Val is an Oak Park Story about Val's Halla, an independent record store that is a cultural institution in Oak Park. For thirty plus years Val has offered her customers an incredible array of recorded music from classical to rap, both new and used. In addition, the collective knowledge of Val and her staff makes it possible to carry on an informed conversation about music and recordings. Concert information is always readily available. As these cultural founts of musical knowledge are being rapidly replaced with Wal-Marts where employees know nothing about music, Val's Halla has become part of the disappearing commercial landscape of small businesses run by knowledgeable people interested in what they sell. In this film, Val talks about the changing role of the record store and muses about what Oak Park looks like from the vantage point of its counterculture.
This ethnographic film will be of use to anyone interested in American culture studies, that is, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists in universities, social studies teachers in elementary and high schools and specialists. It can be used as required reading/viewing or on reserve in libraries as supplemental reading/viewing.
Oak Park Stories is authored by Jay Ruby, a recently retired visual anthropologist, who has spent the last forty years exploring the relation between culture and the visual/pictorial world. He has published numerous studies about photography, film, popular culture and produced several ethnographic films and also founded graduate and undergraduate program in the anthropology of visual communication at Temple University. Oak Park Stories is the culmination of his interest reflexivity as the village is also his hometown.
For more information, please visit Jay Ruby's Oak Park Studies Progress Reports, Temple University Web Site.