The Scarecrow Cometh

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On Saturday, October 11 at 6 pm, Scarecrow Video closed its doors as a for-profit video store.  While they reopened as a nonprofit on Tuesday, October 14 at 11 am, the official reopening was yesterday: International Independent Video Store Day.  As someone who had supported their Kickstarter campaign, I went to the store, camera in hand, to see what kind of festivities were planned.

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As it turned out, not much (though I did miss the morning and afternoon festivities, and sales were ongoing–including 50% off Criterion titles and all VHS tapes and laserdiscs for 25 cents), but it was nice to see the place so busy.  They did have a bingo game, where one had to find box art that matched one of the descriptions in each of five columns (to spell out “video”).  The prize was any swag on the table, which included books and movies.  After an hour-long search, I finished my card and grabbed the film Detour, having never seen it but having read about it in Ebert’s The Great Movies.  I debated about whether or not to get a Criterion title, but even the cheapest one would cost $15 with the discount, and with the expenses I’ve incurred recently and will incur soon, I felt it best to walk away from that enticing display.  I did, however, grab Howards End — for 25 cents.

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A laserdisc for 25 cents, free swag, and a membership form

The only differences between the for-profit Scarecrow Video and the nonprofit one is that the latter one has memberships (see the form in the photo above) and will be doing fundraisers.  The nonprofit incarnation will also require volunteers.

I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo of the inside of the store, as it is spectacular, but I wasn’t sure that I could get a shot off without a patron walking into the frame and not wanting to be in my photo.  Luckily, the Internet has come to my rescue with this awesome video, just as people came to the rescue of this beloved Seattle store: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VMhEq6kxG4

Scarecrow Video is the largest independent video store in the U.S. and probably the world.  It’s at 5030 Roosevelt Way NE in the U-District, and hopefully will exist as long as movie lovers exist in the world.

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