Ash Wednesday! You’re not a failure because you fail: Trials + Errors in writing, and how to grow from your mistakes.
In my Senior year of high school I took a creative writing class, to my legit surprise it wasn’t as creative as I thought. I call false advertising! The teacher looked like she was melting into the floor, and she smelled like mothballs and her former husband’s pension. Now that I think of it I am not sure she had anything that she actually published before 1978. The end result was this: I got an A, but so did everyone else in the class, I made some really great friends, who I ended up going to college with, and I got called into the office almost every other week. Hey they said creative, so I went with it and ran! It’s Senior year, cut me some slack.
Since then, not only do I not get called into the school's office anymore, instead, I have been met with praise for my view points, and creative efforts. (for real this time) That's a much better outcome. Some days when I am lacking inspiration, I'll look back on a few of those stories. I both get inspired, and cringe, 'cause some of them are written pretty poorly. Just because you are not good at something does not mean you are a failure. Failure is a mindset, it does not for one minute define who a person is. I believe it's better to have tried something and it flops, than to be too scared to do anything at all. Which is worse?
You can always try again, I tend to jump around to A LOT of projects, whether its in writing, art, my career, whatever. I like to do a variety of things because I'll be damned if I am bored or have a stagnant life. That is the worst thing for me is to be complacent in life. It’s too short so by all means do that creative project you always wanted to do. You’re going to grow so much even if you fail, you know for next time.
I wasn’t always the best at cooking, my mom never taught me how to cook, but it was something I always wanted to pursue. I remember going to the library at school, and looking at cook books, this was way before Pinterest, too. In college I was disgusted with the food on campus, I begged my mom to get me off the meal plan, and learned to cook for myself. Now, I am much more confident in my cooking skills, but what stands out more is all my “failed” dinner ideas. You just brush it off and now you know that you cannot sub out pasta sauce for tomato soup. Don’t be an idiot, just follow the recipe. Now I am finishing the process of creating my first Digital Cookbook. Things change.
With writing, or even with anything—Lets just say for example music—you need to practice, and for awhile, you’re gonna suck. Your composition is going to suck. You’re going to want to get frustrated, and just when you want to give up and quit it all clicks, you finally understand music theory and composition. You get out of your bedroom, join a band, you really have an opportunity to get out and hone your passions and craft.
It's better to try then to not try at all. Not trying is the real failure if you ask me. I see people that have potential, like real potential- I do not tend to surround myself with lame ass people. It always frustrates me that people just sit there and waste their talents, that's failure. Having no direction or no clue what you want to do, that's failure. Just do something, anything as long as you are putting out some sort of creative content. It is a mistake not to be true to yourself, that is the real failure.
See ya next week!
Why are we so attracted to abandoned places? Why does it fascinate use so much? Of course, most people wouldn’t give these places a seconded thought, they’re irrelevant[. T]hey are like an iPhone 4s when you have the iPhone 11. It was a good phone for the time but it's been surpassed by several other models.
If you’re like me, though, you still rock the shit out of your 4s sometimes, and if you are like me, you are also hella drawn to abandoned buildings like a magnet. So what the heck is so attractive or alluring about some piece of junk? Like anything in life, why someone likes something is usually very much based on their subjective perspectives, and as always this shits personal. While you may have absolute no interest in visiting a half collapsed building in East Kensington, there are a few select people who live and breathe that stuff.
Some things I like about going to abandoned places is that each one is different. I try not to go to the same places more than once or twice, it is very cool to see how these places change and transform over time. Sure the grass maybe more overgrown, or there maybe more tags or graffiti then the last time, but to me these places are suspended in time, but still have so much potential to transform, and change. Like yea[h] it’s clearly left to decay until it’s last dying day, or until there is a government order to bulldoze it, but to me I eat this shit up.
I have even been driving somewhere and pull off just to go into a house, or a mill, or whatever chalk it up to pure unadulterated curiosity. Many peeps who love to visit these places do so for the pure enjoyment. I always like to imagine who lived here, or is currently living there, why did they leave, what forced them out? I love to figure out how things work, why trains are just left for dead basically if we still use them. What are all those knobs and doo dads for? You know just common questions.
I think these places are also in some way eerily beautiful, I am not sure if it is my background in art, and art history that has a much overstated appreciation for architecture but I just find something so beautiful about the aesthetics of something that looks so broken but still has so much potential.
All those kids who were obsessed with haunted houses as a kid, yup, you best believe they are going out all over, and exploring abandoned places in America, or they religiously watch all that drone porn showing off these huge abandoned institutions. I am a sucker for some good spots too, there is this abandoned hospital that has been turned into a park that just begs to be explored in. Some other places, like abandoned hotels in the Poconos with heart tubs, sign me the the fuck up. I've lost count of how many places I have explored, but I value each and everyone of those experiences.
I love that there are these places everywhere, anywhere you go there is usually something that has been left behind whether it was due to economic collapse, which I have a feeling if this pandemic is going the way that it is going to, I am gonna be exploring my local abandoned Plant Fitness sometime soon. Some time it was a natural disaster, there was a semi famous restaurant near where I grew up that mysteriously caught fire, I am calling bull on that one, I think it was arson but hey what do I know.
Around the world there are many different places all ranging from castles, to hospitals, houses, and hotels, that haunted and macabre are is something that has always insanely fascinated me. They seem to be [encapsulated] in time and as a visual person there is simply no better way to learn about something than being there in person to learn about it in person, yes I am that idiot that stops at every historical plaque I can find sorry not sorry.
I just like abandoned shit. See ya next Wednesday!
People like Dom Coccaro are why I wanted to start a publishing house in the first place. He's the kind of writer who has specific passions and his own style that everyone might not understand but everyone who “gets” is wholly endeared to. When I had my (first) mental breakdown since starting this company, he called me just about every day to check up on me. He's one of the people who can make me laugh like a child hearing a fart every single time we talk, no matter what kind of mood I'm in. He's one of the top writers I'd love to poach for our company. I intended to write this article tomorrow but I met up with Maureen tonight and was quoting one of his best roasts of me and got inspired. He's been running Random Reviews Incorporated since before I can even remember, probably longer than I've known him. Living up to his name, he reviews everything from horror movies to flavors of Mountain Dew. It's been a staple of my life since he's entered it. I implore anyone with a dick, balls, or clit to check it out.
As I mentioned earlier, the site ranges from book reviews to Matches That Time Forgot, which highlights some of Dom's favorite WWF/WWE throwdowns. It's all written in his irreverent, charmingly-archaic tone. He has his own rating systems. Instead of stars, he grades moves out of four Z'Dars (like the B-movie actor). Music is rated out of Abbaths (which is someone in metal music, I'm guessing?). Books are rated out of Verill's, like Stephen King's timeless performance of Jordy Verill in the film Creepshow. It has something for everyone and everything with taste.
So, that's my pitch for you to check out this awesome site in the flavor of Dinosaur Dracula and The Flesh Farm. I'm gonna stop sucking Dom's dick for a bit and end this on an anecdote about the time we met. He used to moderate a V-Bulletin message board on the JoBlo website. (I guess that site's still open, for some reason?) I opened a thread to review Dario Argento's Three Mothers trilogy, starting with Suspiria. He, operating under the username, Count Chocula, closed my thread and immediately opened his own in which he gave Suspiria a review that didn't result in at least a 10/10. Unbelievable. So, Count Chocula was my internet nemesis. I spent a lot of time on internet forums in high school and would regularly bring various usernames up in conversation with classmates. Due to this great offense, there was at least one full day of the eighth grade where Count Chocula was my mortal enemy (long before I got to know Dom as a person). Two years ago, I was talking to a friend I had gone to high school with (another person I would run a marathon to sign onto our label) and mentioned Dom in passing. He replied, “Count Chocula!? You still talk to that guy!?” Check out his site. I'll drop links below. Dom, write us a fucking manuscript!!
Random Reviews Incorporated: https://rrincorporated.blogspot.com/
Ash Wednesday! Pandramatic: What Almost 2 Months In Self Isolation Have Taught Me About Myself And I.
In the words of the late, very much still alive, and great artist, Justin Timberlake, yes my dudes it is indeed May. That means that we are all approaching our 2 month isolationversery! Happy happy right? Long are the days forgotten when all we now say in reference to life before the Covid- 19 pandemic by simply saying " Before all this happened'' so here is what I learned about myself ( so far) the past two months being single in this new germ order:
The past few month, or so I began to really dive deep back into some of my passions. I am not just talking the typical reading all the books on my bucket list kinda thing either, I am talking the things I have not done in a The past few month, or so I began to really dive deep back into some of my passions. I am not just talking the typical reading all the books on my bucket list kinda thing either, I am talking the things I have not done in a freakin' long ass time. Whether it was due to constantly putting others before me, or simply being to bogged down with a rigid work schedule, it has been refreshing to say the least this uncertain times can bring such a creative spark. This pandemic has taught me to not only value myself over everyone else, but everything that I have done in the past few months has brought fourth a new resurgence of Ashness, is that even a thing? long ass time. Whether it was due to constantly putting others before me, or simply being to bogged down with a rigid work schedule, it has been refreshing to say the least this uncertain times can bring such a creative spark. This pandemic has taught me to not only value myself over everyone else, but everything that I have done in the past few months has brought fourth a new resurgence of Ashness, is that even a thing?
I started incorporating daily practices, and activities that bring out the best in myself. AKA I am meditating every morning, I got to say at first it was a bitch, now I fuckin love it. Essentially after 2 solid months of self love, care, and improvement ya best watch out when I do actually feel comfortable to come out of my hermit mode, and finally decide to socialize again. I'll be honest with you I am simply having a bit too much fun with this. I think it is a super healthy thing to be able to sit with yourself, and really do a deep dive into your “Youness”.
While everyone is binge watching Netflix, and Disney + and venmoing their significant others for take out food, I bought myself a bike, and started cooking all of my meals again. I go for 10 mile runs, three times a week, in addition to writing these weekly article/ blog jawns, I am also hosting evening art classes, and daily discussions via zoom. It is certainly a transition, and I miss my art job like a mother. However this is just going to have to do for now. Needless to say I can’t wait to get back into the studio.
Recently I have had in influx of freelance, and musicians come to me to do album art for them, this has been a great outlet for my creativity. Not only have I had some really great opportunities due to this pandemic, I have also found a new found love for painting again. I finally finished some long term painting projects, and I even have one going into a summer show at my local art center in the area that I live in. Needless to say I am taking this summer in stride.
I find that art, and writing especially hold a lot of comfort for me in times of stress, and mass world panic, oddly enough these past two months have been super abundant, and successful. I ain't complaining one bit it's just a bitch, and a half to go to the grocery store, but I am just more choosey with food so it's really not to much of a bother. While the whole world seems to be turning on its head I am just sitting here in silence plugging away on my Mac. Go figure right, who would have thought? Maybe it is because I am usually dealing with a certain amount of chaos, which I am sure like many people like myself thrive in, it's just another typical day. I go to work, I come home, make an instagramable meal, and then I go to my second job online at home which is great, and super convenient. I am hoping that these next few months things keep moving forward, and continue to be prosperous, and abundant.
I am, in a very weird way thankful for this time to have worked out all these kinks that I have been ignoring, and in some ways been in denial about. The world is healing it's self, and along with it so am I in a stupid sense. I personally feel that things were not working in this world, people were not as grateful, and thankful for the essentials, and one another. I am not just talking about toilet paper either, I am talking about the illusive concept of genuine human connection. People seem to be showing more kindness towards one another. I don't know if it's just me, or the amount of spiritual shifting, and collective consciousness, I have been undergoing this past year but I am feeling strangely optimistic about the next half of 2020. Thanks for listening to my weekly rambles as always. Until Next Wednesday....
Our shit-post of a bio states when Todd and I were registering our company we were torn between two names and ultimately decided on a coin toss. Those names were Long Shot Books and Hot Seat Books.
I bring up this up because the name Long Shot was semi-based on a term a seasoned horse racing fanatic I know once explained to me - which I thought was kind of cool and could be fitting to our company.
I'm told there are three types of horses in any race:
Favorites: horses most likely to win. The ones with the good stats.
Logicals: the runners up.
Long Shots: the guys who run dead last. The unlikely candidates. Typically a 20 to 1 shot. Occasionally, that horse who starts off dead last and runs its way up to the front and takes the win.
The person I know never bets favorites. I'm sure if you asked them you'd get a more detailed explanation, but the short of it is – just because they're in the spotlight doesn't mean they'll win. They always bet the long shots with no hesitation or regret. Despite what they odds are, they have faith in the long shots.
In the words of Shane Koyczan, “We grew up learning to cheer for the underdog because we see ourselves in them.” I don't think you can bet on a long shot if you don't fully believe in this.
Back when Todd and I started LSB in 2018, I was having a shit time in life. Sparing details, I knew it probably wasn't a good time to start a company. I did it anyway, and struggled like hell. I wasn't ready for the huge undertaking that is starting/running a business. I was content to just melt into the floor rather than deal with researching, budgeting, or preparing for LSB, let alone life. The odds weren't in my favor. I had no confidence in my competence as a writer, artist, business owner, or functional adult.
I took a gamble with what energy I did have and bet on this company. LSB is my long shot. No regrets. Just faith. Once I placed my bet, it became real. I had an author who was waiting on my interview questions. I had an article to write. I had events to plan. I didn't have energy to dwell in that pit again – I was too preoccupied with all the authors we wanted to work with and how much I believe in what LSB stands for.
Each time I’ve bet, I've won. Through LSB, we've met a plethora writers, artists, and creative folk with fascinating ideas and great work – that alone makes it worth it. We put out a kick-ass book. We've got more ideas in the works in all different forms. We're growing and learning every step of the way.
At LSB we work with wild dreams, so let's see it. We want to see your passion project that pulled you through the tough times. We want to read the piece you're excited about so we can get excited about it too. We're interested in the kind of work only people with serious imagination can see through.
We're betting on you, long shot.
I am by no means a graffiti artist, the closest thing I have ever gotten to that was slapping up some "Hello my name is” stickers, up in around Asbury Park, and in/around Philly. I do have an photography account, after a year its finally getting some traction, but if I could do a little graffiti, or street art here or there I would be all about that. Heavily considering doing some wheat paste boys in the near future. A brief history on the graffiti art movement: The first drawings on walls appeared in caves thousands of years ago. Think back to your first philosophy class in community college the whole Plato’s cave thing. Later the Ancient Romans, and Greeks wrote their names, and protest poems on buildings. Super rowdy boys! Modern graffiti seems to have appeared in Philadelphia in the early 1960s, and by the late sixties it had reached New York. All that Brooklyn train good good. Graffiti has been closely linked to mid 80s and 90s skate culture and now it’s in most modern art galleries, the evolution of this movement has rapidly progressed needless to say the least.
I am friendly with a few self proclaimed artist, all deck out their social media with their tags, and their friends. It has become a mini microcosm on its own. Most artists choose to remain anonymous, which is perfectly understandable, I myself have several of these “ghost” accounts, my most recent being snapshots of doors in the current town I am residing in. Do graffiti artists get a bad rap? What, what what's that all about? Is there a fine line between tagging and vandalism? In my personal opinion its all fucking art man.
What the hell is it with humans and wanting to write their names on wall, and shit? Aside from cities and most train yards, there is one other place in PA that I am all fucking about when it comes to graffiti art, and if you know me you prob know where I am gonna say….. okay, yeah, it’s Centralia, PA. Let me tell you this shit is fire literally there is a fire underneath the town, and it’s loosely based on the Silent Hill movies and games, which is a plus. Give me all the spookies.
I've been to this abandoned coal mine town more times then I can count. I even spent my birthday there last year…. In fact I am pretty sure I have spent most of my recent birthdays there. It's a pretty dead place, and yet it’s usually pretty busy there is even someone who sells T-shirts and hot dogs during the week. As a safe haven for Jeep enthusiasts, musicians have shot music videos there, this place has been a pretty monumental place for being a 1.5 mile parking lot, that looks like Pinterest and tumblr had a rainbow baby. There is just so many freaking pictures and colors. If you have OCD it’s a fucking nightmare for you. But I really like it. To date there are only 7 residents, two homes, and a municipal building. There is no postal service anymore, and hasn’t been for some time. They need to go all the way to Ashland PA, to get their mail. Yea, no thank you. It is however one of the most surreal places you can find in PA.
Recently with the Covid-19 Virus outbreak, the government all of a sudden decided it would be in everyone's best interest if they began to fill in the Tumblr made famous Graffiti Highway. I, and many others have photographed this highway in every month of the year, in every kind of weather, even in a snow storm. Fuck the god damn government. They ruined like a 7 year long photography project I have been working on. That is 7 years of tags, pictures, social media tags, that's a lot of paint! I am forever butt hurt about this. It’s just a road. Leave the highway alone, it literally goes nowhere. If I can’t go anywhere then neither can my highway.
A few years ago, (I want to say 2017?) I went to the premiere of a recent documentary on The history of Centralia in Pottstown Pa. Super bummed the Yuengling brewery was closed that day but it was still pretty neat. I got to meet the mayor at the time of the height of the mine fires; she is a sweet sassy old lady with a matching pant suit, I loved her immediately. I would even go as far to say that’s pretty progressive having a lady baby mayor back in the 70s. Pretty happening, I was also 99.99% sure I was the only out of towner at that documentary premier that night, because everyone seemed to know everyone. I was happy to see that people can preserve through so much, their town maybe gone but I really felt the love and sense of community that night. It was pretty cool. Dare I say rad.
The recent filling in of the graffiti highway seemed like a huge cop out. It has basically just become an oversaturated concrete canvas filled with memes, pot leafs, Epstein didn’t kill himself, and I am ready to bet my left lady nut there is a plethora of Covid -19 stuff now. That's why they’re covering the highway! I am convinced. It just goes to show you I am going to have to start working on my Centralia tattoo to over compensate. So yea, isolation's been fun, I am dying to travel, and get a tattoo clearly. Until then guys ill see you next Wednesday!
Are Punk houses even still a thing? Let's take a moment to appreciate an ode to domesticated rental anarchy. Now I won’t pretend to deny when I was like maybe 15 it was my wet dream to be apart of some sort of weird art, and musical movement. Cause it 100% was, is, was…. I am still not sure anymore. Granted the DIY music scene houses a fair amount of “punk” bands, I personally find it to be [over-saturated] with nothing but bedroom pop, and a resurgence in the pop punk genre. I am so tired of hearing about heart break, and car crashes. We get it you’re sad, but c'mon clearly you don’t treat your things nicely. I am sure the car and the girl are both perfectly happy without you. I guess you have to stretch for material when you hail from the suburban death.
So what makes a punk house a punk house? The very concept of a permanent residence couldn’t be more further from punk. Basically the whole punk movement derived from hippy and bohemian counter culture, so why choose a house? Why are punk communes not a thing? Here is what I found on what makes a punk house, well a punk house:
1. The bathroom has no working light, no lock on the door, a vomit stained sink, a roll of toilet paper stolen from the gas station and you think to yourself, “Wow, this bathroom is really nice compared to the last one.” Bonus points if its in the actual "basement venue” Lots of unopened bars of soap of Irish Springs, but the same bar has been permanently solidified to the sink, its endearing to see something remain consistent, there will always be soap scum.
2. Someone's 'room' is a corner of the living room cordoned off by blankets hanging from the ceiling, think Jack Blacks “room” in the movie School of Rock.
3. You haven't eaten anything but donuts for 2 days because someone found a fuckton of them in the dumpster, same applies for pizza, fuck the amount of pizza!
4. If they really wanted to, the dogs could stage a coup and they would win, cause dog’s are cute as hell.
5. The person you're drinking with doesn't know your name, but they know the house's name, the house has a persona, and how many times they’ve puked in the recycling bin.
6. The house is pretty much fuckin' thrashed all the time, except for one pristine and oddly well swiffered corner where all the guitars live, no touchy, even the dust particles know better.
7. A stereo that sounds remarkably decent, considering it contains pieces of a dozen stereos put together, some dating back to the 50’s. It’s actually especially pleasing, clearly someone played Rock-band and Guitar Hero before they actually picked up a bass.
8. The almond milk is always left out overnight.
Overall, I have come to the confusing conclusion that Anarchy rules, and the dishes will always stay dirty, the trash will always be full, and the recycling is just a nice way of housing 45 empty PBR cans. But that can be said for any house were a bunch of people in their mid 20s and 30s cohabitate. The raccoons will be plentiful. Your bikes will take up more room in the living room than furniture, and that's okay cause the envoriment need to make a resurgence ...no hot water in a very rarely used shower, who cares hot water is for chumps, The...biggest fucking VHS and DVD collection in the city....you've lived in each room of the house for a period of time....and have causally hooked up with half your roommates. There's a spot in the basement where everyone knows not to stand during shows, because when anyone flushes the toilet upstairs, the pipe above it sprays toilet water everywhere. Every wall has scratches at waist level from belts. Everyone smokes cigarettes, despite eating primarily local, and organic. Everyone’s important, and familiarity breeds inevitable contempt for one another. It’s a punk rock soapless opera, and it sounds fucking rad.
I was 22 when I got my first tattoo. I know, I know. I waited a bit after all my other friends started getting theirs around the age of 17 but in retrospect, I am glad I waited. My first tattoo was a watercolor painting of a mermaid that I had just finished in college which seemed significant enough at the time and I thought sure that will do….. Yeah I am about to be 28, and in that 6 year span I am pushing closer to 15 tattoos.
They range in size where most of my legs are covered, and I am finally feeling more comfortable getting different styles of art tattooed on me by different artists. It’s been interesting to say the least. Today it seems with people my age (mid 20s to early 30s) our tattoos are seen as this bizarre combination of how successful we are financially, and how decked out our tattoo Pinterest page is. For the record, I swore I would never rip off another person or tattoo artist's work and so far I am doing just fine in that department.
Every time and I mean every fucking time without fail when I get a tattoo and my mom sees it, she loves to tell me… “You know that’s permanent right? And she proceeds with, “That’s gonna be on your body forever.” Yeah! that's kind of the damn point mom. You know what else is permanent? Kids.
My tattoos highlight my life’s journey (so far). I showcase them and I am very proud of the artists who have given me this fixative gift that I get to show off for the rest of my damn life. I love to travel so naturally, I have travel tattoos. I speak Russian and I have lived in Russia where I taught Russian speaking students for almost 2 years now which is something that is very important to me to showcase that I have some Russian tattoos. I even got a Mario mushroom on the back of my leg and okay so maybe that one doesn’t have that much of a meaning, but hey, I do actually like Mario Kart, I just suck at it.
Some of my tattoos don’t have a meaning behind it, especially my few recent ones, I am a sucker for a Friday the 13th tattoo just ask any of my recent tattoo artists. But if you can find a meaning even months later after you get your tattoo, who really gives a fuck? Just please don’t grab me, then we're gonna have a problem.
Now here is something that I’ve always found interesting, I was a little intimidated to start tattooing my arms because I knew they would be 100% shown at work but it turns out not only do most of my coworkers have visible tattoos, so do my bosses, managers, and even some of my older students who I've taught. So I thought to myself, “Chill Ash, its all good.” If anything, I've gotten more jobs because it proves I can commit to something, have a creative mindset, and often confront problems using an outside of the box approach which has been amazing when I have had teaching jobs.
No matter what kind of tattoos you have or choose to get, something about it not only encapsulates that moment in time when you're getting the tattoo but it also reminds you of the people you are with when you get it. However, I chose to go alone to all my tattoo appointments and in some cases, I’ve fallen asleep or just read quietly. It’s all a preference and I already have tattoos because of certain people in my life so I don’t need a reminder of who wanted to kick it with me that afternoon just because they had nothing else going on. You have a definite reminder on your body that you get to show off forever, and c’mon lets face it, tattoos are cool as fuck.
I always enjoy noticing a new tattoo on a friend because there is something to be said about the hard work and the collaboration between the artist and the client. That so called “working relationship” quickly turns into family and friends real quick. Also, I like that you build with your artists as they grow just as your tattoos grow. So, what fuels the passion and keeps tattooing alive? I would say due to the fact that I am proud to have become a tattoo collector and I how I am always supportive of people who are curious about where or who did my tattoos. Tattoos don’t define who I am by no means; they just make me feel empowered and beautiful and there is nothing more fucking badass then that.
Check out my guys at First Hand Tattoo in Warminster Pa, Chris, John, and Evan are all amazing, and talented artists!
Hey, I am Ash, and I am an artist, not really much of a writer but for anyone who knows me knows I’ll try anything once…. Or twice.
I am originally from New York, raised in New Jersey, and had the pleasure of the great state of PA housing my gross ass teenage, and awkward college body. I am a tristate queen. I travel, and take pictures, of mostly nature and a few bands, I love music, I am always playing something. I also paint, and recently I’ve been back on that gym grind. I run about 30 miles a week. Catch me if you can.
Why did I choose art as my primary focus? That's pretty damn easy, as a kid I was terrified of making mistakes, ( I still am I guess....) I had an amazing art teacher in 7th grade that I model most of my art classes to this day. Her philosophy is that you should split class time in 2 different segments: an art history lesson, and then class time to work on a related project. She also told me there are no mistakes in art, unless you wanna get technical, and a bomb ass lesson in color theory. That really stuck with me as a kid, and I really took to art
My art mostly stems from abstract artists, and I love DADA as well as Surrealism art movements. My inspiration really depends on the day. Currently its been a weird combination of Salvador Dali, Cold War Propaganda, and Squirrels. I am addicted to tea, and chocolate bars that save elephant shrews.
I am fluent in 5 languages, and I currently attend Drexel University for grad school. I am studying Art Therapy, something that has helped me immensely with my own mental health issues.When I am not doing school, or shooting some abandoned buildings in Philly, I can be found at the Abington Art Center, running their day school, and adult night studio classes. I also Teach, I feel like you never stop teaching, and I have plans to pick back up bartending in the summer time. I do not trust anyone with one job, let alone a 9 to 5er. Get on that grind, and lets have a good time.
We cannot stress the importance enough of the relationship between the artist and the critic (often, the line between the two is very thin), moreover, the relationship of a performer and an audience. Satisfying readers, viewers, listeners is a huge part of what we do, possibly neck-and-neck with catharsis as the biggest priority that many of us have. Our goal with everything we do is to make fans of art happy. After all, we're fans, too. When someone goes above and beyond to review or recommend an artist we work with, it's just about the highest compliment, especially when the praise is as awesome as Ash's for Lexi Spino. We believe the artists we publish deserve the praise; that's why we publish them. It's awesome to see people share the enthusiasm that we have for Lexi's work. It's a bit strange of a publishing house to publish a review of a book that very publishing house released but we're not a traditional publisher. Ash's write-up we're sharing below is that good. We really appreciate it and are glad that she agreed for us to feature it on our site. So, thank you to Ash, and as always, thank you to Lexi for getting us in contact with her. Links to Ash's instagram and Lexi's book are below. Please do yourself a favor and check both out. If you're interested in reviewing The Electra Complex, please shoot us an email at email@example.com
The first time I met Lexi Spino, was at a Philly basement show in Manayunk, Pa in the Fall of 2018. I knew maybe like 6 people there that night, and I walked away with a weird misfits family who I still talk to this day, meet for most holidays, and stalk my Instagram stories religiously. I guess that makes us digital pals? Who knew something so rad could come swinging out of a Philly basement, and from York no less.
Lexi, was opener of the show that night, and in my opinion she should have been the headliner, I actually enjoyed her unapologetic performance, almost if not more than the band I was going to see originally at the time. Not many people can poetically pull off the word cunt in poetry, but Lexi did, and has been pulling it off ever since.
Her use of words to paint an imagery of things all women deal with rape, abuse, bad dates, body dysmorphia. My personal favorite, and something that most women can relate to my age the chronicles of romantic conquests and the whirlwind shit storm that is the post mortum of a precarious abusive relationship. I mean for fuck sakes, like being a chick isn’t hard enough. Lexi spills her guts, her words, and drags her lady balls into telling a journey for mental health advocacy. Its refreshing to say the very least. Especially with an over saturation of male performers. Lexi has, and always will stand out to me as a constantly great artist, and act. She is a force to be reckoned with and has a wicked way with words.
On Sunday March 16, 2020 , almost 2 years later, I snagged a copy of her book, The Electra Complex, My first post Covid-19 Virus show, at the Wooden Shoe, off of South Street Philadelphia. It's prob one of my favorite bookstores, and anyone who knows me, knows I can’t say no to another book, and I got probably the weirdest fucking shit on my bookshelves ranging from the reptilian conspiracy works of David Updike, to the closest thing I will go to a romance novel- some gargantuan Russian piece of litature, that is still on my nightstand, a just in case of emergency kinda book. I bought a book about the concept how working is obsolete, devoured that fucker in one night. Shit could never read more true. We basically could have worked home all this time and still have the gall to complain about our shortcomings.
I recommend reading it, “Instead of Work, written by Bob Black.
Lexi’s kick off for her book tour couldn’t have been in a more perfect spot! I, and about 12 others were blessed to check our problems at the door for about 2hrs, and simply just be in the moment. It was everything we needed, and more to break up this shitty time. We even had our own hand sanitizer, and Lysol wipes, and everyone of the performers washed their hands before sharing instruments, and such. Talk about the supporting arts! The finest Philly tap water was had, and enjoyed by all, we were all very hydrated, and high off of Lexi’s candid words that she seemed to spout off her tongue, a huge shout out to the support chair who aided everyone in these trying times. Therapeutic furniture should really be more of a thing. York, I see you, ya got some dope ass musicians, and poets. It just shows you the human resilience cannot be over shadowed, especially now. I have always said that heartache, tough times, and high levels of stress make for the best art!
Now more than ever is the time to support your local, and fellow artists during this pretty fucked up time. I mean I hate fucking working too guys but you know what I hate more? Uneducated people. Read a fucking book. Wash your damn hands with soap. Stop selling your half used Bath and Body works hand sanitizers from the early 90’s for 7.99 on Amazon.
I like the fact that as creatives, when it comes to getting consistent content without a face to face interaction, something I have truthfully struggled with. If you ever run into me at a local show in Philly, and I got mad RBF, I swear I just get crazy tunnel vision, and best be sure I am checking out your guitar and gear, It’s also the lack of health insurance has deterred me from going into mosh pits lately for the past few years. Poetry readings, author signings, and art galleries have been a huge saving grace to many. Like most fellow creatives, sometimes you got to get crafty.
The surge of artists taking to Instagram TV, Twitch Live, and other Streaming services to preform concerts broadcasted to people around the worlds, really says something about the worlds artist community. When you boil down to it we are here to entertain. It doesn’t matter if you’re a musician, and artist, a comedian, or a sick ass poet like Lexi we have a message and an agenda.
And, just a moment, ( I guess in my case about 2 hrs at an anarchists bookstore in Philly) made all the difference. Worth the fear that has been sweeping the media. I mean did anyone see that rave in Italy that was held off someones balcony? I don’t know about you, but I am ready to see some live streaming concerts in the comfort of my home ,and on computer for the next 1000 years.
Buy Lexi's book, buy a t shirt or two because you’re gonna wanna look punk as fuck during this post apocalyptic world, ya know while you’re typing on your MacBook Air, and drinking your take out latte from Starbucks. Shop locally, and if anyone still has My Chemical Romance Tickets for September 16th, Ill trade you a U-Haul full of Charm-in 2ply for one ticket. Until then support your local restaurants, and fellow artists.
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