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Alamo Drafthouse L.A. partners with Vidiots to revive the old school video store

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Maggie Mackay, executive director of Vidiots Foundation, among the rare DVDs and VHS tapes at the Vidiots video store on Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica before it closed in 2017.
(Stuart Palley for The Los Angeles Times)

When the first Alamo Drafthouse location in Los Angeles opens later this month, it will include what has been described as “a video store/bar/arcade/board game hub/retail store” adjacent to the cinema known as Video Vortex.

Today, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema announced more details, including a yearlong programming partnership with Vidiots Foundation, L.A.’s long-running video store turned film non-profit. There will be Vidiots screenings and events at the cinema and Vidiots merchandise available at Video Vortex.

The partnership between Alamo Drafthouse and Vidiots Foundation will kick off with a series called “Tales From the Video Store,” with special guests recalling memories of their local video stores and the movies they found there.

The video store at the L.A. Alamo Drafthouse will include over 40,000 titles from the Drafthouse archives and all movies will be available to rent for free. This is the fourth Video Vortex location, along with Brooklyn, N.Y., Raleigh, N.C., and San Francisco.

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“Video stores made me a cinephile in the ’80s and ’90s. The culture and curation they provided were an essential part of my development and my knowledge about movies,” Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO, said in a statement. “When the opportunity became available to partner with the legendary Vidiots team and align on a common goal, we did not hesitate.”

“Having Alamo in L.A. is a movie lover’s fantasy realized,” said Maggie Mackay, board chair of Vidiots Foundation, also in a statement. “The Drafthouse team’s commitment to preserving physical media and celebrating video store culture make them dream partners for us, especially as we near our 35th year in L.A. and prepare for the relaunch of our own brick-and-mortar.”

Video Vortex will also feature the Alamo Drafthouse’s flagship tabletop gaming initiative with a curated selection of board games for sale and to be played onsite. There will be a variety of board game launch parties, tournaments and play events as well as TriviaDome, Alamo Drafthouse’s trivia night.

“Alamo has been a pioneer in changing the way we view cinema,” said Ash Minnick, manager of board game events. “Their focus on interactivity makes gaming an obvious extension and we are beyond thrilled to explore new ways to delve into that world through one of a kind experiences at the venue.”

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The Video Vortex rental catalog can be viewed at videovortex.com/los-angeles.

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Mark.Olsen@latimes.com

Follow on Twitter: @IndieFocus


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