Monday Motivator: Meet Matthew
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hmm… Well, I am a water sign. Born under the star of the Crab. I’ve long told my friends that I think everyone should know (and practice!) at least one form of divination. I really like music. I like to collect vinyl LPs. Good record stores in Buffalo. Some recent acquisitions: Max Richter; Califone; Marisa Anderson; this great highlife keyboard album out of Ghana by Kwamena Ray Ellis; some John Fahey; Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers. (An eclectic bunch, I know; but I recommend checking out any of these folks if you don’t happen to know to them!) I practice calligraphy, a Renaissance Italic. I also like to write letters, you know, correspondence. But haven’t written any in way too long. Vocationally, I’m a researcher, a writer, an educator, an occasional curator. I should acknowledge, I’m something of an interloper in Buffalo (of course, that’s how it starts…). I’m from out West—Northern California, originally. But the university I work for is in New Haven, Connecticut. I am here in Buffalo doing ethnographic and oral history fieldwork on Buffalo’s East Side. I’ve gotten rather interested in the period between, say, 1945 and the mid to late 1970s on the East Side. A lot goes down then. Some beautiful high points. Memories. And some unfortunate episodes of disenfranchisement that were, and continue to be, really devastating, actually. Then, on top of it all, all that industry on the East Side starts to shut down by 1980…You gotta know something about this period if you want to begin to understand the East Side now, I think. I am trying to talk with folks on the East Side who are old enough to remember these years. Help get their stories down. I have met many remarkable people so far. Anyhow, I don’t get to the gym on Sundays much anymore. You can find me fellowshipping over at Humboldt Parkway Baptist, not too far at all from our little postindustrial gym, as it were…
What does the Revolution studio mean to you?
It means a lot to me, a real lot. A place not only for fitness and well-being (body *and* mind) but also a welcoming and friendly space of sociality, learning, conviviality, and some occasional networking. I really value this space across numerous registers. Thanks, y’all, for showing up, and being here. I mean that sincerely.
We all get in the zone in different ways. Where does your head go during a workout?
One’s mind goes many places during a workout, as we all know. I guess my aspiration is to try and remain focused: on just what I am doing, where I am, and how I be doin’ it (i.e. Form). Following one’s breath, staying focused on the breath, as we know, is real helpful for this. So, you know, it all comes back to the breath I suppose.
What’s your favorite class at Rev?
I am hooked on these cardio + strength training combos, upstairs. I love the endorphin release of the cardio, and of course building strength is crucial. Happy to sweat buckets on the cycle too. Would love the occasional Zuumba class upstairs though! I mean, that Z. stuff is Fun! …Let’s not forget: the Revolution will involve plenty of dancing…
What’s your favorite meal/snack to eat after a tough workout?
I keep it simple. After a noon class—a big ol’ salad with some protein source. Wash it down with a tall glass of water.
If you have friends visiting from out of town how do you show the perfect Buffalo day?
So many contingencies, but here are some good things: a summer blue sky day with not a cloud in the sky, and not too humid; bicycles, riding them around; café Americano at Remedy House, out on the patio; lunch at the West Side Bazaar; drop by the Jazz Museum at the historic “Colored Musicians Club”, the old Local 533—meet my friend George Scott there, ask him to please show us the guest register with the mighty Aretha Franklin’s signature in it!; South Buffalo field excursions—have a look at the grain elevators (while discussing, perhaps, Lorca’s notion of duende in relation to these gigantic, abandoned casks of forgotten capital), take a walk around the Tifft Preserve; find some treasures at Rust Belt Books or Black Dots record store; bring my friend with me to hear the powerful and talented choirs sing at Humboldt Baptist on Sunday morning; afternoon stroll in Delaware Park (homage to Olmsted); an evening art film at the North Park Theatre on Hertel; grab a bourbon nightcap at the Tabernacle and introduce one friend to another friend: namely, my friend Joel—the best and most astute bartender in Buffalo, a true gentleman, and an all-around swell guy; night ride home, enjoying the cool breeze.
What’s your favorite place to brunch in Buffalo?
Obligatory shout-out to Jake at Billy Club, no doubt?! Those are some damn fluffy scrambled eggs…. But too I got to mention Sweetness 7! I mean Sweetness 7 was my very first introduction to Buffalo, after all—via my old friend, Allen Shelton. (Btw, savor Sweetness 7 while you can, I hear its future is uncertain…?)
Early bird or night owl?
Aspirationally an early bird, but—historically, irredeemably—a night owl.
What’s your ideal rest day look like?
Sleep is a rose…
What’s your Favorite guilty pleasure song?
“Dancing On My Own,” Robyn.
If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island which 2 luxury items would you want to have?
I don’t really know too much about luxury items, my line of work doesn’t make them so readily available… On the other hand, there were, back in the day, several Eagle Scout friends of mine who were really important in my early formation. And like, I used to work for the Forest Service, in the backcountry and stuff. So I guess first and foremost I would need to know what I had for Essentials before committing to any luxury items! … On the other hand, I should probably add that I did, to my deep shame, watch all the seasons of LOST, for whatever that is worth…
Cats or Dogs?
If you were to win $100 million today what’s the first you do?
Today, huh? I reckon I would pay off my debt. Then pay off all my friends’ debt. Then put away a little nest egg for myself… But, Idk, I am interested in the “today” of this question—it seems, like, urgent. So therefore, Idk, donate the rest to Bernie? That seems pretty urgent. That, and/or start a free, experimental university and hire all my friends to teach classes! … And this university, I can assure you, it would have plenty of dance parties.