When Jonny G. was about 14 or 15 years old, he was poking around the house and found this "Ident-A-Kid" card made that his parents had made for him when he was three. (You can get a closer look at it here.) He had a friend who kept a baby photo of his girlfriend in his wallet, and who decided he wanted childhood photos of his other friends as well, so the friend took Jonny's card and kept it until Jonny "couldn't deal with him having it anymore," at which point Jonny took it back. But then the friend wanted it again and took it, and then Jonny took it back, and now the card has passed back and forth between them about five times. "I kind of enjoy the tradition of it," Jonny says. (Photo by Ari Friedman)
Nechama Levy's dog, Spotless, died about a year ago at the age of 14. She had found him as a stray when he was about three months old and had tricked him into following her home by leaving a trail of dog food that let do her home, "Hansel and Gretel-style." Spotless shed a lot, so she gathered up a bunch of his fur from her apartment and put it in this jar, which she keeps on a shelf, along with his ashes and a doggie sweater. "He was a very special dog," she says. "He made a lot of trouble in his life, but none of his shenanigans ever did him in." (Photo by Ari Friedman)
"I like scarves," says Allie C. She especially likes this one, a Hermès model that her husband and kids gave her as a birthday present. She likes the parrots on the scarf because she's obsessed with the parrots in Green-Wood Cemetery; she likes the tigers on the scarf because she thinks of her husband as "my tiger"; she likes the leopard cubs because they remind her of her children; and she likes the squirrel in the lower-right corner because the squirrel is "my absolute all-time favorite animal." After telling the scarf's story, Allie showed the many ways she can wear it: as a headband, as a turban, as a tube top, as a sash, even as a skirt. "My Mom always taught me that an elegant woman wears silk scarves," she says. (Photo by Ari Friedman)
Ari Friedman had always wanted a pinhole camera. He got this one from a friend who'd decided that he had "too many cameras" and was giving a few of them away. It uses 4"-by-5" film — "the biggest I've ever shot," says Ari. There's no viewfiender, and the exposures have to be quite long (sometimes several minutes), so every shot is a bit of a crapshoot. This, combined with the film being fairl expensive — about $2 per shot — has led Ari to use the camera only sparingly. Still, he's intrigued by it and loves the photos he's taken with it. "It produces a very distinctive look," he says. "The first time I used it and developed the negatives — wow." Footnote: Ari took all the other photos for this installment of Show & Tell, but he used a digital Nikon for those, not the pinhole. (Photo by Nechama Levy)
Andie B. went to Russia about a year and a half ago to celebrate her birthday. She found that the Russian equivalents of bodegas routinely sell small glass containers of vodka for about 75 cents. (You can get a closer look at them here.) The vodka isn't particularly good, but she brought back a bunch of it anyway, in part because the empty containers serve nicely as beverage glasses. "So you finish the crummy vodka, and then you have a glass forever," she says. (Photo by Ari Friedman)
Heather McCabe's friend Russell recently gave her this little "last rites" packet that had belonged to his now-deceased mother. The card inside the packet reads, "I am a Catholic. In case of accident, call a priest." (You can get a closer look at it here.) Russell gave it to Heather as sort of a private joke, because they've both strayed from their strict Catholic upbringings. Then again, there's some question as to how strictly Catholic Russell's mother was, since she never filled out the information on the card. Such packets are not uncommon — you can even buy one on Amazon — but Heather nonetheless finds it highly amusing. "It's just so bizarre and generic," she says. "I almost want to get in an accident, just so someone will find it." (Photo by Ari Friedman)
We conclude, as usual, with Show & Tell host Paul Lukas — me. This installment of Show & Tell took place just a few days before Mother's Day, so I was thinking a lot about my Mom, who had been an artist before she settled down with my father. When I was about 11 years old, she brought home this wooden thingie from a junk shop and hung it on the wall of our living room. She explained that it had been part of a chicken coop (the little "doors" are where the feed would be inserted), but I just thought it was stupid. Why couldn't we have pictures on the wall like normal families? As time went on, though, my Mom's aesthetic strongly influenced my own, and I came to view the chicken coop piece as one of the more beautiful things in our home. When my parents sold their house and moved to a small apartment in 2004, they had to get rid of a lot of stuff, at which point I claimed the chicken coop piece. It now hangs on the wall of my apartment — a nice piece of home décor, and an even nicer reminder of how my Mom taught me to appreciate unconventional things. (Photo by Ari Friedman)
That's it for this round of Show & Tell. Big thanks to all who attended, even bigger thanks to the participants, and bonus thanks to Ari Friedman for handling the photography. The next installment of Show & Tell will be Wednesday, June 12, 8pm, in the back room at Freddy's. Hope to see you then.