No Sleep Til Brooklyn: All Roads Lead to VHS
Let me start by saying that I have promoted, performed, & hosted many a music event in my day – too many to even try to count. Before joining Lunchmeat, I toured the underground hip-hop circuit and it took me all over the world; I’ve been DJ’ing in a crew with friends since I was 15 years old & alongside some really great artists – I even opened for some amazing bands, like glassJaw at Brixton Academy in London, in front of 5,000+ screaming fans one awesome evening back in 2007. I spent most of my younger years religiously attending hardcore shows on Long Island in the early 90’s & was lucky enough to have been part of a movement with good music (or so I thought at the time – my music taste buds have changed a lot in my old age) and most of all, good people. My road has been long & exhausting – but I had some irreplaceable experiences, learned some valuable life lessons, and saw things I never thought I’d see in a lifetime, let alone 15 years . . . Everything changed one afternoon when I stumbled into Forbidden Planet in NYC and grabbed a copy of Lunchmeat off the shelf (thanks, Matt - you ruined my life!). The zine welcomed me with open arms (or should I say severed limbs!) and after one shot-in-the-dark email to Josh (editor-in-chief, and more recently, partner-in-crime), I started writing & promoting for the zine. I quickly re-discovered my forgotten passion for the written word & remembered that I had another gift besides music – writing. Lunchmeat opened a new door for me, and fueled by my lifelong obsession with all things horror, I set off the beaten path, leaving music behind in my dusty footsteps. During my journey, I became part of a different kind of movement & culture of people – VHS horror fans, or what we at Lunchmeat like to call “videovores.” Videovores are a unique breed to say the least – they have an undying dedication to a (supposedly) dead media format, VHS, and their quest is much like that of an archeological dig – it’s the search for that lost, obscure horror, exploitation, weird movie gem that draws them into the dark underbellies of filthy, mold-ridden video shops & flea markets across the globe. I am a Videovore, and I had no idea just how many of us existed – especially in the trendy neighborhood of Brooklyn where I reside. It’s as if they were waiting in the shadows for the right time & place to emerge, and apparently that time & place was the Destroy All VHS event held at Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn on Sunday, July 10th, 2011. The first thing I noticed on the flyer was that the event was being held on a Sunday; needless to say, having been involved with many a failed music night on a work night, I was concerned for the turn-out (considering how difficult it is to gather a crowd on a Sunday night in NYC, let alone a VHS-themed event). To say I was surprised to see over 100 people come through the Nitehawk doors that night would be a gross understatement – I was downright SHOCKED! With a little extra push from Time Out NYC on Twitter, and the combined efforts of a few rabid VHS fans, Destroy All VHS was born. The venue was the perfect arena for what we had set out to do – glass cases filled with rare VHS box art graced the surrounding walls, with a large projection screen on the far wall displaying obscure horror trailers & clip shows throughout the evening. Lunchmeat was in full force to sponsor the event & set-up a booth with poster prints, “VHS is Happiness” t-shirts, VHS tapes for sale & trade, stickers & pins, postcards, and of course, copies of Issue #4 (sold-out quick!) and #5. Josh did a VCR demonstration & discussed the origins of our fine zine; then we rolled out the new Lunchmeat banner in all its glossy glory & shared our merch table with our friends from Horror Boobs, who premiered their boob clip compilation tape (a genius concoction of terror & tits, sold on VHS in dirty porn shop clamshells for that realistic “feel”), as well as a horror-themed game show called “Name That Boob,” where contestants were shown short boob clips & had to name the horror film to win prizes! The sense of community in the room was invigorating – videovores swarmed the merch table all night to trade VHS & share their video hunting tales. I even scored myself a copy of Night Train To Terror, which had been on my radar for some time now (I was hoping for a Thriller Video big box of Buried Alive, but no such luck). I got to meet & hang with Rob Hauschild – an inspiring VHS connoisseur, Lunchmeat contributor, and writer of VeX fanzine in the late 90’s, who sponsored the event & announced the VHS release of his catalog as part of his new project, Wild Eye Releasing. Good luck, Rob!