C Magazine Vol. 7 Edition 4

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Vol. 7 Feb. 2019

arts & culture

letter from the


Dear Readers,

We hope your year has been off to a wonderful start, and that you enjoyed last issue! We have been hard at work to produce a dynamic set of stories for you to read. As students and young adults, certain aspects of our culture often work to define us, shaping our identities and behavior. In this issue, staff writers Kailee Correll, Sophie Jacobs, Karina Kadakia, Chloe Larsen, Natalie Schilling and Hazel Shah ask the question we often encounter regarding our culturally influenced actions: is it worth it? In “Welcome to the Family," they dive into the complex stories that constitute one’s experience in the Greek system, from parties and racism to fundraisers and finding a forever family. Staff writers Jaime Furlong, Gigi Tierney and Maddie Yen dive into the controversies found when broaching the topic of sex education nationwide. “Let’s Talk About Sex (Ed),” touches on the many facets of this conversation, in regards to the education system but also public and private organizations that provide sexual health information and services. With the 50 year anniversary of the Woodstock music festival coming up this summer, avid listeners and activists are preparing to return to an infamous dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains for exciting festivities and new traditions. Staff writers Ellie Fitton, Theo Lim-Jisra and Hazel Shah convey this excitement by exploring the musical line-up and the philanthropic aspects of the festival. In “Seeing The Invisible,” staff writers Ashley Guo, Sophie Jacob, Kimi Lillios and Isabella Moussavi delve into Pierre Huyghe’s use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as an artistic medium. Huyghe’s efforts to pioneer a new form of art, called photomicrography, have established an intersection between scientific and artistic industries, further revealing the beauty of the natural world.

thanks to our


We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed making it! Happy Reading! Ryan Gwyn, Grace Rowell, Lia Salvatierra and Rosa Schaefer Bastian Editors-in-Chief


Alexandra Scheve Alyssa Haught Amanda Hmelar Andrew Moley Ann and Rob Schilling Anna Zigmond-Ramm Ann Stern Audrey and Marc Finot Barbara Cottrell Bob Rowell Bob Stefanski Bridget Cottrell Buddy Rowell Cathy Moley Celeste Bates Charlee Stefanski Chris Lillos Dana Wideman Danielle Laursen Denease G Rowell George Putris Gregg Rowell Harry and Molly Ackley Jake Wellington Jane Varner Jeanne Giaccia Jennifer Wald Jinnt Rhee Joan Shah Josh Rowell Juliana Lee Julie Gerhardt Jacob Karen Gould Kathy Sinsheimer Katie Look Kenneth and Melissa Scheve Li Li Lisa Borland Lynn Brown Martha Castellon Palacios Mimi Veyna Nora Bohdjelian Pritpal Sahota Rajul and Alpesh Kadakia Ron Papas Sarah Correll Simon and Sarla Wright Steve Weiss Susanna Lee Vicken Bojelian

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Ryan Gwyn, Grace Rowell, Lia Salvatierra, Rosa Schaefer Bastian

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Charlotte Amsbaugh



STAFF WRITERS Katherine Buecheler, Jack Callaghan, Angie Cummings, Sophie Jacob, Karina Kadakia, Chloe Laursen, Claire Li, Kimberly Lilios, Theo Lim-Jisra, Isabella Moussavi, Claire Moley, Tamar Ponte, Natalie Schilling, Hazel Shah, Raj Sodhi, Mahati Subramaniam, Sukhman Sahota, Gigi Tierney, Fiza Usman, Tyler Varner, Neive Wellington, Jessica Weiss


ILLUSTRATORS Charlotte Amsbaugh, Bo Fang, Tyler Varner ADVISER Brian Wilson COVER Charlotte Amsbaugh, Patille Papas and Natallie Schillng

CONTENTS table of

4 6 8 11 14 18 21 24 31 34 37 41 44 46







“Arts teach students to be human; art is all about experience, and what it means to be human.” Kate McKenzie


Curriculum from the

Art classes of different forms bring value and balance to a student’s education. But why are they consistently the first to go when districts face budget cuts?

4 • ARTS



loating around the classroom in a vibrant blue shirt, Kate McKenzie is hard to miss. Her classroom is adorned with student work, paint brushes and tools. With countless students milling about, McKenzie still stands out from the rest. “The thing about being an art teacher is it’s all about working one on one with students and getting to know students,” McKenzie said. McKenzie, with over 25 years of experience teaching art, is an adamant supporter of art curricula and offering more Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) classes throughout schools. “Arts teach students to be human,” McKenzie said. “Art is all about experience, and what it means to be human.” From painting, glass-blowing and ceramics classes, to graphic design, film and photography classes, Paly students are rarely limited in their artistic aspirations. One such student, Senior Kaitlyn Ho, has not only taken three Paly art classes but has also pursued art outside of school through independent studios. In addition, Ho is also the president of I Heart Art Club, a Paly club dedicated to offering a creative hub for students who can’t fit an art class into their busy schedule. Through various crafts and activities, Ho’s club invites students of all artistic levels to get creative during lunch. “Art is a great medium to express your thoughts and opinions in an unconventional way. I love the concept of an art club because it is a welcoming environment for those who are artistically inclined as well as those who aren’t,” Ho said. “Without the constant pressure to do something correctly, I believe that students will have the ability to embrace their inner thoughts and calm down.” The opportunity to “calm down” in a traditionally stressful environment is valuable to students. Sarah Kremer, a teacher and art therapist for over 20 years, has first-hand experience in understanding the mental health benefits that art can provide. “[Art] can help those who cannot say how they feel or what they’ve experienced in words to express themselves,” Kremer said. According to Kremer, creating art is embedded in human nature and is an alleviating and therapeutic experience. As a former art student herself, Kremer expresses her keenness for teaching art in a classroom setting and how it is essential to students’ learning and emotional well-being. “Creative expression is inherent in how we are balanced and can help provide context to those whose learning patterns are more visual or movement-based or musical,” Kremer said. VAPA classes are not only a passion and an avenue for stress relief

for students but also have academic and health benefits for those who choose to participate. In a 2002 report by the Art Education Partnership, over 60 studies from 100 different researchers were examined, finding that students with exposure to art, music or drama were often more proficient in math, reading and writing. “Art teaches students how to think symbolically,” McKenzie said. “Many people don’t know this, but artists are thinkers. They are great at critical and analytical thinking.” Despite the proven benefits of VAPA programs, both in and out of the classroom, they seem to be undervalued. In a 2009-10 report done by the National Center for Education Statistics, only 15% of elementary schools reported that art instruction was provided more than twice a week to students. However, at Palo Alto High School, “we see the value of art in education,” McKenzie said. “Parents and teachers want their students learning music, art and theatre because they see the benefits in the students.” However, along with the limited funds school districts have, schools make major budget cuts to the funding for their VAPA classes, creating yet another barrier for the implementation of these art programs. In early February of 2018, teachers staged walkouts and strikes due to a lack of funding for educational essentials in states like West Virginia, Georgia, Arizona, and most recently, southern California. These walkouts lasted through 2018 and are likely to carry into 2019. Teacher’s unions as close as Oakland were actively discussing strikes as of the first of February. Art teachers across the country have reported having to use their personal money to buy even the most basic supplies, such as paintbrushes and paper. Luckily, Palo Alto has been largely exempt from this trend. “We are very lucky here,” McKenzie said. “We have funding most other schools would dream of. We always want more, but we are so fortunate to get what we do.” Ultimately, even in spite of budget cuts and consistent undervaluing, the importance of art in education is on the rise as the benefits of these subjects are becoming more well-known. With the booming entertainment industry, California has arguably one of the highest populations of artists in the nation. There is a great demand for artists and creatives worldwide, so it is only a matter of time until art classes are as commonplace as Math or English. Aside from the proven academic and health benefits, art also remains a source of great passion for countless students and adults. “It’s a great creative release that I hope everyone can enjoy,” Ho said.

ARTS • 5

pierre huyghe and marek miś

see ing The invi sible


Mri art art Mri

cience continues to be a field of infinite uncertainty as individuals interchange between research ventures and artistic visions to capture nature’s exuding radiance. Whether it be through the visualizations of magnetic imaging resonance pattern scans (MRI) scans or photography through the microscope, the fluidity between science and art is on the rise. Intrigued and enlightened, the public both learns and admires a different perspective of science through these interactive exhibits and immersive images. As a result, the unseen beauty of the natural world is able to serve as an inspiration for many. Walking into a black room, dust gets scuffed up from the floor, filling the air with earthy tones. The humming of chaotic insects can be heard overhead and the rapidly flashing LED monitors strike the creatures’ blue-tinted backs. Known for the sensational diversity in his work, French artist Pierre Huyghe continues to exceed the limitations of the art world, no matter what form his art takes. Whether it be an interactive soundtrack, sculpture or monitor, the unique facets of his artwork create an unparalleled experience for the viewer. Inside his rendered conscious visual exhibit in London, called “UUmwelt,” over 10,000 living bluebottle flies circle the expanse of the gallery, perching on bright screens and a cool floor in addition to their airborne journey. Accompanying the winged creatures are strategically sanded walls and fluctuating humidity. Huyghe frequently incorporates dramatically different mediums to compose an ecosystem that connects humans, animals and technological influence in his exhibitions. The flies provide a sense of unpredictability and never-ending

Most artwork focuses on interpreting anD abstracting The beauty that is experienced in The familiar world around us. recently, artistic concepts have been discovered within science anD technology, revealing both The invisible anD The undetectable by bringing forth The natural beauty of These hidden worlds. TEXT AND DESIGN BY ASHLEY GUO, SOPHIE JACOB, KIMI LILLIOS, ISABELLA MOUSSAVI PHOTO COURTESY OF MAREK MIŚ

motion as the sanded walls release a plethora of dust waiting to be and their implication of rot and death, the piece also suggests that we moved about the gallery. Concurrently, the number of people present speed along, almost mindlessly, to the background hum of our own alters the temperature and humidity, even if ever so slightly. Although mortality.” seemingly indifferent, Huyghe strives to emphasize the interrelations The process of developing these perplexing images begins with between the biotic and the abiotic, and thus, has light, temperature and medical professionals taking MRI’s of Huyghe’s participants while they humidity sensors that are constantly analyzing the exhibit’s conditions are shown a collection of images or described ideas. The recorded neural and changing the rate of the flashing monitors accordingly. activity is then sent to Huyghe’s collaborator, Japanese neuroscientist, In order to regulate the speed at which each image produced by the Yukiyasu Kamitani, who developed an artificial intelligence software MRI scan appears for, Huyghe embeds the collected light and humidity that is able to convert the collected data into existent images through data through various algorithms. As a a deep neural network. This equipment result, the embedded LED monitors draws from a preexisting bank of can flicker the strange creations onto images and attempts to reconstruct and the screen surface up to a dozen times a reproduce the participant’s conscious. second. Hence, insufficient time is left Kamitani’s machine-based learning for the mind to analyze each individual technology was originally used in frame, forcing the already oblique images attempts to decode brain activity as to fade into nothing more but barely people slept. With the combination recognizable figures. of MRI scans and verbal reports, the For a fleeting moment, the observer decoding models produce a relatively may be able to pick out a somewhat accurate detection and representation of definite figure amongst the muddled the imagery. explosion of color emitted by the This particular union of science and monitors and projected onto the screen. art is relatively new, Huyghe being a Perhaps what you see is a brown beetle, pioneer of the style. To blur the line while another spectator claims to have that separates the two fields, commonly seen a brown bear. Alas, the chance to perceived by many as polar opposites, is dwell upon one’s findings is ripped away revolutionary in the name of the exact ­­a ­­­alexanDer lexanDer Nemerov Nemerov definition of art. Palo Alto High School as the image contorts into something unrecognizable, blending back into the art teacher Kate McKenzie is one of dimensions of the frame once more. many who is intrigued by the endless possibilities the future of science Inevitably, countless moving parts and mechanics of the piece and art beholds. “There are still so many unknowns in science and in create room for discussion, as the perception of the work is entirely art and when you put the two together it creates a vast playground up to the viewer. When shown Huyghe’s unique exhibition, Alexander waiting to be explored,” she said. Nemerov, a Stanford art historian and professor, delves into a possible The world of science and technology surges forward and with it, interpretation of the piece. “It creates a space wherein we can reflect, a plethora of closeted ideas to bring to life and an entire universe to think, and in this case, on the increasing inability to think at all in the explore. Huyghe is one of the first, but as technology is used more midst of whirring images that occur faster than we can comprehend frequently as an intermediate between science and art, society’s natural them,” he said. “Accompanied by the restless disturbing buzz of flies ability to create and discover can only flourish.

“The piece also suggests that we speed along, almost mindlessly, to The background hum of our own mortality.” mortality.”

ARTS • 7

photo photo Micrography Micrography


n amorphous burst of color flashes across an alien landscape. Vibrant shades splash about while distinct lines bring patterns into focus. This vitality of colors, patterns and strangely familiar designs is only observable through the lens of a microscope. There is more to nature than what meets the naked eye, and simply magnifying one’s perspective reveals an otherworldly beauty in butterfly wings, the shells of crustaceans or even just the bubbles in alcohol. With improving digital technology and an expanding interest in the microworld, scientists and artists alike are exploring the allure of the natural world through photomicrography, the practice of taking photos of samples from different crevices of nature through a microscope. Before the rise of digital photography, photomicrography was considered a highly specialized skill that required years of training, and it was often only used in research contexts. However, this quickly began to change as new technology developed to allow both professionals and hobbyists to take microscope photos. As avid supporters of photomicrography, Nikon Instruments contributed to this field by producing a multitude of different products, ranging from microscopes to software. To further promote the importance of the connection between art and science, Nikon established the Nikon International Small World Competition in 1975. The competition first began with the purpose to recognize beautiful images taken through microscopes and to showcase the work of photomicrographers from all around the world. Since then, winning photographs have been displayed in famous museums and on the covers of prestigious scientific journals. Nikon’s Small World Competition is an international gathering of photomicrography enthusiasts. To Nikon Instruments’ communications manager Eric Flem, the competition also opens the doors to the public. “The eric ­­eric expression of science through art helps provide a window for the public to see what the scientific community sees every day in their journey of discovery,” he said. “Much of scientific research is funded by the public, and a better broad understanding of things scientific is sure to have a positive effect.” By displaying the inner world of science through art, such as photomicrographs, science becomes more easily accessible and understandable for the public. Photographer Marek Miś from Poland has devoted himself to taking micrographs since 2009. Facing difficulties in the 1980s with cumbersome technology and materials, Miś revived his passion when digital photography was made readily accessible. Miś has been a finalist in many competitions devoted to microphotography, and a wide variety of his photos have been featured on publication covers and in galleries. “Photomicrography is a special type of photography because I can show what is completely invisible to most people,” Miś said. “It allows others, even for a moment, to enter a completely different world accessible only to people equipped with microscopes.”

Miś believes that anyone can appreciate the beauty of the natural world and should not feel limited by a lacking background or knowledge in science. “Photomicrography can amaze and at the same time delight with the beauty of nature,” Miś said. “You do not have to be a scientist to get inspiration from the micro world.” There are many instances where science is employed as a tool to craft art but in the case of photomicrography, art is used as a conduit to reveal the beauty within science. In order to shift awareness from the macroworld to the microworld, photomicrographers use their artwork to reveal hidden portions of nature. flem flem “The natural world is so much more than what we see with our eyes,” Flem said. “The systems and series of events that have come to manifest what we are seeing are so complex. In the case of photomicrography, we simply employ tools that allow us to see what we physically cannot see otherwise.” With photomicrography at the crossroads of science and art, this fast-growing genre of art has great potential. “Without science, there is no art and without art, there is no science,” Flem said. “Art and science are two sides of the same coin and by recognizing this, we only stand to gain in both realms.” The casual viewer can observe the beauty in nature almost every day. From the elegance of math formulas to the magnificence of the tallest tree, millennia of human civilizations have always drawn from nature as a muse. As technology and scientific advances bridge the gap between the observable and the invisible, new ways to be amazed by the beauty of the natural world are constantly found.

“The natural world is so much more than what we see with our eyes.”

ARTS • 8

artist of the month

Renaissance Man


Embodying the spirit of a 21st-century renaissance man, Leo Marburg’s dexterity in the realm of the performing arts is always present in his daily life.


he bell rings, signaling the end of the school day. While most students make their way to the parking lot or bike racks to head home, junior Leo Marburg is only getting started. He bolts from band practice to choir rehearsal and finally to a theatre performance, and he spends the minutes in between strumming his ukulele, belting along to a song on the radio or profusely running his lines for his next role. His drive for this tireless lifestyle doesn’t originate in the iron fist of “helicopter” parents or even in the desire to draft an overly-ambitious college resume. Rather, it stems from his unadulterated passion to fill every feasible hour of the day in pursuit of what he loves—artistic expression. His enthusiasm to perform began early in his life, since he began participating in Christian Musical Theatre, or CMT, productions in kindergarten. After returning for multiple summers, he was ready for a change of pace or something that was a little more serious and could take his acting further. There were auditions being held for the

production of “Snow White” at the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre, and 8-year-old Marburg was itching for a role. “I was very excited, but when I auditioned for my first show [Snow White], I forgot my monologue,” Marburg said. This slip up cost him the part and Marburg vowed to not return to the Children’s Theatre audition stage until he had fully recovered from the blunder and was ready to blow the casting director away. In the meantime, something else sparked Marburg’s interest: the prospect of singing and acting with a different organization. This led him to the summer camp Hope Musical Theatre. “Getting to combine my interest in music and my interest in theatre, that’s why musicals are definitely my favorite,” he said. “I’ve done, by far, more musicals than I’ve done straight plays.” While singing in front of an audience can be intimidating for many, being on stage is one of the places where Marburg feels most comfortable. “I just love to sing all the time,” Marburg said. “I like to sing around

ARTS • 9

the house a lot, [and] my brother is very annoyed by it.” He attributes this fondness to the time when he joined his first children’s choir in elementary school. The choir director noticed Marburg’s enthusiasm for singing and suggested he sign up for the after-school program, which was part of the Silicon Valley Boys’ Choir. “Choir gave me some of the biggest musical fundamentals,” Marburg said. “[Choir sight reading] really instills a greater level of understanding of the music. And I would say choir has been probably my biggest influence on my musicality.” With newfound confidence in music and musical theatre, Marburg was ready to give traditional theatre another shot. Fully recovered from his audition mishap with the Children’s Theatre, he joined his school’s production for “Alice in Wonderland.” To his surprise, the director of the Children’s Theatre was impressed by his performance and offered him a role in the company’s next show. From there, Marburg auditioned and worked his way up from smaller parts in the productions of “Oliver” and “The Jungle Book” to finally landing his first lead role in the production of “The BFG.” “I was really happy that it showed if you just put in the work, eventually you will have a payoff,” Marburg said. However, he believes that the tight-knit

10 • ARTS

community that develops throughout a production of a show is much more valuable than any solitary role. “Every single person in the show is super important,” Marburg said. “It doesn’t matter if you are just a member of the ensemble. You all have a hand in creating the show, and your success will have an impact on the show’s success.” With a past as being a member of the ensemble, Marburg has gotten a broader perspective of a show in its entirety. While he feels proud of his accomplishments in theatre, he wants to give the spotlight to a different actor, believing that each show is a joint effort in which every stage tech and actor contributes. Regardless of Marburg’s personal opinions on casting, directors wanted to keep him center stage soon after his role in “The BFG,” granting him the part of the Beast in his middle school’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Not only was this production his last one during middle school, the cross-town teamwork made it one of the most memorable for him. With all three of Palo Alto’s middle school theatre programs collaborating on this production, Marburg appreciates that it gave him the chance to collaborate with numerous new faces. “I got to meet a lot of friends that I’m still friends with today,” he said.

According to Marburg, music has always held a place of value in his family, and talent even runs in his blood. His maternal grandfather sang in a choir for many years, while his paternal grandfather was one of the pioneers of the bluegrass genre. With experience in banjos, fiddles and guitars, Marburg’s grandfather helped organize one of the first bluegrass festivals in the United States and toured throughout Europe and North America. “I don’t know my grandfather too well, but I definitely feel in some way, he has an influence on me,” Marburg said. After a visit to a local music shop on a seventh grade trip to Hawaii, an eagerness to learn more about the ukulele sparked within Marburg. After purchasing his first of four ukuleles, his desire for lessons resulted in a daily pilgrimage back to the shop. “[During the trip] I practiced [the ukulele] every day, which became like a ritual,” Marburg said. “[Now] at night I always make sure to play my ukulele before I go to bed.” With the variety of theatre productions and musical performances he’s participated in over the years, Marburg has become more confident as a seasoned performer, prompting him to challenge himself and join an improv troupe through Paly theatre. “One of the things I love about improv is [the crowd’s laughter]. It’s very validating and rewarding to have people laugh at your scenes—they don’t laugh at everything,” Marburg said. “It makes me feel really good to see that I’m making other people happy.” In addition to the positive reactions, Marburg has found that improv has given him more training in quick thinking on stage because the main focus of improv differs from that of traditional theatre. “I think [improv] has really helped my creativity and helped me generate ideas on the spot,” Marburg said. “But it’s also just really fun to watch because it’s a whole collaborative effort.” In terms of his future in the creative arts, Marburg is hoping to both sing in an acapella group and act in theatrical performances in college. Career-wise, his ambition is clear and direct. “My biggest dream would be to write my own musical and get to see it performed,” Marburg said. When reflecting on his experiences in many different areas of the performing arts, he notes his constant upward climb to improve and maximize his multifaceted potential. “I’m not the best singer, I’m not the best pianist and I’m not the best trombonist at all,” Marburg said. “But I think what I like is that I didn’t [have to] choose to dedicate a lot of my time to just one thing. [I can] expand my horizons, and get all these different ways of looking at the world.”

reaching new n June 3, 2017, Alex Honnold became the first person in history to scale the 3,000 foot vertical rock face known as El Capitan— standing twice the height of the Empire State Building—with no ropes. While this feat may seem like a deathwish, in actuality, the daring climb was a well-calculated risk that Honnold spent years training for. In the process, he was filmed by a group of fellow climbers and filmmakers who produced the Oscar-nominated documentary “Free Solo.” The film is centered around Honnold’s decision to climb El Capitan, telling the story of how he scaled what he calls “the most impressive wall on earth” with nothing but shoes and a bag of chalk. This type of climbing—alone and without any safety equipment—is known as free soloing, and Honnold is one of a select few whose passion for it outweighs the fatal risks. “I like the simplicity of soloing. You’ve got no gear, no partner. You never climb better than when you free solo.” he said. To Honnold, “The big dream has always been free soloing El Cap. That is the culmination of anything I can imagine,” he said in a New York Times feature.

"you never climb better than when you free solo" alex honnold It’s difficult to wrap one’s head around the physical and mental strength that it takes to even consider climbing El Capitan without ropes, but Honnold set his sights high and spent years training for the daunting climb. Despite all the time and effort he invested in pursuing his dream, Alex had no set date to attempt the free solo. Rather, he continuously rehearsed the carefully-choreographed moves he had charted along the route until he felt ready to take on El Capitan. “In a real sense, I performed the hard work of that free solo during the days leading up to it,” Honnold wrote in his book “Alone on the Wall.” “Once I was on the climb, it was just a matter of executing.” When

12 • ARTS

reflecting on his mindset while free soloing, Honnold wrote, “There is no adrenaline rush. If I get an adrenaline rush, it means something has gone horribly wrong.” Surprisingly, National Geographic filmmakers Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Vasarhelyi did not originally set out with the intent to capture this monumental achievement. “We were always more interested in Alex as a character study than as a free soloist,” Vasarhelyi said in a Vanity Fair feature. “Alex began free soloing because, as a kid, it was scarier for him to speak to another person and ask them to be his partner than to go out by himself without a partner, and hence [no] rope.”

“"it's hard to not

imagine your friend falling through the frame to his death" jimmy chin Although this film is not the first to document a potentially deadly sport, it is nothing short of groundbreaking. Free soloing is controversial by itself, and the debate about whether or not taking unnecessary risks is justified only intensifies when filming is added into the mix. “I’ve always been conflicted about shooting a film about free soloing just because it’s so dangerous,” Chin said in the film Free Solo. “It’s hard to not imagine your friend falling through the frame to his death.” Once the pair realized the significance of Alex’s story and what he planned to attempt, they carefully considered the moral implications of filming such an achievement. “We had this ethical question: Is he more likely to fall when we were there—because we can be a distraction— than if he is by himself?” Vasarhelyi said in the same New York Times feature. Honnold would attempt the climb with or without a production crew there to document it, and, in the end, they came to the conclusion that filming it would be justified as long as Honnold’s wellbeing was


heights always put first. “To be able to live with ourselves filming it, we needed to set certain guidelines,” Chin said in the same New York Times feature. “First, Alex’s safety was always going to be the priority. And second, we needed to protect the integrity of his experience. Our goal was to [eliminate] any sort of external pressure and really focus on giving him the purest experience that he could have.” First and foremost, the makeup of the film crew was critical. “We needed elite, professional climbers that were also incredible filmmakers and cinematographers,” Chin said in the same Vanity Fair feature. It was paramount for the camera crew to be able to work in a highstakes environment without making errors. Fortunately, the climbers qualified for the job also happened to be friends of Honnold, who helped to foster trust and camaraderie both in the years leading up to his historic climb and during the filming process. The cameramen climbed the wall alongside Honnold for the majority of the ascent, carrying dozens of pounds of filming equipment and ropes as they went. However, at the most difficult points in the climb, remote cameras were set up on the wall, away from Honnold’s line of sight, so as not to disrupt his concentration. This adjustment enabled Alex to successfully conquer the more tedious areas without complications.

one of the greatest yet most dangerous athletic accomplishments ever: to film or not to film?

"For almost four hours we were on the edge of our seats, watching Alex make his way up El Cap, achieving something no human had ever done before" elizabeth Vasarhelyi In the end, Honnold successfully summited El Capitan in an astounding three hours and 56 minutes. In the same New York Times feature, Vasarhelyi said, “For almost four hours we were on the edge of our seats, watching Alex make his way up El Cap, achieving something no human had ever done before.”

ARTS • 13

l a a fattion c a

r t t a


Murderers, both in real life and in the movies, are omnipresent in our society. We are fascinated with those who commit horrific acts. But why can't we look away?


eart beating out of your chest, your body lies still, sitting on the couch in your living room. As the light from the TV flickers in the darkness, the violin melody preludes the victim’s guaranteed fate, and you find yourself wanting to block out the scene you sat down to watch. Suddenly, the shadows on the wall come to life, striking quickly and violently as the screen fades to black. Just like that, it’s over, but the next episode quickly catches your eye. The thrill we get from watching shows like these has fascinated viewers and psychologists for generations. From a psychological perspective, intense fascination with murder and crime in humans is innate. This idea has been tested throughout history, resulting in multiple theories explaining this concept. The Freudian theory, proposed by Psychologist Sigmund Freud, states that we all are born with a natural drive toward death and destruction, providing an explanation for many individual’s interest in death and violence. One of Paly’s AP Psychology teachers, Melinda Mattes, explains why people are drawn to movies and shows with prominent themes of murder and crime: “[violence] is natural and inborn,” Mattes said. “It’s something we are constantly suppressing, so watching movies like that would be our cathartic way of dealing with it.” In order for humans to fulfill their optimum levels of stimulation, they will often seek activities that provide that excitement. Known as the Arousal Theory, it provides another potential explanation of why people find the concept of murder so compelling. The same feeling causes many to watch

movies that present unfamiliar concepts ,such as murder, as they allow viewers to explore the darker side of life in the safety of their living room. “It’s like watching zoo animals,” Mattes said. “It's safe when they’re in the enclosure and you know there is a boundary between you. I can watch them and it’s fascinating, but watching a tiger pace in front of me looking at me like I’m dinner is different and quite scary.” The distance that is created between the viewer and the victims in shows such as "Criminal Minds" and "Law and Order" becomes extremely comfortable. As viewers consume episode after episode, what was once many people's main source of entertainment, can transition into a living nightmare. The Zodiac Killer, a Bay Area-based serial killer in the 60s, created a nightmare of this magnitude. The Zodiac, who by the end of his career took credit for over 37 murders, became infamous for his impeccable, emotionless violence. The Zodiac’s murders were especially chilling due to the strategy and attention to detail that he executed with each victim. He showed extreme organization and confidence as he would commonly leave coded puzzles for police to solve and follow. Brian Ganz, a current Palo Alto resident, was a young boy growing up in San Jose during this time. “I just remember there being sheer panic in the news, in schools and in my parents,” Ganz said. The Zodiac Killer’s crimes grabbed the attention of the public, appearing on the forefront of news broadcasts and newspapers across the country. He created the same kind of puzzles in


"I just remember there being sheer panic in the news, in schools and in my parents." Brian Ganz

murder movies and series, but the reality of his crimes and threats clearly elicited more fear than any movie could ever generate. With these dark themes on tap, Netflix offers hundreds of movies and shows that many of its 130 Million subscribers are eager to stream. The most recent and popular documentary series is Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, which explores the mystery behind notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, who was active during the 1970s. After being released in January 2018, the series about the deranged murderer has attracted immense, flooding social media accounts with praise. “It was all over my Instagram and I saw that everyone was watching it,” said Paly student Tina Lagerblad. “It was fascinating because there was a discussion surrounding it and, after watching


it, I could see the psyche of the [murderer] … something I had never heard of before.” In a way, serial killers like Ted Bundy have gained celebrity status through fan bases celebrating them— even after their deaths. "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile," which debuted one month ago, has spread from screen to screen globally, receiving the same level of attention—if not more. You can finally rest, and the characters will wait another week to grace your screen; it’s important to remember what draws us to the darker side of human nature, like moths to a flame. The entertainment industry has created mesmerizing movies and shows, filled with the mystery that has managed to capture millions of avid fans for so many decades, and many more to come.

[Ad paid for by a Palo Alto parent]

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ARTS • 17


the face of crisis

(left) Jackie outside a bodega in the Bronx after shooting heroin. (right) A site known for heavy drug use in a Bronx park is littered with orange needle tips, blue syringe holders and tie-off’s used for injecting heroin.

The opioid epidemic affects millions of Americans on a growing scale. Many artists have set out to capture the candid vulnerability of addiction both in use and recovery. Their efforts serve to humanize and highlight addiction’s impact on countless lives and to provide momentum behind policies aimed at effectively relieving the crisis. CULTURE • 18



he likelihood of death by drug overdose has now outrun that of vehicular accidents. Opioid use disorder, the physical and psychological dependence on addictive opioids, has now become a reality that many Americans face. Although calling urgency to this national epidemic has pushed the government towards enacting policies to solve this crisis, the humanization and respect for the individuals who experience addiction is often lost. Drug addiction is a brain disorder characterized by repeated, compulsive substance abuse. This definition, however, can be lost through certain portrayals of drug addiction as a choice. Through exaggerated depictions of teenage drug use in party culture or interactions with the police and courts, substance abuse is associated with crime and wrongdoing rather than with vulnerability and recovery. These misrepresentations often manifest in the media, but filmmakers, photographers and writers alike seek to redefine these depictions through their art. In much of the media, individuals who experience addiction are shown in intensely vulnerable and compromising positions—with needles in their arms, shivering on the floor or overdosing. These jarring and sometimes gruesome images contribute to the disrespectful narrative that may harm this crisis more than help it. As addiction becomes an increasingly common story in America, activists push for a change in the narrative. Maia Szalavitz, author of “Unbroken Brain,” emphasizes that addiction should be viewed as an illness to improve treatment and prevention. Repeatedly abusing a certain substance can lead to addiction, or physical dependence on a certain substance. “Most of the images we see of addiction are dehumanizing, making it seem as though people with addiction are zombies or aliens,” Szalavitz said. “These images often involve interactions with police or courts, which emphasizes the idea that addiction is a crime, not a disease.” Yet, by responsibly showing the entire

story of drug use, the media has the potential to improve how addiction is understood and how to treat it effectively. Journalist Zachary Siegel, who reports about public health and criminal justice in the context of drugs, explains the importance of responsibly telling the entire story of drug use. “In my reporting, I don't use the word addict to identify anybody,” Siegel said. By placing labels on people who experience drug addiction, the story of this illness is altered to pigeonhole people into one role. Because of this, the public only sees a slice of a person, classifying them solely as someone who is addicted to drugs. “It erases someone's humanity,” Siegel said. “People are people, and they are more than their illnesses.” The film “Beautiful Boy” depicts drug addiction past the close-minded narratives that the public is used to seeing. Instead of glamorizing addiction through the typical stereotypes associated with teenage drug abuse, “Beautiful Boy” presents the changing father-son relationship that is affected by the cycle of addiction and sobriety. The film provides a raw look into addiction, emphasizing that “relapse is a part of recovery.” The film contradicts the stereotypes that those who are addicted to drugs are involved in an unhealthy party culture, uneducated or living in poverty. Based on a pair of memoirs surrounding the main character, Nic Sheff, and his experience with addiction, “Beautiful Boy” elucidates that addiction can affect individuals within any income, race or education level. “What ‘Beautiful Boy’ did well is show that addiction isn't about partying and hedonism; it’s about someone like Nic Sheff who has a mental health condition,” Siegel said. “He was diagnosed with bipolar and drug use for him was a way to cope with internal and psychological pain.” Oftentimes, the reason why people begin using drugs is not depicted, with the media instead opting to show addiction as a result

“If we want to destigmatize addiction, we have to have

the same respect

for people who suffer from it.” — Maia Szalavitz

“Addiction is not a party.

It’s a very lonely and isolating and painful experience.”

— Zachary Siegel

Outreach specialist, Jerome Sanchez, sitting, at a syringe exchange site in the Bronx.

of ignorant choices. Most often, the real reasons behind addiction are not obvious to others and vary between individuals. Understanding this can transform the methods of addiction prevention and treatment. “Addiction for most people is not a party, it's not fun, and few people wake up in the morning and choose to become addicted to a drug,” Siegel said. “It's a very lonely and isolating and painful experience.” There is a similar sentiment in portraying the opioid epidemic through photography. Through his work, photojournalist Ryan Christopher Jones captures the scale of the opioid epidemic and presents its reach past the commonly-known, heavily impacted areas in the rural Midwest. Jones covers the New York City opioid crisis by taking photos of the epidemic in the Bronx, which is an area that is second behind the state of West Virginia in overdoses. When covering this epidemic, Jones makes a point not to take images of people actively using drugs. Rather than fixating on the actual drug use itself, Jones strives to show the bigger picture of how the opioid crisis affects people’s lifestyles and personal relationships. “The opioid epidemic really affects everyone,” Jones said. “If so many people are experiencing addiction, and each of those have around 25 people who are trying to support them or get them into rehab, then it really does touch almost everyone in the country.” Because of this, it is important that the public is well informed about addiction and overdose in order to help and support those who are experiencing addiction. “I always carry Narcan [used to stop overdose] with me when I go out on assignments like this,” Jones said. “I just think that if I come across someone who could be overdosing that I will be able to help them out because it’s just the right thing to do.” Providing a platform for the youth to understand addiction, Jarrett Krosoczka’s autobiographical graphic novel “Hey, Kiddo” depicts his childhood struggle dealing with his mother’s absence due to her heroin addiction, through images of empty graduation halls and a full voice mail box. Writing “Hey, Kiddo” with the intent to help children in similar situations, Krosoczka conveys his confusion and cluelessness as a child, coupled with his adolescent frustration upon learning of his

mother’s addiction. Throughout the novel, Krosoczka never blames his mother, Leslie, for her addiction or absence, instead regarding her with empathy and support. “Leslie knew that I was writing a memoir and expressed hope that perhaps our story could help somebody who might be walking a similar path to the one we had walked,” Krosoczka said. “I so wish that she could be holding this finished book and turning the pages.” Drug use as depicted through literature is continuing to take on a more first-person perspective to provide a candid view into addiction. Recently deemed the “first great novel of the opioid epidemic,” “Cherry” is a beautiful paradigm for a genuinely bitter and raw narrative of addiction. Drawing heavily from veteran and author Nico Walker’s life experiences, “Cherry” gives a forthright voice to many returned soldiers who have fallen into the grasps of addiction. The novel follows a young, unnamed man as he attempts to escape his seemingly meaningless life in Cleveland, Ohio, to serve as a medic in the military. After facing the harsh truth of death, he returns with a life which is now only given meaning through one thing: heroin. Through the author’s ever-increasing vulnerability to the demon of addiction, the reader is left wanting to address not only his suffering but all of the individuals also swept up by the crisis. The story was written on a typewriter during Walker’s 11-year prison sentence and relays many crucial realities through this primary voice. By upholding literature that elevates such voices and serves to humanize such a widespread problem, messages of respect and call to action reached the thousands of readers who purchase the best seller. As many seek to transform the narrative of drug addiction and give the proper respect to those affected by it, the use of art and modern platforms allow the spread of this positive message. “If we want to improve understanding of addiction, we have to start covering it the way would we cover any other illness and that means respecting people's dignity and not focusing on them at their worst,” Szalavitz said. “If we want to destigmatize addiction, we have to have the same respect for people who suffer from it.”

“People are people, and they are more than their illnesses.” — Zachary Siegel




oming home


alo Alto offers one of the best public educations in the country, largely credited to the passionate teachers who work tirelessly for their students as well as the extensive budget of the district The skyrocketing prices of Palo Alto homes push many teachers out of the area, who are then forced to take time away from their personal lives to devote to their daily commute. MUSIC • 21


etween the year-round, near-perfect weather and growing tech industry, numerous citizens worldwide are migrating to what was once a charming, small town. Within the city of Palo Alto, almost all the housing infrastructure is occupied. With hardly any residents moving away and many flooding in, housing is in high demand, and prices continue to rapidly increase. “The median price of homes in Palo Alto has increased dramatically,” Palo Alto real estate agent Lori Buecheler said. “There was a 137% increase in the median price in just ten years.” Many homeowners who decide to move out of Palo Alto usually opt to keep and rent out their home, so they can continue to profit off of the booming market. Bay Area real estate agent Omar Kinaan explained that the general trend in terms of Palo Alto’s marketing structure remains the same. “The housing market in Palo Alto has been a seller's market (low inventory combined with high buyer demand) for decades,” Kinaan said. “While prices are higher than ever before, the market dynamics have not changed.” This spike in cost is due to the fact that there are simply not enough houses on the market in Palo Alto to meet ever-growing demand. In 2018, Kinaan sold only 343 single family homes, which is relatively low within the business of real estate. With these trends, realtors explain that teachers and other city employees are simply being priced out of living in Palo Alto. “The average price per sq. ft. in Palo Alto is $1,806, which is higher than any other city in the Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties,” Kinaan said. This forces employees who work in the vicinity to relocate to places with more affordable housing prices. The average salary of a Palo Alto Unified

W “It’s frustrating that I feel like I could be a better teacher, a better mom, a better everything if I had a little more time,” -Melissa Laptalo 22 • CULTURE

School District (PAUSD) teacher is between 80 and 120 thousand dollars. In many neighborhoods throughout the country, this salary is above average and could afford employees much larger homes. In Palo Alto, however, it's not enough to rent an outdated, two bedroom house. “How is it that with that income there isn't housing stock?” Paly English teacher Kindel said. “That's ridiculous. There really is no reason why Paly teachers should not be able to afford to live in the community.” Commutes not only take time out of teachers’ days and personal lives, but often also force teachers to rush off of campus at the end of the day in attempt to beat rush hour traffic. This diminished time in the area hinders their ability to both connect with the community and their students on a more meaningful level. Melissa Laptalo, an English and Public Speaking teacher at Paly, commutes from San Jose and spends around two hours in her car daily. She feels that this time could be better spent on more important and beneficial things. “There are like a million things I would love to do with that time, like spend more time with my family,” Laptalo said. “But even for work, I think I would be a better teacher if I lived closer because that’s two hours I can’t grade papers or plan.” With teaching comes a lot of responsibilities and work put in outside of the classroom, such as preparing lessons and grading assignments, which can be overwhelming at times. “It’s frustrating that I feel like I could be a better teacher, a better mom, a better everything, if I had a little more time,” Laptalo said. Before becoming a teacher at Paly, Laptalo taught in Hollister where she was very involved in the extracurriculars her students participated in. She was able to attend school dances, coach various teams

and see students excel and relax outside of the classroom environment. However, during her time teaching at Paly, Laptalo has found it very difficult to participate in community activities and be accessible to students after school hours for one-on-one help. “Students invite me to activities a lot and I just say no because it’s incredibly hard to be here all day long, and to go to an evening activity means that I’m going to be gone from my home for over twelve hours, which is just a lot to do,” Laptalo said. “It all comes back to feeling like I’m not as influential of a teacher as I could be.” Teachers who are able to live within Palo Alto have a much different experience. Eric Bloom, a teacher in the Social Justice Pathway at Paly, grew up in Palo Alto and currently resides in his childhood home. Through living in the area, he feels that he has been able to form a deeper connection to his students. “I think that the teachers being in the community makes it easier for them to participate in all kinds of things that go on at school,” Bloom said. Both living in and being an educator in this community has given Bloom a drastically different perspective than teachers living outside of Palo Alto. “It [living in Palo Alto] allows me to know kids a little bit better because I understand where they come from,” Bloom said. His ability to engage with his students both in and out of the classroom has not gone unnoticed and has deeply impacted his students. “He came to a school board meeting I spoke at and teared up when I presented,” Grace Thayer, one of Bloom’s students, said. “He told me how proud he was and I’ve never really felt that supported by a teacher.” While some teachers are willing to embark on their respective commutes and feel it is worth it, many have found it to be increasingly difficult to maintain such a lifestyle. This major issue has held the otherwise top-notch school district back from progressing further, but there are some measures currently being taken to combat this challenge. The Cubberley Community Center, a former Palo Alto high school, is now a massive piece of unused property. It currently serves as a multipurpose space rented out by both PAUSD and the City of Palo Alto, which is used by various organizations.

Recently, a new board of students and faculty was formed to discuss what to do with the site in regards to a future projects. There have been discussions about turning the district-owned part of the center into a property dedicated to affordable teacher housing. “The district owns a site that’s kind of adjacent to the Cubberley Center Project, which right now houses school buses and there was a proposition to use it for either 60 or 80 houses that would just be for PAUSD teachers,” Ben Gordon, a Paly student on the board of the Cubberley Project said. “I 1,000 percent think it would make a huge difference. I think it will create a much stronger bond between not only the teachers and students but also the community as a whole.” Teachers have many thoughts regarding the potential upcoming project, most of them being positive. Most teachers feel that affordable housing is especially important to those who feel alienated by the community. “From the Palo Alto community’s perspective, teachers seem more like servants,” Launer said. “You don't live here, you can't weigh in on politics in town. You don't live here, you don't vote for the board members. You don't live here, how do you know about who we are as a community?” In her Mountain View neighborhood, Launer lives amongst other teachers within the Mountain View School District. By living within the same community, she has noticed that her neighbors gain a deeper relationship amongst themselves.“It's a way different community, we know each other's kids, we see each other around the neighborhood, it just feels different, and I think that people in Palo Alto are missing that,” Launer said. “Often times when we live in the same neighborhood we develop more empathy for one another.” Although seeing a student or parent outside of the classroom can feel uncomfortable, it is those moments that allow a teacher to connect their work to their everyday life. “Public school is really about the neighborhood, it's really about a community,” Launer said. “If we never see each other outside of the classroom, not at the market, not getting coffee, not within our faith tradition communities, I think

“I’ve never really felt that supported by a teacher.” -Grace Thayer

that does have an impact on the community. Without seeing city workers as humans, our community becomes more alienated and views the world through a one-sided lens.” In today’s housing market, Palo Alto is one of the highest rated places to live, with an astounding atmosphere and community to raise kids in. Much of this is thanks to the phenomenal teachers within the city’s school district. While Palo Alto is located in the heart of the Silicon Valley and is home to many tech leaders and corporations, the school district is a major part of what is driving newcomers to buy in Palo Alto rather than surrounding cities. Without its teachers, however, Palo Alto would not be the city that it is today, and there is no telling what might happen if its finest teachers have to leave because of their unbearable commutes.

“Often times when we live in the same neighborhood we develop more empathy for one another” -Kindel Launer

welcome family TO THE

Greek life has glorious traditions and problematic issues, just like any family. The system has become increasingly controversial under the public spotlight, and society is beginning to ask: is Greek life worth preserving, or is the family album running out of pages?


“represents the center of drinking culture” culture 24 • CULTURE

ith each step, the music becomes louder and the floor becomes stickier. As you descend into the basement, you fight against the flashing lights to distinguish your fellow fraternity brothers from the sea of unfamiliar faces. Wading through crushed beer cans and empty red Solo Cups, you push through the sweaty masses and make your way deeper and deeper into the horde. You spot a bottle of vodka floating across the dance floor; as it weaves in and out of the crowd, alcohol splashes, contributing to the ever-growing grease and grime that consumes the cold, wooden floor. The music and sound of 200 other party-goers’ feet pounding against the floor align, causing unattended drinks and various snacks to pulsate with every beat. It’s 9 p.m., and the party has only just begun. Parties, like this one described by University of Washington sophomore Rylan Burns, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, have begun to overshadow the more conservative, traditional culture associated with the Greek system. The promise of a tight-knit community incentivizes students to join Greek life, but what comes after bid day is always a visceral experience; students often discover that the Greek system fosters a culture saturated with alcohol and

substance use disorders, as well as racist and sexist tendencies. However, Greek life can also positively add to an individual’s college experience, allowing one to gain a stable community, a sense of pride, long-lasting friendships, and engagement in both social life and charity. These beneficial aspects have recently begun to compete against the negative views of the Greek system to answer the question you’ve been asking yourself all along: is it worth it? Those who participate in the Greek system in college are forever connected to their chapters, prompting them to ask themselves the same question they did as undergraduate students: was their experience worth it? Before becoming a sorority president at the University of Michigan, Maeve Avila, whose name has been changed, remembers the excitement and anticipation she felt before joining Greek life. “I think I was looking for friendship, [and to have] the mentorship of older girls who I admired,” she said. Her experience within the Greek system, however, did not fulfill her hopes. “I spent all my time trying to impress or create relationships in this really arbitrary way,” Avila said. “It felt like you were in a popularity contest, [which] is rated by going out and being drunk in class the

next day. It [the Greek system] totally compromised my social and intellectual abilities during the first two years.” As students venture further into the established order, they often find themselves experiencing peer pressure and an obligation to conform to the quintessential lifestyle. “These things [partying and drinking] are social cachets, and it’s hard when you’re in [a sorority] to not fall into these patterns and care about these things,” Avila said. “I didn’t realize how unhappy it made me until I exited the arena.” In efforts to hold onto a sense of community, members become wrapped up in the chaotic Greek lifestyle. Seemingly oblivious, students are often subconsciously influenced by the harmful system, with long term effects that can persist long after their days of college life and partying. The prevalent partying culture in college has encouraged heavy drinking among members of fraternities and sororities. According to Kenneth Sher, a professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri, “the Greek system represents the center of drinking culture [on many campuses].” A student’s participation in the party culture established within Greek life can work to explain their past, and even has the power to define their future. “On average, individuals involved in the Greek system tend to drink more than those not in the Greek system before they get to college,” Sher said. “However, once in the Greek system, their alcohol use tends to be higher than it would have been had they not affiliated.” A 2018 article published by the Journal of Adolescent Health explains that 45% of young adult males who lived in a fraternity house show two or more symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) by the age of 35. In comparison, as recorded by National Institute on Drug Abuse, 32.7% of those living in non-residential fraternities and 30.4% of students not participating in Greek life have been reported to have shown symptoms of AUD. The difference

between rates is noticeable and add to the ever-growing evidence for the correlation between Greek life in college and future AUD. Kathleen Bucholtz, a professor at the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University’s School of Medicine, explains the notable impacts that AUD may have on a student’s future. “Heavy [alcohol] use is not a benign behavior; it can have lasting effects on brain development, cognition, et cetera in addition to other organs in the body,” she said. “[It can also] interfere with attainment of typical milestones, like completion of education, formation of enduring romantic partnerships, stable employment and parenting.” The widespread and damaging effects of AUD are long lasting, suggesting that heavy alcohol use throughout high school and early adulthood can persist through and steer critical aspects of life. Joining a fraternity or sorority is a lengthy process; pledges are judged primarily on their looks, demeanor and personality. Through this process of judgment, internalized prejudices generally regarding race and religion are subconsciously used to determine the next pledge class, and, furthermore, the framework of the system for years to come. Because of an innate human tendency to surround ourselves with like-minded individuals, a never-ending cycle is created, in which Greek members are encouraged to judge others based on superficial qualities. “The theory [goes] something like this” Palo Alto High School Psychology teacher Chris Farina said. “Evolutionarily, it made sense to protect people like ourselves, since that would help our characteristics survive and be passed along.” Ultimately, this form of categorization generates a sense of insecurity among those rushing. Former University of Michigan sorority president Maeve Avila was surprised at the level of discrimination she observed in the system. “One thing that I found really shocking when I went to college was that all these sororities and



compromised my social and intellectual abilities”


“The “The Greek Greek system system is is probably probably going going to to die die

soon” soon” soon


fraternities were [religion and race based]. There were Jewish ones, [non] Jewish ones, and Black ones and white ones,” Avila said. The system has been bound to various traditions for centuries, and, even today, many fraternities and sororities primarily house a single race or religion. In conversation with Lakshmi Singh from National Public Radio (NPR), Matthew Hughey, University of Connecticut sociologist, described the Greek systems’ established link to prejudicial traditions. “We have the American higher educational system, which was designed to educate white, male, propertied, elite students,” he said. “As more and more students started to come into university, and university started to become a little less elite, Greek letter organizations were formed.” There is diminished diversity, enabling an ongoing discriminatory culture to occur inside the system. “[Greek chapters] were formed as a way for those very elite, propertied, white, male students to create even more exclusionary spaces within college and university life,” Hughey said. “So they became vehicles, in a way, for the reproduction of inequality.” When racist actions are accepted at such a young age, it can become ingrained in an individual’s mind and, in the future, it can be increasingly difficult to part from these beliefs. “[The creation of Greek life] was very much working in elite interest. That’s what it was designed to do. That’s how it functioned.” Racism continues to manifest in many modern sororities and fraternities, exemplified by the increasing number of Greek chapters being suspended or abolished; concurrently, administration and students continue to remain undecided about how to suppress the deep-rooted tendencies from which many of these chapters are struggling to stray away.

In one egregious example from last year, a Lambda Chi Alpha member at California Polytechnic University wore blackface in efforts to associate with a black-themed group for a brotherhood event, in which members were assigned different colors. The same event also hosted members mockingly dressed as gangsters, which sparked additional controversy. The rise of social media has, of course, now permitted public access to the Greek system’s once-selective groups and parties, allowing the documentation of racist actions to be easily shared and spread on social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram. While a person’s behavior captured on social media can be temporary, online records never cease to exist. The consequences may remain buried under the rubble of forgotten posts, but when it is time to shine light upon it again, both digital and print records always show the truth. No matter how much time has passed since the poor decision, it can always come back to haunt you; Attorney General Mark R. Herring has recently discovered this the hard way. The New York Times reported that Herring, the third-ranking elected official in Virginia, acknowledged “that he had worn blackface at a party as an undergraduate student, deepening a crisis that has engulfed the state’s Democratic leadership.” No images of this poor decision have been seen at this point, but Herring came out and admitted to wearing blackface at a party, saying in a statement which he released that, “I had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others. It was really a minimization of both people of color, and a minimization of a horrific history I knew well even then.” Despite the more recent, nationally

highlighted act of blackface that occurred at Cal Poly, junior at the university, Reuben Collier, whose name has been changed, said he had not personally observed anything among the likes of racism at his school. “I was definitely surprised by it [the blackface incident],” he said. “It upset me that something racist like that could happen at my school.” Current Cal Poly sophomore Ally Hutson suggests that long-held attitudes regarding race, formed prior to college, may have played a role. “I think a lot of people that go to Cal Poly are undereducated on a lot of racial issues,” Hutson said. The school is currently making efforts to combat racism among members of the Greek system. In response to the incident, the administration suspended all fraternities and sororities for the remainder of the year, as well as permanently closing the Cal Poly Lambda Chi Alpha chapter. “Cal Poly has been taking major steps to be more diverse and unified by requiring a certain percentage of people in each sorority and fraternity to attend leadership training, safety training, diverse training and more,” Hutson said. “I honestly think that Cal Poly is doing an amazing job at stepping up with these issues, but there is obviously still work to be done.” The separation of gender, into allmale fraternities and all-female sororities, has stemmed from historical tradition. These establishments were created centuries ago with the now-outdated patriarchal social order, granting men a higher status. Although progressive attitudes have eroded this viewpoint, Greek establishments have struggled to discontinue sexist tendencies and beliefs. As a sophomore at Vanderbilt University, Amalia Hunt, whose name has been changed, has already heavily

experienced these gender norms within the Greek system. “In particular, what stood out most to me was who fraternities let into parties,” she said. “They strictly censor the guys who enter the parties [...] but they pretty much let all of the girls in. At first, I thought it was a nice perk of being a girl [...] until I started to think of it more as a preying ground, which really freaked me out.” The system has been built on the basis of male dominance, enforcing an unsafe and unjust culture by promoting a gender imbalance, which can be seen as the primary cause of rape culture within the Greek system. According to a study conducted by The Guardian, men who join fraternities are three times more likely to commit rape. The study furthered concluded that women in sororities are 74 percent more likely to be a victim of rape than their classmates who are not involved in Greek life. Many who are in the Greek system have noticed—or even experienced— the rape culture that is present. Maeve Avila feels strongly about the power dynamics present. “It’s definitely sexist that the guys have their own rooms, have a house without adults, can host parties [and] have alcohol, [while] women are expected to be prim and proper and more community service oriented,” she said. By examining the preexisting attitudes and behaviors of men who joined a fraternity during their freshman year of college, Rutgers University psychologist Rita Seabrook and colleagues were able to test a cause and effect relationship between fraternity sexual aggression relationship. According to Psychology Today, Seabrook and colleagues determined that “fraternities can change the men who join them or,

“It felt like you were in a popularity contest” contest


“I started to think of it more as a pr preying eying ground, ground which really freaked me out.” 28 • CULTURE

change the men who join them or, alternatively, the men with these proclivities seek fraternities out as a place where their sexual aggression is tolerated.” Whether or not fraternity members join Greek life with the intention to act on their sexual aggression, for Maeve Avila, one thing is clear. “These environments [foster] these [dangerous] dynamics, with the men having the homes with alcohol you can always access and beds you can always access, putting women at a really big disadvantage.” Countless regretful stories shared by Greek life participants don’t appear to be deterring students from joining, drawing the question: what are the appealing aspects that initially attracted these students and continued to keep them in the system? Struggling to navigate the overwhelming nature of campus life, students find themselves desperately seeking a place to belong. At the end of rush week, sorority pledges, often dressed in white, begin to cherish their Greek letters, and fraternity pledges host parties to celebrate, all of which is extensively shared on social media. “What comes to mind for me when I think of sororities and fraternities is the outfits, the color coordination after pledge week and the [extensive] traditions,” Palo Alto High School junior Malia Chun said. Generally rooted in a newfound sense of pride and exclusivity, new members commonly broadcast this sacred process, which often only highlights the idealized aspects of Greek life. However, when joining one of these groups, pledges are immediately accepted into a community that finds purpose in serving charitable

organizations by hosting events, developing strong relationships. Stanford University alumnus Blake James, whose name has been changed, shared his experience as a frat brother in the early 1990s. “First off, you are given great housing in the best locations,” James said. “You also get an awesome group of house mates, which, for me, included my own brother. But most importantly, you take part in shared experiences including charity events, road trips, parties and the growth of friendships you will keep forever.” Nearly three decades after graduating, James still keeps in touch with some of his fellow fraternity members that were initially brought into his life because of the memories and experiences they shared at Stanford. Stanford alumna Chloe Parker, whose name has been changed, wasn’t sure about rushing a sorority when she walked on campus as a freshman, but now she has no doubt it was a positive experience. For Parker and many others, Greek life offered a simple way to achieve certain social goals. “I realized I really wanted to make solid girl friends,” she said. “I had such good girl friends from high school but I knew I wanted to reach out and get that in college. When the other pledges and I were first joining the sorority, they [older sorority members] really encouraged us to meet people.” Aside from meeting a new group of people to walk to classes with, the sorority also introduced her to new traditions that would be shared throughout the Stanford chapter. “Every year there are certain charity events we do,” Parker said. “[For example], there’s one where we sell valentines with a fraternity to raise money.” Parker’s sorority also gave back to the community through other service

opportunities, such as cooking dinner for a local homeless shelter or completing other service projects around campus. After graduating and reflecting on her undergraduate years, Parker realized that joining a sorority was one of the highlights of her college career because of the longlasting friendships and experiences she gained through the Greek system. The reputation of the Greek system is rooted in tradition; however, its establishment as a community and service-oriented organization has become increasingly overshadowed by the national spotlight, fueled by members willing to share their experiences. “It’s changed a lot in the past year, and [I think that] this is a sign that the Greek system is really going downhill,” University of Washington sophomore Rylan Burns said. “[The Greek system] is probably going to die soon.” During his relatively short time in a fraternity, Burns has noticed that the bottle of vodka that usually floated around the dance floor at fraternity parties has now vanished. “In just the past year, all hard alcohol has been banned; you can only have beer, [and] you can’t even have mixed drinks,” Burns said. “The cops will ‘roll through’ every party to make sure that [the rules are] enforced and that there’s only beer. If they see any underage drinking, they will shut the party down.” The strict enforcement of new alcohol policies at universities is just one way that Greek life is being altered in response to microscopic investigations. With the Greek system being monitored so minutely, it’s uncertain whether or not the organization will continue to exist in the coming years, let alone be recognizable. Burns is not alone in thinking Greek life may be coming to an end, as other current members have also witnessed the rapid changes occurring inside of the

system first hand. “I think there are some nice social aspects to Greek life, but I can also see how it can be seen as exclusive and dangerous,” Vanderbilt sophomore Amalia Hunt said. “It will be sad when Greek life is squandered—because I know it eventually will be—but I also understand the concerns around Greek life.” The fate of the system in the hands of society and only time will tell how long the system remains active. With the balance of good and bad outcomes, the Greek system is seemingly falling onto two sides of the spectrum— either finding a welcoming community and friendships that last a lifetime, or heavy exposure to addictive substances and poor social norms, which often affect how one lives their future life. What we need to be asking ourselves is, is it all worth it? It’s a question that’s difficult to answer, even for those who have already pledged. Rylan Burns believes, “I guess with all the good and bad I’ve already experienced in my two years in Greek life, I’ll never really know if it was worth it for me.”

“What we need to be asking ourselves is, is it all

worth it?” it?


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Starlets of Palo Alto A second of anticipation surrounds the kitchen as fingers delicately place the finishing touch on a plate, a recipe developed after many stages of trial and error. Delve into the journey of two Palo Altan restaurants and the effort that each puts into attaining and maintaining A Michelin star, an ultimate mark of prestige within the restaurant industry.




rilled tentacles of Spanish octopus gleam atop pureéd Santorini fava beans; Quince almond relish dressed in a coat of tangy Aegean capers gives one a dive into Mediterranean culture. It is a cauldron of flavors, entwined with chewy textures and salty undertones. When one eats at a Michelin star restaurant, it is immediately apparent that each star recognizes some of the most delicate and deliberate cuisine and service worldwide. In the 1900s, brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin strove to expand the budding French tire company, Michelin, by looking to the French cuisine as an opportunity to profit. Merging their business with the restaurant industry, the first ever Michelin travel guide was designed for motorists in France. The Michelin brothers crafted the rating system to award three stars to restaurants they deemed so exceptional that it is worth making a ‘special journey’ for them, suggesting that the restaurant itself was the destination. Two stars signify the restaurant is ‘worth a detour,’ encouraging travelers to dine somewhere slightly further away from the nearest exit, and finally single stars are awarded to establishments that excel in their class of food. Over the last century, the guides’ high standards have transformed the small 400 page red booklet into a prestigious award, recognizing sensational food paired with exceptional service. Although divergent from its original intentions, the system benefits restaurants, as stars indicate excellence and typically amass more guests. While these establishments must work to maintain the star, many emerging restaurants endeavor to individualize and elevate their cuisine and service to a level deemed worthy of such an honor. A restaurant that has quickly acquired the award is the local restaurant Protégé, serving some of the most refined, yet classical examples of new-American cuisine in Palo Alto. The butcher-block tables of Protégé seat 40 people in their á la carte lounge and 20 in their prix fixe dining room. The food served is so exquisite that the restaurant earned their first Michelin Star just nine months after opening. Protégé is a sophisticated yet laid back restaurant featuring New American

cuisine, serving simple yet delicious versions of modern cuisine, using a variety of ingredients from different cultures. At first, owners Dennis Kelly and Anthony Secviar considered opening in San Diego, but the casual atmosphere there did not favor an upscale restaurant, especially one with high quality wine. “One of the main reasons that we decided to come here was there was very much a niche that needed to be filled, places [...] where you could get a really good meal without paying hundreds of dollars,” said general manager Kent Bui. Protégé’s focus on high quality dishes while maintaining a reasonable price attracts customers to try their modern dishes along with a wide variety of wine. Unlike many other restaurants that have capitalized on their reputation, Protégé clarifies that it is not aiming to compete with other restaurants for customers, instead choosing to emphasize their easygoing atmosphere. With a similar goal of upholding a relaxing yet upscale place for the general public to eat, the small tavern or ‘Taverna’ rests behind an authentic Greek cobalt door into a corner on Homer Avenue of downtown Palo Alto. The teal walls are adorned by a central colorful painting and a white ceramic bird; the classic Greek white and blue tones being a defining factor for the restaurant. The small Greek business while providing a neighborhood dining spot, has an ambitious goal in mind: a Michelin star. In the process of attaining a star, the staff emerges with a valuable experience, alongside newly refined skills. “There is absolutely no denying the power of Michelin. When I was at Manresa, we received that third star. That was mid-October and literally two days later, we sold out the rest of the year, in a heartbeat,” Bui said, from his experience of working at the threestar restaurant. For many chefs, the Michelin star represents both personal and professional

success; it is a symbol of prestige, the result of individual ambition, and ultimately showcases hours of dedication and experimentation. Both the owner, Thanasis Pashalidis, and executive chef, William Roberts, of Taverna have previous experience working at Michelin starred restaurant, The Village Pub, located nearby in Woodside. Having performed at a restaurant with a Michelin star, Pashalidis and Roberts understand the high standards that need to be met. They institute this awareness to build the Taverna team and brand their level of service, ambiance and style. The labor that goes into obtaining a Michelin star is fierce, intensive, and time consuming. Chefs spend hours in the restaurant cooking with dexterity among seasoned veterans, just to go home and study culinary techniques in order to perfect their dishes with great attention to detail. In addition to creating high quality food, Taverna has also set a focus on the ambience of the restaurant. They aim to stand out as a traditional yet innovative high-end Greek restaurant that maintains a familial sentiment in differentiating themselves from other Greek restaurants in the area. “The goal was to create a neighborhood eating place, Taverna, just like in Greece,” Pashalidis said. Taverna has a homey atmosphere while still maintaining a polished interior with impeccable service. Delicate fresh flowers, tasteful pieces of Hellenic art and chairs and tables shipped f r o m

Greece, combine with the epochal to individualize these establishments vibrant blue walls to compose a space significantly enough to elevate yourself among that transports one to Greece, but also a sea of high quality restaurants. “Now, one star means something a little modernizes the traditional experience when coupled with the extraordinary more special than just a good restaurant,” he finishes, referring back to the original rating bites, small plates and entrées. The Bay Area is saturated scale. Both the small quantity of reviewers and with Greek establishments, but the booming restaurant business composes Taverna stands out from the rest by an environment where restaurants cannot be maintaining a hospitable relaxed discouraged when they do not get a star a environment along with high quality certain year. “We can’t shed tears over what’s food. “I think your market is there; fair and what’s not fair, you just kind of go with when he approached me about this the system that’s there and hope that what you project, I was kinda like really like do is seen and eaten and recognized,” Roberts you know, does Palo Alto need another said. Instead of fretting over the flaws in the Greek restaurant?” Roberts said. Thus, system, Taverna works specifically to enhance restaurants must work to not only the service experience and tranquil atmosphere for customers. Chefs provide quality food, but also “There is absolutely no denying the pour their energy to distinguish power of Michelin. When I was at into perfecting the details of each step themselves from businesses in Manresa, we received that third in creating their the same niche. star. That was mid-October and dishes to present elite food. After A d d i t i o n a l l y, he adds that the literally two days later, we sold out all this, the next small number of the rest of the year, in a heartbeat,” steps are out of the restaurant’s hands Michelin reviewers, and the decision is particularly in the up to the reviewers. Bay Area, limits the Despite the flaws of number of restaurants that can be reviewed at one time, shorting many the system, restaurants must learn to persist restaurants their opportunity to achieve the tirelessly to refine their cuisine, service and style for the next cycle of reviewing. award. To many, achieving the star is a defining According to Roberts, a combination of the politics of the restaurant scene, presentation moment in one’s career. “What’s worth it is of food, quality, and saturation of restaurants happiness and obviously a career, supporting also contribute to the final decision of whether yourself. But I think, for my sake, it would or not a restaurant is awarded with a star. definitely be something I want to try to achieve As competition increases, it becomes more in my life,” Roberts said. Acquiring the star not only increases revenue, but it also grants difficult satisfaction to everyone behind it, as a means of recognizing and acclaiming their work. The Michelin star not only represents a symbol of quality and prestige, but also of the industry professionals’ love for cuisine. Bui concludes, “We’re not in this industry to be rich. We do two chocolate chip cookies for two bucks. This is using some of the best chocolate in the world.”



let’s talk about sex (ed) While methods vary, the presence of and level to which sexual education is taught remains an extremely controversial topic. However, the ultimate hope is to teach a proactive sexual education in a way that will protect the health and well-being of adolescents, while simultaneously protecting each individual’s sexuality and personal beliefs.


hether adults choose to look the other way from or refuse to prompt discussions regarding sex among adolescents, many teenagers cannot help being curious or even experimental when it comes to the taboo topic. The persisting intrigue of the unknown allocates a responsibility to many parties—whether it be parents, friends or mentors—to learn and educate the younger population about all aspects of sex in order to ensure safety, comfort and control in their adult lives. With sexual education integrated into many public school curricula, schools have also taken on this task to ensure that all students learn about their anatomy, choices and safe sex options before they graduate. However, the question that continues to persist concerns how schools should best teach such an undiscussed, controversial topic and how the curriculum will reflect the political and social values of the area in which it is being taught. As early as 1912, the National Education Association initiated programs that trained teachers specifically for sexual education. In the 1960s, during the Sexual Revolution, a time period of “Sexual Liberation,” there was an increase in acceptance towards non-heterosexual relationships and increased discussion and normalization of contraception, premarital sex and pornography. Then, after the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, abortion was legalized throughout the United States. The Sexual Liberation promoted discussion and normalcy around sex-related topics and emphasized the importance of sexual education in schools. Although sexual education started in the early 1900s, private schools could still refuse to include it in their curriculum—as many did throughout the 60s. Letitia Burton, a Palo Alto High School Living Skills teacher, attended

an all-girls Catholic school in the 60s, where students were not taught sex education. “I just always saw the difference between people who had an understanding of safer sex and those that didn’t,” Burton said. When Burton reflects on her lack of education, she talks about the effect it had on her classmates and the many unplanned pregnancies that she knew of and heard about. “Having comprehensive sex education is so healthy because teens get an understanding of their body, how their bodies work and [are] given enough information [so] they can make informed choices,” Burton said. Educators, politicians, parents and many other people who stress the importance of sexual education believe that the period of time in which it is taught has a noticeable influence on its effectiveness and relevance. While many public schools in the U.S. have incorporated sexual education into the middle and high school curriculum, other countries have taken larger actions to educate their youth. According to the Fatherly article titled “How Sex Ed is Taught Around the World, From Sweden to Cuba,” the Netherlands begins teaching children as young as five years old about sexual health, which seems to have a positive effect on their adolescent population, resulting in one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in the world. Argentina has also made efforts to prevent teenage pregnancy by offering free contraception to girls ages 14 and older. Burton also recognizes the importance of timing, recommending that students should take advantage of the Living Skills course offered earlier on in their high school careers. “Taking it earlier in your high school career, like sophomore year, is really beneficial because you have already had some exposure,” Burton said. You have had some conversations before you are kind of getting out there.



planned parenthood


long with schools providing information on sexual health, many organizations also offer support concerning sexual health, offering various options to individuals regarding their own well being. Planned Parenthood is one of the most recognized organizations, offering birth control, sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing, abortions, cancer screening, hormone therapy, female exams and more— all free of charge. In 1916, Margaret Sanger, alongside her sister Ethel Byrne and activist Fania Mindell, opened the first Planned Parenthood clinic in Brooklyn offering resources and advice to women. Today, Planned Parenthood continues to support many young women in the U.S. The Planned Parenthood website offers an abundance of information ranging from topics of sexual health and relationships to simply growing up. The website also includes an online tool called “Ask Roo,” a free and private online chat service that allows people to consult with a robot. “Roo” is programmed to respond


to questions with information backed by healthcare providers, offering people the opportunity to further self-educate and learn the answers to questions they might be afraid to ask otherwise. Planned Parenthood is not only a resource for adolescents but also an outlet for educators and parents as well. They offer advice and information regarding conversations with kids and young adults about the importance of their sexual health as to get a better understanding of themselves as well as their own bodies. Planned Parenthood as an organization has received a lot of backlash for some of the medical procedures they perform, including abortions. Being a federally-funded organization, this causes a great deal of disagreement among political parties that have strong opinions regarding abortions. In the past, the government has threatened to cut their funding due to their beliefs regarding the act of performing these procedures. Despite this, Planned Parenthood has continued to receive government funding and has seen a large increase in private donations.

ocated just across the street from the Mountain View Planned Parenthood, Real Options provides expecting mothers with the support that steers away from abortion, instead focusing on adoption. Despite their opposing views on abortion, Planned Parenthood and Real Options offer similar guidance and services. Just like Planned Parenthood, Real Options also provides a safe, confidential space for teens to come in and receive help in many different ways; the facility hosts educational sessions, called “Real Talks,” in which subjects ranging from sexting to STDs are discussed, and free, confidential pregnancy tests and ultrasounds can be administered. Additionally, support services are offered that help those with unplanned pregnancies continue to fulfill their educational and employment goals. Although abortions are not performed at the Real Options clinics, the website provides information on abortion and the associated risks, costs and side effects. The website provides the numbers of numerous Real

real options Option clinics in which patients can call if they want to complete the process of reversing an abortion pill. The Mountain View site was the pioneer Real Options resource center and became a medical clinic in 1999. The location of Real Options as a neighboring clinic to Planned Parenthood was a strategic move made by the executive director of Real Options, Valerie Hill. “We share a parking lot with a local abortion clinic,” Hill said. “That’s when we saw a huge increase: 66 percent more babies saved that year. We are targeting their locations to offer women another choice, giving them another place to come to for support and medical services. We want them to make a choice that they can live with.” Despite the suggestion of competition given by Hill regarding the two clinics, both Planned Parenthood and Real Options have a similar goal of providing a private place where teenagers can feel welcomed and unashamed to discuss topics of sex and find solutions to sex-related problems, whether it be STD and STI testing, sexual harassment support or a decision concerning an unplanned pregnancy.


private school curriculum


lthough many public school systems have instated guidelines concerning what schools are required to teach, private schools are independent and have the power to teach or omit subject matter as they see fit. Many private schools determine their sexual education curriculum according to their religious affiliations. One example is Mercy Catholic High School in San Francisco, where sex education is often defined by the abstinence-only curriculum. “As a Catholic, you were taught: save yourself for marriage and birth control is not allowed,” said Laura Lombardi, former Mercy High School student. “I just remember sex being spoken about as a perfunctory way to have children.” In terms of physical health, Lombardi said she and her peers were separated by gender and


taught basic male and female anatomy. “It was very matter-of-fact,” Lombardi said. “We were shown images of body parts and that was it. We were not taught about STDs nor how to have safe sex to prevent both pregnancy and the spreading of diseases.” Contrastingly, according to Catholic Parents Online, there is a belief that sex education teaches students “how to do it and how to not get caught lessons” and that “children don’t need sexual education, they need chastity education.” From Lombardi’s point of view, however, “there were a lot of girls in my class who were having premarital sex, I think partly because it was made to seem ‘forbidden,’” Lombardi said. “There are much better ways to go about it versus fear, hell and slut shaming.”

LGBTQ+ representation

f the schools that teach beyond abstinence in their curriculum, only about 12 percent address same-sex relationships—Paly being one of them. “I learned a lot in living skills, I really did,” Paly senior David Foster said. “Beyond the basics of sex, [including] all of the important issues to know about sexual health, I learned in living skills. It was very helpful.” Foster, who identifies as gay, feels as though his sexual orientation was represented throughout the course, much of which he attributes to his teacher Ms. Clohan. “I had a great teacher, and I really think she made a point to keep it accessible to everyone, regardless of orientation,” Foster said. Though he is still left with a few questions, Foster believes “we’re really lucky that our sexual education system is strong


enough that a lot of my questions were answered through the course because we really took time to go into it.” While California and its schools are often labeled as being more progressive, in part due to their general acceptability of the LGBTQ+ community, other states believe that by teaching all-inclusive sexual education—where more than simply heterosexual sex is addressed—homosexuality is promoted to their young students. Subsequently, nine U.S. states currently have “no promo homo” laws that explicitly forbid health or sexual education teachers from discussing gay, lesbian or bisexual interactions. The LGBTQ+ community feels that this isolates many young students, leaving them with no applicable education and more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases.


Throughout history, music has evolved and as sounds have changed, different musical instruments have gone missing. Today, more musicians are working to bring back the music of the past and the instruments that were once missing back to life.


he first instruments were created centuries ago, many remaining popular throughout the years. However there is a group of musical instruments that have—until now—been forgotten by humanity. In the 21st century, some of the world’s oldest instruments are making a return to the musical world. By drawing on inspiration from the past, contemporary musicians who use some of the oldest of instruments can break out of the given mold and create something unique. Here are some of the most fascinating instruments that have recently been revived around the world.

Marc and the Missing Viol


arc Armitano is a Palo Alto native who went on to study at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins. He has played classical instruments since he was a young boy, yet his musical ambitions were immediately redirected when his music teacher introduced him to the world of “forgotten” music. After researching various instruments, Armitano settled on learning the viola da gamba, an instrument that originated from the Spanish vihuela. Surfacing in the late 15th century, the viola da gamba led to the creation of the very first guitar. “When the Spanish Inquisition happened and all of the Jewish people were kicked out of Spain, there were a lot of Jewish musicians that went to many different courts in Europe,” Armitano said. “They brought the vihuela to these many places and that is where it transformed into a bowed instrument, the viola da gamba. This is why the viola da gamba has frets and is tuned like a guitar […] it is actually built very differently than a traditional violin despite appearances.” The viola da gamba has many different sizes from the pardessus de viole, which is similar in size to a violin or viola, and the bass viol, which is both the same size and

uses the same positioning as a cello. For many years following its popularity, the viola da gamba disappeared. “There were only a few random people who still had them and played them occasionally but they didn’t take it seriously,” Armitano said. “They just became wall hangs and were dormant during the 1800s and died during the industrial revolution.” Due to its disappearance, there are many people today who have made it their mission to bring it back into popularity, Armitano included. After years of devoting his time, he is now able to play all of the different variations of the viola da gamba. “I was really lucky that I was introduced to it when I was really young,” Armitano said. “I had a teacher at Stanford who had an open studio and I went there and it was really convenient. He was the guy who mastered the viol in the 20th century and rediscovered all of the repertoires and he taught me the proper French technique.” Armitano has now mastered the various techniques of playing the viola da gamba and is widely recognized in the musical world. He also obtained a version of the viola da gamba, the Pardessus de Viole, which was made in the mid 18th century.

Like Armitano, there are many people who are working to bring back all kinds of older instruments. “Every single early music instrument has their own Facebook discussion board,” Armitano said. “It’s crazy, people get so lit on it. There’s a recorder society, a lute society, all of those different things.” Due to the increasing interest in recovering instruments that have died out, people are not only working towards learning how to play these instruments but also how to write for them. Before the resurgence of disappeared instruments, the only music that was written for them was from the time period when they were popular. “There are a lot of people that write for these instruments now,” Armitano said. “They even score modern songs so that those who can play these instruments can play modern music.” Armitano takes a lot of pride in being a part of this movement. “I think the reason why it happened was because people wanted to recreate the sounds of the past,” Armitano said, “It is a lot easier now because we have all of this evidence and description guides on how to play these instruments and the music from those periods.”

“People wanted to recreate the sounds of the past.” Marc Armitano

Not only has there been a resurgence of classical music,

in recent years, soundtracks within the entertainment It’s not just but industry have begun including music from the ‘60s, and ‘80s. “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Bohemian centuries- ‘70s Rhapsody,” “Stranger Things” and “Ready Player One” pop as a part of their soundtrack, featuring old music, allmusichavebyoldQueen, Prince, The Jackson 5 and many more. Because of the usage of old pop music in modern and shows, several artists have been influenced either... movies to change their style to fit this recent trend. New artists are beginning to try the "oldie style of music." Artists

such as Rina Sawayama, Leon Bridges, and Lizzo. Bridges and Lizzo both have an R&B soul style of music, while Sawayama seems to be influenced by groups like Destiny’s Child. The revival of music and unique instruments from the 20th century has been important in developing and advancing various music styles around the world. The use of these instruments has provided a great opportunity to connect to with past generations, creating an extraordinary atmosphere where the past meets the future.



instrumental Some instruments that have been missing for centuries are making a bit of a comeback. Will it last?


Among all musical instruments, the theremin is one of a kind as it is played without touching the instrument. When played, it resembles a conductor waving his or her hands through the air in front of the instrument in order to create different sounds. The theremin was invented around 1919 in Russia by Leon Theremin and was one of the very first electronic instruments. While working on a gas meter, which measures density, Theremin brought his hand in close proximity to the meter, producing a high-pitched sound. As Theremin moved farther away, the sound decreased to a lower pitch. This accidental discovery lead to the invention of the theremin. It experienced its first wave of popularity in Hollywood during the 1950s, establishing itself as a geeky and unearthly instrument, resulting in a stereotype that remains alive today. The theremin has been featured in modern media such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Hannibal.” Over the past ten years, the theremin has experienced a tremendous resurgence, popping up in countless rock bands, homemade videos, performance pieces and on the symphonic concert stage. Having the most simple and elegant playing interface of any instrument of the electric age, Theremin’s invention continues to delight and inspire people around the world.

jew’s harp

The Jew’s harp is one of the oldest musical instruments, found in many ancient cultures around the world. The Jew’s harp dates back to 400 B.C.E., yet the origin of the harp remains unclear. It has been widely accepted that the instrument has no historical or musical connection to the Jews, but the name was first given due to the false theory of a relationship. The small instrument can be made of wood, bamboo or metal, with a horseshoe-shaped frame and extended parallel ends. It is played by placing the parallel ends of the metal loosely between the front teeth while vibrating the reed, which is located in between the horseshoe-shape frame, that allows a note to be produced. Advances in communication technology and sound engineering have allowed for the jew’s harp to be incorporated in modern electronic music. In 2018, a jew harpist auditioned for “Britain’s Got Talent” and her odd instrument and singing method left people intrigued about how and where this unique instrument is made. Even though the origins of the jew’s harp still remain a mystery, it is an instrument that is embraced by different cultures to this day.

museo del violino

The Museo del Violino is a museum in Cremona, Italy, housing violins and cellos made by some of the most outstanding instrument makers during the 17th and 18th centuries, like Antonio Stradivari, Amati and Guarneri del Gesù. The people of Cremona take pride for this museum that put their name on the map and try their best to remain silent as the musicians digitally record the music from these violins and cellos. Even the shatter of a glass cup can ruin the recording, and the musicians to record the note again making the process even longer then it would be. They want to preserve the sound of these instruments so that when they are no longer in good condition, the citizens can continue to produce new music with the recorded notes. In order to capture every note, a group of engineers found a way to record and preserve notes for future generation.


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Makes a Comeback Summer 2019 brings the 50th anniversary celebration of the original 1969 Woodstock Music Festival. Will it be a success?

"I really want people to explore how they can get involved [in social activism]. That's one of my main motivations for doing this.”-Michael Lang Days of Peace and Music” was a promise plastered on thousands of posters in 1969, encouraging people from all corners of the country to attend the now historical music festival known as Woodstock. The event was a cultural phenomenon which embodied the world’s demand for social activism along with the movement advocating for love and harmony in a world at war. In the following decades there have been many adaptations of the festival, attracting crowds just as large as that of the original. The last Woodstock to date occurred in the summer of 1999, commemorating the festival’s 30th anniversary. However, this festival wasn’t nearly as peaceful as the previous. Chaos quickly erupted, with people wreaking havoc in the sweltering heat. Sexual assaults occurred; fires and riots broke out, most of which were documented on the live-coverage TV event, (lawsuits followed.) Woodstock festival came to an abrupt end and has not happened since. Now, 50 years since the original festival, Woodstock’s cocreator Michael Lang has vowed to bring back its initial beauty and social significance and introduce it to current generations. In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Lang spoke about reintroducing the festival. “Woodstock, in its original incarnation, was really about social change and activism,” he said. “That’s a model that we’re bringing back to this festival. It’s a gathering for fun and for excitement and for experiences and to create community, but it’s also about instilling a kind of an energy back into young people to make their voices heard.” What made the original Woodstock so important? Most significantly, it marked a historic period of social change. The previous year, 1968, was a year of violence. The protests over America’s involvement in Vietnam had turned confrontational and tragic; most notable was the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which caused mass controversy when large crowds of protesters swarmed the event. Even worse, the assassinations of both Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther


King Jr. left the country reeling, looking for a leader who would bring about change. In 1969, the tides began to turn towards peace. The first Woodstock festival took place, doubling as a music festival and protest of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Additionally, it was the first gathering of its kind on such a large scale. 400,000 people descended on a dairy farm in the Catskill mountains in a watershed moment for peace and music. Although the original 1969 festival strove to bring the country closer together in a time of disconnect between the people of the U.S., Woodstock had its own pandemonium. The roads leading up to the site of the festival were jam-packed with thousands of cars, causing concert-goers to continue on foot, weaving dangerously through the traffic along small roads. When they finally reached the festival grounds, fans were met with mudslides. They also had little access to food or water, which had not been provided by the festival itself. In addition, underneath the festival’s seemingly wholesome facade were extreme alcohol and drug usage among concert-goers, leading some to overdose. Despite these numerous complications, the legacy of the original Woodstock is still viewed by many as a model of peaceful protest and a celebration of music. As for Woodstock 2019, Lang is promising an unforgettable event. The three-day spectacle in Watkins Glen, New York on August 16 through 18 is set to honor the 50th anniversary of the original event. With 40 performers already booked, the yet to be released lineup has been said to incorporate contemporary artists with legacy rock bands. The hope is that this combination will draw a multi-generational audience. “Having contemporary artists interpret [rock] music would be a really interesting and exciting idea,” Lang said. “We’re also looking for unique collaborations, maybe some reunions and a lot of new and up-and-coming talent.” Beyond music, Lang has also been planning for many other new sources of entertainment, such as movies playing on enormous screens, jugglers and other acts roaming the grounds. He also hopes to have the entire event live-streamed so that thousands of people can watch the performances from their screens at home. However, Lang’s biggest ambition—and tribute for Woodstock 50 will be to incorporate social activism into the event. There will be several non-governmental organizations informing attendees about ways to get involved in various political causes, with a strong focus on the environment. “Things on the planet are critical at this point, especially when it comes to global warming,” said Lang. “Everyone has a stake and ignoring it is ridiculous. I really want people to explore how they can get involved. That’s one of my main motivations for doing this.” Fast forward to August 19, 2019. Has Lang pulled it off? Has he successfully recreated the “happy-hippie-vibe” of the original festival (minus the mudslides and the LSD)? Have grandparents and grandchildren alike sat front row together and sung along to legendary musical collaborations? Have hundreds of thousands been left inspired to do their part to save our world? The inevitable will soon occur and one can only hope for the best.


"Baby faced" artists are emerging into the spotlight, revealing that talent and success has no age limit..


teve Lacy was born on May 23, 1998, in Compton, California. Lacy started making music when he was in high school, specifically dabbling in the genre of jazz and using his phone to make beats. Now, Lacy is an established guitarist, bassist, singer-songwriter, audio engineer and record producer. Originally gaining recognition from his Grammy-winning R&B band, The Internet, Lacy has now produced multiple tracks with the band, and is also the mastermind behind many appraised albums such as “Swimming” by Mac Miller, “Damn.,” by Kendrick Lamar and “Crush” by Ravyn Lenae. In 2017, Lacy released his first solo album, titled Steve Lacy’s Demo, including popular songs such as “Dark Red” and “Ryd.” Though Lacy has seemed to fly under the radar of many avid listeners, he is steadily gaining the recognition he deserves.

Steve lacy



any artists strive to create a platform on Soundcloud, but few succeed. However, for PlayBoi Carti, 22, Soundcloud proved to be the perfect launchpad to jump start his rap career. Initially, Carti began rapping under the name Sir Cartier, using Soundcloud as his main platform to drop singles and mix tapes. Being from Atlanta, Carti frequently collaborated with fellow underground rap artists from the city, including ThouxanbanFauni, Lil Yachty and his cousin UnoTheActivist. Departing from his Soundcloud platform, Carti released his debut mix tape in April of 2017, which featured songs, “Magnolia” and “Wokeuplikethis.” Both reached Billboard’s Hot 100. On May 11, 2018, Carti released his debut album, “Die Lit”, in which he collaborated with the famous rapper Lil Uzi Vert. Though Carti is most well known for his music, he is also a fashion icon who says, “style is the main feature of [his] public image.” PlayBoi Carti has experienced tremendous success within both the music and fashion industries, leading him to amass a huge following as well as being named “the leader of youth style.”




ki Mask The Slump God, originally known as Stokley Clevon Goulbourne, has gained immense popularity as a rapper and songwriter of late. Although Ski Mask initially came into the spotlight with the release of his songs “Catch Me Outside” and “Babywipe” in 2017, his debut album, “Stokley”, released on November 30, 2018, has brought him the most success. Two songs from “Stokley”, “Faucet Failure” and “Nuketown,” were featured on Billboard’s Hot 100. Considering that Ski Mask is only 22 and is still in the early stages of his rap career, his recognition on such a well-known and competitive list is a promising glimpse of what he may accomplish in the future. Ski Mask began writing his own songs as a teenager, receiving encouragement from his father, a rapper by the name Sin City. In 2013, Ski Mask was sent to a detention center for possession of around ten dollars worth of marijuana, where he met rapper XXXTentacion. The duo became friends instantly and after being released from Juvenile Hall, they often collaborated and have since released songs together such as “Static Shock,” “4Peat” and “Off the Wall.” Ski Mask attributes some of his musical style to his childhood idols Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot and Chief Keef. However, he claims his success as a rapper comes from experimenting with and listening to a wide range of music styles. In an Office Magazine interview, Ski Mask said, “I listen to every genre: rap, rock, classical, heavy metal, etc. I listen to Adele sometimes too.”

Ski Mask The Slump God

Billie Eilish


t only 17 years old, Billie Eilish has created a music empire. With a debut album, consistently-sold out tours and more than 750 million streams worldwide on Spotify, Eilish has proven herself to be one of the most talented youth artists. Eilish was 14-years-old when she first began gaining popularity, grabbing the attention of Soundcloud listeners with the release of “Ocean Eyes.” The track, which was casually released for Eilish’s dance class, has gained over two million streams on Soundcloud and was ironically the fire that rocketed Eilish into the world of stardom. Unlike other young musical prodigies under the spotlight, Eilish doesn’t have the same appeal of innocence that many young artists project. Her angelic, matured voice reveals lyrics that are surprisingly full of cynical dark humor and sentiment. As an artist of introspection and complexity, Eilish reveals messages that scream of teen angst, yet are delivered with confidence and wit.


wenty-one-year-old Jorja Smith refers to herself as an “old soul”, and uses her musical platform as an outlet to address themes such as police brutality, womanhood, race, identity and loss. Her first album, “Project 11”, was released in 2016 and introduced Smith as an R&B/Soul artist. However, with the release of “Lost and Found” in 2018, Smith created a unique sound of her own, mixing styles of jazz, R&B, acoustic folk and gospel. The album illustrates her process of self-reflection and her journey developing her own adult identity. Smith reveals her uncertainty and struggles through the ending lyric, “I am constantly finding myself,” on her new track, “February 3rd.” The track “Teenage Fantasy” is also a feature on the 2018 album, but was originally written by Smith when she was only 16. Even at such a young age, she was able to gracefully illustrate her own naive, glamorized perception of love and the persisting theme of self-growth throughout her album, using the lyrics, “I need to grow and find myself before I let someone love me.” Now 21, Smith has continued to mature with grace and wisdom, receiving recognition from her five million monthly listeners on Spotify and multiple awards, including the 2018 Critics’ Choice and 2018 UK Breakthrough of the year.

J o r j a S m i t H MUSIC • 45







99 Grove St

ust a short train ride from Palo Alto, San Francisco offers some of the most unique

music venues for artists performing on tour and for concert goers to attend. If you are ever interested in an engaging and aesthetic night on the town, check out some of San Francisco’s most popular and eclectic venues.





Not too far from Mission Dolores Park, The Fillmore offers a general admission experience that is incomparable. This particular venue has a mysterious and old-fashioned atmosphere and stands out from modern venues since it has an open dance floor, which contributes to the overall concert experience. Extravagant chandeliers are the sole source of light at the Fillmore, which is prevalent throughout the venue, including in the restaurant and bar. Concertgoers at the Fillmore are often looking to casually enjoy music; they have the option to sit in the restaurant and listen, or stand on the dance floor and sway to whatever is playing. One identifying trait of the Fillmore is the gifts they offer to guests at the event: red, delicious apples and a customized poster at the end, uniquely displaying the artist who performed that night.


Since the opening of the Warfield in 1922, the venue has transformed from a movie palace into one of the most well-known concert halls in San Francisco. When the theatre first opened on Market Street, it quickly became a popular location that has hosted major performances, including Louis Armstrong, Al Jolson and Charlie Chaplin. To this day, the Warfield often sells out all 2,250 seats for the variety of musicians scheduled year round. At these events, most concert attendees flood the general admission standing area below the stage, besides the ones that prefer the more spacious environment of the upper balcony level. Marble finishings, chandeliers, murals and a grand staircase characterize this large venue, which is used for a range of events, from award shows to private concerts.


(3/2) Noise Pop Festival 2019 (3/7) Twiddle with Iya Terra (3/8, 3/9) The Wood Brothers with Carsie Blanton (3/12) Jamey Johnson (3/21) Mandolin Orange with Mapache (3/22) Chelsea Cutler


(3/9) Matoma (3/15) Nils Fahm (3/16) Graveyard and Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats (3/18) Within Temptation (3/20) One Ok Rock (3/22) Watsky (3/30) Galactic Ft. Erica Fall & Steel Purse

BILL BILL GRAHAM GRAHAM CIVIC CIVIC AUDITORIUM AUDITORIUM The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium is one of San Francisco’s larger venues, characterized by a general admission area and extensive balcony seating. The venue typically features more popular artists, which in turn draw larger crowds and the inevitable hour-long line outside the doors, in which concertgoers are more than willing to participate in order to get closer to the stage. With a larger venue often come more extravagant visuals and prop additions. Concerts at Bill Graham often incorporate intricate special effects and lighting, full of imaginative colors and designs that improve the concert experience.


(3/9, 3/16) YG (3/23) Kayzo Doghouse takeover (3/28) Massive Attack (4/22, 4/23) The 1975

BRICK BRICK & & MORTAR MORTAR MUSIC MUSIC HALL HALL San Francisco’s Brick & Mortar music hall is a small venue that sits on Mission St. Its intimate shows range from up-and-coming rappers, like Bali Baby, to electric, alternative bands like Cherry Pools. Whether attendees are interested in an upbeat sing-along, a relaxing night of music in the city or enjoying an authentic music and bar experience, Brick & Mortar music hall is sure to have a great selection of performances, however be sure to check the schedule because many events are 18-plus.

COMING UP (3/8) Choker (3/9) Cherry Pools (3/14) Call Me Karizma (3/24) Bali Baby MUSIC • 47

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