[It’s A Living raw #18]

Raw footage for "It's a Living." Studs Terkel at WFMT, in the street, and at Riccardo's restaurant.

0:00Copy video clip URL Bars and tone, black.

1:36Copy video clip URL Studs Terkel in the sound booth at WFMT, seemingly while a recorded version of his radio program is re-airing. He describes the process involved in securing the rights to air excerpts from books. He says he does all of the work for his show himself – “I call this ‘guerrilla journalism'” (in reference to the “guerrilla tv” of the videomakers shooting him). “How could I have someone read a book for me?” He then turns up the audio on the broadcast of his show – “You’re interviewing me now, we heard a tape of my voice then. Suddenly I’m live. I am live.” – and talks about the magic of radio that he finds lacking in television. He brings up the Grace Paley short story “The Long Distance Runner” that he referenced on another interview tape.

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5:10Copy video clip URL Studs in his office. He shows some of the books he is reading, and his detailed notes on a book on slave music. He then shows related musical recordings that he plans to air on the show with this book.

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7:45Copy video clip URL In the room where Studs keeps the tapes from his WFMT show, perhaps 20 years worth. “Do you get a special feeling in this room?” “A slight touch of exhilaration.” He tells some stories about South African anti-apartheid fighters, including Albert John Lutuli and Alan Payton. He then moves on to listing tapes about artists and musicians.

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13:17Copy video clip URL Continued in archive room. “I admire artists, simple as that. I admire gifted people who are devoted to their art or their crafts… and I don’t admire slovenliness, simple as that. I don’t admire the superficial news commentary that I see on TV – shallow, empty dull, at the same time offered with the voice of authority… TV is a remarkable means for enlightenment, for exhilaration. But it’s primarily a sales medium.”

14:53Copy video clip URL Tape is visibly paused.

15:15Copy video clip URL Resumes. Studs suggests they go listen to some of his recordings.

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16:07Copy video clip URL Back in the sound booth. Studs says he is going to play a clip called “Daley’s flip.”

16:31Copy video clip URL Tape pauses.

16:51Copy video clip URL Returns. He plays a clip sent by Mike Royko of Mayor Richard J. Daley responding with outrage to charges of nepotism, which he finds to be extremely revealing of Chicago-style politics. “Nepotism! What kind of society is this where you’re afraid to appoint your nephew or your son or your relative… for fear of what might be said? Who creates the fear? Who creates these phony issues?” He is greeted with resounding applause. Studs remarks, “That’s the city council – trained seals – all clapping.”

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19:46Copy video clip URL Walking down the hallway out to the street. Audio is difficult to understand due to construction noise outside. They go to Studs’ frequent hangout, Riccardo’s.

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22:02Copy video clip URL Lunch at Riccardo’s. Studs introduces his longtime friend and server, Roberto. Roberto describes the importance of maintaining formality in his speech with his customers in the interest of maintaining quality service.

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23:59Copy video clip URL Still at Riccardo’s. Terkel describes Roberto as a performer who is always acting when he is on the job. He then talks about the relationships he forms with the people he interviews for his books, how they change because of taking part in the books, and the concepts of self-awareness and self-representation.

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26:50Copy video clip URL Back in the sound booth. “I think everybody would like to be remembered… Immortality… Is it important to leave an impact? Yeah, of course it is, otherwise what’s the point?” He describes his great pleasure at being told that his book “Working” has changed how his readers treat telephone operators or waitresses. “I think affecting somebody is pretty important.” “I like my work… and if someone enjoys it, that’s good… But I do it because I like my work.” He talks about the tragedy that so many people are stuck in jobs they don’t like and can’t control.

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31:37Copy video clip URL Still in sound booth. “If you have no passion for life, why live?” “Nobody wants to work and not be recognized, but to do it well is the first thing… If there’s the tangental stuff that comes out, that’s fine, but that’s not the first thing.”

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