Viral Video is growing inside Technique Records, and it’s ready to burst from the store's guts in full technicolor glory.
VHS, which turned 42 years old this past September, is getting some tender loving care from local music gourmands and Technique Records faces Jan Valentine and Mikey Ramirez.
The pairing couldn’t be more perfect: Valentine’s thundering bass guitar in the local band Shroud Eater was clearly influenced by the early decades of home-video horror schlock. Ramirez hinted at Viral Video’s incubation when he spoke with New Times last year: "I started thinking about the recent revival of [VHS] and eccentric media. I grew up in bookstores, video stores, and record stores, and I thought it would be pretty cool to integrate all three with some sort of angle."
Not a pop-up but rather a store-within-a-store, Viral Video will be curated by Valentine and will offer rare, horror, art-house, foreign, Giallo, grindhouse, and B films on VHS. For the post-brick-and-mortar crowd that has recently discovered the wonders of a record store, video stores served the same purpose in their day.
Before Wayne Huizenga’s Blockbuster Video flooded the land, video stores were largely mom-and-pops brimming with incredible cinematic delights. Spots such as Kendall’s Video Trax, Coral Gables’ Lion Video, and West Dade’s Oh, the Horror! carried every level of film merchandise — from new releases to porn and everything in between. They had more niche missions and were the last bastions of foreign, independent, and B-to-Z-grade cinema when the bigger stores took over and homogenized the façade.
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“Reliving the nostalgia is especially gratifying for me, as is maintaining any genre alive on VHS,” Valentine says. “I get a big kick out of finding rare horror movies on VHS, whether they’re good or bad... although I admit that I love some pretty awful movies. But, hey, that’s part of the fun!” She also notes the driving chutzpah of B and horror movies and the DIY appeal of low-budget productions — almost a mirror of the making-something-out-of-nothing attitude of her and Ramirez's new concept.
For those who see a bit of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams in everything, beyond Viral Video's timely (read: Halloween) introduction to South Florida, the concept's launch coinciding with VHS's 42nd birthday is interesting. Is it the meaning of life? Maybe.
For launch, “movie-related raffles will be featured throughout the event, along with other cinema-themed surprises,” Ramirez promises. “Costumes are highly encouraged!” Moving forward, it’s good to have a cinematic component within this hub of cultural discovery.
Viral Video Launch. 7 p.m. Saturday, October 27, at Technique Records, 853 NE 79th St., Miami; 786-717-6622; techniquerecords.com.