop with Joan Logue. Months later I was in New York, working with the Standby Program and many of the artists I still admire. His generosity directly impacted my life and the life of so many others. Godspeed ...

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Amy Green

I first met Dale in Oakland in 1997 when he was teaching the “Animal Class” my first year of grad school at the California College of Arts and Crafts (now CCA). My master's artwork explored how humans judge, value and interact with nature -- specifically animals, and more specifically squirrels, pets and roadkill. Day 1, and I was excited to learn what the Animal Class would offer. Dale's first words to us were, "...stay quiet and calm." Seconds later, we were joined b...

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Eddy Falconer

I first met Dale in the 00’s over coffee in SF with Winston Tong, who was appearing in a video I was creating, and Steve Fagin, who was visiting town and did most of both the eating and the talking at that table. So it wasn’t till at least ten years later that Dale and I had anything like a real conversation. We crossed paths again at Krowswork In Oakland in 2016 when Dale was presenting his new video, Farm, in which, again, Winston was a major character. He asked me w...

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Jeanne M. Hansen and Ken Tray

Dale Hoyt lived on the edge of the cutting edge in the new SFAI-Performance/Video Department. He worked on a number of experimental projects including this one as told by my husband Ken Tray: “It was the early 80’s and my good friend Richard (Store Front Cinema, Roxie Theater, One Way Films…) Gaikowski and I arrived at the Art Institute to take a ride and participate in Dale’s new happening: Video Limo. We climbed in the back of one of a number of black limo’s lined u...

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V. Vale

Dale Hoyt struck me as empathetic, generously supportive, and whimsical in his approach to filmmaking and life.

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Julie Mackaman

Maybe everyone who knew Dale knew this about him: he suffered from a rare condition, car blindness. Like people who have prosopagnosia and can't recognize faces, his agnosia was specific to cars. All cars looked the same to him, like the generic cars in comic strips. So when he was picked up from grade school, he didn't know which car was coming to retrieve him. A creative fellow, no doubt he figured out a workaround. Dale, have a safe ride home.

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Mark Van Proyen

I had already joined the faculty at SFAI when Dale was a student, but our paths never crossed until he came back to teach a few years later. At that time, the only opportunity for faculty from different departments had to get to know each other was participation on interdepartmental review committees, such as those convened for portfolio review or scholarship rankings. It was under those collegial circumstances that I worked with Dale. Sharon Grace had already sung Dal...

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Michelle Handelman

Heartbroken. The world just got a little less interesting.

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David Ross

Around the city of Syracuse, NY, for some reason that no one seems to know, many of the towns were named after Roman generals and statesmen. Manlius, Fabius, Camillus, Pompey, and Marcellus are the small to mid-sized towns I got to know when I was living in the suburbs of the Salt City. But what I did know was that in 1972, the most constant visitor to my fledgling video art exhibition program at the Everson Museum was an awkward twelve-year old boy named Dale Hoyt. ...

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David Lawrence

Dale Hoyt has left the building. It’s impossible to believe, isn’t it? Dale wasn’t exactly a shining example of health, but he was a survivor. He dealt with physical challenges the way he dealt with everything – with humor, anger, ultimately acceptance. He persisted. He was a fixture at openings and screenings and events and anything significant in the cultural fabric of the city because it was important for him to be present, no matter how much effort it took on his p...

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Lauren Dyer Amazeen

Former Executive Director of The Kitchen

SOME MEMORIES OF DEAR DALE Dale and I first met when I worked with him at The Kitchen from 1989-91. Dale was a gentle and thoughtful presence, as well as a funny, quirky, highly enthusiastic and at times mysterious being. An artist who had deep roots in the history of video art — beginning as a prodigy in his late teens — Dale brought us new perspectives and insight through his programming at The Kitchen. I especially remember the impact of his two presentations — a...

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Kathy Brew

I was heartbroken and shocked to find out about Dale’s sudden passing. I first met Dale almost 40 years ago when he was getting his MFA at SFAI and I was the Director of PR and Publications there. I immediately was struck by his unique, quirky, magnetic being and his singular artistic output and drive. We’ve continued staying in touch over the years in a long term bi-coastal friendship. For about a year, Dale was curator of video at the Kitchen while I was still in...

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Lynne Sachs

I met Dale Hoyt in 1985 when I moved to San Francisco from NYC. I believe he was one of the first people I got to know on the west coast. Our mutual friend Alex de Laszlo encouraged me to connect with his beloved, artist buddy from junior high school. I immediately liked him. I knew I was spending time with a human being whose mind was always exploring and challenging anything that was obvious, predictable, tasteful or acceptable in so called civil society. When Mone...

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Tenderloin Museum

RIP Dale Hoyt. In March of last year, the video artist Dale Hoyt called the Tenderloin Museum with a vision to create an exhibit on the intersection of punk rock and performance art in the Tenderloin of the 1980s. Curious to explore this under-documented corner of our neighborhood’s cultural history, we at the Tenderloin Museum began a collaboration with Dale that made him a regular fixture in our lives over this past year. It is with great sadness that we learned of h...

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Nancy Frank

Video director of Art Com LA Mamelle, Inc

Dale Hoyt was a real odd Art punk. The 1st and only time we showed film at Art Com Dale helped us bring Ondine, Warhol superstar to San Francisco to introduce early Warhol films to Bay Area. It was a big hit! Dale was always friendly & kind and sometimes I would give him a ride... Huge loss.

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Tristen Tuckfield

Dale is the cousin I never knew I had for more than 3/4ths of my life. When we discovered each other when I was about 32 years old it felt like no surprise that there was this secret, avant garde enigma of a relative living an artist's life in San Francisco of all places, a city that I frequented numerous times when I live in NorCal without a clue that I had a personal connection to someone who embodied the richness of that city, with whom I shared a family history li...

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Shalo P

A few words for Dale Hoyt (written partly in the voice of George Kuchar) Our dashing Dale Hoyt was a legendary artiste whose swoosh of cinematic rivulets streamed slyly across many a lucky heart and dream-dappled mind, coursing into the tributaries of underground SF art culture’s crannies and naves in glorious gushes - with enough everloving spunk to entangle its troubled targets in dumbfounded awe at their own vile bodies’ disturbed reactions to his sumptuous cinema...

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Gabrielle Thormann

Reminiscences about Dale: Dale led a punk class, and invited Jonathan Richman to speak to his class. I had a silkscreen poster I made based on a Jonathan Richman lyric, and asked Dale to give it to Jonathan which he gladly did. Dale had a lot of difficulty getting around – and yet he got around to so many places on his own, and by cajoling and insisting on friends taking him to destinations. We once visited his friend in California gold country, and Dale insisted we go...

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Marian Wallace

Dale was always a friendly presence at any art gathering, once you got past his gruffness. He would seemingly be viewing the goings-on and cogitating, then was ready with cogent comments that took you outside of your usual thought-routine. Everyone seemed to know and like him, and he (usually) liked them back. I remember him bringing Pope Ondine to SFAI to show Chelsea Girls. It was a little worrisome (for the film’s sake) that there were some broken sprockets that mad...

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Andrew Huestis

Dale once decided we should go to the cat show at Madison Square Garden. I’d been to the dog show before with its happy dog people tail wagging, etc. This was an entirely different affair. The “cat people” were an entirely different sort. They were not exactly friendly keeping their cats at arms length from us. Dale was excited to see those creatures and of course their handlers. As we progressed through this feline inventory the animals got thinner and less furry. Ult...

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Stephen Vitiello

I was always a fan of Dale as an artist. The wild and wackiness of his work stays with me. We also had some overlapping histories, both having worked at the Kitchen, if in different eras. The more personal connection was through a cat named Mary, born in my mother's house in Brooklyn who somehow ended up adopted by Dale. At a moment, Dale wasn't able to care for Mary anymore. She was brought to me by Rick Prelinger. I saw Dale at an event, maybe 10 years later. He made...

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Cliff Hengst

I first met Dale in a performance/video class taught by Tony Labat at SFAI. I believe it was 1988. Tony brought Dale in as a guest, and Dale showed us his video, "The Complete Anne Frank". It was puzzling and mesmerizing, I didn’t know what to think. Even watching it today it’s like a discombobulating dream. I thought about that weird film for days afterwards. I also remember seeing a show of his kitten drawings and thinking about how an artists mind works. One could h...

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Emjay Wilson Scott

San Francisco Art Institute and the Bay Area Poetry Scene in the 1980’s (or as we called it “The Toot”). My first introduction to the Art Institute was when Jerry Pelitera aka Jerome, invited me to a performance at Video Free America. Dale Hoyt, Marshall Weber, John Martin and a 4th, possibly Andrew Huestis were sitting behind a table wired up with buzzers and flashing lights of different colors. It was an Art Game Show and they competed to answer the questions, each ...

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Martta Rose Kelly

Dale Hoyt was a friend from college. His passing is a shocker and leaves a real void in the Syracuse and San Francisco art communities. I first met him at Syracuse University back in 1975 at a local music club. He was so knowledgeable about art and film, I just assumed he was an SU student. It turns out he was younger than me and I was a few months shy of 18! He was one of the most fascinating people I have ever met. He introduced me to film and filmmakers I had never ...

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Mark Langton

I once told Dale that looking at him felt like staring into a broken mirror. "Then it should come as no surprise to you,” he replied, “that I feel exactly the same way. I used to call Dale the Punk Hitchcock, which was an inelegant way to describe him to others, but it worked as a soundbite. A kind of shorthand, that said what I wanted to say.

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REMEMBRANCES