When Bart & Greg’s DVD Explosion, a DVD rental in downtown Brunswick opened by Bart D’Alauro ’95, closed at the end of 2017, D’Alauro’s beloved collection had nowhere to go. Recently, the College announced a plan to purchase 6,000 DVDs from the collection.
Professor of Cinema Studies Tricia Welsch is a major supporter of the acquisition from D’Alauro, who is now a circulation assistant librarian at Bowdoin.
“He knows the kinds of things we are interested in teaching, in studying, and the things we send our classes to see,” said Welsch. “He could look in our collection and see what we don’t have and fill it in … it’s sort of taking the best and rarest and oddest stuff that we’re not going to have easy access to and bring them into the College.”
After his graduation, D’Alauro started working at Mat & Dave’s Video Venture, a video cassette rental on Maine Street. When Mat & Dave’s closed, D’Alauro, along with co-worker Greg Morris, opened Bart & Greg’s DVD Explosion to keep up with the change of technology. Over the next 15 years, the rental became a unique town gathering space frequented by much of the community, including Welsch, who owned rental account number 35.
Despite local popularity, Bart & Greg’s could not outcompete increasingly popular internet streaming services. When it was clear that Bart & Greg’s was going out of business, members of the community suggested that the College acquire them. The plan and received wide faculty support, and it is now becoming a reality.
Speaking to the merits of physical media in the age of internet, Welsch pointed out that today, access to movies is subject to complications, including business conditions and contract changes. Online movie vendors can remove older films if they feel a newer one is a better usage of online space. Physical DVDs, however, will always be there, and this DVD acquisition allows Bowdoin to extend that reliability of access to the College community.
“We’re trying hard to preserve access and make some of that access less ephemeral,” Welsch said.