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If you’re looking for a midweek pick-me-up, check out the event being held Wednesday night at the Bug Theatre. Onstage beginning at 8 p.m. will be Davy and Peter Rothbart, putting on a mashed-up performance that’s part book reading, part concert, and all celebration.
It’s the latest stop in a 75-plus-city tour to mark the 10th anniversary of FOUND Magazine, Davy’s ongoing project to uncover meaning amid detritus. For the past decade, people all over the world have been sending Rothbart and his colleagues notes, pictures, objects, and curios for publication on the magazine’s website. These disjointed scraps range from heartfelt to funny to bizarre, and taken together or separately, each little tidbit does its part to illuminate all aspects of the human condition. “I discourage people from sending us stuff that they’ve written, and the only other rule is it must be real,” says Davy, a regular contributor to NPR’s This American Life. “We get up to 20 submissions per day that go from completely heartbreaking to completely hilarious. It’s like this giant community art project. When you have this many people working together, you end up with some pretty great stuff.”
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Among the more offbeat items the magazine has received was a jar containing an eel preserved in formaldehyde and tagged with a note that said, “Flaky and subconscious.” Another time, someone from Great Britain sent the editors a door with “I got you Hayes” spray-painted on it (which one of the editors eventually hung at his house).
The event on the 24th will feature readings from Davy’s acclaimed book, My Heart is an Idiot, along with music from Davy’s brother, Peter, a musician whose tunes—including his recently released You Are What You Dream—are primarily inspired by the notes FOUND receives. Like the notes themselves, the songs can be touching—Peter’s haunting ballad, A Child to Call Our Own, is based on a note found in a burned-out car from a woman who’d recently had a miscarriage—or goofy, as with his ode to a cassette the magazine once received called simply, “Booty Tape.”
The two also encourage audience members to bring found objects, and they’ll call up a select few to chat a bit and present them to the crowd. “I bring out a stack of my favorite notes and letters, and I try to read them with the energy and emotion that they were created with, so I get a little carried away sometimes,” Davy says. “People should expect to leave feeling exhilarated and inspired to go out and find stuff. We have friends in every part of the country and we’ve been working for years on the book and the album, so we want to share them with people everywhere and just rock out with all the friends we’ve made.
“My Heart is an Idiot: FOUND Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Tour” is on Wednesday, October 24, at 8 p.m. at the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo St. Tickets are $6 at the door.
—Image courtesy of FOUND Magazine
Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.