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CASSETTE FROM MY EX: STORIES AND SOUNDTRACKS OF LOST LOVES

Posted by Billyjam, November 4, 2009 09:43am | Post a Comment
Jason Bitner Cassette From My Ex
Since the release last week of Jason Bitner's engaging new book Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves, the St Martin's Griffin published, 212-page anthology of 60 short stories, has been striking a nerve with  readership of a certain age who can directly relate to and recall its pre-iPod subject matter: the bygone era of the homemade mixtape -- specifically mixtapes made to woo new crushes or love objects.

An image that pops into many minds would be the Rob Gordon character played by John Cusack in the  Stephen Frears directed film adapatation of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity and his obsession with making the perfect mixtape, regardless of how long it took. Or as Shirley Manson of the group Garbage wrote for Cassette From My Ex's jacket cover, "Anyone who understands the obsessive attention to detail, the time it took to collate, select, and edit the content of a perfectly executed mix tape, or just someone who appreciated the rhythms and nuances of such extraordinary artifacts will treasure this collection of stories, comfortable and secure in the knowledge that such exquisite efforts were not made in vain and indeed there was a time when a humble cassette tape was perhaps the greatest gift of all."

For Cassette From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves, Bitner, who is best known as a co-founder of the wonderful Found magazine series, compiled first-person essays about mixtapes fueled by crushes or love (some tragic, some hilarious, many in-between) written by sixty different writers, many of them journalists & musicians. Contributors include author Rick Moody, This American Life's Starlee Kine, The New Yorker's Ben Greenman, The Magnetic FieldsClaudia Gonson, Improv Everywhere's Charlie Todd, Mortified's David Nadelberg, and former Rolling Stone writer and MTV2 veejay Jancee Dunn.

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FOUND FINDS GOLD IN OTHERS' DISCARDED ITEMS

Posted by Billyjam, November 14, 2007 09:30am | Post a Comment

Mario,  
I hate you! You said you had to work. Then why is your car here at her place? You're a liar.
I hate you. I hate you!
 
Amber  
                                       PS: Page me later

Pictured above, holding one of his countless finds, a photo/painting collage, is FOUND magazine co-founder Davy Rothbart and to the right is a transcription of the infamous, short, passionately scribbled note that he found on his car windshield one snowy morning in Chicago six years ago -- the very note that inspired him to initiate what would become a popular magazine (Found), a couple of books culled from the magazines, a popular website, a spinoff magazine (Dirty Found), and an excuse to tour the USA making connections with a whole subculture of people addicted to digging in the garbage or looking down on the sidewalk to find discarded or lost items (letters, to-do lists, photos, kids' paintings, napkin doodles, birthday cards, printed emails, etc, etc) to submit for publication in Found.

At the moment, Davy, who runs the popular and unique magazine with his brother/business partner Peter and a host of others, is currently in the midst of one of his "tours." The current Found Tour is a sixty five city trek across the USA and Canada during which he and his brother converge with fans at independent bookstores, libraries, community halls, bars, and small clubs. There they display "found" items, read aloud found letters, and with guitar and other accompaniment, perform musical interpretations of their finds, and, most importantly, meet other fanfound magazines of found items who always bring along stuff that they've found -- much of which finds its way either into an issue of Found or on the Found Website where the Find of the Day is posted daily. I recently caught up with Davy, who was in the SoCal area last week for a series of Found shows in San Diego, Long Beach, and Los Angeles, to ask him about his magazine and in particular that note from Amber to Mario that started the whole thing.

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