Magazine Arts & Culture
Music Without Labels 24
February 2016 Vol. 4 Editon 4
Letter from the Editors Dear Readers, You’ll find that this issue is our thickest yet—we’re delighted to have expanded our magazine to 48 pages. We’re also proud to introduce the 10 new staff writers who have joined us this semester. They’ve already brought great energy and enthusiasm to what we do, and we know that the next generation of C Mag lies in good hands. Our cover story this edition, written by Katya Sigal and Larkin McDermott, is in the new music section of our magazine. The story, focused on independent artists in connection with Palo Alto, chronicles the limits of signing under a label and the hardship but newfound freedom that comes with dropping one. A feature and accompanying photo essay delve into the lives of first generation Americans at Paly, and how their experiences in this community are affected by their parents’ cultures. In “Deep Thoughts for Deep Thinkers,” staff writers Sarah Shapiro and Jasmine Abeyta ponder theories about the universe with input from fellow Paly intellectuals. With 48 pages of content, there is more than ever to explore. We’ve worked hard to bring you this edition, and we hope you enjoy it! Happy reading, Frida Schaefer Bastian, Maya Benatar, Clara de Martel and Maya Kandell Editors-in-Chief
Cover by Katya Sigal and Jordan Schilling
Editors-in-Chief Frida Schaefer Bastian Maya Benatar Clara de Martel Maya Kandell
Managing Editors Katie Douty Ahana Ganguly
Design Editor Charlee Stefanski
Copy Editor Katya Sigal Photo Editors Larkin McDermott Emma Scott
Social Media & PR Alex Weinstein
Palo Alto High School’s Arts and Culture Magazine
Photographer Jordan Schilling
Staff Writers Jasmine Abeyta Atusa Assadi Karni Beth Chiara Biondi Laure Blanchez Maddy Buecheler Hannah Darby Reilly Filter Henry Gordon Nicole Li Katie Look Katie Passarello Rima Parekh Ally Scheve Sarah Shapiro Emma Staiger Teddie Stewart Nathan Zeidwerg
Advisers Brian Wilson Esther Wojcicki
Loco for Hot Cocoa
Playlist: All is Calm
February Fiction Picks
Homemade Chinese Stir-Fry
Cover: Music Without Labels
C Magazine Oscar Predictions
Make a Perfect Meal at the Farmerâ€™s Market
Local Music: Hear it Here
C Mag Perspective: September 2nd
Coachella Timeline and Playlist
Intro to Classical Music
C Magazine Simplifies: Gun Control
Donut Try This at Home
Balancing Cultural Identity
Deep Thoughts for Deep Thinkers
Youtube Stars in Palo Alto
Social Justice Warriors
Get Cultured A No-Child Policy Artist of the Month: Bennet Huang
Hot Cocoa TEXT BY HANNAH DARBY AND SARAH SHAPIRO DESIGN BY SARAH SHAPIRO PHOTO BY EMMA SCOTT
t’s a rainy February day and all you want to do is curl up with a good book and a steaming cup of hot cocoa. You could go for the classic cup of Starbucks, or you could invade your kitchen cabinet and embark on a chocolate-filled adventure. We recommend the latter, and have five dreamy recipes for you to try.
Frozen Nutella Hot Chocolate Ingredients: 3 tbsp Nutella 2 cups hot chocolate (instant packets with hot water) Optional: Whipped cream
Instructions: Stir the Nutella and hot chocolate thoroughly. Place the mixture in the freezer for 20 minutes until it achieves a milkshake-like consistency. Add whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Enjoy!
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Ingredients: 2 cups milk 1½ cups half-and-half milk 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa ½ tsp salt 2 tsp vanilla ½ cup sugar ¼ cup caramel sauce
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan at medium-low heat. Stir frequently until hot and smooth amd scrape the sides of the pan to avoid chocolate clumps. Pour into a mug and enjoy!
Reese’s Hot Chocolate Ingredients: 2 ½ tbsp peanut butter 3 cups hot chocolate (instant packets with hot water) Optional: Mini peanut butter cups Whipped cream Instructions: Add the peanut butter to the hot chocolate and stir thoroughly until blended together. Make sure the hot chocolate is hot enough to melt the peanut butter, or you will have to reheat it. You can also add whipped cream and mini peanut butter cups for extra flavor!
Oreo Ice Cream Hot Chocolate Float Ingredients: 3 cups hot chocolate (instant packets with hot water) 1½ scoops Oreo ice cream Optional: Chocolate shavings Chocolate sauce Ice cream toppings Instructions: Add the Oreo ice cream to the hot chocolate. Either stir it in or enjoy it as an ice cream float! You can also accompany this with chocolate sauce, chocolate shavings, or other toppings of your choice.
Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate Ingredients: 4 cups milk ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ¼ cup sugar 1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp vanilla extract ¼ tsp chipotle powder or chili powder Pinch of nutmeg Pinch of cayenne Optional: Whipped cream Marshmallows Instrutions: Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat on medium-low temperature stirring frequently until the mixture simmers. We recommend adding whipped cream and marshmallows for fun!
Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate Ingredients: 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/8 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp vanilla 2/3 cup white chocolate 3 cups half-and-half milk Optional: Whipped cream Cinnamon stick
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan at medium-low heat. Stir frequently until hot and smooth. Remember to scrape the sides of the pan to avoid chocolate clumps. Pour into a mug, add optional toppings for flavor and decoration and enjoy your delicious drink!
Homemade Chinese Stir-Fry A hearty dish with minimal effort TEXT AND DESIGN BY NICOLE LI
2 lbs leaf mustard 1 block tofu/bean curd Leftover beef (Or any other meat/tofu) 1 carrot stick 5 cloves garlic 1 tbsp vegetable oil 1 tbsp soy sauce 12-inch frying pan/sauté pan
1. Put a pot of water on boil. 2. Smash garlic cloves with knife blade, peel and chop. Chop tofu, beef, and carrot into bite-size pieces, tossing each ingredient into pan. 3. Rinse leaf mustard under tap. 4. When the water boils, cook leaf mustard in boiling water for two minutes. 5. Chop leaf mustard. 6. Pour vegetable oil over ingredients in pan. Stir-fry tofu, beef, carrots, garlic. Add the soy sauce. Cook until ingredients soften. 7. Toss in chopped leaf mustard. Stir-fry and cover. Cook until juices evaporate or until ingredients soften.
To streamline the cooking process, multitask. Wash dishes while waiting for the water to boil, or cook rice. When deciding serving sizes, just eyeball it. Stir-frying is not an exact science — do what you feel like and experiment. Feel free to add any other ingredients you can think of. This recipe is just to help you get started on your stir-fry journey.
Time: About 30 minutes Serves: 3-4
Make a perfect meal at the farmers market How to compile a heavenly sandwich for the perfect Sunday afternoon TEXT, DESIGN, AND PHOTO BY EMMA STAIGER
alo Altoâ€™s California Avenue farmers market offers a vast array of eclectic booths selling all things fresh and seasonal. Walking through the bright, airy environment, one cannot help but smile. Artisans call out to passersby, eager to tell anyone within earshot about their craft. A blind woman performs for tips, singing sad, clear notes as she plays guitar for children sitting in front of her. Parents run after small children scampering from booth to booth, taking in the bright colors and friendly sounds. Couples saunter down the road, looking for a pleasant afternoon more than ingredients for a meal. Smells of freshly prepared savory crepes waft over the street, prepared inside of a small cart on the street as you watch. Be it for a fun outing with friends or in search of farm-fresh ingredients for a meal, a trip to this farmers market is a great way to spend Sunday afternoon. I spent an afternoon at the farmers market and picked out fresh ingredients for a delicious and healthy sandwich.
pepper jelly Fontana Farms (Ceres, CA)
seeded whole wheat loaf Manresa Bread (Los Gatos, CA)
Tradiros tomato (on vine) Houweling Nurseries Camarillo (Ventura County, CA)
5 saucisson sec (Dry pork sausage) Fabrique DĂŠlices (Hayward, CA)
Santa Rita cheese Schoch Family Farmstead (Monterey County, CA)
wild arugula Heirloom Organic Gardens (Hollister, CA)
C Magazine Simplifies:
Obama’s Executive Actions on Gun Control
TEXT BY MAYA BENATAR AND AHANA GANGULY DESIGN BY MAYA BENATAR ILLUSTRATION BY MAYA KANDELL
I’ll take it from here, guys...
ongress and Obama haven’t been able to agree on any definite legislation having to do with gun control and, seeing as he’s entering his last year in office, he has decided to slap down some executive actions (a vague term that basically encompasses everything Obama calls on agencies and administration to do). Here’s a look into his plan of action...
Guns Aren’t for Everyone ... Making sure guns don’t end up in the wrong hands.
Safety first! Safety ON. Safer safeties. Ensuring that the security technology on guns is up to date and working great! • The President has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology. • He’s also asked the departments to look into the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis and to explore ways they can further its use and development.
• The President created a 2017 budget that will pay for more Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Bureau employees so they can investigate and enforce gun laws. • He also wants to spend a whole bunch of money ($500 million!) on easier access to mental health care. • As crazy as it might sound, there are legal barriers in place preventing states from reporting information about people who aren’t allowed to have a gun for certain mental health reasons. Luckily, The Department of Health and Human Services is finishing up a rule that will remove said barriers. Phew. • Retirees who get their money from social security are now going to have to complete a background check proving they don’t have mental health problems before they purchase guns (with their social security money).
Donut try this at home
TEXT BY NATHAN ZEIDWERG DESIGN BY TEDDIE STEWART
y name is Nathan, and I’m the newest addition to the C Magazine staff. As the class debutant, I was assigned to support any writers who needed help for their upcoming articles. Teddie Stewart, a veteran C Magazine writer, ended up being that person. Teddie had decided to write an article about the joggers who ran on the track before school started. We planned and conducted the interviews; however, Teddie wasn’t satisfied with the stories that she was receiving. Most of the runners were simply trying to get a jog in before work. Compelled to write her page about something more interesting than a couple of joggers’ workout routines, Teddie decided to write about Happy Donuts, a 24/7 cafe located on El Camino. Happy Donuts is a reputed hot spot for unconventional folks doing bizarre things at all hours of the night and Teddie felt that it would be the best place for interviews. The story begins one Saturday night at 12:45 a.m., when I receive a text from Teddie. She’s telling me to be ready because she’s on her way to pick me up. I tell her that I am and five minutes later, she’s honking her horn in my driveway. I climb into her graffiti-splattered Volvo and we set off in search of a story. We arrive at around 1:00 a.m. on the lookout for somebody interesting to interview. As soon as we step inside, we realize that this may not be as easy as we had hoped. Unsurprisingly, three out of the six customers were asleep at their table. Bags filled with their belongings littered the floors as they lay snoring, unconscious on the tables. Realizing that the lack of responsive subjects would greatly limit our selection of interviewees, we took note of the people who remained: A young man at a corner table yelling at a computer game, an old man tuned into a teen drama on his computer, and a toothless man finishing a phone call. Deciding upon the toothless fellow, we sit beside the man and wait for his call to end. Without anything else to do, we begin to listen as the call drags on. “I just did half the bag,” he said. “You get the second half. This is enough coke for four people!” We sat in befuddled silence as we continued to listen to his conversation. “No man, there are way too many people here. We CANNOT do that. Yeah, no, I’ll be a good boy.” He hung up the phone and looked at Teddie. Immediately realizing the mistake that we had made by approaching him, Teddie avoided his glance and pretended to read a menu. The decision not to interview him had become a very easy one. Though we were looking for an interesting story, featuring a class three felony wasn’t quite what we were shooting
for. The man then stood up, adjusted god-knows-what in the back of his waistband and waited. Minutes later, an equally tattered and suspicious man stormed in. The two embraced and began to speak at a conspicuously high volume. Finally noticing that we had been listening the whole time, the man glanced at us, shot us a toothless grin, and the two men disappeared into a suspiciously into the dark alley adjacent to the shop. Now fully aware of the crowd that we were immersed in, Teddie and I cautiously continued our search for usable information. Avoiding the increasingly rowdy computer gamer, we made our way towards the old man watching the movie. He looked up at us as we identified ourselves and explained why we were out so late. As if he had known us for years, he proceeded to share what seemed like every thought he had had that day. “You know, I wish things was simple, but they’re not,” he began. “We’re complex creatures with complex motives. We all do different things. We want a simple explanation, but we have to look at the complexity of things to solve them. For example, there are high schools where close to 25% of kids drop out. What can they do without a high school diploma? We’re losing a generation of children from lack of education. Training is specific, but education teaches you how to react in any situation. People worry too much about specific things. They look at everything too narrowly. If we focused on education, you could be prepared for anything.” Confused but quiet, I took careful notes on everything that he was saying as he continued to talk about race, education, government corruption and the effects of marijuana on the developing mind. Though the man had a lot to say, we would’ve preferred his personal story to his stance on every topic that he could think of, so we took advantage of a rare moment of silence and ended the interview. We took one more look around the room that now, besides the old man, consisted entirely of unconscious people. Without anybody else to talk to, I suggested that we leave try to get a sensible amount of sleep. As I climb back into Teddie’s Volvo, I looked over the notes that I had and assured her that I had taken enough to write a novel on this guy. Exhausted but satisfied by what we had, I went to bed hoping that the article would be smooth sailing from there on out. The next day, I watched as my editors’ faces sank. As it turned out, our manifesto of opinions and ramblings didn’t even contain enough personal information for a basic profile. Two weeks and two topics later, we had no usable information and a blank page to fill. At least this looks better than filler text.
balancing cultural identity Since its beginning, immigrants have formed the bedrock of our country, and Palo Altoâ€™s population is no exception. More than most, first-generation Americans understand what itâ€™s like to mesh heritage with modern American culture.
PHOTO BY JORDAN SCHILLING
Senior Luma Hamade (above) was raised in Palo Alto, but her parents immigrated from L.ebanon. On her hand is the Lebanese flag. Sophomore Tamar Sarig (left) has parents from Israel, but she was born in America. TEXT AND DESIGN BY RIMA PAREKH, AHANA GANGULY, AND LAURE BLANCHEZ PHOTOS BY JORDAN SCHILLING AND WILLIAM DOUGALL
hen Tara Madhav, a Palo Alto High School (Paly) junior, talks about visiting her parents’ home country, India, she recalls feeling an undeniable distance. She can’t speak Hindi, and her relatives poke fun at her American accent. She doesn’t feel like she belongs. At home, she still feels “neither here nor there.” Despite being a born-and-bred Californian, Madhav feels she’ll never be considered a true American because of her Indian heritage. “I don’t think I’ll ever be fully American. I don’t think that’s possible,” she said.
While many students share Madhav’s struggle straddling two cultures, others take
table drift from their parents’ culture, stereotyping and ignorance, and the implications of a different upbringing. Many first-generation Americans find themselves with a distinct blend of cultures. Donnesh Farmanfarmaian, a junior of Iranian descent, feels culturally lost — “It feels like I’m drifting in the wind,” he said. Farmanfarmaian values both cultures he has experienced growing up. He takes Farsi lessons and makes a conscious effort to learn about Iranian history and traditions. This seems to be a common sentiment. “Your culture is a part of who you are, and if you don’t know it, you lose a piece
“I DO FEEL I HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR MY NATIONALITY ... NOT APOLOGIZING IS SOME KIND OF POLITICAL STATEMENT.” — Tamar Sarig, sophomore
pride in their diverse backgrounds. Children of immigrants face unique difficulties — they are often forced to deal with an inevi-
PHOTO BY WILLIAM DOUGALL
Senior Dami Bolarinwa, born in Nigeria, moved to the United States at a young age. of yourself,” said Ada Unal, a freshman with Turkish parents. Dami Bolarinwa, a senior from Nigeria, feels at home in Nigeria and the United States. “I don’t really think of myself as just one person now. I have two different cultures that I’ve grown up with,” he said. Luma Hamade, a senior who is from Lebanon, and Bolarinwa have had similar experiences despite their differing countries of origin. Both say they deal with high expectations.“My parents have always been a little stricter — socially — than most parents are,” Hamade said. “In the United States ... when you turn 18, you’re an adult, and you don’t have to consult your parents anymore. That’s not the case in my culture at all.” She says that in her culture, as family members get older, their opinions are valued more. “Their opinion will always be relevant to me and I’m always going to have to check in with them ... I don’t consider that a burden.” Hamade said. Bolarinwa feels the same way.
“I don’t go out as much because my parents think it’s better to stay home ... I do find that annoying at times, but I understand where they come from.”
“your culture is a part of who you are, and if you don’t know it, you lose a piece of yourself” — Ada Unal, freshman Madhav finds that a very important value in her culture is staying close to family. “A lot
of white people are encouraged to break away from the family at a certain point, whereas ... Indians are encouraged to stay closer to the family and have that sense of always staying close,” Madhav said. Similarly, when Hamade goes back to Lebanon, she notices that people are “very family oriented.” She also feels that Lebanese people are far more respectful towards their parents. “They’re a very ‘respect your elder’ type of community,” she said. This is also the case in Nigeria, according to Bolarinwa. “Respecting your parents, that’s the main thing, respecting your elders. A lot of people understand that whatever the parents say goes.” Of course, belonging to an “outside” group often comes with discrimination and stereotyping. Madhav remembers her mother calling the police several times because of a neighbor hurling hateful invective across the fence. She’s also aware of more subtle prejudice; “[There’s] kind of this underlying
PHOTO BY JORDAN SCHILLING PHOTO BY JORDAN SCHILLING
Junior Tara Madhav is an Indian American who identifies with two different cultures.
Junior Michele Ange Siaba was born in the Ivory Coast but moved to Palo Alto when he was young. Ever since Siaba has moved, he has felt that he belongs to both countries.
PHOTO BY WILLIAM DOUGALL
discrimination ... because you’re Asian, people expect you to be up to a certain caliber. People see Indians constantly being at the high level, and if you’re not there, it’s a surprise,” she said. European students seem to have a different experience; Lou Guillonet, a French freshman, is always met by a “That’s so cool!” when she explains where she’s from. The reactions Unal gets when she tells her peers that she is from Turkey are much more reserved and less positive. Unal also faces intolerance because of her Middle Eastern heritage. “I have been stereotyped and teased and called a terrorist,” she said. Farmanfarmaian has dealt with stereotyping because he comes from a predominantly Muslim country. Farmanfarmaian is occasionally called a terrorist by his friends, although, according to him, they “don’t mean any harm.” Hamade explained that there are different stereotypes attributed to Lebanese parents, but they don’t accurately portray her family. “I think for all Middle Eastern countries there’s a stereotype of parents being very strict. I’ve seen Vines and videos of people imitating Middle Eastern parents whipping their children with belts.” Tamar Sarig, a sophomore from Israel, feels her peers don’t judge her because of her upbringing, but rather because of the politics associated with her home country. “I do feel I have to apologize for my nationality. People associate Israel with so much negativity, and not apologizing is some kind of political statement.” Despite negative experiences, many students feel accepted and respected in the Palo Alto community. It’s hard to deny racism’s presence in our country, but Bolarinwa says he’s never encountered discrimination while in the Bay Area. “I’m really lucky that I live in an accepting place, so I don’t really have to worry about it as much as other people,” he said. Similarly, junior Bianca Al-Shamari, whose mother was born in Russia, feels that the gap dividing her and her non-Russian friends is small because she has grown up here. “In Palo Alto, everyone’s so diverse and has experiences with other cultures,” she said. Even though children with foreign-born parents face discrimination and differences in upbringing, many are able to craft an identity incorporating aspects of each culture they identify with. To Madhav, being the child of an immigrant is both a blessing and a curse: “My upbringing has both integrated me and isolated me.”
Sophomore Julia Quiao displays her American and Chinese identity.
Deep thoughts for
deep thinkers TEXT AND DESIGN BY JASMINE ABEYTA AND SARAH SHAPIRO
Join us as we explore a variety of thought-provoking theories and ideas on humans and life, as well as examining Palo Alto High School (Paly) perspectives on similar topics. How plausible are these ideas? Well, that’s for you to decide.
COLOR PERCEPTION THEORY
Do we all perceive colors the same way? How could we tell if we don’t? Consider this example: We both agree that a certain color is blue. We associate blue with coldness, we call the color of water blue, we call the Facebook icon blue. But what if the color that I call blue is actually the color that you perceive as red? We both agree it’s blue, but only because we grew up associating whatever color we saw with the word “blue.” Essentially, then, we could all perceive colors differently and have no way of knowing it. It is an interesting thought to consider, but scientifically, colors are not arbitrary and are perceived as a result of photoreceptors and light; therefore, biologically, it wouldn’t make sense that each individual would perceive different colors. Still, fundamentally, we are alone in our perceptions, and truly have no way of determining whether we perceive the same things the exact same way.
Solipsism is a philosophical theory that proposes that nothing exists other than a person’s own consciousness. It suggests that there is no connection between the mental and the physical. In other words, our minds and our brains are completely separate. A true solipsist believes everything he perceives is just part of his consciousness — a figment of his own imagination.
Nihilism is the belief that the world is without meaning or purpose, often associated with extreme pessimism and skepticism. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is most often associated with this concept, arguing there is no order or structure in the world except what we give it.
DUALISM Dualism is another philosophical theory on consciousness that focuses on the idea that the mind and the body are separate from each other. This concept relates to French philosopher René Descartes’s idea that the mind is a self-aware, non-physical mass that is not to be confused with the brain, which dictates our intelligence.
“BRAIN IN A JAR” THEORY
Many scientists argue that we are nothing but a brain in a jar, stimulated and controlled by mad scientists. We can’t confirm that anything is real except for our consciousness. Dr. Wilder Penfield, a Canadian neurosurgeon, tested this theory by operating on conscious patients’ brains. He found that, by stimulating different parts of their brains, he could induce vivid experiences in his patients, proving that the brain could be deceived in terms of what is real and what is not. Therefore, we cannot prove that anything that we’re experiencing at this moment is real — it could all just be a product of what the mad scientist is inducing. This ties into the idea of free will, or that we have the power to act without constraint. If the “brain in a jar” theory is true, we do not have control over our own thoughts or actions.
MULTIUNIVERSE THEORY The multi-universe theory comes from the infinitesimal probability that our universe is the only one that exists. The theory dictates that there must be many other universes that exist parallel to ours — or, in other words, that multiple versions of ourselves exist. This is backed up by the possibility that matter can only arrange itself in a finite number of ways, implying that, physically, it’s possible that “we” may exist somewhere else. PHOTO BY JORDAN SCHILLING
...ON CONSCIOUSNESS/REALITY... “In a way, [solipsism] seems like a very lonely philosophy because you’re denying the real valid existence of everything and everyone that you see around you and I think that’s really hard for the human mind to accept. I don’t personally believe in it...I think our imaginations are very creative, but at the same time I am convinced in the existence of other people and other things around me...I think I tend to lean a little more towards Dualism” “...I mean how do you know that we’re not brains in a jar, and everything that we think we’re physically feeling is just a product of our minds, so in terms of that, I just think reality is really interesting because your reality is, in one way, really subjective... if so much of reality and perception is so subjective, who is to say that different experiences can’t change your reality, and what is the real reality?” -MS. PARK, HUMANITIES TEACHER
...ON FREE WILL/MORALITY...
“In what way does a human being have any more “free will” than a computer or even a clock? We behave according to absolute physical laws, which we cannot disobey. We feel like we make choices. But to say that a brain can make choices is no more meaningful than saying a simple machine made out of, say, gears and levers can make choices...Computer programs can’t make choices, just obey their programming. The electrons move in entirely predictable ways through wires and silicon, just as electrons move in entirely predictable ways through our brain and nerves. We are machines designed and optimized by evolution.” “Nothing is “good” or “bad” objectively. Our evolutionary and societal programming just push us to try to make the world a certain way. The universe is just made of particles moving through space in a predictable fashion, they don’t care if they’re part of a person or part of a rock. Morality is a story we tell ourselves. Nihilism gives me no reason to do anything, but on the other hand, it also gives me no reason not to do anything...I do the things I want to do and don’t try to justify them with any objective moral framework. I’m a vegetarian, for instance. Not because I think eating meat is morally wrong (nothing is morally wrong), but rather because I don’t want to eat meat…While Nihilism seems at first somewhat depressing, I’ve come to find it liberating. I’m free to live my life in whatever way I want to. There’s no way to live life wrong.” -PAUL BLEICH, SENIOR
“I’ve thought about if people actually do perceive colors differently, like maybe what I see as blue someone else sees the same thing but to them it’s orange. We think we all agree that certain colors are certain colors but theres no way to prove it. And maybe people actually all have the same favorite color but we “see” them as different colors. It’s all relative. I don’t know if I really believe it, but it’s really interesting to think about.” -BRYN CARLSON, SENIOR
ART BY MAYA KANDELL
Youtube STARS in palo alto Take a look into the journeys of three of Gunn and Paly’s most popular YouTubers. TEXT AND DESIGN BY MADDY BUECHELER, HANNAH DARBY AND KATIE LOOK
Most Viewed Video:
15,400 / Type of video:Beauty Vlog
Started: Aug. 2014
cloud of blue powder blows onto the screen as Troye Sivan’s “Fools” plays in the background. Palo Alto High School (Paly) junior Eve Merritt pops onto the screen and begins her video, explaining how she edits her Instagram photos. Merritt began her channel two summers ago to express her love for editing and photography. On her channel, she posts a variety of videos about her lifestyle, including lookbooks, Q&As, and advice and experience from her life. “My favorite video was my “Vidcon 2015 in retrospect” video because it has clips from my favorite few days of 2015,” Merritt said. “Me and my friends that I had met through YouTube were running around a YouTube convention meeting people we look up to, seeing internet friends and goofing around having a nice time in LA together.”
Throughout her YouTube career, Merritt has had to deal with certain people putting her down. “Most people are super supportive, but some like to make fun of [my channel],” Merritt said. Meritt has never let the time commitment, effort and negative feedback stop her from continuing her channel. “I’m still a super small YouTuber, so I don’t get that much attention,” Merritt said. “It’s helped when I haven’t got any ideas on what to film and people will request things. It’s also great when people appreciate something you put a lot of time into.” With more subscribers every day, Merritt continues to adore making videos and prioritizing her channel as an important part of her life. “I don’t really have a goal for anything in the future,” Merritt said. “I honestly just want to make content I am happy with!”
Channel: H el ene&Mi a
MOST VIEWS ON A VIDEO
Type of video: Vlog Started: Aug. 2015
he blond, curly haired girl, smiling, hands her brown-haired friend a glass of juice. They switch glasses, clink them together, laughing, and introduce themselves as Helene and Mia. Helene Barbier and Mia Mosing, sophomores at Gunn High School (Gunn), created a YouTube channel last summer as a way to have fun and share their friendship and lifestyle with the public.
Inspired by Mosing’s older brother, who runs a popular gaming channel called “Faze Blaziken,” Mosing and Barbier decided to create their own channel. Mosing and Barbier’s channel consists of everything from blogs and best friend challenges to baking. “At first, we wanted to experiment with videotaping random things, but as we got more subscribers, we had to think about the
content of the video and how it would appeal to our audience,” Barbier said. In only a few months, the two girls have reached over 56,000 subscribers and continue to gain more every day. Their unbreakable friendship, bubbly personalities and love for making videos shine through their channel.
amazing!’ and then ask what kinds of video I make,” Steinman said. “If I told them specifically what I do, they would honestly be sort of taken aback and it would change how they look at me indefinitely.” Steinman’s channel consists of mostly “kissing pranks,” in which he tricks girls into kissing him. In a video titled “Kissing Prank — Unrhymable Words,” Steinman challeng-
es girls he meets in downtown Palo Alto to find a word that rhymes with music — “If you can’t,” he says, “then we kiss.” With his YouTube channel gaining popularity, Steinman receives a monthly paycheck ranging from $100 to $500 from an outside agency.
975,700 Most Viewed video:
Type of video: Pranks Started: Nov. 2014
y dream, above all, is to hit 100,000 subscribers,” Gunn senior Jason Steinman said. 18-year-old Steinman started his Youtube channel “PrankCoast” two years ago blinded from the fact that his channel of pranks would become so popular. “If I told a stranger that I have a YouTube channel with 25,000 subscribers and around 9 million total views, they would say ‘That’s
Emma and Frida’s Spring lookBOOK
TEXT AND DESIGN BY EMMA SCOTT AND FRIDA SCHAEFER-BASTIAN PHOTOS BY EMMA SCOTT AND KATYA SIGAL
Cut out sweaters layered over tank tops
Over-the-knee boots—paired with floral dresses
Colorful rompers—the perfect outfit for spring!
Leather jacket—add a lace bralette for a girlier take on a classic
Floppy hats— can dress up or dress down any outfit!
Floral Rompers—“florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.” Pair a floppy hat with a floral romper to toughen up the look
Social Justice Warriors on Campus TEXT BY LAURE BLANCHEZ AND HENRY GORDON DESIGN BY LAURE BLANCHEZ AND CLARA DE MARTEL
an a white, blond girl wear a Japanese kimono to a party? Does that honor Japanese culture or belittle it? Last year, members of the junior class proposed “Aztecs” as their Spirit Week theme, but the idea was rejected on the grounds of cultural appropriation. The students who opposed the Aztec theme worried that Aztec heritage would be disrespected instead of honored through costumes, cheers, and other Spirit Week-related activities. To many, students with this concern for political correctness can be defined as Social Justice Warrios (SJW). Others made the case that the issue was going too far and that the concern over political correctness was impeding students’ rights to free speech and fun. “An incident at Yale last October illustrated the emotional charge behind issues of cultural appropriation and political correctness. Yale’s dean sent out an email to the undergraduate student body imploring them to be thoughtful about the way they dressed on
Halloween night in order to avoid offending any cultural group. Erika Christakis, a lecturer and associate master, answered the Dean’s concerns by sending out another email to students asking whether, “there [is] no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious ... a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” The students body and faculty members were divided; some asked for her dismissal while others praised her defense of free speech. Derwin Aikens, a student who had protested against Christakis, said he felt offended because Christakis’s email had been sent out under the assumption that the only ones to care about issues such as cultural appropriation were the “bureaucratic part” of Yale’s administration when, in fact, a large part of the student body had been speaking out about it. Yale president Peter Salovey and dean Jonathan Holloway, however, affirmed their support for Erika Christaki in an email. Furthermore, 49 faculty members signed
What’s a Social Justice Warrior?
an open letter supporting Christaki as they argued “the email ... did not express support for racist expressions, but rather focused primarily on the question of whether monitoring and criticizing such expression should be done in a top-down manner.” Yale is not the only university affected by debates about a racist and offensive culture on campus. The University of Missouri was rocked by racial controversy on campus in early November which resulted in the resignation of the University’s President. Does the protested racist culture on college campuses vindicate the strong reaction of Yale students to the Christakis email because of the racist culture that affects college campuses across the country? C Magazine wanted to find out whether these opinions present on college campuses are also here at Palo Alto High School (Paly). To find out, we asked Ace Straight, Ariya Momeny and Clare Kemmerer what they thought.
Oh my God, you are a SJW?
“There is a large distinction between a person who cares about Social Justice and someone who is a Social Justice Warrior, ... a Social Justice warrior is someone who might care about Social Justice but not have a really positive impact on the issue... It is a question more attacking the person rather than the argument” - Ariya Momeny, senior “I consider the term Social Justice warrior to be kind of an officious term ... [Social Justice Warriors] are of course exactly what the title suggest… [people] fighting injustice in Society.” - Clare Kemmerer, senior
“[People] basically just take everything to extremes and incite ... these big internet fights and discussions, get people angry, get them to yell and embarrass themselves on Tumblr and Facebook, which is a detriment to the Social Justice movement. It doesn’t help our cause, or help achieve justice for society” - Ace Straight, sophomore
“There is a difference between Black Lives Matter’s use of Social media as a huge activism platform, [and] the more negative connotation of [the] Social Justice Warrior, which is more singling people out on the Internet” - Clare Kemmer, senior
Is it offensive? “Simply believing that it could be offensive doesn’t make it offensive, for example if we are thinking about Aztec design, if we had chosen that as a theme for spirit week, it would have been an opportunity for people to learn about that culture” - Ariya Momeny, senior “Academically performing another person’s culture is not correct, unless it is done accurately … Things that could seem harmless can be exaggerated in a way that is offensive” - Clare Kemmerer, senior
“You have no right to be offended on behalf of someone else, especially if that other group of people is fine with it” - Ariya Momeny, senior
Is it politically correct? “A lot of those people who are for political correctness hold this belief that if anything offends them, then it’s wrong and it should be [deleted] … I think that that is what is great in this democratic society—you can be offended because people have different ideas that will be offensive to some people.” - Ariya Momeny, senior Ariya Momeny
“I don’t really like the term political correctness because that implies, it’s about [a politician] being correct while it should be about being a decent human being who respects other people.” - Ace Straight, sophomore
Here’s a Scenario: what do you think? Dreadlocks were used by the Rastafarian movement in Jamaica to protest white beauty standards. The hairstyle was brought to the US by white hippies who liked the hairstyle. This raises questions. Should white Americans wear dreadlocks or is it cultural appropriation? Is it offensive? On the other hand, others will ask, who has the right to dictate what hairstyle one can and cannot wear? Does the fact that this hairstyle was used to free people from “Western oppression” make it offensive for white Americans to wear dreadlocks?
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Playlist of The Month
TEXT AND DESIGN BY TEDDIE STEWART
MuSic without labels How musicians are gaining independence in a changing world TEXT BY KATYA SIGAL AND LARKIN MCDERMOTT DESIGN BY KATYA SIGAL PHOTO BY JORDAN SCHILLING
he bass reverberates off the studio walls as singer, Jenice Sabbíon Dena Portlock — who goes by the stage name Sabi — lays down vocals for one of the tracks on “0-60: Love Sounds,” her new album. The glow of the buttons and knobs on the recording console offsets the darkness of the studio, setting the mood for the soul singer to start recording. The 24-year-old R&B singer has spent hours of her life inside this studio and many others, analyzing and editing tracks to perfection. However, Sabi did not always have the same freedom to write and record her tracks the way she wanted to. She had to drop her Warner Bros. Records label deal to get to this place. It’s not easy to make it big as a musician, even with the backing of a major company, let alone without it. Yet, more and more musicians are following Sabi’s path to independence. According to Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Index from 2014, the number of independent artists, writers and performers has increased from 526,000 to 749,000 since 2000. This trend reflects the new, independent way of making music, and thanks to the proliferation of streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and SoundCloud, lesser-known artists are able to make their music accessible to the public and, in doing so, launch successful careers. With a label, an artist is tied to a multitude of contracts and agreements. Independent artists break away from these ties in order to reacquire total creative control — creating music how and when they want to, with all the financial benefits, whatever they may be. On the other hand, independents must create their own connections in order to build their careers. To fans, it can seem as though artists gain recognition almost overnight. Actually, listeners rarely recognize the difference or appreciate the hard work that goes into being part of the music industry and achieving fame. “Making it big” takes an unimaginable amount of work and time. “Music is a lot more grind-orientated, it’s kind of never ending,” Sabi said. “You have to make music and then create the visuals, and you have to go out there and promote it and do shows and meet radio people, all in order to engage your fans.” Most musicians start their music careers by either making a connection with a record company or being noticed by a talent scout or executive. Traditionally, they then meet with executives of a record company or a producer to demo songs. The process con Continue on next page
tinues and they are either signed, or not. Most artists have to experience failure before they reach success. They go through various labels, until they can finally gain traction. Sabi observed this before having her own experience with it. “Before I got into the industry, I’d see ‘Behind the Music’ on MTV, and these artists would talk about how they were signed to a major label and then it didn’t work out and then they got dropped and they signed to another label and when that didn’t work out again and they had to sign to another label etc.,” Sabi said. “Then, finally, they had a big hit and now the whole world knows them.” Artists enjoyed the support they received from a label, which would promote and sell their records in exchange for them following the record label’s rules. A lot of artists
depended on the label to handle the business side of gaining recognition, so that they could focus on creating the music. Today, more artists are choosing the independent path because they want creative control and believe social media will en-
perimental,” Dylan said. Many labels restrict musicians from experimenting with their music, limiting them at the beginning of their career when many may still be figuring out their style. Dylan recorded his first album to avoid the restrictions of a label and experiment with his artistry and genre. Sabi had her own similar experience; she was signed to a major label after doing various smaller projects. However, Sabi couldn’t control her creative production process under the Warner Bros. label, which is ultimately why she left. “Warner Brothers and I parted ways” Sabi said. “I wanted more creative control and I felt like I wasn’t being heard and we couldn’t come to an agreement of any sorts.” In many cases, when an artist signs to a label, they do it because they believe that it comes with financial benefits. However, of-
“I wanted more creative control and I felt like i wasn’t being heard.” — Sabi, independent Artist able them to build their business profile. One such independent artist, Pablo Dylan, grandson of famous singer Bob Dylan, chose not to sign with a label despite, or even perhaps because of, his famous musical roots. “I wanted to put out [my first music project] independently just because it was so ex-
ablo Dylan, grandson of famous rockstar Bob Dylan, started singing, rapping, and producing after his dreams of becoming a professional basketball player were crushed due to a knee injury. Dylan has put out various projects including one from 2015 called “Darkwood.” He is currently working on his first EP and has also worked on projects like A$AP Rocky’s latest album. Dylan has already taken strides towards stepping out of his grandfather’s shadow and making a name for himself in the world of Rap and Trap music.
“I’m going to die the biggest rockstar that’s ever walked the face of this planet” - Pablo Dylan
ten the financial benefits are hard to come by and can only be achieved in extreme cases. Royalties for songs played on the radio are very small and are only paid to singers who either wrote the song or included it as part of their publishing deal. Independent artists don’t have a label to take care of business so they are essentially left to their own devices. Unsigned artist Vivian Laurence, a 2014 Palo Alto High School (Paly) graduate, has experienced first-hand the highs and lows of label-independence. “I enjoy the business side of becoming an artist, so I’m learning a lot by managing myself and my career,” Laurence said. “It’s exciting.” Just like Laurence, artists that can work with the business side of the job can be extremely successful because the business side of a music career is almost, if not as important, as the musical aspect. So by both constantly producing and releasing more music and maintaining a healthy “business,” artists hopefully build up a fan base big enough to support themselves. These days artists make the most money from performances and merchandise. In order to book shows and sell merchandise they have to have a fan base. Even then, a large portion of the cut that an artist makes goes to the label and the rest the artist spends on basic expenses. In order to acquire a large fan base, an artist has to start somewhere. Having a small audience may seem almost insignificant in the beginning, but any support can help an artist to gain important contacts. But having a smaller fan base is not necessarily bad — sometimes it can even have advantages. “I think easily 95 percent of my audience is just my friends or my mom listening to my stuff begrudgingly because I post it on Facebook to make myself look cool and artsy and inflate my ego with likes,” Paly senior, Bo Field, who has been making music since his freshman year said. “In a lot of cases it’s financially smarter to release music for free and build a loyal, organic fan base that will buy merch and tour tickets to support you.” The internet brought a new audience, changing the options for artists and allowing them to reduce their dependence on labels. Social media gives artists the chance to build strong relationships with fans everywhere. “Whoever follows you or keeps up with you, it’s for a reason. There’s something that you do or you say that they either want to know about or keep in touch with, and that’s why [social media] is such an important tool for artists,” Sabi said. “It’s just keeping that Continue on next page
enice Sabbíon Dena Portlock, whose stage name is Sabi, grew up in Inglewood, California. She started acting in commercials and recording demos when she was 17 years old. She got her first big break at age 19 when asked to be a part of a girl group called The Bangz. After putting out a music video with The Bangz on YouTube that received over a million views, they signed with Asylum Records, a smaller sub division of Warner Bros. Records. Shortly after they were signed, her partner Ella Anne was seriously injured by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting, but Sabi continued to perform their songs, singing her parts as well as taking over Ella’s role as the rapper. Eventually Sabi began to record as a solo artist for Warner Bros. Records and signed with Dr. Luke, who has worked with artists like Ke$ha and Jessie J. While working with Dr. Luke she put out several records to create buzz, such as “Wild Heart,” which was used in a pro-
motional video for the E! reality TV show, Kourtney and Kim Take New York. After the release of these songs she was featured on a song with Britney Spears which allowed her to go on Britney’s tour and provided her with lots of publicity. Perhaps Sabi’s biggest break was being featured on the Cobra Starship song “You Make Me Feel…” which charted on the Billboard Top 100 for several months, peaking at number four. After being unable to reach agreements with Warner Bros. about the creative process Sabi decided to leave the label. Sabi is currently working on her first mixtape as an independent artist, which will be titled “0-60: Ventilation”.
“I like to sing, write, act, dance, you know whatever. And I’ve been blessed to be able to keep doing it...” - Sabi music 27
Vivian Laurence Former Paly student Vivian Laurence of the class of 2014, has been obsessed with music since she was nine years old and played the guitar. She now is an unsigned artist with an Extended Play (EP) and a Single out on Spotify. After realizing fashion school was not the path for her, she decided to pursue music.
“Singing brings me so much joy and relief. It means a lot to me because its purpose for me is so personal, I’m completely in love with sound.”
-Vivian Laurence Laurence sings at Raurfest 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. relationship going with people who support and follow you.” In addition to helping artists create a fan base, social media can help artists get discovered. In 2007, Justin Bieber was randomly discovered on YouTube and became famous almost instantaneously. He soon signed with Scooter Braun and Usher’s label company. Bieber’s journey was once the dream for many aspiring artists. However, that is no longer the case. Now, artists like Ray J, G Eazy, Childish Gambino, and Macklemore have managed to generate fan bases, and to build multi-million dollar careers without a label. They all used social media platforms to gain their fame. With different forms of social media, artists are able to find new ways to get their music into the world and connect with important music associates. “I can connect with people all over the world who care about what I’m creating,” Laurence said. “It’s also really cool because
social media has connected me with so many brilliant artists who have such unique perspectives. I’m inspired constantly.” Now that there are more musical platforms, people have the opportunity to discover new artists and realize that these new artists have more or equal talent to ones played constantly on the radio.
a New York Post writer, said in her article, “Indie artists are new No. 1 in music industry,” published Jan. 2, 2014. This significant increase in the use of music streaming and decrease in radio listening gives fans new access to music. “I’m a huge supporter of SoundCloud because the way SoundCloud works is you get to discover a lot of artists that aren’t as well known” junior, Nick Smallwood, said. “I don’t have an aux cord in my car so I bring my jambox so I’m not restricted to just listening to the radio.” The music industry will continue to change and evolve with the rise in social media, and with it, an increase of independent artists. In order to become successful, an aspiring artist will have a better chance of thriving with an ability to adapt to changing times and a loyal fanbase gained by staying true to their passion. “You have to love making music,” Sabi said. “And the thing is, that when you put out good energy and good intentions, whatever you’re doing, you will be okay.”
“Social media has connected me with so many brilliant artists... I’m Inspired constantly.”
— Vivian Laurence (‘14) Various kinds of music-streaming apps are quickly surfacing and replacing former methods of getting exposed to music. “The rise of streaming music services, where the major labels’ control is weaker, and the decline of FM radio, where the labels’ control is powerful, has had a clear effect on the power of indie,” Claire Atkinson,
Ryan Mcdermott’s journey to independence, told from a sibling’s perspective
rom as early on as I can remember my brother wasn’t “Ryan the soccer player” or “Ryan the Student Body President.” Ryan was always the musician, whether he was recording vocals in our garage, sitting at the piano in the family room, or teaching himself to play the mandolin. It was a rare moment when Ryan wasn’t doing something related to music. I alternated between being the adoring younger sister at his shows and the voice yelling at him to keep the volume down. Most of all, I admired his talent and passion; it’s so rare that someone knows exactly what he or she is passionate about and is so driven to pursue it. After graduating from Paly in 2006, Ryan went to the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music to chase his dream of making it in the music industry. He always searched for ways to get his name out there, but it’s not easy in such a competitive business. The world of music is a frenzy of meet-
ings with labels and executives who have the ability to shoot artists down, even when they have endless talent. An artist who doesn’t fit their brand perfectly or is unwilling to follow their creative direction has little chance of getting signed. Bias aside, I struggled to understand how my brother—a talented singer, writer and producer—was not able to “make it big.” But that’s the business. The music industry is brutally selective. So after years of hard work, when Ryan told us that he was flying to Paris to meet Kanye West and possibly sign with Kanye’s label, G.O.O.D. Music, we were all ecstatic. It seemed like this was it. He had finally made it big. However, signing with a label is only a small step in the path towards popularity. A label provides business connections and funding, but sometimes the cons outweigh the pros. Getting signed guarantees little, especially on a label like Kanye’s — one that is built on the philosophy that the artist must create his or her own fan base and career, just like Kanye himself did.
So, even though Ryan ended up signing with Kanye’s label, I continued to watch him work day after day, without ever reaching the results that he wanted. There were times when all I wanted to do was yell, “Listen to this music! It’s insanely good and it will change your life.” Unfortunately, I had little power to make an impact. How could it be that someone who was signed to one of the biggest names in music wasn’t gaining the following he desired? On top of his struggle for publicity, Ryan wasn’t allowed full control when it came to the production and release of his own music. He could create music, but could not release it without approval, a process that took massive amounts of time since he wasn’t the executive’s first priority. I started to wonder if there was even a point to the label. Ryan could be doing everything the label did by himself, and then at least he would have complete control.
hear it HERE Your guide to the Bay’s coolest music venues TEXT BY HENRY GORDON AND KATIE LOOK DESIGN BY KATIE LOOK
Slim’s (San Francisco)
Slim’s is the epitome of ‘underground’ — found beneath the streets of San Francisco, its brick walls and glowing neon signs house weekly shows that feature lesser-known folk-rock and funk projects, among many other genres. Upcoming shows: The Dustbowl Revival (3/12), Lissie (3/30), Basement (4/9) Price: $15 to $30 Travel time from Palo Alto: 75 minutes
Red Rock Coffee (Mountain View)
The cafe comes with two stories for viewing, and a worn, well-loved, bright red interior. Live music is played on Saturday nights, often by a single musician on an acoustic guitar. It offers a casual hang-out to do work or just to observe cool, spunky paintings and acoustic shows. Upcoming shows: various local artists, mostly on Saturday nights Price: Free Travel time from Palo Alto: 20 minutes
THE CATALYST (Santa Cruz)
The beachside venue allows concertgoers to hang out on the beach before going in. All viewers have a great look at the stage because of the intimate size and setup, and a strong sound system makes for great audio quality. Look for plenty of artist–crowd interaction. Upcoming shows: Skizzy Mars (3/4), Songhoy Blues (4/1), Yung Lean (4/5) Price: $15 to $25 Travel time from Palo Alto: 45 minutes
Greek Theatre (Berkeley)
This intimate outdoor venue offers a liberal, mixed-age environment. Because shows are mostly during summer, count on a refreshing, open experience. The limited marble seating in the middle of the venue adds a unique touch, and the grassy knoll in the back of the venue provides a comfortable social arena. Upcoming shows: Twenty One Pilots (7/21), Modest Mouse and Brand New (7/28), Tame Impala (9/2) Price: $50 to $150 Travel time from Palo Alto: 55 minutes
Rickshaw Stop (San Francisco)
Just blocks from City Hall, Rickshaw Stop’s facade is unsuspecting. Venture past its exterior teal wall, however, and you’ll find a small gig-like venue adorned with vintage three-wheeled bicycles and strings of light hanging from the ceiling. The former TV studio features local musicians as well as better-known indie artists (keep in mind that some events are 18+). Upcoming shows: Escort (2/27), High Highs (3/9), Honne (3/22) Price: $10 to $20 Travel time from Palo Alto: 80 minutes
Fox Theater (Oakland)
Oakland’s biggest concert hall incorporates ornate and historical decorations in a high-capacity venue. Fox is a sister venue to the Greek Theater but presents more frequent shows and occupies a recently renovated theater in the heart of Oakland’s revitalized Uptown district. Upcoming shows: Vance Joy (2/27), Animal Collective and RATKING (3/7), Leon Bridges (3/17), M83 (4/17) Price: $35 to $70 Travel time from Palo Alto: 45 minutes
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was inspired by a 1993 Pearl Jam concert at the Empire Polo Club.
1993 The festival later became known as “the anti-Woodstock”, for selecting musicians based on artistry rather than radio popularity.
Headliners: Beck, Rage Against the Machine, Tool
Headliners: Bjőrk, Oasis, foo fighters
Headliners: Radiohead, the cure. the flaming lips
The first Coachella took place in October of 1999. The event was only two days and the festival organizer, Goldenvoice, ended up losing money.
Following a one-day event in 2001, Coachella returned to a two-day festival. This year was the first year the festival nearly broke even.
Coachella’s first sell out year, with 50,000 people in attendance each day.
COACHELLA 32 music
Headliners: prince, roger waters, jack johnson
2008 Due to the poor economy, the festival did not sell out for the first time since 2003. Coachella had its first fatality, a 21 year old man was found dead the Monday after the festival.
Headliners: Kings of leon, arcade fire, kanye west
Headliners: The black keys, radiohead, dr. dre, snoop dogg
Headliners: acdc, jack white, drake, the weeknd
Tickets started being sold exclusively as three-day packages, at $269 each. 15,000 more people attended per day than the previous year. The festival also got a permit to extend the concert curfew to 1 a.m.
The festival held its first two-weekend event. Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts announced onstage that Osama bin Laden had been killed to an audience of 50,000.
General admission tickets sold at $375 this year. A record 93 arrests were made; 56 were related to possession of illegal narcotics. In total 198,000 tickets were sold and the festival grossed $84.3 million, both world records.
HROUGH HE years
TEXT BY CHIARA BIONDI AND CHARLEE STEFANSKI DESIGN BY CHARLEE STEFANSKI PHOTO BY KATIE DOUTY
Coachella underground Along with some bigger names, check out these lesser-known artists to round out your Coachella lineup. TEXT AND DESIGN BY CHIARA BIONDI PHOTO BY KATIE DOUTY
LOUIS THE CHILD
This duo from Chicago got its big break with their single It’s Strange, and has created great mixes of pop and rap since. Snapchat listed them as one of “3 EDM Artists to Watch.”
Songs to Check Out: Broken Record-Louis the Child Remix, Blasé-Louis the Child Remix
Samuel Long, or SOPHIE, brings electronic music to a whole new level of weird. His songs are a mix of stuttered bubblegum pop chants with synthetic noises in between.
Songs to Check Out: Lemonade, Bipp
Jamar Roland McNaughton Jr., known as Chronixx, has been branded as a “reggae revival”. His happy tunes are some you can bump to.
Songs to Check Out: Majesty, Spanish Town Rockin
This Australian group describes their music as synthpop. You might recognize their song Sometimes, which was included as part of the soundtrack of Grand Theft Auto V.
Songs to Check Out: Sober feat. Queen Magic Cellophane feat Aaron Miller & Gavin Turek
Christopher Gallant, known as Gallant, is an alt-R&B singer-songwriter on the rise. His smooth hooks and broad vocal range resemble a mix of Frank Ocean and Sam Smith.
Songs to Check Out: Weight in Gold, Open Up
This London-based DJ has been described by Pharrell as “a white boy with soul.” His mixes are slower and more emotional compared to most electronic music.
Songs to Check Out: All Night feat. Dornik Shivers feat. JP Cooper
INTRO TO CLASSICAL MUSIC Tap into this age-old genre for musical enlightenment TEXT AND DESIGN BY NICOLE LI Classical music may seem outdated compared to today’s sounds of Electronic Dance Music and Pop, but there’s no denying its value in the modern world. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century composers continue to influence musicals and movie soundtracks. Musicians have even used classical instruments to give modern hits a classical twist (just look up The Piano Guys’ cover of “Titanium” or “Story of My Life”). Classical music has undergone centuries of innovation and development, so it is definitely worth exploring this often unappreciated genre.
COMPOSERS TO KNOW If you’re feeling dramatic… Richard Wagner (1813–1883) Wagner was a favorite of Adolf Hitler for his anti-semitic pieces, but he’s done some great work in operatic music. If you want flow… Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) Bach had 20 children in his lifetime, but he’s received considerable recognition for spawning the creepy vampire theme from “Toccata and Fugue in D minor.” If you want to be surprised… Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) Mozart began performing at age six, and his boldness and technical mastery has paved a lasting legacy. If you want to go on an emotional roller-coaster ride… Ludwig van Beethoven (c. 1770–1827) Beethoven was bullied into musical greatness by his father and has dropped the well-known “BUM-BUM-BUM BUMMMMM.”
MUSICAL VOCABULARY Crescendo n. speeding up “When the orchestra hit that crescendo, the entire piece came to life.” Dynamics n. volume, loudness or softness, fortissimo and pianissimo “I thought the ensemble could have brought out the dynamics more.” Intonation n. pitch accuracy “The piece fell apart after the shoddy intonation in the first movement.”
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February Fiction Picks Eight fantastic books everyone should read in their teens
TEXT BY ATUSA ASSADI DESIGN BY MAYA KANDELL PHOTO BY EMMA SCOTT
’m tired of seeing the same books on young adult fiction lists. So, I compiled a list of my personal favorites as alternative reads to the exceedingly common teen dystopian romances with identical plot structures and often mediocre writing. Here are eight books that I personally love, and, in my opinion, give more genuine portrayals of characters and focus on more complex and serious themes. Not to say that these books aren’t fun — part of what draws me to all of these authors is their expert ability to evoke humor and empathy in any situation. They also bring a variety of perspectives to the table: a boy on the autism spectrum, Native American identity, and a woman with clinical depression, just to name a few. Seeing the world through another person’s point of view is a key part of my reading experience. These books greatly influenced me and I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I did. Happy reading!
ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Saenz Aristotle Mendoza is bored, he doesn’t like summer because there’s nothing to do, and his mom’s attempts at helpful suggestions only make things worse. His narration explores the ups and downs of the everyday life of a teenager in the 80’s in a funny, relatable, and brutally honest way. Of course everything must change for this story to advance, and everything does; his fate takes a turn in the form of an unusual asthmatic boy who teaches him how to swim one day. Through his deep and sudden bond with Dante, Ari begins to discover his own identity, as well as the importance of friendship and facing one’s past. He even unearths a few of the secrets of the universe. This book embodies sunflowers, fireworks, and chilled 7 Up cans. It perfectly captures the feeling of summer for an adolescent. It’s
a world of hot boring days, first kisses in first cars, and crying for reasons one can’t explain. It is touching and honest; the characters and experiences feel real, and will make readers appreciate that most beautiful things are the ones we take for granted.
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE by Jonathan Safron-Foer Nine-year-old Oskar Schell’s father died on Sept. 11 in the World Trade Center. His dad’s death leaves him desperate to understand life and loss. One day he finds a mysterious key that his father left behind and sets out into the streets of New York, going door to door in search of the lock it fits. This book is essentially written in the style of Humans of New York if it were run by a nine-year-old who wanted answers. Through the empathetic eyes of a child, Foer shows that everyone’s stories are interconnected in unexpected ways. He takes the readers on a heartwarming journey full of important lessons from strangers in a delicate world of grief and hope.
THE BELL JAR by Sylvia Plath This novel follows Esther Greenwood, a college student and aspiring writer at a prestigious New York internship, whose dissatisfaction with her life and identity spirals into severe depression. Esther’s thoughts during her descent into near madness are chillingly easy to relate to, especially in a community like Palo Alto where personal success is often measured by academic accomplishment. “The Bell Jar” explores the danger of getting lost in the idea of a perfect future and forgetting how to enjoy the present. Esther’s observations about everyday life (especially her sometimes abhorrent comments) are witty, engaging, and sadly universal.
AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman This novel is a crazy hybrid of genres — fresh and funny Americana meets mythological fantasy, it is brought to life with Neil Gaiman’s mildly absurdist style and dark wit. Just before he is released from Prison, Shadow’s wife dies in a car accident. On the plane ride home, he meets Mr. Wednesday, an inscrutable con man who knows a suspicious amount about Shadow’s life. This story follows the two men as they embark on a thrilling road trip across the United States, and brilliantly intertwines with rich mythology. American Gods offers a clever take on American identity and the questionable values that our nation has come to hold with the zeal and intensity of religious beliefs. The curious clash between the “American Gods” and “Old Gods” makes a compelling critique of our consumption-obsessed culture. Although authored by an Englishman, this novel is as American as baseball and Jack Kerouac and twice as intriguing; I highly recommend it to all.
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger Published in 1951 and promptly banned, “Catcher in the Rye” was controversial from the moment it hit the shelves. This novel quickly became a classic and is famously regarded as one of the greatest novels about adolescence. Although nearly plotless, it is never boring. Holden Caulfield navigates the streets of New York and the mysteries of identity, loss, and isolation. I will never forget my outrage at the way my freshman English class flatly rejected this book or the way it broke my heart. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “there is no way I’m reading a stupid assigned book for fun.” However, sometimes classics truly deserve their acclaim. “The Catcher in the Rye” is a
good example. I fell in love that year, a little bit with Holden, the jaded, but charming, phony-hating narrator, but mostly with the unadulterated thrill of powerful character voice. This is one of my all time favorite books; it is brilliant, heartbreaking, and genuinely hilarious.
TEN LITTLE INDIANS by Sherman Alexie “Ten Little Indians” is a collection of short stories rather than a novel. Contemporary Native American author, Sherman Alexie, writes about the world through the eyes of Native Americans of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. He explores various ways their identity can change their perspective. His short stories are engaging and the perfect length — just enough to leave you wanting more. These stories are important as well as entertaining because the Native American voice is one so rarely heard in literature. Alexie brilliantly frames the dilemma of the modern Native American: a struggle between attempting to fit into “normal” assimilated life and to maintain the traditions of a fading culture within the context of everyday events. This book left me feeling satisfied, accomplished, and humbled by the incredible resilience of the characters whose stories are so infrequently told, “Ten Little Indians” is the perfect read. the characters, Ten Little Indians is the perfect read.
has trouble understanding people, but likes animals. When he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, dead on the lawn, he embarks on a determined mission to find out who the killer is, writing this book as a chronicle of his investigation in the style of his favorite detective, Sherlock Holmes. During his search, Christopher comes across surprising secrets, faces the universal truth that people will sometimes lie, and is forced to constantly reevaluate his understanding of things from other people’s point of view. The complicated yet loving relationship between Christopher and his single father is key to this book and skillful in its complexity. I loved experiencing things from Christopher’s point of view and found this book to be sweet and moving. single father is key to this book and is skillful in its complexity. I loved experiencing things from Christopher’s point of view and found this book to be quick and delightful. Haddon’s writing appeals directly to the heart, making this a wonderful read for absolutely anyone.
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky This novel is a coming-of-age-story about a lonely, introverted old-soul who finds his place among a group of older teenagers while grappling with coming to terms with a traumatic past. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is told through a captivating series of letters from an anonymous high school freshman who calls himself Charlie. The reader experiences Charlie’s world of new friends, wild parties, the perfect mixtape, family drama, and full drag performances of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Charlie’s narration is sensory and sweet. Its greatest charm lies in its genuine, bittersweet feeling. This book is guaranteed to make you cry, but will also leave you feeling infinite.
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME by Mark Haddon Christopher John Francis Boone sees things a little bit differently. He hates the color yellow and loves prime numbers. He
And the OSCAR Goes to... C Magazine’s Alex Weinstein makes predictions for the 88th Academy Awards this Feburary TEXT & DESIGN BY ALEX WEINSTEIN ILLUSTRATIONS BY MAYA KANDELL
Best Picture Spotlight
Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust Based on the Boston Globe’s investigation of child molestation within the local Catholic Churches of Boston, Spotlight is an amazing cinematic piece that captivated audiences everywhere by tackling such a sensitive issue. I was truly engaged throughout the entire movie, and felt connected to the struggle and excitement that each character experienced throughout the film. Spotlight is exceptional in all categories: acting, directing, and script. With this being said, I predict it will take home the Oscar for Best Picture.
Leonardo DiCaprio The Revenant
The Revenant simply would not have been the same without Leonardo DiCaprio. His performance is sensational, especially for the complex acting performed and ceptional lengths he took for this drama film. DiCaprio has even said that this was one of the most “difficult professional undertakings that [he’s] ever [done].” There are many scenes throughout the movie that feature DiCaprio solo, proposing a difficult challenge to produce raw emotion without working off the reactions of other characters. In certain scenes, like when DiCaprio gets attacked by a bear, he authentically portrays a physical and emotional struggle to stay alive. Throughout his outstanding acting career, DiCaprio has never won an Oscar. I think his time has finally
Best Actress Brie Larson Room
Brie Larson’s performance in Room was truly spectacular. Her various scenes moved me, and Larson worked amazingly with her young costar Jacob Tremblay. With this being Larson’s first serious drama film, she impressed me with her abilities. I completely believed her portrayal of a woman held captive with her son; it was convincing and captivating. She made me feel as though I was in the movie, experiencing the same anger and frustration that she did. Larson miraculously conveys her character’s desperation to escape the room and the trauma she is forced to endure thereafter.
Best Supporting Actor Sylvester Stallone
Best Supporting Actress
Sylvester Stallone’s performance in Creed was impressive. The emotions he brought into the revival of his beloved character Rocky Balboa were heartwarming and a great compliment to the lead Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan). I would credit a lot of the movie’s success to Stallone’s compelling performance. He gives a sympathetic portrayal of an aging Rocky faced with the responsibility of training his old friend’s son. Although he may be considered the underdog in a category filled with young actors, Stallone deserves to take home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Alicia Vikander The Danish Girl
Although Alicia Vikander’s role in The Danish Girl exhibits that of a main character, having been put into the Best Supporting Actress category she will definitely win the Oscar with such a strong lead role. The intense emotion she put into her character showed great depth. Alicia Vikander’s character accepts her husband during his gender transformation despite how sad it is for her; and her facial expressions throughout the film show the deep pain she is in. She beautifully portrays the struggle of losing a loved one, ultimately making it a moving performance.
Best Director George Miller
Mad Max: Fury Road George Miller’s direction of Mad Max: Fury Road is a brilliant culmination of the Mad Max series. It far exceeds the high bar set by the previous movies for its unique and compelling action sequences and stunning visual effects. However, beyond Miller’s engaging and disturbing vision of a post-apocalyptic future, is a surprising richness of characters and an emotional connection with the dreams and challenges they face. It is a powerful piece of storytelling. Because of this, Miller should receive the Oscar for Best Director.
c mag perspective: september second TEXT AND DESIGN BY EMMA STAIGER ILLUSTRATION BY MAYA KANDELL
or years I had been dreading this moment. It was the night before my best friend was leaving, taking all of his humor and light with him. It was the night before everything would change; the night before time would stand still. It was the night before my brother Owen left for college. The evening of September second came too quickly. Owen’s flight didn’t leave until the following day, but it left in the wee hours of the morning while I was still blissfully asleep, yet to awaken to what I expected to be a world void of happiness. The buildup to that day had been pretty spectacular. It began when I first realized that Owen would someday leave and not take me with him. Although I don’t know precisely how old I was when I first had this radical thought, I know I was old enough to start worrying about it until more pressing matters, like racing to claim the handball court at school, entered my mind. After that, I periodically remembered the heart-wrenching truth that my hero would someday leave me, although the knowledge that this event was located far in the future kept these moments of panic rare and fleeting. Last year I began attending the same school as Owen for the first time since I was in the second grade (and he in fifth). Being at the same school and sharing some of the same experiences brought Owen and me closer together, and we became better friends than ever. Although I was thrilled to face off against him during Spirit Week and see him in the stands at basketball games, I was also beginning to enter a sort of panic. I realized that Owen truly was going to leave at the end of that year, and there was nothing I could do to stop him. Owen’s departure date loomed closer and closer and became more and more real as he applied to colleges. Then, he got accepted. There was never any doubt in my mind that Owen would someday go to college and succeed in everything he would do, just like he always has. I just didn’t want to accept it. But, here he was, a second-semester senior opening a box of brand new University of Michigan apparel with a huge
grin on his face. I was so proud of him and so happy that he was excited and eager for his future, but I was also beginning to melt inside, feeling that dreaded September day loom closer. I believe that it began with the opening of that maize and blue box over spring break, but I could tell that Owen was changing. It continued with his Michigan-clad graduation cap sailing into the air after graduation. Palo Alto was becoming too small for him, and he was ready to experience something new. As much as I did not want to accept it, as much as I hated it, Owen was ready for college. The summer passed by too quickly, as it always does, and before I could say “vacation,” I was back in school. Owen still had a few weeks left before leaving for Michigan, and it consisted mainly of waking up (at a time after I had already sat through two classes), packing for college, and spending time with his friends who were beginning to leave in ones and twos, dwindling the number of college-bound kids left in Palo Alto. I was beginning to come to terms with Owen’s departure, as there was nothing else I could do. As more and more of his friends and peers left, Owen’s mind became increasingly distant, already moving into his new dorm thousands of miles away. All of a sudden it was September second. I had a chemistry test the following day and spent a good portion of the day studying, although in a state of disbelief and apprehension the whole time. Owen’s plan was to go out that night and say goodbye to the small number of his friends left in Palo Alto. Saying my
goodbye came too quick-
Of course, I knew it wasn’t a real goodbye, it was just “so long, see you when I come visit in a month and a half,” but that didn’t take any of the sting out of it. I said goodbye and Owen left, leaving me numb. I tried to continue studying, but the words blurred on my index cards as my mind tried to comprehend the greatest change my life had ever entailed while simultaneously trying to remember that John Dalton was the first chemist to suggest the existence of the atom. My best friend was gone, and I felt that my life would never be the blissful enchantment it was before. That night dragged on, but the next day was a relief. I had endured the apocalyptic moment that I had been fearing for years and had emerged on the other side unscathed. The sun rose again, and it became clear to me that I was going to be fine. Being an only child is, by no means, something I would recommend to anyone who has had a sibling in the past. It’s not fun. The house is too quiet and there’s no one to bug or procrastinate with when work is to be done. However, it is bearable. I expected Owen’s departure for college to be an end to my current happiness and pleasant way of life. But, truthfully, it was just a mildly depressing September day. I’m still not a fan of having an empty bedroom right next to mine, but I’ve grown used to it, and I look forward to the times when it will again be filled with laughter and happiness. There will be more September seconds in my future, scaled up or down. I now know that September second does not mark the end, but simply marks another date on the calendar. Things will turn out just fine, no matter how bad they seem prior. I will survive.
TEXT, PHOTO, AND DESIGN BY KATIE PASSARELLO AND CLARA DE MARTEL
ou don’t need to travel far from home to appreciate the arts; Palo Alto offers an abundance of activities to give yourself an intellectual break from school work. We have broken down a list of some of our favorite places to go, ranging from local art museums to interesting lectures at Stanford. All you have to do is pick your favorite and go get cultured!
1. Go to a Museum The Cantor Arts Center: The Cantor
was founded at the same time as Stanford University, in 1885. The museum was created initially for the Stanford family to share their art collection with Stanford students and the public. It has since expanded into a nationally acclaimed museum and has wide range of collections from modern & contemporary to historical art pieces from all over the world.
Anderson Collection: This collection
of artwork from the home of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson has been accumulated over the past 50 years. The Andersons were aficionados of modern art and donated 121 pieces of art to Stanford in 2011. Check out this collection for a taste of abstract and colorful art.
2. Attend a Stanford lecture Take advantage of a Stanford education by attending a public lecture!
Invited Lecture: “Revolutionizing Work Through Compassion”:
Thursday, March 17. Alway Building, (Room M106). This lecture focuses on the emphasis of volunteering in the community and working with others in order to have a good, successful life.
Religion and Politics in Israel and in the Middle East - a View from Jerusalem: Thursday, February 25. Join
Professor Avishai Margalit, as he discusses role of religion in the conflicts in the Middle East.
3. Explore an art exhibit
Go to the Gallery House behind the Printer’s Cafe, the Palo Alto Art Center, or Bryant Street Gallery.
Palo Alto Art Center: Their newest
exhibit “Bird in the Hand” features art from local Bay Area artists and incorporates the evolution of birds in art pieces.
4. Watch a local show Tokyo Fish Story: Lucie Stern from
March 9 - April 3. Follow the story of Koji, a Sushi chef, in this play as he attempts to preserve the culture of sushi making.
Axis Dance Company: April 23 at Bing Concert Hall, featuring dancers with a range of disabilities performing “Go Again,” which focuses on war veterans and how they cope with the world after returning home. 43 ARTS
A no-child policy C Magazine’s First Attempt at Science Fiction TEXT AND ILLUSTRATION BY MAYA KANDELL
irst it was limited to two, then several decades later, one. Yet even as the population decreased, the cyber and nuclear war continued, as did human cruelty, genocide, and destruction. On the same day they declared that every ocean creature had died from the toxic waters, the United Nations passed the No Child Policy — the ultimate family planning solution — figuring it was for the best. Procreation was no longer a right or a privilege, it was forbidden, without exception. The last human was projected to die by 2120. But of course there were exceptions — there always are. Some objected to the forced sterilizations and government-supported infanticide, and a select few managed to survive their childhood in a world that didn’t want them, outliving the expiration date of the human race. Two such people were left alone on an abandoned planet — to their knowledge, the last people alive. It was 2127. Margaret stood by her easel, stooped and yellowed like a pile of old books, her dark eyes focused and determined. Jonathan sat hunched over a mess of notes, journal entries and legal documents. His long grey hair reached across his desk; knobbly hands scribbled away. “You’re getting close to finishing, aren’t you?” Jonathan asked. He had walked over to her easel and was gazing at the canvas over her shoulder. “It’s the last one,” she replied. In glistening oil paint, Jonathan could make out two bodies lying dead on the floor of their own faded apartment, hand in hand. Margaret was recording what she assumed would be the last event in human history. It was the final piece of a lifetime’s work, beginning with the chronicling of the first sterilizations, protesting bloggers, government propaganda, the resigned relief felt by some, the terror and panic felt by oth-
ers. This one, portraying the two last beings on this decimated planet, was — as far as Margaret knew — to be the last. Jonathan’s work achieved nearly the same thing, but in written word. Both poured their entire beings into their work — to each, recording this history, though it could only encounter dust and time, justified their existence and kept their hopelessness at bay. “Get your shoes on,” Margaret said to him softly. Jonathan grunted a yes, scuffled around, and they set off past his piles of volumes, down the hallway lined with paintings, and out of their battered apartment. It was 2 p.m. when they left for their walk, the same as always. Each day they ventured up and down the crumbling, winding streets, fabric over mouths to protect from the dense and ceaseless smog, in search of anything that would grant hope. Both knew they would not find it, but they hobbled past the faded billboards and shattered storefronts each day regardless. “Practice birth control for the revolution,” the billboards read. Or more sternly, “If sterilization or abortion demands are rejected, houses will be toppled.”1 Today they walked a new part of the city. When they traveled into uncharted territory, they often found bodies, but all were long ago decomposed. They used to encounter fresh corpses every now and then — rotting sparks of hope — but the last time they found one was years ago. After walking a few blocks on this new path, Margaret and Jonathan encountered a noise they hadn’t heard since childhood. It was a desperate sucking sound, followed by whines and cries. Margaret turned to her husband, disbelieving. They approached the source of the noise.
There, next to an old dumpster a heaving lump of flesh latched to a cloaked body on the ground, not more than a few weeks old. “A baby?” Jonathan gasped. It wasn’t possible, or shouldn’t have been. Margaret bent over and moved the folds of fabric underneath the baby aside. The woman underneath looked sickly and pale, perhaps 50 years old — miraculously young, given the circumstances. Margaret put her hand on the woman’s grey neck. She was dead. “How could she bring a baby into this wasteland?” Jonathan asked in anger and despair. “Maybe the loneliness got unbearable,” Margaret replied. She had turned pale herself. “But to bring such loneliness onto a child …” Both turned their eyes back to the infant. With sudden resolve, Margaret pushed back her hair and knelt down next to the child. She lovingly stroked its forehead, closed her eyes and took a breath, and firmly put her hands over its mouth and nose. Jonathan looked on with wet eyes, but nodded his head. He understood. It was the best outcome for all. They didn’t have long left, and to let a person live and die alone on an empty planet was a far worse crime than the one Margaret had committed. The couple hobbled back to their apartment, and with solemn resolve, Margaret got to work on one final painting.
These slogans were used word for word as propaganda for China’s one-child policy. 1
ARTIST OF THE MONTH:
BENNET HUANG TEXT AND DESIGN BY REILLY FILTER, KARNI BETH, ALLY SCHEVE PHOTOS BY EMMA SCOTT
WHETHER ON THE POMMEL HORSE, OR WITH HIS CELLO, HUANG HAS FOUND A RHYTHM TO HIS ART
hile the average person might dread a day full of security lines, passport stamps, and airport food, Bennet Huang has put up with it for the past 11 years. Both a gymnast and cellist, Palo Alto High School (Paly) junior Huang, who is best known for his stellar performance in the Junior class spirit dance, has traveled around the globe to the Czech Republic, Austria, and Spain. However, when asked about his accomplishments, he is humble to the point where he is reluctant to mention his membership of the U.S. Gymnastics junior National Team or his long list of musical accolades. Huang’s life is a balancing act between musical and athletic artistry, academics, and finding rare moments of relaxation.
THE CELLIST Love at first stroke is the best way to describe Bennet Huang’s relationship with the cello. He began playing at eight-years-old, and though passionate from the beginning, he struggles balancing cello with his many other extracurriculars, including gymnastics. “Practicing cello is my second priority [to gymnastics], but it honestly probably should be my first,” Huang said. “My cello teacher is lenient with my schedule and so for cello it’s whenever I have time to practice, I practice.” Huang manages to squeeze in five hours of cello practice a week, either waking up early before school or practicing at midnight. His
hard work paid off when he won first place in the VOCE (Vocalists, Orchestral instrumentalists, Chamber music, and Ensembles) state competition for cello, something Huang considers his greatest accomplishment. Huang’s cello teacher, Vicky Wang, admires his passion for the art. “His strength is his love of cello which motivates him to practice and to explore beyond his comfort zone,” Wang said. “I hope he will continue to love the cello and to grow as a musician. I hope that music will always be in his life.” Cello has also taught Huang a lot about
time management, focus, and has made him realize the importance of the little things. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is not to waste a single minute of practice, and that each time I practice, I can’t afford to be sloppy and always need to be attentive to details,” Huang said. “I love cello because it’s very fun to be able to express myself through the music [I] play, and I have been fortunate enough to travel to many different countries with my youth symphony.” Before Huang could even walk, his family noticed his boundless energy.
THE GYMNAST “We signed him up for gymnastics because he would always scare us jumping off the stairs, so we decided he could go to the gym to work out his energy,” his mom, Joyce Huang, recalled. Immediately, Huang excelled in the sport and began competing at six years old. “I love gymnastics because being able to do the skills we do in gymnastics is super exciting,” Huang said. Huang’s commitment catapulted him into the national spotlight when he made the Junior National Development Team, in 2011. Huang’s successes continued, and by 7th grade he was invited to join the Junior National Team. He has qualified three times since, competing in internationally in the hopes of someday joining the U.S. Olympic team. In order to get to this place, however, Huang has dedicated a large chunk of his time to practicing. He trains four hours a day, six days a week, and scrambles to get his homework done during the 50 minute com-
mute to his gym in Pleasanton. This leaves him with only six hours of sleep a night. Even with a grueling training schedule and undeniable skill, Huang has run into roadblocks in his performance. “I had a period of time where I wasn’t getting the gym results I had been getting starting from 5th grade to 7th grade,” Huang said. “I started losing to many people I had previously beaten.” However, he did not give up; he took his losses as motivation to practice more purposefully. His work ethic has gained him many admirers, including his current coach, Vince Miller, who is considered one of the best coaches in the country. “He never complains and never seems to tire, despite his hectic daily schedule. I believe that, in addition to his natural talent, it is his greatest strength,” Miller said. Huang’s commitment to the sport resulted in success at his most recent international competition in Katy, Texas. Out of 29 gymnasts competing from five different coun-
“He never complains and never seems to tire, despite his hectic daily schedule. I believe that, in addition to his natural talent, it is his greatest strength.” — Miller
ties, he placed seventh on floor and third on pommel horse. Huang aims to continue his rigorous training throughout college in hopes of reaching his full potential as an athlete. COURTESY OF BENNET HUANG
Cynthia Schuman www.cynthiaschuman.com Resin | Enamel | Oil