[The 90’s raw: Barber Shop]

Raw footage for the award-winning series The 90's. This tape features footage of the Broadway Barber Shop in New York City. As patrons get their hair cut, shop owner Mr. Kay engages in lively debates with his customers.

0:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with raw footage of a Swedish woman selling Christmas trees on the street across from a Woolworth’s Department Store. She and her associate prepare the trees for purchase. The woman talks about her work and says that she and her associate are on vacation. She works about twelve hours a day selling trees during the Christmas season.

04:03Copy video clip URL A street musician performs a song entitled “I Want to Thank You,” which lasts for several minutes.

07:54Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from inside the Broadway Barber Shop. On his 78th birthday, an older man sits, relaxes, and converses about a variety of subjects as the barber, Mr. Kay, trims his hair. Some of the conversation is inaudible due to the sound of the mechanical shaver. He and Kay quickly get into a debate about U.S. politics. “The biggest criminals in the world are politicians,” Kay says. “They’re permitting the criminals to take over the street… The street belongs to me, you… The criminals have the right of way.” The two continue to comment on the need for new leaders to make a difference. When asked how politicians could improve things for the better, Kay says fervently, “By doing their job right. They’re there to serve the people, not to protect the criminal, to protect all of us.” Kay cites drugs and crime as the biggest problems in America, and the two continue to discuss these issues for several minutes.

16:41Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Kay cutting another older man’s hair. The two comment on the current state of the world. “We seem to have downgraded our ethics, morals–national ethics, national morals,” says the customer. “It’s a time of me–me, me, me.” When asked how people can fix the problems that plague the U.S. and the world, the man states that before we can fix the problems, we have to adopt a better attitude: “The problems come out of the attitude of the country itself, or the people in the country, as the gentleman just said. They have to get together, and it’s a time of separation–blacks, women, abortion, pro-abortion, anti-abortion. You get all those facets and you get a lot of factions and once you become faction-ated you got a big problem–how to get everybody thinking along the same line.” The man comments on politicians and how they align themselves near the center on most issues. “I think whatever a politician tries to do today he can’t so he rides the center because everything that has a left has a right… So what are you going to get in the way of a politician: You’re going to get a double talking guy who can say anything. I mean I don’t hear any of them saying anything.” The man also comments on the absurdity in the country not being able to find a good leader.

23:01Copy video clip URL As the man gets ready to leave, he makes one last comment about barber shops. “Incidentally if you want the answer to anything, always go to a barber shop.”

24:15Copy video clip URL Once his customer leaves, Kay speaks about the many talkative people that venture into his shop.

24:58Copy video clip URL Kay cuts the hair of a younger man. Videomaker Esti Marpet begins to question the young man about his opinions on the important issues of the decade. He states that the ’90s will be “the environmental decade–back to a socialist conscience instead of the ’80s ‘me, me, me.'” Kay then weighs in on the issue of world pollution. The young man thinks that people have to make an effort to really change things, but then quickly changes gears and begins to talk about how Russia is leaning towards capitalism. “Obviously they’re not being able to support their country on that. The Communist way of life, I mean people are starving, waiting in lines for hours just for loaves of bread and toilet paper.” The man then states that communism is “probably the best way of life if it could work, but it won’t work.” Mr. Kay then comments on the issue.

29:10Copy video clip URL When asked about the American capitalist system, the young man says that it works as long as it is run as a business. Kay then states that the capitalist system doesn’t work, and the two debate the issue for several minutes.

32:17Copy video clip URL The two continue to discuss the issue of drug use in America before Kay finishes the man’s haircut. Kay then has the young man read a short blurb about the barber shop that was published in the Chelsea Clinton News. Kay then shows off a few more laminated newspaper articles about his barber shop.

35:08Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of a grandfather clock inside the barber shop, and more footage of Kay at work.

36:42Copy video clip URL Cut to a close-up shot of a man as he gets his haircut. The man makes a few comments about the current state of the world and the need to change our habits and lifestyles in order to deal with environmental problems. Kay and his customer discuss other political and governmental issues. Kay again asserts his belief that all politicians are crooks. The customer talks about the changes taking place in Eastern Europe post Cold War. The audio is a bit difficult to hear at times.

41:58Copy video clip URL The man talks about the need to fight hunger and create economic growth in poorer countries. Kay comments on the fact that many people still starve in America. The man then talks about his work as a private school teacher and comments on the bureaucracy in the education system. The audio is a bit difficult to hear during this part of the tape. When asked how the current educational woes will affect the country’s future, the man says it has already affected the present. He then states that changes made now will have long range effects.

45:26Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



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