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Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew

Nancy Bechtol | IL, United States

Chris Drew. Street artist at May Day Rally. silkscreens patches for the people.

Photos and the Trailer I took to  tell the story of  Free Speech & Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist"  which is now a feature documentary film by Nancy Bechtol Released 2014. Chicago Premiere at the Logan Theatre 11.14.14.  (99 min) by Nancy Bechtol, APA freelance photojournalist.Chris Drew, activist and artist sold art for $1 to challenge the Chicago Peddler's License and ended up with Class One Felony charges for audio recording his own arrest!  Largely, this law was not known to many, and engaged the public, media, and social media sites widely. my documentary video clips were submitted in court as evidence. the case went on for 2.5 years. The Illinois Eavesdropping Law was declared Unconstitutional, with a permanent injunction, but the law remains on the books.Speaks strongly to our times. it is about the Constitution and all our rights, seen through the eyes of Chris Drew, he lived it and made a difference. Chris Drew (1950-2012) Patron Saint of Street Artists and First Amendment Rights.

Original Music courtesy of Hey Now Records, music by Andy Alton & David Mansfield of Behind the Sun. DV Film- Technical Support by David Bechtol. Crew/on location support: Ron Grenko and Hermann Wieland. Special thanks to the American Indian Center of Chicago, where the nonprofit organization, Uptown Multi-Cultural Arts Center resided, and Chris was the Exec Director (volunteer). He taught hundreds how to silkscreen, and in the earlier days, how to use computers.

I documented Chris' journey for over a 3 year period with a crew of me, Ron Grenko and Hermann Wieland. Chris Drew's journey which started with and act of selling art for a dollar--an act of civil disobedience for 1st amendment rights, challenging the Chicago Peddler's License-- and turned into a challenge to the Illinois Eavesdropping Law--carrying 4-15 years in jail as a felony.Two Pro Bono Attorneys came to his Defense, Josh Kutnick and Mark Weinberg. I shot the arrest video which was widely shown on local, national, international and social media sites. ..just Google it..smile.


I took photos and documented using 5 different formats including cell phone and HD DSLR from 2009-2012.

Nancy Bechtol

APA freelance photojournalist


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