Davy Rothbart

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Davy Rothbart
Davy Rothbart at Wheeler Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Background information
Birth name David Ira Rothbart
Born (1975-04-11) April 11, 1975 (age 39)
Origin Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation(s) Author, filmmaker, journalist
Website Found Magazines's official site

Davy Rothbart (born April 11, 1975) is an author, filmmaker, contributor to This American Life, and the editor/publisher of Found Magazine.


Davy Rothbart's magazine Found is dedicated to discarded notes, letters, flyers, photos, lists, and drawings found and sent in by readers. The magazine spawned a best-selling book, Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World, published in April 2004. A second collection was published in May 2006, a third in May 2009. The magazine is published annually and co-edited by Rothbart's friend Jason Bitner.

Rothbart, a former Chicago Bulls ticket scalper,[1] often tours the country to share finds and invite others to share their finds with him. His brother, musician Peter Rothbart, often accompanies him on these tours. In 2004, as he was on a nationwide tour to promote the Found book, he appeared twice on the television program the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.

The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas, a collection of Rothbart's short-stories, was published in August 2005 by Simon & Schuster. A shorter version of the same book was previously self-published by Rothbart's own production company, 21 Balloons Productions (named after Rothbart's favorite book, The 21 Balloons, by William Pène du Bois). An Italian edition, Il Surfista Solitario del Montana, was published in 2007 by Coniglio Editore. In 2008, actor Steve Buscemi optioned the book for film adaption, to be developed by Olive Productions; Buscemi has written the screenplay and plans to direct.

When Fred Rogers of the PBS television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood died in February 2003, the New York Times ran an Op-Ed by Rothbart about his childhood encounters with Rogers similar to his story on This American Life. Rothbart also writes for GQ, The Believer, New York Magazine, SLAM Magazine, Maxim, and The Sun, and has a recurring column on Grantland.

In December 2006, Geffen Records released Rothbart's documentary film How We Survive about the punk rock band Rise Against on a DVD called Generation Lost. His second Rise Against documentary, Another Station: Another Mile, which follows the band as they write songs for a new album and perform shows around the world, was released in October 2010, and was among the year's bestselling music DVDs in the U.S. and Germany. In May 2011, Rothbart directed a behind-the-scenes featurette for ItGetsBetter.org about the making of Rise Against's "Make It Stop" video, which was nominated for a MTV Video Music Award. Rothbart and Rise Against lead singer Tim McIlrath are former roommates.

In the spring of 2008, Easier With Practice, a film based on an article Rothbart wrote for GQ about his life on tour, was shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The movie, written and directed by Kyle Alvarez, stars Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker) as Davy and Kel O'Neill as Davy's brother; it premiered June 12, 2009 at the CineVegas Film Festival and was awarded the Grand Jury Prize. A week later, Easier With Practice premiered internationally at the Edinburgh Film Festival, where it won the prize for Best Feature. In December 2009, Easier With Practice was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. The film was released in theaters in February 2010, and met with great critical success: The Los Angeles Times called Easier With Practice "fresh, flawless, and totally captivating," and The Village Voice praised the film as "emotionally honest and achingly true."

In January 2009, Rothbart filmed his first full-length narrative feature, Overhaul, which stars rapper Daniel "D Shot" Garvatt as a pizza driver in desperate circumstances on New Year's Eve. Rothbart himself delivered for Bell's Pizza in Ann Arbor, Michigan for six years. Overhaul is scheduled to be released in 2014.

From late 2010 to spring of 2012, Rothbart filmed a documentary called Medora, which follows a resilient high-school basketball team in the small, struggling town of Medora, Indiana. Co-directors Rothbart and Andrew Cohn, during an appearance on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, indicated that their film will debut in 2013. The film, co-directed by Rothbart and Andrew Cohn, premiered at SXSW in 2013 [2] and was released in theaters in fall 2013. The documentary was produced by Beachside Films and Steve Buscemi, Stanley Tucci, and Wren Arthur of Olive Productions, among others.

Rothbart is also the subject of a documentary, directed by David Meiklejohn, called My Heart Is An Idiot, which premiered in April 2011, and screened in twenty U.S. cities that spring.

In September 2012, Rothbart's book of personal essays, My Heart Is An Idiot, was released by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The book, which details Rothbart's lost loves and longtime life on the road, quickly garnered widespread praise, including positive reviews from The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Book Review, among many others. Upon the book's publication, Rothbart began a massive 79-city North American tour, and was profiled in The New York Times. My Heart Is An Idiot was named one of the Best Books of 2012 by NPR's Morning Edition, Amazon.com, Vanity Fair, and The Huffington Post. The paperback version was released by Picador in September 2013.

Rothbart is the founder of Washington II Washington, an annual hiking adventure which brings inner-city kids from Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and Southeast Michigan to New Hampshire for a climb to the top of Mt. Washington. He directs the Found Magazine Prison Pen-Pal Program, connecting Found readers on the outside with those behind bars, and is also active with the youth writing programs 826 National, 826michigan, and 826LA.

A graduate of the alternative Community High School and the University of Michigan, Rothbart lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Los Angeles, California.


Davy Rothbart's stories were featured on the following episodes of This American Life:


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