Xpress Magazine | September 2020

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September 2020

















elcome to the first issue of the Fall 2020 Xpress Magazine! I am very pleased with how our team put this issue together. It was definitely a rocky start at the beginning of the semester after emerging from a summer spent sheltering in place. And with not much of an end in sight, it can be hard to keep trekking on. I think that with this issue we are propelling into the semester with a bang and a splash of color. We found solace in illustrations by creating a 60s theme with our style choices. I feel lucky to have clicked so perfectly with my art director on this design. I know it sounds cheesy, but this magazine would not be where it is today without my amazing staff. Everyone has a fierce love for their craft, and it shows. For now, sit back and enjoy issue one. We are just getting started.








September 2020


Cover Illustration By Eloise Kelsey


04 06 10 14

“Would you like your lashes for here, or to go?� By Nia Coats

First responders reflect on life-changing moment 19 years later By Erica Gray

Exploring the digital frontier of large-scale entertainment By Christian Cabang

Digital stock trading goes vogue By Dan Dejesus


“Would you like your lashes for here, or to go?”


Story by Nia Coats Illustrations by Eloise Kelsey

Vending machine serves lashes, so you can serve looks...

Ineeds of a company. Finding new ways to sell ncreasing revenue is one of the most important

products has always been about innovative business strategy. Many times revenue is increased through the innovation of making products better and more accessible to consumers. One such revenue-making idea that incorporates innovation, technology and beauty is the growing market of vending machines that dispense varieties of custom synthetic eyelashes for glam-seekers on the go. Chrislyn Earle, a recent San Jose State University graduate, and avid eyelash wearer started wearing eyelashes thanks to her little sister. When she wore her first few pairs, she saw the difference in her appearance and the way that they made her feel. “I really feel like a grown person,” Earle said. “I feel like when you put eyelashes on, it just adds to your age.” The self-proclaimed lash queen and owner of Beaute iLash Luxury Lashes, Marjon Soares, is adding innovation to her company by selling eyelashes from a vending machine. It will be open to the public Oct. 3. Now people do not have to worry about going into a big beauty store to find the eyelashes they need. The vending machine gives them the access that they need immediately. One can access this new service is the Sephora at the Bay Street shopping center. The decision to place it at that location was a conscious one. This section of the mall has the most foot traffic. The vending machine will be next to the parking garage, right under the AMC movie theater, which is right in front of Sephora. “People are walking around in that specific area are going to buy beauty products, and even though both of those stores sell lashes they don’t sell the variety that I sell,” Soares said in an interview via Twitter. “And the price that I’m selling at is more affordable.” There are still the realities of owning a small business selling eyelashes right next to Sephora and MAC


September 2020

This is when she conceived of doing something she is passionate about in an unconventional way. Instead of a brick-and-mortar store she opted for a vending machine. Soares said that securing anything big like a storefront or a huge piece of machinery like a vending machine is not an easy task. There are a lot of details that go into acquiring a vending machine. Also, all of the logistics that go into owning a business such as having the proper paperwork and licensing depend on business rules. “My goal is to have an actual store location but I think right now a vending machine is a good stepping stone before the actual store,” Soares said. The process of acquiring a vending machine was not as simple as purchasing it and filling it with products, according to Soares. There are extra fees and precautions to make sure that the business is conducted legitimately. Nandi Eskridge, a Pine Manor College student from San Francisco, said that when she saw the tweet about the vending machine, she was excited about a small business opening at Bay Street. “Personally, I’ve been there and bought something for me about to go out,” Eskridge said. “It’s a good idea. Especially if you’re looking for a different look for that night, like if you’re about to [go to] the club and you don’t have time, you can just go to the vending machine.” Before starting her independent makeup business, Soares worked in several different industries, such as customer service, baking and hospitality. Going into business alone is different from these past career fields. Looking into the future for her company, Soares wants to stay business-driven with hopes of opening more vending machines like this one in airports, hotels, and additional busy shopping areas. This first location at Bay Street is just the start. “I started to think about other ways I can sell to the public and get my brand out there,” Soares said. “After doing some research, I came up with this idea.”

Cosmetics. Soares worries that she may be overlooked as a small business owner compared to big businesses in the makeup industry. “It always feels like you’re getting overshadowed, but I just always have to reassure myself that I’m not and that there’s enough people in the world for every business to have a business,” Soares said. Soares has been selling beauty products in 2018. She started with an online business that sold eyelash-

“I put those lashes on, and it changed the whole game for me; I never looked back.” - Marjon Soares es through her website. On the website, there are varieties of packaging that fit the demographic that she sells to. Soare’s website offers eyelashes that are named after zodiac signs in packaging that are reminiscent of an early 2000’s Nokia cell phone. The eyelashes that are named after smoking references are in packaging that is similar to the Backwoods rolling paper, but instead says “Lashwoods” to stay on brand with the company. The Beaute iLash Luxury Lashes business model is all about versatility, Soares said. She intends for her packaging to match the mood and the vibe of her customers. “The Nokia packaging is my current packaging because it takes me back a little bit to my middle school days when I was just living my best life, carefree,” Soares said. Beauty has been a part of Soares’ life since she was about 13 or 14 years old. Her auntie got a hold of a lot of beauty products from a garage sale, including 10 pairs of eyelashes, which she gave to her. From there, Soares’s infatuation with eyelashes began. “I put those lashes on, and it changed the whole game for me; I never looked back,” Soares said. “And it progressed from there, lashes, then mascara, and then eyeliner.” Soares has long thought about expanding. She has played with the idea of owning her own store specializing in selling eyelashes, but she said that when she had that idea she had to bring herself back to reality.



First responders reflect on life-changing moment 19 years later Story by Erica Gray

Jimmy Buckley’s truck, surrounded by debris, parked in front of the crumbling towers during the attacks on the World Trade Center. Photo courtesy of Jimmy Buckley.


September 2020


People photographed the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, prior to the aircraft attacks. Photo courtesy of Jimmy Buckley.

he day after two aircrafts flew into the World Trade Center, city officials in New York desperately called for any iron workers to help clean up the wreckage at ground zero. That same September morning, Jimmy Quinn, my uncle and hero, left his house in upstate New York with his hard hat and drove to what would later be considered a war zone. Jimmy Quinn used plasma cutters to burn the twisted and mangled steel that was left after the twin towers came crumbling down. Because the iron was awfully disfigured, it produced pops of explosions as it reverted to its original shape. While cleaning up the debris and dismantled iron at ground zero, Jimmy Quinn saw hands and feet from the deceased. He saw the bodies of individuals who jumped from the towers hanging on the defaced bridge that once connected the Winter Garden Atrium and the World Trade Center. Firemen working at ground zero climbed up the demolished bridge to put corpses into body bags. After each body was retrieved, first responders paused for a moment of silence. They returned to work until the next body was retrieved. One day, when Jimmy Quinn returned to ground


zero with fellow iron workers and firemen to continue their work, an American flag was found within the debris. It was instantly mantled and raised. Since the attacks on the World Trade Center, perceptions of mental health have changed drastically. Numerous first responders, victims and their families have admitted to experiencing emotional distress but are not using provided resources due to the stigma around mental illness. Others actively avoid the topic of 9/11 and its emotional aftermath. “It does affect me emotionally when I think about it,” Jimmy Quinn said. “But I think I come from a generation that wouldn’t admit it.” First responders were offered covered mental health screenings through the World Trade Center Health Program, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, due to the stigma around mental illness, many utilized the resources to evaluate their physical health, but neglected to assess their emotional stability. Maureen Clancy, a therapist who volunteered for the World Trade Center Health Program, said the stigma surrounding mental illness in the past dissuaded first responders from accessing resources.


“It was stigmatized as a weakness,” Clancy said. “I think that’s why many first responders never sought treatment for mental health issues.” Jimmy Quinn’s brother, Tommy Quinn, worked as a fireman in the Bronx during the attacks. He said he remembers many moments of feeling disbelief that day. Tommy Quinn said he tries not to think about the attacks. “I probably avoid it a little bit,” Tommy Quinn said.

of the fallen World Trade Center. On other days they attended funerals. Danny O’Brien, another 9/11 rescue volunteer, experienced emotional trauma from the incident. “In the beginning, it was hard to sleep,” O’Brien said. O’Brien said that life following the attacks became nerve-wracking. He would catch himself constantly gazing up at the sky looking for airplanes. When he saw one, he would imagine what was going on inside. He often questioned whether planes he noticed were flying too low. Jimmy Buckley, a retired stage producer, was setting up a stage in front of the north tower the morning of the attacks. He would soon become pinned under an outdoor staircase and trapped inside the lower levels of the south tower. Once above ground he fled the site through the streets of Manhattan. Prior to the attacks, Buckley operated and took responsibility for the expenditures of multi-million dollar events. He said no stress he’d felt before could ever match the pressure and emotional impact he felt that day. “I thought I was the strongest-minded person,”

Tommy Quinn recalled resting in bed on the morning of the attacks when his wife broke the news to him that one of the twin towers was on fire. Tommy Quinn, who was off of work, remained under the sheets as he listened to his wife describe what was on the TV screen. He initially thought the scene she distressed over was probably not that bad. Seconds later, he realized how serious the situation was when his wife commented on the copious amount of smoke escaping the north tower. “The World Trade Center didn’t have windows that opened. They’re fixed in place, and it’s just a circulation system that they have throughout the building. You can’t open the windows,” Tommy Quinn said. “So when she said there was a lot of smoke coming from the building, it sort of dawned on me. I thought to myself, ‘Smoke coming from the building?’ So then I turned the TV on, and I went to see what was happening. And I knew right then, that it was really really really bad.” Tommy Quinn reflected on his experience finding bodies months after the initial attacks and the heartbreak he felt discovering firemen’s uniforms while cleaning up wreckage. He said that if firemen weren’t working at their firehouses or on fires, then they were likely working on the aftermath

Buckley said. “This shook me to my core.” Buckley spoke about his struggles with PTSD and emphasized the importance of mental health, which he previously considered malarkey. He said he relives the attack everyday. “PTSD is real,” Buckley said. Vincent Rozalski, a San Francisco-based mental health professional who specializes in PTSD and trauma, said that society views mental illnesses much differently today than in the early 2000s. “People seem to be more accepting of mental


September 2020

health problems as being legitimate. I think there’s been a lot of perception, and there still is some today, that if you’re having anxiety or depression or something else, then you’re just not strong enough to deal with it or you’re weak for having, you know, these kinds of issues,” Rozalski said. “I feel like that thought pattern has become less prevalent over time and more people are seeing it as a legitimate kind of medical condition that it is.”

Rozalski said that slowly over time, society is becoming more open to vulnerability. Stigma around mental illness is becoming less of a barrier for accessing treatment, he said. Buckley also explained the outlook of mental illness from the generation he was born into and how that perception affected him before finding therapy. “Our generation thinks ‘put it on the back burner and move on’,” Buckley said. “And it’s not that easy.” He reflected on how therapy and treating his PTSD benefitted his well-being. “Mental health [awareness] changed me because I’m still here,” Buckley said. “Without it, I wouldn’t have been.”X

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Buckley.



Exploring the dig large-scale en


apturing the emotional impact of a live performance through a small box on Zoom is a problem that worries the founder and artistic director of The Marsh Theater, Stephanie Weisman. The Marsh Theater in San Francisco provides varieties of live entertainment and is described as “a breeding ground for new performance.” The shows came to a halt when the shelter-inplace order issued in March shut down all music venues and theaters in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. This abrupt predicament forced live entertainment to resort to using online streaming as a lifeline. Thanks to companies such as Zoom and YouTube, groups and venues are able to entertain their audiences. As organizations struggle to fulfill their mission statements in front of their fans, they’ve had to step back and figure out how to recover from the losses. Weisman and The Marsh made beneficial changes in the transition from the tanking revenue to the growing streams of August. Regardless of when The Marsh is allowed to reopen, Weisman says the new revenue streams are here to stay. “We still can’t wait to get back in the theaters, but on the other hand I’m not interested at all in giving up this aspect of it. So it’ll just become another arm of The Marsh whenever we can start developing live things,” Weisman said. For performers, the stage may remain virtual until the year 2021. However, live streaming offers benefits to the hosts, performers and audiences.

“People really f whole experienc get to say things Sometimes we b the camera to an

- Stephani

Streaming digital jams you get to

Story by Chris 10

September 2020

gital frontier of ntertainment

feel part of this ce because they s in the chat box. bring them up on nswer questions,”

ie Weisman

Upsides to streaming live entertainment


lthough performing online doesn’t fully translate the same way as an in-person performance, it does offer social engagement one might not receive at a live show. Essential features like the chat box on Zoom allow the audience to connect with the performers throughout their performance. “People really feel part of this whole experience because they get to say things in the chat box. Sometimes we bring them up on the camera to answer questions,” Weisman said. Streaming is widening the market for artists and organizations by freeing geographic restrictions and allowing people from different parts of the world to tune in and perform. Instead of turning down performers and or having them fly in, streaming allows establishments to host artists locally and across the globe from their computers. In March , downtown San Jose’s Hammer Theatre Center successfully streamed a mime troupe, Mummenschanz, from Switzerland. “Wouldn’t it be great to then offer a lower priced opportunity to those people who couldn’t get tickets to watch at home? [...] thereby making what we do on stage much more accessible to audiences,” said Chris Burrill, executive director of the Hammer Theatre Center.

s might be the closest a live show

stian Cabang



Livestreaming won’t be going away any time soon


ivestreaming pushes the creativity for many independent artists, music venues, and theaters. As vaccines for COVID-19 remain in the works, the possibility of returning to large in-person gatherings in the U.S. remains far in the distance. When venues do reopen, many organizations plan to continue livestreaming while continuing to provide in person shows. SoFar Sounds, a music events startup known for hosting “secret concerts” around the globe, is reimagining live music through streaming. They film from personalized locations using a wide range of camera angles in an attempt to capture the artist’s music in a visually engaging way. SoFar produced a somber yet vibrant performance with its latest stream, from artist and producer Mackeson. “It was like a music video,” said Matt McDonagh, vice president of global commercial partnerships for SoFar Sounds. When venues closed in March, live entertainment came to a standstill — only to change direction as an artform. Raymond Oppenheimer, a lecturer and the Staff Master Electrician for SF State’s Theater and Dance Department, is working to enhance the user experience at the university with new tools such as Open Broadcaster Software, which is normally used for video game streaming. This software is meant to translate well to the new medium of online performance. Oppenheimer has opted to work on manipulating live video images for the rest of the semester. By no means can streaming replicate a live performance, but what it is doing is propelling a new type of artform. “It’s not trying to do theater virtually or dance virtually. It’s trying to express ourselves given the limitations of the new medium we find ourselves in,” Oppenheimer said. x

Challenges of streaming live entertainment


apturing the energy of a live performance without an audience is difficult. Since the room isn’t filled with cheering fans, it strips away the liveliness and intimate ingredient of a traditional show. An orchestra group called One Found Sound is rooted in providing inclusive classical music performances in various locations throughout the Bay Area. The shelter-in-place order forced the group to pre-record performances and livestream ongoing events. “It’s been really tough to figure out. I mean, we play for audiences, and part of One Found Sound [is] we love being close to our audience,” said Sarah Launer, a member of One Found Sound. A bad internet connection can also ruin shows by cutting off performances midway. For example, a musical performance by Sylvie Simmons took place on The Marsh Stream in August. In the middle of the performance “she just disappeared,” Weisman said. Ticket sales, merchandising and food and beverage generate the bulk of revenue for the entertainment business. These sales cover the cost of production and artist proceeds. Artists also miss out on promotional opportunities such as gaining exposure by growing a fan base. Now, the primary way artists and venues make money through streaming is donations. Similar to the Hammer Theater, many have also initiated campaign fundraisers in efforts to stay in business. Venues such as the Hammer Theatre have been able to financially survive until they can reopen their doors by reaching out to loyal customers, former attendees and fans. 12

September 2020

Screenshots taken during a video call with Raymond Oppenheimer exploring video manipulation.





September 2020

Story by Dan DeJesus Photos by Camille Cohen



s the world continues to grapple with the pandemic, masks and hand sanitizer have become daily necessities in people’s lives. But owning stocks has also increased in popularity during the pandemic. New investors are looking to recoup their losses by making long-term investments or buying and selling off stocks that can make them a quick profit to take advantage of what longtime journalists, among others, have called “the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression.” When reports of the pandemic swept the U.S. starting in March, the unemployment rate jumped to 14.7% due to many factors including layoffs and business closures. For the month of July the rate was 10.2%. Many first-time investors took their savings, unemployment benefits or government-issued stimulus checks to try their hand at investing. The volatility of the market during the pandemic has made it easier for new investors to get into what is referred to as day trading. Investors are looking to take advantage of lowpriced stocks for the potential to sell with a significant return in profit once prices increase. Owning shares in a company involves holding some form of stake in the company’s operation. Traders often use their money to invest in either a company whose values they align with, a company they believe can net them a profit in the future or a combination of both. There’s a multitude of different reasons for why someone would decide to fund a company in the market. Companies use ticker symbols as a shortened way to refer to themselves. For example: Kodak (KODK) and Apple (AAPL). Basic knowledge of economics and the market goes a long way in helping prepare firsttime traders with their initial foray into the business. For case manager Jerry Ochoa, a 2019 alum of SF State, the lack of knowledge may have hurt him.

“It kind of felt overwhelming at times. I didn’t know to maneuver my way around,” said Ochoa as he described how he felt confused during his early trading days. The popular trading app Robinhood reported adding over 3 million accounts in its first quarter. The app is used to trade stocks. It provides features such as adding stocks to your watchlist and market updates. Robinhood’s user-friendly interface has made the app a popular choice for young adults. An NBC news report described the app as, “Charles Schwab, meet Candy Crush.” One example of a successful stock during the pandemic was Kodak. The popular photography company received a government loan on July 28 for $765 million, which was secured from the Defense Production Act. Kodak was granted the loan so it could start production on pharmaceutical ingredients, such as hydroxychloroquine, the controversial drug that President Donald Trump said works against COVID-19. Kodak’s stocks surged to 879.8% after news surfaced of the loan before steadily declining in value. Traders who took advantage of the price surge secured massive profits. Juan Carlos Concha, a DJ for San Francisco-based radio station 99.7 NOW, got into the market recently as a way to make supplemental income. “I had a lot of money saved up because I wasn’t going out as much, and I wanted to utilize that money, find different things to invest in,” Concha said. Andante Ferguson, a sound technician, felt the effects of COVID-19 earlier than most. In January, events he was scheduled for began to get canceled. After a suggestion from his father, Ferguson decided to try his hand at trading. Though he regrets not getting into the market during the extreme crash in March, his father’s advice gave him the notice to enter when big oil companies’

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“I had a lot of money saved up because I wasn’t going out as much, and I wanted to utilize that money, find different things to invest in.” - Juan Carlos Concha


September 2020

shares plummeted in April. For Ferguson, the Proshares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil stock was one of his first big wins, buying in at $11 and waiting until $30 before selling off multiple shares. UCO, as it is referred to on the market, is categorized as an oil “exchange-traded fund.” ETFs are a popular type of investment. Wilson Hoang, a former rotisserie deli cashier, has been holding onto Cinemark as his big stock play. “I’m going all in on Cinemark,” Hoang said. Concha’s initial success came out of pure luck when he invested in Genius Brands. Genius Brands is an entertainment-based company that promises to deliver what they describe as “content with a purpose.” They use animated multimedia aimed at toddlers and tweens as a customer base. Concha initially bought his shares at 25 cents before they jumped to over $7. The next day, Concha discovered the price had plummeted, prompting him to sell off his shares to the tune of $7,000. While there are other trading sites, such as Webull and E*Trade, which offer similar options, Robinhood has made trading serviceable in the smart devices era. “I can tell when the stocks are going down, how much I am losing and how much I am gonna gain back just by looking at the stats,” Hoang said. Ferguson said that overall technology has helped make trading easier. Risks in the stock market, such as trading aggressively or buying into the wrong stock, are some things to note as stock trading popularity increases among millenials. Hoang says Biocept is one stock he bought into that never took off. He thought its connection to coronavirus research would increase the price point in the long run after getting information to jump on board from a friend. “That was a bad decision on my part. I bought in thinking it was gonna rise because it deals with COVID-19 research, and it just kept going down all the way to 60 cents,” Hoang said. While Concha had gained a good amount of

money from his sale of Genius Brand shares, he also noted how volatile penny stocks can be. Penny stocks are those that cost less than $5 each, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Concha said they are known for their chances of netting massive amounts of money. The trick is getting in and out at the right time, he said. The volatility of these stocks also increases the risk of experiencing a massive loss, he said. Concha said that penny stocks are known in the trading community as being susceptible to the “pump and dump” scheme. The scheme occurs when people invest in a stock to artificially increase its price, and then sell once others buy in at the inflated price. Concha said that people with massive amounts of money are especially capable of influencing penny stocks in this way. He said the issue is that first-time traders buy in at the wrong price, prompting them to cut their losses if the price ends up plummeting. This was one of the reasons Concha says first-time traders should stay away because of the high risk involved with these penny trades. “In a matter of minutes I lost so much money, I got out to shower and I saw I lost like at least ($6,000),” Concha said. As trading becomes more popular, those looking to get into trading might be wondering what steps they can take to minimize the risk of fumbling their first go around. Ferguson and Concha said that researching stocks could go a long way in investing, adding that it could be helpful to browse information made available through online stock-trading communities, such as those on Reddit, Twitter and Discord. “Look at what company makes the product, what company sources the product … It goes really in depth,” Concha said. Persevering and not giving up despite the losses is also helpful, Ferguson said. “People who have been in the stock market for 20 years still say they learn something new today, it takes time, just stick with it,” he said. x



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