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Thursday, December 08, 2016
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January 21

Metro Q+A: The Boston Yeti talks about his 2016 plans

Metro caught up with the hometown snow hero.

The Yeti announced his return in a tweet on Monday.

The Yeti announced his return in a tweet on Monday.

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Photo:

The year’s first winter storm is (maybe) brewing.

In Boston that means many things: dusting off space-savers, panicking about the T, reflexively stocking up on milk, bread and eggs (and checking the indispensible French Toast Alert), busting out snowboards for on-street shenanigans.

And of course, awaiting sightings of the infamous Boston Yeti, the furry protagonist of last year’s apocalyptic snowfall. He popped up on Twitter feeds and newscasts throughout the challenging season, sold swag to help animals, and once appeared alongside Mayor Marty Walsh in a winter prep spoof video.

RELATED: MBTA prepares for cold weather snap

The Yeti — not to be confused with the snow-shoveling app of the same name Metro wrote about earlier this week — was revealed in December to be 30-year-old John Campopiano of Somerville in an interview with the Improper Bostonian.

There is a lot Campopiano can do with the Yeti’s celebrity as this winter finally starts getting, well, wintry. We checked in with him this week to talk plans, partnerships, Yeti imposters and Keytar Bear.

I understand you have a few partnerships in the works, but don’t want to say exactly what they are. Can you give us any clues? Private vs. public? Charity vs. government?

They could be all of the above! Charitable projects are so important and it's my goal to maintain a foothold in that area. Without a doubt. In addition to those types of projects, we have some wonderful ideas percolating.

Clues? Hmm. Well, if I may, allow me to rework the tagline from the Vick's NyQuil commercials: These projects will be the good time, laughing, joking, mesmerizing, frolicking, rejuvenating, so you can enjoy winter, medicine.

Put another way, I'm hoping these projects will be the remedy for your winter (and other types of) blues!

RELATED: Boston psychologist offers winter stress release advice

Given that you made an appearance in that video with the mayor, will there be a repeat this year?

Do you mean another video with the Mayor, or just another video in general? There are no plans in the work with City Hall but I may produce and/or star in something else this year! You'll have to wait and see...

Are you currently taking pitches from people looking to partner with you? Would you welcome them?

Of course! Creativity is a fluid thing and great ideas can come from anywhere. I've got some of my own ideas and collaborations in the works, but I love the idea of hearing other ideas. The imagination is one of the most precious and magical things we have (humans, animals, and cryptids alike) - so let's nurture it!

If someone would like to chat about collaborations or fun ideas or even partnerships my door is always open! Though, to be fair, I live in the woods so I suppose my door is always open, so long as you have proper walking shoes. 

Is there anything in particular you think the celebrity of the yeti could accomplish this year or in the future?

Absolutely. I'm exploring creative and fun ways of sharing my story from last winter with the greater public. Only snippets of my adventures last winter were captured by cameras. And this winter is only just beginning - so there's no telling what fun shenanigans I'll find myself in! At my core I feel as though I'm a storyteller and so I'd like to tell a few stories. This year will be a perfect time to do that.

Also, as I've stated in past interviews: I'm a baseball fan. I love the Boston Red Sox and would love to throw out a first pitch at Fenway Park. I don't know anyone with the organization, but I'm hoping we can establish a fun, furry rapport this year and maybe - just maybe! - they'll ask me to come and throw a pitch. I've got a mean curveball and a knuckleball that would make Tim Wakefield sit up and take notice!

Folks have also expressed great interest in new Boston Yeti merchandise, which we're currently exploring. Yes, a lot of fun projects in the works :)

RELATED: Yes, Seasonal Affective Disorder is real

How does it feel to be the yeti in its post-unmasking era?

It feels great. I've always felt like the Boston Yeti stands on his own, another persona perhaps, but ultimately the Boston Yeti is a separate entity with ideas and goals and interests. 

The initial response was and continues to be warm and welcoming. In order for the Boston Yeti to get to the next level he needed to come forward. It's confusing, though: It's hard to say who is responding, me or the Boston Yeti. Sometimes I don't even know! That's part of the fun and the beauty of it.

How have things changed since that Improper interview?

Opportunities to collaborate have widened dramatically. It has provided me space to move around more freely and comfortably. Not surprisingly, it has also made it easier for those with ideas to get in touch directly. 

The Improper article also provided me with an opportunity to separate myself from the doppelgänger and lookalikes out there. Last winter folks saw a yeti mask at a local bar, or at a Bruins game, and automatically assumed it was me. Not the case! Unless you see me post or endorse a piece of video footage or a photo, you can rest assured it's not me! As I've said before, imitation is the best form of flattery. :)

RELATED: Boston shoveling app Yeti to launch in February

Aside from the mayor video, are there other appearances you’ve made that I might have missed? Keytar Bear sometimes shows up at concerts, for example.

Throughout the course of last year I saw various found footage videos of me running around and enjoying the snow. I couldn't really say what else is out there -- you'd have to look around! I love music and live concerts can be great fun (I do get overheated quickly, though) so perhaps I'll have to hit the local music scene this winter! I've heard The Sinclair in Cambridge is a groovy place (are kids still saying "groovy"?)

Do you feel a kinship with Keytar Bear, by the way? Have you guys ever spoken?

I do, in a way. I admire his musical talents and even envy him at times! He and I have never met but I'm open to setting up a coffee date at a local animal/cryptid friendly establishment. If his schedule allows for it maybe he might even consider giving me piano lessons. (Being able to play "Piano Man" by Billy Joel has been on my bucket list since I was a wee yeti. Perhaps Keytar Bear can help me check this off my list.)

We’ve got snow coming this weekend. Any words for the city as we all prepare for what’s to come?

Drive safely! I'm hoping to help spread this message more widely in the days to come. Roads are slippery and can be treacherous, especially on some of our old, narrow New England streets.

If folks are anticipating being snowed in their homes for a while it's best to make sure you're stocked up on food. Vegetables and fruits come first, but it's OK to have snacks tucked away as well! Also, don't underestimate the enjoyment provided by a good ol' fashioned board game for passing time. Or yoga. I'll be spending some time this weekend working on my chair and crow poses.  

RELATED: Keytar Bear speaks out on Boston street performer permits

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