Rambling artist/writer/musician Sasha Pearl brings to mind an era that celebrated the multidisciplinary artist, making art and making life. 2022 was a breakthrough year: McSweeney’s re-published her tender, funny, down-to-earth book of poems in August. Then her large collection of captivating pop paintings sold out in minutes at Monument Gallery (Kingston). In this second edition of our Foreword! series of author happenings, we explode the author reading series, bringing us out from behind the podium into uncharted territory inspired by Happenings of the ’50s and ’60s, bridging performer and audience while mixing together art forms. With SashaPearlWorld, we enter deep into the mindspace of a unique sensibility. Sasha reads poems, spotlights some of her paintings, shows films from her childhood, and is accompanied by her friend, singer-songwriter Willis Ross. The Foreword! series is hosted by novelist Ashley Mayne.
Sasha Pearl (b. 1986, Baltimore, MD) is a poet, artist, musician, and tradesperson raised in the Hudson Valley. Self-taught, Pearl’s work across mediums is fostered by community and informed by people and place. Pearl’s work as a farm worker, lighthouse keeper, film projectionist, bus driver, to name a few, makes appearances in her writing, art, and music, each interested in the beauty and humor of the everyday. Pearl’s collections of poems, “Bus Poems I and II Plus,” written while she worked as a school bus driver in Albuquerque, were published in full in issue 67 of McSweeny’s Quarterly Concern, August 2022. Also in 2022, Pearl’s paintings of neon sunset strip malls and signs were exhibited in a two-person exhibition at Monument Gallery in Kingston, NY. She lives and works in the Hudson Valley.
Ashley Mayne’s work has appeared in Fence, Post Road, Northwest Review, Juked, Peripheries, Blight Podcast, Metambesen, and elsewhere. She is the author of novels Mankiller (2014 Dr. Cicero Books) and Tiger (2015), edits fiction for Fence, curates the reading series Crystal Radio, and works on an organic farm in the Hudson Valley.
Willis Ross is a multi-instrumentalist living in New York’s Hudson Valley. Their newest EP titled Songs I Sing is a collection of six original songs. It was recorded during the winter of 2023 in the catskill mountains. When they are not busy playing keys with the Ulsterados (local country band), or accompanying various other local artists, they can most likely be found eating grapefruit while taking a bath/ fixing their busted old Jeep in the driveway/ or obsessively adjusting the lighting in the living room while also adjusting the volume knob on their favorite tape player.
Our 2023 LIVE FROM UPSTATE series is presented with support from Hammertown Barn and Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern.
Upstate Films programs are made possible by Arts Mid Hudson and support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.