By Sarah Harvey | Photo by Giles Clasen
This year the Denver VOICE is joining street papers around the world in celebrating our vendors during the holidays. For part of this international collaboration, we interviewed veteran VOICE vendor Brian Augustine. Through the International Network of Street Papers, Brian’s responses below will be shared with a worldwide audience.
Due to a felony background and an injury, Brian had a difficult time finding work and first found himself experiencing homelessness in 2009. He discovered the Denver VOICE after meeting another vendor, and immediately took advantage of the opportunity. Now, Brian is able to rent a room with income he makes selling the VOICE. He is one of the paper’s top vendors, and became a member of its board of directors one year ago.
What is the best present you’ve ever received and why?
It would have to be a book I received from my mom when I was ten. It was ’Twas the Night Before Christmas—I got that and a cap gun. That book sparked a desire to read in me. It taught me the generosity of Christmas, and it’s a memory I’ve cherished.
How do you plan to spend the holidays this year?
I plan to spend Christmas with friends, one of whom I met when she became a regular customer of mine. She invites me to her house every year. We eat dinner together, open presents, and always have great conversations. I always bring wine for dinner, and if I have an oven, I bake my special holiday cookies, which have oatmeal, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, and a secret ingredient.
If you did not sell the VOICE, how do you think you might be spending the holidays this year?
Probably waiting in line for a meal. There’s no way I’d be able to afford my apartment without the VOICE.
Would you like to say anything to your customers?
The gifts and cards my customers give me are always special, and make for the best Christmas mornings. Regardless of what you do or don’t celebrate, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!
Brian has a few locations he rotates between, but he can frequently be found at 18th and California Streets. ■