FOUND Magazine’s Denim and Diamonds Tour 2009! last night at ICE in lower Manhattan, was quite enjoyable. Though I had heard of the concept of Found and seen an issue here and there, I did not know quite what to expect. If you’re unfamiliar, Found is a yearly published magazine whose content is derived solely from material that is discovered almost exclusively by accident. That crumpled piece of paper blowing down the street, the receipt someone carelessly discarded, perhaps a fax sent to the wrong number. Maybe it’s a love letter, maybe it’s someone begging for forgiveness, maybe it’s a ransom note.
While the prospect of riffling through the detritus of someone’s personal life seems appealing in isolation, turning pages in a magazine, what could possibly happen in a live show? It turns out a lot. Davy Rothbart one of the geniuses behind the magazine, also has This American Life credentials and an excellent stage presence. His knack for recreating a sense of discovery while reciting, on stage, found items, really exemplifies the joy that is embodied in the magazine and is bottom-line entertaining.
To wonder about the origins and stories behind some of the lost love letters & to-do lists is part of the wonder of reading them and Davy extols that virtue. But the point isn’t only to wonder, but also create. Davy said, “I love to get the first reactions people have to found items.” Some might be one liners but Peter Rothbart writes songs. Peter is Davy’s brother and for part of the show performs some songs, on guitar, based upon found items. For the third act, The Story Pirates actually acted out — in full costume — two sketches based upon found notes.
I talked with Davy after the show and what we seemed to connect to was this idea that there is a real joy to be open to the idea of discovery, but an even greater one to create new work out of it. Though this article I’m writing is a kind of work unto itself, I think I’ll consider it more of just a gut reaction.
If you get a chance to see FOUND Magazine’s Denim and Diamonds Tour 2009! absolutely take advantage!