Videos, Free Beer, and Poppers, Oh My!

Video showcases and film festivals always have a sullen energy to them: directors feeling the pressure of potential critiques, competitors sizing each other up, nauseating networking as far as the eye can see. When I walked into Club Video’s quarterly video showcase this month, I was greeted by a bar offering free beer from a local brewery, a burger stand and 30 shorts from filmmakers and comedians, as well as a DJ. People selling cigarettes and poppers were weaving through the crowd. 

“It’s just about sharing new work,” says Whitley Watson, one of the founders of Club Video, along with Micah Phillips. Watson tells me that she’s trying to put together a video showcase without a competitive edge. “Very specifically, this video show is not judged,” Watson told me. Skill levels of the various directors range from various kinds of newbie to professional, and the main requirement is that each short must also be brand new, set to premiere at 79 Grattan Street, where the show is hosted (by day, the place hosts a furniture studio). 

A perfectly fun celebration of community, humor, and art done on a deadline, laughter seemed to start immediately and only stop during a brief intermission. Some were innovative, some were charmingly odd. Two sisters getting ready for bed; a private eye investigating a mysterious caper; an animated frog telling a bedtime story. And the party didn’t stop when the videos ceased to play, when the party lights came back on, the free beer was still flowing, and, yes, cigarettes and poppers were still for sale. 

Club Video will be doing a show in Philadelphia this April (Phillips has coined the tag “Make cool videos” for the event), and they will announce their summer Bushwick show in the next few months. To view videos from past shows, check out their website

Images taken by Noah Eberhart.

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