Island Entertainment fades to black

An Island institution is about to shutter its doors.

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The video store Island Entertainment in Vineyard Haven is closing. — Gabrielle Mannino

Island Entertainment, the Island’s only remaining video store, and what many have described as a national treasure, will be closing its doors for good by the beginning of March.

In a way it’s a sign of the times on the Island. Gone is Above Ground records. Gone is the cobbler shop. Gone is the Radio Shack. It’s tough being a niche business on the Vineyard, especially when your competition is something as powerful as “streaming video.”

I’ll miss Island Entertainment like a trusted old friend. I’ll miss owner Anne Evasick with her encyclopedic knowledge of the cinema, and her uncanny ability to read my mind and steer me to films I’m going to love.

Not only did Island Entertainment have first-run movies, it had an aficionado’s collection of cult films and obscure documentaries. I’m forever indebted to them for introducing me to the 1998 classic, “Cane Toads: An Unnatural History.”

I wrote an article for MV Magazine several years ago, and Anne told me a story that spoke to the amazing selection of the store.

“Gabriel Byrne came in with a list of pretty obscure movies he wanted,” said Evasick. “He went down his list and I went up and down the aisles and pulled every movie for him … and when he had a sack of movies, he looked at me and said, ‘I’ve never seen anyone do that before without a computer.’ But that’s what we do. He said we were the best video store in the world.”

I have Island Entertainment to thank for turning me into a Danish film buff. I ended up binge-watching the series “Borgan,” a political drama about the Danish prime minister’s rise to power. You can have your “House of Cards.”

Or “The Bridge,” another Danish thriller. I noticed that the second season came in a few months ago, but I couldn’t remember if I had actually seen it or not, it being in Danish and all. I asked Anne if she could remember if I had seen it, and she said, “No, you haven’t seen the second season yet.”

I’ll miss Island Entertainment.

I’ll miss the bust of Elvis in the window as you entered the store.

I’ll miss the dogs that gave the place a homey feel.

Yes, I’ll miss it all.

Elvis has left the building.

 

Island Entertainment is closed from Jan. 24 to 31, according to a sign on the store’s door.