- Mike Vraney, 1957-2014
On January 2, Seattle lost a great citizen and champion of culture, when Mike Vraney—best known for his creation of Something Weird Video—passed away after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 56.
Here's the official notice from Something Weird, which was soon followed by outpourings of love and sadness from all over.
From the Austin Chronicle:
Vraney's importance in the preservation and celebration of exploitation, grindhouse, drive-in and z-grade movies can not be overestimated. For music fans, the Pacific Northwest native may be most famous as a cofounder of Seattle's The Showbox, and later as manager of punk bands including The Dead Kennedys, TSOL, and The Accused. But it was a film fanatic – in the truest and deepest sense of the words – that he made his biggest impact.
From the Dissolve:
[Y]ounger movie buffs may not be aware of how important Something Weird was, first during the heyday of the independent video store and then during the DVD boom. Vraney founded Something Weird in 1990, and helped fill up the back rooms of the better video stores with VHS compilations of stag reels and nudie cuties, including some of films Bettie Page made in her pin-up days. When DVD came along, Something Weird partnered with Image to release discs that contained double- or triple-features of exploitation oddities, supplemented with short films, trailers, and commentary tracks. At a time when big box stores had empty shelves in their nascent DVD sections, Something Weird titles could be found in unexpected places, all around the country. Multiple companies would later spring up to carry on Something Weird’s tradition of curating the outré, but for a time Something Weird was like The Criterion Collection of sleaze, releasing discs that were essential purchases for well-rounded cinephiles interested in the bigger picture of film history.
And here's the A.V. Club:
Vraney, who described the many films he rescued from obscurity as “little pop culture time capsules,” once said of his life’s work, “This stuff deserves to be saved. It deserves to be enjoyed, studied, kicked around a little and played with.”
You may continue to enjoy, study, kick around, and play with the findings of Something Weird Video right here.
For now, a terrific Evening Magazine segment on Vraney, his wife and partner Lisa Petrucci, and Something Weird Video from 2006.