In honor of our People Issue, which will hit newsstands and computer screens November 25, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the whos and whys.
84. Matt Gajewski
The world of literature is practically impossible to break into for young, burgeoning writers. Even if the scribe has the chops to justify reaching a larger audience, their journey will be marred by rejection letters from publishers, who are often more concerned with keeping up sales than showcasing talent. Writer Matt Gajewski took matters into his own hands, creating his own avenue for his unique voice through the weekly radio show "Pure Imagination," which airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on WVUM 90.5.
The radio show consists of Gajewski's hysterical stories, which range from an ex-president's problems re-acclimating to civilian life at a luau to a museum curator's tour through an exhibition of his wrecked love life. If these stories seem too precious or quirky, Gajewski's prose is rich in pathos and melancholy in execution, giving dignity to characters no matter how absurd the situation. The denizens who populate Matt's stories may be surrounded by the ridiculous, but their thoughts are filled with wants and fears that pull them away from just being characters and into being human.
Gajewski doesn't just rest his creative laurels at the radio show, though. He also periodically puts on live shows at Sweat Records, backed by a rotating outfit Gajewski has named the Mountain Dew Code Red Terror Alert. A collection of his short stories, is on sale at Sweat Records and online through Matt's website, where a podcast of the radio show is also available for those outside of WVUM's broadcast range. Find Pure Imagination on Facebook.
1. List five things that inspire you.
-Miami musicians, past + present (esp. Devin Smith/Airship Rocketship, Denny Denny Breakfast, ANR, Raffa + Rainer, Rachel Goodrich, Afrobeta, Panic Bomber, Animal Tropical, Noah Nite, Jesse Jackson, Ex-Norwegian, the Jean Marie, Xela Zaid, Steve Pardo, my Van*Gloria and Sirens + Sealions bandmates, + everyone who's played in the Mountain Dew Code Red Terror Alert).Technically I just listed way more than five things or maybe just one thing, subdivided . . . it depends on how you look at it. I'm not always good at following directions. I am inspired by people who are not always good at following directions.
2. What was your last big project?
Pure Imagination Live XIII at Sweat Records. It involved a new story, "Career Day," which I read with live musical accompaniment by the Mountain Dew Code Red Terror Alert, intentionally awkward Career Day PowerPoint presentations, a "teacher" periodically berating and disciplining the audience, and intermittent school intercom announcements ("Due to popular demand, we have decided to forgo the Pledge of Allegiance," "Teachers, pardon the interruption, the women's bathroom on the 2nd floor has been compromised," "Taco Tuesday is now Sloppy Joe Wednesday," etc.).
3. What's your next big project?
I've just started writing a graphic novel with my friend Zach Danesh, who illustrated my collection of Pure Imagination stories. The plot is sort of amorphous at this point, but I will say that, as research for the book, I've been reading lots of articles about large sinkholes forming in the parking lots of fast food restaurants. "Sinkhole Swallows Sonic Fast Food Restaurant in Atlanta." What's not to love about that headline? I think it's only a matter of time before we see a $150 million Michael Bay sinkhole movie.
4. Why do you do what you do?
It's hard to articulate . . . I guess I'm just the sort of person who enjoys spending hours and hours thinking up good names for menu items at the Neil Armstrong's Giant Leap for Mankind Pancake House.
5. What's something you want Miami to know about you?
Miami, I love you. Stay sweet.
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What's something you don't want Miami to know about you?
Miami, I basically just wear one pair of pants. Modern living has become increasingly complicated. If the only aspect of modern life I can simplify is pant choice, then so be it.
The Creatives so far:
85. Antonia Wright
86. Charles Allen Klein
87. Christy Gast
88. Gustavo Matamoros
89. Shareen Rubiera-Sarwar
90. Kyle Trowbridge
91. Clifton Childree
92. Jessica Gross
93. Danny Brito
94. Nektar de Stagni
95. Anthony Spinello
96. Vanessa Garcia
97. Justin Long
98. Rosie Herrera
99. Rick Falcon
100. Ingrid B