By Lauren Flynn Kelly

This month, I introduce an occasional new Secondhand News series that will feature a different Hyattsville resident who loves thrifting. Although I originally envisioned “Thrifting with … ” as a physical adventure to the thrift store with said local, social distancing during the pandemic has put a pause on that idea. So for the inaugural feature, I chose to live vicariously through Hyattsvillager, archivist and movie critic Pat Padua.

For the last couple years, I’ve been following Padua’s thrifting adventures through his Instagram handle, @anamelessyeast. And while I enjoy his many photos of pets, food and forgotten pop culture, the weird treasures he showcases while vintage shopping are getting all my “likes.” Highlights include sad clown art and ugly figurines. Here, Padua shares his most recent experience thrifting. 

How are the conditions out there for a pandemic vintage shopper? 

Padua: The first few times we [he and wife Veronica] went, there weren’t that many people out; then we went on Labor Day, and it was a lot busier, but there’s hand sanitizer, and everyone’s following regulations.

Would you say the quality of the items donated has gotten worse or better since the pandemic?

Padua: There seemed to be a huge backlog the first time we went back, and the shelves weren’t that well stocked. But even then, the records, say, seemed different from the usual suspects.

Halloween is approaching! How’s the selection?

Padua: As of Labor Day weekend, not so hot, but it may have picked up since.

What are your favorite things to buy for the holidays from the thrift store?

Padua: Vintage decorations!

What percent of the stuff that you photograph for the ’gram actually makes it home with you?

Padua: Maybe 50%? I take pictures of things that fascinate me but that I can’t bring myself to buy — most clowns fall in that category. The same goes for strange art I don’t want to bring home, though sometimes I get a change of heart. I still think about a painting I saw of a woman drinking a carton of milk; I posted a picture but left it behind, then when I went back to look for it again it was gone.

Does your wife share your love of thrifting, or are there strict ground rules in your house, like for every item that comes home from the thrift store, three items have to go out?

Padua: My wife and I love to go thrifting together! In theory, we like to donate more than we take home, and usually that’s what happens.

Can you name three things you bought at the thrift store recently?

Padua: (1) An ’80s-era Nakamichi stereo receiver — a budget model of a more high-end brand, and it needs a little work, but it was a bargain! (2) A high school jazz band LP from somewhere in Pennsylvania in the ’80s. (3) A pair of Haitian paintings of a man and a woman.

Can each of you share three of your favorite all-time local thrift store purchases?

Padua: (1) This huge Rousseau-like tiger painting that I now have hanging over my computer in my study. (2) A working cassette deck! Which made me dig up my old tapes, many of which might have otherwise been donated. (3) A mid-sized painting of a pig nursing its litter. That was one painting I took a picture of and was going to leave behind, but my wife talked me into it, and now I don’t know why I hesitated.   

Pat Padua counts this tiger, painted in the style of Henri Rousseau, as a favorite thrift store score.
Courtesy of Pat Padua



“My wife talked me into it, and now I don’t know why I hesitated,” says Padua of a mid-sized painting of a pig nursing its litter.
Courtesy of Pat Padua

Three favorites from my wife are: (1) a blank composition book with a homemade Klaus Nomi collage on the cover; (2) a huge Erté art deco mirror; and (3) a cobalt blue bottle hand-painted to commemorate a Turkish czar.

Finally, what is “A Nameless Yeast”?

Padua: It’s from Moby Dick; Ishmael uses the phrase to describe a painting hanging in the Spouter-Inn. I’ve always loved the sound of it.