2006_10_bluemon1.jpgAlong a dark and lonely strip in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, underneath the El train - at 1087 Broadway, to be exact - sits a shop. What kind of shop it is is hard to say. There might be a guy at a table drinking a can of beer and reading a yellowed paperback. Another table could have a cat stretched across it. There's a small counter on your left, with a couple of people drinking coffee and hunched over computers. And in the back, there might be a local rock or jazz band playing. But the main thing you'll notice when you walk in is the stuff. Lots of it. Books and board games and records and figurines and toys and lamps and maybe a motorcycle. More than you could hope to go through in an afternoon. And it's all for sale.

There's a good chance Steve Trimboli will be there as well, tending his curious shop. He agreed to answer some questions about just what Goodbye Blue Monday is all about. For more information about the store, you can check the web site or go to the myspace page. But the best bet is to grab a dust rag and hop the J to Kosciusko Street and see for yourself. That favorite thing you lost when you were 10? You might just be able to replace it.

So what do you call your shop? Besides "Goodbye Blue Monday." Is it first a cafe? A bar? A resale shop? A music club? Or cheaper than getting a big space at Manhattan Storage?
I call it "the store" most of the time. sometimes I guess I call it "the place." I never call it "miracle on ice." First, it's "Goodbye Blue Monday." Last, it's "Goodbye Blue Monday." In between it's an internet cafe, gallery, venue, pop-culture emporium (you can't get Mister Machine in a second-hand store), theater, cabaret, tavern and coffeehouse.

And for that matter, why do you call it "Goodbye Blue Monday" anyway?
I took the name in homage to Kurt Vonnegut's book, "Breakfast of Champions." I incorporated it in 1983 and was making pop-art (11-foot Beatles at Shea tickets, 4-foot clocks constructed out of 45 rpm records, seven-foot greeting cards - with envelopes to match) and labeling them with my signature and "Goodbye Blue Monday" as my tag.

I even did early breakthrough research involving the films of Ed Wood and Tor Johnson. I went to Hollywood in early 1984 seeking funds from Don Post Studios to run a retospective of his films. I came armed with a whole merchandise collection - tee shirts, calendars.....the works. all i got was a LOBO halloween mask. To this day, I firmly believe I am responsible for Martin Landau's Oscar.

Where's all the stuff come from?
The stuff comes from dead people. The business was born when a friend of mine died in 1998 and willed the contents of his collections in an 11-room house to his business partner who had no idea what to do with all of this stuff. I read about ebay, learned to use a computer, borrowed some money, rented a truck and found a warehouse in Hoboken. Since then, it's been more dead people and more stuff.

What are some of your favorite things?
My favorite things? (Why do I want to break into song?) I like all the vinyl. I like the triple-headed lamp from 1964 Czechoslovakia. I like the 700+ reel-to-reel tapes. I like the old technology and the instrument collage up front. I love the old piano on the stage and the piano bench i made in the backyard. The entirety of the place is special to me. It's my canvas.

What were you doing before you opened the space? When did it open?
I had lost Scrap Bar. in 1995 - the lease ended and so did a bad business marriage. It was sort of famous for a while - it was made synonimous with metal rock, Guns N' Roses, Metallica by way of MTV. The birth of the dreaded "reality show" was filmed there (MTV's "The Real World") - but that's another story.

I began to tend bar at a super-power restaurant on the upper-east side named Primola while I licked my wounds and tried to see where life was going to take me. Even when I started the warehouse/ebay business, I kept the bar gig till a year ago. Free medical!

(When 9-11 happened I had to rush uptown and pour vodka into the gullet of one Larry Silverstein, among other movers and shakers. They were all moving a little shakey that day.)

The place opened as a retail in February of 2005, a coffeehouse/venue in September of 2005 and a beer/wine/music venue in late November 2005. I just kept adding as I could. It was all about keeping in process.

How long can you keep up the resale side of the place?
As long as people move, die or need to get rid of things but don't want to be so cruel as to abandon them at a curb, I'll keep reselling. This place is a "stuff orphanage," waiting for that special someone to give that special something a home. Most of everything is cheap. then there's the real rare stuff....

Is your apartment full of tchotchkas and bric-a-brac?
I was cured of having lots of stuff in my house after the days that I spent clearing out that first house. Slowly after that, I'd be in my apartment staring at my 800 album record collection, then ask the question to myself - "do i need it here?" And in a few days, it's in my store. Then the books with the 1/4 inch of dust on them. That happened again and again. when someone comes up to the counter with one of my records or books I might comment (just a little sadly)..."gee, this used to be mine.." Maybe melancholy, but glad it's got a new life.

How'd you pick Bushwick to open in?
Bushwick was totally arbitrary. I got a 60-day order-to-vacate when they sold the warehouse in Hoboken that was the stuff's home for two years. A friend who lived in Bushwick at the time clued me to the space. I've been here since July, 2000. It took five years of ebay auctions to build the place, liquidate thousands of items - including a massive archive of comics i got at the time of the move - and get my life in order to open this place as you see it, though it changes all the time.

Tell us about some of your happiest customers? What kinds of things do people uncover there?
People find all kinds of things, but what's "special" is personal. The happiest person I know is a middle-aged woman from Trinidad who marvels at the salt and pepper shakers that appear here at times. It's like winning a lottery when she comes to the counter with her new finds. To another person, it's Avon collectibles, still others, it's records.

What do people uncover? A book entitled "The History of Envelopes," original newspaper with headline reading "Ford to City: Drop Dead." String-art paintings from the 1970s, photos from the turn of the century, deeds from the 1860s, Smurfs, trolls, 1960s clock radios, old irons, whatever....stuff. It's all stuff.

There used to be shirts that read "Whoever has the most stuff when he dies, wins"

Well, that's not true. When you're dead, you're dead. You can only hope someone like me gets it, otherwise it'll be in a landfill.

For more information about Goodbye Blue Monday, visit their website