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April 19, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
I knew 16 seconds in that the video was going to be good. I had heard about it last week when it went viral, but only after my sister sent me the link on Tuesday did I finally watch Caine’s Arcade. The video, about a 9-year-old boy who built an elaborate cardboard arcade, has all the elements of a good story, the first of which occurs 16 seconds in. That’s when you see Caine for the first time. His crooked-tooth smile makes you smile involuntarily, at which point watching the rest of the video becomes involuntary as well.
You watch as the entrepreneur advertises his business earnestly in a chair at his storefront (actually, his dad’s auto part store) while people file past, oblivious of the young proprietor. Character, desire, dilemma: Oh, it’s good.
The elements of that simple story formula can be found throughout this week’s issue of Vox. These theater majors want to produce Hamlet in a new way, which has the latent danger of a New Coke fiasco. Like Caine, they proceed fearlessly. They add high fashion (colors inspired by Chanel) and post-apocalyptic grunge (fluorescent radioactive waste).
Caine bucks convention because he is young, and Connie Leipard bucks the trend because she makes her living in the construction business, a field usually dominated by men.
And in our feature, a young man works to turn his idea into a 10-story hotel. He aims to have the same kind of ending as in Caine’s video, but to do that he’ll need more than old cardboard.
You might not get teary reading Vox this week, but you will find stories about Columbians who are busy creating. Like Caine’s arcade, you don’t want to miss them.