Six Years Removed And Still Relevant: After Home Video

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This is a melancholy anniversary. This is six years since my last day with TLA Video as they decided to start phasing out the physical brick and mortar stores that I was so proud of and worked so hard to keep relevant and powerful (and succeeded for many years). This marked the end of 27 years in the home video industry that is such a proud time and memory for me.

At the time, it was a sad moment, but because of that break in activity, I decided to finally take the time to get my knees replaced. It was that decision that led to x-rays that showed my interstitial lung disease. In a perverse way, TLA closing the stores led to the diagnosis of a condition and the cancer that followed that might have killed me if left undiscovered.

From a small store in Ardrmore (Video Wonderland) across the street from 23 East Cabaret, the mecca of great Philly music, I wound up accomplishing a hell of a lot in an exciting industry. Through Movie World, Borders, West Coast Video and finally TLA Video, I met plenty of stars, discovered so many great films including wonderful indie films, and learned so much from my fellow employees and the best video retailers spread across the country.

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I was proud to serve on two national boards of video retailers (Video Software Dealers Association and Independent Dealers of Entertainment Association) with the heads of Hollywood studios, other big chains like Blockbuster, Amazon, and Netflix, and to help spearhead the creation of a national trade group focused specifically on the needs of independent video retailers.

I was most proud to see salespeople and others that I started out with and was friends with from 1983 on rise to become heads of studios, distributors, and influential top executives in the future of entertainment. I declined job offers with some distributors and labels because I strongly felt I had made a commitment to my then current employers to continue what they hired me to do. I felt moving on was abandoning my promise to them. I did begin a writing phase in my career and spent a few years authoring a children’s video column for an industry trade publication called Video Insider.

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I had a great 27 years and to forget humility for a moment, I did a fucking great job alongside of many fucking great people. When I was hired by TLA in 2001, I felt like my mission then was to possibly close a store. A wonderful store that just needed someone new to care about the store and the staff. It thrived for 8 more years, thanks to the support for my ideas a couple of people at the main office. It became a renewed and important part of TLA Video partially because of me but mainly because of a great staff there.

So it is six years and I miss the ability to go to work and deal with issues and talk with co-workers and be part of a team and to accomplish and to learn from failing to accomplish and to bitch about going to work.

But six years out, I am still here with a ton of new friends and still many from the past, though some drifted away once I wasn’t relevant to their needs.

Plus, besides a ton of new friends who share common interests, I’ve also been able to renew my passion for the singular music of Philadelphia as well as find new filmmakers making exciting films.

Still fighting to survive and thrive. Still working to remain relevant, one person at a time.

A melancholy anniversary, most definitely, but one that forced me to find that new way of life that has brought me many joys.

Fading away is not an option for me.

Thanks to all of you forever.

Now back to my usual social media frivolity.

My award from the VSDA National Board Of Directors 2004

My award from the VSDA National Board Of Directors 2004

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My Other “Mother” On Mother’s Day. My Sister, Julie.

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Tomorrow I will honor my mother, but today, I want to honor in advance the person who has become almost as much of a mother to me as my own Mom.

That is my sister Juliana Hickman Guaraldo. Many of you know, but many can only begin to imagine the impact she has on all of our lives, especially mine during my illnesses. The compassion, the knowledge, the caring, the love that she offers, despite any aches, pains, and exhaustion from working to make sure the rest of us are well and safe is just beyond wonderful.

When I got my diagnosis of the recurrence of my kidney cancer, she was the one who listened to my doctors, patiently listened to my fears, and wonderfully calmed me down from my initial despair so that I can fight this mofo hard and win this battle. And win it, I will, with her right there with me.

Her compassion is legendary, as she also cares and teaches special needs children. No headache, no exhaustion, no detour stops her from being there for anyone who needs a hand.

Her friends love her, my friends admire her, and your friends would be blessed to know her.

She loves her dogs, she loves life. Music brings out the best in her, as does curling up on the couch with my niece, Julie, binge watching ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.

She can corral the largest group in total disarray and form them into a fun, accomplished and focused group. She makes sure everyone is recognized and thanked.

I can tell you so much more, and I invite you to friend here, Juliana Hickman Guaraldo, on Facebook and in real life.

However, every wonderful thing about her is summed up by knowing that none of us gives up, because she is behind us to make everything we face easier to succeed at.

Julie, I love you so much.

Happy Mothers Day.
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WHEN C-17 MET A-19: TALES IN MY POCKET

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If it hasn’t been obvious by my Twitter and Facebook feeds, I am passionate about what I am passionate about. Sports, film, TV, bad jokes, my family, my friends, my doxys, Philly and especially music. Nothing in this world can take you back to a time and place and change your mood in a flash like 3 minutes or so of great music. Because the best music doesn’t waste time or take hours or weeks to develop, it has the power of immediacy , the power to grab you at the outset, and the power to get stuck in your head, be it amazing or kind of corny (thanks, Ylvis and your damn fox sayings).

But every so often, out of that music comes something more. That is exactly what has happened recently. Elsewhere on this blog, you’ll find posts about why I am where I am professionally and health wise, along with a piecemeal history of what I was able to accomplish before my professional life ended with my lung disease.

boardaward One of the things from that past life I’ve missed has been the chance to create and promote, to spread the word and ignite the same passion I felt for a film or project. I look back with pride on the two dance marathons for Muscular Dystrophy I created at Villanova University in the 70’s, the events I organized for a national trade association that focused on home video retailers, and the various promotions I held over the years at my video stores in Ardmore, Conshohocken, and the Philly area. I am especially proud of what I accomplished in the promotional area when I was with TLA Video (one day I’ll go into more detail of why my time with TLA Video was a sometimes frustrating time of my life, yet it was my greatest accomplishment).

My favorite promotion is still when I was able to attract almost 700 people to my 4th and South Street store for an in-store appearance by the great director JOHN WATERS, closely followed by a Chestnut Hill in-store World Series party with the Phillie Phantic.

dmi 055I also took great pride in meeting challenges that allowed me to interact with others in a common effort, such as the SEPTA road construction project in Chestnut Hill that severely limited access to our video store and other businesses for months. I wound up helping to lead an ad-hoc group of businesses to develop emergency business plans and promotions to minimize the impact during construction and come back strong when Germantown Avenue finally reopened.

So, when I now meet and follow someone who does promotion, I always am thrilled to spot even a little of the same passion I used to have in my work. I don’t have that outlet anymore other than the old “word-of-mouth” method, and I think I’m damn good at that.

However, I can vicariously experience the old thrills watching others still actively involved in PR who truly love the project or event they are promoting, not just working the press for coverage and then moving on to the next supposed big idea. Recently, I’ve met someone who does just that, even though she is involved with businesses that I have not had professional experience with, but for which I retain passion about.

I’m talking about Dallyn Pavey, owner of DISH PUBLIC RELATIONS


There is more to read. Just click here.

New Posts Coming Soon… Very Soon.

Yeah, it’s been a little while and I have about five posts in varying stages of completion.

Sorry for such a long break between posts but I truly want to make sure that what I write it 1) relevant, 2) entertaining, and 3) thought provoking. So, hopefully, what I post over the next few days lives up to the lofty goal.

In the meantime, come chat with me on Twitter Adrian’s Twitter Page ~ @adimike55

…and Facebook Adrian’s Facebook Page.

And I promise you will be much happier than my Swiper Doxy was.

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