“Finders keepers, losers weepers,” is an expression University alum Davy Rothbart has literally learned to live by. At 8-years-old, Rothbart was wandering through what he called the “Dinosaur Museum,” (the National History Museum) and found a piece of paper filled with question marks. From then on, Rothbart became fascinated with things he found. In May 2000, he put his notes, poems, grocery lists, pictures and everything in between together to form Found Magazine.
On Saturday night, Rothbart, dressed in a t-shirt and baseball hat, came to Shaman Drum and explained exactly what “Found Magazine” is all about. Rothbart read a few of his favorite found items, such as a grocery list that read, “Beer. Meat. Dog Food. Baloney.” Rothbart also joked that he has to explain to people that the found items he collects do not have to include profanity although many of them do. One such note goes like this: “Hi Sherry, You have the sexiest eyes! I”m gonna call you in a minute, and tell you what I would love to see you do with those cucumbers. If it”s OK with you. I have a fantasy to tell you.”
Although Found Magazine is all about written documents and pictures, Rothbart does not put limits on this. In Ypsilanti, he discovered what he believed to be a demo tape of a “rap” band. He thought the tape was hilarious and wanted to make this a part of his magazine. During his presentation, Rothbart mysteriously “disappeared,” and was replaced with a guy in bright orange sweat pants and a beer in a brown paper bag. With the help of a few pals, (one named DJ Monkey) the guys performed the songs of the “Ypsilanti Allstarz,” which is the fabricated name of the actual writers of the lyrics. The performances of “Taste that Booty Flavor,” and “Wiggle on the Flo(or),” got the crowd in hysterics.
After this performance, Rothbart called up 10-year-old Ann Arbor resident, Noah, to read some of his findings. The audience was laughing as Noah announced that he recognized the handwriting of “a kid trying to write like an adult.” The note Noah found read, “Can you please sell my son a pack of Newport Lights?”
Another enthusiastic woman in the crowd stood up and shared a love note she had found taped to a telephone pole in Ann Arbor. She was also lucky enough to have solved the mystery of who wrote the note, and coerced the man into joining her for the reading of the note that evening at Shaman Drum.
At the end of the night, Rothbart encouraged everyone to keep an eye out for found items. He thinks that Found Magazine is a great thing because he is able to have something that belongs to everybody: “It”s about being open and focusing on what”s around you. All these people you never know will suddenly become part of your life.”
If you would like to contribute to “Found Magazine,” or would like to subscribe, check out foundmagazine.com.