Interviews

Jason Handelsman: the Poet Preacher of Cutler Ridge

The night before I met Jason Handelsman at the Sports Grill on the Green (the one at the Palmetto Golf Course off U.S. 1), I was pacing in my bathroom and brushing my teeth when, out of nowhere, I felt like Jason and I were communicating somehow -- both of us in our respective lavatories, toothpaste burning our mouths, and that tingly feeling in the back of the skull that comes with what people sometimes think of as telepathy.

Handelsman -- writer, poet, musician, performer, and ordained pastor -- is glowering proof that our identities and lives are not cohesive, straightforward things. Not because of all the creative capacities just listed but rather due to the fact that before becoming a man of God, Handelsman was Azar Alcazar. He was also the Ghost of Dirty. Not to mention, The President, a practicing freemason, and more.

Harder things first, though: In 2009, Handelsman was writing for New Times, interviewing countless luminaries such as Rick Ross and Lil Wayne and growing an audience for his out-there, Dadaist style of writing and humor. It was then, while rising in the sordid ranks of South Florida's cultural journalism circuit, that everything came to a bloody halt. On Halloween night, on assignment in South Beach, Handelsman struck a man with his car while driving drunk.

By Rob Goyanes

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Rob Goyanes
Contact: Rob Goyanes