The Telegraph Street Calendar 2004 was the 15th, and final, issue of the series. It ran from 1990 to 2004. And, from a personal view, I was 33 when we started and 49 when we ended. So when we started I was a young man, and when we finished, well, I was no longer a young man. So it spanned a pretty significant portion of my life.
One of the reasons we started the Telegraph Street Calendar was that we felt the media mostly portrayed “the homeless” in a stereotypical manner. Either as “noble victims” or “trouble-making bums.” First and foremost, Duncan and I wanted to present the street people as individual people. And we looked at the street scene the way an anthropologist might study any particular tribe. In fact, street people aren’t really all that different than any other group of people (though they certainly have their distinctive elements). Street people eat and sleep and shit and piss and socialize and work (well, some of the time) and raise children and pets just like any other group of people. My standard line used to be: “The street scene is just like high school, except with rattier clothes and less teeth.”
We rarely had any trouble coming up with a unique theme for each issues. Because the street scene used to change dramatically on it’s own every year. Due to the transcient nature of street-people and the ever-shifting circumstances of street life. Some years stand out in my mind like colorful, zany, sunny days. Whereas other years have a darker and more tragic resonance. The whole project was very much like publishing a yearly Yearbook of the Telegraph street scene. And as Duncan and I hawked the latest issue at our vending table in front of Cody’s Books, the latest arrivals to the street scene would often check in with us, as if we functioned as sort of a Chamber of Commerce for the street people.
At any rate, the whole project was a pretty bizarre adventure that thrust me into places and situations that I never in a million years expected to find myself in. As they say. It was a trip, mon!
Here are a couple of the characters that were featured in that last issue.