The Target Shoots First | Chicago Reader

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70 minutes · 2000

Documentary, Music
Christopher Wilcha's fascinating feature-length video (2000) reminds us how seldom we're allowed to see certain businesses operating from the inside. Wilcha, a 22-year-old college graduate and alternative-rock enthusiast, was hired by the Columbia Record and Tape Club—apparently as a fluke—to help launch a whole new niche-marketing division, which brought him face-to-face with the contradictory meanings of the term alternative once it's been embraced by the mass market. He brought his video camera to work every day, and what emerges are selective glimpses of—and thoughtful reflections on—his extended stint with the company. He notes the mythological and practical differences between various floors of the company's Manhattan headquarters and shows what happens at the national headquarters elsewhere; he describes how the club's guide is written and edited, how changes in staff affect his own peace of mind, and how certain people behave at parties and staff meetings. This is a good deal better than your typical 60 Minutes segment, registering as autobiography as well as investigative reporting, and Wilcha's wry intelligence kept me glued to the screen.

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