The Faux Rag & Bone Video Store Ad Mural

Posted on: July 15th, 2019 at 5:07 am by

Photo: Eddie Panta

With hipsters and millennials fiending for analog media like vinyl and cassette tapes, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if VHS movies were to stage a comeback as well. But no, there’s not actually a “video store coming soon” here. It’s Matt Starr’s contribution to the Rag & Bone mural wall on Elizabeth and Houston Street.

Starr, a new media artist who is perhaps better known for his pedestrian stopping guerrilla art like “Vote or Die, Literally,” and “I’m Sorry – Fox News,” wanted to impart a piece that paid homage to the crude hand-made signage of video store windows. The addition is a nostalgic reminder of the lost lingo of VHS rental that baited pedestrians with boastful claims of “thousands of titles,” “films in all genres,” and “guaranteed in stock day-and-day release.”

Starr’s street art intercepts the pedestrian with direct black on white signage that appears anonymous compared to the stylish lettering of other street artists. The text is eye-catching precisely because it’s so boldly devoid of any aesthetic.

Photo: Eddie Panta

Starr researched a ton of old photos of video stores but credits the long-lost Kim’s Video on St. Mark’s for most of the inspiration.

But Starr’s love of movies doesn’t stop here. He’s also the guy behind My Annie Hall (2017), a 30 minute, word-for-word remake of the Woody Allen classic that is cast entirely with senior citizens. Alvy Singer is played by 92-year-old local Harry B. Miller. The idea for the senior reboot came when Starr found the best way to communicate with his Alzheimer stricken grandmother was by exchanging lines from Casablanca (something she always remembered). Woody Allen eventually approved of the project. This wasn’t Starr’s only Be Kind Rewind style film project; he also redid the infamous Kim Kardasian sex tape, but with a cell phone with Starr’s face on the screen in place of Ray J’s member.

Starr’s Rag & Bone mural brought back fond memories for those who passed by and stopped to reminisce about wondering the video store aisles lined with VHS boxes to find a lost classic instead of scrolling through a website. The legendary Kim’s Video Store closed in 2008, the entire VHS collection inexplicably ended up in a small town in Italy for digitization purposes, a task they are no doubt still working on; the neighborhood lost its local video store, Cinema Nolita, back in July 2009; and Blockbuster on East Houston closed in 2010. For now, though, it seems digital has killed the video store, just not its storefront aesthetic.

Recent Stories

16-Year-Old Fatally Shot in the Face on Delancey Street Last Night

A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed on Delancey Street last night, near the on-ramp to the Williamsburg Bridge, cops said. The teenager was shot in the face near the corner of Suffolk at about 8:30pm. Right at the foot of Essex Crossing. First responders rushed the boy, who was unconscious, to Bellevue Hospital for […]

CBGB Shut Down 15 Years Ago on the Bowery

Fifteen years ago. This was the night – arguably – that the last breath of punk exhaled on the Bowery. When CBGB concluded its residence at 315 Bowery. And the block could not look any different today. The former venue became, and remains, the upscale John Varvatos boutique; while its old CB’s Gallery space is […]

MOSCOT Launches New Chromeo Collaboration with in-Store Performance

MOSCOT recently launched a new collaboration with popular electro-funk duo Chromeo. To celebrate, the eyewear company is hosting a live performance of the group at its Orchard Street flagship tonight. According to the press release, the new “luxurious capsule collection” features two limited edition frame styles co-designed by David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” […]

Charlie Bird Vet Eyes Division Street for ‘Parcelle Wine’ Spinoff

A veteran of Charlie Bird is spinning off the popular Hell’s Kitchen wine shop into a dedicated bar on the Lower East Side. Down on Division Street in the orbit of Forgtmenot, Dimes, and Kiki’s. Three-year-old Parcelle Wine, situated inside the Henry Hall apartment building near the Lincoln Tunnel, has plans for 135 Division. Specifically, to […]

New York Rangers Pop-up Honors Hockey Great Rod Gilbert with LES Pop-Up

The New York Rangers are headed to the Lower East Side to honor one of its legendary fallen players, Rod Gilbert. With support from the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Blueshirts are hosting a pop-up tribute to the forward at 2 Rivington Street. “As we drop everything for Hockey Week, we also want to lift […]