“Hey, it’s Gabe, the guy you met at Westville a couple of weeks back. During a show and some dude almost blackout on top of us, remember? Anyways i was wondering if you wanted to hang out again. i’d love to … Give me a call if you are interested … Oh + if this isn’t Emily, Please send this to Found Magazine. Thanks”
So it was written on a scrap of notebook paper, and found in Asheville by Satchel Loftis, and sent to Davy Rothbart and the fine staff of Found Magazine, and published in Issue No. 6.
For those not familiar with the Found project, people across the nation send in scraps, notes, letters, what have you—notes the writer likely never intended to be read by a general audience, but that often resonate deeply (or are just random and funny as hell). The Found folks publish a striking mix of scraps—the harrowing and the hilarious. Davy and his brother Peter will be returning to the Grey Eagle on Wednesday, April 29, for Found‘s Denim and Diamonds Tour. They’ll share some of their most awesome finds, and Peter plays songs inspired by some of them.
“Basically we do this kinda rowdy reading and music show,” Davy tells Xpress from his Michigan home. “I’ve got a stack of my favorite found notes and letters and we just read ‘em out loud, but we get a little bit carried away. I try to read them with the energy and emotion they were written with, the funnier letters usually. I try to bring it to life.”
Peter, he says, writes the songs, some pretty, some somber and “some are absolutely ridiculous,” Davy says. Think Flight of the Conchords. People can bring their own finds, and Davy hopes the whole thing gets people jazzed about the ongoing Found collaboration. “It’s like a gigantic community art project,” he says. “People have a good time and leave inspired to find stuff and send it in .. the show becomes an almost impromptu show-and-tell.”
So why the theme of denim and diamonds (besides the obvious answer, why not and hell yeah)? Rothbart explains the inspiration came from a particular Kansas City find.
A woman had papered an entire parking lot (outside an adjoining bar and movie theatre) with the same note, he says. “It’s really crazy,” Davy says with a laugh. “A woman put this letter on every car saying she went went home with a guy she met at her bachelorette party, they got together a couple other times, but his phone number changed, and she knows he wants to see her.” The note asks if anyone knows how to get in touch with him. “He was dark-haired and he rode bulls,” the woman describes.
The best part of writing about Found is getting to read the new book Requiem for a Paper Bag: Celebrities & Civilians Tell Stories of the Best Lost, Tossed & Found Items From Around The World. It’s a zippy collection of short stories about or inspired by the writers’ finds, and includes a who’s-who of the intellectual indie set: Filmmaker Miranda July, novelist Charles Baxter, musicians Andrew Bird and Devendra Banhart, comedian Damon Wayans and awesomely, Chuck D, among many others.
“I reached out to some of my heroes,” Davy says. “I sent them magazines and letters, asking if they had any favorite finds, stories of anything strange or funny to share. I was sortof amazed at the response. I’d check my inbox and it was always the weirdest combination of stuff, shit, Chuck D and Jonathan Lethem.”
Catch Davy and Peter on Wednesday at the Grey Eagle. $8 advance, $10 at the door. 8:30 p.m. Really, you should go.