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A. Razor

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Copyright © 2010 A. Razor/Andrew M. Lopas

A. Razor (b. 25 December 1963) is an American poet and author. A. Razor is the pen name of Andrew M. Lopas.


[edit] Biography

Razor was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Christmas Day in 1963. He was moved to Redlands, CA at the age of 1 and lived in San Bernardino, CA until he left home in the late 70's at the age of 14. He came to Hollywood Blvd. and lived on the streets around LA from Echo Park to Venice. He was a skateboarding, break dancing, party/club DJ, punk rock musician and graffiti artist that some would label as an outlaw, even though he made it back to San Bernardino High School long enough to graduate Automotive Mechanics and History/English Lit. AP before he ever went to prison.

Razor never went to college, but he did start reading his prose pieces at readings that were held at the Lhasa Club, Variety Arts Center, Onyx Cafe, Al’s Bar, Beyond Baroque and Van Gogh's Ear in the LA area and the Barn at the University of California, Riverside. At a reading in 1984 he met Drew Blood, owner and editor of Drew Blood Press, Ltd. who published many So-Cal street poets from the early 80's on his D.B.P.L. chapbook series and who would publish 11 different titles of A. Razor's work, including Spare Blades, Everything is Shiny Grey, Evil and Other Safe Lubricants, War in the 13th Hour, Creeping Malaise, A Chapbook and Works, from 1984-1995. Drew Blood began submitting the poet’s work for publishing in zines and underground publications and acted as his editor as A. Razor started traveling the country from east to west coast. He did readings along the way in places like the Cafe Babar, The Chameleon and The Paradise Lounge in San Francisco, Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland, CA, Rifle Sport Gallery and Mayslack’s Bar in Minneapolis, MN, Speedboat Gallery, St Paul, MN, Caravan Of Dreams in Dallas, TX, Mexicarte Museum in Austin, TX, Carousel Bar in New Orleans, LA, 6 Feet Under, Phoenix, AZ, The Beat Conference in Lawrence, KS, Naropa Institute, Boulder City, CO, Nuyorican Café and ABC No Rio in NYC, Spit Club in Boston, MA, Satyricon in Portland, OR and Food for Thought and D.C. Space in Wash., D.C.

A. Razor was arrested, convicted and imprisoned several times during his life. He did time in California as well as other states and under Federal jurisdiction in places such as El Reno, OK, Lompoc, CA, Des Moines, IA, St. Cloud, MN, Riker's Island, NY. He was sporadically homeless and was either on parole, on the run from the law or in custody from 1983-2007. This type of lifestyle made using a nom de plume/guerre most necessary to keep some type of anonymity as he traveled and shared his art. Few people ever knew his true identity, as he used a series of false ID's and passports and never allowed anyone to call him anything but "Razor".

This life on the run and in incarceration led to him developing a close relationship with his writing and the time he spent locked up was utilized well in the study of words and literature. He lived by anti-hierarchical standards and examined many different philosophies and points of view. He was violently opposed to bullying and fascist tendencies that he perceived to be prevalent in the corporate consumer culture that the world seemed addicted to.

He worked odd jobs everywhere he went and had learned a lot about film making as a teenager, eeking out an existence by working on back lots in Hollywood as a runner and a P.A. long enough to learn how to be a 1st A.D. He would work as a freelancer in the film industry, off and on, for most of his life. He enjoyed many types of music, played bass guitar in several bands for short stints in his youth, but eventually felt more comfortable recording other musical efforts and acting as a producer/engineer in some places. Obviously, runs of homelessness, addiction, mental health, criminal behavior and incarceration would interfere with any lasting success in any pursuit he became engaged in. This left a trail of crushed dreams and missed opportunities throughout most of his life.

It is no secret anymore that he fueled most of his adventures and travels through the sales of contraband and vice. He promoted and ran many different private after hours clubs, mostly in L.A., a few in New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas. All of them temporary "hustles" that allowed him access to clients and a networking venture to enable more underground commerce. This activity was profitable, but the "hit and run" nature meant nothing was permanent and movement was constantly necessary to avoid legal entanglements. He once controlled a bicycle messenger weed/drug delivery service that served Manhattan and Brooklyn, his birthplace, for almost 2 decades. He was also a considerable marijuana cultivator for many years and smuggled marijuana, as well as other drugs on occasion, in order to travel and pay for expenses. This activity kept him out of the city and in remote areas in Northern California, Hawaii and once in Jamaica for periods of time that would enable him to taper down his drug use and exposure to the faster, violent and tumultuous world of smuggling, dealing and using drugs that he was susceptible to when in urban settings. The pressures of this living and the extreme conditions it led to are an important part of his need to express himself artistically and to balance his mind after the trauma that this type of living and the culture he was immersed in might cause.

He settled in Minneapolis., MN in 1989-90 for a brief time and started publishing and editing the Your Elbow Lit-Art Zine with Kim Koch and Erika Schlaeger. He has lived and written in many other cities, including New York, NY, Portland, OR, San Francisco, Oakland and Bolinas, CA. He recently became a member of the Hollywood Institute of Poetics in Los Angeles, CA in 2009. From 2009 to 2012 he published work in Gutter Eloquence, Lit Up, Durable Goods, Shoots And Vines, The Bicycle Review, Hobo Camp Review, River Babble, Girls with Insurance, Criminal Class Review, Radius, Sic3, Paraphillia Magazine, The Shwibly and The Chiron Review. He has also completed the manuscript for his first novel, “1979, A Hollywood Love Story” which has recently been bid on by several publishing concerns.

In 2012 he teamed up with Iris Berry to launch Punk Hostage Press, on which 4 titles of his own work were released in 2012, and he edited 6 more titles from as many writers, Danny Baker, Iris Berry, C.V. Auchterlonie, Carolyn Srygley-Moore, Rich Ferguson and Dennis Cruz. He collaborated on book cover designs with graphic artist Geoff Melville for many of these books.

His long anticipated offering, 'Better Than A Gun In A Knife Fight' was released in May, 2012 on Punk Hostage Press, edited by Iris Berry with an introduction by Bucky Sinister. 2012 also saw the release of 'Drawn Blood: Collected Works on D.B.P.,Ltd. 1985-1995', also on Punk Hostage Press and with an introduction by Maureen McNally. A small, 48-page, commemorative edition of A. Razor's work was released just before December and entitled 'Small Catastrophes in a Big World', edited by the author.

2013 will see the release of 'Long Winded Tales of the Low Plains Drifter', edited by Sonny Giordano, which is a collection of short stories from A. Razor. Also coming in 2013 will be a 50 poem collection to celebrate the author's 50th birthday, entitled 'Half-Century Status'.

His writing has always explored the world that he has sought to be a part of and to rebel against at the same paradoxical moment. He has always written to express his perspective on the human condition and to connect with a world experience while attempting to make sense of his inner turmoil and joy. He has traveled extensively, seeking and enduring everything from homelessness and imprisonment to serenity and peace.

He now resides as quietly as possible in Point Richmond CA, but is working hard with Iris Berry to make Punk Hostage Press into a viable source of new writing and outreach to readers in homeless shelters, prisons, jails, and other institutions where books and a connection to the people that write them is not so readily available. Working with Punk Hostage Press and Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center he has helped to develop a non-profit organization, Words As Works, that gives back to the community in a way that makes his own life experience the most useful and partners with other independent authors and presses to make books more available to those who would cherish them most, but also have the most difficulty in obtaining them.

[edit] Select works

[edit] Poems

  • 2 Poems, Gutter Eloquence Magazine (2010)
  • 3 Poems, Girls with Insurance (2009)

[edit] Readings

[edit] Interviews

  • [1], Neon Tommy Interview
  • [2], The Nervous Breakdown Interview
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