Here's a fun update from our benevolent overlords at the Alamo Drafthouse: the company's getting into the publishing game, with a brand-new book from video historian Josh Schafer. Titled Stuck On VHS: A Visual History of Video Store Stickers, it's exactly what you think it is: a visual love letter to the various stickers one would see on VHS cover boxes back in the day. Some of y'all were probably born long after VHS was a thing, but over time the long-outdated format has built a strong following of collectors and enthusiasts. Stuck On VHS was written with those fanatics in mind, and we think they're gonna dig it.
Let's go to the press release...
"Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is spending the first weeks of the new decade celebrating an iconic part of film history: the VHS tape. The company is launching a publishing arm with the new book by video historian Josh Schafer, Stuck On VHS: A Visual History of Video Store Stickers. The new book launches in conjunction with the much-beloved Found Footage Festival’s VCR Party Tour, with the first stop in Austin, TX at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar on Wednesday, January 8, and continuing on to Downtown LA (February 10), Denver (February 22), Brooklyn (February 27), and San Francisco (April 8). The book will be available for sale at Alamo Drafthouse theater locations and MondoTees.com on January 20.
“90% of the movies from the silent era are gone forever,” says Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO. “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 VHS era and aesthetic, Stuck On VHS 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, photography and book design by Jacky Lawrence, and three peelable pages of rad VHS stickers.
“These stickers capture a time and place, not only as important design and communication specimens from a distinct era,” says Stuck On VHS author Josh Schafer. “But also, these pieces of video store ephemera help us more distinctly remember and understand the incredible and vibrant world of video rental stores.”
Stuck On VHS is just the latest in Alamo Drafthouse’s commitment to keeping the video rental store alive. Since 2017, the company has opened Video Vortex rental stores inside its Raleigh, Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Los Angeles locations, with plans for more in 2020. Meanwhile, the American Genre Film Archive, the Alamo’s film archival and restoration arm, has kicked off an initiative to properly transfer and permanently store countless rare films and projects that were only ever released on the VHS format."
If all of this sounds up your alley and you're gonna be anywhere near the Drafthouse locations listed above over the next few months, definitely head on over to this page to snag tickets to the VCR Party Tour, which we imagine will be a delightful spectacle. And of course, stay tuned for future book announcements from the Alamo Drafthouse's new publishing arm! Who knows what sort of goodies could be headed our way?