[Back Seat 8: Taxi installation and driver monologues]

Documentation of the installation "Taxi," from the exhibition "Back Seat" by Susan Milano, Nancy Cain, and Bart Friedman, followed by the footage of taxi drivers telling stories. Exhibited at the Women's Interart Center in 1978.

00:22Copy video clip URL A cab driver tells a story about a passenger who left a bowel movement in his back seat. Onscreen text: “This short tape documents the installation of ‘Taxi Cab,’ one of three video environments presented at the Interart Gallery as part of the show: ‘Backseat’ by Susan Milano, Nancy Cain, Bart Friedman.” 

01:57Copy video clip URL The driver continues his story. Footage of the taxi cab and monitor being installed in the Women’s Interart Center gallery. Susan Milano, Chuck Kennedy, and others. 

03:22Copy video clip URL The driver continues his story, with a jokey conclusion. After he realizes that his now-departed passenger has left a bowel movement in his back seat, the driver finds a police officer and asks him what to do: “He says I don’t know, driver. He says, I’ll tell you what, he says, you hold onto it for 30 days and if nobody claims it, it’s yours.”  Footage of the installation, with film of New York streets projected in front of a taxi and a monitor with footage of the driver inside the car. Nancy Cain sits in the back seat of the cab. 

04:10Copy video clip URL Onscreen text: “And now, ‘Drive-In,’ the second environment from ‘Back Seat.'”

04:22Copy video clip URL Footage of Back Seat. Inside a car, a monitor displays a man and woman kissing passionately in a car. In front of the car, a projection of a trailer of Rebel without a Cause (1955).

05:02Copy video clip URL Footage of the driver, talking about the times that celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Richard Widmark, and Jimmy Durante rode in his cab. Durante being very friendly and a generous tipper. 

08:20Copy video clip URL Dealing with irate passengers. “I try to use a little psychology with them. Now if I get a real screwball in here that wants to keep yapping about something, I will yap a little louder than them. If they want to show me that they’re a little nuts, I’ll show them that I’m nuttier. And then this is what these people respect. A nutty person will respect another nutty person, one that’s more nuttier than she or he. And they say to themselves, well this guy’s a real nut, I better just shut up. And they’ll keep quiet…. When you’re driving a cab you gotta be a little bit of a priest, you gotta be a little bit of a psychologist, you gotta be be a little bit of this and a little bit of that, a marriage counselor.”

10:06Copy video clip URL Another cab driver, Marty Sipowitz, talks about meeting his wife for the first time when she was a passenger in his cab. Strange passengers. Richard Nixon riding in his cab and being “a cold fish.” Ann Bancroft, Frank Gifford, Rocky Marciano, other famous passengers he’s had. 

13:00Copy video clip URL Whether he can tell in advance who will be a good tipper: “Yeah, the guy with the lunchbox is a better tipper than the Park Avenue man with a gray flannel suit, you know? But millionaires tip. It’s all across.” The changes in the taxi industry and its perception. Driving for 23 years, and his father being a cab driver. 

13:41Copy video clip URL Talking with passengers like a psychiatrist. Dealing with sad and heartsick passengers. A multimillionaire who asked Sipowitz about his secret to being so happy. 

15:45Copy video clip URL Another driver, tells a story about seeing a passenger multiple times in a day. Charles Nelson Reilly riding in his cab. 

17:52Copy video clip URL Another driver talks about helping a passenger give birth, with the assistant of a drunken man by the side of the road. 

19:15Copy video clip URL Scheming to get Frank Sinatra to ride in his cab during the filming of The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Sinatra giving him the biggest tip he’d ever gotten, ripping Jilly Rizzo’s pants off when Rizzo tried to pay. 

22:30Copy video clip URL Enjoying driving a cab. Tricking a couple of passengers into thinking he’s deaf. 

25:30Copy video clip URL Another driver talks about having driven members of the Kennedy family. Being increasingly unimpressed by famous passengers. Discussion of business investments. 

30:54Copy video clip URL End title card and credits. “Produced by Nancy Cain, Susan Milano, Bart Friedman.”




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