I hadn't been back to Scratch Deli, formerly People's Republic of Koffee, since co-owner Tristan Devin died in November. Then this morning, it was suddenly time to return. Next to the door was this, and it made me really happy, and kind of sad. As it should.
Devin stood out as a stable and benevolent presence. Surrounded by fledgling talent and fragile egos, he made the café a welcoming, all-inclusive hub for comedians. Onstage, he excelled at creating characters that were absurdly, tragically flawed, invoking compassion for the most broken souls in a way that, in heartbreaking retrospect, suggested a deep personal familiarity with suffering.
His friends are gathering next week to celebrate what would have been his 33rd birthday. More info is here.