“Richy’s Paradise” was first posted on YouTube a week ago. It was up for about 6 hours, then Richy contacted me and asked that it be taken down. It was a painful call to receive, and just as painful to remove it. I love the video and I feel it’s important for people to see. But I also hated that he was so troubled by it. That’s my responsibility to bear.
Richy is off the grid. He’s not online, on Facebook or anywhere else. He doesn’t even have an email. That combined with him being almost a complete shut in, it shouldn’t have surprised me that he might freak out to all of a sudden have this, my camera inside his home, and some pretty vulnerable moments as well, on YouTube for the world to see.
Today however I talked to him and I’m happy to say I’ve gotten permission to post it.
When I first met him he was bouncing between homelessness and that building’s basement, dumpster diving, living hand to mouth.
The reason he’s able to live where he does is because he’s the superintendent of the building, responsible for all the work necessary to keep a building like that legal and standing. It’s a job he’s worked hard to get. He’s on-call 24-7, which contributes to his anxiety. But that’s also how he’s taught himself the construction, plumbing and electric for the work he does in his own place.
I’m thankful he’s willing to let me put this out there as is despite the worries he might have about no longer being so anonymous.
It’s just by chance I got this opportunity to see the inside of his home. A few days before I left the city for good I happened to walk by him there on 13th & 4th. He was sitting on the sidewalk working on some arts & crafts project. I told him I was moving away, so he invited me over to give me one of his maps. In this video you’re witnessing my discovery of him too.
All of the art, music, wood carvings and craftsmanship are 100% Richy’s work. All the songs on the piano are untitled, and written down only in his head.
If you’re interested in contacting Richy he’s asked that you do it through me.