Friday, July 25, 2008

a few good men

{eric's good-bye lunch at marchese's olive pit}

It's not often you find a man who has a true appreciation for paper, but somehow we've managed to locate a few of them over the years. And Eric was one of the best ... by far. Sadly, he's leaving Milwaukee and heading to Minneapolis. Today's his last day as a b-way-p'er. :(

Eric started at bwp 5 years ago {I can't believe it's been that long!} as a sales associate. In that time he's been promoted to a lead associate and then assistant manager. And okay, I still can't believe it's been 5 years ...

Anyway, we spent some time talking to Eric and thought you'd enjoy getting to know him too ...

How did you find yourself at bwp?
I graduated from Madison in 2003, and on a visit to Milwaukee I happened to stop in the store while checking out the antique stores in the ward. I found a huge selection of letterpress stationery, and I was hooked! I knew that I had to apply for a job, so as soon as I got back to Madison I sent my resume. When I interviewed with Heather, it turns out we went to the same elementary, middle, and high schools—so I was pretty much hired. What a strange coincidence!

What has been your favorite thing about working at bwp?
The people & the product. The people I’ve had the opportunity to work with have been amazing. So many great personalities—I’d never have met them all if I wasn’t at BWP. And to top it all off, we all got to work around some of the coolest paper goods I’ve seen in any store. Small companies, local companies, cutting-edge design—who could ask for more?

You have quite a record collection...What is it that draws you to vinyl? What types of music do you collect?
Vinyl just sounds better. MP3s and digital music has a unique form of distortion that can sometimes alter the music. Of course, vinyl isn’t without its weaknesses (it scratches, warps, pops, etc.) but there’s something really wonderful about putting a needle on a record and letting it play through. In the age of the iPod, I feel like there aren’t many people who still play an album all the way through (or at least through side A).

I collect Brazilian popular music from the 1950s-1970s, which can be extremely difficult to find in the states, so I’ve occasionally imported it. Joao Gilberto, Jorge Ben, and Gilberto Gil are all in my collection, and they sound amazing on vinyl! I also collect piano jazz recordings from the 1950s and 1960s, mostly Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson. I also collect more contemporary music on vinyl as well, and will get a vinyl copy of any new album that’s good enough to take a place on my vinyl shelf. Sufjan Stevens, Beck, Jose Gonzalez—I’ve gotten all of their recent work on vinyl.

You've worked in letterpress, archives, bookmaking...what is it that draws you to these handmade methods?
Written on one of our stationery boxes once was the phrase “Made by hands.” I always thought that was a great way of putting it—I like the idea of a person sitting down to create something unique. So much of what we consume these days is mass-produced in factories overseas—I’m always looking to support people that are making their own goods. Luckily, at Broadway Paper I can say that I’ve personally met the creators of many of our lines.

What's your favorite karoake song?
I think my biggest karaoke triumph was singing Superstar by the Carpenters. Great fun. Don’t try to picture it, it might make you laugh...

Favorite Cosby Show episode?
So difficult to choose! But I think the one I’ve always loved was the one where Vanessa gets drunk on bourbon at a party. Chug-a-lug!

3 things you can't wait to do in MN? 3 things you'll miss most about Milwaukee?
1. Go to a show at 1st Ave or 7th Street Entry. I know I’ll never get to re-live Purple Rain, but I’d still like to say I’ve been there!
2. Take a class at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.
3. Use our dishwasher. We’ve lived for 2.5 years in an apartment with no dishwasher. I think I’m ready for some dish-washing luxury!

1. Lake Michigan. I live very near to the lakefront and I’ll truly miss the cool lake breeze and seeing the sailboats in the summer.
2. Alterra Coffee. My favorite coffee is their Organic Mexican Kulantik—and not being able to get it right away will be tough! I’m stocking up before I move!
3. The unique mix of people. Milwaukee people are truly a unique breed, and while I know that Minneapolis will have their own fun folks, I’ll definitely miss the unique mix of people in Bayview, Riverwest, & downtown.

Favorite books, movies, food or tv shows?
My favorite book is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami. My favorite movie is a toss-up between Woody Allen’s Manhattan or David O. Russell’s I Heart Huckabee’s. Very different movies, but I love them both very much.

You've had some incredible adventures...what is the next place you will travel to and what was your favorite place to visit?
With the move looming, I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to venture abroad again, but I’m thinking the next trip will either be to Belgium or Germany. My coolest trip was probably to Tokyo & Kyoto last year, but my favorite place to visit will always be Paris. I’ve been twice so far, and it’s the top of my list for the next trip—despite the fact that there’s so many other great places to see. Nevertheless, I’m on a mission to see the Albrecht Durer self-portrait that hangs in the Alte PInakothek in Munich, Germany—so I think you might see me in Southern Germany before too long.

Snail mail or email?
A mix of both. I like using Facebook and I like blogging as a means of keeping a personal journal of sorts, but I do send letters to close friends while on vacation or just to keep in touch. The urge to send an e-mail is always great, and sometimes I cave in and send one, but I love getting mail, and I know that if I send more letters I’ll get more letters in return.

Favorite designer/line at bwp and why?
That’s really tough, but I think my favorite designer at BWP is Egg Press. I’ve always loved their design aesthetic, which has a bit of a 60s/70s feel. I think also I appreciate their work because they don’t take themselves too seriously—they do great work and seem to love what they do. When I’ve met them in person it seems like they’re living their dream job (or at least my dream job!) and I’ve always thought that was great!

Any final thoughts:
I’d just like to say thank-you to everyone that I’ve worked with over the years—coworkers, designers, vendors, customers—you made my job a lot of fun! I’ve learned so much from all of you, and I’m proud to have been a part of this amazing store. I’m not quite sure yet where I’ll end up in Minneapolis, but I hope we cross paths again someday!

{P.S. If you're in MN and work with unique, quality paper-goods ... I have a feeling Eric would love to hear from you and possibly work for you!}


heather said...

Good bye Eric! You will be missed terribly!!

Stay warm in MN! :-)

A Windy City Wedding said...

Eric I have missed you already but now all of Milwaukee will miss you!!