I know I’m not the only one who experienced a lifestyle shift after Video Americain closed its Charles Village location — I used to spend my afternoons talking movies and local cultural happenings with the many friendly and interesting clerks there. Now when my son Asher gets cranky in our cramped apartment, he’s more likely to be consoled by YouTube videos of Elmo than by a brisk walk to the 3100 block of St. Paul.
And there were of course the videos themselves. If you don’t have a car and you’re too scared to pirate, there aren’t really a lot of options. (I’m in the middle of a free month of Netflix Instant and let me tell you, it sucks.)
Luckily for all of us, a group of ambitious, passionate Baltimoreans have taken up the cause. The Baltimore Video Collective is a non-profit group looking to set up a “worker-owned rental store that operates on a membership basis,” as well as a facility to hold screenings and educational programs.
Their website doesn’t yet list the titles in their growing collection, but I happen to know that one BVC member seized an opportunity to buy near-mint copies of most of the DVDs in the Criterion Collection at a yard sale a month or two back, so they’re off to a good start.
To raise money and awareness, the BVC is holding a launch party at the Wind Up Space December 1, with music by BFB favorites Horse Lords and Peals (Bruce from Double Dagger and William from Future Islands), comedy from Mickey Free and Ben O’Brien (yes that Ben O’Brien), videos by Alan Resnick, and DJing by Secret Weapon Dave. Tickets are eight dollars, five if you donate a DVD or blu-ray in good condition