Tag: video americain

Video Americain Is Officially Dead!


Video Americain

People, I missed it! I guess I was too busy searching for Cyber Monday’s most extremely discounted KitchenAid stand mixer to notice that yesterday was the last day ever to rent a movie from the last Video Americain standing in Roland Park.

And unfortunately, owners Annie and Barry Solan could not come to an agreement with the Baltimore Video Collective that would have preserved the entire collection.

Video Americain Finally Admits Defeat, Will Close Roland Park Location

Ryan Gosling looking for someone to blame in the death of a Baltimore institution
Ryan Gosling looking for someone to blame for the death of a Baltimore institution

We can’t pretend this is much of a surprise, but the news nevertheless stings: Video Americain’s Roland Park location — its last — will close. Unless they can come up with $70,000 to $90,000 to preserve the 35,000-title movie library under new stewardship, they will begin selling off their inventory piece by piece in October.

Now, you’re probably asking, “Does this mean my children and/or grandchildren grow up with no fond memories of going to the video store?” Maybe not. There is a group in Baltimore whose goal is to set up a sustainable, not-for-profit, art-housey, brick-and-mortar video rental library in the city.

Non-profit Baltimore Video Collective Wants to Fill a Cultural Void


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.

Silver Linings Playbook, Thanksgiving Edition: A Baltimore Holiday Tale


In which University of Baltimore Asst. Prof. and Bohemian Rhapsody Columnist Marion Winik counts her blessings, even the crappy ones…

Even before I heard about the new Jennifer Lawrence/Bradley Cooper movie, I was thinking about silver linings this Thanksgiving. I mean, of course I’m grateful for all the usual stuff, my family, my home, my health, such as it is, for decent public schools and the iPhone 5 and the nice neighborhood I live in. I’m thankful that Video Americain hasn’t gone out of business yet, that chickens lay eggs, and that it is still possible to make some kind of living typing claptrap since it is the only thing I am capable of doing.

Cinephiles Organize to Save Video Americain’s Charles Village Collection


When Video American abruptly announced the closing of their Charles Village location, and the immanent sale, video by video, of their formidable movie collection, some customers and soon-to-be former employees moved quickly to explore options for saving the store. “$50,000 – $60,000” was the rumored price tag on the entire collection, not easy money to raise in a matter of days. Fortunately, the videos, which were scheduled to go on sale today, were granted a “week’s stay of execution” while the group raises funds and makes a plan, according to a source who asked that their name be withheld.

The group of community-oriented cinephiles have thrown around various plans for housing and lending the movies, tending more or less toward a vision of the video collection reincarnating as a cooperative, perhaps in a location that could screen films. There are also a couple of individuals, however, interested in preserving the Charles Village store virtually as-is. A large, private university has apparently made an offer “to cherry-pick the collection.”

Video Americain Closes Charles Village Location, Not Because of Me


After some bold promotional efforts (including giving away free rentals to customers who canceled their Netflix accounts and to those who “checked in” at the store on Facebook) Video Americain has had to partially surrender to the economy and the new Internet movie paradigm by closing its Charles Village location.

I just want to let everyone know that this wasn’t my fault; it was your fault. I didn’t get a Netflix account; you did. When my wife and I set out to watch all of Battlestar Galactica, we didn’t sign up for Hulu Plus; we rented the DVDs, disc by disc, from Video Americain. And you know what, they probably would have had to close a month earlier without all that money I’ve paid them in late fees.

So when you head into VA next Friday looking for a good deal at the liquidation sale, feeling like a graverobber, thinking what a shame it is to lose a local cultural hub, to resign one more formerly social activity to the inhuman digital garbage-pile of the Internet, I want you to think, “This wasn’t Bob’s fault; this was all my fault.”

Local Video Store Takes on Netflix


For a while there, it seemed like Netflix was poised to doom all those brick-and-mortar video stores. It was cheap, it was speedy, it had a huge selection… but that bubble seems to have burst, and the newest news is the million customers Netflix has lost since raising its prices this year. And its plummeting stock price. And lots and lots of customer ire:  “Dramatically increasing prices in the 2011 economy not only shows incredible arrogance and insensitivity, it demonstrates that Hastings and Netflix is completely investor focused,” Paul Kiser wrote for Technorati. You know things are bad when SNL is parodying your ham-fisted attempt to apologize to your customers.

So if you’re one of those annoyed by longer DVD turnarounds, 40 percent price increases, or just looking for some human-to-human interaction (and personalized recommendations), now might be the perfect time to cancel your Netflix subscription. Today, in fact:  because if you do, and you bring some sort of proof (screen shot, print out) to Video Americain, the local independent video store much beloved around town, they will give you five free rentals. “Down with big red greed!” they proclaim. Offer valid October 7 only.