Monday, March 7, 2011

****new release list no.310 - I'M STILL HERE

Ласкаво просимо до моїх українські друзі!

Today is March 7th, 2011. Four years ago, this week, Amy and I became the proud owners of Four Star Video, a neighborhood institution that has been around since 1986 (25 years!). We became the 4th owners of this excellent store, taking over from the estate of David Ayoob, which included Jamie and Jeremy and Dave’s wonderful daughters, Kelly and Julie.

When we purchased Four Star Video, we went in with our eyes wide open. Our idea from day one was to think about the future and plan for a time when technology might force the video store into extinction, but also to focus on ways of holding onto our customer base. Our close friends berated us for buying a video store (except the ones who were jealous that we snapped up THE video store). You don’t understand, we told them, Four Star is much more than a video store, it’s nearly a community center.

We had always been big fans of the store. We joined when we moved to the neighborhood in the late 1990’s. We met Dave when he bought the joint from Rick. We brought our new baby boy here to meet Dave and crew when he was born in 2001. We were here the day Dave put up the new shelving in the middle of the store. We were here the day Dave took down the “adult” section (telling us he wanted the store to feel safe for Huckleberry and the other neighborhood kids). When Dave introduced the new block system of renting, we bought one immediately and always kept a block from then until we bought the store. We lost movies occasionally, we lost movie boxes occasionally, we asked Dave to buy PURPLE RAIN and he did. We ran into friends here, we lingered with our kids in the middle of the afternoon here, we flirted with the staff here. We stopped on the way to Good Life, on the way home from Martha’s, after yoga, before heading to the bookstore and the library, before and after the playground. In short, it was a place we went to just because.

When Dave died, we cried together at our respective jobs. We cried for Dave, for the community, for ourselves and our fear of growing older. You know what I mean; many of you cried that day, too.

When we discovered Four Star was for sale, I was fascinated with the idea that I could find my place in our community as a merchant. What fun, I thought! What responsibility, what excitement. What a way to finally fit in. The idea that I could be “the movie guy” and putter around in my store like I used to see Dave do was very alluring.

When we bought the place, we thought to ourselves, how long can this store last? Three years? Five years? Longer? Well, people, we still don’t know. It has shrunk a lot in these four years, but it is still vibrant as hell. This weekend I was here every day working at Four Star’s sister store, Succulence, and each night was like a fun party in the store with regulars and non-regulars hanging out, reading movie boxes and talking film.

In fact, we have decided to change the hours again to be open until 10pm all Friday and Saturday nights starting this weekend! Please show us that this makes sense by coming in and utilizing the store. Also, as thanks to everyone for keeping Four Star going, we are offering all of our shirts at 50% off for the next month. Represent!

During these four years both Amy and I have settled into being business owners in Bernal Heights. We now own and operate Succulence here at 402 Cortland, and Amy has her own estate-planning legal practice here as well. We are thankful for the ability to do business here in Bernal Heights. We are thankful for the trust you place in us, and we take that trust very seriously. We don’t know what the future holds, but we hope we’ll be able to continue to make our living right here in the village we love so much for a long time.

I don’t have tiger’s blood, and I’m not a rock star from Mars, but I’M STILL HERE, just like Joaquin Phoenix. So let’s make a toast to that. Let’s toast to existence, to endurance, to continuance, to perseverance, and to longevity, to continuity, to durability, to unity, utility, continuity, ingenuity…and while we’re at it, since life = death, and we can always “watch the ripples change their size but never leave the stream of warm impermanence”, let’s toast the other side, because survival means dabbling on both sides of the coin, and desperate longing creates desire and motivates growth, so with that in mind, let’s toast futility, unattainability, unsustainability, impracticality, ineffectuality, insurmountability, and the painful reality of obsolescence. Hey, everything and everyone gets obsolete eventually, so let’s hold on to each other while we have each other and just glance backwards here and there for perspective but resist the urge to project the future, because the future is simply a moment away, and we can wait for just a moment, can’t we?

Alrighty, that’s all folks, hope to see you at the stores.

Love and Kisses,

For amusement sake, here are a few links to notable blog posts from the past. Peace and love.

First Ever blog from me, April 2007
First anniversary, March 2008
Second anniversary, March 2009
Third anniversary, March 2010

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............//NEW RELEASES//............

Kayvan Novak/Nigel Lindsay/Riz Ahmed/Adeel Akhtar.
Directed by Christopher Morris.
* I think had I gotten to see this film this weekend that I would be shouting from the rooftops that you should see it. It is both a comedy and a social commentary and it is said to work very well from both angles. The tale is of four British jihadists who are trying to determine how to best focus their righteous anger and revolutionary ideas. Yes, it is a comedy about suicide bombers. Sadly, all but one of them are not super bright and struggle to do anything correctly. I imagine some people will feel like this film is offensive, and I imagine, as most comedies do, it does make fun of something that is not funny. Yet the critics and the casual viewers all seem to agree that this is a brilliant and hysterical film and perhaps just a laugh is helpful to the planet at times.

John Knoxville/Bam Margera.
Directed by Jeff Tremaine.
* These guys are somehow not amongst the millions of unemployed Americans.

Rachel McAdams/Harrison Ford/Diane Keaton/Patrick Wilson/Jeff Goldblum/50 cent.
Directed by Roger Michell.
* McAdams (SLINGS AND ARROWS, SHERLOCK HOLMES) plays Becky, a television producer who gets a big break when she is hired for a popular morning television show. Unfortunately, the job is completely out of control as the personalities on set are bigger than the show. It is a struggle for her to keep this dream job, but she is super determined. The director’s last film was the very awesome VENUS starring Peter O’Toole.


Russell Crowe/Elizabeth Banks/Olivia Wilde/Liam Neeson.
Directed by Paul Haggis.
* Haggis’s credits are pretty amazing, ranging from writing credits on DUE SOUTH, ONE DAY AT A TIME, THE SCOOBY DOO SHOW, DIFF’RENT STROKES, THE FACTS OF LIFE and much more to IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH, CRASH, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, THE QUANTOM OF SOLACE and CASINO ROYALE, all of which he wrote, some of which he directed, and some he won Academy Awards for his involvement in. Although this one won’t win him any awards, it is clear that he knows how to craft an intelligent and compelling story, and with stars like Crowe and Neeson involved, the probability is that THE NEXT THREE DAYS is a pretty good film. It is the story of a couple (Crowe and Banks) whose life is thrown for a brutal loop when the wife is arrested and jailed for a crime she didn’t commit. When hubby can’t take it anymore, and wifey gets suicidal, the film becomes a jail break movie and everything gets crazy.


Narrated by Matt Damon.
Directed by Charles Ferguson.
* This film won the Academy Award for BEST DOCUMENTARY this year. The title of the director’s previous film, NO END IN SIGHT, could be used to describe the debacle that this film is about, the most recent global financial meltdown from unbelievable mismanagement and corruption by the banking industry, the housing industry and mass governmental undersight. Filming all over the world, and interviewing a wide array of journalists, politicians and insiders of all sorts, Ferguson paints a pretty infuriating picture of the people who screwed us all, and who have managed to mostly avoid all prosecution.







............//NEW ON BLU/............

* This is a particularly brilliant documentary from 2001 about Andy Goldsworthy who makes art with nature.

............//NEW ACQUISITIONS/............

* This set includes the films BORN TO KILL, CLASH BY NIGHT, CROSSFIRE, DILLINGER and THE NARROW MARGIN. Ask and, occasionally, ye shall receive. Just ask James Z.



Colin said...

Ken, I am so pickin' up what you are puttin' down it ain't even funny. Reading your post made me realize that my great appreciation for your shop/s has as much to do with the sheer awesomeness of the staff, service and selection as it does with the fact that every time I step foot in Four Star―a neighborhood video store, which by definition acts as a microcosm of the community in which it resides―I am reaffirming my commitment and connection to my community. For real―Four Star is the nexus of the neighborhood as far as I'm concerned. I do as much of my shopping as is feasible in and around Bernal, but unlike most of our businesses, I find it nearly impossible to stroll past 402 Cortland without stopping in just to visit you guys (whom I consider friends despite what snarky denials that might elicit from some of your employees!), and I am thankful that our beloved institution is in such good and conscientious hands. Thanks man, keep up the good work!

Annie Bauccio said...

I think you guys are so awesome - and I'm proud of you every day and not just on big momentous occasions like this one. Thank you for keeping me in touch and on all email communicae, even if I didn't keep myself in the best hood in all of sf. I love & miss you all. xx