Video Stores Didn’t Die With Blockbuster — Vidiots Is Proof

Vidiots, the iconic L.A. video store turned non-profit, is relaunching in 2021 as an expanded entertainment, social, and community space at the historic Eagle Theatre in beautiful Northeast Los Angeles. Here, the brains behind the operation tell us what makes them feel powerful.

Cathy Tauber & Patty Polinger, Vidiots Founders/Vice Board Chairs

Cathy Tauber opened Vidiots in 1985, after she and her childhood friend Patty saw a need to provide Los Angeles with more interesting, independent, international, cult, and documentary films, which were not available anywhere in the city at the time. Before Vidiots, Cathy worked in the music business, spending several years working for Frank Zappa.
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Patty Polinger established Vidiots in 1985 with Cathy, her childhood friend, with a mission to offer the community a wider range of films and events. Before Vidiots, Patty worked in International Theatrical Distribution for MGM/UA Entertainment. Her favorite genres of film are international and documentary, with a fondness for films with a dark side.

We feel most powerful when…

Our negotiating skills are underestimated because of gender bias

Power to us means...

Knowledge. Any chance to expand our emotional and cognitive understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

What do you do when you feel powerless?

Eat. Ice cream and popcorn are our go-to comfort foods.

What's your power anthem?

Aretha’s “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”, Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down”, Patti Smith’s “People Have the Power"

Who's your power icon?

RBG, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Angela Davis

What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?

Generally, we don't get a sense of power from fashion, but putting on a pair of hiking boots and getting on the trail immediately gives us a power boost.

Maggie Mckay, Vidiots Executive Director

Maggie Mackay developed her interest in film at her childhood video store in her hometown of New York City. Mackay relocated to Los Angeles in 1999, and for 13 years she programmed the L.A. Film Festival, and served as Director of Nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards. Mackay has held positions at numerous film arts organizations, including Sundance Institute and AFI, advocating for filmmakers and connecting audiences to cinema.
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I feel most powerful when…

Sharing the Vidiots mission with someone new, and I can see them getting it — realizing the importance of creating an art space founded and helmed by women, providing equitable access to film, and preserving L.A. film culture and history. Bringing a new Founding Member into the Vidiots family is the best feeling.


Power to me means…

Responsibility, sticking to a mission, an unwillingness to give up even when the world seems to be screaming "give up."

What do you do when you feel powerless?

I return to the Vidiots mission and remind myself that what I'm doing is necessary. I think of so many people who call Vidiots their sanctuary, and our countless fans and supporters. I also vote and make a lot of calls to elected officials — forcing them to listen always makes me feel a little less helpless.

What's your power anthem?

Anything from Janis Joplin, Grace Jones, Prince, the Talking Heads, and Jackie Mittoo's "Champion of the Arena." My number one is "Won't Back Down" by the late, great Tom Petty, which is on replay in my head and in my car.

Who's your power icon?

I always turn to Vidiots Founders Patty and Cathy, who grew a 35-year-old beloved, enormously successful, world-renowned, and always-independent film hub out of 800 VHS tapes and almost no money.

What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?

My Vidiots lapel pin and big boots (I'm 5'1" and the boots help).

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