Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has announced that it is launching a publishing arm. Their first title is a new book by video historian Josh Schafer titled Stuck On VHS: A Visual History of Video Store Stickers. VHS tapes have generated something of a renewed interest in recent years as the once-popular medium continues to become a relic of the past. The book will take a look at the stickers that video rental stores used to put on VHS tapes. But, in a more broad sense, the book is arguing for film preservation.
The book will launch in conjunction with the Alamo Drafthouse Found Footage Festival's VCR Party Tour, which kicks off this week. It will be available for sale at Alamo Drafthouse theater locations and through Mondo's website starting on January 20. Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO, had this to say in a statement.
"90% of the movies from the silent era are gone forever. Sadly, we are seeing that tale transpire again with VHS today. A huge wealth of amazingness is disintegrating before our eyes, and this time it isn't art from 100 years ago, it is from the 1980s. Josh is Alamo Drafthouse Cinema's VHS Culture Captain, a role not often found in ours or any industry. I'm really proud of his book, a love letter to this fragile era in our recent history, and I'm equally proud of his work to spread the excitement and awesomeness of VHS treasures in general."
Harnessing the robust rejuvenation of interest in the VCR era and aesthetic, Stuck On VHS: A Visual History of Video Store Stickers samples the seemingly small, but inherently essential pieces of communication and retrospective aesthetic that populate former rental videocassettes. The book contains essays by Lunchmeat VHS editor-in-chief and VHS Culture Captain Josh Schafer, with photography and book design by Jacky Lawrence. The book also comes with three peelable pages of VHS stickers. Stuck On VHS author Josh Schafer had this to say about the book.
"These stickers capture a time and place, not only as important design and communication specimens from a distinct era. But also, these pieces of video store ephemera help us more distinctly remember and understand the incredible and vibrant world of video rental stores."
This book is just the latest effort by the Alamo Drafthouse to keep the 90s video rental store alive. Starting in 2017, the company has opened several Video Vortex rental stores located at several of the chain's theaters in Raleigh, Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, with plans to open more this year. The Drafthouse is also behind the American Genre Film Archive. AGFA is dedicated to archival and restoration and has kicked off an initiative to properly transfer and permanently store many rare movies and projects that were only ever released on VHS.
The Found Footage Festival's VCR Party Tour will kick off in Austin, TX at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar on Wednesday, January 8. Further stops are scheduled for Downtown L.A. on February 10, Denver on February 22, Brooklyn on February 27 and San Francisco on April 8. This news comes to us directly from the The official drafthouse.com website.