March 14, 2013

Show & Tell Participants from March 13, 2013

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Ari Friedman was visiting the Cloisters nine months ago when he noticed a book, called The Paris Edition, that someone had left behind on a bench. He picked it up and saw that a note was taped to the cover. It said, "Traveling Book: I am not lost -- I'm on a journey." The book had been registered as part of BookCrossing, a project that lets people share books and track their progress as they're passed from person to person (here's the BookCrossing page for the book Ari found). Interestingly, Ari says he wasn't much of a reader before that day at the Cloisters, "but this book got me back into reading." At the end of his Show & Tell presentation, he gave the book to someone in the S&T audience, so now the book is off on the next phase of its journey. (Photo by Saskia Kahn)

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"I'm not a successful person in athletic competition," says Nachema Levy. But in 2007 she entered an alleycat race -- basically an informal, unauthorized bike race, usually set up by bike messengers -- and was the top female finisher, for which she won this Manhattan Portage messenger bag. It's the only race she's ever won, and she credits her victory to "being ballsy, not fast," because she took the most direct route, even though that meant she was biking on a highway alongside speeding cars. Seven days later she was run over on her bike by a garbage truck and, as she puts it, "kind of lost my taste for competition." (Photo by Saskia Kahn)

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2004 was an eventful year for Matt Kimmett: He got divorced, quit two jobs, and booked himself a ’round-the-world tour. He soon found himself in Las Vegas, where he was annoyed to discover that his hotel room at the Tropicana Casino did not have an ashtray, even though he'd specifically booked a smoking room. So he wandered down to the lobby and grabbed this ashtray. Instead of leaving it behind when he moved on, he decided to take it with him because, as he puts it, "you might need an ashtray when you're traveling." The ashtray eventually accompanied him to Australia, Asia, and Europe, as he continued on his worldwide tour, and got plenty of use along the way. He now wants to bring things full-circle and return to Las Vegas, where he plans to leave the ashtray where he found it at the Trop. (Photo by Saskia Kahn)

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David Rondinelli has been a big fan of the actress Rose McGowan -- like, a really big fan -- ever since he saw her performance in the 1995 movie The Doom Generation. "She holds a special place in my heart," he says. "I felt like we shared a lot of similarities." So he was excited when he got to see McGowan making an appearance at the 2011 New York Comic Con. She was taking questions from the crowd, so he asked her a question ("If we took all the bad-ass characters you've played and brought them all together for a fight, which one would end up standing on the corpses of all the others?"), which was apparently such a good question that it brought a round of applause from the other fans in attendance. He also told McGowan he'd loved her ever since he'd seen her curse someone out in a movie, so she obligingly cursed him out in response. When it came time for him to have McGowan autograph a photo of herself, David asked her to use a line she used in the film Jawbreaker: "Fate has decided, my dear, that you will be cool." (Photo by Saskia Kahn)

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Adel Souto recently got in the habit of sitting on his couch and meditatively combing his beard with this pocket comb. It was part of a larger, long-term project of self-transformation through a program of humble living and self-denial of things like sweets and tobacco. Eventually, he says, the program was so successful that his "third eye" opened and a stream of creative productivity poured out of him: He wrote an entire philosophy book in one day (although it has not yet been published); he wrote two entire articles in his head while on the subway (he shopped them around but found no takers, apparently because he used racially charged language); and he experienced "a purple light emitting from my chest, a state of bliss, and eight full-body orgasms -- without ejaculation" (a claim that prompted several very curious inquiries from members of the Show & Tell audience). He doesn't attribute all of this to the pocket comb, but the comb was a step in the process. "All the things the mystics say are true," he says. (Photo by Saskia Kahn)

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About six years ago, Saskia Kahn (who took all the other photos for this round of Show & Tell) decided she needed a winter coat, so she purchased this coat made by the North Face. "It seemed very cool, very Brooklyn," says Saskia, who grew up and went to college in Brooklyn. But now she finds the jacket problematic: "It's so embarrassing. I wear it when I work on these photo shoots in Manhattan, and I look like a Brooklyn girl, not a Manhattan girl, with my hoop earrings and my North Face jacket. It even has stains on it that look like cum stains!" (They're actually just wax.) So why doesn't she just get another jacket? "I hate shopping," she says. (Photo by Heather McCabe)

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We conclude, as usual, with Show & Tell host Paul Lukas -- me. On May 18, 1999, my car got a flat tire. I took it to one of those flat-fix places, where a worker inspected the tire and pulled out this screw (you can get a better look at it here). As I looked at the screw, an art project formed in my mind: I would save this screw, along with all subsequent objects that gave me flat tires, and mount them in some sort of framed display, with little labels noting the date and location of each flat tire. I envisioned the screw being accompanied by a nail, a piece of glass, a random scrap of metal, and so on, and the end result would be a document of my history of flat tires. I was pretty pleased with this idea (probably too pleased) because, as a writer, I'd never been good at creating visual art, and I thought this project would be just the thing to get me started down an artistic path. Just one problem: In the nearly 14 years since the screw was extracted from my tire, I haven't gotten another flat. In most respects, this is a good thing. But on some level I find it mildly frustrating. (Photo by Saskia Kahn)

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That's it for this round of Show & Tell. Big thanks to all who attended, even bigger thanks to the participants, and ├╝ber-special thanks to Heather McCabe for running the audio and to Saskia Kahn for serving as this month's Show & Tell shutterbug (check out more of her photography on her web site, and then hire her!). The next installment of Show & Tell will be Wednesday, April 10, 8pm, in the back room at Freddy's. Hope to see you then.

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