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Nobody's Famous

Toni Kochensparger

America's a funny place where our headlines read like the commentary on WWE and we dress head-to-toe in visible brands like we're racing for NASCAR. The words that will decorate our history all come from pop culture. 

When someone becomes famous, their name becomes a part of our collective vocabulary. For the last year, I've been writing on the trash in my neighborhood, Ridgewood, Queens, studying the language of worship with which we treat our icons.  This graffiti's an attempt to renegotiate the terms that determine a celebrity's presence in our day-to-day lives. What once was a billboard with the Kardashian family becomes a discarded box of diapers reading Kendall and Kylie and Kourtney and Khloe and Kim Jong-un. MILF Theresa. Steven Sondhymen. Jesus Chris. Nobody's famous.

The murder of Nicole Brown Simpson has an indirect but historical relationship with Pete Davidson's penis and I, for one, am tired of living in a copy of People magazine. I would much rather read about my neighbors. I would much rather worship my community.

Toni Kochensparger was born in Kettering, Ohio and now lives in Ridgewood, New York. Their short stories can be found in Kelp Journal, miniMAG, Caveat Lector, Poor Ezra’s Almanac, Bulb Culture Collective, Free Spirit, Breathe Bold, Alien Buddha, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, The Writing Disorder, Two Two One, and Scribble. Their graffiti can be found at and their writing can be found online at

Steve Barichko
all the sylvia plath photos on the internet are fake

Toni Kochensparger
graffiti series

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