Alamo Drafthouse is teaming with iconic video store-turned-non-profit Vidiots on programming initiatives at the Austin-based exhibitor’s Video Vortex location in its soon-to-launch site in downtown LA.
Blending elements of a classic video store with an arcade, bar, retail and even a place to play board games, the Video Vortex will be part of the first Alamo Drafthouse to open in LA. The circuit has three other Video Vortex outposts, in Raleigh, NC, Brooklyn, NY and San Francisco.
The location will offer 40,000 titles from the Drafthouse archives free for rent on DVD and Blu-ray. The Vidiots Foundation and Alamo Drafthouse are kicking off the collaboration with “Tales from the Video Store,” a series that will feature guests recalling their experiences and discoveries in video stores. A year-long program of screenings, as well as Vidiots-branded merchandise, is in the plans.
”Video stores made me a cinephile in the ’80s and ‘90s,” Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League said. “The culture and curation they provided were an essential part of my development and knowledge about movies.” When the chance arose to team up with the “legendary” Vidiots team, he added, there was no hesitation.
”Having Alamo in LA is a movie lover’s fantasy realized,” said Maggie Mackay, board chair of the Vidiots Foundation. She added that Drafthouse’s “commitment to preserving physical media and celebrating video store culture make them dream partners for us.”
Vidiots, which opened its doors in the mid-1980s, traumatized many longtime patrons in 2017 when it closed. It has since been reconstituted as a nonprofit and plans to revive its brick-and-mortar operations.
The fact that Vidiots still has a pulse in the streaming era is noteworthy. Iconic video stores like Kim’s in New York, not to mention chains like Tower, Virgin and Blockbuster, have all succumbed to the secular decline in physical media across the media landscape.