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Published on Jun 4, 2012
This documentary video (approximately 63 minutes) explores the House of Records, a brick and mortar independent record store based in Eugene, Oregon. The store has been in operation since 1972 and it currently struggles to exist in the midst of digital downloading (both legal and illegal) and corporate retailers (in terms of corporate big-box and online stores). It also struggles against forces of nature (the roof being impaled by a giant tree, fire and flooding etc.) and thieves. The video is an ethnographic study that combines interviews with the owner and employees and various customers of the store. These stories are often imbued with a quirky sense of humor, biting intelligence and a deep admiration for the store and its culture. The video addresses the cultural significance and various folkloric narratives of the store on a number of levels. It considers how the store provides cultural diversity and alternative media, as they cater to the musical fringes and a broad range of musical styles. It is argued the store is akin to a library and acts as an archive of obscure and out-of-print music, where the store-workers share their musical expertise with the customers. The video also addresses the importance of the vernacular design of the physical space (the store is situated in an old house) and tangible musical artifacts, especially the "resurgence" of vinyl records. Lastly, it addresses the importance of face-to-face interaction as the store acts as a community gathering space between the store-workers, customers and local music scenes — one that is ostensibly anti-corporate, fiercely local and subcultural in scope. This documentary was directed by David Gracon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org