FOUND Magazine's Davy Rothbart Takes his Idiot Heart on Tour
Davy Rothbart is a really nice guy. A really nice guy who, at 30-something, has chosen to maintain a transient lifestyle, where being the guy that'll exchange unabashedly genuine conversation with just about anyone (from Ira Glass to Kid Rock) is an open invitation for peculiar experiences around the country.
And if you're hanging out with him, you're getting the same.
Davy co-created FOUND Magazine in 2001, a collection of found notes, drawings, and fragments that provide humorous and often touching insights into strangers' lives. I spent the summer of 2010 in Ann Arbor watching Davy in action, starting off with my best friend and I lighting firecrackers in the back of Davy's infamous touring van, which was packed with 10 of his friends and 15 basketballs, about to pull off the classic summertime hotel pool break-in, and culminated in us being sent off, bottles of champagne in hand, to celebrate my birthday at midnight on a rooftop with a deranged performance artist that referred to himself as "the Wizard."
That kind of infectious love for life is one thing, but what do you do when you open your heart that readily to women -- over and over and over again? In his collection of essays, My Heart Is an Idiot, Davy falls in love with fictional women, real women, a different woman than the one he's dating, etc., either remaining obsessively infatuated with the idea of her or falling out of love in what seems like an instant. Sometimes, many times, he's an idiot. But he's earnest. It might be the honesty, the easy prose, or the moments of unreality that make it a compelling read. In "Tarantula," an instance of unfaithfulness (described quite explicitly) is followed by Davy finding a dead body floating in the hometown of his one-night-stand's pool. Another follows his obsession with, not a woman, but Bryon Case, a young man possibly wrongly inprisoned as a teenager. Something about it makes it an inviting journey rather than an indulgent one. It stays warm.
Now, piecing together the confusing fragments of his heart and those of strangers in front of intimate audiences is kind of his game. Davy and his brother Peter Rothbart have once again set off in their van to take FOUND Magazine's 10th Anniversary Tour around the country, to celebrate the release of My Heart is an Idiot, Peter's new album, and the brand new issue of FOUND (#8!).
The Rothbarts come to San Francisco on Friday, Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. at the Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia). Admission is $10.
Watch a piece of FOUND from 2008 below: