Hello. My name is Rockie Juarez and I proudly work in what could be within in the next few years a failing business. That business is a simple Ma & Pa video store known as Vulcan Video located in Austin, Texas. Vulcan Video has been around for two decades strong with two locations. I’ve been an employee at the North Store (located on W. 29th St. and Guadalupe., near UT campus) for 6 years and I cherish every day. You see, while I don’t get paid much, I do, like most of you reading this, love cinema very much. Too much in fact.
My addiction started at age 5 during my family’s stay in Germany. Overseas, there really isn’t much to watch if you lived off of the Air Force base like we did. There was only one television station called the Armed Forces Network and trust me when I say the programming was suspect. An example: kids in America got Simpsons episodes once a day while we got them once a week. Harsh, I know. Luckily there was a video store on base as well as two more off base. My dad, bless his soul, was an IMDb before I even discovered the site, while my mother was, and still is, the massive fan who yells at the screen. As one could imagine we had a stack of films constantly atop our television just waiting to be fed into our insatiable VHS player. Monday through Friday the stack would be 5 films high, double that number on weekends. And after an 8 year stay in that lovely country you can bet we watched a shit ton of movies. By age 13 I had seen a wide variety of films ranging from top tier to bottom rung madness.I just never grew out of it. Never could shake it.
Flash forward to me at age 26 and I was lucky enough to land a job at Vulcan Video. It dawned on me that I had been kind of training for a job of this nature. That’s not to say I know everything there is to know about movies. That’s just ridiculous. There are too many avenues and genres to dive into to make such a claim. Instead my goals at Vulcan are quite simple really: increase my knowledge and treat the damn thing as if it is going to up in flames at any moment. By that last statement I mean that it’s no secret that video stores are a dying breed. Left and right they are going out of business due to the cold and easy access of both Netflix or the lifeless Redboxes in front of all of your grocery stores. So first thing was to attack social media. Vulcan Video already had a Facebook page but they were doing little to nothing on the Twitter front. Once I was given the greenlight to start anew, @VulcanVideoATX was created and I quickly gave the account to two other talented employees there Maxim Pozderac (@Accordion27) and Neil Cook (@atxstoryboards) basically saying, do your worst. Maxim a sponge for all things cinema and Neil the most talented local artist I have the pleasure of knowing. Once we got that off the ground, I decided to host a screening for the sci-fi masterwork Robocop, which sold it’s needed amount of tickets within a week and a half, thankfully, making it a success despite my fumble on the fact that it was a DCP and not a 35mm print. Although everyone had a great time, I still felt bad about that one, so to all who came out I publicly apologize and promise not to spread myself thin constantly promoting and missing the one detail that matters. Anyways, the point of ALL this is, despite the growing trend of failed video stores around the world, one thing remains true: we are still standing, with a solid film junkie community supporting our every step towards a very iffy future. If you have a membership with us, I Luv Video (our neighbors who also fight the good fight), Scarecrow Video, or ANY local video shop, I applaud you from the bottom of my heart. You are doing a heroes work. There truly is nothing like walking into video store and just diving in. Unearthing a lost gem or a treasure you’ve never heard of, screened with a mob of your closest friends over pizza (or whatever it is you like to munch on) and having a ball. It gets no better.
Let’s just say that if we do go down, you better believe I’m going out swinging, using any and all means to have our voices heard. Thanks for your support and time. Now go rent something.