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Couch #4 - Alex and Steve

Couch #4 – Alex and Steve – June 3rd, 2010

Couch #4 belongs to Alex and Steve.   The couch is apparently a pain in the butt.   Alex enjoys Craigslist and when they moved in to their place, she started buying couches like every week.  She would buy one, bring it home and not like it.  And then she would sell it.  She’s skilled enough at Craigslist that she would usually make a profit.  Steve felt like he was moving couches all the time.  This one was the display model at a furniture store in The Valley.  The couch was delivered through the window.  It’s so big it doesn’t fit through the door.  They are trying to sell it, but are probably stuck with it.  I thought it was very comfortable.   They are married and  live in Townhouse, that they own, in Echo Park, California.  She works in web analytics, and he is a scientist.  They have one cat named Frasa, although I probably spelled that wrong.  Alex enjoys hanging out, walking staircases, and travel.  Steve likes to play chess.  Steve was a dumpster salesman for Waste Management after college.  That’s what a physics degree will get you in Arkansas.  We met when we were drunk on wicked strong beer at our mutual friend Wil’s birthday party in January, although I had been to their  home when Wil had lived there.  One of Alex’s current favorite songs is “Melatonin” by Silversun Pickups.  Steve like Led Zeppelin, and would probably pick the “The Ocean” as his favorite song.  He also likes “The Empire Strikes Back”.  Alex likes “2001: A Space Odyssey”.  She like Mexican food. Steve likes his Mom’s lasagna.  Alex hopes that I don’t get hacked up.  Oh, and yes, this project is part of the stimulus package.

On Thursday, June 3rd, I was sitting at Julia’s place finishing my laundry when I noticed it was closing in on 7pm.  The laundry had gotten started late and there was no way it would be out of the dryer in time to make it to the next couch at Alex and Steve’s place.  So, yet again, I was going to be late.  I google mapped their address, pulled the clothes out of the dryer, and loaded up the car.  By 8pm, I was on my way.  As I was supposed to be there at 8, I wasn’t that late.  With little difficulty, I found my way there and parked my car. The Laker game was on and the delicious deep dish pizza from Masa was getting cold.  I was hungry and started devouring a slice of it while watching the game and getting Steve up to speed on the project.  Alex and I had already exchanged emails, so she was well versed in what this was all about.  Soon, the game was over (The Lakers won), the pizza was eaten, and I wanted to check my email and facebook.  Once again, the wifi was down.  This seems to be a recurring theme.  However, it was easy enough for me to plug in and get the latest information.  As it was already getting late, I made it a quick visit to facebook land and got down to business.  Photos were taken.  Some of which you can see here.  Interviews were conducted, the basic results which are noted in the opening.  In addition we discussed other things like the “7 UP” series of films by Paul Almond and their impact on the subjects.  Would my interviews impact my subjects the same way?  Would I be going back for seconds?  We also discussed “sex, lies, and videotape”, although not in much detail.  In addition, documentaries and experiences like “Super Size Me” and the “30 Days” series by Morgan Spurlock were brought up.  I’d be lying if I said that these weren’t influential in me doing this project.  Once the interview was over, we went up to the roof. The view of downtown L.A. from there is amazing.  I put the conversation on hold and snapped away.

By this point it was getting really late and as both Alex and Steve had to get up early for work, we got the couch set up for sleeping and called it a night.   This couch was quite comfortable as I mentioned in the opening.  It was as wide as a twin bed, if not wider.  I might as well have been sleeping on a bed.  But, none of this kept me from being awoken by an extremely loud peacock early in the morning.  It seems that they roam wild there.  Thankfully it wasn’t that early, and so I found it more amusing than annoying.  Steve woke up late and ran out the door, late for a meeting.  Alex got up shortly after and after a brief conversation about their house hunt, we both headed out.  She was on her way to work and I was on my way to my next couch.

About 50 Couches in 50 Nights

My name is Dean MacKay. In June and July of 2010, I slept on 50 different couches in 50 consecutive nights. I took photographs of the couches, both as a couch and as my bed. I took portraits of my hosts and interviewed them. I documented their homes on film and digitally as well as in a journal. I was treated to home cooked meals and intimate secrets. I was cared for when I was ill and checked in on after I was long gone. There were sleepless nights and busy days and times spent discussing the past and dreaming about the future. I drank a lot of coffee at a lot of different coffee houses. There were old friends who became closer and acquaintances who I now call my friends. There were even strangers who invited me into their homes. Threads were woven among them all. My skills were honed as I practiced my craft on a daily basis. I learned many things about my hosts and I continue to learn many things about myself. These times are unforgettable. This journey was initially born out of necessity. The economic times had taken their toll. But the fruit of this labor is not simply financial. It is emotional and spiritual and societal. I tapped into something that is still developing. And as it develops I will share with you this knowledge as well as providing you a way to share it with others. I hope that you will support me as this journey continue and grows. I plan to unveil many things from this work including a coffee table book on the couches, and perhaps other books and a documentary. I'm also hoping to get the blog carried on a major website. Of course, and second project is also in the works although what form it will take has yet to be determined. Any assistance or advice that you can offer to further these projects is welcome. Your support, both financial and emotional, is crucial to my success. Thank You. © Dean MacKay 2010


4 thoughts on “Couch #4 – Alex and Steve – June 3rd, 2010

  1. I just realized that I forgot to mention that as I was leaving Alex and Steve’s place, I noticed that my car was not parked in “Guest” spot, but instead, was in the space reserved for fire trucks. There was a stern, but polite note asking me not to do that again.

    Posted by Dean | June 10, 2010, 1:11 am
  2. Smooth moves Deano. Maybe you should just drive a firetruck from now on.

    Posted by Norah | June 10, 2010, 3:23 am
  3. It has come to my attention that I have developed a following with a certain couch-sitters mother and sister-in-law and they would like to know who I am and how I know Dean.
    Dean and I were co-workers at the illustrious studio known as Metro Goldwyn Mayer, a dream factory that once made masterpieces like “Gone With The Wind” but nowadays sweatshop their investor’s millions making monstrosities like “Hot Tub Time Machine”.
    While I would spend my days working my rather lithe fingers to the bone making sure that the likes of “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” was translated into Lithuanian with Czech subtitles for a third world double sale (go marketing!)…Dean would impishly scuff along in corduroy trousers too long for his legs that bunched atop his black Converse All-Stars and wind his way through our maze of cubicles while rubbing his perpetual 5 o’clock shadow deep in thought as to how to while away the day (what was it Dean was hired to do anyway?) He would occasionally tip his newsboy cap to various female assistants who were endowed genetically or otherwise, spend time with James giving him tips on how to decorate his cube for Arbor Day, Guy Fawkes day, Talk Like a Pirate Day or any other day James would decorate his cube for, or just hang with Marlene and gab about Shag, The Dresden Room or how much they loathed the terms “prolly” and “no worries”. His laugh would ring through our halls. That laugh! It had the power to make Frank lift his head from his cartoon doodles, Yvonne pause from re-filling her fruit bowl and even caused Scott to stop thinking about baseball if only for a moment…a very brief moment and then it was back to business as usual for Scott- detonating F-bombs and baseball…Yes, It was that laugh that we all came to know and love, some of us a bit more then others. There I said it. Love. I was in love with Dean. But after dropping a few hairpins about Madonna and Britney which were NOT picked up I realized that the man who loved talking horse racing (ya-awn) WAS AND STILL IS hopelessly heterosexual. (Dean wouldn’t recognize a lemon zester if one bit him in the ass and will probably die never having shaped a napkin into a swan) And so I am left to vie for the second choice affections of men who are fond of rainbows, piano bars and vacationing in Amsterdam. Men who collect glass unicorns, wear leather underwear, take Ikebana classes, can make a tiramisu from scratch and know the names of all of Liz Taylor’s X-husbands.
    All I have from Dean is the promise that he will spend a night on my couch and document the experience. He seemed lukewarm about the idea at first until I told him it was a vintage 70’s Ultra suede that I got in New York in the 80’s and that folklore has it that Halston himself once sat on it eating cheddar cheese Bugles while watching an episode of “Starsky and Hutch”.
    Little does Dean know that I too will be operating a camera on the night he visits.
    Once he is asleep and looking like a cherub with his sausage casing toes dangling out one end and his moon-pie face peeking out from the other of my lavender shaved-mink throw. I will snap a shot that will be lovingly pasted in my album of faded memories. One day long after I am gone the print will end up in a weathered fruit crate at the Fairfax High School Sunday swap-meet however by that time the school will have been renamed Zak Efron High. There some young Emo Type (The look will be ripe for revival by that time) will buy Dean’s portrait and hang it above his sofa and wonder who this man was and why someone thought it so important to photograph him sleeping.

    Fussy Fag

    Posted by Icepac | June 10, 2010, 6:19 am
  4. Years will pass and the young Emo Type will plunder fashions from other bygone era’s until the gem in his right hand begins to flash red at the ripe old age of 30 he decides he does not want to be terminated in a quasi-religious ceremony known as Carousel. He becomes what is known as a runner and tries to escape his fate by leaving the domed city of Los Angeles. He gets stuck in rush hour traffic on the 405 and is snuffed out by a sandman riding on a motorcycle. As space is at a premium in the domed city he is buried in an already occupied grave. Mine. When his casket bumps mine our iphones exchange information that will never be seen or used and a beetle living in the back of my throat is disturbed and pushes its way out of the desiccated scars that were once my lips causing a small trickle of dust to pour forth, like the sands of passing time.

    Dean I am not going to read you a bedtime story when you come stay. I am going to write one.

    Buh wah ha ha ha ha (my evil laff)

    Any resemblance of the above story to the superb film “Logan’s Run” is purely coincidental and I would appreciate not being sued.

    Fussy Fag

    Posted by Icepac | June 10, 2010, 6:47 am

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