Travis Hugh Culley   The Immortal Class  
Travis Hugh Culley    


  Deft, wonderfully sly, and fraught with an ironic undertone, Travis Hugh Culley's The Immortal Class: Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human Power is the story of a generation Xer trying to survive as an artist in urban America. Embracing the advice of his childhood heroin-addict neighbor who advised, "You can follow your bliss whoever you are. In a true democracy you can be low and noble--and no one can judge you for it," Culley soon discovers that part-time work in galleries just doesn't pay the rent. Over a ninety-nine cent meatball sub, he pours through the want ads and finds a job as a messenger.

As a bike messenger, Culley finds himself part of a cult that gets things done--that gets urgent papers to folks in time--that, despite weather and the physical brutality of it all, makes sure people have the things that get them through the day smoothly. It's a juxtaposition of extremes. One month Culley possesses only thirty-two dollars and owes two months back rent and the next he's earning stacks of cash a day. It's a job where, all in one day, he sees urban poverty at the rawest level as he maneuvers the streets, and later in that same day delivers paperwork to a mover and shaker at a top corporation. It is in this melee that Culley finds, not just his artistic voice, but also his political voice.

In this issue of Bold Type, read an excerpt from The Immortal Class and see what the author has to say about messengering and art in an exclusive Bold Type author interview.

--Cara Hall
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  Photo credit: Lenyr Munoz

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