New Yorkers Message to San Francisco

This tape is comprised of interviews with New York residents on the street in Greenwich Village. The subject matter varies from person to person but loosely focuses on the interviewees leaving messages for people in San Francisco. The tape captures a portrait of life in Greenwich Village in 1970.

00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a blue screen and static.

00:21Copy video clip URL Cut to the title screen which is very hard to make out.

00:32Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from a busy New York street. Today, the videomakers will be asking people for their thoughts on the city of San Francisco. One of the videomakers first speaks with a man who claims to have ridden his bike from the California/Nevada border. The camera operator continues to gather footage from around the area. Eventually, a woman sends a message to two friends saying she hopes they find their organic farm.

02:53Copy video clip URL A woman adorned with a some type of sun mask says that she hopes things will get better in New York and compares her experience living in the city to living on the west coast. “I like the energy of New York you know, you can find here, which I find lacking in the coast… Like violence is very apparent in New York and it’s on the streets, and people put that down a lot. They say that living here is very rough, but I still like it. I think that’s true of every city.”

04:28Copy video clip URL An older man states that he is glad San Francisco is “still with us.” He talks about the possibility of San Francisco breaking off into the Pacific Ocean. A man with a baby in his arms speaks with the interviewer about the poor job market in New York. The young child humorously plays with the microphone. The videomaker goes on to interview a few more people about the difference between New York and San Francisco.

06:59Copy video clip URL The videomaker speaks with a woman about her experience living in New York. She talks about the fact that she and the millions of mothers across New York get kicked out of retail stores because they don’t allow strollers in the stores. She also talks about an injury she received at the beach. “My husband didn’t beat me up. I got knocked down by a wave at Jones Beach.”

08:04Copy video clip URL A number of people on the street adorn themselves with a John V. Lindsey mask. (Lindsey was the mayor of New York at the time.) Each person adorned with the mask offers some humorous views on what they would do to change the city. One man states that he would not allow anyone to rent an apartment and instead require that one would have to purchase and own their own apartment. Another man states that he would put prostitutes back on the streets. One of the men also puts on a dollar mask and talks about the fact that that the nation’s belief in God is printed on our currency. A few people begin to debate the issue. People on the street continue to wear masks and comment on various issues.

12:38Copy video clip URL Cut to footage of a man dancing as a group of musicians perform a rendition of “Proud Mary.”

13:32Copy video clip URL Cut to an interview with a writer who gives a few messages to friends who live in San Francisco. Shortly afterward, a man comments on the poor state of the welfare system in New York.

16:42Copy video clip URL A woman displays a picture of a man flashing two women. This is followed by footage of a musical performance from a few street musicians. Other people leave a few messages for San Francisco. An African-American man comments on the need for understanding among all people. “What is important is that one understands understanding, because when one understands understanding, one has an understanding of the understandingness that must be understood in order for one to understand understanding.” One of the videomakers then speaks with a man about an interesting dessert sandwich called a “fruit cosmic hero.”

20:28Copy video clip URL A man leaves a message for his father who has neglected his family and is living in San Francisco. “Rot old man. I mean, where have you been? You know like, you’re not taking care of my mother. You’re not taking care of my little brother. You got some karma to work up, simple as that. You know, I hope you can, you know, fix your own life alright, because you got things to make up, period.” The videomaker goes on to speak with a woman about a round of therapy she is currently going through. She talks about her discovery in trying to get to know herself after quitting drugs.

22:23Copy video clip URL A man reads a letter from Judith Malina and Julian Beck of the Living Theater. The two are being held in a Brazilian prison. He reads aloud a statement written by the two prisoners. The two were accused of trafficking drugs. He also urges people to write letters to their lawyer in Brazil.

25:29Copy video clip URL One of the videomakers asks a police officer in the area if he’d like to leave a message for San Francisco. The cop states that his message giving is regulated. Many people on the street watch as a person in a four story building installs an air conditioner in his window. The videomakers comment on the fact that the police officers aren’t doing anything to clear the area in case the air conditioner falls out of the window. The tape ends shortly afterward.

27:06Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



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