Extraordinary stories from everyday life on the edge of the world

Stories

the best thing about us is the people we know.
 

New York || Rex at the Village Lantern

Rex grew up in Mariposa, a Yosemite Valley town with four hotels, three gas stations, and no traffic lights. Every weekend he'd ride his bike ten miles to buy candy at the nearest corner store. He graduated high school with the same 100 kids from his kindergarten. 

After joining the local ranks of logging men, he decided to find a way to see more of the world. He would have enlisted in the Army, but his parents put their foot down. So instead he followed his older brother to the Coast Guard; they ended up stationed together on Staten Island

Rex says his brother was always secretly an artist; he was All-American in football, but performed in high school plays as well. After getting out of the service, he enrolled in Columbia University to study film production. Rex helped him brainstorm the screenplay for his application to the Masters program as they drove to pick up a couch in New Jersey. 

His brother's ambition inspired Rex to study film, as well, when finished his Coast Guard stint. The idea, he says, was that his brother would be the artist and he'd be the business guy. 

But over the past several months, after performing as an extra and PA'ing on his brother's short films all over town, Rex found himself having artistic ideas of his own. It makes him nervous, he says; it wasn't the plan. And he doesn't really know that much about moviemaking, or about the big directors, or what makes for a great film. 

So for now, he's getting his associates degree out of the way and bartending at the historic Village Lantern on Bleecker Street. It's a great place to talk to people and learn what he doesn't know.

"I've been humbled every night I've worked here, by somebody who comes in and tells me I don't know what I'm talking about. And I'm like, 'You know? You're right. So tell me.'"