March 17, 2015 5:58 PM   Subscribe

VULCAN Video that is ---How Austin stays weird.
(Please don't move here though)
posted by shockingbluamp (17 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
When I moved to Austin in 1993, Vulcan was my neighborhood video store. That was when it was all VHS and maybe a little bit of DVD. I saw so many awesome movies for the first time when I rented them from Vulcan. I will never forget pulling Holy Mountain as a "random grab from the Cult shelf" pick.
posted by bgribble at 6:32 PM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm fine with people moving to austin, as long as the new arrivals bring at least two more major north-south highways with them
posted by durandal at 6:39 PM on March 17, 2015 [5 favorites]

My city has a video store called Picaflic which is basically Vulcan video. It's awesome for finding anything you can't find for sale online.
posted by Nevin at 6:57 PM on March 17, 2015

I always found I Love Video to have a better selection than Vulcan. But then, we always lived north. The south Vulcan was better than the north one, and I never got a chance to compare it to I Love.

The south Vulcan always had a bootleg copy of the Dancing Outlaw, but you had to get on a list that took about 6 months to get. What killed Vulcan for us was a combination of Netflix streaming and restricted neighborhood parking and the businesses on South Congress blowing up.
posted by Seamus at 7:39 PM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I used to be an I Love Video regular, being on the north. I only ever went to Vulcan when we were renting tapes to watch at a friend's place. Now I live in Ohio, have Netflix, and no friends. I miss Austin.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 8:06 PM on March 17, 2015

I always found I Love Video to have a better selection than Vulcan.

So strange to even hear this conversation--it's like my brain just jumped back in time 30 years.
posted by eye of newt at 8:13 PM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I can walk to Vulcan, and since I'm new here I haven't found a reason to drive to I love video when I could just walk to a store. I am curious about that free beer sign outside I love video. I also appreciate the number of movies Vulcan has that Netflix will probably never carry.
posted by lownote at 8:31 PM on March 17, 2015

I can't believe you call it I Love Video, it's clearly I Heart Video.
posted by blakewest at 9:54 PM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Many years ago Vulcan started doing two-for-Tuesdays, where you'd get a non-new release as a free add on. I Love started doing free beer Tuesdays as a response, I think. I'd love to go tonight for old time's sake but, you know, South By is going on, which means that all sane Austinites stay at home and glower out the windows at anyone with a badge. Also, it's evidently I Luv Video.
posted by no mind at 10:03 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've been living on the south side of town for four or five years now and I didn't know there was a Vulcan around here. Some Austinite I am!
posted by immlass at 11:17 PM on March 17, 2015

I worked at I Luv Video (the big store on Airport Blvd) from 1996 until 2001. It was the most fun one could have at a low-paying job back when you could still survive on a video clerk's paycheck in Austin. That place opened a lot of doors for me, I met a lot of wonderful characters (many of whom I'm still friends with today), and all in all was the perfect place for an early twenties slacker punk to hang out, get high, and rent folks films from a collection that far surpassed the collection at Vulcan's. Vulcan might've been the favorite of UT film professors, but I Luv was the favorite of the rest of Austin. I Luv carried everything Vulcan carried and then a bunch of shit that Vulcan wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, and I'm only partially talking about porn. We weren't just the cooler of the two institutions - we were the cooler of the two institutions and we carried porn.

C'mon, how deeply stupid is it that Matthew McConaughey is wearing a baseball cap with a catchphrase from one of his movies? How deeply stupid is it that Matthew McConaughey - he of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Surfer Dude, and those Lincoln commercials - is involved in this at all?
posted by item at 1:30 AM on March 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

A ten minute walk from here, though of course it's more than ten minutes because the walk takes me right past Jo's coffee shop except it's really hard for me to go right past Jo's without stopping and hanging some, watching Austin unroll in front of me, turns that ten minute walk into an hour, give or take.

Everybody who works there has a different take on what's best, and I know because I ask. It's fun. Good people, solid Austin working stock, but passionate about their job, and want to help you. One woman who worked there, she knew me totally, she absolutely knew I am not afraid of intense, nor violence, nor of any of the various and sundry perversions and broken and/or interesting parts of humanity, and she could steer to really well done movies about any of it. (The thing to note in that sentence: really well done movies.) She had a great sense of a taut flick, and/or a fun one. I really love her, one hell of a gal -- she had this totally wicked gleam in her eyes, she had this great, wicked smile for me, she was this complete sicko perv, we were always happy to see each other. She's been gone a few years now; I miss her.


Always keep an ear open, too -- it was in Vulcan that I first heard Prescott Curlywolf, I stopped dead and listened, asked "Hey! Hey, who is that playing there?" I guess we could say that Vulcan is responsible for about 11% of my hearing loss; never do I listen to Prescott Curlywolf unless it's cranked to 11.

Though really it's best to always keep an ear open here in town. I mostly come across music by coming across it, wherever I do. I really do not like radio, not listened to KUT since they hired that piece of shit Sparrow Mendanhall, and I'll never listen to them again. Turned them into a very corporate thing, play music by the numbers, not by the hearts of the dj's, so many of whom he ran off. I know that I lose some by not listening to KUT, except that I *don't* lose anything, in fact I gain, in that I don't come across music by the numbers from KUT, so it's a more organic Austin thing. KOOP is pretty cool, the closest we're going to get to KPFT, Pacifica radio in Houston, which is maybe the best part of living in Houston, should you have to do so.

Since there is no. way. that anyone could listen to all the good bands, know all the good movies, read all the good books, I just let the stream of my life bring me what is needed. Trust to Fate. Or some such. Vulcan does *not* play by the numbers, they absolutely play by the heart, so when an employee working there tells me of a movie that they know that I should see, I trust them; it maybe won't be a flick that works for me, but it will be an honest attempt, from a heart, and not a statistic.


Is it the last day of the month that you can return videos that are 17,000 years late and only get charged like $15? It's such a great thing about them, and not everybody knows about it. They may have changed that up, their rent or taxes have had to have skyrocketed in the past decade ... Ah, just went to their website, here it is, as it is today: Amnesty Day: 1st of the month, if you pay half your late fees, we will erase the other half.

Vulcan is still a fine, fun South Austin sort of joint. Yeah, a lot has changed in town, but living in Austin is a good life. Life is change. Austin fkn rocks. Enjoy it. If you don't like the changes happening here, move to Lubbock, nothing has changed there since 1967 except it's gotten worse; since you're so miserable, go live in a place that really gives you cause -- move to Lubbock, join the Baptist* church, die inside. I don't blame anyone for wanting to move here, I welcome them, unless they're from LA, but even LA people are basically just Dallas people from California, pretty much that same kind of shitbird; make allowances.
*Why don't Baptists fuck standing up? Someone might think they're dancing.

tl;dr -- Vulcan video rocks. South Austin rocks. Quit sniveling about change; relax, enjoy this place.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:17 AM on March 18, 2015 [3 favorites]

And I thought the commercials were fun, in the same spirit as stuff that runs before movies at Alamo. Vulcan Video and Alamo Drafthouse, the same blood seems to run in their veins -- same ideals, same sort of Austin funky, run well.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:38 AM on March 18, 2015


"Quit sniveling about change; relax, enjoy this place."

I can't because I'm a REAL Austinite! I was an Austinite before you were wearing punk rock diapers and walking up hill both ways in the snow to liberty lunch!!!

That's how the real Austinite's did things.
posted by xarnop at 3:57 AM on March 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

Christ, I miss Austin. Having been away for almost 10 years I'm a little afraid to go back and risk having my golden-hued memories of the place tainted with the reality of the changes since and the parts *not* remembered...

But, Christ, I miss Austin.

(I Luv Video was better than Vulcan)
posted by jammer at 4:14 AM on March 18, 2015

I can't because I'm a REAL Austinite! I was an Austinite before you were wearing punk rock diapers and walking up hill both ways in the snow to liberty lunch!!!

That's how the real Austinite's did things.

posted by xarnop at 5:57 AM on March 18

Exactly. You even got Liberty Lunch in it. You did miss moaning about Vulcan Gas Company (closed 1970 -- hint, that's 45 years ago) and Armadillo World Headquarters (closed 1980 -- 35 years ago) and also the part about how no one can afford it anymore, how it used to be that your homespun, tobacco chewing, pickup driving landlord in South Austin paid you some months, and offered you his 18 year old daughter (who was already your groupie anyways), if you'd write a song about his mother, instead of asking you for the rent. Plus you didn't mention California people, either, an absolute requirement of any snivel, by law, like those tags that used to be on mattresses.

If I were to snivel, it'd be The Black Cat and/or Joe's Generic Bar and/or Bates Motel and/or Antones when it was on Guadalupe -- all of them totally disgusting, all of them great venues, all of them gone. And I'd snivel about THE MASSIVE HORRIFIC DISGUSTING changes at KUT. But no. NO SNIVELING HERE! I'm FINE with those places being gone, I'm PERFECTLY OKAY that I can't walk into Joe's Generic for free or five bucks max and sit in shitty, uncomfortable chairs and see/hear Joe Richardson lay blue-eyed blues down perfectly and move my fucking soul, I'm REALLY, REALLY GLAD that The Black Cat, probably the coolest dump in town, ever, where you could see The Flametrick Subs and Satan's Cheerleaders every week, where I want to the CD release party for Calvin Russell's Soldier for a THREE FUCKING DOLLAR cover, when any show he played in Europe had 60,000 screaming, howling, adoring fans -- hey, I'M GLAD IT'S GONE. Because that's the kind of man I am. Strengths, you see, and courage.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:45 PM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

We live so close to I LUV VIDEO and now would have to check it out. Thanks!
posted by of strange foe at 2:28 PM on March 18, 2015

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