Archive for September, 2010

Radiolab: Detective Stories

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I heart podcasts, especially since moving a bit further into Brooklyn and changing offices to one a bit further into Manhattan. As my commute has grown, so has my digital subscription list. Lately, I’ve been getting into RadioLab, which is awesome because despite numerous recommendations I had never really listened to any episodes before. Thus, the online archive of free downloads is an absolute treasure trove of straphanger distraction.



This morning, for example, I listened to a vintage episode called Detective Stories. It opened with producer Jad Abumrad standing on top of Fresh Kills landfill after it was closed but before conversion had begun to turn the site into a park—my kind of intro! The point being that landfills house a wealth anthropological stories that, inevitably, will one day be dug up. Then, to my delight, the first main chunk of the program features an ancient Egyptian dump where scientists have recouped fragments of paper from 2000 years ago that add to and throw into question everything we know about Jesus. That’s right, Jesus. Check it out for yourself here.

Herzog, Lynch, Bahrani and a plastic bag

Monday, September 27, 2010

Trashtastic news: Rent a DVD of Werner Herzog’s film My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done?, a collaboration with David Lynch, and you’ll also get a bonus track: Rahmin Bahrani’s mockumentary Plastic Bag, narrated by Herzog himself. Or you could just watch it now on YouTube.

Garbidge hotel

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A hotel made completely from garbage, specifically debris left behind by beachgoers in Europe, is now on display in Rome. The Save the Beach Hotel will travel around. Eurotrashies look out for it in a city near you soon. via Travelkat and inhabitat. More here and here. Thanks for the tip, Nakia!

photo via

Adventures of Trash Baby

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Little Shiva of The Visible Trash Society created this whimsical and though provoking series following the adventures of a little creature called Trash Baby. Each and every entry is worth a look. While you’re on the site, click through the sidebar links. This is just one of Little’s many artistic ventures, most of which related directly to our favorite themes.

Trash Baby making recycled art

Regulating trash

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This funny photo from Last Night’s Garbage links to a disturbing article on garbage trucks rigged with cameras in Canada. The idea is to see if people are recycling properly. A bit much if you ask me; also a bit reminiscent of Vic’s reporting on Swedish trash crimes.

Discard Studies

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Robin Nagle, anthropologist in residence for the Department of Sanitation, New York City, is both a favorite tipster and topic here at Today’s Nagle-find is the very exciting news that the professor herself has entered the world of garblogging! Her nascent site, Discard Studies, aspires to become a nexus of trash scholarship, a clearinghouse of academics exploring questions of waste and a living bibliography of their work. We are VERY EXCITED to see this initiative take off. The success of the project depends on spreading the word. If you know of related work underway, in some shade of gray or already published, please pass it along. Garbologists unite!

And in the meantime, check out the blog’s first few posts. Every single one is fascinating.

Trash Inc: The Secret Life of Garbage

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New documentary to air on CNBC Wednesday, September 29th at 9pm EST. I like the tagline “this is away” because it’s more or less the garblogger’s mantra.

New York’s Strongest

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ugh, trashies, forgive my sporadic posting these days. The new day job is all consuming, but that’s no excuse, especially since SO MUCH has been going on in the world of garbage. This weekend was totally saturated with new trash finds, mostly thanks to the fantastic event artist Paul Lloyd Sargent organized on the converted RV known as MLAB. We held a little garposium featuring Robin Nagle, who shared the back story on how exactly one becomes anthropologist in residence for the Department of Sanitation, yours truly who shared the origin myth of and Lisa Dowda of Chasing Sanitation. To round out the day, Paul closed with an excellent overview of evolution of trash art (which I wont go into here in fear of spoiling the future guest post I hope to wrangle on the topic).

First off, let me tell you about Chasing Sanitation, a website that Lisa and her coconspirator Liz Ligon hope to make into a book. As the title suggests, they spend a good deal of time chasing sanmen and women and documenting their hopes, dreams and daily lives. The result is both beautiful and compelling.


Check out their kickstarter site to donate to the project and get updates on the book-in-progress’ journey to completion and publication. I know my coffee table feels empty without it. In the meantime, check out to peruse photos and life stories. And if salt of the earth stories aren’t compelling enough for you, check out this recent story on the creative women behind the site. To raise money and awareness for their cause, Lisa and Liz are awarding a date with one of “New York’s Strongest” for anyone who donates more than $1500. That’s right.

Trailer trash panel

Monday, September 13, 2010

This Sunday (9/19/10), is taking part in a trash-themed panel  moderated by artist Paul Lloyd Sargent as part of a project called “15 minutes, 15 people” on the Mobile Literacy Arts Bus (MLAB).


MLAB is a renovated RV that travels the country hosting educational events. It holds about 15 people, hence the project name. Now through September 24th, the RV is parked in front of the Stephan Stoyanov Gallery (29 Orchard Street). And from 2-4pm on Sunday, Paul will host a panel on the disposal chain that will include trashies like myself and the amazing Robin Nagle, anthropologist in residence for the Department of Sanitation, New York City.

We’ve covered both Paul and Robin’s work in past posts. Most recently here and here.

Robin was also recently interviewed by The Believer so be sure to check that out.

Facebook invite to the overall MLAB event here.

I’m looking forward to filling a trailer with trash talk with these guys plus other trashies!  If you’re in NYC, stop on by. And let me know if you’re interested in a trash collecting walk beforehand. Paul is organizing one as part of a larger garbage art project.

Brooklyn Free Store

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What up New York? Looking for a positive way to spend the afternoon of 9/11? Why not mosey down to Bed-Stuy for the grand opening of the Brooklyn Free Store? A bunch of local artists/scavengers/dumpster divers have claimed an abandoned lot and taken to using it for the swapping of skills and stuff on weekends. I plan to check it out for myself this Saturday. Hope to see you there.

Grand Opening Announcement

Life or trash circumstances

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Good Samaritans leaving water for migrants on the harsh trails between Mexico and Arizona risk going to jail under the state’s strict litter law. The Washington Independent recaps a fascinating TIME article on the subject here.

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