C Magazine Vol. 8 Edition 2

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November 2019 • Volume 8, Edition 2

Dear Readers, Following the release of our first issue, we want to thank everyone for the positive feedback we received. We set the bar high for ourselves last issue, and we are hard at work to continue this momentum and further grow as a magazine staff. With that, we are so thrilled to present the second edition of C Magazine this school year! Amidst the looming threat of the climate crisis, we dove into a new world of sustainability. In our cover story, “This is Not a Drill,” writers Kimi Lillios, Ellie Rowell, Sukhman Sahota and Emma Stefanutti delve deep to find the many seemingly small lifestyle choices that have a collectively monumental impact in saving our planet. Whether it be taking a stand to change public policy or shopping at thrift stores, there are countless easy ways to make a difference. Natalie Schilling took photos from around Palo Alto, and the team added illustrations to show a more sustainable way of living. For the cover, Schilling photographed the engulfing flames surrounding a burning globe in a bold message to convey the urgency of the climate crisis and that we should no longer sit idly by and watch our world burn. Featured in this issue is hip hop dancer Lai-Ling Bisset (‘21). Her passion for dance combined with her dedication is what clearly sets her apart from other students as a rising artist. Writers Kailee Correll and Atticus Scherer follow Bisset’s dance journey and provide an insider look into the life of a dancer. Uncovering a rich cultural tradition in the Bay Area, “Low & Slow” looks into the lowrider culture and how it is still thriving thanks to clubs and associations such as the San Francisco Lowrider Council. Writers Sam Mutz, Claire Li and Hazel Shah explore how the Latino born tradition has reached farther than the tight-knit communities it started in, influencing car enthusiasts in Japan to take on lowriding for themselves. By interviewing native lowriders throughout the Bay Area, it is clear that the love for this unique form of art will never fade. In “Out with the Old,” writers Katherine Buecheler and Leslie Aboytes discuss the issues of sexual violence education for K-12 schools and the recent efforts the Palo Alto Unified School District has made to implement this into curriculums. Through interviews with students, involved parents, administration and subject matter experts, PAUSD has gained insight into the tasks at hand and the efforts already in motion to teach students how to create safe, consensual environments for themselves and others. We hope that you consider the importance of your own actions as our world experiences the consequences of our unsustainable practices. We strive to create positive change in the world through our reporting, and we would love if this issue helps impact how you evaluate your own lifestyle choices. Happy reading! Ellie Fitton, Ashley Guo, Chloe Laursen and Hazel Shah Editors-in-Chief

thanks to our



Anne & Billy Spier Annie Funkhouser Barbara Cottrell Bridget Cottrell Brin Jisra Clara Fox Charlotte Amsbaugh Chris Lillios & Jinny Rhee Craig Dumas & Ranne Rhee Daivd Scherer Dan Zigmond Danielle Laursen David & Shantel Ferdman Emil Stefanutti Faith Chow Gadi & Henriette Ponte Gigi Tierney Grace Rowell Holly Lim Illuminate Plastic Surgery Inder Sodhi Jack Callaghan Jack Stefanski Jan & Monte Klein Jasleen Sahota Jennifer Mutz Jody Domingos Jonas & Alexandra Olsen Karen Gould Kathy Mach Leela Vakil Liz & Don Darby Liza Baskind Lois & Dave Darby Maria Aboytes Maria Afzal Mary Lynn Fitton Mea Rhee Michael Romano Mike & Juliet Helft Mimi Veyna Moon & Hwa Rhee Phyllis Mutz Pietro Stefanutti Robert Wilson Rochelle & Stan Ferdman Rosa Schaefer Bastian Ryan & Andrea Helft Stella Laursen

Editors-in-Chief Ellie Fitton, Ashley Guo, Chloe Laursen and Hazel Shah Creative Director Natalie Schilling

Creative Adviser Tyler Varner

Managing Editors Katherine Buecheler, Sophie Jacob, Kimi Lillios, Isabella Moussavi

Copy Editors Kailee Correll, Theo L.J., Mahati Subramaniam

Online Editor-in-Chief Ellen Chung

Digital Design Editor Claire Li

Online Creative Director Tamar Ponte

Web Design Editor Raj Sodhi

Business Managers Karina Kadakia, Fiza Usman

Social Media Manager Sukhman Sahota

Staff Writers Leslie Aboytes, Faith Chow, Zander Darby, Alexa Gwyn, Lindsey McCormick, Sam Mutz, Bridget Packer, Ellie Rowell, Atticus Scherer, Libby Spier, Emma Stefanutti Illustrators Ellen Chung, Natalie Schilling, Tyler Varner

Cover Natalie Schilling

Adviser Brian Wilson

Publication Policy 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 6 times a year in October, November, December, February, April and May 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.

Advertising 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 managers Karina Kadakia and Fiza Usman 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 94303.

contents Low & Slow pg. 32

arts 8

Peace of Mind


Featured Artist: Lai-Ling Bisset


Life Through a Lens


Pop! Art


Art for Change

culture 22

Everybody Needs a Best Buddy


This is Not a Drill




Low & Slow


Out With the Old

music 40

The Return of Melanie Martinez


Bedroom Pop



Sacrifice Comfort for style when it comes to these oversized Coats. You may be satisfied in the morning, but it won’t take long for it to get up to 90 degrees.

HOt As Heck. Text and design by TYLER VARNER • Styled by TYLER VARNER • Photos by NATALIE SCHILLING


Peace of Mind

Text and design by ASHLEY GUO, CHLOE LAURSEN and FIZA USMAN Photo courtesy of JULIE HOLDING

Art provides a way to escape the stressful realities that come with life. Painting or even simply doodling can give a sense of tranquility.



hether it be music, dance, painting or writing, art comes in a million different forms. For this very reason, almost everyone can appreciate and connect with art. Some people spend hours at museums or shows. Others prefer to create art themselves, using it as an outlet for creativity, a source of therapy or simply as an activity they enjoy doing. However, oftentimes art is put on the back burner and pushed aside as people rush through their busy lives in the pursuit of other careers. When people are finally able to bring artwork back into the forefront of their lives, they find hidden talents and beautiful meaning in what can start out as a small hobby. As people seek higher education, enter the workforce or navigate the professional world, creating art can grant many people the opportunity to cultivate a side of themselves that was never given the chance to flourish. “I found by accident one day that doodling calmed me,” retired engineer Julie Holding said. In 2007, Holding found herself being pulled in many directions when her company faced changes due to competitive pressure in the global market. In the midst of her whirlwind work world, Holding needed a way to ease the stress. After finding that doodling added some much-needed calmness into her life, Holding decided to try other forms of art in an attempt to find some relaxation. “I began painting idly daily just to keep my peace of mind,” Holding said. “The more painting I did, the more I found serenity and balance.” When the corporation Holding worked for acquired a company in India, she could either move to India for the company or stay in the Bay Area but switch positions. Holding, however, went with a different option. “I chose early retirement,” Holding said. “This decision gave me time and freedom to take art lessons and to paint.” Her decision to retire introduced her to many amazing people in the art community. “I was fortunate to have met wonderful teachers who opened my eyes to beauty and passionate fellow students who brought joy to me in the pursuit of art.” As she developed the skills to appreciate art from a painter’s perspective, Holding began to find that art was more than just a way to calm herself. “I think painting taught me to be more accepting and to go with the flow,” Holding said.

“After I had been painting for about a year, I noticed that my eyes became more sensitized to color than before.” Her passion for painting brought color to her world. “I am grateful that painting made the world a more vivid and interesting place,” Holding said. “Before 2008, I wandered aimlessly in painting to make my mind quiet. After 2008, the joy and beauty of painting made my heart sing.” Barbara Cottrell, a retired graphic designer and art teacher, agrees that art has brought an added beauty to her life. As a child, she experienced intermittent hearing loss, which shaped her into becoming more of a visual learner. “I did not do well in school, but I loved looking closely at the natural world and drawing what I observed,” Cottrell said. Cottrell further explored her interests in school and became a graphic designer, eventually becoming an art teacher. Despite pursuing art as a profession, Cottrell still finds that it is a relaxing activity. Losing herself in the drawing process, she can escape the stresses of a fast-paced lifestyle and slow down while she closely observes the world around her. “Drawing for me becomes a form of meditation — I lose track of time when I draw and paint,” Cottrell said. Drawing and painting foster creative and emotional growth as they serve as a way for people to become more in touch with themselves and ignore the distractions of a busy world around them. Artists pour their emotional expression onto the canvas to convey to viewers the allure that only an artists’ eye can notice in everyday life. The expressive process of creating artwork naturally makes activities like painting and drawing an outlet to let out the tensions of the day or simply tell a story to viewers. “I can’t imagine any other pastime which would bring me more joy,” Cottrell said. While today’s professional world offers little room for art and personal creative expression, now is more important of a time than ever to show how learning how to paint or draw can lift off the stress of meeting deadlines and making large life decisions. As simple as learning how to stop and smell the roses, art is a strong connecting force that can tie people closer to other artists, nature and themselves. “To me, art is the language of the heart,” Holding said. “It is ageless, expressive, and universal. I love that it can bring people of different cultures together.”


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Lai-Ling Bisset Featured Artist

Hip hop dancer Lai-Ling Bisset dances her way through life, but juggling schoolwork and her passion for dance is not as easy as she thought. Taking it one day at a time, she finds a balance in her work schedule and rehearsals — pushing her to make every minute count.


ver since Lai-Ling Bisset was able to walk, the for Studio V, however, happened to be the next day and rhythm and beat of music have inspired her to Bisset wanted more time to think about her decision to dance and explore ways to creatively express audition and leave her old studio behind. “I’d done a herself. Constantly spinning and twirling throughout lot of research and was intimidated by how good they the house, she created holes in the soles of all her socks were, which is why I was nervous about auditioning,” from the nonstop pirouettes. Soon, this casual dancing she said. Bisset’s parents encouraged her to pursue this around her living room turned into statewide competi- possibility, so she decided to give it a shot. She attended tions and dreams of someday turning this passion into the audition, which consisted of three hours of condia career. tioning and learning new routines to perform. Despite Since the age of three, Bisset has taken a variety of the intensity of the audition, Bisset was accepted into dance classes in styles ranging from classical ballet to Studio V’s Young Skull Club group. the progressive styles of hip hop. Her dance journey Located in San Jose, Studio V is home to two distinct started with the dance academies: Young development of “I get an adrenaline rush from dancing. Skull Club and Academy foundational skills of Villains. Both academies It energizes me, which might seem through traditionhave rigorous training for al styles including the dancers, pushing them backwards because it’s tiring and ballet, jazz and new limits every day to physically exhausting, but at the same time to tap. After investing make them ultimately more it gives me energy and motivation.” six years to these competitive in the dance instyles, Bisset had dustry. Young Skull Club, the reservations about trying new genres, such as hip hop. team for youth dancers that Bisset still currently per“I didn’t want to do [hip hop] because at that point I forms with, works hard to develop the skills and talents was in love with lyrical [dance] and ballet and that was of its members and has been recognized in numerous my thing,” she said. competitions around the bay area. At the age of nine, Bisset branched out from her The studio demands a great amount of time and usual genres and took her first hip hop class at Dance energy from its dancers but simultaneously fosters a Connection, a local studio in Palo Alto. “It took about a close community. “Studio V is unique because it’s a year or two, and then I high-pressure enstarted really liking [hip vironment,” Bisset “Dance is one of the things hop],” Bisset said. said. “It’s rigorous, I want to pursue right after Bisset eventually but we work hard joined the Hip Hop [graduation], especially when I’m when we’re training crew at Dance Conand it brings you nection and danced young and it’s fresh in my body.” closer together.” The with that team for tight-knit community three years. After a few years is reflected in the passionate and dynamic ambiance of with the crew at Dance the studio and brings its members in an intimate group. Connection, she wanted “We talk, we laugh, we make jokes,” Bisset said. “We’re to dance at a higher level close with our directors, our teachers, and they push us with more rigorous and ad- hard. I feel like we have this focused community, but we vanced training that would can have those moments where we can joke around.” further push her dance To many, the audition process and studio atmostyle and techniques. sphere may seem like a long and intimidating process, Then, after hearing but it doesn’t compare to the magnitude of Bisset’s curabout a more competi- rent schedule. “When we’re not preparing for anything, tive dance studio, Studio my team generally practices together nine hours a V, Bisset and her family week,” Bisset said. Her team practices for four hours on began to consider mov- Friday and five hours on Sunday, limiting time for her ing studios. The audition schoolwork on the weekends. “Sometimes I don’t end




up getting my weekend homework done and it spills over [to the next week],” Bisset said. “Sometimes I’ll be sitting outside of dance class and doing it.” Not only are her practices lengthy, but they also usually start at 8 p.m., causing her to get home even later. However, her passion for dance motivates her to complete assignments and she rewards herself with extra dance classes if she finishes her work with time to spare. Despite the heavy involvement and time commitment that dance requires, it plays a vital role in her life, and Bisset is focused on continuing dance in the future. “I get an adrenaline rush from dancing,” she said. “It energizes me, which might seem backwards because it’s tiring and physically exhausting, warding parts of dance is not the awards, but but at the same time it gives me the feeling after performing and the following energy and motivation.” Noting that it will be easier for her to contin- celebration backstage. One of her most memoue while her body is accustomed to long rehears- rable moments with Young Skull Club was right als and daily classes, one of Bisset’s main goals after their first time competing together. “We for dance in the future is to continue without a had just put our hearts out on stage and were completely out of substantial break. “Dance is one of “We have this focused community, but breath,” Bisset “We were all the things I want we can have those moments where we said. hugging each othto pursue right afcan joke around.” er and some kids ter [graduation], were near tears, especially when I’m young and it’s fresh in my body,” Bisset said. but happy tears.” Practice is one thing, but for Whether pursuing dance as a college major, dancers, nothing compares to the experience of participating in a school-sponsored activity or performing together. “It was just this moment competing at the professional level, Bisset has where we were all in it [together], and we had certain hopes of dancing in the future. “I find all experienced the thrill of dancing on stage,” that when I’m not dancing every day I don’t Bisset said. Winning that competition, or even placing have as much motivation to do other things,” she said. Finding a niche in the dance community did not matter to Bisset; she was most proud is an important part of Bisset’s life, and having of the sense of unity that her team displayed other dancers to collaborate with helps fuels her onstage.“We knew how hard we worked to get overarching passion for it. “It’s tough for sure, to that point, and we knew what we had been but you end up getting really close to everyone.” through together,” Bisset said. “That was what Bisset expressed that one of the most re- was important to us at that moment.”



life through a


Jesse Moss shooting a scene for his documentary “Overnighters”

Focusing on real life rather than fabricated stories, documentaries offer audiences a new means of sharing information and facilitating discussion. hree, two, one…action!” A red-faced movie director screams into a megaphone at the top of their lungs. As soon as the word “action” echoes through the set, actors and actresses immediately take upon a character’s life that is anything but their own. They do so for the purpose of entertainment; for decades, people performing and pretending to be someone else in front of a camera has engaged audiences

T 14

across the world. Within the past century, however, a rising interest in real life rather than a fabricated story has paved the way for the ascent of a fairly new format of entertainment: documentary. Documentaries, not to be confused with reality TV shows, uncover people, stories or events through observations and interviews; they attempt to display unscripted situations, genuine conversations and actual events on

screen. Through focusing in on one aspect of reality, documentaries provide filmmakers with the means to touch and educate communities on an endless range of topics. “I think its ability to confront the times we live in and the profound questions of our age is unmatched,” Jesse Moss, documentary filmmaker and director of Netflix’s “The Family,” said. For Moss and many others, the world

is a playground of ideas, and the topic of no safety net, and the first step filmmakers a documentary can stem from anywhere. take is almost always the hardest. By pur“Sometimes the idea comes from my part- suing an idea, filmmakers essentially take a ner; sometimes it comes from a friend or col- leap of faith and trust their gut while explorleague who brings me a story or an idea,” ing a possible subject for a new documentary. Moss said. “Sometimes it comes from some“I think documentary really hinges on a thing I read in the newspaper.” Inspiration collaboration between a subject and a filmcan be found where you least expect it from across different facets of society; filmmakers use their creativity to formulate a story with a unique angle. Long-time filmmaker and director Steve Longstreth similarly believes that the most impactful documentaries are derived from ideas that hit close to home. “To get a really good subject for a documentary, it’s kind of hard to just start from scratch; you have to be in the right place at the right time,” Longstreth maker. You have to find people who are willsaid. “A lot of really important documenta- ing to meet you in the middle, people who ries are personal.” are not uncomfortable in front of the camBecause documentaries are such a per- era,” Moss said. “I love that documentary, sonal means of real life story-telling, it is no relationships can span years and that’s why surprise that sources play a pivotal role in the [they] can be really profound.” creation of these films. “I’ve always felt that While most relationships in journalism the choice of the subject matter, whether it are short-lived through the modes of newsbe a person or an event that’s taking place, paper and magazine articles, the conneccan be the most important limiting factor in terms of whether it’s going to turn out well or not,” Longstreth said. After forming an idea, the next step is to reach out to such sources and determine whether something can be made of the idea. “You call up people and they are or are not interested in collaborating and they are or are not as interesting as [you expected],” Amanda McBaine, a fellow producer and director as well as Moss’s partner and collaborator, said. “It either opens or it doesn’t.” One of the biggest challenges for filmmakers is seeking out sources. “Documentary is a little bit like a high-wire act,” Moss said. “Often taking that first step is the most important step because then you’re going. You’re on the wire and you kind of have to go forward. It’s much easier just to stay in safety, especially when no one is paying you to go Steve Longstreth during a shoot in Sumatra make it.” Venturing into the unfor his documentary “Song of Survival” known can be scary, especially with

tions formed through the making of a documentary are more intimate. Instead of just a quick conversation and interview about a person’s life or a current event filmmakers take the role of a journalist one step further, in efforts to gather quotes. “[In] the films that I like to make, where you follow a person over a period of time, and often the most dramatic period of their lives, it’s a very powerful connection you form,” Moss said. “We think of journalism as kind of standing aside or on the outside, but what I like about documentaries is that you get close to people and they become friends, not just subjects.” The ample amount of time that filmmakers spend with their subjects fosters a deep relationship as they learn who their subject is on a personal level. Along with the relationship between the director and their sources, documentaries have the power to harbor relationships between the filmmaker and their audience. “When you finish a film, you can share that film with your subjects [and] with an audience, and that becomes the next phase

“Its ability to confront the times we live in and the profound questions of our age is unmatched.” — Jesse Moss

“You have to be in the right place at the right time.”

— Steve Longstreth 15

“You can not only make a documentary now, but you can put it in a place where everybody in the world can see it.” — Steve Longstreth

A scene from Longstreth’s documentary about the Ozarks

of a film’s life,” Moss said. “You’re talking, sharing and growing from that experience.” Documentaries are often shown in theaters and festivals with filmmakers such as Moss traveling along with their film, allowing for conversation about the documentary subject matter to be cultivated. With the rising popularity of platforms such as Hulu and YouTube, however, filmmakers are no longer able to engage with their audience on the same level anymore. Sending films straight to these platforms is more efficient for reaching a wider audience. Many people of the developed world have instant access to streaming websites through various devices and are able to have new insight into the information displayed through such means. If the sole purpose of documentaries was to convey information, these platforms would be the best mode of transportation. However, these films are also meant to initiate discussion about important topics. “I also make work to share it, to get feedback, and that’s hard when it goes right to a platform; there’s

no way people can talk back to me,” Moss said. Before this technological era in which films can be played at the click of a button,

more people to not only access the knowledge and lessons documentaries provide, but also break into the industry and make films themselves. “There are a lot more people making documentaries now than there used to be and there are more opportunities to have them seen since you have Netflix,” Longstreth said. “You can not only make a documentary now, but you can put it in a place where everybody in the world can see it.” Regardless of what platform on which they are shared, there is no doubt that documentaries bring reality to viewers through a vision and artistry that is unlike any other source of entertainment. As Moss said, “One of the things that’s missing in our culture is an ability to talk to people who are on the other side of the divide — politically, socially, culturally, geographically — and documentary, the camera [and] the tools of journalism are a ticket to go to those places, to meet those people who are different than you, to take those stories back and share them.”

“You can share that film with your subjects [and] with an audience, and that becomes the next phase of a film’s life.”


— Jesse Moss

finding a way to ensure that documentaries were viewed was a huge obstacle for filmmakers. “Going back a couple decades, just getting it out there and hoping that someone will get a chance to see it was difficult; the whole distribution aspect of it was very difficult,” Longstreth said. Although there are some drawbacks to the adoption of widespread platforms, it has seemed to allow


From trash cans to canvases, bubble wrap is taking the art scene by storm.

Text and design by TAMAR PONTE and MAHATI SUBRAMANIAM • Photos courtesy of BRADLEY HART and RAYMOND LANCÔT


s you approach your house after a long day, you notice a package on your doorstep. You beam with excitement as you open the package, not because of the item inside but rather the material in which it lays: bubble wrap. You can’t wait to pinch the perfectly filled sheets of bubbles and satisfyingly pop the air pockets. Many consumers find pleasure in playing with bubble wrap as they twist, poke and pinch until the sheets become completely flat. Some, however, prefer to keep these bubbles intact and repurpose the material. On top of protecting fragile cargo, bubble wrap has morphed to become a new medium and canvas for modern artists. In recent years, a few individuals have created a new innovative art style known as bubble wrap art. Bradley Hart, a New York based artist, is a pioneer of this relatively new art form. Hart’s work features a curated collection of pictures and memories expressed through bubble wrap. Using a syringe, he injects the bubble wrap with acrylic paint to create a semi-realistic, pixelated image. After injection, the excess paint drips out through the back of the bubble and is hidden from the front of the painting. On his Instagram account @bradleyhartnyc, Hart often posts short, closeup video segments of the bubbles filled with paint. As he pans out to show the collective whole of the artwork, viewers are left amazed at how large and intricate of the collective piece. What appeared to be small, paint-filled bubbles transforms to become a visually alluring masterpiece. “The injection process is complex and time-consuming, which highlights the irony of applying such delicate physical artistry to a mass-produced material and the indestructible nature of plastic versus the fragility of bubble wrap,” Hart said on his website and digital


“Will the viewer strive to find meaning in the collection of images that are strung together for reasons unknown?”



portfolio @bradleyhart.ca. In an interview with Insider, Hart mentions that it takes him around three to four weeks to complete a single painting, using between 1,800 to 2,500 needles. While this seems wasteful, Hart recycles all of the materials he uses and collects any excess paint. He then creates art pieces from the waste he has made to craft more engaging pieces. Bubble wrap not only serves as Hart’s canvas, but also as a container for his thoughts. He views each bubble in his canvas as a pixel, emphasizing how art history is moving from being strictly physical to now being created within a technological and digital realm. He creates and stores his artwork similarly to how households keep photo albums. “In today’s world, people do not print their pictures for an album,” Hart said on his website. “Their albums are on Facebook, Flickr and Instagram, all exotic rote, yet combinations of 1’s and 0’s.” By using this art style in a traditional approach with muted color palettes and portraits, he connects the foundation of art to how it is now used in present times.

“It’s nice to see how we repurpose something harmful to make the world better.”


Each piece in Hart’s artistic album is meant to evoke a certain narrative consisting of specific memories he has chosen. He often chooses to portray distinct people in his life, specific places and unforgettable cityscapes. Hart believes that an album is meant to be shared with loved ones in order to strengthen the interpersonal connections within someone’s life. “I hope the viewer will contemplate what a personal album means as a work of art… These albums, devoid of personal context for the viewer, will require something antithetical to the usual purpose of an album,” Hart said. “Will the viewer strive to find meaning in the collection of images that are strung together for reasons unknown?” Others have combined functionality into their bubble wrap art. As a design student at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Michèle Beauchamp-Roy participated in the competition Packplay, which is a user-centered packaging competition. She received the “Best of Show” award for her creation “Brrr,” a vodka bottle package created with bubble wrap. Beauchamp-Roy turned bubble wrap into a parka-like covering for the bottle and filled each air pocket with concentrated cranberry juice. The resulting creation is a bottle wrapping that keeps the drink cold. Once a user opens the bottle of vodka, they can then freeze an air socket filled with cranberry juice and mix the frozen tablet with the vodka in the bottle, turning it into a cocktail. Prior to Packplay, Beauchamp-Roy used bubble wrap solely for its explicit purpose. “At that time I didn’t know it was an art style, but I stumbled upon this material mostly because of its formal properties,” Beauchamp-Roy said. Her complete project involved injecting bubble wrap with resin and using a sandblasted bottle as the model

for the covering. This practical packaging piece, however, has a deeper symbolic value. “We were asked to showcase a product one hundred percent Quebec, so I came up with a vodka and cranberry juice,” Beauchamp-Roy said. “Since we are a Nordic country, I played with the concept of winter to create a fun and creative product.” Beauchamp-Roy brought together two of Quebec’s most known products — vodka and cranberries — and formed them into a winter coat for the vodka bottle. While art is not her main profession, Beauchamp-Roy continues to implement her creative thinking skills within her job as a designer. The new shift to using materials that are typically thrown out or considered trash has proven to have a positive impact on the environment. “It’s great to use media that is literal trash and that we are not using and will probably hurt the environment,” Paly art student Sebastian Cartright said. “It’s nice to see how we repurpose something harmful to make the world better.” Through this medium, artists are able to simultaneously lessen trash output and broaden their horizons. “We have so much trash in our oceans and in our giant garbage dump,” Lily Welsh, another art student at Paly, said. “It’s a creative way to show your passion for art.” Artists like Hart and Beauchamp-Roy have pushed boundaries and extended the limits of artistic expression for functional, visual and symbolic purposes. By using quirky mediums found in everyday households, it is clear that everything has the potential to become art — even bubble wrap.

“At that time I didn’t know it was an art style”


Art for Change Jennifer Wu, a Paly artist, strives to discover herself and her values through art and change society's beauty standards through fashion. From the beginning of her artistic journey, Wu has been honing her skills and discovering her personal style.


rom actors to artists, Paly’s artistic culture is a breeding ground for talented youth. One individual, Jennifer Wu, has shown an outstanding ability to overcome obstacles and achieve the goals to which she sets her mind. Wu has always found a great love for art and at the young age of three, she began broadening her skills by taking classes. From there, she recognized the value of her skills and began to explore her artistic expression. It wasn’t until her freshman year of high school, that Wu decided she wanted to commit to an art college. Ever since then, she has worked extremely hard to ensure this dream becomes a reality. In the summer of 2018, after completing her sophomore year at Paly, Wu enrolled in RISD Pre-College, a six-week-long program designed for visual artists. The days were long, and with eight hours of class and eight


hours of homework, sleep proved to be essential to complete this work. Although there were many late nights, she learned how to efficiently manage her time as the intensive work persisted. Another hallmark of Wu’s high school art career was the Congressional Competition. Because contestants were allowed to submit up to two art pieces per year, preparation work for the competition was long and laborious. These requirements, however, compelled her to challenge herself. Wu was able to compose two pieces for the competition, each averaging out between 60 and 65 hours of work. “After the competition I was featured on the headline for World’s Journal and S.F News,” Wu said. She has entered competitions and had her art displayed in exhibitions, all while further exploring and creating pieces. Wu

has had her art featured in the Palo Alto Art Center and the Palo Alto district office. “Last year in China, I did an international abstract painting show; in that show I listed my painting for 7K and receive the new talent award.” Wu said. “ I donated one of my art pieces to the school wellness center.” These exhibitions are not only an opportunity for others to view her art, but they also show her prestige as an artist. Through her time as an artist, Wu has been able to focus her talents on one particular aspect of art: fashion. By challenging herself with art and fashion, Wu continuously improves her artistic skills. For example, to expand her abilities and concepts behind her art, Wu uses uniquely different mediums such as, oil paints, fabric collages, gouache and digital art for each piece she creates. “The mediums I use differentiate from ev-

ery art piece I make,” Wu said. “I usually pick which ever material will perform best and tell the story the best.” As Wu explores a variety of ways to create and deliver her art to convey a message, her pieces are not restricted to one style of creating art, or even traditional art form. In her portfolio, Wu first displays a series of traditional oil paintings that show her technical skills. These paintings she created when she first began exploring art do not lack in concept, but focus on painting skills she has worked to develop over time. As Wu advanced her skills, she began to expand her style in subsequent pieces as she became more certain of what she wanted to convey in her art. “In my latest realistic oil painting, “Old Beijing,” there was a little change in style because I am more sure of what I want,” Wu said. “Old Beijing” displays of a snapshot of a group of men, with one leaning on a red pole. In creating this piece, Wu looked to Matisse and Munch for inspiration, drawing from their brush strokes and paint application. “After my realistic period, I developed who I am as an artist, making art with ideas or social problems that I truly believed in,” Wu said. Wu began to break stereotypes and create art that conveyed her personal thoughts and opinions. As she became more comfortable with her personal style, she created the painting “Breakthrough.” “In ‘Breakthrough,’ I see this painting as a midpoint in my high school art life. I wanted to show how I’ve broken out of the ‘Asian standard artists’ stereotype, only able to paint photo-realistic oil painting, through my fashion, abstract and emotional pieces I painted later on,” Wu said. In creating this piece, Wu drew inspiration from Anthel Adam’s black and white landscape photographs. Drawing from the monochromatic nature of these images, Wu created an abstract series using similar color schemes. Wu wants to channel her artistic talents into the fashion industry to contribute to changing society’s standards. “I want to have an exclusive brand with no bias, no exceptions, making everyone’s dream to feel beautiful and confident,” Wu said. “I know this is an ambition, but this is why they say so 'dream big or go home’ right?” As a fashion designer, she aspires to break stereotypes, beauty ideals and reach inclusivity beyond size 0 models. She wants consumers to feel confident and careless about judgment while wearing her clothing designs. In creating art and conveying her thoughts on social issues through her pieces, Wu has also explored who she is as a person

and an artist. “I would say I'm a very dual-personality artist,” Wu said. Growing up in a traditional Chinese household has not always been easy for Wu and her goals as an artist, as her family often did not understand her decisions in pursuing art. “They support me to do the art I love, although I did have a hard time explaining some of my more emotional and abstract art to them,” Wu said. Even so, Wu’s family supports her in traveling to exhibit her art and meet with representatives from internship companies or colleges. Her siblings are also involved

in art, as her older sister is an opera singer and her younger sisters are dancers and ice skaters. Wu provides an inspiring example of a struggling artists pushing boundaries and breaking modern day stereotypes through ambition and relentless determination. She shows that the constructs of society are no match to one's passions and desires. Wu is a source of success to other artists trying to individualize their style of art and will continue to influence students even after she graduates this spring.



Everybody Needs a Best Buddy Best Buddies, an international non-profit, provides opportunities and friendships for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their four pillars are one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living. At Paly, the Best Buddies club focuses on friendships that have changed many lives for students. Friendships, unforgettable memories and opportunities are all formed both in and out of the classroom.

Yardena Schwab

For the outgoing and friendly Paly junior Yardena Schwab, Best Buddies has been a gateway for friendships and new experiences. Last year, Schwab enjoyed spending time with her buddy Rosa Schaefer-Bastian during lunch and talking about favorite TV shows or even her new favorite gymnast. Schwab has treasured her three years in the club, which have been full of fun events such as the annual Best Buddies potluck, bowling excursions and football games. “I like Best Buddies because it is fun and you can make new friends,” Schwab said. This year, Schwab joined the cheer team and loves the long hours and hard work that goes into perfecting every routine before getting to showcase them with her team on the field during halftime. Along with performing their memorized routines, Schwab and her teammates always keep the energy up, encouraging the players and keeping fans engaged during JV football games. Having only a few club meetings complete this school year, Schwab has a lot to look forward to and a year full of many more Best Buddies events, sports games and hangout time with both new and old friends.


Katie Spier

Katie Spier, a senior at Paly, can go on and on about the friends she has made over her four years being a part of the Best Buddies program. Whether they are at a friend’s house or the bowling alley, being with her buddy is always a blast. Last year, Spier was paired up with Sophia Henderson. Spier and Henderson have known each other for eight years now, but spending more time together through Best Buddies has made their long-lasting friendship even more special. On top of hanging out with her friends during Best Buddies, Spier loves to participate in all sorts of activities from knock-knock jokes to mini art projects to watching movies like The Incredibles and Frozen. Spier has made countless unforgettable memories through the club. “It is so fun and great because I get to hang out with friends,” Spier said. During the club’s bowling trip last year, Spier had a particularly great experience spending time with her friends — and almost winning. She is excited about the year to come, looking forward to Best Buddies events and new friends she has yet to meet.


Morgan O’Malley Senior Morgan O’Malley can’t help but smile when talking about the time she bowled a strike on the Best Buddies trip. Last year, O’Malley was paired with Ben Gordon. “I really liked it when we were at the Paly football game together,” O’Malley said. She has been a part of the Best Buddies club throughout her entire time in high school. O’Malley loves watching movies outside of school, especially with the club at their movie nights. When asked about her all-time favorite movie, O’Malley responded without any hesitation. “My favorite movie is ‘The Incredibles,’ the first one not the second,” she said. Being a part of this club has been an incredibly fun experience for O’Malley, as it has introduced her to countless new friends who bring a smile to her face as they pass in the hallway. O’Malley is ecstatic for this upcoming year and hopes to go back to the bowling alley to throw a strike once again.

Seth Gamage Paly senior Seth Gamage has many fond memories from Best Buddies. Attending events such as Paly football games and the Cowboy Dance with his friends and buddy last year has been especially unforgettable for him. Gamage has truly enjoyed spending time with his buddies — Darrow Hornik, Matan Ziv and Zander Darby — over the past three years. Some of Gamage’s favorite times with his buddies have been going bowling together and spending time with them during lunch. “I like hanging out with friends at events that we go to,” Gamage said. Just like everyone else in Best Buddies, he has made plenty of friends inside and outside of the club. Every Friday, Gamage has weekly game nights with his friends, including Aaron Visuthikraisse and Victor Cascaval, during which they have ping pong tournaments and play other enjoyable games. On top of the game nights, Gamage enjoys practicing basketball at the YMCA and playing football with his friends. Best Buddies has had a positive impact on Gamage’s life and has led him to establish many new friendships and participate in a number of activities that will last him a lifetime. “Best Buddies is good and you can have a lot of fun,” Gamage said.

Christian Hernandez-Aldana

The bubbly and animated sophomore Christian Hernandez-Aldana enjoys every part of Best Buddies, especially the personal one-on-one relationships he has established. Last year, Hernandez-Aldana enjoyed hanging out with his buddy Kevin Cullen, outside of school and eating lunch together at club meetings. “I had fun playing board games with Kevin,” he said. On top of hanging out with Cullen, Hernandez-Aldana has made many strong connections with his friends through Best Buddies who he loves to see throughout the school day. In his free time, Hernandez-Aldana loves to relax and listen to music outside of school.




The planet is burning, oceans are rising, animals are dying and our quality of life is deteriorating every day. This relentless destruction of the planet can only be stopped if humanity as a whole takes conscious steps towards sustainability. 24

the Big picture W

andering down aisle after aisle, you scavenge through countless bland, shapeless t-shirts and beat-up jeans that are five sizes too big. But suddenly, hiding in plain sight, you find what you didn’t even know you were looking for. “It’s definitely not easy to find good stuff because it will mostly be stuff that doesn’t fit,” said Jace Purcell, an avid thrift shopper and junior at Paly. “But once you find the right stuff, it’s cool because you know that it’s unique and it's yours.” Purcell sees thrift shopping as challenging but rewarding, comparing it to a treasure hunt. More rewarding than finding the “treasure” is the feeling that you are helping the environment, one reclaimed shirt at a time. While many associate environmental sustainability with thrifting, planting trees and using refillable water bottles, in the grand scheme of things, there are many unsuspecting contributors to the depletion of Earth’s resources. Magic, a local non-profit organization founded in 1972 by David Schrom, is a collective community that lives an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. They implement numerous initiatives that help limit negative environmental impacts, including their drastically different approach to standard transportation. The dozens of residents that live at Magic utilize bicycles as their primary mode of transportation, significantly decreasing their carbon footprint. However, their lifestyle choice is not just about the carbon emissions—it is also about living on Earth in a way that minimizes what is taken and maximizes energy output. “We have to consider more than consumption,” Schrom said. “It’s throughput, it’s material, it’s matter. It’s how much of the Earth and how much of nature we are going to rip apart in order to create artifact.” Biking leaves a smaller footprint and also minimizes the resources used in the process of creating these vehicles, a factor often neglected in the estimation of environmental impact. Things such as refilling gas and driving to the supermarket contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer and fuel a negative cycle that hurts both our planet and human life. The thinning of the ozone layer allows ultraviolet radiation to penetrate our skin and increases the rates of skin cancer, eye cataracts and both genetic and autoimmune diseases. Although technology does not create the same obvious effects on the planet as carbon emissions from cars, it does require similar demands from large industries and corporations that produce harmful amounts of gases and other chemical substances. Junior Hyunah Roh understands the expectations and ignorance of living in a technology-driven environment.

“Living in Silicon Valley, I think we are too caught up on all the luxury of technology and I think it is important to educate each other about the environmental issues it creates,” Roh said.“I feel so lucky to live in such a healthy environment and think preserving our planet has a higher priority than owning the most advanced technology.” While in the Magic community members share just one cell phone between six people, most people in Palo Alto are constantly upgrading to the newest models and discarding their outdated devices that they only used for a few years. “I recently switched to an iPhone 11 from an iPhone 8 because I was interested in the new features it offered, but I was never aware of the environmental impacts this would have,” Roh said. This quick turnover of goods that include resources such as metals and rubber increases the waste in landfills and the lead content can have harmful effects on our body. According to Turtle Wings, a certified electronics recycler, “E-waste represents 2% of America’s trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste. The extreme amount of lead in electronics alone causes damage in the central and peripheral nervous systems, the blood and the kidneys.” Knowing these wasteful tendencies, many companies have launched new programs to lessen their impact on the environment. In 2008, Samsung launched a program called Responsible Recycling, in which they salvage discarded electronic devices and recycle the materials. Through this program, Samsung has recycled over 800 million pounds of would-be waste. While it may seem like only giant corporations can make a big impact, local communities and organizations can as well. Magic understands the incredible amounts of resources required in the meat industry and the additional struggle to find fresh, affordable produce. “The farmers’ market that we helped start—over on California Avenue—has vendors who every day have leftovers that they can’t take away and bring back next week because it won’t last. So we go around and salvage food from them with the understanding that we are going to use a certain amount of it here at Magic and donate the rest,” Schrom said. “We interrupted the waste stream, made a statement to other farmers’ market goers, reduced the amount we personally produced and gave the opportunity for others who were going to eat less well, to eat better.” Regardless of the size or type of an organization, everyone has an opportunity to become more sustainable and positively impact the planet.

“It’s throughput, it’s material, it’s matter. It’s how much of the Earth and how much of nature we are going to rip apart in order to create artifact.” — David Schrom



An Activist O

n September 20th, millions of people all over the world walked out of their schools and offices and onto the streets to join one of the largest organized climate protests in history. Just one night before the day of striking, Paly senior Emma Donelly-Higgins, who had organized protests in the past, noticed the absence of planning for this particular walkout at Paly. With the help of physical flyers and social media to spread the word, Donelly-Higgins stepped up and organized a Paly climate strike overnight. The main goal of the strikes was to bring mass awareness to climate change and urge global leaders to restrict carbon emissions, which has been a controversial and politicized issue. “I think in the U.S, it is true that big businesses and big corporations are making money off of things that contribute massively to climate change,” Donelly-Higgins said. “People like Trump want to keep oil drilling. It’s bad, but it benefits billionaires because it’s their businesses, and I think that’s part of the reason why it’s become this debate.” Since Trump was elected President, Donelly-Higgins has attended and organized countless protests, ranging from a variety of topics from gun control to women’s healthcare. For Donelly-Higgins, activism has been greatly facilitated through the use of social media platforms like Instagram, which have played a huge role in the organization of many Paly protests, including the climate strike. “[Social media] is one of the easiest tools to use now and one that is used a lot to organize movements like this,” Donelly-Higgins said. “I think it’s changed the way activists work, in mostly a really good way.” The rise of social media has certainly caused a shift in the way activism works, allowing anyone to gain exposure to all kinds of political ideas simply by tapping or swiping on a phone screen. However, there are also some negative issues that come along with the use of social media for activism. There is an

“As people in Palo Alto, we might not be as affected right now, but people in other parts of the world are feeling the impacts.”

— Emma Donelly-Higgins


uprise in people sharing or reposting political messages on their social media platforms with no intention of taking any further action—a trend commonly referred to as “Clicktivism.” “People just repost things, not specific events, just statements about issues, but then they don’t do anything about it,” Donelly-Higgins said. “They’re just posting it for the social clout of posting it. And that’s fine if they’re actually attending protests or changing laws in some way, but that’s not happening.” Donelly-Higgins plans to stay focused on the political side of the issue. “I’ll join a strike if there’s another big one, but I think focusing on the 2020 election is massive,” Donelly-Higgins said. “Every single person in the country should be voting, regardless of who they support. It matters so much, not even just for climate change, but for everything.” No matter who you are or where you live, climate change will affect you eventually unless immediate and effective action is taken, and it is in everyone’s best interest to do their part to help the planet. “It’s something that, as people in Palo Alto, we might not be as affected right now, but people in other parts of the world are feeling the impacts, especially in impoverished places,” Donelly-Higgins said. “They’re dealing with it right now and we eventually will too. It’s relevant to every single person who wants to keep living and have their kids live.”


hirteen years ago, students would file into their early math class at Escondido Elementary. Each day, they noticed two hooks and two chairs empty, causing a rush of jealousy as to why their peers, Hilary and Jen Bayer, got to sleep in and come to school after math class. Hilary and Jen Bayer were the first babies born into Magic, and they had a childhood that seems almost unreal. Growing up, the Bayer twins believed that it was common for Saturdays to be used for planting and caring for nature, and they spent Sundays salvaging food from the farmers’ market for the food bank. Once they were old enough, the twins took a small step outside of the Magic community and attended a Palo Alto public school, getting a glimpse for the first time that maybe not everyone spent their weekends helping the environment. “It was definitely a culture shock in some ways,” Hilary Bayer said. “To be honest, I barely remember kindergarten and first grade, but I remember that what was acceptable at home was not as accepted in school.” The Bayer girls were not at Escondido for very long, as they were kicked out after first grade. “The reason we got kicked out at the end of first grade was because our parents worked out a deal with the teacher where we could come in at the end of the first recess. [...] So, the principal found out that we had only been coming to class at 10 a.m. most of the year and we had been marked as truant so we ended up going to court and getting kicked out,” Bayer said. Although they were initially enrolled in the school so that they could connect with other kids their age, being kicked out ended up being a blessing of sorts. To fill the legal requirement of school, the twins joined Ocean Grove, a charter school for homeschoolers. While this may have closed some doors, such as the social aspect of public school, it opened others—they were able to have more freedom and choice in what they wanted to study.

As the twins got older, they started to gradually gain more responsibilities in Magic and community activities. “I feel like it was more of a gradual shift than a change when we turned 18,” Bayer said. “We had more and more leadership roles in Magic, like running our own public service projects.” The Bayer twins’ untraditional and sustainability-focused upbringing can be seen in places other than their schooling and weekend traditions. Until the age of 16, they had only been in a car three times. The members of Magic use bicycles as their primary method of transportation, only taking cars when a more eco-friendly mode was nearly impossible to use. From a young age, the Bayer twins have almost always biked to beaches, forests and any other relatively close area—and still do to this day. “I actually don’t have a driver’s license; I’ve been putting it off because it wouldn’t make that much of a difference, and it's kind of a pain to get, but I have a learning permit,” Bayer said. “I still bike almost everywhere.” Today, at 20 years old, Bayer acknowledges that growing up at Magic has impacted her views and habits. “I definitely think that I want to lead towards a more sustainable way of living,” Bayer said. “And I think leading by example is actually a powerful way of leading and it’s in a lot of people— just there’s a lot more talk than action in a lot of areas.” Recently, both Jen and Hilary Bayer worked on a project called Valley Barcode Life. They chose to become involved with it in hopes of making a lasting impact on people and their ongoing lives. “It about using DNA barcoding, which is a way to identify species based on a small segment of DNA as a way to both learn about biodiversity and how it’s changing,” Bayer said. “It is also meant to engage people who work in technology but are less interested in the natural world and basically getting them to think about ‘Why should we care about the natural world? Why is it essential to human beings?’ and what each of us can do take care of it.”

“I definitely think that I want to lead towards a more sustainable way of living. Leading by example is actually a powerful way of leading.” ­—Hilary Bayer

A magician 27

Small steps E

ven though actions made on a corporate and governmental scale to reduce carbon emissions could greatly affect the sustainability of our planet, a collective effort made by the seven billion people inhabiting our planet has the potential to create an equal or even greater positive impact on our sustainability. Avery Hill, a PhD student in the Biology department at Stanford University, recognizes the greater impact that everyday people can have on creating a more sustainable future, especially younger generations. “Young people seem to understand the risks and consequences of inaction better than previous generations, and will likely be the primary agents of change,” Hill said. Effective change starts with every individual, and many people in the Palo Alto community have already begun to adopt environmentally friendly habits into their daily lives. Hundreds of students bike to school every day, which is an easy initiative that has an effective impact on the environment. Sophia Krugler, a junior at Paly, has been biking to school since she was a freshman. “Considering how much traffic there is at Paly, biking to school is actually sometimes faster, so if you are trying to be environmentally friendly, it’s not even that big of a compromise,” Krugler said. Another common and simple effort made by Palo Alto students is the usage of reusable water bottles and straws. Swell, Hydroflask and FinalStraw are just a few of the many reusable items Paly students use and bring to school. Paly sophomore Amanda Mershon is one of many students who own a reusable water bottle and straw. “There has been a ton of commotion about our environment and how we need to save it,” Mershon said. “I think this has caused many people to become aware of what we need to do better and have started to purchase more reusable and eco-friendly products.” With the decline of our Earth’s health, many students have taken the initiative to educate themselves on these impactful issues through Paly’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science course (APES). APES has helped broaden students’ knowledge and awareness of global warming and climate change.

"Young people seem to understand the risks and consequences of inaction better than previous generations, and will likely be the primary agents of change." — Avery Hill


“Taking APES does not obviously stop the increase in global temperatures, but it is used as a tool to further educate more of our generation,” Lauren Purdy, a Paly junior currently taking APES, said. “I don’t want my kids to be living on a damaged, overpopulated, and polluted planet.” Another simple yet often overlooked way that students can live more sustainably is by having a more environmentally conscious approach to the clothing they buy. At Paly, fashion is a form of expression for many students. Through the “fast fashion” business model, clothing brands such as Forever 21, H&M and Zara have been able to thrive off of making cheap and trendy clothing quickly and effectively. However, there has been a sudden shift towards thrifting clothing or making something new out of old clothing, prompting disapproving attitudes towards fast fashion. It seems that many Paly students have already begun to adapt to this new trend. Many are turning to thrift shops, such

as Savers in Redwood City and Crossroads in San Mateo to shop for new clothing. Purcell makes an effort to go thrifting whenever he can. “Thrifting your clothes is a great option because the clothes are often much higher quality than fast fashion and you'll have much more unique pieces which means you'll have way more drip than H&M or Urban," Purcell said. If thrifting or buying secondhand clothing is not your style, there are many other viable alternatives for sustainability throughout your closet. Consider, for example, choosing to shop at more environmentally conscious brands. Brands such as Everlane and Made Trade market all of their clothing pieces as eco-friendly, sustainable and ethically-sourced, all while maintaining the affordable prices that make fast fashion companies so successful and popular. “Fast fashion creates a ton of waste,” Purcell said. “You should instead invest in slightly more expensive things that will last years and won't pollute the world." Whether it be shopping at thrift stores, wearing secondhand and hand-me-down clothing or turn-

ing to more sustainable clothing brands, anyone can do their part to limit the amount of clothing they buy—especially cheaply made, low-quality clothing. If everyone takes these seemingly small and insignificant steps, their collective efforts would add up very quickly and considerably curb carbon emissions. All it takes is a change in mindset about the clothes we wear and the effects they have on the planet. While smaller-scale actions like these may seem insignificant, Hill recognizes the deeper effect that these lifestyle alterations can have on the wellbeing of the planet. “A civilization is composed of individual people and the relationships between them,” Hill said. “A person can have a real impact by both changing their personal relationship to the environmentW—like taking shorter showers or picking up trash—and by using their connections to other people—like writing letters to senators or organizing demonstrations—to ultimately change the relationship between civilization and the environment.”

A leader E

van Baldonado, a Paly alum and freshman at Stanford University, has had an avid passion for environmental awareness and responsibility from a young age. During his time at Paly, which he graduated from in 2019, he contributed to living and leading an environmentally sustainable lifestyle in numerous ways. During his senior year, Baldonado started a petition against the single-use plastic wrappers that The Hershey Company uses to wrap our favorite sweets including Hershey's Bars, Jolly Ranchers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. To promote his petition, he pledged to offset one pound of carbon dioxide emissions for every like or share that his post received on Instagram. This meant he would purchase carbon offsets—certificates that finance various projects which reduce greenhouse emissions. “This is a cheap and effective way to promote the campaign, as people who care about plastic reduction also often care about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions,” Baldonado said. His ideas quickly turned to real results and accumulated over 1,700 signatures in less than a month. The pledge, which is still active, continues to acquire more pledges to this day. “I am grateful that so many people have already signed the petition, but I am still hoping to have many more [people] do so as well,” Baldonado said. After graduating from Paly, Baldonado’s fascination with the environment has grown stronger than ever. This quarter at Stanford, three of his eight classes are “Environmental Regulation and Policy," "Frontiers in Marine Biology" and "Very Impactful People - Social Innovation & the Social Entrepreneur." All of these courses focus on environmental sustainability and the importance of social change. Unlike others, Baldonado actually practices what he preaches. Every day, he makes small efforts that accumulate to grand strides

in progression towards a sustainable world. “I try to cut down on my use of single-use plastics by avoiding plastic cutlery if possible,” Baldonado said. “I also don’t eat meat or fish.” Even these small, incremental choices can seem daunting at first, but he has tips to make these changes more manageable. “For anyone interested in becoming vegetarian or vegan but who may be intimidated, I would recommend starting with Meatless Mondays or taking other small steps toward larger changes,” Baldonado said. And while these small changes may seem insignificant in affecting the condition of our planet, it has the potential to incite real change. “Don’t overlook the power of making small changes in your lifestyle to be more sustainable,” Baldonado said. “Small changes are great stepping stones to larger ones and are completely valid and respectable.” In the end, Baldonado knows that his initiatives alone will not solve all of our planet’s problems, so his primary goal is to inspire others to attain the same investment in environmental sustainability. “I hope that people will become more mindful of their individual impacts on the environment,” Baldonado said. “I also hope to see more people taking initiative to design solutions and inspire other people to help make the world a better, cleaner place.”


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I grew up in a religious, hindu household. i don’t believe in god. Can i FIND MY BELIEF SYSTEM SOMEWHERE ELSE? t starts with my fondest memory of the temple. As an eager 11-year-old, I knock my shoes off and place them neatly in a random cubby by the door. Walking in, I immediately smell the fresh lilies and roses that climb up the building. I see the white marble walls and floors that illuminate the inside while I speedily walk to the arches with great enthusiasm. I enter, touching one hand to the floor and trying desperately to reach the top of the arches. I then hold both hands to my heart. Not knowing the names or titles of the gods I walk past, I still manage to bury my head in my hands and say, “Thank you for everything,” and then raise my hand to my head and finally my heart. I repeat this action all around the circular room while around me, bells ring, people celebrate ceremonies and temple-goers chant their prayers. Towards the end of my rounds, I approach the old man in white clothing who always has yummy almonds and bananas — commonly known as prasad. It is the custom to take everything with your right hand, so I lay my right atop my left and graciously take the food. I then ask for the holy water and pour a spoonful into my palm. I sip it from my hand and sweep both of my hands over my head. Thanking him, I wait for my parents and my brother to finish their prayers. This is the last time I can remember feeling a sense of joy and purpose for my religion. Everything started changing when I turned 13 years old. The flowers began to smell too strong for my nose, the marbled walls seemed too confining and I forgot to touch the arches with my hand to my heart. Something inside of me started to see these practices and rituals as repetitive and unnecessary. I didn’t believe that accepting

the prasad with my right hand or my left would make a difference anymore, so I took it with either hand. Nothing in my life drastically changed because of this, but as I grew older, I began to view the temple and Hindu holidays more critically and didn’t think that they made a whole lot of sense. I developed a negative association with these practices and wondered why I was even participating in them to begin with. Thoughts about why my parents thought they should put these values into my head and why I felt like I should be doing this for the rest of my life flooded my mind. Soon,

I began dreading going to the temple and when I did go, I felt myself not taking the prayers as seriously as I once did. My mother turned to religion when her father fell into a coma after a severe car accident. She explained to me that at that moment she had nowhere else to look and was at rock bottom. At eight years old, the only thing she knew to turn to was prayer. It had provided her with hope and a place to share her fears and anxieties about her father. My grandmother similarly embraces religion for support. Reciting her prayers every morning and every night, my grandmother told me that she does this for her-

self. She has faith in God as the sole creator and sole giver of the universe and is the only one that could ever bring positivity or negativity. Believing that nothing else is as definite or superior as God, she prays to give herself a purpose in her daily life. For my mother and grandmother, religion is where they have found their solace and peace. For me, I have decided to find it elsewhere. I realized that I don’t need to pray to the gods and goddesses to secure my future. Minor concerns such as test scores, future relationships and my goals are all up to me. What happens to me is based on my own decisions and actions, and how I choose to respond is what determines my next step. Rather than waiting on luck, fate or destiny to come to me, I choose to make my own future. Ever since I made this realization about my feelings towards the Hindu religion, I have tried my best to conceal my new belief system as I fear I may disappoint my family. They wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with me being critical, but it would definitely cause a shift in our family dynamic and break some of our long-lasting and highly-valued traditions. I have faith in people, and that’s about it. I choose to believe in what I can see, smell, taste, hear and touch because that makes the most sense to me. As I navigate my way through life and the transition from high school to college, it is up to me to decide how I want to confront any difficulties. Getting sucked into the whirlwind of adulthood, I will continue to focus on what benefits me and what I can do to control and maintain a balanced lifestyle. Through this experience of struggling through my religious identity, I have realized that I can be independent and only count on myself to get me through life and its obstacles.




LOW& SLOW From gracing local neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area to emerging on the streets of Japan, the striking cars and tight community of lowrider culture have evolved from traditional Latino roots to bring people together from around the world.


ith the flick of a switch, a 1976 Chevy Nova shudders to life, hopping up onto its back wheels and landing with a thump, demanding the attention of all those nearby. It roars back and forth, dancing to the cadence of a low-humming engine as shoppers, frozen in their tracks, stare in awe at the lunch-time interruption. As the wheels lower and the car recedes to its resting state, Barbara Johnson—secretary of Lowrider Club Lay-M-Low’s East Palo Alto branch—steps out, her bright-blue braids complementing the pristine exterior of her car. Lowriding culture can be

traced back as far as the 1940’s, when many Latino men who joined the military during WWII returned in need of jobs, now home with newfound mechanical skills. With an influx of old cars needing repairs, many turned to garages which largely congregated in East and South Los Angeles to fix and customize vehicles. The first lowriders would ride leisurely around town, displaying their cars and even putting sandbags and cinder blocks in their trunks to drop their cars lower. This laid-back attitude remains at the heart of lowriding with the unofficial motto: “low and slow.” Resourceful, hard-working and creative, these early

Lowrider, Barbara Johnson, cleans the engine of her custom 1976 Chevy Nova

lowriders defined a cultural phenomenon that would extend to all corners of the world. Johnson’s lowriding journey began at sixteen, when she acquired her first car, a 1968 Chevy, which she named Poor Girl’s Dream. Growing up in poverty, she aimed to inspire the community around her and project her ambitions for the future. “That was something that a poor girl would dream of—[something that] someone from poverty wants,” Johnson said. Most lowriders share an early fascination with lowriding, whether it be the distinct fashion, a family tradition or the classic “low and slow” method of driving. Whatever prompts this attraction, one thing remains true: the powerful connection within their communities. “The thread that brings us together is not just the lowriding,” Roberto Hernandez,

founder and head of the San Francisco Lowrider Council, said. It’s around food, it’s around bonding, it’s around music. If you break down, we all pull over. We won’t leave until your car is fixed or you’re getting towed.” The bond between these men and women runs much deeper than just

thing that we invented,” Hernandez said. In addition to connecting with and representing one’s background, lowriding offers an outlet to display individuality. “You’re never going to find two identical lowriders. There is no such thing as twins,” Hernandez said. “Each lowrider that I have built is my imagination, combined with my heart, my soul, my spirit, my mind and my body. What I have put into, I have created this art piece and when it moves down the street, it’s just like a magnet.” In order to customize their cars with the striking colors, designs and technology that define their style, lowriders utilize a network of local specialists to fulfill their vision, as well as expand their own skill set. Hydraulics, painting, electrical work and sound modifications are just a few of the endless possibilities in the assembling of these vehicles. As much as the cars are a display of per-

“If you break down, we all pull over.”


— ROBERTO HERNANDEz cars. These groups are a second family; one which strengthens the community as a whole. For many, lowriding has also become essential to upholding their Mexican-American heritage. “I really could identify with lowriding because it’s a Latino Chicano

sonality, they also inspire competition between members of the lowriding community. Shows are taken quite seriously, not only because of the prizes ranging from trophies to large sums of money, but because lowriders take great pride in their creations. For the few number of women in the clubs, the fierce competition can be deterring. Being the only woman remaining in East Palo Alto’s Lay-M-Low, Johnson said that she had to overcome jealousy and dismissal to become fully accepted as a competitor. “I’ve pulled up on the side of guys and hit my switch or made my car go up on three wheels and their cars didn’t do anything… they don’t like that,” Johnson said. In East Palo Alto, establishing a car club was a challenge, as balancing the community and local lowriders proved to be difficult. “We would always ride around East Palo Alto and look for things to do—positive things to do—and the police would bother us a lot because a lot of the cars were illegal,” Johnson said. Lay-M-Low found a solution by communicating with the local police to avoid legal barriers and negotiate restrictions by attending city meetings which cultivates a positive relationship with the local law enforcement. Johnson’s troubles are not, by any means, unheard of. Lowriding has been haunted by challenges of discrimination since its beginnings in Los Angeles. “[Lowriding] was looked upon by society as something negative,” Hernandez said. “It was looked upon as gang related. We were stereotyped as gang members, drug dealers and bad boys.” Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, lowriding became increasingly associated with gang violence, embraced by the likes of Eazy-E, Snoop Dogg and many other West Coast rappers. This reputation fueled the misguided presumptions about minorities, specifically Latinos, whose flourishing culture was branded as “gangster.” On the contrary, lowrider clubs often strive to create a positive impact in their communities. In the forty years since its establishment, Lay-M-Low has become an avid contributor to many Bay Area communities, organizing welfare drives, barbeques and car shows with its other chapters in Fresno, Sacramento, San Jose, Stockton

and Modesto. “On Thanksgiving, we get together and make baskets, go to the food banks and feed the less fortunate. On Christmas we get presents and give baskets,” Johnson said. As New Year’s festivities commence in Stockton, Calif., the streets are filled with floats, promptly followed by the thudding and roaring of lowriders. Excited cheers erupt from spectators, lining the streets to enjoy the show. “[People] expect it every year,” Johnson said. “They’re already sitting out in front of their houses in their lawn chairs. All the kids got their popcorn. It’s something they look forward to every year.” In the Bay Area, lowriding has become an essential part of the culture. “When the San Francisco Giants had the championship parade, we were in that parade carrying the players. When the Warriors won the championship, we were in the parade. When they had the 50th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, we were apart of that … I could go on and on and on,” Hernandez said. In an ever-modernizing world, the traditional lowrider culture continues to thrive, contributing to its allure. Curiosity arising from all walks of life, and the persistence of tradition within the culture has kept the lowriding community alive and growing. “We have now three generations of lowriders within the family. It’s just amazing how we’ve seen somebody start lowriding, then their son is lowriding and now their grandchildren are low riding,” Hernandez said. Since its beginning, lowrider culture has blown up worldwide. Sparking a wave of interest everywhere from local Google employees and teenagers to inspiring a thriving Japanese fashion and lowrider culture of its own—inspired by the classic cars and style of their United States predecessors—lowriding is an art which has withheld the test of time. Brian Sweeney, the proud owner of a 1964 Chevy Impala living in Antioch, Calif., stands with many in the lowriding community who believe that the art of lowriding is just getting started. “It [lowriding] will never die,” Sweeney said. “It’s too big of a thing and it makes too much of a statement of how you take the cars and care for them. It’s a tradition that is second to none.”



out with

the old

a new form of sexual violence prevention education in PAUSD.


s children, we are often shielded from some of life’s most problematic realities and given a glamorized depiction of life. As we grow older and gain independence, it becomes vital for us to have the proper tools and education to navigate these harsh truths. The #MeToo movement has encouraged thousands of women to speak up against sexual harassment and abuse, bringing our country a significant step forward with the awareness of these issues. As we continue to face the backlog of horrific tales, including those of Christine Blasey Ford, Rowena Chiu and Chanel Miller, the need for K-12 student sexual misconduct prevention education becomes more urgent—before it’s too late. The first step towards lasting change is infiltrating our standard curriculum with an educational emphasis on sexual violence. Research from Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University shows that wherever consent education has been taught to girls, rape rates have decreased by half. Another study done by Stanford found that over half of 2,000 high school girls in Nairobi, who completed a self-defense course, had deflect-

ed sexual harassment or rape using techniques learned in class. Similarly, after taking the training, of the 35 percent of adolescent boys who witnessed a sexual assault in progress, three-quarters of them successfully intervened to stop it. It is evident that giving people access to this knowledge has not only helped them learn ways to protect themselves, but it has also taught people how to save the lives of anyone in danger. Many are also learning to save lives through intervention because of their newfound knowledge of ways to identify and address sexual assaults. It was not until 2015 that Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that required all public schools in California to teach sexual education for students in grades 7-12, resulting in current seniors in the Palo Alto Unified School District not receiving sexual violence prevention education until they reached the high school level. The standardized curriculum includes topics ranging from sexually transmitted diseases to sexual violence. Before this law passed, school districts had the freedom to choose whatever topics they wanted to teach, as long as they fell under the umbrella of sexual education.


Some districts took advantage of this flexibility and the lack of a state law mandating the instruction of this education. For example, one district omitted the discussion of condoms from their curriculum, and another compared a dirty shoe to a non-virgin woman. While many presume that law has improved sexual education in the state, they also believe that work still needs to be done for schools to have informative and productive discussions. “We had the same presentation freshman year and sophomore year and I think it was good to have some education, but I don’t think it was the most effective way to do it because some people weren’t paying attention or just didn’t want to be there because it felt like they were being forced to go,” Paly junior Anna Mickelsen said. “It’s good that we have an education, but it should be done in a different way to be more effective.” Current freshmen, sophomore and junior students at Paly voiced their concerns about the presentations they received in middle school. A popular consensus about these presentations is that their lightheartedness removed the importance and gravity of the topics. “In eighth grade, we had this assembly where there was a play kind of thing with a cast of four adults showing different aspects of what was supposed to be like high school life,” Mickelsen said. “They were making jokes, and I think trying to relate to us, but it just made everyone distracted from the point of the show. They had some kind of song that was like a jingle, and I think that’s all anyone took away from it.” Many find that discussions of sensitive topics are difficult to present in an appropriate way for different age groups. The concern of not maintaining an appropriate curriculum often creates ones that focuses on protecting youth from the severity of the topics, rather than expressing their relevancy and gravity to their true extent. “I definitely think it would be more effective to show real examples of people our actual age and things that actually happened instead of sharing generic and extreme cases,” Mickelsen said. “Also, offering some sort of solution would be [more effective].” According to the Centers for Disease Con-

trol and Prevention, an estimated one in six boys and one in four girls are sexually abused before the age of 18, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Children need tech-

niques to challenge rape culture and to learn how to deal with inappropriate comments, unwanted touching, coercion and assault. Max Pearson, a Paly senior, recognizes the elementary school as the ideal time to begin age appropriate consent education. “With so many other essential principles being taught and retaught from such a young age, I see no reason that consent and sexual violence prevention can’t receive a similar treatment,” Pearson said. Paly sophomore Eva Salvatierra recollects her visceral experiences as a young girl on the playground. “I would get pinned up against the fence and threatened to be kissed against my will because a boy had a ‘crush’ on me,” Salvatierra said. While many adults deem these actions as harmless, the acceptance of these behaviors can restrict these young minds from future consent education. “Once a generation has grown up with the concept and structure of a society of consent and empathy and boundaries, then rape culture itself has little power over the minds of these children into adulthood,” Salvatierra said. Mickelsen also believes starting consent education in elementary school will have a tremendous impact on the youth in our community. “They’ll grow up and become more comfortable with the topic so that when they get to high school, people will be talking about it more and they won’t be uncomfortable and they’ll actually take it in more,” Mickelsen said. The RISE Task Force, standing for Responsive Inclusive Safe Environment, is a group of district members, administration, teachers, parents, and students. Established in the fall of 2015 by acting Superintendent Karen Hendricks, RISE aims to promote a culture in which sexual assault, harassment, and violence are not tolerated. The task force has had many initiatives in the past five years, most notably bringing in educational speakers to the PAUSD middle schools and high schools. Last year, RISE brought Anea Bogue—an expert on sexual misconduct prevention education—into PAUSD. Bogue’s sexual misconduct prevention education strategies aim to help schools achieve a culture of consent and to aid students in creating healthy relation-

“With so many other essential principles being taught and retaught from such a young age, I see no reason that consent and sexual violence prevention can’t receive a similar treatment.”


-Max Pearson

ships with everyone in their lives. During the 2018-2019 school year, Bogue gave 80-minute presentations to grades eight through 12 in PAUSD. “[This presentation] can be a reasonably effective way to get core content on the minds of an entire student body over the course of a couple of days,” Bogue said. This year, Bogue is altering the form in which PAUSD students receive consent education. “My goals for this year are to expand and deepen the conversation around consent,” Bogue said. The education this year will be heavily focused on teaching students how students can have healthy relationships with themselves and others. To design this new educational method, Bogue has been receiving input from both Paly students and teachers on what is most meaningful for students to learn. “Our conversations with teachers, counselors and students are pointing very strongly to the benefits of broadened learning opportunities,” Bogue said. Although Bogue has proposed four 40-minute interactive workshops that will do a deeper dive into consent, the content of these workshops won’t be finalized until she has analyzed and unpacked the suggestions and input from PAUSD teachers, counselors, administrators and students. Bogue is additionally working on bringing more seriousness through hands-on workshops, as many students have suggested. “We also want to incorporate real-life experiences and case studies that students can relate to and take seriously as they ‘unpack’ them to gain a better understanding of what happened and why,” Bogue said. Along with Bogue’s work with PAUSD students in grades eight through 12, district members—most notably Karen Hendricks—are determined to bring consent education to younger students in the school district for the 2020-2021 school year. As of now, there is a 45-minute lesson planned for 6th graders during orientation and 7th graders will be receiving two 30 minute consent lessons. While there is not a specific consent education curriculum for elementary school students, these young students are still being brought aware of these important concepts. “Teachers are constantly teaching students about personal space, body aware-

ness, empathy, how to recognize feelings and communicate those feelings and needs to others, who to go to at school for help, and how to be an upstander,” Anne Brown, the PAUSD Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Services, said. These schools are also bringing more focus to social emotional learning (SEL). “Some of the SEL programs used at our elementary sites are Responsive Classroom, Project Cornerstone, Project Resilience, PlayWorks, Expect Respect, Social Thinking and Life Skills,” Brown said. John Fitton, a Paly parent and RISE Task Force member, believes these positive steps forward in consent education will have an effective impact on youth in the Palo Alto community. “Creating a way to deal with things that knock you down in life is

“We also want to incorporate real-life experiences and case studies that students can relate to and take seriously...”

-Anea Bogue

almost as important, and sometimes more important, than the actual academic experience that we focus so strongly on in this community,” Fitton said. Along with this, Fitton wants to bring attention to the imperative role adults play in educating the youth about these concepts. “It’s the responsibility of the adults to provide leadership and then include student voices, to again make things better and to teach and increase awareness towards safety and towards empowerment,” Fitton said. The Palo Alto School Unified District is acknowledging the necessity of these imperative lessons. Their ultimate goal this year is to create consensual campus environments, while empowering students to work towards having healthy relationships. The creators of the curriculum—Anea Bogue, district members, administration, teachers, and students—have devoted their time to creating effective education for PAUSD students; they hope all youth will take advantage of this opportunity to gain crucial tools that will aid them in creating safe environments for themselves and others throughout the rest of their lives.



The Retur Melanie Three years later, Melanie Martinez releases new music and an accompanying film.


fter taking a prolonged break since her last album “Crybaby,” in which Martinez created an alter ego of herself named Crybaby, she has returned with an even more powerful message. Except this time, along with her album, she has produced a short film featuring the songs in “K-12” as the entire soundtrack. Known for her baby doll aesthetic, Martinez recently released her film on September 3rd, followed by her album “K-12” which was released on September 6th. The film follows the character Crybaby, who has a superpower that eliminates the various issues that she encounters at school. She uses the theme of school as a metaphor to address important social issues such as self-image, mental health and peer pressure which not only relates to teens, but also to adults. The 24-year-old rose to stardom after appearing on “The Voice” in 2012 where she was immediately recognized for her soft and haunting vocals. Although she was eventually eliminated

from the competition, she is known to be one of the most successful contestants from the show. In her youth, Martinez won local singing competitions, and she knew from a young age that she wanted a career surrounding music. A few years after her audition on “The Voice,” Martinez began working on her first full album. However, she had a rough patch in the middle of her career when she was accused of sexual assault by former friend Timothy Heller. She later posted on Twitter, denying the accusation stating, “I understand how hard it could be to see my side of the story, considering no one with a heart would want to invalidate anyone speaking up about this topic… Please know that my intentions with everything that I do in my life are always pure and I would never be intimate with someone without their absolute consent.” While there is still quite a big rift between her die-hard fans and other advocates for issues surrounding sexual assault, the singer has come back better than ever with an even more lyrically strong album. Martinez has a very unique style that not only translates into her music but is also reflected in the cinematography of her movie and the clothes that she wears. Her hair is always dyed in two colors split down the middle, and her clothes are doll-inspired with ample frills and tutus to match her big platform shoes. Paly junior Thanh-Nga Shenoy recently discovered Martinez’s music after friends introduced her to the genre of alternative electropop music. “What I like about her fashion is the symmetrical look that she has going on with her hair, especially when she does different hair styles,” Shenoy said. Over the years, people have classified her music as creepy and ominous, but Helena Kristic, a junior at Palo Alto High School, thinks differently. “I can see why it seems that way to others, but that’s what I find unique about her style of music,” Kristic said. “It is so different from mainstream music and doesn’t really fall under any specific category.” Kristic became a fan of Martinez in the

“it is so different from mainstream music and doesn’t really fall under any specific category”


urn of Martinez sixth grade when her album “Crybaby” became popular. Songs such as “Soap” in the album became very popular on Musical.ly which, in turn, promoted her career. “It’s very fresh in the sense that I haven’t heard anything like it before,” Kristic said. Her music, while seemingly cheery and quirky has intense underlying messages that aim to solve the less-talked-about problems in society. In “K-12,” she tackles issues such as the selfish motives of people in positions of power, bullying, insecurities, vulnerability, the sexualization and objectification of women and eating disorders. While both the album and the film appears to be about school, Martinez uses this theme to display school as a condensed version of life. Using her art and platform as a way to connect to people everywhere, Martinez’s main goal as an artist is to make a positive impact in people’s lives by helping others overcome issues similar to those presented in her work. Lyrics such as “Come to my house, let’s die together / The friendship that will last forever” provoke imagery that can only be created through personal experience. She makes her music relatable to others by sharing personal issues that she has encountered throughout her life which she translates into her music. The provocative lyrics juxtaposed with the innocent visuals in past music videos are what draw in most of her audience. In the first track of the album, the innocent title and the familiar tune of the well known children’s song “Wheels on the Bus” completely contrast

its lyrics that discuss bullying and how bystanders contributing to feelings of isolation and tension which force people to hide their emotions and stay silent. Martinez addresses several important messages through the use of the album in the storyline of her short film. “I really liked the film because it has more of a back story which gives her songs give more of a meaning compared to her ‘Crybaby’ songs,” Kristic said. “They may have had meaning but it didn’t come through as much as the K-12 songs.” The young artist has come to develop a mature and dark sense of the world, and Martinez conveys this outlook through her music in hopes of fixing the problems of society. Many fans hope to see another album get released in the near future. Who knows what issues the next album will tackle?

“i really liked the film because it has more of a back story which gives her songs more of a meaning compared to her Crybaby songs”



Bed room Pop

Text and design by THEO L.J. and ISABELLA MOUSSAVI Photos and design by NATALIE SCHILLING and TYLER VARNER



messy computer display of tracks, plugins and markers line the screen. A small box next to the computer houses inputs for microphones, keyboards and guitars, all tangled together in a web of electronics called pop music. All you need to produce a song nowadays is your laptop and some instruments, and many young people are giving it a shot. “Bedroom pop,” the newest subgenre of lo-fi, builds itself on fuzzy beats and reverb-heavy vocal lines. This gives the music an imperfect, yet very personal sound that is redefining indie music and transforming what it means to be a musician in the internet age. Bedroom pop has roots in various genres, most notably that of 90s alternative. It combines the dejected, soothing voices of trip-hop groups like Portishead with a hazy, dream-like production quite clearly influenced by the likes of shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive. Mainstream pop elements set bedroom pop apart from its 90s predecessors, lending this loosely defined genre a more pop-friendly edge that caters mostly to young Gen Z listeners who find themselves adrift in their own thoughts. The two most popular genres of music today

are mainstream pop and hip-hop. By combining elements of both genres as well as the nostalgic melodies of the 90s, bedroom pop is on its way to redefining mainstream music. Artists like Clairo, Hana Vu and Girl in Red are at the forefront of this scene, playing intimate shows in small venues across the country. Tickets to these shows are much cheaper than arena-sized mainstream acts, and the sets are overall smaller with minimal lights and effects. This provides the artists and their fans an opportunity to truly connect that isn’t available in larger concerts. Additionally, artists play shorter sets with more bands on the bill, giving fans more bang for their buck and the opportunity to appreciate more than just the headlining act. The aforementioned Clairo recently played two sold-out shows in San Francisco with fellow indie peers Beabadobee and Hello Yello as openers. More than 2,800 fans clamored into the space over the two nights to see Clairo, many of whom knew all the lyrics to the songs in her new album “Immunity.” This album has already received high praise from the likes of Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, the latter of which placed her single “Bags” on their list of the greatest singles of the decade.

By combining elements of mainstream pop and hip-hop, as well as the nostalgic melodies of the 90s, bedroom pop is on its way to redefining mainstream music.


Given the nature of bedroom pop and its purposeful low quality sound, some may think that the artists’ talents should reflect this in concert. But this lower definition sound seems to stay only on the track, as artists’ voices naturally have more clarity in person and in concert. Paly senior Zoë Wong-Vanharen attended Clairo’s tour when the artist recently traveled to San Francisco mid-October. “I thought she was more technical live than she is in studio,” Wong-Vanharen said. Clairo is hardly alone in her musical endeavors. Many other musical hopefuls are vying for a chance at the forefront of pop music as they spring up on DIY streaming services like SoundCloud in an effort to distribute their music to a wider audience. These public streaming services have produced multi-million star after star, regardless of genre, with artists like Post Malone and Kehlani making their debut on these platforms. As the digital age progresses, the distribution and consumption of music has migrated to the internet and streaming platforms such as SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music and many more. Before, consumers had to physically purchase albums or download songs in order to listen to their favorite artists. The streaming age has made it much easier to introduce consumers to new faces in music, granting exposure and a platform for up-and-coming artists. The producing process has been made easier than ever for everyone involved; musicians no longer have to be signed to a label in

order to publish their music. As bedroom pop takes flight in the charts, the door is opening for more young artists to enter the industry. Practically all bedroom pop artists are teens and young adults, but regardless of the genre, these new artists are taking the industry by storm. Perhaps the most successful artist from SoundCloud is 17-year-old Billie Eilish, whose debut song “Ocean Eyes” went viral on the platform. Today, Eilish has had four platinum singles on the U.S. music charts and seems to have set the blueprint for rising young artists. Her moody and timely debut album “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” tackles dark themes as well as more optimistic ones all wrapped up in a neat, bass pounding bow. While immense hype surrounds these self-made artists, there is ambiguity surrounding their relevance in the future. The question remains: will these new generation artists prove they have staying power? Clairo and Eilish both have familial connections to the music industry; Clairo’s father worked in the record industry for years, and Eilish’s brother Finneas is a producer and musician himself. There are countless artists that don’t have these connections but are following the same path, albeit at a slower rate, proving that practically all one needs is internet access and a pretty voice to make it in the music industry. Without this connective edge, however, will these artists stand the test of time, or will their spotlight fizzle out?


Text and design by ATTICUS SCHERER and RAJ SODHI • Art by TYLER VARNER

Artists such as Lana Del Rey and Radiohead have dominated the alternative music field, creating music outside of the mainstream rock and pop genres of their times.


lternative rock emerged as a subgenre of music that sounded like mainstream rock but was experimental. Since then, this concept of ‘mainstream experimental’ music has grown significantly, and can now be applied to a variety of genres. Lana Del Rey and Radiohead serve as two landmark examples of modern alternative music: artists innovating within their respective genres.

Lana Del Rey: Alternative Pop Elizabeth Grant, known as Lana Del Rey, played in bars and struggled to make it as an artist until she released her break out hit “Video Games” in October of 2011. This sad-girl alternative pop anthem has a retro, orchestral feel that was accompanied by a music video compiled of vintage photos and videos as well as close-ups of Del Rey. This song shot her into the mainstream media, and soon after she dropped her first album “Born to Die” in late January of 2012. “Born to Die” is a somber album that reflects upon Del Rey’s struggle with drug addiction and her admiration of money and older men. While she did not get played much on the radio, she gained a huge following from the album and in 2013, the first remix of a song of hers came out. The remix took her song “Summertime Sadness” from a melancholy, relaxed mood to a “techno bop.” The remix was constantly played in clubs and on the radio during the summer of 2012 and quickly became one of her most famous songs. “The ‘Summertime Sadness’ remix was the first time I heard Lana Del Rey,” sophomore Melayna Hughes said. “I didn’t think much of it then but in two years she would become one of my favorite artists.” Hughes began listening to Del Rey last year and was instantly hooked by her voice and the vibe of her music. “When I first heard Lana I was shocked at how moving and catchy her songs were… I had never heard anything quite like it,” Hughes said. Del Rey’s next album, “Ultraviolence,” has an overall sense of emotional turmoil mixed with jazz influences, including a cover of a Nina Simone song, “The Other Woman,” and one of her first upbeat songs, “Florida Kilos.” Her overall themes in this album are reflected best in the songs “Money Power Glory” and “F****d My Way Up To the Top,” two songs with the original somber mood that started Del Rey’s career. Her fifth album “Lust for Life” came with a multitude of collaborations including Stevie Nicks, The Weekend, A$AP Rocky and Sean Ono Lennon. Del Rey mixed her classic sad girl sound with the style of the other artists to create a unique album that remained true to herself. In her latest album, “Norman F***ing Rockwell!,” Del Rey explores her classic rock influences along with a new take on the Sublime song “Doin’ Time.” The album is said to capture the peak of Del Rey’s career as a musician.

“I connect more with ‘Norman F***ing Rockwell!’ than I have with some of her past albums, “I think it shows a better range of [Del Rey’s] songwriting and singing,” Hughes said. This album is different from her previous albums because of its positive outlook on life and upbeat songs about love and happiness. In her older albums, many of the songs are centered around depression, drugs, men and money, with a melancholy beat overlayed with a soft piano melody. This new album is beginning to bridge the gap between Del Rey’s alternative vintage sound and modern day pop, which further defines Del Rey in her own genre.

Radiohead: Alternative Rock Radiohead’s entry into rock music wasn’t initially alternative. “After Nirvana collapsed and after Pearl Jam stopped touring [...] people had this need for alternative music, stuff that sounded mainstream but just didn’t happen to be where pop was going,” senior Will Glasson said. “Alt is not as experimental as avante-music, but experimental enough. And that’s where Radiohead came in. It filled this vacuum.” Radiohead is comprised of front man Thom Yorke, Jonny and Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien and Philip Selway. Originally named “On a Friday,” Radiohead burst onto the alt-rock scene with debut single “Creep,” which would appear in their debut album, “Pablo Honey.” “‘Pablo Honey’ is just a grunge album, so it did pretty poorly in Britain but West Coast America loved it,” Glasson said. “Then the second album wasn’t grunge at all, [it] was almost post-brit-pop.” The album, released in 1995, separated Radiohead from then-pop music in Britain even more. As technology and its effect on music creation innovated at an incredible pace, Radiohead found themselves inspired by sounds they had never seen before. Following success from the British pop scene and another American tour, Radiohead set out to create an album that followed what they called the “speed of the world in the 1990s.” Critics describe the revolutionary album “OK Computer” as millenium-ending-blues, and fans call it the greatest alternative album of all time. “The biggest ethos of ‘OK’ is inspired by Miles Davis, where he builds up this energy and this beat over twenty minutes and then just destroys it, and starts again,” Glasson said. Radiohead’s release incited a transition from albums resembling traditional playlists to creating more like artistic statements. “Not only would I call ‘OK’ one of the best albums of all time, it also revived the concept album,” Glasson said. Lana Del Rey and Radiohead have spearheaded the alternative music front in the 21st century with their songs and albums topping charts and winning awards. Their experimental takes on mainstream pop and rock music have worldwide appeal and bring alternative music to the forefront of the media.


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