[The 90’s raw: Kids’ tv, Michael Colyar, Shadow Traffic]

Raw footage for the award-winning series The 90's. The first segment captures the recording of a children's news program called "Chicago on Parade." They visit the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium and the Art Institute. The kids' reporting style is very formal, like traditional TV news, and they fumble often to remember their lines. The second segment is an interview with fast-talking comedian and humanitarian Michael Colyar in a park in downtown Chicago. Colyar had recently been in the public spotlight because he was the winner of the $100,000 Grand Prize competition on "Star Search" and immediately donated half of the money to a charity for homeless children. Colyar got his start in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles but was back in town for a performance. When describing his comedy, he says it is socially conscious and thought provoking, often dealing with such issues as racism or AIDS. The third segment covers the headquarters for Shadow Traffic in the John Hancock Observatory.

00:00Copy video clip URL The tape is blank for about 20 seconds, and then it cuts to a parking lot where a man explains that kids will report from the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago for a TV show hosted by kids, Kid Witness News (KWN). They walk over to the steps of the museum to do the first part. One child tapes as three girls recite introductions.

05:25Copy video clip URL The group enters the museum in order to get footage of some of the exhibits. Their leader instructs the boy with the camera on how to tape, and he takes footage of the coal mine inside. Our camera looks at the coal mine, and at a helicopter above.

07:40Copy video clip URL The camera cuts, and the three girls are preparing their introductions. They tape more of the interior of the museum, including some trains, some baby chicks, and the Omnimax theater in the Henry Crown Space Center.

13:07Copy video clip URL They exit the museum and record another introduction and then they depart for the Field Museum.

14:56Copy video clip URL The tape cuts to outside the Field Museum, where the girls prepare to shoot another introduction. There are some good exterior shots of the Field Museum in this section.

18:19Copy video clip URL They enter the museum, and go upstairs. The tape cuts to one of the girls in front of a beach exhibit. She is backlit, though, so they move the girl in front of a Hawaiian wooden boat, and she nervously reports on Hawaii. They take some more footage of the exhibit, and the girl interviews two older girls about their favorite exhibits. Their leader says that their show was first in the nation the previous year, in a contest of kids news shows.

28:17Copy video clip URL The tape cuts to the boy taking general footage of the museum interior. We see shots of totem poles and dinosaur skeletons. The kids joke with each other and then make their way downstairs to the exhibit on Ancient Egypt before leaving the museum. They walk around the museum campus.

34:11Copy video clip URL When their teacher is asked about the benefits of the program, he responds, “What I think they get out of this is a lot of self esteem… It’s elevated them as far as their peer group goes and where they stand… [Also,] they realize that what they see on television, the final product… how hard it is to put together.” He also says the main goal is to improve their communication skills. He explains his role in the program, as merely a guide.

39:59Copy video clip URL A girl does multiple takes for an introduction to the Shedd Aquarium.

43:22Copy video clip URL Cuts to an introduction in front of the Art Institute, next to the lion.

45:05Copy video clip URL The kids are interviewed about what they’ve learned by our videomaker on the steps of the Art Institute. They describe the benefits of the program: “I learned how to believe in myself for one thing… and I learned that I can have a career… You work very hard on doing this part. When they put it all together they may cut it out, but you know you did it all.” “I really enjoy doing my work as a reporter … I learn a lot of responsibility… to handle the weather, to stop fooling around and start working.” “I’m able to express myself without being afraid and I’m not shy anymore.” “You learn how to use the equipment and be with your friends, and have big responsibility, not to mess it up… It’s fun to do it, especially when you’re with friends.” They all say, “You’re watching The 90’s.”

51:38Copy video clip URL The tape cuts to comedian Michael Colyar, who is dressed in a suit and hat, and is sitting in a park. He describes his comedy, claiming it is socially conscious and thought-provoking, often dealing with such issues as racism or AIDS. “I do conscious comedy–some people call it guerrilla comedy–I do stuff to make you think and feel as well as laugh… I talk about stuff like AIDS and crack and missing children and racism… It should be the kind of thing where people walk away feeling real good about being human… and that we’re all in this shit together… I create situations that allow you to open up and listen and feel the ideas so you can say, ‘Damn, I want to know more about this’…. You try to make the whole subject humorous without making the issue humorous… The actual issue of AIDS, which we know is very serious and very grave–we don’t want to make fun of that–but all the situations that bring us to AIDS, we want to make fun of. We want to make fun of fucking. We want to make fun of the sexual practices…”

55:20Copy video clip URL Coylar yells at a passersby, and talks about how we need to make good decisions in all aspects of life. He has stopped using aerosol cans, fur coats, and he is trying to stop eating meat. “Everything is about sharing, everything is about giving.” He talks about giving the money he won in Star Search to the homeless.

59:39Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks how he got where he is today, and he says that he just constantly works. He yells at an older woman and jokes with her that she should be interviewed because they’re doing a program on women with crack habits. He talks about his history in comedy, and how he moved to California and began talking about more shocking subjects. He talks about being a single parent. He gets up to talk to some men who are watching the interviewer, one of whom is from Holland. He curses a lot.

01:07:23Copy video clip URL Colyar goes back to the interview, and says that he talks about issues that are “timeless.” He says that he is writing a book, talks about his wife, and says his book is “adult poetry,” which deals with serious issues or just plain comedy. He also plans to do an informative video about AIDS. An ambulance distracts him. He then introduces his friend, an actor, Darryl Reed (?). Finally, he poses with a baby on camera, and then tells the baby to say “cunnilingus.”

01:15:42Copy video clip URL A shot of some pigeons eating bread.

01:15:48Copy video clip URL Shadow Traffic headquarters, the place that gives Chicagoans up-to-the-minute traffic information. A man tells us that they send traffic information to 51 radio stations and shows us around the busy control room, which is filled with people on phones and monitoring figures on computer screens. He describes each person’s job, and how they interpret the figures in order to create traffic reports. The station is located on the top level of the John Hancock building. “It’s very tough to predict traffic, it’s not like the weather… it’s from minute to minute.” He describes traffic levels and patterns in Chicago and its suburbs. He says that the traffic levels in Chicago are not comparable to New York, but that they have been getting progressively heavier.

01:23:55Copy video clip URL The employee describes his own traffic history, and he advises people to use public transportation. He also talks about turn lanes as an example of a good engineering in traffic.

1:25:44Copy video clip URL Cuts to tape of the employees working with maps of Chicago, and then footage of a man who does the radio broadcasts (Joe Collins), and he describes both the monotony and the excitement of the job. The interviewer asks about how traffic problems could be improved, and he talks about how there is only one lane on the Eisenhower, and other specific examples.

01:28:42Copy video clip URL He begins a radio address, where he quickly spews out the names of highways and streets, and how long it will take to commute. We briefly cut to another person working, and then Collins continues to talk about traffic, particularly in the suburbs.

01:31:19Copy video clip URL Cuts to a woman working in her office, and monitoring a screen and the phones. She has little toy figurines on her desk and computer. She makes some calls to police departments to try to hear about accidents as soon as possible.

01:34:22Copy video clip URL A man works with a telescope in order to visually examine traffic on Lake Shore Drive and other highways (since they are located in the Hancock observatory). He spots a car fire, and describes how he can tell where it is.

01:36:21Copy video clip URL Cuts briefly back to the woman, and then to a man who describes how they use all the resources and combine all the sources to create their reports. He explains that radio stations find it cost efficient to use Shadow Traffic. The man describes how he got into traffic. He says that Chicago is not much different than other cities, except for the fact that it is bounded by the lake on the east. He talks about problems, but doesn’t think that it is realistic to solve them. He compares problems with traffic to problems with the environment: “It’s going to get as bad as we let it get.” He says he drives, but says that public transportation is very effective. As far as legislative measures for alleviating traffic problems go, he talks about carpooling lanes in other cities, but says that that is hard to do on old roadways.

01:45:43Copy video clip URL Cuts back to Joe Collins, and he explains the information that he reads off of the computer, and his personal methods for organizing the information.

01:47:47Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

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