C Magazine Vol. 11 Edition 4

Page 1

Sounds”, for you to listen to as the days become sunnier!

“Music, ดนตรี , музика, מוּסִיקָה, música, 音楽, संगीत” explores the impact of listening to music in other languages on listeners. Writers Siena Dunn, Zeke Morrison and Kylie Tzeng interview students and teachers to find out what attracts people to songs, especially those not in their native languages.

As our Paly seniors are looking ahead and deciding how their post-graduate life will look, Sarah Bakhash, Scarlett Cummings and Saachi Nagar highlight the importance of staying true to your passion rather than conforming to the Palo Alto norm of going to college. “Different People, Different Paths” reflects on the countless directions our

former, and current, Paly students have taken to follow their

As people express themselves through various art mediums, Lily Daniel and Caitlyn Oda dive into the art expression of clothing. “A Common Thread” covers the different clothing pieces students have recently made and what sparked

In “Life on Wheels,” writers Kaila Chun and Brooke Hudacek explore the positive and negative aspects of the increased exposure of van life on social media. While social media influencers are shining light on the flexibility of living in a van and being able to travel anywhere you want whenever you want, many find themselves participating in van life by no choice of their own, but rather, by necessity.

As you flip through the pages of C Magazine’s newest issue, we hope that you find a story that sparks your interest, and continue to keep up with our future content, both in our print issues and through our web exclusives posted on cmagazine.org.

Happy Reading!


Find these stories and more at cmagazine.org

Social Justice Through the Expression of Art

Idolizing Criminals

Ivy Lee: Development of a Style


Adam and Kim Borchert

Annette and Tom King

Benjamin Papp

Bob Cooper

Chris and Carrie Daniel

Dave Sheaffer

David Schmitt and Lettie Bien

Ed Dunn

Ellen and Victor Meyerfreund

Emma Joing

Eugenie Van Wynen

Hannah Cho

Henderson SFIS

Isabelle Hau

Jacqueline Lo

Jieun Shin

Jill Keefe

Joe McGinnity

John Cooper

Judy Cummings

Laura Prentiss

Liza Baskind

Marice Tzeng

Mary Meiser

Maura McGinnity

Michelle Cooper

Publication Policy


Neelam Sethi

Peggy Morrison

Sandra Gifford

Sarah Markesky

Sunghyun Hwang

Susanna Lee

Suyan Ling

Sydney Rusay

Tal and Yoav Samet

Tao Chen

The Bakhash

The Chen Family

The Coulson Family

The Hong Family

The Kuartz Family

The Morrison Family

The Oda Family

The Rodriguez Family

The Rosso Tabrizi Family

The Samet

The Sotnick Family

The Tzeng Family


Vivian Kalik

Yuxuan Ruan

C Magazine, an arts and culture magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High School’s Magazine Journalism class, is a designated open forum for student expression and discussion of issues of concern to its readership. C Magazine is distributed to its readers and the student body at no cost.

Printing & Distribution

C Magazine is printed 5 times a year in October, January, February, April and June by aPrintis in Pleasanton, CA. C Magazine is distributed on campus and mailed to sponsors by Palo Alto High School. All C Magazine stories are available on cmagazine.org.


The staff publishes advertisements with signed contracts, providing they are not deemed by the staff inappropriate for the magazine’s audience. For more information about advertising with C Magazine, please contact business manager Eunchae Hong at businesscmagazine@gmail. com.

Letters to the Editors

The C Magazine staff welcomes letters to the editors but reserve the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of privacy and obscenity. Send all letters to eicscmagazine@gmail.com or to 50 Embarcadero Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94301.


Evie Coulson, McKenna Rausch, Milena Rodriguez, Jasmine Tabrizi

Managing Editors

Kaila Chun, Isaac Hillesland, Julie Huang, Caitlyn Oda

Online Editor-in-Chief

Kylie Tzeng

Online Managing Editor

Wendy Li

Social Media Managers

Anna Markesky, Casey Walters

Staff Writers

Creative Adviser

Audrey Guo

Multimedia Manager

Ella Rosenblum

Photo Director

Olivia Hau

Business Manager

Eunchae Hong

Sarah Bakhash, Jeslyn Chen, Esther Chung, Scarlett Cummings, Lily Daniel, Siena Dunn, Mary Henderson, Brooke Hudacek, Miya Joshi, Martina Meyerfreund, Zeke Morrison, Saachi Nagar, Jake Papp, Uri Ponte, Anika Raffle, Alma Samet, Sarah Sheaffer, Willow Steele


Kellyn Scheel


Renny Argast, Sarah Bakhash, Noah Boyarsky, Jeslyn Chen, Esther Chung, Hannah

Foster, Audrey Guo, Ivy Lee, Lara Lew-Strass, Wendy Li, Saachi Nagar, Kaila Ni, Sarah Sheaffer, Kellyn Scheel, David

Tomz, Stephanie Yang


Brian Wilson

Table of Contents

Allison Richards and Hannah Sawtatzki

Table of contents

culture 12 A Community of Passion 8 6 Blooming Festivities 42 Pinpoint the Assistant Principal 36 Music, ดนตรี , музика, מוּסִיקָה, Música, 音楽 The Era of Molly Tuttle 40 Ghostwriters 16 Life on Wheels Different People Different Paths Featured Artist: Lara Lew-Strass 22 26 arts Music Spring Sounds 34 24 Art of Accessorizing A Common Thread Which Paly Teacher Are You? 19 30


PALY PALY Which Are Teacher

Do you share a fashion sense, favorite Town & Country drink or fear with your favorite Paly teacher? Take this quiz to find out

Are you a day or night person?

Favorite Paly spot?

Which drink from Town & Country is your favorite?

Which of these scares you the most?

Favorite Paly publications?

Viking, Veritas and Voice Day C Magazine, Madrono Night
Heights Campanile, Verd e a dn Ahtnor Gym Boba fromB o ab syuG
Smoothie from JambaJui
Peets Spiders
START Text and design by MARY HENDERSON and SARAH SHEAFFER 6 • cmagazine.org

Spring or winter break?


a r a r nama
baJuice Sporty Spring Chic rono and Proof Casual
Chemist r y
What word would you use to describe your style? CULTURE • 7
GrantB Kathi Bowers DJS
Mathematics Economicsand SocialStudies World



Spring time signifies new life and beginnings. Through Purim and Passover, Jewish people celebrate spring in their own special ways.

Spring celebrations around the world

Passover and Purim: Building Community

ebrated Passover with her family by following certain traditions.

The first Jewish holiday of the spring season is Purim, a lesser known holiday in which people dress up and tell stories from the Book of Esther. Senior Arielle Blumenfeld believes that it a more light-hearted holiday.

“This is your opportunity to dress up, play with noisemakers and have a lot of fun baking cookies called Hamantaschen,” Blumenfeld said.

Purim has created many fond childhood memories for Blumenfeld.

“I remember dressing up and going through all my Disney princess dresses and deciding which one of them I wanted to be,” Blumenfeld said.

While Purim has many fun aspects to it, many value being able to spend time with their loved ones.

“It’s a lot about giving and having fun with your friends and family and dressing up; there’s silliness and craziness, which is really lovely,” Blumenfeld said.

Passover is another Jewish holiday that is celebrated during the Springtime and commemorates the Israelites’ Departure from Egypt. This holiday focuses on a big dinner and reading excerpts from religious texts.

Freshman Ella Segev

“Traditionally you’re supposed to read the entire story out of the Torah but that will literally take hours,” Segev said. “So we recite a condensed version of the story and during the meal you eat traditional foods like matzah which is like flattened bread and you just have a feast.”

Blumenfeld’s family opts for the more traditional route when it comes to celebrating passover.

lot of rituals around our table and we do the whole two-hour ceremony where you read, we take turns around the ta ble reading and at a certain point you’d be able to eat cer tain things on the Seder plate,” Blumenfeld said.

In addition to the big feast, some fami lies have fun traditions of their own, which create lasting memories for the children.

“For Passover, my dad and my family make us put towels over our heads, and we have to reenact coming to the pharaoh, as Jews before we were held captive,” Segev said. “We had to come to the pharaoh as Jews, and we’d be like, we’re super hungry, please take us in and once we reenacted it and embarrassed ourselves, we would get two eggs instead of one.”

Through this holiday families are able to celebrate religiously, and also place value on the social aspect of it that one might not typically be able to experience.

“I think something that’s really beautiful about Passover is just that the people that are at your table are really close family and friends, so it’s always just a really intimate feeling that you might not necessarily get on like on a regular Friday night,” Blumenfeld said. “Friday is Shabbat, so it’s really

nice to have a big family dinner with your extended family.”

These holidays are meaningful and significant for many Jewish people, but people who do not celebrate these holidays know little to nothing about them.

“I do wish we would [bring more awareness to these holidays] because I feel like a lot of people have different opinions about Jewish people,” Segev said. “I feel like if they just got more exposed to the Jewish heritage and how we celebrate things, it would be a lot better.”

Even though these holidays are not wellknown to everyone, people who do celebrate them take great pride in their celebrations within their communities.

“I feel like for the communities that celebrate them, I’ve definitely been in situations where I’ve seen them celebrated very beautifully,” Blumenfeld said. “Communities like my synagogue and my youth group have almost made me feel like it’s a very normal and regular holiday, until I mention it in some other contexts and other people don’t really know too much about them.”

Purim and Passover hold significance to Jewish people and are special ways that they honor traditions and their religion.

“But overall, I don’t think that they’re under-celebrated at all,” Blumenfeld said. “I think that the celebrations and growing communities are beautiful.”

8 • cmaga-
"I think something that's really beautiful about Passover is just that the people that are at your table are really close family and friends."
- Arielle Blumenfeld, 12
8 • cmagazine.org

Hinamatsuri: the Doll Festival

Beautiful and intricate ornamen tal dolls are arranged on several large, red carpet-covered tiers while brightly-colored, smaller dolls made of silk hang from red strings to create a colorful exhibit of tra ditional Japanese decorations. This special display is a part of Hinamatsuri, the Japanese holiday celebrated annually on March 3, which is also known as "Girl's Day," "Doll's Day," and previously as the "Peach Festival."

The dolls, also known as hina-ningyo, represent a traditional court during the Heian period (794 - 1185). Historically, the Heian court would perform a ceremony where they would transfer impure thoughts into paper dolls and then send the dolls down a river to symbolize pu rification and ward off evil spirits.

Teruko Kamikihara, Paly’s Japanese teacher, explains the significance behind Hinamatsuri.

"We pray for God's grace to allow our girls to be happy and healthy," Kamikiha ra said. "When a girl is born, the first Hi namatsuri is very important. Usually before the first Hinamatsuri, the grandparents will buy and display the doll set."

The hina dolls can be expensive— around a few thousand dollars for a com plete set—but they are usually passed down in a family through generations.

Naoko Fujii, a Palo Alto resident, describes her experiences celebrating Hinamatsuri when she was younger.

"My favorite holiday as a child was

Hinamatsuri," Fujii said. "My mother [would] set up the dolls that she was giv en from her mother in precise order."

The dolls are usually sorted into five to seven tiers for display purpos es, and the order is always the same. The first platform is for the em peror and empress; the second is for three court ladies who serve saké (an alcoholic bev erage made from ferment ing rice) to the emperor

Although widely celebrated in Japan, Hinamatsuri is not a commonly known hol-

"I never thought of expanding [Hinamatsuri's] reach," Fujii said. "I saw it as an obscure Japanese girl thing we celebrate

Kamikihara is open to sharing the cus-

made of a pink

"When I used to teach at Gunn, a social studies teacher asked me if it was okay to bring his class to see the Hina dolls that I displayed in class," Kamikihara said. "Of course I said yes. I also show my Hina dolls to my colleagues in the PALY world language department every year [when] I display them."

Traditionally, boys do not participate in Hinamatsuri; however, they have their own day on May 5, known as "Boy's Day"—although it has been recently changed to "Children's Day."

leftmost side.

In addition to the intricate decorations, there are many types of foods traditionally eaten on Hinamatsuri that are meant to bring good luck.

"We eat sakura mochi [light pink mochi with sweet red bean filling wrapped in a sakura leaf] on Hinamatsuri," Kamikihara said. "The pink color means cheerfulness, and we eat them every year."

Oseki han (special red bean rice) is also made in celebration. Other foods may include hishimochi, chirashizushi (a traditional style of a mix of Japanese sushi ingredients in a bowl), hina arare (sweet flavored rice crackers) and shirozake (sake mixed with mochi-gome).

"[My family and I] had a party every year where only the girls in the family were invited," Fujii said. "We dressed up in Japanese kimonos and enjoyed the only celebration of the year where only women were invited."

““We pray for God’s grace to allow our girls to be happy
Text and design
- Teruko Kamikihara, Paly
Art by
“I never thought of expanding [Hinamatsuri’s] reach. I saw it as an obscure Japanese girl thing we celebrate among ourselves.”
- Naoko Fujii, Palo Alto resident CULTURE • 9
“ chirashizushi hishimochi

Holi: a Festival of Colors and Unity

The rich bass of dhols (double sided drum) fills the air as masses of people unite to participate in the most colorful holiday of the year. The smell of fresh sweets like gulab jamuns and cooling drinks like lassi are ever so tempting as the color wars begin. Vibrant reds, blues, pinks, yellows and greens paint the faces of those who run, trying to escape the onslaught, or those who race to attack their friends and family. The scene is a classic, one of numerous celebrations that surround the holiday of Holi.

Holi, the vivacious and vivid festival that is predominantly celebrated in south India, represents the exuberance of life. It’s a day of forgiveness, amity, oneness and equality. It is also a tribute to the triumph of good over evil. Holi is split into two events: Holika Dahan and Dhulivandan, also known as Rangwali Holi.

Holika Dahan, which takes place the

night before Dhulivandan, is marked by the burning of wood and dung cakes to symbol ize good defeating evil. The sacred bonfire is worshiped. In the Hindu legend, one of the most famous mythological stories of the legend of Holi involves an evil king named Hiranyakashyap who stopped his son Prahlad from worshiping the God Vishnu. Hiranyakashyap had a sister named Holika, who he told to burn Pralhad, but the God Vishnu helped Prahlad and burned his wicked aunt Holika to death to signify the victory of good over evil. Holika begged Prahlad for forgiveness before her demise. Therefore, Prahlad announced that she would be remembered every year at Holi. This is why the burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi across India. Dhulivandan occurs the morning after Holika Dahan. It is celebrated by people throwing handfuls of colored powder at one another playfully while getting drenched in water. In addition to worshiping the God Vishnu, Holi commemorates the Gods Radha and Krishna.

Working in the finance department of a high tech company and living in Pune, India for his entire life, Chetan Guive recalls his childhood experiences celebrating the tradition.

“In my childhood, a week or few days prior to Holi, we would prepare things like filling balloons with colored water and water guns so that we can play on Holi day,” Guive said. “My sister used to prepare ornaments made up of cow dung to burn it in the bonfire on Holika Dahan nigher and in our village, it was a nice celebration for which people come together and exchange sweets.”

Paly junior Isha Nadkarni recalls a similar childhood experience, as she lived in India for seven years.

“My most memorable Holi has to be when I was around seven,” Nadkarni said. “My friends and neighbors in my apartment building, as well as some of my school

last year.”

Having lived in India and now living in the U.S, Nadkarni has observed significant differences in how the Holi tradition is represented and celebrated.

“Holi is extremely popular with people of Indian background since most people partake in the celebration regardless of their religious beliefs,” Nadkarni said. “However, in America, I often see similar color-throwing celebrations being labeled as a ‘color walk’ with no credit or mention of the original tradition nor its roots. Even though I don’t view this as necessarily ‘cultural appropriation,’ it is still a bit disappointing to see one of my favorite cultural traditions being overshadowed and unrecognized.”

Despite the misrepresentation of the Holi tradition in America, Nadkarni still remains optimistic and believes that alleviating this issue and informing more people about this tradition will reveal the beauty of the holiday to those that aren’t aware. “I would love for people in America to partake in Holi, and hopefully learn about its background as well,” Nadkarni said. “It is crucial to preserve this tradition in America, and make sure that it doesn’t lose its true meaning of equality and oneness.”

Ultimately, the true heart of Holi does not rely on elaborate celebrations or festivities. It is the emotions that the festival invokes in people that makes it so special.

“I love [Holi] because the sight of everyone coming together just gives me so much joy and happiness and the colors show the brightness of our culture and our people,” Guive said. “The festival is a way for us to let go and be free for a while and enjoy ourselves, celebrating who we are.”

"The festival is a way for us to let go and be free for a while and enjoy ourselves, celebrating who we are."
- Chetan Guive, Finance Worker
10 • cmagazine.org
metacool thoughts on the arts & science of bringing cool stuff to life metacool.com CULTURE • 11

In the Paly community, unattainable expectations often pressure students to go to rigorous four-year universities. However, various different post-high school pathways are commonly overlooked and often lead to the same success.

For 2017 Paly alum Ibby Day, the decision to go to art school was uncommon compared to students around her. Regardless, she resisted pressures and went on to get her Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration design from the ArtCenter of Design in Pasadena, California.

“I think [going to art school] is seen as a divergence from what most people do because Paly has a culture that’s really intense on academics [and] sports,” Day said.

Day attended the California State Summer School of the Arts (CSSSA), where she considered the possibility of an art career. Furthermore, CSSSA amplified Day’s faithfulness to the arts and is what ultimately drove her to pursue art school.

“Isolated time with your craft forces you to be creative for an extended period of time and that’s what’s hard about being creative, is having to stay motivated for such a prolonged amount of time,” Day said. “It taught me [the] skills to be able to do that.”

Fellow 2017 Paly graduate Dillon Scheel was the first in his family to approach college in a unique way by following his interest rather than the expectations around him. As he entered his musical career, many opportunities were unlocked for him.

“I had always been writing songs in high school, but I started getting into producing my senior year,”

Seeking different pathways of higher education and the pressure of attending a four-year university
WhenIgetonstage,I’m wheresohappy,andactingismyinterestactually combinesmyjoyandmy talents.”
“ “ 12 • cmagazine.org

said. “I was recording, producing and playing electronic music.”

Scheel enrolled at the University of Michigan prior to his decision to take a gap year that allowed him to realize that he belonged at the Berklee School of Music.

“When I got to [music] school, I was able to work on things with other people [in the music industry and ask] for help, and it started accelerating how much I could learn in a short amount of time,” Scheel said.

In contrast to Scheel, Paly senior Rebecca Helft knew go ing into the college application process that theater school was the quintessential path for her.

“Since I was a baby, I’ve known I wanted to perform,” Helft said. “When I get on stage, I’m so happy, and acting is where my interest actually combines my joy and my talents.”

However, through the application process, Helft was concerned about steering away from typical college pathways to pursue her love for


“It’s really stressful to put myself in a vulnerable place,

Inthisarea,it’spusheda lot,thateveryoneshould gotoafour-yearuniversity straightoutofhighschool.”
Ihadalwaysbeenwriting songsinhighschool,but producingIstartedgettingintomysenioryear.”
-DillonScheel CULTURE • 13

from Paly. Many students are pressured into a traditional four-year university, rather than military school.

“Although West Point is similar [to traditional colleges,] as it still gives you a four-year education, you’re also committing to five years of service after,” Fetter said. “It’s a very different path, and I wasn’t sure if that was something I wanted to commit to.”

Many people believe uncommon pathways lead to an unsuccessful life, however, the notion of success is constantly changing, and many people have been able to accomplish their greatest ambitions regardless of their postgraduation pathway.

Nevertheless, in Silicon Valley, there is a stigma associated with alternative post-high school careers, such as community college and schools that surround art, music, military and musical theater.

“Silicon Valley has a large emphasis on success and getting a degree, which is really valuable to some people, but to other people, it’s not,” Fetter said.

At Paly specifically, the coursework can lead students to the conclusion that pursuing a socially traditional career is the only path to take.

“The weird thing about Paly is that the teachers are great and always very encouraging of what you want to do,” Day said. “But this isn’t reflected in the way that students feel day to day because the sheer amount of homework creates this illusion that that’s the career path you have to go on.”

There is never one right path, but many people gravitate towards a four-year college due to the pressure at Paly which clouds their independent decision.

“In this area, it’s pushed a lot, that everyone should go to a four-year university straight out of high school,” Fetter said. “I don’t think that’s the path for everyone.”

Paly college and career counselor Sandra Cernobori recognizes the stigma associated with unconventional career paths in numerous academic institutions and notices a deep focus on creating an image of success.

“There tends to be a focus among people on prestige, and what

makes a school good is supposed to be relative to [the] student, through academic goals, social needs and financial purpose,” Cernobori said.

In the same way Cernobori highlights the issues regarding status and stigma surrounding individuals’ postgraduation paths, Helft successfully avoided this focus and is confident in her decision to attend theater school.

“I do feel an underlying sense of disrespect for pursuing a career in the arts and this ties into the elitism that Paly has,” Helft said. “This has less to do with people’s opinions on the arts in Palo Alto, and more the general culture we have around college hierarchy and college elitism.”

When looking at paths that steer away from a traditional fouryear college, many students look towards applying to a specialty school to strengthen their skills and ultimately set themselves up for success in their future careers.

“The advantage [of music school] is feeling validated and also feeling like I’m not alone because I had people who were doing what I was doing at school,” Scheel said.

Alternative college pathways can be overlooked and less emphasized which limits a student’s options when seeking higher education. The academically intense curriculum and culture at Paly leave students experiencing burnout and only teaches them how to succeed in one type of environment. This results in students feeling as if pursuing alternative pathways isn’t an option.

“Some students want a break, as it can be hard here, especially if you’re taking hard classes or involved in lots of extracurriculars,” Cernobori said. “It can just be a lot.”

After four years of working hard in high school, especially at a rigorous school like Paly, moving on to college the following year may be too quick and many students may not feel prepared or know what they want to do. There are still plenty of post-high school choices to accommodate this feeling.

Serena Habash graduated high school in 2019 and is now a City College of San Francisco and Full Sail University Alum.

“I decided to go to community college after high school because I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to major in or what I wanted to do with my life,” Habash said.

14 • cmagazine.org
“ I do feel an underlying sense of disrespect for pursuing a career in the arts and this ties into the elitism that Paly has.”
-Rebecca Helft, 12

Throughout her experience, Habash realized that listening to herself was the only way she could be content with her decision. She values patience and being able to recognize that choosing the right path is important.

Each student is unique and the social expectation of going to a four-year university might not be the right fit for everyone.

“I wish that people would realize this is a really personal choice and there shouldn’t be a lot of judgment associated with what someone prefers more than others,” Cernobori said.

At Paly, the interest in pursuing a different pathway rather than immediately attending a four-year university can be met with skepticism and isn’t seen as an option. Most students don’t know they have other possibilities when striving to pursue their passions in a significant way.

“Don’t think that four-year universities are always going to be the right path,” Fetter said. “There are community colleges, jobs and working, as well as military enlistment and other service academies, which are very valuable options as well.”

Students who are persistent in their passions, regardless of opposition, will be able to reach their goals and have meaningful careers.

“Take it one day at a time and remember, it’s not about what the goal is, but about the journey of getting to your goal,” Habash said.

Validating each student’s college pathway – whether it’s a

one career path.

Unconventional postgraduation pathways are immensely stigmatized, when they offer up the same level of education, just in a different way.

“There’s no point [in] worrying about the choices we’re gonna make because they’re all going to teach us something about ourselves,” Day said. “The important thing to remember is to make choices that are right for you.”

I wish that people would realize this is a really personal choice and there shouldn’t be a lot of judgment associated with what someone prefers more than others.”
- Sandra Cernobori

A community of Passion

How fan culture and shared passions can provide purpose and bring people together

young girl eagerly waiting for her favorite idol to get on stage, an elderly person watching their favorite sports team approach the field or a community excited for the next episode of a TV show: fan culture can be seen exhibited by all types of people ev-

“Being a fan is just being passionate,” senior Noah Boyarsky said. “For me, being a fan means thinking about a piece of media often and interacting with a community of other fans [or] hyper fixating on something that [is] my passion. It often means that I see the world through the lens of that TV show.”

However, there is a difference between being a fan and simply seeking out subjects due to curiosity.

“I think a fan is someone who likes to check something out with purpose,” senior April Lam said. “If you find that you are going back to a specific material and reviewing it several times, it goes past simple curiosity or something that just pops up on your feed. I think at that point you’re interested [in it].”

For Boyarsky, he showcases his place as a fan of the TV show “Community” by actively engaging with the

“A fan is someone who likes to check something out with purpose.”
April Lam, Senior
“Miraculous Ladybug”
by Ivy Lee

“It’s easy to use social media to find people you have shared interests with because it’s essentially organized to facilitate that,”

As fans, people have found that they were able to get closer to other people and belong to a community.

“It’s a very good experience,” sophomore Charlie Chen said. “You [get] to learn about different cultures.”

Fan culture can also bring a sense of escapism and protection for many.

“It gives, especially for adolescents and young adults, a sort of safe space because you put aside all of your differences and you’re just following this one thing,” Lam said. “And so I think it gives a lot of people a community that they might not be able to find in other places.”

Despite the comfort and community fandoms can bring to members, there are negatives within the culture.

“Any online community can very easily become an echo chamber,” Boyarsky said. “The internet is a place that facilitates misunderstanding and extremism, and when people are interacting on a baseline of being incredibly passionate about whatever topic they’re discussing, all these problems are easily exacerbated.”

In addition to the toxicity within a fandom, there can also be a

lot of ridicule and stereotyping about a certain fandom by people looking in from the outside.

“A lot of [the] time I get some pretty negative comments,” Chen said. “A lot of the stereotypes about anime enjoyers are re ally harmful.”

There exists a plethora of common stereotypes, especially re garding Asian media, which are sometimes used to put down peo ple who consume that media.

“The stigma [from Western culture] is a lot less now than it was before,” Lam said. “We’re seeing this influx of Asian culture being introduced to the west such as K-pop, K-drama or anime, whereas beforehand people might have looked down on you for being a fan of such things.”

Learning to accept what others love is crucial to respect the subjects others are fans of.

“There is nothing wrong with liking [some fandoms], but the internet has broadly voted to consider liking them as cringe or gross, especially for adults, LGBTQ+ people, disabled people and neurodivergent/autistic people,” Boyarsky said. “The stigma is unfair. Every fan community has toxic traits, and dragging certain communities over others is not new or helpful.”

While fan communities can have their downsides, people believe that being confident about your true authentic self is an important part of being a fan.

“It takes a lot of courage and a lot of dedication to just be yourself,” Chen said. “I hope we could just have more accep tance of that.”

Noah Boyarsky, Senior
“Any online community can very easily become an echo chamber.”
by Noah Boyarsky
“NCT127” by Stephanie Yang

Mr. Bloom

Crafts are a recently adapted hobby for Economics and Sociology teacher Eric Bloom. Throughout the COVID-19 quarantine, to fill the new time on hand, Bloom turned to various crafts that value purpose and emphasize mending broken items.

“I don’t consider myself a fine artist, but I’m very utilitarian,” Bloom said. “I like the idea of form following function, the design concept of simplicity, easy to repair, fixable kind of stuff.”

Instead of throwing away used or damaged goods, Bloom took interest in salvaging his favorite items with a variety of techniques.

“I do this Japanese darning called Sashiko and it’s stitching to patch and build stuff up,” Bloom said. “I don’t like ripped jeans because my knees get cold, but I also don’t like to throw away my favorite pair of shorts. So it started with just sewing patches and

then it moved to doing this darning technique.”

Along with patchworking denim, Bloom is proud to have created paper weaved chairs and patched overalls. The deliberate and meticulous action of weaving and crafting has become a way for Bloom to take a break from his teaching duties, and he plans to continue his crafting in the future.

“This idea of taking ordinary objects in life and then elevating them or paying closer attention to them are the things that are interesting to me,” Bloom said.

unpacking the true van life experience and adventure on and off the road


iving wherever you want, whenever you want, is a lifestyle that has grown in popularity over the past few years. The rising trend of “van life” on social media showcases a way to work from home while traveling the world on wheels, for those seeking a more adventurous lifestyle. As the popularity of van life soars, influencers are posting about their own experiences with it, prompting another increase in popularity. While for some, the appeal comes from the freedom, for others, it is a way to save money on rent or other living costs.

Van life influencer Hannah Sawatzki and her partner Hunter Adams have been able to make a career out of living in a van.

“Together we create content and sell photos we take on the road to brands that are looking for images and films of their products in outdoor settings,” Sawatzki said. “Being able to grow our portfolio and Instagram account has allowed us to reach larger clients and truly be creative with the work we make as we strive to also make videos and share our journey in ways that make us happy as well.”

Social media has had a big influence

reer out of the van life experience. Richards and her partner started a business in 2021 to create custom vans for clients. They now have created over 33 vans on the road.

“Once we started traveling quite often a lot of people were like, ‘Hey, I want [a van], can you build me one or how much does it cost?’ And so we thought, what if we could buy one and sell one,” Richards said. “So we bought one and up-fitted it, built it and sold it for a fraction of the cost of what they go for now. And then we just kind of kept snowballing.”

Beyond the ability for some to find a career in the lifestyle, van life appeals to many as it allows people flex ibility with their sched ules.

“The freedom is nice and you don’t have to say you’re staying at a hotel, it’s not go to point A, travel to point B, point C and then we have to go all the way back to point A,” Richards said. “You have the freedom to just

tied down anywhere,” senior Mads Ernst said. “Because you are on your own timeframe, you can decide how long you stay in each place. This allows you to explore new places as in depth as you want.”

Sawatzki has also enjoyed the benefit of not being tied down in one place. Being on their own time frames allows people who live in vans to thoroughly experience the locations visited.

“We can now spend time in places long enough to learn more about them and appreciate the details, while also slowly making our way through towns and states we would never have normally chosen as a vacation spot when our time off work was limited,” Sawatzki said. “[Van life] has given us a deeper love for the beauty of the USA and a stronger appreciation of the in-between places we never would have visited

Bay Area resident Genevieve Cadwalader owns a sprinter van with

“We were living out of vans and we slept under the stars, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.”
20 • cmagazine.org
Mads Ernst ‘23

very unglamorous spots you sometimes find yourself having to spend the night in,” Cadawalder said.

To troubleshoot some of the more diffi cult aspects of van life, there are now many resources people can use to make the expe rience easier. Many apps like iOverlander, Campendium and Sēkr have been created to help with common struggles such as find ing a place to sleep.

“You have your own freedom to travel where you want and then open up an app and say, ‘Oh, we need to fill up our water’ or ‘We need to charge up’ or ‘We’re looking for a free place to sleep,’” Richards said. “You can kind of just punch in your location and see what’s around you.”

The major appeal of van life is the ability to travel and explore all around the country. People traveling in a van can visit national parks, different states and even other countries.

“We have explored most of the west half of the US, driving over 20,000 miles in 2022,” Sawatzki said. “We have visited 22 national parks and are currently a month into exploring Baja, Mexico for the first time. We plan to head back to the US, head up to the Pacific Northwest this summer [and] then potentially head into Canada while the weather is still warm.”

Ernst participated in a summer camp in 2021 where she and a group of other teens traveled by bus across the country, starting in North Carolina and traveling as far as California.

“We were living out of vans and we slept under the stars, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life,” Ernst said. “It made me realize that I could totally do that if I wanted to.”

Though van life has major advantages, it is not perfect. Because you are not staying at hotels and planned locations, it can be hard to find everything you need when you want to stop for the night.

“I would say probably the biggest disadvantage of [van life] is [that] you’re constantly having to search for a place to sleep, or search for your water,” Richards said.

Van life can additionally take a toll on the relationships between the people participating in it. Being confined to a small space while traveling brings intrapersonal


“Hunter and I sharing one of the smallest vans possible has definitely tested our relationship and forced us to always be as kind and patient as possible with one another; we have seen many couples not make it out after moving into a van together,” Sawatzki said.

Personal relationships aside, van life also has a strong and loving community surrounding it.

“We can’t go anywhere without someone asking us about our build or wanting to chat,” Cadawalder said. “It’s been a great way to meet and engage with people.”

Whether it be in person at camp grounds or over social media, van lifers are able to connect through their shared experiences and love for their lifestyle. At other times, however, social media can amplify the over-glamorization of van life. Seeing carefully curated and edited photos and videos of this experience tends to cause people to only think about the positives and ignore the downsides.

“I think glamorizing, in a negative [light], would be that a lot of times, [social media] doesn’t show the reality of [van life],” Richards said. “It doesn’t show if you don’t have a heater installed, how cold it could be. If you don’t have an air conditioner, how hot it could be. It doesn’t show the stress of not being able to find a shower in a couple days.”

Furthermore, this glamorization of van life can cause disregard for people with no other options than living in vans or cars.

“I think [the glorification of van life] is pretty intense,” Ernst said. “A lot of people don’t have a choice. They physically cannot live in a house because they don’t have the money for it. For a lot of people, [living in a van] is really not a fun experience. People are forced to live in their car, and [social media can] act like everyone who [lives in a van] is living their lives to the fullest.”

However, that is not to say that glamorizing van life is all bad. Allowing others to see and hear about van lifers’ experiences can inspire them to potentially try their own adventures.

“I would say in a positive light, the glamorizing [of van life] gives people the ability to realize that you’re able to do this,” Richards said. “[Like,] I could do this too and I could go visit these beautiful places I didn’t even know existed.”

The van life experience is multi-faceted and allows people to explore new locations in a unique way. With exposure on social media, appreciation for travel destinations has increased, but along with it, the popularity brings a greater destruction. If you choose to partake in this adventure, it is important to keep some things in mind.

“Be mindful of where you travel to and the places you visit,” Richards said. “Being [careful] of your footprint and understanding the emissions that you might be putting into the air with how much you travel [is important]. Balance your respect for Mother Earth and everything as you are out there exploring and appreciating her.”

“Balance your respect
for Mother Earth and everything as you are out there exploring and appreciating her.”
Allison Richards

Featured Artist: Lara Lew-Strass

Paly senior creates art from the heart

“We layered a ton of little cartoons on top of each other so it ends up a compilation of colors and shapes.”

dding the last stroke to her fourth painting of the month, senior Lara Lew-Strass takes a satisfied look at the finished product, already planning her next

In a world where ChatGPT is grabbing headlines and Elon Musk is attempting to implant chips in the human brain, works of art produced through artificial intelligence are simultaneously disrupting the art world. Yet even in the enclave of Silicon Valley, where tech rules supreme, there remains an appreciation for art formed by human hands.

At Paly, Lew-Strass is familiar to many for her unique art pieces and the way they build community. An innovator and entrepreneur in jewelry-making, Lew-Strass began making her own jewelry as a way to tap into her creative side and express her sense of style.

“I enjoy all types of art including painting, jewelry making, ceramics, glass blowing and collage making,” Lew-Strass said.

Lara Lew-Strass (left) and Katie McClusky (right)
“[This painting is] my verison of something I saw on Pinterest... I tried to do a lot of shading.”

There is no one source of inspiration for Lew-Strass; through relationships she is able to find a variety of aesthetics.

“I get my inspiration for art from my friends,” Lew-Strass said. “We send each other things that we see online like paintings, pottery, jewelry or clothing. And I take those styles, patterns or colors and try to incorporate them in my own art.”

Lew-Strass is attuned to how art inspires other art. Although the rise in technology within the art scene has its flaws, LewStrass finds use in the benefits modern advances have.

“I feel like all art affects other art…,” Lew-Strass said. “There is so much different art available on social media and online that you can truly find inspiration in anything.”

Lew-Strass has started her own jewelry business, PerlaRisa. She sells phone chains, necklaces and bracelets in person, on Paly campus as well as online through Etsy.

Like other young entrepreneurs, she pours hours of time into her business each week on top of her schoolwork but has

managed to find days and times that work best for her schedule.

“Creating products and advertising them and talking about them with people requires a lot of effort so if you’re going to do it, make sure it is about something you truly enjoy and are willing to devote hours to,” LewStrass said.

Not only does she make jewelry, Lew-Strass also paints as a recreational activity with friends.

“A lot of my friends paint and do ceramics,” Lew-Strass said. “We love to send each other art that we see on social media [...] painting has become a social thing for me more so than just an art form.”

The effort Lew-Strass has put into her business venture has been paying off. Her Instagram account for PerlaRisa jewelry has over 150 followers on Instagram. Friends and satisfied customers have become brand ambassadors, and Lew-Strass plans to continue creating for PerlaRisa when she is in college.

“I like making unique things,” said Lew-Strass. “Making new designs is more fun because I get to explore new patterns and colors.”

“We send each other things that we see online like paintings, pottery, jewelry or clothing. And I take those styles, patterns or colors and try to incorporate them in my own art.”
“We love to send each other art that we see on social media [...] painting has become a social thing for me more so than just an art form.”
ART • 23
“My favorite color is green and I wanted to paint a cool monochromatic painting.”

art of accessorizing

Exploring the transformative impact of accessories on an outfit

From statement earrings to colorful shoes, accessories can be a metamorphic element in any outfit. The power of accessories fosters unique individual style and can distinguish one look from another.

Sometimes, accessories can feel like an afterthought following the planning of a base outfit. However, junior Alice Brandenburg says that accessories stay at the forefront of her mind when planning a look.

“If I know that I want to wear a piece of jewelry, I’ll style my outfit around it,” Brandenburg said.

This styling is what brings a look together, actualizing a cohesive vision for an outfit. Junior Mae Cornwell explains how she uses styling through accessories to change up her day-to-day outfits and make them stand out.

“[When] you’re wearing a white shirt and jeans, if you add a cool necklace or a cool jacket, it looks a little more interesting,” Cornwell said. “Statement pieces change everything.”

Sophomore Kaliope

Hendershot adds that accessories can serve a greater purpose when styling a basic outfit.

“Even if you’re wearing something kind of boring, putting on a few pieces of jewelry makes it seem like that’s the look you’re going for and not like you just rolled out of bed,” Hendershot said. “It’s an easy way to make yourself look like you take yourself seriously.”

In addition to adding sophistication, accessories are a form of expression. Junior Siri Schaefer-Bastian finds that accessorizing is the perfect way to personalize an outfit and individualize your style by showing who you are through clothing.

“[Accessories] are a way to show your personality in a way where you don’t need to talk,” Schaefer-Bastian said. “At first glance, people can get a sense of who you are.”

Moreover, accessories not only serve as a translation of personality to others but also a moral boost to oneself.

“I think that accessories are important

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+ + =
“[When] you’re wearing a white shirt and jeans, if you add a cool necklace or a cool jacket, it looks a little more interesting.”
- Mae Cornwell, 11
“[Accessories] are a way to show your personality in a way where you don’t need to talk. At first glance, people can get a sense of who you are.”
- Siri SchaeferBastian, 11
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Modeled by Olivia Lindstrom

because they make me feel confident overall,” Hendershot said. “Sometimes when I’m working, it just makes me happy seeing what rings I’m wearing.”

Hendershot further explains that this mix of emotional uplift and personal expression lead to the height of her distinctive style.

“I think that my style is at its renaissance when I’m accessorizing,” Hendershot said. “When I accessorize it feels like it ties everything together.”

Without accessories to pull together a look, there can be a lack of intrigue in an outfit.

“In middle school I didn’t know how to accessorize, so I would just wear the same boring thing all the time,” Cornwell said.

When she was in middle school, Junior Katya Oks began her accessorizing journey, where she realized the power accesso-

ries wielded to complete a look.

“As someone who did jewelry-making in freshman year, that’s when I started really getting the importance of jewelry and accessorizing,” Oks said. “I feel like it can say a lot about a person [depending on] the type of accessories that they choose to express themselves with.”

Junior Kai Silverberg-Shirota points out that while the extensive world of accessories may seem daunting, the impacts they can have are well worth the exploration and investment required.

“It’s kind of hard to get into [accessorizing] because there’s a variety of price ranges and different kinds of accessories, but I think generally if you put accessories on you or on your belongings it adds a personal splash to it,” Silverberg-Shirota said. “I think it kind of tells a story.”

CULTURE • 25 + + =
“I think that my style is at its renaissance when I’m accessorizing. When I accesorize it feels like it ties everything together.”
- Kaliope Hendershot, 10
Text and design by OLIVIA HAU, ALMA SAMET and CASEY WALTERS • Photos by OLIVIA HAU
Modeled by Kai Silverberg-Shirota

en this self expression to the next level by creating their own clothes.

“Wearing clothes is a great way to express yourself and then to have made it yourself you can really think of how you want to feel in that piece of clothing,” Greenlaw said.

Not only is handmaking clothes a mean of expression, but also a more affordable and accessible option. By making their own clothes, students can tailor the item in question to their unique tastes and measurements. For junior Asha Kulkarni, co-president of the Paly Yarn and Fabric club, sewing allows her to make clothes exactly to her size.

“I’m pretty small so it’s hard to find clothes that fit me,” Kulkarni said. “It’s nice to be able to make my own clothes [that will fit].”

Others gravitate towards making their own clothes to save costs while unleashing their creative side. Ines Legrand, a Paly senior, started out her sewing journey from a sewing machine gifted to her by her dad. Since then, she has expanded to creating clothing pieces to reinvent her wardrobe.

“I try to recreate things that have a high-


volves deciding on threads and fabric, typically found at Joann’s Fabric store or niche shops in San Francisco. Individual preferences on the material of clothing pieces shape which thread crafters choose to use. Thus, the material of thread is vital to consider when constructing clothes, whether it is plastic, cotton, or natural fibers. Crafters

stores, or other times the natural world.

“I’ll be out in nature and there’s a lot of good combinations of colors out in the marsh,” Paly junior Coral Johnson said. “I’ll see it and I’ll [think] ‘Oh wow, that’s a really cool color combo.’”

The next step in-

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Text and design by LILY DANIEL and CAITLYN ODA • Photos courtesy of MORGAN GREENLAW and CORAL JOHNSON • Art by LILY DANIEL
Crafted by hand, clothes are a powerful form of self expression
[that will fit.]”
Asha Kulkarni, 11

then find patterns online or create their own. In other cases, when there are no patterns used, people retrace loved clothing onto fabric.

“Over the pandemic, I made a denim jacket,” Greenlaw said. “I had two different types of denim and I traced a jacket that I had that fit me well.”

Greenlaw proceeded to sew thick, knitting wool into layers of denim fabric, ultimately creating a patchwork piece.

“It took a long time,” Greenlaw said. “But I think it was worth it because I really liked the pop of color. I [also] had some older shorts that I took the pockets off of and then sewed on.”

Creating your own clothes is an incredibly rewarding experience. To see an item transform from an idea, to threads, to a piece one can wear is gratifying. Legrand shares this sentiment with one of her earliest creations, a Hawaiian shirt.

“Even though the seams [of the shirt] are really bad and I look at it and [think,] ‘That is rough,’ I’m so proud of it,” Legrand said. “It’s one of the first things [I made] and I also freehanded the pattern.”

While there are many successes that come with hand making one’s own clothes,

failure is also part of the process.

“There’s only two items that I made that I actually like,” Greenlaw said. “I’ve made so many things before that.”

Nonetheless, people find the motivation to continue making their own clothes through their failures.

“I think it’s cool when somebody asks you, ‘Hey, where’d you get that?’ and you’re like, ‘Oh, I made it,’” Greenlaw said.

ART • 27
“I think it’s cool when somebody
“I’ve been experimenting with knitting and crochetting, there’s just a lot of [clothes] you can make.”
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Coral Johnson, 11
ART • 29
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Outfitted with a classic white tee and backwards baseball cap, Bad Bunny lit up the Grammys stage with the opening performance. Culminating a record breaking year in which he had the highest grossing tour ever, and the featured first ever Spanish language album nominated for Album of the Year, Benito — as fans know him — got music’s top stars dancing on the Staples Center floor as he performed a medley of Puerto Rican folkloric and reggaetón rhythms, electronic dance music and an energetic merengue and mambo track.

And Bad Bunny is certainly not an isolated example of non-English music becoming more popular.

In 2016, Youtube’s annual top songs report had only one non-En glish song in the top ten. Fast forward to this week’s rankings by Youtube: only three songs in English ap pear on the list. This trend in listenership is echoed on campus here at Paly.

“I listen for catchy beats,” junior Nate Donaker said. “For me, Latin music with its trumpets has that beat that I’m looking for.”

Almost every listener, whether unknowingly or knowingly, has a preference for what they look for in music. Junior Siri Schaefer-Bastian pays a lot of attention particularly to the lyrics of the song.

“I like to be able to connect with lyrics and find them catchy and match the mel-

ody of a song,” Schaefer-Bastian said.

Each region has its own unique sound profile drawing on cultural influences and history.

“K-pop songs are very poppy, very bright energy and the lyrics are usually a lot cleaner than American ones,” senior Allison Dayton said. “But then there’s also Italian bands, which are super vulgar.”

Howev -

er, there are

some risks of listening to music you cannot understand: mainly, not knowing what type of language or subject matter you are singing along to.

“There’s this one Italian band I listen to and I’ll be like, ‘I love this. This is such a good song,’” Dayton said. “And then I’ll look at the lyrics and I’ll be like, ‘Oh my god, what am I thinking?’”

However, in today’s technology age, there are tools that can help listeners understand the meaning behind the lyrics.

Senior Felicia Lee speaks both Korean and English, so when listening to English and Korean music, she understands the lyrics. Occasionally, she will also listen to Japanese music. Despite not understanding the lyrics, she uses tools at her disposal to find the meaning.

“If you just search up the lyrics to say ‘the title of the song and lyrics’ and use Google, then they have

Despite language barriers, music finds a way to unite
“I grew up listening and being constantly surrounded by English music, so different languages and music that are in different languages are very foreign to me.”
MUSIC • 31
- Siri Schaefer-Bastian ‘24

a translation in English,” Lee said. “So I guess [you] can understand what the lyrics are saying through searching on Google.”

English speakers are so accustomed to American pop songs that it can be hard to adapt to the different styles that foreign music often has.

“I generally like to listen to music that’s in English more because that’s what I listen to the majority of the time, and I’m less picky with the style and genre of the music,” Schaefer-Bastian said.

you don’t understand the language, you can all enjoy the music and the sounds,” Ambrosio said. Dayton echoes Ambrosio’s sentiment. Despite the apparent language barriers, music has the power to move people.

“Language is universal, but everyone has different languages,” Dayton said. “It’s crazy that [music is] one of the things that kind of connects every single language.”

Music in different languages not only connects people, but can provide listeners with insight into other countries or cultures.

“Songs show what’s going on in that country,” Lee said. “It shows the trends, then you also get to know what’s kind of popular or going on in [other countries].”

Those who have become disconnected from their own cultures, whether it’s due to moving to the states or just becoming more involved with American styles, also use music as a way to connect back to their culture.

“I like to listen to some German pop music, as well as French and Spanish music, but I like listening to German music because it helps me feel connected to my German culture and identity,” Schaefer-Bastian said.

speak multiple languages have a different experience. Paly Spanish teacher Ms. Ambrosio uses music as a way to immerse her students into the Spanish culture and language.

“From the [music] videos, you can learn about the culture, see how they’re dressed and what the landscape is like,” Ambrosio said.

Ambrosio applies techniques learned from her experience taking a course on how music in foreign languages can promote a more efficient adaptability to the language being learned.

“The old fashioned way is listening to a song and then having the lyrics printed and you just take out words,” Ambrosio said. “Then they just fill them in as they hear them so by the time they don’t hear the song you really understand and can appreciate it much more than just listening to it once.”

Understanding the appeal behind music in a foreign language can seem unattainable but what many fail to realize is that music is a way of fostering community between people who don’t understand each other.

“Just listening to music, I think it helps you realize there’s a common thread between all of us and even if

Ambrosio strongly believes in the values that foreign music provides to its listeners.

“[Foreign music] makes people feel more cosmopolitan and more worldly,” Ambrosio said. “When they listen to their [foreign] songs, it also gives them a window into another culture.”

“[Foreign music] makes people feel more cosmopolitan and more worldly.”
32 • cmagazine.org
- Angela Ambrosio


Même si ça fait


םיעגושמ ינש



Me Porto Bonito


Alors on danse

OLD CHILDHOOD by Tribalistas Velha




Me Gustas Tu




C’est extra

I LIKE YOU by Manu

MUSIC • 33
34 • cmagazine.org
MUSIC • 35


How a former Paly student’s strength and passion for Bluegrass won her a Grammy

In the town where I was born, here on the coast of California,” Palo Alto raised musician, Molly Tuttle, sings in the opening line of her song “San Francisco Blues,” a popular track on her album “Crooked Tree” that won a Grammy this year.

The swift string-picking and off-beat acoustics of bluegrass music are unfamiliar to many Paly students, which is suprising considering she was once a student at Paly, but for young Molly Tuttle, this genre was the norm. Tuttle grew up in a musical household, surrounded at all times by the strumming of banjo, mandolin, or whatever other instrument her father or mother had within arms reach.

“At a very young age, she would say over and over, ‘I want to play fiddle like Daddy. I want to play fiddle like Daddy,’”

Maureen Roddy, the mother of Molly Tuttle, said.

As she grew up in this environment, Tuttle’s parents rapidly noticed signs of the musical adeptness that guided her towards her recent grammy win.

“I think he [Tuttle’s younger brother Sally] just thought, ‘well, this is normal, this is life,’” Roddy said. “You sit on the couch with your dad and play music.”

Tuttle did not participate in the typical Palo Alto musical programs like iSing or Paly theater because none had the bluegrass genre that she had always loved. So, as Tuttle’s musical passion flourished, she performed wherever she could with her family. Roddy recalls her kids playing all over the Bay Area: at pizza parlors, the music store, Griffin Stringed Instruments and at local concerts held by the Redwood Bluegrass Associates. Bluegrass organizations like the California Bluegrass Association were a fundamental part of the beginning of Tuttle’s musical journey.

“If she heard her dad play the banjo, she would stop crying,” Roddy said. “That was an early indicator.”

As she got older and began to play the instruments she had so admired, Tuttle was quickly joined by her two younger brothers in her musical endeavors.

She released her first single with her dad her freshman year at Paly. By sophomore year, Tuttle had decided how she wanted to use the bluegrass talent she had cultivated over the years.

“Midway through highschool I decided I wanted to pursue music and applied to Berklee College of Music,” Tuttle said.

After transferring and finishing her junior year of high school at Foothills Middle College and graduating high school a year early, she took college courses at Foothills and later at Berklee College of Music that taught her valuable skills about songwriting and music

ART • 37
“If she heard her dad play the banjo, she would stop crying. That was an early indicator.”
ABOVE: Tuttle at Gryphon Strings buying a guitar with her savings.


After two years of hard work, Tuttle graduated from music school and embarked on her journey in the music industry.

Almost instantaneously, the bluegrass community took notice of Tuttle’s acoustic skills and profound lyrics. Beginning in 2017, Tuttle won numerous prestigious bluegrass awards, including becoming the first woman to win the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year award.

“I’m inspired by my band members and my friends in Nashville,” Tuttle said.

In April 2022, Tutttle and her band Golden Highway released their most recent bluegrass album “Crooked Tree,” collaborating with some of the biggest Folk and Bluegrass artists such as Billy Strings, Gillian Welch, Old Crow Medicine Show and her father Jack Tuttle.

In the title track of “Crooked Tree,” she explores the importance of accepting and welcoming our differences.

“It’s about embracing everything that everyone has that makes us different,” Roddy said. “And it can be a strength. So you don’t have to feel bad if you don’t feel you fit in.”

Growing up in Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley, this message rings especially clear.

“That’s kind of a big thing in Palo Alto too, where there’s a lot of people that feel like they all have to be computer engineers. Not everyone is a computer engineer,” Roddy said.

For Tuttle, this song has an especially significant meaning. Tuttle was diagnosed at only a few years of age with Alopecia Universalis, a condition that causes complete hair loss. It set her apart from other children her age, creating insecurities that led to her covering her head with a hat every day as she got ready for school.

Before graduating from Ohlone Elementary School, Roddy met with the JLS school principal to discuss the best middle school pathway for her daughter.

“He said, ‘To be honest, between classes, people are going to pull her hat off,’” Roddy said. “And I won’t be able to prevent it when it happens.”

With this perspective, Tuttle made the decision to attend Peninsula School in Menlo Park. This was a blessing in disguise for Tuttle, who promptly joined their comprehensive music program.

Despite attending the kindest local school her family could find, Tuttle could not shake the insecurities that came with her Alopecia. As she headed into her teenage years, wigs became a new staple in Tuttle’s wardrobe.

While Tuttle worked through her own insecurities, she spent time with her close friend who had scoliosis and had to wear a metal brace. “Crooked Tree” was inspired by the experiences they had growing up and feeling different from those around them.

“It’s about a forest where there’s one “Crooked Tree” and the lumber people

LEFT: Tuttle poses with her parents, Maureen Roddy and Jack Tuttle, at the Grammys this year RIGHT: Molly posing for pictures with her Grammy

come through and they cut down the street trees,” Roddy said. “The chorus is ‘Can’t you see a “Crooked Tree” won’t fit into the mill machine, they’re left to grow wild and free.’”

Though the insecurities and struggles continued, music proved to be a way in which Tuttle could seek comfort and deliver messages to the people in the world who also feel insecure and ashamed about their differences.

“Sometimes I imagined growing old without ever letting people see me without a wig, but other times I imagined a future me who was unafraid to be different and who stood up for people who faced similar challenges,” Tuttle writes on her website. “Music became a beloved safe place that I could always count on.”

along with her hard work and passion for music, has brought her far. In February, “Crooked Tree” won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album of the year, and she was nominated for Best New Artist.

“Being nominated for Best New Artist meant I was seated on the floor so I had a front row seat to the performances and got to see so many of my heroes.”

“It was a whirlwind!” Tuttle said. “Being nominated for Best New Artist meant I was seated on the floor so I had a front row seat to the performances and got to see so many of my heroes.”

Tuttle plans to continue making music, and is currently on tour sharing it around the country.

The music Tuttle is putting out into the world represents a bright future for the Bluegrass genre. Someone with so much passion, skill, and with the ability to provide a modern relevance to such a classic form of music has the potential to pull those of the younger generations into a genre that they are so unaware of.

Tuttle has learned from these challenges and experiences, which,

In her song “Take the Journey” Tuttle reminds us that sometimes it’s good to take risks if it means following your passions, singing “Take the journey / No matter where it starts or where it ends.”

Molly Tuttle
MUSIC • 39


theartofghostwritingand its impact in themusicindustry

at any moment, people across the world tune in to listen to their favorite artists belt out heartfelt, relatable songs, and it is not uncommon for people to feel a close connection with these singers through their lyrics. However, it brings to question who the true songwriter is. Due to the presence of ghostwriters in the music industry, anyone could be behind the lyrics.

Contrary to popular belief, ghostwriting in the music industry has been around for decades. Math teacher and music enthusiast Zachary Barnes recalls one prominent example of a ghostwriter, Prince.

“A lot of people didn’t realize that songs that they [liked] were actually written by Prince,” Barnes said. “[However], I don’t think he minded being a ghostwriter for people because he was famous.”

Despite Prince’s fame, he chose to ghostwrite on the side, in anonymity. Similar to how Prince wrote songs for Madonna and The Bangles, current times ghostwriting is still prevalent in the music industry. There are a multitude of reasons one may hire a ghostwriter, for instance, to generate new ideas.

“If you’re in the music industry, [fans] want you to keep making music,” Barnes said. “You can’t rely on your old successes, so ghostwriters come into play.”

In the music industry, music artists sometimes seek help from ghostwriters to craft lyrics or tracks for their songs. Thus, a relationship forms where ghostwriters create lyrics or backings for songs, often anonymously. As a ghost producer, senior Anirudh Bharadwaj worked his way up in the ghostwriting world.

“My first release was commercially a flop but it got the attention of big names across the industry,” Bharadwaj said.

After the initial release, Bharadwaj learned the importance of building relationships within the music industry. His first song landed him connections that proved valuable, resulting in his current position as a creative director.

“Having this new ability to essentially be a creative director allowed me to start orchestrating other artists’ projects as a ghostwriter and ghost producer,” Bharadwaj said.

For ghostwriters, the process begins by identifying the style of the artist that they are composing for. Whether it is working with R&B or rap artists, ghostwriters learn to be flexible in their projects to best fit each musician’s style.

“With most of these projects, I’m usually working with a vocal idea in mind so it’s all about making my instrumental track fit with the scheme of the artist’s voice and also matching the feel of other songs in this artist’s collection,” Bharadwaj said.

As a ghostwriter, getting inspiration from other artists can be crucial. With the music industry being so diverse, all styles of music

are out there to be heard and learned from.

“I try to fixate on specific elements of songs which I may want to incorporate into one of my own ideas,” Bharadwaj said. “I try to listen to 100 brand-new songs a day because it’s a good, diverse exposure to new types of music.”

Along with diversifying one’s taste within the music world, networking and collaborating with new people is a huge component of being a ghostwriter. For many, ghostwriting is a profession that provides compensation and a way of life, but for Bharadwaj, this work has more meaning to it.

“The relationships I’m building in my opinion are far more important than trying to make some quick bucks in the short term and failing to see long-term benefits and repercussions,” Bharadwaj said.

Getting lost in the money is a common feeling in the ghostwriting world. With artists who are able to compensate well, ghostwriters often provide their work just for the money and not for the beauty of the work they created.

“I know quite a few people who have gone down this slippery slope, and now being dependent on music for their source of income, there is very little room to allow their own name to flourish in the music community and instead they just end up propping up other artists,” Bharadwaj said.

In the music industry, artists may pay ghostwriters a pre-agreed amount of money. However, if the song reaches mass popularity, the ghostwriter’s income may not increase.

“[If I were a ghostwriter,] I think it gets negative when we come to this agreement,” Barnes said. “I thought [the song] was gonna be hit, [but] you gave me 1,000 bucks. But you’ve made billions of dollars off this one record that I did all the work for. It’s like I gave you 1000 bucks for a song. And that was it. So, I think it’s the money that corrupts the process.”

Although the music industry and ghostwriting world can be driven by money and hard to survive in, at the end of the day, everybody shares their love for music.

“As long as you appreciate and make music because it brings you joy over anything else, you’ll be fine because that’s the reason we all start making music in the first place,” Bharadwaj said. “Not to be famous or rich, but because it brings us joy more than anything else in the world.”

Text and design by CAITLYN ODA and JAKE PAPP • Art courtesy of KAILA NI
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