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Arts and Entertainment

Guy Couch Surfs 50 Nights in 50 Different Places, Documents Each One

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Dean MacKay sent us an email about something he's been working on for a couple of years now. Here's how he summarized his rather unique undertaking:

"In the summer of 2010, I slept on 50 different couches in 50 consecutive nights, in and around Los Angeles, taking photos of the couches, people, and a lot more."

MacKay put together a blog to tell all of his stories, and now he's turning the blog into a coffee table book.

His stories cover a variety of quiet evenings and quirky encounters. He stayed night chez a woman named Madame Pamita, who didn't have a couch per se: "It is actually a day bed that was purchased on JC Penney online after the previous one was broken after her children jumped up and down on it." And who is Pamita? "She lives in a “city” apartment in Palms, California. Pamita is a High School Librarian who plays music and tells fortunes on the side."

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Like Pamita's day bed, the couch itself can tell a lot about who owns it, and so MacKay includes in each story the tale of how he knows his evening's host, and how his host came to have their couch. Take Maura for example: "Maura doesn’t buy a couch unless she can lay on it and actually fall asleep in the store. If napping was an Olympic sport, Maura would totally medal. She is the Queen of napping." (She got her couch at Levitz, but lives in Hancock Park, by the way.)

So why did he do this? MacKay explains:

In short, I was pursuing my dream of becoming a professional photographer when, like many other people, the recession caught up with me. Instead of continuing to to look for the job that just didn't seem to be there, I found a different route to continue to pursue that dream. It began with me sleeping on couches and taking photos, but it continues to this day as I still don't have a place of my own and I'm still striving to make my dream come true. This project began with me putting myself in the care of others and finding out much more about them, and myself, than I anticipated. It has been a life changing experience, and continues to be. It has been exhausting and frustrating at times, but sleeping on 50 Couches in 50 Nights was the best decision I ever made.

We applaud MacKay's spirit, and are glad he didn't become "that friend" who turned a one night couch-surf into a prolonged stay. (Remember that "I Love Lucy" episode when "Cousin" Ernie wouldn't leave? Yeah. Ugh.) If you are feeling giving, MacKay has set up a Kickstarter to fund the book.