Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Recently I noticed how over the years I've acquired a curious collection of redundant t-shirts and I wonder if these retro and now meaningless visual compositions announce something ominous or else silly about their wearer. Among the shirts which should accessorize the dustbin of history are "Free Buddy-- Providence, RI," referring to jailed former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci. He's been out of jail now for over five years. Another t-shirt advertizes "Patsy's," the pizza joint in DUMBO now called "Grimaldi's" after losing a legal battle and being forced to cede the old name to a patsy not in Brooklyn. It's been "Grimaldi's" since about the time that Buddy fled the clink. Several shirts are fabric commercials for record stores primarily in New England and all now closed. Then there are the slew of bands, ever obscure and only really embodied in their emblematic incarnations on these moldy shirts. I've no nostalgia for criminal mayors, re-named restaurants, or defunct stores or musical groups. Perhaps, however, I do have a soft spot for the person I was when these garments were first bought, stolen, or offered. Several selves are in those shirts, not all of them waiting to return to new t-shirt vividness and some not willing to be expunged or faded. J/C