Mind Virus Counter-Culture Books and Media Opens in Fargo, N.Dak.

Mind Virus Counter-Culture Books and Media, which features new and used titles in "an eclectic selection of high weirdness with the intent of both educating and culture jamming," opened in early May at 124 8th St. S. in Fargo, N.Dak.

Owner Isaac Kobrinsky told InForum he has spent much of his life collecting what he described as weird ephemera that speaks to the "eclectically bizarre" side of humanity. "It's been my lifetime dream to open a bookstore," he said, adding that for the past five years he rented the basement of the building and used it as a shipping department for selling items online.

Kobrinsky has long been part of the counterculture, including underground music, art, poetry, and activism, and said what Mind Virus has to offer reflects that journey. "I believe wholeheartedly that everyone has a voice and a vote and the right to peaceful demonstration," he said, adding that bookshop strongly advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and other groups that can be marginalized by mainstream culture. He also plans to hold special events at the store, including talks by authors and others, and to provide a space for local artists and writers to sell their zines and build their audience.

The amount of foot traffic the store has had since opening has surprised him. Customers of all ages have been showing up, which is consistent with something he discovered about two years ago when he began taking his two teenage children to art shows and other cultural events in downtown Fargo. "I experienced an extremely vibrant and creative youth culture scene, and I thought to myself, 'Now is the time to (open a bookstore).' I've always wanted to do it," he recalled.

"We want to support the counterculture, to have a safe bookstore for people of like minds," Kobrinsky told High Plains Reader. "Not to get too political, but we have a lot of creeping authoritarianism going on and women's rights being stripped. I felt that I could do something to combat this very difficult moment in our country's history by having in-print books that are about intelligent ways to organize and get engaged civically, about how to combat this moment peacefully and to organize."  

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