Hometown: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Occupation: I write stories and articles. I produce dance music for goth/industrial clubs. I temp when the money’s tight.
Educational background: It was a series of stumbles and wrong turns until I dropped out of graduate school in 2005. I had gone back to school to work an anthropology PhD at the City University of New York, but I wanted to write in the vernacular so I had to go.
At one point you studied World Trade Center souvenir hawkers. What conclusions did you reach? My research partner and I became advocates for the vendors and their customers. When the commodity exchange is the most common and comfortable type of human interaction in a society, it’s hard to blame people for using commodities to relate to the most significant historical events of their lifetime.
You were homeless for a while. What was the most challenging part? We all used to climb up onto the concrete fountain in San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza to sleep and they would spray us down with a big firehose. I wouldn’t say homeless, though, because I eventually went back to the University of Chicago, and truly homeless people don’t have those kinds of opportunities.
What are you writing now? I just finished a piece for The Brooklyn Rail on ABC No Rio, a DIY arts center on the Lower East Side that is getting ready to construct a new green building for itself. Much of my recent work is about the emotional texture of technological experience: using Google Earth to revisit places you once lived, for example.