Found Magazine, created by Davy Rothbart and Jason Bitner and based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and New York City, collects and catalogs found notes, photos, and other interesting items, publishing them in an irregularly-issued magazine, in books, and on its Web site. Davy Rothbart (born April 11, 1975) is an author filmmaker contributor to This American Life, and the editor/publisher of Found Magazine Ann Arbor is a city in the US state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. The City of New York Items found and published have ranged from love letters to homework assignments, and they are contributed by people who find them in a variety of places such as city streets, bus seats, inside school desks, and so on. An offshoot publication, Dirty Found, collects items considered too racy or indecent for the main publication.
The seeds of Found Magazine were planted when co-creator Davy Rothbart found the now infamous "Page Me Later" note mistakenly left on his windshield in Logan Square, Chicago. Intrigued and amused, Davy shared this peek into someone else's private life with his friends. He and Jason Bitner, a friend Davy met at an NPR pick-up basketball game in Chicago, began soliciting other found items from their circle of friends. Originally presented as photocopied fliers of some of the best finds, the pair realized the volume of found material they collected warranted a full magazine. Laying the material out in a zine format, Davy and Jason took their creation to a local Kinkos intending to make 50 copies to share with their friends who provided the zine's content. A zine (an abbreviation of the word Fanzine, or magazine ziːn "zeen" is most commonly a small circulation non-commercial Publication An unexpected patron (in the form of an extremely cool Kinko's employee) left Davy and Jason with 700 free copies. With such a surprising abundance, they decided to give the excess to local stores to share with everybody. With the support of Quimby's Bookstore and other Chicago independent book sellers, the zine took off. Realizing their project appealed to more than just their friends, Davy and Jason christened their collection of photocopied finds Found Magazine #1 and started gathering material for future installments.
Found has grown from a Chicago-based photocopied zine to a nationally-distributed annual magazine. Still retaining the essentially zine format and look, Found is up to five issues. A 250-page Found book was released in May, 2004. A sister magazine, Dirty Found, started publication in 2004. Dirty Found was started to provide a home for the smuttier, more explicit, and generally sexually-themed finds Davy and Jason wanted to segregate from the more PG-13 Found.
The success of Found has allowed both Davy and Jason to leave their day jobs and work full-time on the magazine and other personal projects. Davy moved to Ann Arbor, MI where Found is now headquartered, while Jason Bitner went to New York City where he heads their east coast office.
Found has also expanded beyond its original print format. Davy has gone on nation-wide tours each year since 2002, reading favorite finds, featuring found or found-inspired music, and asking audiences to bring their own finds to share. Jason has also moved the publication into the digital world, creating a website that features a Find of the Day, another venue to display the increasing number of finds the Found offices receive.
In December of 2005 Alarm Clock Theatre Company, based in Boston, MA, created a play based entirely on pieces published in Found turning the text from several pieces into songs, scenes and short films. Alarm Clock Theatre Company is a Theatre company based in Boston MA. The critically acclaimed show won the Elliot Norton Award for Best Fringe Production.