Owner Hayley Nahmias, left, and customers at Video Journeys. Screen grab.
I didn't know this place, but the Hollywood Reporter thinks that Video Journeys on Griffith Park Boulevard is enough of a Silver Lake cultural landmark to do a story and seven-minute video on its impending closure. It's been there 31 years, has 20,000 or stock videos in stock, and closes by the end of July. In the video, customers laud the store's deep inventory of films on video. Unlike at Vidiots, the Santa Monica video store that threatened to close this year and stays open because of the generosity of supporters such as producer Megan Ellison and Joe Morgenstern, the owner of Video Journeys is ready to go.
Among the luminaries who have passed through the doors over the years: Patrick Stewart, Steven Soderbergh and Kyle Chandler, who tried to get a job there shortly after moving to Los Angeles. (Sadly, they weren't hiring.) Keanu Reeves once came in search of a rare copy of William Wyler's 1939 adaptation of Wuthering Heights. He found it, rented it — and never brought it back.
But unlike Vidiots in Santa Monica, another neighborhood favorite which skirted closure last January thanks to the generosity of Megan Ellison, Video Journeys will not be getting a fairy-tale ending. The vibe in the place these days is akin to an Irish wake. Longtime employees — all of them seasoned cinema gurus, each with their own area of expertise — console and kibbitz with longtime patrons, many of whom have been browsing the aisles since childhood.
"This is where I knew I belonged in L.A., once I came here," says Kafia Haile, 35, a former military worker who relocated from Washington, D.C., to attend USC's screenwriting program. "It was like, 'This is where there are other people like you.'" Haile's sentiments were echoed by film consultant Thomas Ethan Harris, 49, another Video Journeys die-hard, who, as programmer for the American Cinematheque, relied heavily on its stacks for research. "It's about sharing," Harris says. "It's about a film community."
Observing from behind the register is Hayley Nahmias, 51, the store's founder and owner. Nahmias opened Video Journeys back in 1984 with $50,000 in seed money from her parents. Locals began trickling in, many of whom worked below-the-line jobs in Hollywood and possessed an expansive knowledge of film history. "They would say, 'Bring in cult, bring in foreign, bring in classics," recalls Nahmias.
Everything in stock is on sale, Nahmias says.