A good Friend of Unfair Park sends word: Over on Craigslist, someone's trying to offload hundreds of old Video Bar videotapes for the low, low price of $1,000. That's quite the flashback for those of us who (barely, because we were very underage) remember Bart Weiss's former Deep Ellum hot spot, among the first waaaaay back in Ye Golden Olden Eighties. But, yessir, says Scott, owner of the cache, he's had the massive collection since a '94 IRS auction and has decided enough's enough.
"It was a thought of mine to open a Video Bar myself, but that never came to pass," the owner of the 600-plus 3/4-inch tapes tells Unfair Park. He's also got a "two-foot-by-two-foot box filled with VHS tapes," not to mention a collection of demo cassettes he's throwing in for the buyer, all for the low, low price of $1,000. There's vinyl too, but he's holding on to that till he can get it properly valued.
So, why the offload after 15 years? "I'm old," he says, laughing. "I've come to the conclusion there's no chance I will ever open a Video Bar, and I was hoping someone would respect the collection and not sell it at Half-Price Books."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Bart Weiss, founder of the Dallas Video Festival and proprietor of the Video Bar following the demise of On the Air on Lower Greenville, says the same thing: "I hope they transfer the collection so it can be properly archived." But he says many of the Video Bar's best-ofs have been stored in SMU's RTF archives.
"At SMU, there are some of the interesting mixes I made over the years before things got messed up," he says this morning, referring to the demise of the club following his departure. "A few other people pulled pieces from the archives, some of the mix tapes. So what's there [on Craigslist] is the bulk of it, but it's probably not the best parts. Most of the VHS tapes are really bad audio quality. The Beta hi-fi stuff is a little better. ... But some of the demos were interesting, because I'd get filmmakers and musicians from all over the place who sent bizarre and unique pieces."
Weiss isn't interested in the collection -- "I've got enough data," he says -- but does hope they wind up with someone who'll appreciate the tapes. If nothing else, he says, "they can live that life over again." Though, on second thought, he wouldn't wish that on anyone.