Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Kerry snags an owl in the women's bathroom of Otherlands coffee! Great oogly-boogly! That's the way to do it! I'da never found it, at peril of criminal violation. There's lotsa reasons why folk could stand to be more like Kerry, but this is one of 'em. If you see an owl, send me a pic, or let me know about it! I'm on the hunt to track as many down as I can.
And check out Kerry's blog (http://ilovememphisblog.com/,) while you're at it. Come for the breakfast brackets, stay for the trenchant and dynamic Memphis commentary. It'll do ya good.
Today I want to approach another conspicuous element in the Black Lodge dossier that seperates them from not only chains like Blockbuster (well, duh..) but also from many ("many" being pretty relative, here,) independents.
When was the last time you paid your late fee at Black Lodge? If you're like me, it's probably been awhile. And not just because they're doin' me a solid because I'm making a documentary about them. It's always been like that, from the first time I rented there.
Which is kinda crazy, isn't it? When I think about the amount of money for late returns that they haven't collected - accrued over almost ten years of operation - good grief! That's a decent coupla two three simoleons, right?
Matt and Bryan both say, though, that they're kind of sympathetic to the pathologically-late customer. They can identify with it, and as Matt says, "Why would I penalize someone for doing something that I'd do myself?" Which is pretty cool.
Also, (and, who's with me on this) how many of you folk have a couple of video stores around town that you have to avoid because you have a late fee? I mean, the late fee drives business away from the store, see? So, in a way, it's also smart business to get the customer out from under that black cloud, and back into the store.
Is it worth the sacrifice of the potential revenue stream from late fees? Does it even out? That's a good question, and one I hope to talk to Lodge staff about. I think, though, it makes the place feel a little more comfortable, and a little more personal.
I dunno...why do you think they do it like that? Is it mad? Or, maybe your experience is different from mine. Have you gotten jilted by Black Lodge for some reason or other, along these lines? As always, please, please let me know what you think, or what you'd like to talk about in re: Lodge.
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
New stuff to report, though - just sent away for 100 mini-DV tapes for $215.00. That's $2.15 a tape, people! Cheap! Give it up for http://www.tapestockonline.com/! And, I gotta give credit where credit is due - mucho gracias to Jason Scott for tipping me off to the special. Jason Scott, by the way, is almost painfully cool. Go see how cool by visiting him at http://www.textfiles.com/.
He is, among other things, a fellow documentary filmmaker, and (especially if you're into all things computer) has an excellent documentary on the old BBS systems that proliferated in the eighties before the internet, as we know it, came to be. He's also embarking on a project about independently run video stores, so, natch, we clicked pretty well. I owe him an enormous debt of gratitude, not only for the cheap tapes heads-up, but also because this guy, who barely knows me from Adam, is letting me borrow his camera so I can have a second camera for the Black Lodge shoot! Awesome!!
I need to get one more shout out before I talk Lodge, and that is to Memphis Connect, which you can find by going here: http://www.memphisconnect.com/. They've been good enough to retweet my blog on twitter, which will hopefully drive some business over to this here collection of ramblings. Not only that, but they've offered to possibly do a short Q&A which might go up on their site. Holy moley! So, go check out their site for all things Memphis: they're the bomb!
So, back to the issue at hand. I am continuing to prepare for embedment at Black Lodge. Looks like I'll be coming in somewhere between December 8th and December 14th, and starting the shoot. Come down and say "hello!" Or, say "hello" here! Just say it - it's gettin' lonely on this page.
There's a common theme when I talk to folk about Lodge - I'd say 20-30% of them, the first thing they notice or comment on is the fact that you run smack dab into the (diverse and spacious) porn section upon entering Lodge's front door. I mean, you can't avoid it. Some folk are turned off by it, some think it's funny. I've talked with Matt and Bryan about it and - while it's definitely part of the grand Black Lodge scheme - they are (typically) a little evasive about the reasoning behind it.
Matt says that one reason for it is to bring the largely threatening (for most folk) topic of human sexuality out into the open. Everyone's having sex (or wishing they were having sex,) most everyone is watching some kind of porn (yes, even your humble narrator,) but the going strategy is to place it in a creepy back room with lots of sinister security cams recording your every move. If Matt's theory is right, by moving it into the open (indeed, to the very front of the store,) there's a certain onus (yes onus, not onanism,) that is removed in the process.
Do you buy this?
I think what Matt has given me is a theory that came kind of after the fact. I mean, I kinda dig where he's coming from, but I also think there's a more confrontational psychology to having the porn so open and in-your-face, that probably was the first reason it is where it is. Look, I love Lodge, but they're kind of a misanthropic bunch (an aura that they gleefully cultivate.) I think there is a lot to be said for the porn being there because its a way of seperating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, customer-wise. The folk that are badly offended probably aren't the kind of folk that are interested in renting many Lynch/Jarmusch/Herzog/et. al films, anyway, right? Not that Lodge is all about arty films or arty directors, necessarily - just that their stock veers off the beaten path quite a bit.
The unknowing customer searching for Titanic (presuming, of course, that they can get past the spray-painted building with the creepy sign,) is presented straightaway with an environment that is about as candid as they come. And I think there's a certain relinquishment of control that goes along with that - another aspect of Lodge I hope to try to capture in the film. You (or I, or the customer,) are in their house. They have their own rules. You abide, or you leave. It's actually pretty freakin' honest, in my book.
Anyway - what do you think about why they do it? Am I completely off target? Let me know what you think!