[The 90’s raw: Eddie Tape #91 – Malls]

Eddie Tape #91. Malls

00:00Copy video clip URL Two radio disc jockeys are set up at booth for WAVA radio 105 at Georgetown Park in Washington, DC. One of the DJs, Greg Thunder, announces free tickets to Hook, “the new Steven Spielberg movie.” He also announces that there’s a secret Santa Claus roaming the mall and if someone approaches him and asks if he is the secret Santa, they will win one thousand dollars.

01:18Copy video clip URL Two takes of  introducing himself and announcing that he’s at the Georgetown Park Mall to help generate sales and boost the economy.

02:50Copy video clip URL He says this is the first mall he’s done with WAVA, though he’s done mall appearances before, even in costume as the Easter Bunny. He likes working in malls and notes that it’s cleaner than an appearance at a night club or a bar. He adds the people are usually better behaved.

04:27Copy video clip URL Thunder approaches four teenage fans who’ve stopped by the WAVA booth: Janice, Susie, Kimberley, and Dan. They ask him if he’s the secret Santa. He response he is not, and reiterates that if they do find the secret Santa they will win one thousand dollars. The teens say they’ve come to the mall to look for the secret Santa. Thunder gets back to work.

05:47Copy video clip URL Inside the mall, shoppers. Gary Caruso, partners with the videographer, Eddie Becker, stops a man dressed in 19th Century English Doorman, looking like a character from a Dickens’ novel. The man plays the part of a 19th Century gentleman, pretending to not understand any 20th Century references. He notes the strange surroundings he’s found himself in (the mall). He says it looks like Victorian England, but it’s strangely different. “Someone came up to me and said ‘what’s happening, dude?’ No one would want to be called a dude where I come from. Then he said I was totally awesome which I took to mean he was in awe of me. And I told him there’s no need to be in awe of me, sir, I am only the doorman.” The doorman notes the stores are selling odd things. He says where he’s from a Christmas gift would be nuts or fruit or a book. Here they sell things that beep and move around on the floor. “Very confusing, sir.”

08:08Copy video clip URL In answering the question, “what contributions do malls make,” the doorman says that they provide a place for people to gather. “You could practically live in the mall… without ever going outside.” He notes that the mall for him is a kind of theater to play his role as an English doorman. He notes people are not used to seeing such a performance. “A few are disturbed. A few are delighted.” He says he tries to add to that world they are entering.

10:15Copy video clip URL The doorman notes that today his job is to hand out maps to mall shoppers as they enter. He notes that there are two doorman working today. He says their job is to make customers feel welcomed. He tries to explain how the mall decorations are Victorian to add to the fun of the Christmas season. He shows off his costume: waist coat, top hat, tie. He says he as a performer one needs to stay alive “I am doing it for the money.” But he also enjoys the challenge of having to improv for 8-hours a day.

13:00Copy video clip URL The second doorman arrives dressed in an identical costume.

13:24Copy video clip URL The four teenagers from earlier join and ask the videographer what he is taping for. They chat with the doorman in faux English accents. Father Christmas strolls in and joins the group. One of the teens blows the trumpet Santa is carrying. The actor portraying Father Christmas says the job is wonderful and then greets a mother holding a baby. A man enters and asks to have his picture taken with Father Christmas. The actor portraying the doorman introduces his character as Maxwell Fishnut. He says his real name is Ned Canty. He notes the funniest thing to happen to him on the job was two women having their picture taken with him and one of them grabbing his “bum” as the picture was snapped.

16:50Copy video clip URL Caruso compares his 20th Century street clothes with the doorman’s 19th Century costume. The doorman places his top hat on Caruso’s head.

18:06Copy video clip URL The doorman records an ID for The 90s. “Not the 1890s, the 1990s.”

18:30Copy video clip URL Auditions in the mall for a TV show called America’s Funniest People. The footage opens with two kids, Jennifer Murphy and Natalie Embry, one sitting on top of the other in such a way that creates the illusion of one figure with abnormally flexible legs moving in sync to a recitation.

19:49Copy video clip URL More auditions. A little boy does a foot-behind-the-head contortion trick.

21:14Copy video clip URL An emcee announces to the gathered crowd that these are open auditions for America’s Funniest People, live auditions in Washington, DC.

21:34Copy video clip URL A small child auditions his impressions of Robin Leach and Mr. Ed. Another kid comes up to audition with a joke. B-roll of the crowd gathered and watching.

24:06Copy video clip URL A mother brings in a toddler dressed in a frog suit. They audition together with a joke about Croak-a-Cola.

27:12Copy video clip URL An employee approaches the videographer and tells him he can’t videotape at this store. The videographer attempts to shoot surreptitiously.

28:05Copy video clip URL Caruso and the videographer are at the mall’s food court, eating. Caruso lifts up a large cinnamon bun and taunts one of The 90s team members with it. They are sitting next to a middle aged woman, Barbara Einbinder, and her mother. They strike a conversation with the women about their food: fast food from Arby’s. The younger woman notes that she prefers simple food at the mall. The mom says her next stop is at the Cinnabun shop. B-roll of the food court. Einbinder says that she finishes her Christmas shopping early in the year. She says she did not buy less this year given the economy.  When asked about her french fries, she says they are curly fries. Various shots of other mall shoppers eating at the food court.

32:30Copy video clip URL A security guard tells the videographer he cannot videotape in the mall. The videographer counters by saying he is a tourist, then asks if it is a written rule. The security guard says it is. The videographer asks to see a copy of the written rule before he stops recording. Continued recording of the food court, people eating.

34:30  Chinese food menus at the food court. Einbinder notes that her mother is not the best cook on the planet. The mother concurs, but notes she can make meatloaf and baked chicken. In terms of mall food, Einbinder recommends avoiding all of it. It’s just fast food. She introduces herself as being born and raised in Washington, DC. She says she comes to the mall about every Saturday. It’s quick and easy. All the stores are in one place. She says that convenience is nice.  She talks about the mall experience not so much being an experience as it is simply the way Americans live these days. She says she lives in suburbs and works downtown.

42:20Copy video clip URL Einbinder and her mom leave. Einbinder gives a plug for The 90s.

44:45Copy video clip URL Various menu displays, posters in the food court, servers at the Chinese eatery, “No MSG” sign, people in line at the Chinese eatery.

46:26Copy video clip URL A sign in Arabic at Kabob Bazar.

47:05Copy video clip URL Driving in car. Caruso, driving, says he and Becker, are headed to the Gaithersburg Mall (in Gaithersburg, Maryland). As they near the mall a movie theater marquee advertises the movies “My Girl” and “Hook”. They enter the mall parking lot and drive around slowly looking for a parking space. They pass the department stores Hecht’s, JC Penney, and a variety of parked cars. They stop at one car with a bumper sticker that reads: “Who Farted?”

52:53Copy video clip URL Three young teens, Brett Peterson, Chris DePalma, Steve Kayser, introduce themselves. Gary Caruso says “I don’t know who I am.”

53:13Copy video clip URL The videographer, Caruso, and the three teens are outside the mall. Peterson says to camera they are taking the videographer to Lake Forest Mall in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He says “we’re going to Sam Goody tape store to look for tapes.” They enter the mall and walk among many shoppers.  They enter the store. Peterson says they will look for CDs and tapes. The videographer follows as they looks at various records.

55:40Copy video clip URL Outside Sam Goody, Kayser says the next place they are heading to is Waves. The three start walking through the crowded mall. As they walk, the videographer has Kayser point out the stores they pass. Lane Bryant is a women’s clothing store. Bombay Company sells “odds and ends.” The Gap and Hanover Shoes. There’s also Gap for Kids. “I usually go to JC Penney or Hecht’s.” When asked what he buys there, Kayser responds: “jeans.” Kayser sees a girl he knows, Kelly, walking towards them. As she passes Kayser says hello. Kelly responds, “Shut up, Steve.” Kayser tells the videographer “That’s my cousin’s girlfriend.”

56:57Copy video clip URL The audio signal dies then returns. The kids keep walking through the mall talking about the encounter with Kelly. As they walk they talk about the shops they want to visit: Waves, Eastern Mountain Sports. They ride an escalator.

58:00Copy video clip URL The three teens browsing in a stationary store. They continue window shopping at various stores in the mall. They walk into the computer store Babbage’s. They enter The Mole Hole where Kayser’s friend, Mark Miller, is working. He talks to Miller off camera and explains they are being videotaped. He attempts to interview him, but Miller is too busy.

01:00:00Copy video clip URL Interview with Kayser inside the mall who says he’d like to work in the mall as a part-time or summer job, not full-time career. The ideal employer for him would be a record store. The three teens continue walking through the mall. They head to Suncoast video store. They discuss where they want to go next.

01: 01:44Copy video clip URL Interview with Kayser in the mall who says he generally doesn’t come to the mall to shop, just hang out. But he will shop for Christmas gifts or clothes. He notes prices in the stores are expensive.

01:02:36Copy video clip URL Kayser shares his strategy for meeting girls in the mall. The three boys scan the shoppers for girls. They spot one and pursue.

01:05Copy video clip URL :49 A glass mall elevator, Santa’s Workshop display. Audio of the boys talking about girls.

01:06:47Copy video clip URL The boys continue talking about girls as they sit in a communal area of the mall. They try to hit on a girl they know sitting with them, teasing her. The kids hanging out. They joke about sitting on Santa’s lap.

01:09:00Copy video clip URL The boys on an escalator. They say they are headed to A&W, a diner. The boys walk through the busy mall.

01:10:20Copy video clip URL The three teen boys are in the car with Caruso and the videographer driving through the suburbs of Gaithersburg, Maryland. The kids are guiding the video crew to their school. They pull into Gaithersburg Intermediate School parking lot for a drive by.

01:12:50Copy video clip URL The teens take the video crew through the surrounding neighborhood. The kids say given the choice they’d prefer to live somewhere else. As they ride, the kids give directions to the neighborhood. The videographer asks questions as they ride. When asked where the center of town is DePalma says that up ahead is a Ben Fanklins store and an area that is made to look like an old town. He says there’s a day called Old Town Gaithersburg that is at the Montgomery Fairgrounds. He says people go to the mall to hang out and meet people.

01:14:05Copy video clip URL DePalma says if he could live anywhere in the whole world he would live in Florida, in a city near Walt Disney World or near the beaches. Given the choice between living in Gaithersburg and Washington, DC, DePalma says he would want to continue living in Gaithersburg. “Because I think there’s a lot less violence here.” He says the violence in Gaithersburg are mostly drug related. He doesn’t know if any of his friends take drugs.

01:15:30Copy video clip URL They drive through a typical suburban neighborhood past rows of town homes. The teens continue giving directions to Caruso. They end up stopping in front of the home of Jennifer, a girl Kayser likes. When stopped in front of the town house the videographer asks “how can you tell this house from the other houses?” Kayser answers, “It’s got a number on it.” Kayser says they met in school. They continue driving through the suburban neighborhood. The teens says the town houses were built in the mid 1980s. When asked if it makes a difference which neighborhood you live in, Kayser says Yes, some have town houses some have condominiums. When asked about social class, the teens say they are middle class and that there are differences in the middle class: upper middle, lower  middle. The kids say that in their area most people are upper middle class. The people in near by Potomac, Maryland own the mansions. When asked what denotes middle class Kayser say it’s their income. When asked what an upper middle class kid wears, Kayser answers “name brand clothes.” He notes that lower middle class people might also wear name brand clothes but they would be older styles. Kayser says he shops at JC Penney and they have low priced close and high priced clothes. He pays 30 or 40 dollars for jeans at The Gap. He prefers Levi’s jeans.

01:20:50Copy video clip URL Kayser says a lot of his friends have difficult relationships with their parents. He thinks it might be because of grades and because kids now want to grow up but parents say we can’t handle everything. DePalma talks about the problems of growing up in the nineties. He’s had trouble with his grades which are falling. He says his parents insist on knowing who he’s hanging out with when he goes out. He says the communication is bad sometimes. DePalma says he listens to rap music, Kayser listens to heavy metal. DePalma notes his mom likes some rap but not all “because of the lyrics.” They note that their favorite TV shows are Doogie Howser, In Living Color, The Cosby Show, 90210.

01:23:50Copy video clip URL Back inside the mall, the three teen boys roam the walkways. Kayser says the best part of being at the mall is “the girls”, meeting them ,getting to know them, making good friends and possibly getting a relationship out of it. DePalma agrees the best part is meeting girls, but the worst part is then they “diss you.” He says he deals with it by “moving on to the next one.” Peterson says the best part of the mall is hanging out with friends. DePalma says the bad thing about being in the mall is when you get kicked out for misbehaving or fighting. DePalma says he’s heard of gangs coming into the mall. DePalma gives a plug for The 90s by saying when his friends ask him what he watches on TV he answers: The 90s! Kaysers he’s heard nothing about The 90s. DePalma says his favorite show is The 90s. When asked if he’s serious about having seen The 90s, DePalma smiles and says, “no.”

01:27:06Copy video clip URL No sound, touch screen at the mall.

01:27:20Copy video clip URL Audio turns on. The three teen boys are at the touch screen and read the display. It is a computerized job application for work at the mall. Kayser makes his way through each screen of the Job Machine and playfully pretends to be applying for a job. He selects “retail, Sale or Part-time”. He enters his age. and acknowledges that he’s a US citizen, never been convicted of a crime, and has reliable transportation. His current level of education is high school, he is not currently employed, he has worked for one employer in the past year. He has not applied at the mall in the last six months. He indicates his availability. He indicates he has no retail or cash register experience. The final screen indicates the applicant must pay one dollar to complete the application. A countdown for the time it takes to enter the dollar expires. The kids run through the application process again, this time answering with silly responses.

01:31:16Copy video clip URL Change of location. Interview with Joel Garreau talking about how we came up with the concept of the “edge city”. He says America is going through the biggest revolution in 100 years of how cities are built. He says that he lives at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia on a 77-acre farm and works as a journalist at the Washington Post in Washington, DC. While driving through the areas in between those two environments, he realized that was the 20th century. It’s a brand new kind of urban environment. He notes that first we moved from the cities to the suburbs, after World War Two, but still shopped downtown. When that got old, we started to move all the goods into the suburbs in the 1960s and 70s to make shopping easier, essentially moving the city itself to the suburbs. This is the malling of America. Now in the 1980s and 90s we are moving all of our functions into the suburbs and that is causing the creation of edge cities. It’s the biggest revolution since the start of downtowns during the Industrial Age.

01:35:50Copy video clip URL Garreau notes that edge cities are in their early stages, but he’s optimistic that they will catch on because all new urban forms of give people “the creeps.” He notes that even Chicago, London, Venice were crazy ideas a first. The trouble with edge cities now is that they lack soul and identity. “We’re looking at a revolution in progress.” Every revolution tends to be messy around the edges.

01:38:47Copy video clip URL Garreau says he personally wouldn’t go to a mall on a Saturday to shop. He doesn’t find pleasure in shopping. He sees many examples around the country that are trying to improve upon the edge city idea. In Houston, they have the galleria that includes hotels, offices, a helicopter landing pad, an ice rink, tennis courts, luxury men’s club, jazz club. It’s more than a mall. It’s a place with diversity and different functions. He notes that malls are hurting now because they are single purpose.

01:42:41Copy video clip URL Becker, notes that his concern is the privatization of what used to be communal. His experience videotaping in malls, showed him that he could shoot some things but couldn’t shoot the facade of stores. it’s private space. He senses that kids are growing up in a different state of mind now. Garreau notes that this is the third wave of a the middle class moving itself and its life out to a new frontier. Edge cities are more faithful to the concept of what a city is suppose to be, more than what downtown is. He notes cities were created because it was perceived that people were more safe inside a city than outside it. He says there are 200 edge cities now and only 20 downtowns of comparable size. they are influenced by the upper middle class and focus on the idea of appearing and being safe.

01:49:41Copy video clip URL Garreau talks about the life cycle of an edge city. He notes the country has not built an old downtown since 1915. That was Los Angeles. In 1915, the one millionth Model T Ford car was produced, and, Garreau notes, that was the end of downtown. He says people think downtowns are the only way a city can look. But he argues that for 200 years cities were like Ben Franklin’s Philadelphia or Paul Revere’s Boston. They were small. Three per cent lived in those “cities”. The rest lives on farms outside the cities. In the 1840s we blew cities sky high because of industrial revolution. Downtowns were created to support that revolution, to make living more convenient for the thousands of workers used in all the factories. Transportation back then meant walking or taking some sort of train and then walking. He notes that in 1796 the Duc D’Orleans observed that an American will never walk more than 600 feet if he can ride. Since 1915, Garreau says, we’ve created downtown to the scale of the car. He says edge cities are built to reflect the value humans have in face-to-face contact. He says with enough computers we could all live in our own bubble, but we need human contact. He adds that this is impractical because there is some important information that you can computerize, information that’s ambiguous: trust in someone, for example. Only face-to-face contact can transmit thus information.  “There’s still a future for cities because we need face-to-face contact.”

01:56:46Copy video clip URL Garreau says he’s interested in edge cities, not shopping districts. It’s an accident that malls spang up around edge cities. Mall builders recognized a great advantage. All cities, he says, are built around the state of the art transportation of the times. If it’s shoes and donkeys you get Jersuelem. If it was ships and wagons you get Boston. If it was railroad you got Chicago. If it was the automobile you got Los Angeles.

02:01:15Copy video clip URL When asked if malls were dinosaurs, Garreau answers, “sure.” As they become desperate to stay alive, they’ll be forced to give you something other than just shopping.

02:02:51Copy video clip URL END

 

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