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POLK ON POLK (ON POLK)

C O M E DY AT CLEVELAND SPEED.

MUSIC / ENTERTAINMENT / ARTS + CULTURE / LIFE / INDEPENDENT / PRESSURELIFE.COM


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CONTENTS OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2019

26

06 The Eternally Energetic Zip-Zapp!

A band for you and your dad.

08 Wrong Number, New Band

Curtail’s journey from accidental texts to triumphant tunes.

14

10 PressureFest 2019

The day in photos.

12 Aji Noodle Bar

22

24

Dine with the PressureLife team.

14 (Will You) Mary Me

Go cuff yourself.

28

16 Polk on Polk (on Polk)

The comforts of performing comedy at Cleveland speed.

22 The Wong Way to LAND

06

Jordan Wong, LAND Studio, and Cleveland’s penchant for public art.

24 Aaahh… Real Monsters?

The bumps in the night are closer than you think.

26 Punk Rock and Paper

Jake’s old-school approach to being one of the most visible artists in Cleveland.

28 Tech Trends

Beyond the Impossible: They joys of lab-grown meat.

30 Saying “No Thanks”

to a Thankless Thanksgiving

Take five easy reasons to give thanks this holiday.

Follow Us Facebook // Twitter // YouTube // Instagram @thepressurelife

16

08


For Those About to Rock, We Photograph You Reigning Rock to showcase a pair of prominent Cleveland concert photographers. capital of the world, Cleveland has proudly played host to some of the biggest acts for decades. Local concert photographers Anastasia Pantsios and Joe Kleon have dutifully captured those performances over the years for both local and national publications alike. Now the duo have teamed up for a third straight year to showcase their work.

AS THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

Reigning Rock, a nearly month-long exhibition of Pantsios’ and Kleon’s work, kicks off at 78th Street Studios’ Survival Kit Gallery with a three-day opening weekend starting Friday, Oct. 18, with special events peppered throughout the run time until the event closes Friday, Nov. 15. The event is being marketed as “the largest exhibition of Northeast Ohio concert photography ever assembled in the area,” which isn’t surprising when the two photographers behind the event have five decades of experience between them. Pantsios was primarily active from the mid-’70s through the early ‘90s, capturing the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Devo, and Prince for publications ranging from The Plain Dealer to Rolling Stone. Meanwhile, Kleon’s been active the past 17 years, shooting more than 100 concerts a year, which includes acts such as U2 and Taylor Swift for Scene Magazine and some national and international publications. In addition to more than 200 photos of both local and national acts on display, Reigning Rock has a few special events in store. On Sunday, Oct. 20, David Spero will interview Michael Stanley for the second part of his oral history, an event which is free and open to the public. Saturday, Oct. 26 is dedicated to Cleveland metal, and the gallery will host a six-hour broadcast from The Classic Metal Show while the show renames itself “The Cleveland Metal Show.” Finally, both opening and closing days coincide with 78th Street Studios’ Third Friday festivities. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, Pantsios and Kleon have a 200,000-plus word tale ready for you this fall at Reigning Rock. All you need to do is head to 78th Street Studios to take in the story one photograph at a time.

For more information about the event, head to 78thstreetstudios.com or find Reigning Rock - The Photos Of Anastasia Pantsios & Joe Kleon on Facebook.

PRESSURELIFE | ISSUE 27  5


The Eternally Energetic Zip-Zapp! A band for you and your dad.

Dave Sebille Photography // Ryan Peticca

Z

ip-Zapp’s debut self-titled album is best digested as an entire album. Every song swings in tempo and ambient tone, never burying the overall feel and theme of the album. The first note of the intro already sets this album apart from 90 percent of music today and 100 percent apart from anything heard in Cleveland.

Granted, Cleveland is having a small boom of psych-rock bands. A very welcome boom as it seems, but Zip-Zapp doesn’t let its pedal boards and synthesizers do the heavy lifting. The band’s music is the most guitar-forward psychedelia the city, and quite possibly the state, has to offer. This sound is probably why Zip-Zapp is loved by stoned millenials and 98.5 classic rock dads all the same.

"When we wrote ‘Ronald Raygun,’ we looked at each other and said holy shit, we should sound like this all the time."

Zip-Zapp hails from the far west – Vermillion and Sandusky. Bassist Travis Paluch describes the scene as nicely as he can. “Unless you’re in a cover band, there’s nowhere to really play out there,” he explains. “So the metal bands go toward Toledo and the, well, not metal bands go to Cleveland.” Paluch is one of two founding members of Zip-Zapp. Sam Daly, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, started writing and recording music with Paluch in 2016. The duo, plus a rotating cast of drummers – the band seems to have a Spinal Tap-esque past with drummers – and multi-instrumentalists, stayed in Paluch’s home studio to write and record the band’s first full-length album, only to later throw the whole thing in the garbage and start over. “When we wrote ‘Ronald Raygun,’ we looked at each other and said, holy shit, we should sound like this all the time,” Daly laughs, explaining one reason why the band scrapped the first album.

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Long gone are the days of scrounging up money and playing shitty shows, just to buy overpriced studio time in someone’s basement. Now, time is on the artist’s side as home recordings are sounding more professional by the minute – as long as you have someone who knows what they’re doing behind the board. Zip-Zapp is lucky to have Paluch engineering and co-producing along with Daly. The self-titled album is a masterpiece, hundreds of plays later. How do you follow up a masterpiece? Release your second full-length album three months after your debut. At least, that’s what Zip-Zapp is doing. This November, Zip-Zapp is set to release another assumedly amazing album. This is the first time drummer Austin Harpel and guitarist Danie Monk get to hear themselves on the record. Paluch seems a bit overworked, but still very in love with the new album. “We just added clarinets yesterday – all we need is sax and flutes and I’m ready to mix and master,” Daly says. “I’m almost embarrassed by the first album now, all these new songs are so good.”

There are two approaches to playing out in Cleveland. Approach one, play a very select few shows and let the hype build up around you, or approach two, play so much that you become a household name overnight. Choosing the latter demands a near-perfect product to create repeat customers. Zip-Zapp hasn’t said no to a show in four months. The band basically plays every weekend. Audiences are growing at every show, as Zip-Zapp has secured its rightful spot in Cleveland’s relatively new, yet amazing psych-rock scene.

Want more of Zip-Zapp? Listen to Zip-Zapp for yourself on Spotify or Bandcamp, and follow @zipzapp_psych on Instagram.


Pressure Picks Upcoming Events to See.

Matt & Kim Oct. 17 // Agora Theatre

Harvest Hootenanny Oct. 22 // Voodoo Tuna

Immortal Technique Oct. 22 // Grog Shop

American Werewolves, Above This Fire Oct. 26 // Phantasy Nightclub

Crobot Oct. 27 // Winchester

Rasputina Oct. 31 // Beachland Ballroom

Mushroomhead Nov. 1 // Agora Theatre

Bobby Lee Nov. 14-16 // Hilarities

With Confidence Nov. 27 // The Foundry

Tiny Moving Parts Nov. 30 // Grog Shop

PRESSURELIFE | ISSUE 27  7


Wrong Number,

New Band Curtail's journey from accidental texts to triumphant tunes. Kevin Naughton

In

2015, Jesse Sloan, a longtime member of the Kent music scene, decided he wanted to start a band around some songs he’d written apart from his other projects. He texted his buddy Dan to see if he wanted to play come over and try playing "I’m very bass for a few of the songs, and he agreed. Several proud of it. hours later, a different Dan showed up much to Also, very excited Sloan’s surprise.

Apparently, Sloan accidentally texted another Dan on his contact list, one who also happened to play bass. Sloan simply shrugged, took it as a sign, and the band Curtail was born.

for what’s next."

The Akron-based group consists of Sloan on guitar and lead vocals, Eric Sandt on drums, the aforementioned Dan Corby on bass, and Ben Hendricks on lead guitar and vocals. The members are well-seasoned veterans of the northeast Ohio music scene, having played in several solid Akron-Kent groups like Bethesda, Annabel, Parting, and Heavenly Creatures. Last year, in the hard-headed rustbelt DIY tradition, the group recorded a debut album themselves. “We took our time on this record,” Sloan declared, saying the recording process took more than a year of work to get it sounding the way they wanted.

play it well. Their gritty disdain for frivolous nonsense and frills is apparent in their performance.

Sloan’s lyrics, powerfully delivered and exquisitely harmonized to taste, stand up to the music as well. They seem to just sigh, “Goddman, that was a long day.” It’s hard not to relate to simple yet strikingly alienated lines like “You make that face when you’re alone” and “Shrug it off until last call.” Minimal and honest, the band’s words cut deep.

Sloan says he prefers it that way. “I like sad shit, man,” Sloan shrugged, grinning. “I was a huge emo kid, I was a huge ‘90s alt-rock kid.” All in all, All Your Luck, the band’s freshman album, is a triumphant and declarative debut. “I’m very proud of it,” Sloan asserts. “Also, very excited for what’s next.” He says Curtail is already getting ready to record another album. They’re currently scouting studios with the intention of producing it themselves. Essentially, if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix. In addition, the band has a self-produced music video coming out soon for standout track “Come Around,” along with a couple b-sides from the record coming out as a single through Skeletal Lightning Records. Until then, All Your Luck should tide fans over until new material arrives. It’s a hard record to pull out of your playlist. And if you still want more, catch Curtail live for a performance that hits just as hard.

Their painstaking effort shows. All Your Luck a fantastic record. Curtail shows shades of the tight, melodic craftsmanship of seminal groups like The Replacements, Smashing Pumpkins, and the Pixies, but without all the self-indulgence and unnecessary flash. You get the clear message that every member of the band could show off with impressive solos and fills if they wanted to, but they’d rather just play the damn song and

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Hear Curtail for yourself on Spotify and Bandcamp. You can also hear an interview with Sloan at pressurelife.com/pressurecast.


The Path to Salvation

The grisly story of the Kirtland Cult killings. Tesh Ekman on April 17, 1989, all five members of the Avery family were lured into a secluded barn in Kirtland and murdered. The Averys were one of several members of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints who followed Jeffrey Lundgren, a self-proclaimed prophet, from Missouri to Ohio.

UNDER THE COVER OF NIGHT

After being dismissed from the church in 1987 over suspected theft, Lundgren started an offshoot cult with the followers he’d gained, the Averys included. His preachings included a plan to storm Kirtland Temple by force to prepare for the second coming. That plan was abandoned after a tip led local police to question Lundgren. While many of the cult members lived with Lundgren and signed over their paychecks to him, Dennis Avery lived separately with his family and held back funds. Lundgren saw this slight as sinful. He convinced his other followers that the Averys would have to be killed as part of their path to salvation. On the night of the murders, each member of the Avery family was coaxed one-by-one to come into the barn where cult members laid in wait to bind, gag, and shoot them. Dennis Avery was the first. Then his wife Cheryl was called over, under the ruse that her husband needed help. Once they’d killed her, their three daughters, Trina, Becky, and Karen aged 15, 13, and 7 were brought in and slain as well. Their bodies were buried together in a pre-dug grave in the same barn. The very next day, the police and FBI, completely unaware of the murders, came to question Lundgren and his followers again based on a new tip. Spooked by the visit, Lundgren and the remaining cult members fled Ohio. Not until December, when an estranged cult member came forward to authorities, did anyone realize the Averys were gone. In January of 1990, their bodies were uncovered. Within a week, Lundgren and those involved in the slayings were found and arrested. Rather than finding salvation, the Averys paid the ultimate price for being in a cult and following its deranged leader. Lundgren suffered the same fate he bestowed upon the Averys when he was executed by the state in 2006. Thirty years later, some cult members have been paroled, while some still sit in jail, left to ponder the price of their blind faith.

PRESSURELIFE | ISSUE 27  9


Thank you to everyone who attended, performed at, or worked during this year’s PressureFest. It takes a massive number of people to make for a successful festival. Between everyone who worked behind the scenes or bought a ticket, the people who supported us made sure that our second year was filled with unforgettable moments. We at PressureLife and PressureFest sincerely thank you for spending your Saturday with us. We hope to see you next year. --- The PressureLife Team

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Photography // Ryan Peticca


PRESSURELIFE | ISSUE 27  11


Aji

What We Ate

The group's menu item ratings Spring Rolls: 2 Chicken Wings: 3.5 Dumplings: 2.75

Noodle Bar

Shoyu Ramen : 4 Tempura Udon: 3 Pork Belly Bowl: 3

Dine with the PressureLife Team.

F

or this issue’s food review, the PressureLife crew visited Aji Noodle Bar, located at 13606 Madison Avenue in Lakewood. If the location seems familiar, it’s because Aji took over the old Yuzu space this summer. Will Aji make a big splash with our critics or be a souper disappointment? Read on to find out for yourself.

JIM:

There was a lot of buzz and excitement when Yuzu announced Owner Jackie Kim would take over the space with Aji Noodle Bar. We went a week after it opened and I wasn’t thrilled. The three appetizers seemed like they came from the frozen food section at GFS. With that said, the wings we had were my favorite thing we tasted (we actually ordered a second round). The pork belly rice bowl was a bit sweet for my taste. This was similar to Hannah’s Udon bowl, as the noodles almost had an elephant ear vibe to them. Alex’s pork ramen was alright, but a bit fatty for me. I think Aji could slim down the menu a bit and focus on the fresh dishes. There is a future for Aji, but I wish we would've waited another month or two for them to work out the kinks.

HANNAH:

I, admittedly, wasn’t over the moon to try this place. I think I still have a bit of PTSD from Yuzu’s depressing atmosphere and their subpar airplane food. I was, however, pleasantly surprised at the work that was done to refresh the space – much brighter and more inviting than the previous cave-like feel. We started with various appetizers, one of them being a specific recommendation from our server. While Jim swears they are all straight from the GFS freezer (and I guess I tend to agree with him), I had no complaints about the wings, spring rolls, or dumplings other than they could have belonged to any Asian restaurant. I wasn’t overly impressed by any of the main dishes. Everything was fine. The only thing I was actually put off by was the pork in Dave’s pork belly rice bowl – it was extremely chewy, and fatty. All in all, there were certainly some positive changes to the menu and the space, but unless the first 50 restaurants in town that are on my list are closed, I likely won’t be back. Rating: 2.5/5

DAVE:

Ramen is one of those foods that turns even the semiknow-it-alls into real douchey snobs. I promise this won’t be that.

I love a good noodle soup. Whether it’s ramen, pho, or some other heartwarming bowl of tasty delights, there’s a good chance I’m going to give it a try if I see it on a menu. So, how was Aji’s ramen? Both the shoyu ramen and tempura udon were pretty solid. Neither was mind-bendingly good, but it’s certainly not a bad addition to the region – especially, if you have that craving for something that’ll warm your soul. As for the other dinner items we tried, it was hit and miss. The spring rolls weren’t anything to write home about, but it’s a review, so I should mention they were subpar. The wings were nice and juicy, to the point where we put in a second order of them. The pork belly bowl had potential, but it was too sweet for its own good. After a few bites, you needed to add some spice to cut through the sauce. In all, not bad, although there’s room for improvement.

We were sat at the window seat, a window that used to be opaque with stacked board games a couple of months ago when this building was still Yuzu. The remodel is very clean and neutral, very bright during the day, which is not a complaint. We ended up ordering an array of appetizers, including a second plate of chicken wings that tasted almost exactly like McNuggets – again, not a complaint. The spring rolls were pretty run-of-the-mill, nice sauce vehicles. The main course was two different kinds of ramen and a pork belly rice bowl for me. The pork was sweet and the fat melted upon tongue contact, but there wasn’t much else to it. I much preferred the shoyu ramen to the tempura udon, but both were tasty as hell. I’ll be back in winter with my windchapped face over a bowl of shoyu ramen taking deep breaths of that steamy broth. There is not another restaurant serving this style of food within 20 blocks of Aji. I see no reason why they wouldn’t become a neighborhood staple.

Rating: 3/5

Rating: 3/5

Rating: 3/5

ALEX:

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Jana's Mediterranean Deli WHAT'S THIS? A SECOND FOOD REVIEW? You’re damn right it is. The PressureLife crew to check out the new Jana’s Mediterranean Deli located at 15211 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. Jana’s is a small establishment mostly dealing in to-go orders, so we stopped by to peruse the deli’s case full of hummus, salads, bread pies, and other homemade dishes. Should you plan a trip to Jana’s? Find out what our trio of critics – sans new father Dave Sebille – thought of the new Detroit Road destination. I was really excited to try Jana’s based off the Lakewood community Facebook reviews and comments. The two people working were beyond friendly and personable, which made me more excited. Unfortunately, everything fell flat for me. All the hummus we tried were either over- or under-seasoned and had a watery, chalky texture. The pies and sandwiches were pretty tasteless and underwhelming. Highlights for me were the grape leaves and the plain spinach pie. I don’t like sweets, so my gauge on baklava is off, but Hannah and Alex really seemed to enjoy it. I’ll give Jana’s another try in the near future because they’re doing something right with these reviews. Maybe my tastebuds were broken that day.

JIM

Rating: 3/5 Overall, Jana’s featured a couple highs, a few lows, and some “mehs.” I was excited to try a few of Jana’s numerous types of hummus, but the trio we picked were middling to disappointing. The best of the three was the kalamata olive and artichoke hummus, and that was mainly because it tasted like an olive spread. The pies were hit and miss, with the meat and onion pie being the best. For me, the stars of the dinner were the grape leaves and baklava. The grape leaves were packed with flavor and I could have destroyed all six if we didn’t share. The baklava was refreshingly sweet and flaky after some of the dense pies. Those two dishes alone are enough for a return trip, but I wish I could say the same about more of what we ate.

ALEX

Rating: 2.5/5 Disappointing is about the only word I have for Jana’s. I too was looking forward to trying the new Middle Eastern deli – that is my soul food. Usually bad Middle Eastern food is still pretty damn good, but this was the exception. All three of the hummus we tried barely even resembled hummus. The za’atar one was completely flavorless, the garlic one tasted like jet fuel, and the olive one was the consistency of a stew. I was really looking forward to all of the different pies we ordered, but most of them are not even worth mentioning – and I absolutely refuse to discuss the shawarma. The two things that ended up being worthwhile were the grape leaves and the baklava, both of which I would eat again. They had a super friendly and helpful staff and a great location, but I’ll be sticking with my guy Ferris.

HANNAH

Rating: 2/5

PRESSURELIFE | ISSUE 27  13


(Will You)

MARY ME Go cuff yourself. Mary Santora @marysantoracomedy

Fall

is finally upon us! From the cool, crisp air to the pumpkin spice lattes, there's something about this time of year that makes you want to cuddle up with a warm body and ignore every red flag that's hurled your way in hopes of finding that special someone with whom to mildly enjoy cliche fall activities. It's cuffing season.

Forget him. The barbeque he went to in 2014 looked lame and you don't need to date anymore bori… ahhh shit, spilled the wine. Swoosh it around, it's fine. Antioxidants are good for your skin. The annoying thing about self care is just that – the care of yourself. What works for one person may not work for another. I was chatting with a coworker about finding more activities that I enjoyed doing alone and she recommended I try puzzles. She said it was a relaxing way to spend a night in by myself.

During this fifth season of the year, desperation is at an all-time high. People are getting into relationships left and right, regardless Wrong. I have never felt more anxiety. Staring at 1,000 jumbled pieces, of if they're ready or not. It certainly isn't healthy, but what are you back at the picture on the box, back at the pieces thinking, “why are supposed to do, carve pumpkins alone? Cuffing season will make you they all green and how the fuck does this make a forest?” I was gendo wild things with your crush, like giving up an uinely upset with her for suggesting something so entire Saturday to drive six hours round trip to an aggravating. However, I failed to understand that she apple picking farm or join a fantasy football league and I are different people with separate backgrounds, when you honestly don't understand why “holdexperiences, and goals. I needed to find things more Knowing exactly ing” is a bad thing because it sounds so romantic. up my alley. This translated to multiple Groupon what you want massages, half assed at-home yoga sessions, and Every testimony from a happy couple says the hikes before realizing that occupying my time while and being self same thing about finding your soulmate. “It hapstaying physically active was only half the battle. sufficient are pens when you stop looking and start focusing on sexy qualities. yourself.” Cool, but who knows what that means? The other, far less fun half, was the emotional Sure, it sounds like a great idea. You're going to work – looking deep into my insecurities and figtake a month off the hunt and realize how freeing uring out why they exist in the first place. Why am it is to be concerned with you and only you? Just I constantly comparing my body to other women? bask in how awesome it feels to meditate and brunch with your Is this something that came from cheerleading or following so many friends again! Then one day, you’ll accidentally spill your whole cart “models” on social media? Journaling really helps me to analyze why in the grocery store. certain situations make me react the way they do and come up with healthier ways to handle things. So when I’m feeling fat and gross, As you frantically gather your produce, a perfectly fit, absolutely I make a list of what I’ve accomplished to remind myself that I’m a breathtaking, 6’3” man with black hair and crystal blue eyes reaches badass! So what if my belly button looks like a frowny face? for the avocados at the same time you do. Your eyes meet, your hands touch, and he says something funny like, “holy guacamole!” Before Putting yourself first and being in touch with the real you gives you you know it, you've spent three amazing years together and he's a clearer vision on what you need out of a partner. Knowing exactly proposing to you on his yacht! what you want and being self sufficient are sexy qualities. It's not that journaling automatically makes you more attractive to potential In reality, you’re sitting in a lukewarm tub with a half-dissolved bath mates. It's the confidence you exude once you are fully comfortable bomb, a headache from the five different scented candles you lit for with who you are that makes you irresistible. That's why this fall, I ambiance (your Instagram story), and a solid red wine buzz, all while challenge all the singles who are genuinely looking for a real conballs deep in the tagged pictures of the last guy who ghosted you. nection to put dating on the back burner, and go cuff yourself.

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we have the power to help ClevelanD stuDents A ShoeS And ClotheS for KidS progrAm

A ShoeS And ClotheS for KidS progrAm

reappear

Where CLE Eats Larder’s Jeremy Umansky talks Sokolowski’s University Inn and Han Chinese Kabob & Grill. Alex Bieler Jeremy Umansky, co-owner of Larder Delicatessen and Bakery, a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant located at 1455 W. 29th St. in Ohio City.

WHO’S GOING TO EAT?

Where does he suggest? Sokolowski's University Inn, located at 1201 University Road in Tremont, and Han Chinese Kabob & Grill, located at 3710 Payne Ave in Cleveland.

When Cleveland’s neediest kids don’t have proper clothes and supplies for school – many of them just don’t go. And by 6th grade, chronic school absence becomes a leading indicator that a child will drop out of high school. Shoes and Clothes for Kids is committed to eliminating the lack of clothes and shoes supplies as a barrier to attendance and helping more kids reach graduation day.

Do something powerful for ClevelanD kiDs at sC4k.org/give

Why does he go to them? “We have a lot of our colleagues and other chefs come in from other cities and spend a little time with us learning and working in our kitchen,” Umansky says. “[Sokolowski’s] is one of two places in Cleveland that we always take visiting chefs when we want to showcase the best of what’s in the city and what Cleveland food is. Umansky attributes his appreciation for Sokolowski to a combination of factors. First, he admires the restaurant’s ability to survive the loss of its original clientele – steel workers – and turn out quality food for decades, including Umansky’s go-to beer-battered perch and chicken paprikash. Add in a fun, cafeteria-style layout, interesting decor, and reasonable prices and you have a prime place to treat out-of-towners looking for a taste of the city. Umansky’s second destination, Han Chinese Kabob & Grill, is located just a few miles east in Asiatown. He highlights a few dishes, including the mapo tofu, fish ball kabobs, and various celery dishes that he describes as “almost as satisfying as eating a meat dish.” For Umansky, a big part of what makes the food this destination is so special is the mindset behind the meals. “They’re cooking for their own palettes, which I find absolutely wonderful and refreshing,” Umansky says. “On top of that, the food that they do is beautifully executed and good every time.”

PRESSURELIFE | ISSUE 27  15


POLK ON POLK (ON POLK)

C O M E DY AT C L E V E L A N D S P E E D.

Alex Bieler Photography // Casey Rearick

“I can talk in most situations, but I’m bad at talking about myself,” Polk says. “It’s never been something I’ve been particularly good at.”

at the blinking recorder situated just feet away. He’s slowly winding down after wrapping up another Tuesday performance of The Mike Polk Jr. Show on the Frolic Cabaret Stage at Pickwick & Frolic alongside the likes of PressureLife’s own James Earl Brassfield and other local comics. Unsurprisingly, Polk’s apprehension fades away once he begins to do what he does best: tell stories and share his views on the world around him.

Polk fidgets slightly as the words leave his mouth, occasionally glancing down

It’s that penchant for storytelling that has made Polk a notable entertainer in

Mike Polk Jr. is not afraid to talk. Whether he’s on stage, in print, or in front of a camera, Polk is typically willing to share his view on the topic at hand. However, there is one topic that can leave the comedian at a loss for words.

PRESSURELIFE | ISSUE 27  17


“I’M NOT WIRED THAT WAY. I’M MORE OF A CLEVELAND SPEED KIND OF PERSON, AND I’VE COME TO TERMS WITH THAT.”

Northeast Ohio. Since he moved to Cleveland in 2002 after graduating from Kent State University, the Warren-born comedian has earned local and national attention from a variety of projects. On a local level, these endeavors include hosting shows around the city, writing columns for the Plain Dealer, and contributing to sports segments on Channel 8. Polk also created viral video hits like the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video series, The Factory of Sadness, and I’m a Stupid Cat!, all of which

have millions of views on YouTube. Combined, these efforts have made Polk a recognizable name inside and out of the local comedy scene. “I will jokingly always refer to him as the only comedian in Cleveland,” says Zachariah Durr, fellow comic and member of Polk’s sketch group, Last Call Cleveland. “It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to a kid in college or to your dad’s buddy, they know who Mike Polk is from different things.”

While the success has helped Polk book more gigs, it certainly hasn’t propelled him to the upper echelon of YouTube stars or helped him buy a home in a ritzy neighborhood on Lake Road. Instead, he lives in Lakewood next door to his sister and hustles to take on new, interesting projects. In his own words, he isn’t one of the “big YouTube people who can say ‘I’m going to be at the Great Northern Mall for a dance contest’ and a billion morons will go down there and watch them.” Still, Polk has gained both admirers and detractors since 2002 – check out the comments section of any local news story on Polk for some eye-roll-inducing examples of the latter. However, Polk’s diverse range of projects and subject material also allows people to find some form of joy in his work. “He can be an acquired taste, but it needs to be set out on the table like a nice offering of culinary delights,” argues Nick Kostis, owner of Pickwick & Frolic. “You have to taste them all and decide whether it was good singularly or in the gestalt – was everything good? No man meets all constituents.” Of course, disapproving denizens hasn’t bothered Polk for a long time. He’s dealt with criticism since the days before YouTube when he and his friends would pay to upload sketches on video-sharing services like iFilm. “Regardless of the effort you put in, the first thing somebody would [comment] under it was ‘Not fucking funny, kill yourselves,’” Polk says. “I’ve been getting heckled before YouTube. I’ve been drinking in this negativity for 20 years now. It’s a plus and a minus, but I’m happy that I’ve developed that callus over time.” What took longer for Polk to deal with was the occasional comments from people openly questioning why he’s still living and working in Cleveland. After


TA L E S F R O M BEYOND THE LENS Polk may not be a YouTube star, but he’s certainly no pushover when it comes to video success, with tens of millions of views to his name. Polk shared a few anecdotes about some of his more recognizable videos.

SPANISH LOVE SONG Polk’s first viral hit did well enough that he was invited to sing on Telemundo. The guest of honor? Kim Kardashian. “This was long enough ago that Kim Kardashian was already known, but not to me because I’m ignorant to pop culture… when somebody said ‘you’re about to sing this song to – get this – Kim Kardashian’ I was like ‘Oh, nice, who’s that?’ I had never heard of her or seen her before, but I went out and she was so beautiful that I was taken aback, and I had a hard time catching my breath. I hate admitting that. It makes me feel weak, but we’re all monsters to a degree.

TNT TOURISM VIDEO After the success of the first two Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Videos, TNT contacted Polk to have him roast Charles Barkley and the rest of the Inside the NBA analysts. “It was interesting hearing their reactions to it. Hearing that even stars at that level have some insecurities, and if you call them out, they’re like ‘Yeah, that guy has no idea what he’s talking about, just making videos somewhere.’ I can just hear it in their voices. I like knowing that no matter what level you get to, it still stings when people call you out on things.”

I’M A STUPID CAT! Polk has some videos about important causes. Others involve cats. For Polk, one of the latter ended up as the most popular video he’s ever had.

it turns out… You’ll make something to try and support something you believe in and try to get it out there and it’ll die on the vine, but you put a cat video up and throw a few curse words on it, they’re all over it... but if I’m being very honest with myself, if I had my option between those two videos, I’d probably look at the cat video too.”

LIVE AT THE KENT STAGE Some comedians make people pay to see their comedy specials. Others put it on YouTube. Polk discovered an untapped platform for new fans. “There are no bylaws that says you can’t put your comedy special on PornHub, so I put it up there. The comments are like ‘fuck this guy, this is bullshit’ and then one guy is like ‘I laughed.” Some guy went there for porn and God knows what he typed in, but this popped up and he’s like ‘you know what? I’m going to settle in for this and watch this before I crank it.’”

“That’s always the frustrating thing – people go ‘watch the cat video.’ I’ll do some political ones and people aren’t as nuts about those

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the success of some of his videos, people would tell Polk that he should get out of town and that they’d move to a bigger market if they were in his shoes. However, destinations like Los Angeles never appealed much to Polk. For three years, Polk worked for HBO Labs, during which he lived in Cleveland and would stay in L.A. for a week each month. While there, he got to check out the comedy scene, but it didn’t quite mesh with what he wanted. As a result, he’s decided Northeast Ohio is the right place for him.

“I’VE FOUND THAT IF YOU KEEP DOING STUFF THAT YOU LIKE DOING AND YOU’RE NOT A TOTAL DICK TO EVERYBODY, YOU CAN PROBABLY KEEP DOING IT.”

“I stopped beating myself up for not wanting [to go somewhere else],” Polk admits. “I’m not wired that way. I’m more of a Cleveland speed kind of person, and I’ve come to terms with that. It’s not just Polk who hears these types of comments. Durr suggests that some people assume comedians aren’t successful unless they’ve branched out of their hometown. “I think that when people see that you’re in entertainment, they assume that you want to be the most powerful entertainer in the world,” Durr says. “I don’t think that’s a necessary goal or even a healthy goal for everyone. If you’re doing standup, you don’t need to be at the level of Kevin Hart in terms of pop-

ularity. I think some people could see it as limiting, but I think it could also be healthy to be in your environment and enjoying yourself. Do we need another talented person to leave Cleveland?” One person who’s pleased by Polk’s continued presence in Cleveland is Adam Miller, director of content at the recently rebranded 3NEWS at wkyc studios. Miller, an Orange native, worked in New York City as a senior producer for The Today Show until he returned in 2018 to take the job at wkyc. Now he’s actively investing in local talent to promote that homegrown connection for viewers, which includes tabbing Polk as a reporter to provide what Miller calls a “uniquely Cleveland way of showcasing” news and events. “I don’t think Mike Polk even knows how talented or how smart he is and that there’s a real need for his intelligence and his perspective on what’s happening in Cleveland on a daily basis,” Miller explains. “I admire his love and his passion for that area, and I think that’s why he relates so well to the audience here in Northeast Ohio.” However, Polk wasn’t quite as convinced about the job as Miller at first. He’s still not completely sure what a news station would want with the man who once sang “One Semester

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of Spanish Love Song” to Kim Kardashian on Telemundo. However, Miller and the crew at wkyc wanted to change the way people experience local news, which led Polk to leave a six-year gig at Channel 8 to test his abilities in a new role. “I figured I needed a kick in the ass,” Polk says. “I was too comfortable for too long and I wanted to try something different.” While Polk dubs himself as “not a very ambitious man,” he doesn’t rest on his laurels. He actively tests out new ways to make people laugh and helps other regional comics grow. For a man who admits that he prefers collaborative projects instead of more solitary work like standup, the existence of a comedy community that’s steadily grown since 2002 is more appealing than the bright lights of NYC any day. “I’m enjoying what I’m doing right now,” Polk says. “I don’t know exactly where it’ll go, but I’ve found that if you keep doing stuff that you like doing and you’re not a total dick to everybody, you can probably keep doing it.” Life in Cleveland may not move as fast as it does in NYC or LA, but the rest of Polk’s story wouldn’t feel quite right anywhere else.


The Wong Way to

LAND Public Square mural artist Jordan Wong, LAND Studio, and how they came together. Tesh Ekman Photography // Bob Perkoski

W

hen Pittsburgh native Jordan Wong moved to Cleveland in 2015 for a full-time graphic design job, only to get laid off six months later, he found himself with a decision to make – should I stay or should I go?

“I was at this crossroads,” Wong explains. “Do I go back to Pittsburgh or stay here in Cleveland? Do I try to find another job with an agency or do I start working for myself? It was then I decided to take the leap and start building something for myself here.”

The concept of public placemaking involves rethinking how public spaces are used to bring greater value to a community with a marriage between art, design, and function. LAND Studio takes that approach to work with the city, its neighborhoods, and various organizations. It provides services in planning and design, obtaining funding, management, and execution of public development projects. One example is the initiative to revamp Irishtown Bend. “They have to redo the hillside anyway, so we brought money and our expertise to that project,” explains Erin Guido, a LAND Studio project manager. “Let’s not do an average park. Let’s do an amazing park and get an incredible landscape architecture person on board and incorporate artists in creative ways so it’s not just about adding it after but infusing the whole process with a higher level of art and design.”

"Let’s not do an

That project also involves various partners such as Cleveland Metroparks, City of Cleveland, and Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, among others.

Four years later he’s the latest local artist to average park. feature his work on the cafe art wall located on The cafe art wall is a component of a larger LAND Let’s do an the back of Rebol in Cleveland’s Public Square. Studio initiative called Landform, which is privately amazing park." Wong’s piece is titled Triumph of Heaven, Earth, funded by the The Char and Chuck Fowler Family and the Cosmos. He draws on his Chinese herFoundation. It seeks to have varied, temporary art itage with the character for “you” displayed installations around Public Square and Mall in prominently in the center to remind the viewer downtown Cleveland. of “the brilliance of their existence.” The public art installation, which is managed by LAND Studio, rotates Wong prides himself on building trusted relationships. He’s currently murals from local artists quarterly. It gives many of them, like a designer at SPACES Gallery and also the community outreach Wong, the opportunity to create and display their first piece director for the Cleveland chapter of AIGA (American Institute for of public art. Graphic Arts). These roles, along with his speaking engagements, help him stay involved and meet others in the arts and creative community. LAND (Landscape | Architecture | Neighborhoods | Development) Studio is a Cleveland-based non-profit. It came into exisTo try to escape the distractions of working from home, Wong tence in 2011 when ParkWorks and Cleveland Public Art merged sought refuge in local coffee shops like Loop in Tremont where to bring a greater emphasis on public spaces and art in the city. he noticed the pieces of art displayed on the walls.

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“That was one of the first spots that I kind of discovered when I moved to Cleveland so I was always there,” he explains. “It wasn’t too difficult for me to reach out to Corey, who was the guy who manages all of the artists that come through, and say ‘Hey, I’d love to do a show here.’” Wong got the opportunity to do just that and created a new piece called the Pantheon Series, which was put up on display in November of 2018. Wong’s knack for networking paid off. Soon after, a contact he made at a speaking engagement put him in touch with LAND Studio which led to coffee at Loop with project managers Guido and Vince Reddy. Once they saw his work there, they were excited to work with him. They liked it so much in fact, that the same artwork is currently displayed inside LAND Studio offices on West 25th Street. While LAND Studio directly selects the artists for the mural wall, the group also holds calls for artists or makes suggestions for the various other projects it manages. Those recommendations then go through formal selection processes, different people, and/or committees based on their location or funding. Guido is quick to note that LAND Studio is a community organization, not an artists’ one. At the same time, it values artists and makes sure they get paid for the work they do in providing proposals or finished pieces. Since the 2011 merger, LAND Studio has found a singular identity and worked out the kinks that come with combining two separate entities. With the lessons learned from managing projects like the Public Square rejuvenation in 2016, it’s currently in the process of creating a new three-year strategic plan. As for what the future holds for Wong, he’s dreaming big. He found he enjoys creating larger-scale art after his experience with the mural piece. He confesses that while it might sound outlandish, his goal is to create artwork on the spot where the gigantic Lebron mural once stood downtown. “That’s a really absurd one of mine - there’s no harm in imagining these things,” he states. Now that Wong has landed and established himself in Cleveland, it seems like he and his art are here to stay.

To learn more about LAND Studio and its projects, visit land-studio.org. To find out more about mural artist Jordan Wong, check out wongface.com.

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Aaahh…

We

take things for granted in Cleveland. One day, we’ll check out West Side Market, avoid those traffic cam tickets, and won’t get our hopes up about sports. Then there’s police violence and East Side shootings too. Some things never change...but is that the whole truth?

Real Monsters? Hunting for truth in the shadows delivers dark answers. Adam Dodd

Everyone has at least one strange belief, one unflinching investment in the unexplainable. For some, these beliefs come to define reality and their places within or without it. As a result, shadows loom larger – and in them mysteries grow. None can pull the trigger to the smoking gun that would prove the existence of that which they seek to expose. Because of this, many will endure skepticism to outright ridicule for their efforts. Still, the faith remains. But why? What experience, either internal or external, has fostered such resolve in the unbelievable? Larger still, what makes Ohio such a fertile ground for mystery? I recently talked with North American Dogman Project founder Jodie Cook. As the name implies, Cook and those within the group investigate and track witness reports of wild dog-man hybrids. For all their efforts and pooled experience, they’ve produced little outside of rudimentary sketches and audio samples of inarticulate animal noises. Park rangers from multiple counties independently corroborated that the set of plaster footprints Cook forwarded to me belonged to common black bears. The scarcity or credibility has done nothing to diminish their convictions. They are in good company with the likes of the Ohio-based Bigfoot Research Organization (BFRO). Founder Marc Dewerth has spent decades investigating Sasquatch sightings and compiling a

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growing witness database. Outside of the Pacific Northwest and the Florida Everglades, the heavily-wooded rural portions of Ohio boast the most reported amount of ongoing sightings, according to BFRO data.

Whether what they saw was actually what they claim is secondary to the very real psychological changes such an experience can cause. When interviewed for past PressureLife story “Chasing Hairy,” alleged Bigfoot witness Paul Hayes spoke of unshakable trauma that resulted from his experience. He said of his woodland encounter, “When you have an experience like me, that good time is gone. You will never get that back. That’s something you get robbed of.” All this to say nothing of the scores of local UFO witnesses compiled by the Mutual UFO Network and those on file amid the U.S. Government’s declassified Project Blue Book records. They include Geauga County’s Olden Moore, who would later claim he was interrogated and subsequently threatened by the CIA over his UFO report. He spoke of the encounter in Geauga Record at the time, saying “Most of the people I talked to seemed to think these objects are not made by man.” I don’t disbelieve any of them. It’s not my place to and how could I when I wasn’t there? For the same reason, I don’t believe any of them either. The same skepticism that challenges established beliefs is that which demands new ones prove theirs. For all the conviction shared throughout these groups, they’re still searching. They’re far from the first. Humankind has long stared into the darkness, conceptualizing the unknown into something the rest of the village can comprehend. So why have truth seekers, monster hunters, clairvoyants, and researchers spent centuries peering into the abyss without a single, unequivocal proof of theory? Because the horror is not in the shadows, it is the shadows.


The advancement of society comes, in large part, from a procurement of resources and the spread and institution of one culture over a preexisting one. Rarely are these two pursuits done in a progressive and morally responsible manner, re: Manifest Destiny, The Trail of Tears, slavery at large, wars in general. The spiritual and psychological fallout can be felt by both the descendants of the victims and perpetrators for generations. As a result, hard, unflinching dark nights of the soul are less favorable than projecting that same darkness onto outward sources; better that the threat comes from without than within.

For all the conviction shared throughout these groups, they’re still searching.

A fear of technology supplanting humanity and automation replacing manual workers was magnified during the advent of space travel and atomic energy. As a result, our subconscious fear manifested UFOs and alien pilots, beings of advanced technology and intellect coming to abduct all that we knew. For his part, the hairy tree-loving monster of the woodlands, Bigfoot, did not reach the heights of notoriety until the counterculture of the late ‘60s made environmentalism and deforestation an unavoidable talking point. Dogmen and Cook’s hunt for similar beasts represent latent masculinity’s search for a lost primal supremacy over increasingly progressive society structures that offer less place for the fringe survivalists that fill the NADP ranks. It’s much easier to transfer our fears and hatred on horrors like the fabled Kirtland Melonheads than to acknowledge the monsters many make of our own neighbors. This is why that which lurks within the unknown is fluid and ever-changing. Whatever external monsters haunt us are reflections of the internal demons lurking within. Those among the BFRO, NADP, MUFON, and others are seers, immersing themselves into the void to bring shape from confusion. Their efforts are a success when not measured in tissue samples or video evidence but in keeping the flame of mystery alight. As long as they remain watchers along the parapets heralding the darkness without, we can take fleeting, if not misguided, solace that the same monsters are not already within our walls. What is it that you see in the dark?

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+

PUNK ROCK PAPER Jake Kelly’s old-school approach to being one of the most visible artists in Cleveland.

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James Earl Brassfield

J

ake Kelly is what you get when you mix a little bit of Cleveland punk and Ghost World with a little bit of American Splendor. While Jake is not classically trained, Melt, various pizza shops, bands, and venues like Grog Shop work have him to create murals, signage, and concert posters in a traditional style that is all his own. He’s been working for 25 years and growing his business from 8.5 by 11 sheets to projects on a much larger scale.

Jake makes posters, murals, and other art with mixed media. It’s not uncommon to find him hunkered over a desk with paper surrounding him. His first love, the concert poster, is every red-blooded American boy’s reference point for cool. Throughout his adolescence, Jake saw classic concert posters all over town. His love of those visuals evolved into a desire to begin drawing them himself. Jake filled up sketchbooks for some time before he went to the Grog Shop and simply begged and bothered them about work until they let him draw all the posters. That was the beginning of a 25-year career making posters and then eventually evolving into one of the most distinct and seen artists in Cleveland.

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Jake’s punk rock background didn't jive with art school. The methods he uses are very much old school. He's a pen and paper man. Nowadays everything is digital – draw it on an iPad move it to a hard drive, and upload to a shared folder. Jake loves the old ways of crumpled-up paper and starting over. He admits he tried out an iPad. However, he thinks ink and paper is the best.

His first love, the concert poster, is every red-blooded American boy’s reference point for cool.

“[An iPad] would be good to maybe help fill stuff in?” says Jake, although he doesn't see it as an option for his day-to-day work.

As an avid artist through his life, Jakes style whether he knows it or not, produces emotions corporate and commercial artists and their clients try emulate. He’s amazing at drawing rubble and ruined buildings. Stylistically, as you search the details for new scenes in the background Jake’s seems to move on the wall or page, it looks like a peek into another dimension. There are hidden elements in almost every piece of work like a stripper flicking someone off, or an epic scene of massive destruction in the background. When asked about his favorite projects Jake laughingly says, “always the next one.” He loves the challenges of every new piece.

PUNK ROCK + PAPER continues on page 29

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TECH TRENDS

be considered a delicacy, you can get over eating some regular-ass meat that was grown from the stem cells of other regular-ass meat.

Beyond the Impossible: They joys of lab-grown meat.

The macho "I ain't eatin' no not dead animal meat! I ain't no veggie-wuss-itarian!" crowd: Double shut up you insecure knuckle-dragging, slack-jawed, mouth-breathing idiot. It is still meat. Just because it didn't suffer and die doesn't make it an existential threat to your fragile masculinity.

Dave Skorepa

By

now, most of the civilized world has heard of the "Impossible" Burger. It’s plant-based, and looks and tastes like meat. Fine. Not that big of sci-fi stretch. The biggest techno-trick was adding the heme iron to make the burgers bleed like meat. A little gruesome, but necessary to sell the trick I guess.

All the big names are getting into the plant-based meat alternative game. McDonalds, KFC, even Disney are starting to offer some version of the Impossible Burger, but these are just glorified veggie burgers. There's no interesting tech here.

I want to be able to grow my own filet mignon from my survival bunker.

The real magic is in something called lab-grown meat. Not a very catchy or consumer-friendly name, I know, but lab-grown meat is just that – meat grown in a lab (or other sterile environment). No animal. No birth. No slaughter. Just a few muscle fibers in a petri dish that eventually becomes a full-grown patty. I have this picture in my head of just plopping a scientifically perfect hamburger shape right out of the petri dish directly onto the grill. Less work for me! We're still a few years away from running down to the grocery store to pick some up for dinner. Plus, one hamburger would run you about $600 right now, but, like most promising technology, that will change fast. The biggest obstacle is going to be stupid consumers who object to the idea of it. I envision a few central objections. The "I can't eat that, it's...weird!" crowd: Okay, first of all just shut up. Everything you ever ate was weird the first time you ate it until it became normal for you. If balut (go on, Google it and come back) can

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The "Is it safe?" crowd: Listen here Larry, I have video of you jumping through a folding table that was on fire in your backyard from your roof while drunk. You don't care about safety – but yes, it will be safe as long as Trump doesn't also dismantle the FDA so you can make America great again by removing yourself from our gene pool. Speaking of Trump, I am for lab-grown meat because while the world is ending and there are no species of animals left to hunt, I want to be able to grow my own filet mignon from my survival bunker.

Did you see the movie The Road, Larry? I'll ruin it for you right now: the world dies, there is no food, and people have to eat each other. If they had lab-grown meat, that movie wouldn't have a scene where they slowly amputate other humans to keep their meat alive longer. That would be you Larry. A big, dumb, meaty amputee in my cannibal neighbor's basement prison slowly being eaten alive. Crazy question while we're on the subject: Would you eat lab-grown human meat? Purely hypothetical. Maybe next issue.

This article is sponsored by Aztek, a web design, development, and digital marketing agency located in downtown Cleveland.

learn more at aztekweb.com


PUNK ROCK + PAPER continued from page 27

Jake gets joy from seeing his completed work. He loves working on a grand scale. Jake started with paper and now more of his pieces are murals. He’s being commissioned to leave the state and go vandalize parking lots of restaurants in Indiana and other neighboring states. “Don't get me wrong, when I see my work on a wall or a telephone pole I'm excited,” Jake says. “When I see it in a gutter crumpled up, I'm excited.” He also is making pieces available for purchase on non-traditional canvases, like old trash cans or mannequins. He uses the space on these uncommon objects in a way that almost makes the form disappear and the images rendered become more visible. There is nothing worse than describing good art. Jake’s work has plenty of layers to peel back. The imagery he inks reaches into your brain and moves things around. The point of view, the scale, all the elements come together under Jake’s brush or pen. The kind of skill you cannot learn is on full display when he rolls up his supply bag and leaves the parking lot. If you've been to the original Melt, you've seen the work of Jake Kelly. If you’ve seen a Grog shop poster out in the wild over the last 25 years, you’ve been watching Jake grow and change into a staple of the Cleveland art world, art school be damned. Punk rock, ink, and paper made Jake one of the most visible artists in Cleveland.

Want to see Jake’s work for yourself? Follow him on Instagram at @coloredcondor.

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Saying No Thanks “

to a Thankless Thanksgiving Take five easy reasons to give thanks this holiday.

Dan Bernardi

We're

approaching the perfect holiday to look back on life, count your blessings and appreciate everything you have. Not your birthday you selfish prick! Thanksgiving – the good-natured celebration stuffed with gratitude and regrettable American history.

Now sometimes, being thankful can be hard, especially when things are tough all over. Abandoned by family and friends? Never had any to begin with? Don't fret. If you're having trouble mustering thanks this Thanksgiving, I've compiled a list of five easy thanks that will do the trick (you can thank me later).

So simply being human on Earth doesn't exactly blow your hair back. You're taking that for granted and okay I'll grant you that. But could you envision yourself living in a less advanced period of human history? For example, running water is a nice commodity, especially when programmed to flow from a smart sink that knows exactly how cold and wet you like it. Health, knowledge, tolerance, and technology – our species has come a long way. It's a great time to be alive and coincidentally the only time we've got!

THANKS FOR YOUR TIME

If you're reading this, I'm assuming you're human and not a turkey, but if you are – good job... now run! Thanksgiving is a notorious day of sacrifice for these feathered flappers, centerpieces of Thanksgiving feasts for generations. They're not safe on Christmas either, or any other day of the year really. Sadly for the turkeys, they rank exceptionally low in the animal kingdom pecking order. So, if you're feeling really thankless this holiday season, remember you're human – not a tasty snooded bird born to be cooked, stuffed, and reduced to leftover lunch meat. That would be a tough pill to gobble.

I get it, the gratitude isn't exactly flowing like gravy, but you're still breathing, so we're not giving up just yet. Let's take advantage of that shitty, thankless life of yours and have an experience! One to last a shitty, thankless lifetime. The world is full of opportunities! You can sail across the Atlantic or climb to the top of Everest. Start your own Fortune 500 company or open a pumpkin petting zoo. Now, I'll admit that for some of us, these goals may be difficult to achieve – physically, mentally, or monetarily. For many of us, they're just downright fucking impossible. But, you know, thanks anyway.

Out of all the celestial bodies in all the galaxies of the multiverse, we've been born and raised on Earth – a world with perfect conditions to propagate life (unless we fuck it up of course). Our seemingly miraculous, Goldilocks planet fulfills all our basic survival needs: air, water, food, internet, and shelter. We could be freezing away on an icy moon of Jupiter or stuck on the Sun itself without sunscreen! Instead we get Earth, a planet with its fair share of downsides and one massive upside: it’s inhabitable. Sure it’s a fixer upper, but hell, what floating space rock isn't?

Let's say hypothetically you're naked, alone, and penniless in an alley while using free magazines as a makeshift blanket to protect you from an endless rain cloud hovering overhead since you were abandoned at birth. Also, hypothetically, other than the periodical blanket and personal raincloud, you have nothing. But guess what? Nothing isn’t so bad! You could have something, which could easily turn out bad, awful, or even worse. With nothing, there are no expectations, disappointments, or negative adjectives! That's right! You have nothing to be thankful for because, after all, nothing really matters!

THANKS FOR HUMANITY

THANKS FOR BEING HERE

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THANKS FOR THE OPPORTUNITY

THANKS FOR NOTHING


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Profile for PressureLife

PressureLife Issue 27  

PressureLife Issue 27  

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