Dirty FOUND appearing at Pacific Switchboard, 4637 N Albina, Tues August 16, 8 pm & 10 pm, $7-10
In 2001, Chicago friends Jason Bitner and Davy Rothbart put out a homemade zine made up of strange and hilarious lists, notes, pictures, and other left-behind scraps found under park benches and behind refrigerators. If you haven't heard of them since, you probably don't listen to NPR, or read the New York Times, each of whom have featured the phenomenon known as FOUND Magazine quite prominently. The publication is about to unleash its fourth issue and has been so successful, the creators have formed an offshoot: Dirty FOUND, a collection of long lost ephemera just too naughty for the PG-13 rated pages of FOUND. I chatted with Bitner about his upcoming appearance in Portland, which will feature an appropriately dirty PowerPoint presentation.
What do these FOUND events have to offer that you can't get by just reading the magazine?
They're a great way to get people together and have a little party. It gives us a chance to reach out to people and also collect stuff they bring to the shows. In addition to the PowerPoint presentation, our art designer, Art Young, also does this long analysis of dirty illustrations that have come in. He's pretty schooled, and gives a detailed analysis of some of the raunchier pics.
What prompted Dirty FOUND?
A year into it we were getting all these cute Polaroids of kids, or sweet birthday cards and things like that, but then people started sending us things like super raunchy love letters. These were ones we didn't want our grandma to see, but people were into them. So last November we put out the first issue of Dirty FOUND, and there's been a tidal wave of submissions coming in.
What's the dirtiest thing you've ever received?
There're three photos I have that really make me squirm, and I like to think I'm pretty open to things. They're photos of post-enema close-ups—we want to keep it raunchy but not stomach turning.
Has anyone ever come to take back one of the found items you feature, claiming it's theirs?
We actually have had that happen pretty often. We had this art show in Chicago and this guy looked at the cover of issue #2 and goes, "That's me!" It was this great photo of him and this girl at their junior high dance. Apparently the night didn't go well—she went home with someone else, but he still wound up with about two dozen copies of that issue for friends. He's become kind of the poster boy for FOUND.