[The 90’s raw: Midnight Mission and Asylum]

This tape features raw footage for the award-winning series "The 90's." Videomakers Jody Procter and Judith Binder visit Midnight Mission, a soup kitchen and advocate for the poor in Los Angeles. They interview employees about how the meals are prepared, and speak with a few of the patrons about their situations. However, their main focus is the food, and most of the tape concerns the process of making and serving it. In contrast, Procter and Binder visit Asylum, an extremely upscale restaurant. The owner talks about his influences, the cuisine, and the decor. They also talk to the pastry chef and bread baker and watch the head chef, Guy Leroy, prepare an unusual salmon dish.

00:00Copy video clip URL Procter and Binder pull up to the Midnight Mission parking lot. An attendant directs Procter on where to park.

01:33Copy video clip URL Procter and Binder enter the facility. An employee brings them back to the kitchen where they meet Bob, a chef at Midnight Mission. Bob immediately begins to talk about their busy schedule whiles throwing a few pans of cod fish into the oven. When asked about the types of people who eat at the facility, Bob replies, “Anybody that wants to can eat here. We only have one rule: that is to behave yourself. We feed on an average of fifteen hundred people over the course of the day.” The tape gets a little rough during this portion of the tape. Bob then goes on to talk about the menu options and the amount of donations they receive. Bob states that they feed between 42,000 to 45,000 people a month. “This is my tenth year here and I really enjoy doing it. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of helping those less fortunate than myself.”

07:58Copy video clip URL Bob takes the videomakers to the back of the kitchen and the freezers, and to a walk-in storeroom near the receiving area. He lists the many other amenities Midnight Mission provides, including a barber shop, laundry facilities, and free clothing. Bob takes the videomakers into the area where employees handle the donations. The three then walk downstairs to the basement. Bob gives a tour of the amenity area. “You can virtually get almost anything you want: shoes, socks, all kinds of clothing.” We see rows of clothing set out for patrons to try on in the nearby dressing rooms. The videomakers then move on to briefly see the barber shop before entering a large supply room. Bob buys nearly 80% of his food stock.

17:07Copy video clip URL Bob gives the Procter and Binder a tour of another freezer in the facility. Bob explains that any bread donations they receive are immediately stored in the freezer to keep them as fresh as possible. This eventually cuts to a brief interview with a patron who talks about his love for Bob’s spaghetti. Bob then leads the videomakers into the director’s office for an interview. However, the director is on the phone.

19:54Copy video clip URL Bob comments on the economy’s effect on Midnight Mission patrons. “When I first came here the average age was fifty and up and now you’re seeing twenty year olds. You’re seeing an enormous amount of children. We saw them once and a while–a few, but when you start getting thirty and forty a day, it’s bothering. It really bothers you. You’re glad that you’re able to do it and help them out, but it is bothersome if you see that many children.” Bob also talks about a possible expansion of Midnight Mission.

22:23Copy video clip URL Binder and Procter finally step into the office of the director, Clancy Imislund, and ask Imislund about the possible expansion. Imislund talks about the work of Midnight Mission. “We do what we do as well as anybody in the world I suppose. We feed the most meals of any facility in the country and we bed down one hundred and fifty people at night. We process a lot of people with clothing, and showers, and shaves, and day care… so we process a lot of people through, but we do it well.” Imislund then takes another call. The videomakers speak with an employee about the food at the facility.

26:13Copy video clip URL Cut to footage of the cafeteria. The videomakers speak with a patron about her experience on the street and with Midnight Mission. The woman’s goal is to receive a college degree. They also speak with a patron who says that he goes to Midnight Mission multiple times a day even though they discourage people from coming that often. Another patron talks about his need for a 9 to 5 job. Binder gathers footage of the exterior of the facility, but numerous people in the area wish not to be taped.

34:04Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from the kitchen as employees serve one of the daily meals, and staff members get lunch.

36:12Copy video clip URL Cut to an interview with one of the cooks who is cracking eggs for Sunday breakfast. This is followed by footage of the staff as they eat in the cafeteria. Then, patrons receive tickets outside of the facility. Hundreds of people line up to receive a ticket for a meal, and kitchen employees prepare to serve the next meal.

41:36Copy video clip URL Patrons make their way into the dining hall and line up to get their food.

44:19Copy video clip URL Cut to static.

44:32Copy video clip URL A shot of the entrance to Asylum, an up-scale restaurant. Procter, Binder, and John, the restaurant designer, make their way inside. Binder gathers footage of the lavish interior decor.

47:03Copy video clip URL John gives the videomakers a quick look at the upstairs. Binder gathers an overhead shot of the main floor and the surrounding area. He eventually leads Binder into one of the other rooms. The tape gets a little rough throughout this portion of the tape. The videomakers follow one of the employees into the kitchen. A chef chops cilantro in preparation for the dinner rush later in the evening. Another chef chops mushrooms. Binder gathers footage of the kitchen activity for several minutes.

53:38Copy video clip URL Binder and Procter speak with an employee as he makes cappuccinos for the two of them. The two briefly speak with a flower delivery man before interviewing John.

55:43Copy video clip URL John talks about the concept behind Asylum. “Well, the concept is taking the fine dining experience and making it really exciting and a lot of fun. It’s not a restaurant… What this is is nightlife. It’s an entertainment facility. The foundation of it is food, but the idea is to create a space where you can have something to eat, something to drink, you can meet people and socialize, you can listen to music, live music or really interesting music they play over the sound system. There’s some dancing–it’s really just an opportunity for people to get together and exchange ideas.” John then goes on to say that he wanted the food to be playful, saying that head chef Guy Leroy has created a menu to harmonize with the design of the space. John describes the Asylum experience as a “surreal, fantastic, otherworldly experience.”

58:30Copy video clip URL John talks about the design theme of the restaurant, saying that it was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and Otto Wagner. The tape gets a little rough during this portion of the tape.

59:25Copy video clip URL The three make their way to the entrance of the restaurant, where John talks about the concept of the exterior. He gives a little history on the space and how he came to discover it.

01:08:17Copy video clip URL John wants the Asylum to take on the feel of an old English club. He emphasizes the need to make his patrons feel like the Asylum is a “home away from home.” John then slowly leads Binder and Procter back inside. Binder gathers footage of the entryway and the surrounding area.

01:11:08Copy video clip URL John gives the videomakers a tour of the bathrooms, and then takes them out onto the main floor, continuing to talk about the design of the restaurant and emphasizing the need to create a fun atmosphere.

01:16:47Copy video clip URL John leads the videomakers to the back room and continues to narrate the tour. He approached the entire project in the same fashion as a design for a film. John says the restaurant is reasonably priced, and mentions a review that said the restaurant had “attitude.” “What I want to do here is make people feel comfortable and relaxed. It’s the absence of attitude… It’s all about just having a good time, having a pleasurable experience.” John then goes on to talk about the flexibility of the back room and the musical acts he brings in to the space. He also talks about the acoustics of the room in detail.

01:25:30Copy video clip URL John leads the videomakers into the kitchen. The tape gets a little rough throughout this portion of the tape. John talks about the installation of the kitchen while giving the a tour of the facilities. He eventually takes Binder and Procter upstairs to the bakery. They speak with the pastry chef about the current dessert menu, and with the bread maker, Albert.

01:32:35Copy video clip URL Albert displays a few loaves of bread.

01:34:47Copy video clip URL The camera cuts back to a shot of John as he talks about his hopes for the restaurant. This quickly cuts into an interview with head chef, Guy Leroy. He talks about his hopes for bringing new blood into the kitchen staff, specifically a few of his old colleagues. Leroy seems a bit tired after a hard night’s work the day before. He goes on to talk about some of the meals he has put together for the restaurant. John eventually chimes in and states that Leroy is normally responsible for feeding 200 to 250 people in one sitting. “Every one of those parties that sits down feels that they are the center of attention and they want their food now. And that’s Leroy’s responsibility to make each and every individual who comes here feel that this entire experience is for their benefit.” Procter then asks if there have been any traffic problems in the kitchen since the opening of the restaurant. Guy states that the staff has avoided such problems and then gives another tour of the kitchen.

01:40:11Copy video clip URL Leroy begins to talk about the pre-dinner preparations and the most popular dish at the restaurant. He also talks about his choice to put a turkey dish on the menu.

01:43:11Copy video clip URL Leroy talks about an interesting salmon dish he conceptualized and then creates the dish on camera. He chooses a fresh salmon from the freezer. John eventually talks about the construction and flexibility of the kitchen. The tape gets a little rough during this portion of the tape. Leroy puts the dish together very quickly, carefully filleting, seasoning, and cooking the fish. He talks about the process in detail. This lasts for the duration of the tape.

02:03:44Copy video clip URL Tape ends.

 

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