Earlier this year, Baltimore lost a friend. One March evening, devotees of the Charles Village Video Americain gathered on the patch of grass outside and held a vigil as the video store shut its doors for the last time. Attendees wore black; candles were lit. And with the passing of this lonely outpost of brick-and-mortar video store culture, many of us resigned ourselves to joining the ranks of Netflix subscribers—those very same who everyday walk the streets with Video Americain’s blood on their hands. So it goes. But wait! Here come the cavalry! And what are they bringing? A worker-owned, collectively run space that will provide video rentals, archives, and educational events to the Baltimore community.
In the wake of the Charles Village location closing (yes, the one in Roland Park is still open), a dedicated group of Americain employees joined forces with local Maryland Film Festival big wigs and set about hatching plans for the Baltimore Video Collective. So far, the collective has amassed about 1000 titles (including most of the Criterion Collection). Right now, they’re looking to grow that collection to about 5000 while finding a space to call home. This Saturday the BVC will host their launch party—a sort of coming out—at the Windup Space. The event includes comedy performances, DJing, and of course, video screenings by local artists. If you want to support this worthy endeavor and rub elbows with other Netflix holdouts, this is absolutely the place to be this weekend. Also, you can grab a DVD off your shelf and donate it at the event for a discount on admission; because as we all (even film nerds) know—it takes a village.
The Baltimore Video Collective launch party will take place on Saturday, December 1st at 8pm at the Windup Space (12 W. North Ave. in Baltimore). Admission is $8, or $5 if you bring a DVD to donate.