We had the good fortune of connecting with Ash Marinaccio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ash, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
In June 2021 I launched Docbloc (docbloc.org), a theatre company that brings together artists working across the documentary genres of theatre, photography, and film. Docbloc exists to explore intersections between theatre, lived experiences, photography, film, and journalism and build a community of multi-disciplinary artists working across documentary genres. The idea to create Docbloc was inspired by years of working as a theatre director, photographer, and filmmaker and having these parts of me and my work kept intentionally disconnected and isolated from one another. Docbloc believes in the power of documentary storytelling and that solidarity is created when artistic movements are connected and collaborations are fostered. I intend for Docbloc to be a space for creative collaborations, conversation, and action.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a Manhattan-based documentarian working in theatre, photography, and film.
As a queer woman raised by a paraplegic single-parent in a working-class household, I am committed to telling working-class stories that investigate the intersections of class, race, and gender. As a documentarian, I want to share positive stories of resistance. I want to celebrate the successes of collective action and shed light on the sacrifices people make to inspire change in their families and communities. I think of my creative projects as microhistories, focusing on little-known people or events, to ask “large questions about small places.” All of my projects begin with a question (and often end with more questions).
I am also a Ph.D. Candidate in Theatre and Performance at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. My scholarship investigates theatre practices in war zones and documentary theatre. I have traveled extensively throughout the world as an artist, scholar, and educator. I have worked extensively on theatre in war zones and in areas of conflict, particularly in Palestine with the ASHTAR Theatre, where I have brought youth delegates from the US to collaborate and perform with young performers and artists in Ramallah. I’m committed to community building and forming solidarity among artists globally.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to? I live near Times Square in Manhattan, so I see a daily dose of tourists. And while the lights in Times Square are alluring, if I had to take someone around my city for the first time, I would take them on a beach and food tour. I suppose this isn’t the first thing people think of when they hear “New York” — but we have awesome city beaches and boardwalk food. We would take the train to Coney Island and eat all the best boardwalk food — Nathans hotdogs, fries, clam strips, funnel cake. Maybe we would get a giant slice of pizza. Then, we would go on the rides (The Cyclone rollercoaster and Wonderwheel are a must) and play a round of Skeeball in the arcade. Following that, we would take a walk down to Brighton Beach, a historic Russian and Ukrainian neighborhood where we’d have pierogies, blintzes, fresh fruit, and Turkish coffee. As you can see, I like matching spaces with food so if a visitor was up for a longer trip, we’d take the ferry from midtown to the Rockaways where we’d eat at some of the local Italian spots and hit the beautiful beach at Jacob Riis park.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to shout out my mentor and Ph.D. dissertation advisor Professor Jean Graham-Jones at the CUNY Graduate Center. She’s been formative in my life in terms of helping me understand how all my interests, ideas, and artistic practice work together cohesively. She helped me to see and embrace my power as an artist and thinker. I’ve grown immensely over the years because of her feedback, unwavering support, and honesty. I am unbelievably grateful that my experience as a doctoral student has been full of guidance and strong mentorship, which has transcended far beyond my academic work.
Other: Documentary photography: http://introublewiththeking.com/