If you are of a certain age, you remember the excitement and anticipation of a trip to the video store.
Greeted by the smell of popcorn and the latest movies playing on the TVs, the store carefully dressed with a library of movies we could only wish was ours.
Those days are long gone and today we’re left with an abundance of the cold and sterile process of picking a movie from streaming platforms, robbing us and our kids (they would have loved it, right?) of this rite of passage
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Leave it to a film director to bring it back in the best way possible — by placing a video store in the back of a classic, old-school, family-owned pizza joint.
That pizza joint being Borelli’s Pizzeria in Lincoln Square.
The neighborhood staple has a new hand-painted sign tucked quietly on the building’s side entrance.
The film director, Chicago’s Joe Swanberg, who worked at Hollywood Video back in the day, decided to share his now 300-plus VHS collection for rental.
The concept is simple, after 8 p.m. on the weekend you can grab a pizza and a beer, meander to the back room of Borelli’s and step back in time when the VHS was king. Right there in its full neon glory, you’ll see the “video” sign illuminated, like a lighthouse guiding boats back to shore.
“I started with my own personal collection, so it’s obviously coming from my very own deep connection to the video store. I worked at Hollywood Video in Naperville in high school, I have a 10-year old and 5-year-old that has never been a video store prior to this one, “said Swanberg.
Why a video store? Swanberg was yearning for that right amount of nostalgia from yesteryear. A time when subscriptions services were only offered with compact discs, and Friday night at the movies was the spot for the newest release.
Don’t bother looking up the website or social media handles, as the name states, this is an analog venture. Any prospective customers will have to do it the way kids did it in the ’80s and ’90s. You’ll have to head to Borelli’s backroom and sign up in person with Swanberg or one of his staff.
Any announcements of upcoming events are made the old-fashioned way, through the U.S. Mail.
“It’s making the entire experience as if it were 1998,” said Swanberg.
To find Analog Video, head to Borelli’s on Lawrence in Lincoln Square.
2124 W. Lawrence Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
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