The 90’s, episode 303: Bartalk

Episode 303 of the award winning series, The 90's. This episode is called "BARTALK" and features the following segments:

1:17Copy video clip URL “Time Lapse Bar Footage” by Mark Zero. Time lapse scenes from a New York bar with music by Big Bill Broonzy.

2:02Copy video clip URL Tony Fitzpatrick and Mark Levinson by Tony Judge. Two reformed drinkers talk about their experiences with alcohol at a Chicago bar. Tony Fitzpatrick leads the conversation: “The last drink I ever had was October 5, 1983, eight thirty in the morning. All I can remember is that I looked up and the ceiling was black – the ceiling was painted black so it wouldn’t show the smoke. And I thought, ‘This is like a tomb.’ I felt like I was dead. That day I checked myself in. I was 24 years old when I quit. What I miss about bars, I guess, is the kind of idealized thing you see on “Cheers.” They never show someone puking their toenails out at 5 in the morning – ‘Yeah, it’s Miller Time.’ I can count on one hand the friends that I had before I quit who are still friends. Part of my history is in these saloons and I can’t get away from that. To pretend that it never happened and to live in fear of a drink, that’s not sound either. Sometimes these rooms bring out the best in human beings and sometimes the worst. [Tony Judge: “Don’t mind if I have a beer?”] Get this guy a beer and I’ll have a sarsaparilla.”

7:37Copy video clip URL “Random Positions” by Jo Bonney and Ruth Peyser. Animated video featuring bar pick-up lines. Includes a performance by Eric Bogosian.

8:38Copy video clip URL “Peaches” by Eddie Becker and Danese Seals. Peaches, a bartender from Washington D.C., talks about the dangers of looking for a long-term relationship at a bar. “Any woman who feels they’re going to meet their mate, their partner, in a bar, they’re wrong. They’ll never do it because men are there for one thing and one thing only. If they went there by themself, they’re gonna pick up someone and take them home. They start with the prettiest girl in the bar and before the lights are up, they’ll take the ugliest woman. It’ll never work. Go to church, meet someone nice.”

9:39Copy video clip URL “The Dating Game” by Fred Bridges. A look at “The Dating Game,” a bar in Chicago frequented by the upwardly mobile black community. “Congressmen (Gus Savage), aldermen, everyone comes here,” says the hostess. The ladies’ room attendant showcases the line of available cosmetics, combs, munchies and undergarments. “We don’t discriminate, we do take care of the larger figure,” she says.

14:07Copy video clip URL “Mike Royko and Studs Terkel” by Tony Judge. Studs Terkel interviews Mike Royko about bars as they sit at Lawry’s Tavern in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Royko: “A tavern is much more than a place where you get a drink. You can buy a pint at the liquor store and have a drink on the street corner. The neighborhood tavern served a lot of functions: community center, social center, political debating hall, the country club for the working guy, group therapy. [Studs: What you’re saying is the social aspect is missing today?] Well the saddest thing I’ve ever seen, well not the saddest thing I’ve ever seen, we’re talking in terms of drinking patterns, is guys who rush in the big commuter station (Union Station) and run over to a cafeteria and get a double martini in a styrofoam cup and they go rushing off to get their train. If he lived in the city, he’d walk home, go to the place on the corner, sit down and have a relaxed drink.”

18:21Copy video clip URL “The Fox” by Jay April. In Brentwood, California, The Fox entertains a drunk bar crowd with sing-alongs and tricks like drinking a beer standing on his head.

19:50Copy video clip URL “Whiskey Bend” by Chuck Cirino and David Nichols. A glimpse into a neighborhood biker bar.

21:58Copy video clip URL “Cut Time” by Sarah Bleakley. A look at a the bar scene on New York’s Lower East Side. The lead singer from Two Minutes Hate says, “Rock ‘n Roll is about a kid with a guitar playing a song. That’s all it ever was.” The Gamma Rays, an all female band, sing “It’s Not a Safe Life.”

24:11Copy video clip URL “At the Bar” by Laura Greenfield and Gary Glaser. A stylized depiction of bar scenes with voiceovers of people talking about alcohol. Q: “What’d ya drink?” A: “Vodka tonic and beer.” Q: “Both at the same time?” A: “Depends on my mood really. If I want to get really drunk, I do both.”

24:58Copy video clip URL “Conrad Hunter” by Jim Mulryan and Arlene Bowman. Native American Conrad Hunter talks his alcoholism. “It [alcohol] makes me feel real good. Inside my mind when I open the bottle, it’s getting the whole thing out of my head. I don’t care about nobody other than myself, but now when I’m sober, I realize who’s hurting who. I’m hurting my self. Probably tomorrow I’ll be lying in the alley, dead…After talking to you people, I think I’m gonna go upstairs and get myself into a program, because this is not really like me.” Three months later Conrad is on the wagon and enjoying his return to making artwork. “I feel more happier than I did before. I get more out of life. I got an emotional problem sometimes. I don’t like to deal with other people other than myself. Right now, I’m just trying to work on that problem. I fell off the wagon a couple of times, but I intend to stay on.”

31:16Copy video clip URL “Peter Fogel” by Skip Blumberg. In NYC, bartender Peter Fogel talks about the tendency of patrons to unload their problems on him. “What blows me away about this job is you see a lot of people on TV or in movies, people you idolize will come in here and start telling me about their problems. I get the problems of the stars. They have problems, too. The drinks loosen ’em up a little bit.”

32:45Copy video clip URL “Zulu Ball” by Stephen Tyler. A look at the celebrations of the Zulu Ball during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

34:49Copy video clip URL “On Main Street” by Judea Herbstein. Mary Tamaki, owner of the El Paso Club, a bar in a seedy area of Los Angeles, talks about her business. She says: “It was kinda like bringing what was out there on the streets inside. We wanted to make this more like a haven, a place to carry on their business. We have a few girls who hang out here, who even work here, who are prostitutes. If they don’t do it here, it’s none of my business.” Linda, a junkie, says the only way you can get off drugs is if you want to stop. She says her 17-year-old child committed suicide due to her drug use. Tamaki admits that as much as she loves her bar, she ‘s actually getting rid of it. “Actually, I decided I was going to sell it. My attachment to the place has gotten out of hand. It’s taking a toll on me. I get really involved and I can’t get on with my own life.”

41:14Copy video clip URL “Rat Pack” by Fred Bridges. Members of the Rat Pack, an organization of professional men in Chicago who want to help the black community, talk about their goals: “Years from now if we don’t do something, we’ll have a population of all black women and no black men.”

44:05Copy video clip URL “Tradition” by Appalshop. Documentary about making moonshine.

45:51Copy video clip URL “Nobert Hicks” by Jim Mulryan. Nobert Hicks, a reformed alcoholic, talks about the toll drinking took on his life: “Some of the reasons I drank is because I couldn’t live inside my own skin, I didn’t want to live inside myself. I couldn’t stand my own self, so I drank on and on and on. I didn’t have to have any reason to drink. Any reason was good. Better no reason to drink than a reason because then I got drunker. Every day was a holiday. I was never a social drinker – I never drank a few sips and put it down. I drank to get drunk. In a bar, I lived out my fantasies. I lived i n my own head. I’d drink that drink and I’d look around and it was dark. And in the bar I could sit and live those fantasies in a glass, and I could see myself with the pretty girls, with the money, with the nice cars…It feels really good to work. The first six months of recovery I couldn’t work very much. I couldn’t drive a nail. If I try living in tomorrow I’d probably get drunk. One day at a time, just like they say. I do not dwell in the problem. I dwell in the solution.”

55:23Copy video clip URL “John Lee Hooker” by VT Productions. John Lee Hooker plays the blues under the credits.



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