As a verite documentation of the May 1, 1971 demonstration against the Vietnam War staged in Washington, D.C., Mayday Realtime presents a largely unedited flow of events from the point of view of participants on the street. Cort's camera captures the random, disorienting incidents that marked the day - demonstrators holding up traffic in the Capitol, skirmishes with police, on-the-scene interviews with onlookers. The camera impulsively responds to shouting and movement on the street. Voice-over narration is absent, and the real time images are left to convey the urgency and confusion of unpredicatable events. The Portapak was promoted as a tool of the counterculture, recording video images that challenged its representation by the mainstream media. As social history, the tape provides a window into the ideological divisions that rocked society during these years, capturing demonstrators fleeing tear gas and helicopters air-lifting troops, not to a battlefield in Vietnam, but to a trimmed lawn in the nation's capitol.
The original total running time for this piece is 1:00:00, this is a 10:24 excerpt for this collection.