If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, you probably have fond memories of going to the local mom and pop video store. You'd wander the shelves a while, discover new titles and filmmakers, talk with clerks about movies, and eventually pick something (usually with the best box art) to watch. It's the kind of place you'd want to keep going back to. That's sort of what Aaron Hillis and his wife Jennifer are trying to do with Video Free Brooklyn in Cobble Hill. (Aaron also curates the reRun Gastropub Theater in DUMBO.)
It sounds like The Hillises are trying to reinvent their newly acquired brick-and-mortar video store by being more than just a rental place. They also want to offer screenings, panels, readings, events, and special guests behind the counter. It's similar to the community-fostering philosophy seen at local independent booksellers except it's at a video store. And like local independent booksellers, there are only so many places where this sort of business can thrive (i.e., Brooklyn).
If you help fund the store's revamp, you can get free rentals, t-shirts, and tote bags. For big funders, you can get lunch with Robert Downey Sr., a private screening hosted by David Cross, tickets and backstage access to a Patton Oswalt show, and Bobcat Goldthwait doing stand-up in your living room.
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