Signal Boost: Cap City Video Lounge

The days of waiting until Friday night to go to your local video rental store and sifting through the rows of movies seem like an era gone with the late fees. With the rise of streaming sites and the now seemingly antiquated RedBox at your local Walgreens, video rental stores faded into the distance, only to be remembered by 90s kids and those who probably still have a movie they rented in 2005.

But out of the shadows came a resounding cheer of triumph: a video store born anew!!

The city from which I now claim as my own has brought back this treasure to the delight of cinephiles and hipsters alike. Cap City Video Lounge is not only a place to browse for your favourite flick, find a film you’ve never heard of, but also serves as a salon of sorts where likeminded folk can come to discuss movies, forgotten shows, and to enjoy the welcoming atmosphere the owners surround you in.

The owners of CCVL, an amazing married couple, have opened up their store and their arms to us. The moment you walk through the door, you are instantly greeted by a “Hi Gang!” via the husband or a “Hey Sweetie!” by the wife. Either greeting you receive, you’re sure to get one of the best hugs in the city. Their hugs do not feel insincere or forced, but truly genuine and give you the sense of being one of the family.

From the decor, which is an explosion of cult films to scandalously dressed ladies, to the theatre attached to the store, Cap City offers something for everyone. The film selection, mostly provided by the owners personal stock and customer donations, is a wild ride from one row to the next. Blurays, DVDs, and videotapes line the walls and suggestions are always appreciated. The theatre, with only 40-50 seats, shows a cavalcade of pictures that vary from the obscure to the well known. On Saturdays the coffee pot runneth over and donuts are provided to the delight of kids and parents while showing the cartoons we all grew up with. And if you are one of the lucky ones to be chosen, on certain Sundays a double feature of your selection is shown. I was one of these fortunate winners and screened Auntie Mame (1958) and The Birdcage (1996)—no one came but it was still fun to be selected.

James and I have found somewhat of a new home within these walls. The owners and the built-in customer base accepted us with no questions asked. This was very refreshing to me because I finally found people who speak in movie quotes (besides James, of course), are themselves socially awkward, and who needed a place to go in this city where the general conversations don’t consist of football or which shitty bar they’re going to that night.

Having not really mastered the art of making friends, this is also a good practice ground for me. I can be rather off putting to some: I talk a lot and at great length when the subject is good, I am quick to correct you if your facts or quotes are wrong, and come off a little weird with my extensive knowledge of Harry Potter movies (the first movie is currently playing right now in the lounge, actually).

James and I try to come here once to twice a week, not only to rent a movie but to also talk to the others that happen to be there that night. I feel like this is a good way to start friendships; it turns out to be rather hard to make friends when you don’t really like leaving your house except for work or food. Or if it requires putting on a bra.

Being in a social setting like this, not knowing anyone besides the owners, forces me to come out of my comfort zone to an extent. I tend to stay pretty quiet and standoffish until I am spoken to or if I rudely interject into someone else’s conversation. What follows next is a deluge of “I’m sorrys” and “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but..” It generally works out in the end and I go home thinking maybe I’ve found someone else whom I can relate to.

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