Dead Media: Books, records, and posters the old-school way

Do you ever feel nostalgic for the days when people read books that were printed on paper, or when you could hold an album cover in your hand instead of just viewing it on a screen? Do you like the tactile sensation of turning a page, or the thrill of dropping the needle on a spinning record? If so, you may be in luck. Dead Media, a new book/record/poster store located across the street from the Birchwood Café, seeks to fulfill all your antiquated entertainment needs. 

The store has a quaint vibe, which might be surprising considering it's run by punk-rock lovers like record dealer John Kass and "punk poet" Paul Dickinson. They've joined up with poster dealer Paul "Pash" Pashibin to create a store that's both small and spacious, comfortable to browse in, and friendly. It makes a perfect pit stop on your way to or from Birchwood, or en route to the river, which is just a short walk away. 

"People have been announcing the death of books for a long time now," says Dickinson. "They don't seem to die." Books and older technologies also get you away from the screen for a second. "You can pry a book out of my cold dead fingers," he says.

For Dickinson, Dead Media is just the next manifestation of a long alternative book business career. Back in the aughts, he owned Speedboat Books and Art, the second iteration of his Speedboat Gallery. He also ran the Clown Lounge International Research Library in the basement of the Turf Club for about five years. The Clown Lounge, named for the scary looking clown paintings that once decorated the Turf's basement, was also a frequent spot for Dickinson's poetry series, the Riot Act, which he still runs with poet Laura Brandenburg. They held their first Riot Act in the new store last week for a small but dedicated crowd, and hope to plan more literary and cultural events in the future. 

John Kass came up with the name Dead Media a while back when he hoped to open a record store across from the Electric Fetus. He's known Dickinson forever, and met Pashibin a couple of years ago. "He was kind of an intriguing character, and he had an angle on the poster market that I thought nobody else had," Kass says. "I thought, 'Well, let's do this!'"

Kass wanted to open a new record store in addition to the two he runs in White Bear Lake and Loring Park, as he's running out of storage space. Right now, he has about 500,000 records in storage, and he's hoping to make a dent, especially in his sizable classical collection and his stock of 78 RPM records. 

"We're gonna have rock 'n' roll records," says Kass. "We all love that stuff. But why not do something different? There are 30 places you can buy vinyl in the Twin Cities, but nobody right now is concentrating on classical. That's half of music." 

The goal is to sell classical records to punk rockers. "Everybody's perception of what classical and punk rock is going to change," he says.

Dead Media is located at 3330 E. 25th St. in Minneapolis. The shop is open Monday through Friday from noon to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.