Local Current Blog

After 24 years at the Uptown VFW, the Record Show finds a new home

Photo by @smileitsshan, via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

If it seems like the Record Show that’s held at the Uptown VFW has been happening forever, that’s because it’s been hosted there every other month like clockwork for the past 24 years. And now, after almost a quarter century of riding the roller coaster of vinyl’s popularity down to its lowest point and back up again, the Record Show is leaving the musty confines of the VFW for a new home.

“We were asked not to come back,” says one of the Record Show’s founders, Tom Novak, letting out a sigh. With the VFW currently undergoing renovations, the new bar and music venue planned for the building’s street-facing side will no longer be able to accommodate the popular gathering for collectors of LPs, 45s, tapes, CDs, posters, and other music memorabilia.

Two of Novak’s longtime Record Show vendors, Russ Arent and Chris Valenty, are holding a pop-up Record Show at the old Tatter’s space on Lake and Lyndale this Saturday, December 12, and after that the show will be held at the Legion on Portland Ave. in South Minneapolis. The first show in the new space is scheduled for February 6.

Novak helped launch the Record Show back in 1991 with the late Jim “Hymie” Peterson of Hymie’s Records fame, and it quickly earned a reputation for being the place to find all of Minnesota’s best collectors holding court in the same room.

I met up with all three of the collectors over lunch recently, and we got to talking about the history of the Record Show and the strange, enduring phenomenon of vinyl. “This collectors community has always been strong,” Arent remarked, noting that, “LPs never died here. I mean, it got pretty bleak in the late ’90s, but it never died.”

Over the last five years vinyl’s popularity has skyrocketed, and the collectors note that the prices have followed suit. Arent says that he’s noticed a spike in interest in rare reggae, funk, bebop, and Blue Note records, and a younger clientele wandering through the aisles and sifting through the bins.

“All the young blood is in there now — that’s the future of collecting,” he says.

For the uninitiated, Valenty encourages new vinyl fans to come check out the show and take a chance on something new. “You can literally spend a buck and walk out with something interesting,” he says, noting that most vendors bring bins full of $1 records in addition to their more collectible fare, and recommends talking to different dealers to get recommendations and find out their particular areas of interest.

Even with decades of collecting under their belts, Novak, Arent, and Valenty all get stars in their eyes at the thought of stumbling on a rare album or unearthing an obscure artist. “You’re never done discovering,” Arent says, grinning ear to ear.

The Record Show will be held in a pop-up location at 2928 Lyndale Ave. S. (formerly Tatter’s) on Saturday, December 12, from 9-5 p.m., and will move to its permanent new home at 6501 Portland Ave. S. on February 6. For more info, follow the Record Show on Facebook.