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Josh Bridgman 1967-2018
Monday, December 17, 2018
I am saddened to read on Bill Simmon's Facebook today, of the passing of my friend Josh Bridgman. I saw him only the other day walking downtown, and it crossed my mind to stop and offer a ride, but it was too hard for me and I didn't do it. This feels like something I might regret, since in retrospect it seems I blew my last chance to talk to Josh, and that's sad, but the whole thing is sad and regret is pointless. To everyone who knew Josh and loved him, or maybe just loved the idea of him even if the man himself could be hard to take sometimes, I am so very sorry. To the Burlington community and the whole wide world, I am so very sorry. I was already sad today and now I am more sad. Today I have a new and powerful negative association with checking my Facebook feed that will probably feed my growing aversion to it. Facebook hurts. Maybe that's why I'm writing this here. Bill Simmon shouldn't take this personally of course, unless it's as a complement, since his advice informed the creation of this very blog thirteen years ago. Thank you Bill. I will still use Facebook to share this eulogy, but I wanted to come home to write it.

The second to last time I saw Josh was maybe a month or two ago, walking east on the South side of Pearl Street, just east of where South Winooski Ave begins, next to the Ronald McDonald House, where the bus pulls in and stops right there... you know where I mean. I was driving by him this time as well but it would have been impossible to stop, so I don't even have to get to the question of regret in this instance. I'm not 100% sure of this, but I'm going to say it anyway- I had just pulled out of the parking garage that only in the last couple of months began automating the work Josh used to do there for so many years, taking your ticket and charging for parking in that little booth by the exit gate of the municipal garage. I remember always feeling good that Josh had a pretty good city job in that little booth where he would read books and write plays. A real life human being in a little booth contributes so much more to the quality of life in Burlington than a barcode scanner does.

"We're not Dorks" with Jason Cooley 1994

I think the time I saw him before that, we were both on foot and we did have a brief stop and chat, but I can't remember when that was. A year ago maybe? Two years? I don't know. I don't keep track of time the way I used to, I think. It wasn't a memorable stop and chat, but then again my memory isn't what it used to be, I think. I remember my impression was that he had gone very gray and that... he wasn't wearing a black trench coat maybe and I might have noted that.

So my recent memories of Josh Bridgman aren't that great. There was a period around 20 years ago or so when I'd say we were pretty good friends. Once he and I drove to Rutland together to audition for a movie at the mall there. So here we go- Josh Bridgman- not long ago dubbed by Bill Simmon "Bridgman on Fire" when one of his plays was getting some media attention... Maybe it was when 802 Online's Cathy Resmer wrote this story... Being Josh Bridgman. Or maybe it was when deadbeat Eva Sollberger made this video...[SIV201].

Josh was famous for wearing a black trench coat almost all the time. I'm pretty sure at some point he lived in the old, oddly shaped building at the northeast corner of North Street and North Winooski Ave, above where The Last Elm Cafe used to be, and The African Market is now, where members of Phish are said to have lived, which was once some kind of grain barn, in the same building where Psychedelicatessen was, where his former co-star of the fabled cable access channel 15 show "The Matty and Stech Variety Hour featuring Josh Bridgman and a Cast of Thousands," Matt Tanner currently lives. I think I visited him there once.

Josh was known for his explosive, cackling laughter and its accompanying spray of spit that would always hit you in the face. He was a playwright, although I can't say I ever saw one of his plays. Josh is the only person I know to have appeared nude, and gently touched himself live on public access TV, and he got away with it.

In a way Josh Bridgman was super-human. Not super-human like Superman but super-human as in, just so very human. Boisterous. Brilliant. Funny. He was loud... when he started laughing he could get embarrassingly loud. His glasses were crooked a lot and he was always disheveled. He was so very human. The exact opposite of a barcode scanner. Burlington has lost a beautiful part of our humanity and I feel that as I write this, sobbing.

Me and Josh at Uncommon Grounds- Late 1990s

I'm old enough to still own physical pictures. These pictures of Josh Bridgman are from my collection of those.


posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 1:23 PM  
  • At December 17, 2018 4:29 PM, Blogger Bill said…

    Lovely, Haik. Thanks for writing this. Thanks for posting the photos too.

  • At December 17, 2018 4:48 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    Thank you Bill.

  • At December 17, 2018 6:38 PM, Anonymous Nate Orshan said…

    Touching tribute for a Burlingtonian who touched so many lives. Thanks so much, Haik.

  • At December 18, 2018 10:38 AM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    Thank you Nate.

  • At December 18, 2018 10:40 PM, Blogger FLAMEAPE said…

    Thank you for this, my man.

  • At December 19, 2018 12:21 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    Thank you Gregory.

  • At January 22, 2019 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Obituary: Joshua Lawrence Bridgman, 1967-2018

    Seven Days January 7, 2019

    Vermont got a little less weird with the passing of poet/playwright/filmmaker and Kafka-in-the-Booth Joshua (Josh) Bridgman, 51, who died from a heart attack in his home in Burlington, Vt.

    Josh was predeceased by his mother, Pamela (Wetherbee) Tzimokas. He is survived by his father, Torrey Bridgman; his sister Mehitabel (Bridgman) Chiott; his uncle Benjamin Bridgman; his aunt Sara Bridgman; nieces Zoey Norris and Olivia Chiott; and nephew Aidan Chiott.

    Josh was born in 1967 in Boston, Mass., and lived in many places throughout his childhood, including Amsterdam, Holland; Montréal, Canada; Westport, Conn.; Topanga, Calif.; and Charlotte, Vt. He settled in Burlington, Vt., where he was known and loved for his unique contribution to what makes Burlington Burlington.

    He served the City of Burlington faithfully as a parking garage attendant for 30 years, where he was much appreciated by coworkers for his humor. He was recognized around town for his trench coat, his independent views on subjects ranging from art to politics, and his boisterous laugh so easily given. His poetry was featured by musical groups including Construction Joe and Jason Cooley/School Bus, as well as on recordings by his own band, Citizen V. Those fortunate enough to have collaborated with Josh on any manner of artistic endeavors or to have seen his plays Silent Invasion and Concrete Kingdom realized his eccentric genius. An enthusiast of raw, authentic art, Josh loved the fact that he was a contributor to Rael One-Cloud’s zine, AlphaBitch Afterbirth. His knowledge of avant-garde literature, music and cinema of all kinds was unmatched.

    The family would like to thank the community of Burlington for the outpouring of love and shared stories that captured the essence of Josh so well. To all who knew him, Josh was a man of many gifts: His eccentricity amused us, his unique brilliance amazed us, his boundless compassion touched us and, most of all, his authenticity inspired us. That is the stuff of his legacy, a call to each of us to muster the strength and grace to be who we are.

    A memorial service will be held on March 23, 2019, at the Off Center for the Dramatic Arts, located at 294 North Winooski Avenue in Burlington, at 3 p.m.

    “Sometimes it’s a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.” —David Byrne

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