Monday, April 27, 2009

All's not lost in Requiem for a Paper Bag

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 2:05 PM

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"I'm the sort of person who always has to turn over each piece of paper I see to make sure the secrets of the universe aren't written on the other side," filmmaker Miranda July admits near the beginning of Requiem for a Paper Bag, a new anthology from Found magazine editor Davy Rothbart. Requiem's a collection of stories from people who, like July, rummage through thrift stores, dumpsters, and alleyways to rescue minor treasures from the refuse of the world. The result is equal parts transcendent and trashy.

Rothbart's packed the volume with a wealth of contributors. A Pulitzer Prize winner fits comfortably among punk 'zine writers. Hip musicians mingle with literary editors. Robert Olen Butler considers a stray postcard's significance. David Simon digs through the Baltimore murder case files for a lost letter from Bob Dylan. Devendra Banhart comes across a magical frog, and Chuck D teaches a lesson in combing junkyards. It's as funny as it is fascinating, trading heavily on voyeuristic glimpses into strange lives.

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(Photo courtesy Fireside)

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