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Where to find fading media in Rochester

MEDIA: The last bastions 

Where to find fading media in Rochester

Now that Blockbuster has gone the way of the dodo, closing what remained of its stores at the start of this year, it seems the end is near for physical media. The fall of the former giant of home entertainment is just the latest reminder that the now omnipresent Kindles and Nooks, iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon Prime have had a profound effect. Media that doesn't exist outside "the cloud" are truly a thing of the past.

Vinyl has definite cultural cachet these days. It's cool again, so indie record stores seem to be out of danger, at least for the time being. But what are bibliophiles and cinephiles to do? Bookshops and video stores may be increasingly rare, but there are still a few places left fighting the good fight for those of us who still take pleasure in scouring shelves, enjoying the tactile feeling of picking up a book, or scanning endless rows of DVD spines.

Bookstores

click to enlarge Inside Rick's Recycled Books on Monroe Ave. - PHOTO BY MATT DETURCK
  • PHOTO BY MATT DETURCK
  • Inside Rick's Recycled Books on Monroe Ave.

Stepping inside Rick's Recycled Books (739 Monroe Ave., 442-4920) is a little overwhelming at first. It's exactly the sort of place you'd picture when asked to imagine a used bookstore: overstuffed shelves crammed with books, extra piles precariously tucked into every corner, and a slightly musty smell. It's cluttered, but in the way that just makes you excited to see what gems you can find hidden amongst the chaos. Amusingly, when I chatted with the owner, he seemed apologetic that what I was seeing was actually a lighter selection than usual since he hadn't been out to a book sale in a while. His collection leans heavily toward fiction, with science-fiction, fantasy, and mystery being especially well-represented.

Greenwood Books (123 East Ave., 325-2050) has a slightly more academic vibe. The selection seems to favor non-fiction and older titles, with a focus on the humanities — I noticed sections for everything from Ancient Worlds to Gender Studies. Fittingly for a location so near to the Eastman School of Music, there are several large sections for books on music, along with an impressive collection of sheet music from a variety of genres.

Located in Henrietta, Bookends (1550 Jefferson Road, 272-1943) is a secondhand bookstore tucked away in the corner of Bowl-a-Roll plaza. The store is quiet enough to hear the faint echo of bowling pins flying, and it makes for an oddly comforting soundtrack to book browsing. The selection strikes a nice balance between fiction (with a definite emphasis on sci-fi and fantasy) and non-fiction, covering a variety of topics.

click to enlarge Lift Bridge Books in Brockport is one of the few remaining locally-owned stores that sells new books. - PHOTO BY MATT DETURCK
  • PHOTO BY MATT DETURCK
  • Lift Bridge Books in Brockport is one of the few remaining locally-owned stores that sells new books.

One of the only remaining locally owned bookstores that sells new books, Lift Bridge Book Shop (45 Main St., Brockport, 637-2260) does require a bit of a drive to get to its location in downtown Brockport — but it's worth it. You can find current bestsellers, magazines, novels, and reference books, along with a large selection of children's books and gifts. The store has a lower level for used books, art supplies, posters, and a generous section for local authors. Lift Bridge also plays host to loads of events, including author signings and book-club meetings. Visit the store online at liftbridgebooks.com.

Video stores

As much as I love bookstores, video stores are my passion. I can spend hours walking up and down aisles, reading the back covers, looking for the right movie for that particular night. Sadly, video stores are harder and harder to come by, but there are still a few around locally.

Video Barn (2045 Empire Blvd., Webster, 670-0611) is a small store, and the shelves often seem haphazardly organized — but the selection is pretty impeccable. Browsing is fun, but if you're looking for something specific your best option to have the clerk look it up for you. The store stocks plenty of classic and obscure cult films, with a clear emphasis on anime and Asian cinema. The back of the store is devoted to adult titles. Rentals cost $3.50 for older titles, which you can keep for five days, and $2.50 for one-night new releases.

click to enlarge Hyatt Classic Video in East Rochester has shelves filled with DVDs and VHS tapes. - PHOTO BY MATT DETURCK
  • PHOTO BY MATT DETURCK
  • Hyatt Classic Video in East Rochester has shelves filled with DVDs and VHS tapes.

Located in East Rochester in the Piano Works Mall, Hyatt's Classic Video (349 W. Commercial St., East Rochester, 586-1054) has the feel of a place that hasn't changed since the day it opened. Divided up into large sections, the front of the store has all of the DVD titles organized alphabetically with no distinction between genres. But more exciting is the back portion of the store, which is devoted to shelves stretching nearly to the ceiling, containing older titles on VHS. I'm definitely planning a trip back just to search that collection for all the weird, esoteric titles no doubt sprinkled throughout. Hyatt's charges a one-time $10 membership fee to start renting, which includes two rentals from its catalog titles. Thereafter, rentals are $3, getting you one week with older titles, and three nights for new releases.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention Outlandish Video and Gifts (274 N. Goodman St., 760-8383), a great little store in Village Gate, offering a large collection of LGBT (and LGBT-interest) films for rent. Considering all the options, it's nearly impossible not to find the perfect movie, no matter what your mood.

In This Guide...

    Annual Manual 2014

    CITY's guide to visiting, living, working and playing in Rochester, NY
    Read articles on politics, neighborhoods, art, happy hour dining, theater troupes, a calendar of events for 2014 and more!

    CITY/COUNTY: Know your neighborhoods

    Introductions to Monroe Avenue, Mendon, 19th Ward, and other Rochester area communities
    Monroe County is about as diverse a community as you can find: a mid-size city, rural areas with orchards and farm markets, suburbs with 20th-century tract houses and shopping malls, and quaint, Victorian villages. The Genesee River and the Erie Canal bisect the county, more or less vertically and diagonally, so geology and history are a constant presence, shaping everything from traffic patterns to architecture and public festivals.

    POLITICS: Meet your pols

    A guide to your elected representatives
    Monroe County has a vibrant political scene, but it also has a pronounced party divide. Democrats control the governments in the city and a couple of inner-ring suburbs, while Republicans hold the power in most of the towns.

    LIVING: Getting settled

    New to town or coming home? Some things to consider
    Up until the 1960's, Rochester's economy was dynamic and growing, and the area's major employers of the day often needed to build their management teams with outside talent. Eastman Kodak, Xerox, Bausch and Lomb, and several other firms were industrial giants, and some offered prospective executives handsome relocation packages.

    DINING: The happiest of hours

    Six Rochester happy hours worth checking out
    Whether you've just had a rough day at the office, need a quick bite before dinner, or want to avoid the late-night crowds at the bar, happy hours are a great way to enjoy local food and drink at a discount. They are the perfect chance to try something new, or get that second drink.

    ART: Gems from Rochester's art museums

    Connections with collections
    When people visit a museum or gallery, they are typically drawn in to view a specific exhibition, and perhaps linger a while to wander the permanent collection as well. But since most cultural institutions have neither the space nor the funds to present their entire collections to the public at all times, many objects reside in storage, and a percentage of the collection is fairly unknown.

    MUSIC: Sing, sing a song

    Rochester is a karaoke hotbed
    Its title derived from mashing up the Japanese words "kara" (meaning empty) and "okesutora" (meaning orchestra), karaoke has been around for a long time. And some of its roots, believe it or not, are American.

    THEATER: A theater town

    A look at some of Rochester's niche theatrical troupes
    Anyone who believes that theater is a dying art has not spent much time in Rochester; we have always offered a remarkably full range of theater, for consumption and for participation. To use a word theater people enjoy, the Rochester theater scene is very textured; there's a little of everything offered, and something for everybody to see, to try out for, or to get involved in.

    HEALTH/WELLNESS: The Lotus Flower City

    The history and growth of Yoga in Rochester
    These days, you can't go anywhere without hearing about the newest yoga craze. Before the dawn of the Victoria's Secret yoga pants empire, though, things were a little bit different.

    EVENTS: Mark your calendar

    Rochester's upcoming special events
    If there is one thing Rochester has an abundance of, it's festivals. Keeping track of all of them can be daunting, and we know that you wouldn't want to miss out, so we did the hard work for you.

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