Jerk February 2020

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February 2020 Vol XVII Issue II Syracuse, New York Your student fee


Are you in the right headspace to recieve information that could possibly hurt you?




Lydia Herne

Claire Miller

Emily Kelleher

Ali Harford






Vivian Whitney Brooke Kato




Eli Schwemler, Aanya Singh, Julia Chou,

Li Chi Su

Sally Rubin

Zoe Anderson



Chandler Plante


Kyra Surgent

Hayden Ginder

Neha Penmetsa



Taylor Knight

Surya Vaidy, Jessica Tran, Kenneth

Barrist, Zoe McCreary ILLUSTRATORS

Nina Bridges, Jennifer O'Neill-Katz, Li Chi

Su, Dasha Bychkova, Thanh Thai

Jenna Wirth

Tanner Hogan, Lucinda Strol


Kali Bowden


Nick Vallone


Tara Gordon



Alex Rouhandeh

Taylor Connors

Meredith Clark, Hayden Ginder, Taylor McCloud, Ashley Clemens, Jonathan Chau, Marina Prontelli, Phoebe Smith, Lauren Cola, Aanya Singh, Nhari Djan, Cara Pomerantz, Rocio Fortuny, Berri Wilmore, Kyra Surgent


Melissa Chessher

Through its content, Jerk is dedicated to enhancing insight through communication by providing an informal platform for the freedom of expression. The writing contained within this publication expresses the opinions of the individual writers. The opinions expressed herein are not those of Syracuse University, the Office of Student Activities, the Student Association, or the student body. Additionally, the ideas presented in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Jerk Editorial Board. Furthermore, Jerk will not be held responsible for the individual opinions expressed within. Submissions, suggestions, and opinions are welcomed and may be printed without contacting the writer. Jerk reserves the right to edit or refuse submissions at the discretion of its editors. Jerk Magazine is published monthly during the Syracuse University academic year. All contents of the publication are copyright 2019 by their respective creators. No content may be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the Jerk Editorial Board.



2020 is the year of following through with our goals and voicing our opinions, even if they may stray from the norm. So cuddle up on your couch, or that booth you claimed in, and learn from our stories of protest. We give you permission to rip out pages 12-13 to keep next to your bed — let 2020 be the year of good sex, too.

Sam Berlin

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Join Phoebe Smith as she introduces us to the skateboarders of Syracuse who can no longer skate at their East Coast mecca (pg. 26). Taylor McCloud discusses what happened to the music when Frank Ocean hit near deity status (pg. 18). Then, read what Rocio Fortuny has to say about being absent from the protest in her home streets of Argentina because she’s at Syracuse (pg. 56).


2020 might have just started, but it follows the fiery climax of 2019. As our lovely advisor Melissa Chessher would put it, this past fall semester was a dumpster fire. With everything around us crashing down, we knew we had to devote this issue to protest. Whether that be a faceless movement like #NotAgainSU, or public movements like in Argentina, Hong Kong, London, or Chile, we devoted our pages to the people who commit their lives to protest.



IN THIS ISSUE THE NOMADIC SKATEBOARDERS OF SYRACUSE pg 26 Skaters in Syracuse see the Everson Museum as a skateboarding mecca and a place they could call home. There’s only one problem: they aren’t wanted, or even legally allowed, on the property that is supposed to belong to everyone.


pg 45

2019 was a year of resistance and mass protests. In this issue, our writers share stories of upheaval in Argentina, Hong Kong, London, and of course, Syracuse. Read the package to discover the passions of feminist movements, governmental rejections, climate change objections, and #NotAgainSU.


pg 60

SU junior Khari Brandes (stage name Troyce Pitones) is treating DJ-ing as a mutually beneficial relationship where, as Berri Wilmore writes, “The DJ drives the boat, and the party crowd is along for the ride.” His give-and-take approach is emblematic of what makes Syracuse the greatest party school in the country.





SIGN OF THE TIMES February Horoscopes


SEX Kama sutra


FRAMED Courtney Sharps


21 PLUS/MINUS Dirty Girl Scouts


MONOCHROME Fashion feature


STRIPPED Yianni Biniaris




FORM & FUNCTION Indie Band Stan




A DEATH ON 24TH STREET By Marina Prontelli






HONG KONG By Cara Pomerintz


LONDON By Claire Miller


ARGENTINA By Rocio Fortuny


OBITCHUARY Dino Stompers



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HIT/BITCH February Events













February 20 Why has this day still not been declared a national holiday? On February 20 you better be blasting the entirety of Rhianna’s discography, dancing around in your Fenty X Savage underwear, and praying for the release of her new album.


February 9 If Greta Gerwig isn’t nominated for Best Director then what’s the point? We will be boycotting this event until our female directors get the respect and recognition they deserve.




March 15-22 I think we all need a break from eating shit on the promenade, blacking out at Harry’s, and Kimmel quesadillas. Whether you’re traveling someplace warmer, to your grandma’s house, or even staying in ‘Cuse, consider this break a detox and try to forget all of the fucked up shit that you did over the first half of this semester.

FEBRUARY-MAY STATE CAUCUSES AND PRIMARIES In case you live under a rock and don’t know shit about politics, the state primaries are HERE and they ARE a big fucking deal. Check and see when your state has their primary election, fill out an absentee ballot, and most importantly, VOTE!!!!

February 14 We’re just going to state the facts: Valentine's Day is a socially constructed holiday fueled by corporate greed (we’re looking at you, Hallmark), and no matter how much you love and cherish your partner, you’re getting ripped off. Justin Bieber’s album also comes out on Valentine’s Day and after the Yummy catastrophe, we can’t say we’re all that excited for 16 more songs.



February 27 If you listen to Clairo, have a nicotine addiction, frequently wear beanies, or just have an all-around ~chill vibe~, then you will definitely enjoy the Wallows. We’re honestly not sure why they chose to come to Syracuse of all places, but we’re not mad about it. Maybe ditch Lucy’s for one Thursday night and go down to Westcott Theatre instead.


February 29 First of all, why is Leap day the only day where it’s socially acceptable for a woman to propose to a man?? A woman can propose to whoever she wants to, wherever she wants, whenever she wants to and that’s that on that! Also, we all know that time is just a concept and like Daylight savings, leap days don’t make any sense.


February 17 - March 10 It really does feel like mercury is always in retrograde these days. We’re really happy that this period of time not only extends through arguably the coldest part of the winter but also through midterms.




FEBRUARY HOROSCOPES Maybe we can tell the future. Or maybe we made these up. words by Meredith Clark



Hit the breaks, Aries, you’re going

You’ve binged two seasons of Love

You’ve been feeling a bit too self-

full speed. But what is it exactly that

Island in one week and now you find

righteous, Gemini. Yes, you work

you’re driving away from? Do you

yourself talking in a British accent

hard, but don’t try to fool us. Once

even know? Why don’t you pull over

mid-sentence, Taurus. At first it was

you're back in your hometown,

just a little bit of banter—a bit cheeky.

you'll be driving around a deserted

the New Jersey Turnpike and mull

But you’re laying it on factor 50 thick,

Walmart parking lot at midnight

it over with a Gold Rush Chicken


in your white 2004 Nissan Sentra

Sandwich from Roy Rogers.

calling it a “late night adventure.”

Cancer Leo You’ve been giving off some serious You did

absolutely nothing all





Virgo Let your freak flag fly! You’ve been

horse girl energy lately, Cancer.


Like low ponytail, bootcut jeans,

okay! You needed this time to

too rigid, and it’s time to let go of this boring routine the way only

randomly obsessed with Bridge to

breathe and decompress from a

a Virgo knows how, like adding a

Terabithia type of horse girl energy.

stressful semester. Screw all those

bunch of expensive items to your

And you know what? We absolutely

internships that you didn’t apply

shopping cart and not buying them,

love it.

for, just wasting away in your

or coloring outside the lines. Gasp!

bookmarks bar...




Set some clear boundaries this

Your Spotify Wrapped said you


month, Libra. We’re sensing toxic

spent 16 hours listening to “Ribs”

December was the season of giving

relationships taking a hold of your

by Lorde in 2019. We just want to

(and boy, did you give). But now

life. Delete all your social media

know, are you okay? Do you want to

in this month of love, you’re ready

and start living “off the grid.” Find

unpack that? Is this a cry for help?

to receive! Ever heard of the Snow

a forest and build a shelter. Move





Angel? No? Google it.

there permanently. You’ll thank us later.




It’s a new year and a new Capricorn season. You’ve reflected on 2019 long enough, Capricorn. Forget the past, like that time you passed out at Calios into a cardboard box of mac n’ cheese calzone, and move forward into 2020 with no regrets!

Your time is coming up, Aquarius! Ring in the new year with a new, practical hobby. Why don’t you take up carving tiny animals out of soap or eating the rich?

Stop watching A24 movies, Pisces! We all know that you’re the imaginative, dreamy type, but you’ll be on the brink of a mental breakdown if you watch Lady Bird one more gosh darn time.

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to the Walt Whitman service area on




A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO THE KAMASUTRA Yes, we're telling you to keep this issue of JERK on your bed. Or at least the next two pages. illustrations by Nina Bridges



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Time Bomb Use when you want to look at your partner face-to-face, and work your thighs (leg day baby). Start by bracing yourself against a wall, while your partner straddles you. Your partner can determine the rhythm while you hold them up— or, use your hands on them.

Doggy Style Besides being the best position for hitting the G-spot, this position allows the receiver to control the depth and angle of penetration that they prefer. If domination is what turns you on, this position is perfect—throw "dirty little slut" into the moaning mix.







Standing Wheelbarrel be

physically capable if you or your partner is Serena Williams or have the upper body strength of a fullgrown gorilla. Starts out on all fours, while your partner kneels

partner must balance you on their body while sexing it up. Good luck with this one, my abs are sore just writing about it.

G Whiz Stretch it out baby! This position involves one person hooking their legs over the other's shoulders —whether that's for groin on groin action, or to position the mouth just right. In any case, use this position to look deep into your partner's eyes, while stretching your calves and thighs. It's like hot yoga. But like ... hot.

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Now, if you’re a fucking olympic athlete and are still reading, your


behind you, grasps your ankles and lifts you up off the ground.




“The inspiration behind almost every one of my pieces is an emotion. Whatever I’m currently going through or even what I’m feeling the moment I first touch the clay is what drives my work. I think having my work focus on emotion is a really important outlet for my own feelings but also something everyone can relate to. I want my work to be both personal and universal. I have always struggled with anxiety and thought this project would be a good exercise to find a way to keep track of that underlying uneasiness. Making ceramic figurines to symbolize my anxious feelings was really therapeutic. I used clay because it is the medium closest to my heart and set it up in my studio space because this is where I go to escape those anxious moments. I also made the figures without any specific features so that the concept could be relatable for the audience, if that is something they wanted. Finally, I used unfired ceramic because it is when clay is at its most fragile and temporary, much like my fleeting yet uncomfortable experiences with anxiety.” To showcase your work in Framed, email




THE DIRTY GIRL SCOUT Ingredients 1 bottle of chocolate syrup 1 can of whipped cream 1 bottle of Peppermint Schnapps

Instructions 1. Ditch the cup. 2. Open your mouth wide and tilt your head back. 3. Pour in chocolate syrup, followed by peppermint schnapps and a good amount of whipped cream.


words by Taylor McCloud illustration by Tanner Hogan


said a recent Bandier graduate in attendance at Tyler the Creator’s 2019 Camp Flog Gnaw festival, about Frank Ocean’s complete lack of appearance. “[It was] a wild moment. The Frank power is too real.” Ocean wasn’t booked for the festival and when Drake took the stage as the final act of the two-day festival, he was booed off stage. The crowd chanted “We want Frank!” in unison. They had expected Ocean to be the festival’s secret headliner, because of Ocean and Tyler’s close ties before they rose to fame. But he wasn’t. Drake met the boos with reason. He said he’d keep performing or leave; it was up to them. They kept booing, so he left. The show was over. Ocean never showed up. Fans speculated that maybe this would be his grand entrance back into the mainstream music world, after releasing two singles back to back this fall. But in keeping with his track record of refusing to conform to expectations, he was nowhere to be found. The reverence of his fans sets Frank Ocean apart from other musicians. He isn’t the rockstartype or the mainstream megastar. Much like 80s music fans characterizing Prince as a deity, Ocean’s fans swear he is other-worldly. They cling to every bit of information about any possible new release, or, if there is a God, a new album. They flood social media with memes, fan pages, inspired artwork, covers and nearly every type of tribute to the reclusive artist. Whether that’s because his audience is full of 20-somethings who had an Odd Future phase in high school, or because the transition in “Nights” is just that good, it’s clear his connection with his fanbase is stronger and more emotional than many of his contemporary counterparts. Isaac Lewis, whose debut album, Pareidolia, released in 2018, calls Ocean a musical influence because of his honest songwriting and production, but said it’s scarcity that drives the massive hype. “People hold [Ocean’s] songs with more weight because they’re few and far between, whereas other artists that people are, rightfully so, stans of, have a lot more music they can bounce back and

forth between,” Lewis says. After 2011’s nostalgia, ULTRA and 2012’s Channel Orange, the wait for new music was tantalizing. So when Ocean began live-streaming the inside of a warehouse on his website four years later in August, 2016, internet users spent night after night watching it, waiting for something to happen. Eventually, we were rewarded with the visual album, Endless, and days later, the critically acclaimed Blonde. Blonde, recently named Pitchfork’s #1 Album of the 2010s, remains a staple on social media and in the three years since its release, in the top half of Apple Music’s Top Albums list. But that’s how it is. Frank Ocean is a big deal when he’s not releasing music and an even bigger one when he is. When “DHL” released in October, my phone lit up: “New Frank single.” Theories about albums and the supposed symbolism of the single’s artwork circulated on Reddit and Twitter saw much of the same, but admittedly there wasn’t the same buzz as usual for a Frank Ocean release. Maybe because “DHL” sounds different from Blonde and his handful of releases since. I listened for the first time the morning after it released. The first chords hit me in the chest but monotony took hold from there. Around a subdued hook about getting drugs in the mail, Frank rapped like he said he’d been practicing in a September interview with W Magazine. There wasn’t anything in your face and, for the first time, I could understand the lackluster response and why @yourstrulymoody on Twitter would post, “New frank was mid but y’all aren’t ready to talk about that…” But I still felt obligated to keep listening. Not in a “Your sister is pressing play your trainer is pressing play” kind of way, but in an I can’t miss this kind of way. There’s a rarity to Frank Ocean’s music. I don’t even like writing his name without including both his first and last names because of it. It’s different. It sounds different. It’s layered different. It’s muddy but crisp. It’s rough but not. It’s like how the Apple ecosystem of phones, computers, and other connected devices isn’t



always perfect but seamless pairing and interfacing makes up for it, or how red hang tags and “AIR” Sharpied onto Nikes should look dumb but actually look the exact opposite. There are intricacies you don’t notice the first five times you listen to a song but are so obvious after the sixth time around. The background vocals on DHL’s hook create tension with lead vocals until they don’t. Time has something to do with it. In an era when fans expect artists to release something every year, Frank Ocean doesn’t. “DHL” and “In My Room” were his first official releases since 2017’s “Provider.” Outside of a five-yearold Instagram profile and mostly dormant (but legendary) Tumblr page, Ocean has been little more than a shadow on social media. But that mystique, combined with the listeners’ need to figure out and appreciate the music, is a magnet. So when I asked my friend, Hunter Bruckner, if he liked “DHL” and was met with an “I-didn’t-but-can’t-admit-that” smile, I knew what was coming next. “I didn’t love it,” Bruckner said. JM “But it’s still Frank.”

UNPACKING TRANSPHOBIA Pedro DiPietro teaches Syracuse students to restructure the way they think about gender, sexuality, and other social societal norms.

words by Jonathan Chau illustration by Lucinda Strol


n a small classroom at Syracuse University, Piedro DiPietro writes on a whiteboard with a black permanent marker since they forgot an erasable one. Their fingertips are perfectly students who attend SU. Today, the Trans Gender manicured into lilac almonds. DiPietro, an and Sexualities class focus on names, following assistant professor who identifies as Latinx, trans, the narrative of a trans man named Kenji. “How and uses the singular “they” pronoun, has distinct does one self-realize, foster, and cultivate their facial features: rounded hollow eyes, a hightransing capacity and capabilities without failing bridged nose, and sharp eyebrows. Their long their cultural identity and with the pressure of black wavy hair laced with grey roots gently lays being intelligible as a trans man or woman?” on their right shoulder of a gray linen cardigan. DiPietro asks the group. The class students sit in Underneath lays a vibrant pink tunic wrinkled brief silence. Many of the students’ eyebrows knit towards the bottom, which matches their necklace together and some lean closer towards their desks. and bracelet. Their wide-legged black trousers hit “That is the temptation of whiteness.” their faux leather flats perfectly past their ankles. DiPietro strives to dissect and recognize Across from DiPietro are 16 students; seven transphobia as it intersects with misogyny and white women, five women of color, two gender racism. Gender nonconformity has always non-conforming people, and a singular white polarized America. Legal, medical, and cultural male. They sit in a semi-circle—the class is a rather practices regulated transgender and non-binary small group for the over 15,000 undergraduate people to endure within a gender binary for


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American Graduate School of Social Sciences and researched gender, society, and politics. It was there that DiPietro met Maria Lugones, a feminist philosopher focusing on decolonial feminism. Lugones became their mentor, they studied under her at Binghamton University where they received their masters and doctorate degrees, and edited a collection of their writing. Following a fellowship at the University of California, Berekely, they came to Syracuse to work in the Women and Gender Studies department. Eighteen years after immigrating to the States, DiPietro continues their analysis in decolonizing ways of thinking through research within queer Latinx communities. "The mission in my work is to explore structures of power and see why they came to exclude folks of different representations,” DiPietro explains. Their studies also tie in with social justice. DiPietro collaborates with travesti collectives Damas de Hierro and Futuro TransGenérico. As the Sexualities Section Co-Chair of the Latin American Studies Association, they successfully fundraised $25,000 to support trans and travestis activism and intellectuals for the organization’s first-ever panel centered on América Transgénerx at their conference in May. The Chilean Attorney General Office invited them to speak about the intersectionality when dealing with gender violence or violence based on gender expression earlier this month. DiPietro implements their research in classes by including intersectional issues. “It’s critical to center the voices of those who were never given a voice, but it’s complicated because you want to be careful to not generalizing the experiences of those who are marginalized,” DiPietro explains. Rather the class centers around feminism or sexuality, they attempt to unpack stereotypes that are systematically ingrained in our society. For some students, it’s something they’ve never had to think about. “Growing up, I always had a privileged point of view and never had friends that identified differently than me,” says Christopher Connors, a student in DePietro’s class majoring in television, radio, and film. “I’m learning something new all the time in this class, and for someone like me, it’s important.” JM


hundreds of years. But when Coy Mathis, a six-yearold transgender student, wanted to use the girl’s restroom in 2013, issues regarding non-conforming bodies became a national conversation. From then on, dialogue began on whether they should take part in the military, be protected at work, and if mere genitalia dictated someone’s gender. While the community has obtained a few small victories, the violence against transgender people—especially trans women of color has reached epidemic status, with at least 19 trans people brutally murder this year alone. DiPietro grew up in rural Jujuy, a northeast province of Argentina bordering Chile and Bolivia. While conservative, the area has the largest native population in the country, which has greatly impacted the culture of the region, which has historically included the Travestis, a term used in Latin America to describe those who cross genders, sex, and dress. Sometimes people harassed DiPietro for being “too flamboyant” for someone assigned male at birth. So they sought refuge at church, where they were allowed to explore their creativity and sing in a higher register that they were comfortable with, within their choir. Their last name is Italian-Argentine, but their background includes Lebanese and Mapuche, indigenous people from southwest Argentine, decent. DiPietro’s father was a factory worker who eventually climbed the ranks and became a manager. Though surrounded by middle-class co-workers, their father came from a family of immigrants. He instilled working-class values and emphasized academics as a means to raise social status. By 15, two years younger than their cohort, DiPietro attended law school. They passed their classes with ease, but something about law school didn’t feel right, so they dropped during their last year. At that time, “I was also learning more about myself, my sexuality, and gender,” DiPietro says. DiPietro then focused on food activism, helping to implement local gardens in areas of lower social-economic status and looked at sustainable diet alternatives like vegetarianism. This career eventually led them back to academia, where they got a degree in communications and linguistics, and learned about feminism in the process. After which, they attended the Latin

A De a th on 2 4th S tre e t

Witnessing a fatal hit-and-run in Manhattan didn’t just shake me; it forced me to re-examine my own life.

words by Marina Prontelli illustrations by Jenny Katz


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begin every morning the same way: wake up, catch the 7:47 a.m. bus from the Bronx to New York City, jump on the F train for three stops, and walk two blocks to work at my internship. I always pass the same man who holds the door open for every Dunkin Donuts customer, and the same old woman handing out prayer cards on the corner of 25th and 6th. On Monday, June 24 at 9:23 am, I hopped off the subway and emerged from underground while bopping to Lizzo, ready to start another week of work, until I ran into a group of people stopped in the middle of the sidewalk staring across the street, unmoving. Confused, I pulled out my headphones and saw what everyone was staring at. Right there, in the middle of the busy street, was a bicyclist curled up in the fetal position. A white truck sped off. The bicyclist’s helmet, backpack, and bike lay strewn across 24th Street.

I had always thought about what I would do if I were faced with a situation where someone was injured right in front of me. Would I run over and help? Would I walk away? Call the police? That day answered my question. I couldn’t do any of those things. I stood there. Frozen. Unable to move any part of my body. A few seconds passed, and I snapped back to reality. People from every direction were sprinting across the street to see what was going on. Blood began to gush from the unidentified victim’s head. A truck had hit the cyclist. They flew three feet in the air and landed on the hard asphalt. The truck had bolted away instantaneously and was nowhere to be seen. People called 911, but I just watched. I forced my heavy, shaking legs to continue walking as I fumbled to open my bag and find my phone. I numbly dialed my mom and broke down into hysterics. I tried to find the words to describe what I had just witnessed, but there was nothing I could say to accurately sum up the sheer brutality of the bicyclist’s body lying limp on the street. We talked and cried together until I reached the front door of my office. I wiped my puffy eyes before pressing the elevator button to the 4th floor, trying to compose myself and not draw any attention. I entered the office and no one asked me anything. No one even realized that my face was red and stained with tears—and for that I’m grateful. I couldn’t recount it again, not that day anyway. I needed to know exactly what had happened. Who was it? Are they alive? Did they find the truck driver? I searched the internet for hours until I found what I had been looking for: “Cyclist Struck and Killed in Chelsea.” That morning, I had witnessed the aftermath of a 20-year-old woman getting hit and killed while biking to work. I was 20 years old and so were all of my closest friends. I had to read the article a few times before it really sunk in. Then I texted all my friends and told them I loved them. The thought that it could’ve been any of them lying on that street, without a pulse, haunted me for the rest of the day and into the following weeks. I spent the rest of the workday staring at my computer screen, unable to do anything productive. I thought about her family and how they expected her to come home that day after she got off work, just like my parents do every night. I thought about the pain she could’ve been in when she was first struck,


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and how scared she must’ve been as she was thrown off her bike and into midair. These thoughts clouded my brain as I aimlessly scrolled through the news looking for more information about her. As 5 p.m. rolled around, I logged out of my computer, grabbed my belongings and walked out the door. I retraced my steps from this morning and as I approached the scene, tears began streaming down my face. A memorial had already been erected with her mangled bicycle in the center and letters and flowers from loved ones and strangers alike surrounding it. I cried the entire bus ride home. When I finally crawled in bed that night I couldn’t fall asleep. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw her lying on the ground, her bicycle and helmet strewn across the street and the white truck speeding off— with no respect for the human life they just ended. In the days following the accident, I began to process what I had witnessed. Everyone likes to think that they would help in a bad situation, but I couldn’t. I kept asking myself why didn’t I run across the street to help her. I know now that she died upon impact, so logically, I know I couldn’t have done anything to save or even prolong her life. But the fact that I didn’t do anything continues to wrack me with guilt. I began to reflect on who I am as a person. What my values are, and most importantly, how I treat the people in my life. I’m stubborn by nature, and sometimes I let grudges build up. But seeing this woman lose her life so abruptly made me think twice about letting petty fights impact relationships with those closest to me. Knowing she won’t ever see her 21st birthday, won’t be able to go out with her friends and celebrate, won’t rise through the ranks of her career or be able to cross anything else off of her bucket list, but I’ll get the chance to do all that, seems too unfair to be true. I’d never witnessed death before, though my dad battled throat cancer when I was a junior in high school, and I lived in constant fear that it would take his life one day. I watched my strong, energetic, passionate dad turn into a thin shell of the man I’d known. But he survived. Yet this 20-year-old woman, at the height of her life, wasn’t as lucky. The memory of her lifeless body lying in the center of the 24th street is seared into my memory forever. JM

The Nomadic Skaters of Syracuse

The Everson Museum might be the East Coast mecca of skateboarding, but it's illegal to do so on the property.

words by Phoebe Smith photos by Sam Berlin


f you’ve ever visited downtown Syracuse, you’ve likely seen a giant concrete building known as the Everson Museum of Art. It’s a relatively popular location, and people can often be seen walking, biking, and skating around the area. The Museum claims “the Everson is for everyone, a place where community connects and inspiration surrounds you,” proudly hanging a banner outside its doors echoing this message, exclaiming it stood “for artists, for community, for everyone.” Well, almost everyone. The Everson Museum of Art is actually a well-known location for the skating community, some going as far as to label it “The East Coast

Mecca” of skateboarding. And while Everson does permit skateboarding on National Go Skateboarding Day, skating on the premises is otherwise considered illegal. Despite the ban, skaters can still be found on Everson’s campus grinding across its intricate concrete courtyard. Though the Everson Museum of Art does reserve the right to ban skateboarding, it doesn’t pair well with their claims of including all communities, especially one in need of a home. In recent years, BC Surf & Sport, a local Syracuse skate shop, constructed a DIY skatepark in one of the city’s local tennis courts to make up for the lack of places to skate. The shop teamed up with DLX’s “The Build Project,” a movement



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dedicated to raising money to build and fix DIY skateparks in underdeveloped areas. The project was initially protested by the Syracuse Police Department, but eventually the DIY skatepark, now known as “the spot,” was formally registered as a city park. The location attracted an entire subculture of artists and skaters that finally had a place to be free

from a judgmental community. In fact, the spot gained so much popularity that two individuals within the Syracuse community, Drew Shoup and Ian DaRin, used the location to raise funds and open “The Better Skate Shop” in downtown Syracuse, dedicated to remedying the local skate scene. Unfortunately, the spot

wasn’t enough to fully revive the local skate scene in Syracuse, and both The Better Skate Shop and BC Surf & Sport have since been forced to permanently close their doors. One skater at Everson Museum comment highlighted why the spot possibly fell through, claiming “the only dignified place to skate is a concrete skate park, and


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between Lake Placid and Buffalo, [Liverpool Skate Park] is the only place to skate. There are some prefab skateparks here and there, but mostly they’re terrible.” Evidently, the local skating community is in need of a place to call home, and many in the community believe Everson could be that home. In the past, skateboarders have been known to create signs exclaiming “FREE eVe,” demanding the Museum make it legal to skate there year round. Nonetheless, some skaters still find opportunities to skate on the Museum’s campus without being stopped by law enforcement or museum staff. Some skaters believe that the social stigma surrounding skateboarding could be the reason why they aren't allowed at the Everson. “We are pretty much a nonviolent community,” stated one skater, a skateboarding blogger touring notable locations in upstate New York, but asked to remain anonymous. “It's something


"I can understand why they wouln't want us here. we don't make things look pretty."


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to do that isn’t drugs, so it should be better than how the law sees it. Skating is just a deeply misunderstood culture and pastime.” Another skater echoed this, highlighting the similarities between art and skating. They're “an artist too, I throw ceramics so skating is exactly the same thing as throwing ceramics to me. It’s just a way to express the way I feel, and it’s more of a lifestyle than anything. This [board] was my set of wheels all for my life. Until I got my license, this is how I got around.” However, some skaters understand the Museum’s policy regarding skateboarding. A local Syracuse resident and skater says “there’s a core group of skateboarders here that take care of this place, we pick up trash and things. But unfortunately, there are some people that spoil it for others, I know [a] window has been broken a couple of times and people do disrespectful things, so I can understand why they wouldn’t want us

here. We don’t make things look pretty.” Skateboarding culture has repeatedly fallen victim to stigmatization, but the extent to which it is justified remains unclear. The attempted revitalization of the local Syracuse skate scene was able to have a tangible economic impact in the community, yet that impact can no longer be seen due to the lack of locations available to skaters. Does Everson stand to potentially help the local economy should they allow skating on their premises? Does it have a deeper responsibility to the communities it claims to serve? Either way, Everson’s promise of acceptance and inclusion of all communities while actively isolating one that could benefit from its help remains problematic. Until then, the displaced skaters of Syracuse will remain nomads, gliding through the streets without a place to call home.





Color reflects personality and relays a message, which is why choosing just one color in a look can amplify the message and put the voice of a personality in bold.


Styling Annie Blay, Sam Berlin, Aanya Singh Models Hawa Soumounou, Bria Huff, Maxwell Boise

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Photos Kali Bowden



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words by Lauren Cola photo by Kali Bowden


hen he was 16, sneakerhead Yianni Biniaris never expected that in the next four years he would stand next to Misa Hylton during the 2019 New York Fashion Week and present one of his hand-crafted, original handbags to her. Yes, that actually happened. Some carry their business cards made out of cardstock in a briefcase, but Biniaris carries his in the form of a Treeasun label on the custom crossbody he designs and wears. Biniaris is a sophomore fashion design major in VPA who designs and constructs handbags for his own company, Treeasun. Biniaris offers a custom design process where your bag is the only of its kind—we will never see a stranger walking through the streets of Syracuse with the same custom bag with interior pineapple fabric that Biniaris designed for us at here at Jerk. We may, however, see editor-in-chief Sam Berlin trudging across campus with the pale-yellow Jerk bag secured on her shoulder. Biniaris’ passion for design results from his high school experience as a sneaker aficionado and his love for drawing. He's a chronic doodler. Any scrap of paper is a blank canvas for a new design sketch. By his senior year of high school, Biniaris combined his interest in drawing and his fondness for sneakers into a new hobby: fashion design. Biniaris’ hobby transformed from sketches on pieces of paper into his livelihood as he started in the fashion design program at SU. When he first arrived at Syracuse, Biniaris had a vision of designing sneakers and menswear. Within the first week, however, he was thrown into the unfamiliar realm of women’s clothing. As he designed dresses and worked with denim, he wondered if he made the right choice with fashion design. He even considered transferring to a different major, like industrial design. But during summer 2019, Biniaris created a

bag that he named the “Cana,” from Americana Manhasset, a luxury shopping center located in his hometown in Long Island. He wanted to create a handbag that looked like it belonged in a luxury store in the shopping center. He posted the bag on his Instagram story, and within hours Biniaris had several offers followers offering to purchase the bag. He sold the “Cana,” quit his temporary job at a sneaker store, and dedicated his summer to making bags. This was the birth of Treeasun. As one of the few male fashion design students, Biniaris works to prove that he can produce garments that exceed the preconceived notions for male student designers. Biniaris, nominated by Syracuse University, was the only male designer on the trip to the 2019 New York Fashion Week with IMG. Biniaris seizes every opportunity given to work on representing male designers. He is involved with FADS, the Syracuse University Fashion and Design Society and dedicates all his free time to sketching and planning for the next Treeasun launch. You can check out his work at @treeasun on JM Instagram.






words by the Editors illustration by Nina Bridges

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Health, and Manrepeller all posted articles about them, either in support or dissent. Since Fila unveiled the Disruptor 2’s and the young market completely lost their minds over them, other streetwear brands and clothing lines such as Balenciaga, Nike, and Adidas have introduced their own versions of the platform sneakers, and they’re just as chunky and bad as the original. With so many bandwagoners, it’s a wonder the ER isn’t filled with more dinostomper related afflictions. For just $975, you can break your ankles in the Balenciaga Triple S sneaker. If you’re cheap, you can merely sprain them in the $65 Fila Disruptor 2’s, and look like a basic bitch while you’re at it. Or if you’re a masochist, maybe go for the pair with an extra two-inch wedge for just $15 more and a grand total of 4.5 inches added to your already inflated self-esteem. We jerks are praying for a second comet—a second extinction. These fugly ass shoes need to make like the dinosaurs and die. JM


Fila Disruptor 2’s have disrupted streetwear style as we know it. The internet has dubbed them “dinostompers” because of their absolutely gigantic platform soles and ability to turn anyone’s feet into massive dino-like abominations. But make no mistake, unlike dinosaurs, these bad boys are not, in any way, shape, or form, cute. They make girls look like bigfoot. They make them look like skinny ass candlesticks with large, sturdy bases. They make them look like goofy ass clowns who just stepped out of their clown cars, which had to burn extra gas because the shoes were so damn heavy. It seems like when these girls walk, the whole world should shake. It seems like these girls are both difficult to push over due to a low center of gravity, and also very susceptible to ankle injuries. In 2018 Fila unveiled the Disruptor 2’s, a tremendous contribution to this scary world where ugly stuff is considered fashionable. And the ugly sneaker trend gained momentum last winter, when fashion mags like Elle, Refinery 29, Women’s


PROTE Whether fighting for the environment, democracy, or just basic human rights, streets around the world were filled with protest in 2019.

those streets included syracuse.



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november 7 and 8, 2019 racial slurs against black and asian people were reported on the fourth and sixth floors of day hall



november 12, 2019 students gather in an open forum to express their concerns and discuss action planS to ensure accountability of university officials

THIS CAMPUS IS HELL. words by Nhari Djan illustrations by Nina Bridges

people are working behind the scenes. I joined (and later ghosted) the PR group, which is handling all the press that’s banging t’s Saturday, and down the door for access to any information on there are six more the movement while staying on top of all the days until break graphics and keeping all communication in check. and four more days When I reflect on my sadness at this time, it has until we hear what to do with the fact that I know I could be helpful the Chancellor is to them, but something about the work makes me planning to do in feel sick to my stomach. I feel frozen. I can’t really response to the explain what it is. I wish I could do more. written demands Until I can figure out some sort of emotional from #NotAgainSU. management, I do what little I can: spread I’m incredibly proud of everyone information, drive people to and from the center, who is working so hard on this donate supplies—whatever else might help me protest. It’s gotten to the point sleep at night. The point of this movement is not to where the occupied Barnes feel bad. The point of this movement has nothing Center is no longer just filled with to do with my feelings. The point of this movement Black and brown faces. White has everything to do with my feelings. allies are here in large numbers, My friends and I make a run that night to pretty much guaranteeing Walmart to buy supplies for the protest. We come now that the space will not be back to the center and drop our purchases in emptied out. I know how hard the large pile of donations. Everyone has been


november 13, 2019 students hold a sit-in at the barnes center with a list of demands for the administration to meet by 3 p.m. on Nov. 20

november 15, 2019




protestors adopt as the official movement

that align with the movement

“ the the “point point of of this this movement movement has has nothing nothing to to do do with with my feelings. feelings my the the point point of of this this movement movement has has everything everything to to do do with with my feelings. feelings my ““

so generous to the cause. I don’t even think food donations are being accepted anymore because there’s literally too much. The online fundraiser set up to support the protest has made more than $8,000 now. There’s a lot of love being poured into this, but there’s still so much hate. At night, the Barnes Center feels different. There’s a happier, calmer mood since many people are taking a break from strategizing. We peacefully ignore the smell of a collection of food donations and the bodies that have stayed put in the center night after night. People are decorating posters and laughing, eating dinner, playing games, and preparing for another night of sleeping on the crowded floor. Suddenly, everyone’s attention is called for an announcement. It’s urgent. DPS confirmed a group of 20 white men on campus attacked a Black woman. More details to come. Everyone assumes the worst. As updates come in, we learn that the woman is a student, and although she wasn’t physically attacked, the men were shouting at her, trying to humiliate her. They made fun of her clothes, and they called her “nigger.” (You probably thought no one did that anymore.)

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with all groups


to stand in solidarity

november 20, 2019 students march to the chancellor’s house chanting “sign or resign” after he couldn’t agree to protest demands

We continue to get updates on the situation, but there’s not much more information at the time. The biggest takeaway is that no one should be out alone. It’s too dangerous now. There’s a basketball game, and lots of attendees are drunk and unsupportive of the protests. They ignore protestors as they walk into the Dome to watch a game played by the only Black people on campus that they care about. We can’t risk provoking them. The news makes the room incredibly tense. The entire atmosphere changes as we’re reminded again of why we are there in the first place. This campus is hell. A friend of mine gets out of work at 9 p.m., so I text her that I will drive over to her work and pick her up because it’s not safe. When the time comes, my two other friends and I leave the building together and make our way to the car. As we’re walking, one of them says with a broken voice, “Can you take me home?” She has her fur hood on her head, covering her expression, but

her words are filled with tears. Hearing her cry makes my eyes water too. It’s become too much. We hold on to her and walk to the car. She keeps repeating that she wants to be there, but she just can’t. We understand. I’m sure there isn’t a single person who hasn’t felt that way this week. Later that night, we come back to the center, minus one. It’s an open mic night where people are singing and reciting monologues and showing off their poetry and rap verses. One Black woman in a pajama onesie gets in front of the crowd and takes up the bullhorn mic. She sings a song that captures me. She wails and wails in the chorus, “Nobody cries for Black girls.”JM


november 21, 2019


signed 16 of the protestors’


chancellor syverud demands and made changes to the remaining three.

currently. jan 19

notagainsu held a general interest meeting. their instagram has over 9,000 followers. jan 28

racist graffiti was reported in day hall this is the 23rd incident of racist, anti-semitic, or bias-related actions since nov. 7, 2019. jan 29

syracuse university announced it will suspend any student who commits bias-related vandalism

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sit-in that night


#notagainSU ended the

PROTESTS AROUND syracuse After days of racist, biasrelated incidents on campus, student protestors formed #NOTAGAINSU and occupied the Barnes Center for over two weeks

paris Hikes in fuel taxes sparked the Yellow Vest movement in the streets of Paris, which then grew into a larger outcry against what they saw as President Macron’s bias in favor of the elite

santiago In response to the raise of subway fare and more government privatization, people are taking to the streets in Chile to protest their government

buenos aires A bill on abortion rights sparked a feminist movement within the streets of Argentina






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In the name of saving the planet, The Extinction Rebellion uses nonviolent civil disobedience to disrupt one of the greatest cities on earth

hong kong delhi Khartoum Following a military coup d'ĂŠtat of President Omar al-Bashir, civilians protested in favor of a civilian-led transitional government, which was met with violence from the Transitional Miliary Council. A peace process between the groups was scheduled to start in September.

After the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed last December, citizens have taken to the streets to protest the discriminatory law

The citizens of Hong Kong are protesting to maintain independence and a separate democracy

HONG KONG. words by Cara Pomerantz illustration by Nina Bridges


t first glance, Hong Kong seems like a typical crowded, bustling city. And it is, on parts of the islands. There are three major islands—Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and Lantau. The western Coast of Hong Kong Island is the well-known part—with Victoria Peak, the central business district with huge banks and energy companies, and the hot nightlife of bars, international students, and dance clubs. I lived on Kowloon this past semester, in a district called Hung Hom. My favorite fact about our neighborhood is that it is said to have more dead people than living. This is to say, the area is known for its high volume of elderly residents, funeral homes, mausoleums, and funeral flower shops. For that reason, we were able to avoid the worst of the protests and unrest, until the very end of our stay. The culture in Asia has a large focus on uninterrupted rest for both the elderly and for the dead. So the protestors, who were mostly university students from local colleges (including CityU, the school partnered with Syracuse University), respected the area enough to keep their protests away from our neighborhood. For the first half of the semester, the energy around the city seemed normal; we would see kids walking to school, people crowding the subways on their way to work—business as usual. People went about their days, with the occasional closure of the central subway station, or a warning to stay away from certain areas. However, as time went on, the adults and elderly citizens of Hong Kong became more and more vocal about their displeasure with the protests and the attitudes of the youth protesting. They were, as many expressed to us in class and on field trips, disappointed with the rebellious nature of students and younger generations, when they had

worked hard and lived through a lot to give them a better life. This general unpleasantness and disdain for protesters, expressed through grumpiness, and in some cases, refusal of service in shops and restaurants, was pretty much the extent of our exposure to the unrest for the first part of the semester. Eventually, as protests escalated and larger events happened, the protests became a more prevalent part of daily life in Hong Kong. There were weeks when mini buses, cabs, and other alternate forms of transportation became necessary, as the subway system began to close at eight or nine pm (effectively cutting off all travel between islands), and there were times when our classes and even our midterms were postponed because it was deemed unsafe to take the subway due to violent disruptions at stations. The last week we lived in Hong Kong, was the climax of the protests and unrest. A gloom settled over the city. The final few nights of the semester, the protesters had moved into our neighborhood, we could see tear gas and fires from our apartment windows. Going out to the markets and malls for last minute Christmas present shopping was depressing. So few people were out and about, and those who were, were quiet and sullen. Even

"the protests became a more prevalent part of daily life in hong kong."



shopping at the biggest market in the city was upsetting—many of the ladies running the stalls were letting their merchandise, even the knockoff designer pieces, go at much lower prices than normal, while complaining to us that their business had become so bad because no one was in the mood to shop. My last night spent in Hong Kong, the protests reached our neighborhood and I watched with my roommates from the

window of our apartment. It was upsetting for us to watch for a multitude of reasons. We had become attached to the city of Hong Kong, and we were saddened to see its citizens so at odds with one another and the government. I want the city and the younger generations to have a chance to achieve true democracy and political freedom, but I also want the culture and energy of the city from before the protests began, to be preserved. For the sake of those who live there permanently under the fear that China’s government may crack down on them and change their way of life entirely. But all this didn’t scare us off, rather, it made us want to stay and fight for the culture JM we had grown to love.

7,019 number of protest related arrests made in hong kong since jan. 16

LONDON. words by Claire Miller illustration by Ali Harford


t’s 10 p.m. on a Monday night in April, and the bathroom in my London flat is in desperate need of hand soap. I’m supposed to be writing a paper, but my inspiration level is as low as the liquid in that plastic bottle, and I can’t concentrate for shit. There’s a steady thump of bass rattling through the windows of my living room. It’s coming from Hyde Park across the street. “When do you think they’ll stop?” my flatmate Sydney asks, looking up at me pleadingly from one of her impossibly thick books. Restless, I shake my head, put on my coat, and head out into the night to investigate. I reason that it’s not technically procrastinating since going for a walk usually helps set my head right. Plus, I can solve our sanitary needs by stopping at a store. Out there, the streets are empty save for the shadows dancing across them. I walk my usual way onto Park Lane, which borders the eastern edge of the park. On a normal day, you can catch one of those classic red buses here every half-minute. But not tonight. Tonight, vehicles don’t exist anymore. Tonight, there is only them—the Extinction Rebellion. Stepping into the barren wasteland of the city street, I can see them all: the civil disobedients fighting in what they call the third world war that rages between life, climate change, and its profiteers. In the past year, members of the Rebellion have blocked bridges, super-glued themselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace, gone to jail, and plastered their hourglass symbol across the city. I saw that symbol this morning, painted on posters that school children carried out of the Tube station. There were stickers, too, on the walls of my crowded train car when a man got on and said, “For Christ’s sake. They’re making more rubbish than they’re cleaning up. Get a fuckin’ job!”

right before unceremoniously cracking open a cheap can of beer. But these protesters are less interested in jobs than they are in saving the human race from extinction, and they’re taking over central London to demand that Parliament declare a climate emergency and act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a net-zero by 2025. Now, they’ve occupied the north-east corner of Hyde Park where the Marble Arch stands as a monument to history. I walk

"i really need this stupid fucking soap.



rebels buying snacks. I find the soap section, and my stomach constricts. There are just two kinds available, and they’re both in plastic bottles. I pick up the sea-breeze scented one and feel red-handed guilt. I hate to do it— buy plastic when there are people all around me fighting for the world. But I really need this stupid fucking soap. It occurs to me then how absolutely screwed we all are.

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I carry it up to the counter, ashamed, but there’s a girl in front of me in a green army jacket with the hourglass symbol painted on the back, and she takes her item from the cashier in a black plastic bag. She walks out of the store with her boyfriend at her side and a grin on her face, and I put my soap on the counter and say, “No bag, please.” It gives me a quick hit of superiority that evaporates instantly. I hand over the money, shove the bottle deep into my coat pocket, and hope no one outside sees.

it occurs to me then how absolutely screwed we all are."

among them with their colorful tents and colorful hair. They’re sprawled out on the grass, blissed-out like victors. A band is on stage crooning a refrain: “I hope. I hope.” This close, the thumping of the bass seems enough to jumpstart the rhythm of my heart. A wild-haired girl dances past me like a fairy on shrooms, though her eyes are clear, and I’m pretty sure she’s just happy to be alive. I realize that they’re not going anywhere. They’re spending the night. Suddenly I feel conspicuous, like I don’t really belong there because I don’t share that level of commitment. I wind my way through camps, where hot plates and sleeping bags are set up, and break out on the other side of the park. A convenience store is just down the street, and inside there are a few

Walking home along Oxford Street, the busiest street in London, I’m staggered by its stillness. The Rebellion has managed to stop the chaos of one of the planet’s greatest cities by forming a human blockade. They hold one red banner that reads, “This is an emergency,” and another orange one that reads, “Climate change? We can change.” They fly their symbol overhead on green flags that rustle restlessly in the wind, but the people who hold them are unwavering. They stand there in a battle line, and they look like warriors. I turn home and think there might be hope for us yet. JM

ARGENTINA. words by Rocio Fortuny illustration by Ali Harford


f there is one thing that characterizes Argentina as a country, it’s our people’s will to publically gather in the streets and make our voices heard— to demand change and support. Since I was a girl I have seen people get together to make something happen. I have always been allowed to go to “Pacific gatherings,” such as our 200-year celebration as a country. One time my entire family and I walked the streets with hundreds, if not thousands, of people to demand justice and truth after a prosecutor managing a highly important case died under mysterious circumstances. Public demonstrations, especially those that pressure the powerful to change, are constantly rising up and defining who we are as a society. But the infamous grita —meaning “the crack” in English— also characterizes the social divisions within our own people based on political views that have damaged and even broken families and friendships. You either stand on one side of the crack or the other. There is no in-between. Now, since 2017, there have been numerous protests in many cities back home that are unique for various reasons. Some of the protests are among the largest to ever take place in our history. They have also seen some of the most diverse groups of people participating. Women and men of all ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and religions are coming together for them—even managing to close up the infamous grita. Senators and representatives from opposing parties united to create and fight for the bill that would legalize abortions in rape cases in Argentina. That action lead to a feminist revolution in my country that aims to improve the lives of thousands of women by ending femicidios—or hate crimes towards women—by obtaining long-needed

equality, and by gaining a new understanding of what is acceptable as a comment or “joke.” Every time I think about these protests my heart is filled with joy and pride for my compatriots who began a movement that surpassed our national limits and inspired countries around us to begin having the same conversations Argentinian people are having. I am impressed by the maturity and passion the women that started this all have. They were able to fight together regardless of their differences. But at the same time, I am sad. I am sad that because I chose to follow my own path so far away from my homeland, I have been unable to take part in this movement and these protests. More than anything, I feel like an impostor in my own home when I see the girls that were present in the protests celebrate victories together, like when our Congress decided to debate the bill to legalize abortion, and I feel like I don’t deserve to be as happy as they are because I wasn’t there to fight with them.


Being so far away from home has been hard, and it has not

the social

infamous grita also characterizes



divisions within our own people."

gotten any easier since I left in 2015 to come to the U.S. What is new is a feeling of missing out and a feeling of absence towards my people and my fellow women. I know it has been physically impossible for me to be at these protests, and I also know that it’s not like I was sitting on my couch at home doing nothing while they took place. Still, I feel a sense of shame and sadness as I walk around acting like a strong and independent

woman who supports a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body when to this day, I have never been to a protest, never publicly tweeted about it, and never worn the green cloth around my wrist that represents the movement. I might be the only one that is holding this against myself, but as the Argentinian woman I am, I feel remorse that I haven’t been present. I look home, and I see myself on one side of the crack, and my people and fellow Argentinian JM women on the other.



words by Berri Wilmore photos by Miguel Fresneda


n August of 2019, the Princeton Review released its annual Party School ranking, hailing Syracuse University as the number one party school in the country. The school wore the title like a badge of honor, with the official @barstoolcuse on Instagram issuing a press release, stating: “We could go on for hours about the possible reasons that Syracuse earned the top-ranking. But the only thing that matters is that we are #1. Suck it nerds (Duke, G’Town, UNC, UConn, anyone not ranked #1).” Whether your party interests lie in shaking ass at UV, going to backyard darties, or getting blackout drunk at Sigma Chi, no party would be possible without a fire playlist. And if there’s anyone who can sonically maneuver through party scenes with ease, it’s DJ and SU Junior Khari Brandes, known professionally as Troyce Pitones. While it’s obvious that music selection plays a crucial role in the success of a party, there is something about Brandes’ gigs that put them in a completely different ballpark. Brandes got his start in DJ-ing in the eighth grade. He explained that he was that kid who would play his music loudly from a speaker during lunch. When a friend of his saw him doing it, he suggested that

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A Syracuse junior is elevating the standard for DJ’s on campus.


Pitones Unplugged

Brandes look into DJ-ing more seriously. That’s when he learned the technical basis of being a DJ. From there, he only grew as an artist. If Syracuse DJ’s were cities, Brandes would be New York: innovative, subversive, and bustling all night long. From frats to house parties to clubs, Brandes always manages to draw a crowd and give them a night to remember. “I always have a direction of where I want a party to go,” explains Brandes. “But it’s like, adapting that for different audiences. You’re clued-in to the party, so they don’t have to come up and request a song.” Though Brandes clarifies that there’s nothing wrong with requesting songs during a set (so long as you’re not weird about it), there is something really captivating—and really rare— about going to a party where you can basically

guarantee that the vibes will be good. “I try to never play music that I don’t enjoy,” Brandes says. “A lot of it is based on what I would want to hear other people play.” And based on the sets played at his shows, this process seems to work out well—there’s always going to be something for everyone. Trap, throwbacks, afrobeats, rap, alternative, and probably some shit you’ve never heard of, but will have you discreetly Shazaming the title. This diverse array of music is summed up in the way Brandes views Dancehall—a genre of music born out of Jamaica in the 70s. (You know how Drake woke up one day and decided to be Jamaican, and we ended up with One Dance in 2016? That was all Dancehall’s influence.) While Brandes isn't



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necessarily the biggest fan of Dancehall, he still finds ways to incorporate the music into his sets. “Something I’ve been working on is finding Dancehall songs I like, and learning to appreciate that genre more,” he explains. “That’s definitely part of it: learning what people are into, and figuring out what about it appeals, and applying that to my own taste.” That’s a major part of Brandes’ philosophy on the artform—being a DJ is about give and take. It’s not all about the DJ’s wants, nor is it all about what the audience wants, either. If the DJ plays music that only appeals to themself, then there’s no guarantee that the crowd is going to enjoy what’s being played. On the flip side, if the DJ only plays music that they don’t personally enjoy, it zaps the passion out of the experience. In a way, the audience and the DJ are in a mutually beneficial relationship—one where the DJ drives the boat, and the party

crowd is along for the ride. Part of being a good DJ, he explains, is “recontextualizing and presenting music in a way that, if the audience doesn’t know a song, they’re still going to enjoy hearing it.” For this reason, Brandes cites music lovers, and people open to new experiences, as his favorite kinds of audiences. So maybe that’s why Syracuse is the number one party school in the country. Sure, it’s fun to get dressed up and go out and put your liver up to the test. But, there’s also something magical about parties—those moments where a song comes on, and everything just clicks. It’s Brandes’ favorite part of DJ-ing: the times where he is able to connect with crowds. The bass is thrumming throughout the room, everyone is dancing, and the crowd comes together in this moment of collective effervescence where worries about class, and schoolwork, and drama fizzle away, JM and you can just get lost in the music.


BAGGAGE photos by Kali Bowden

Tyler Valgora: “I bought the chest bag in a store called Playbag in Prague.They focus on sustainable design with a detail oriented approach. The entire company is made up of just seven specialists doing everything from production to marketing. And all the manufacturing is done by hand in the Czech Republic. It's the best pocket for my paint markers which I always keep on hand, in case inspiration strikes.” Candice Bina: “I got the bag from Amazon. I really love fashion, it’s something I care a lot about, but I don't love carrying purses. My mom, on the other hand, has a purse to go with every outfit, and I thought I could get around that by getting a purse that didn’t go with any outfit.”

Kalie Bowden: “I’ve always been conscious of streetwear but I was never willing to spend the money for it. Then I met my boyfriend, who is a reseller of streetwear, and has access to tons of different awesome products. When this backpack came out I really liked it because my favorite color is yellow, and my boyfriend bought it for me as a gift and got himself the matching duffel. We travel with all the time, so far they’ve been to 4 countries, and counting!”



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The Story So Far shirt: Oh you’ve never heard of them? I’m not surprised. I’m a trendsetter when it comes to new bands and music. I’m like the human embodiment of Spotify Discovery.

Beanie: This beanie was given to me by the love of my life, that I met at a Neutral Milk Hotel concert, when we were both on acid. Too bad I never got her name.


Flannel: Did you know black isn’t actually a color? It’s the absence of color. I learned that in my Design Theory class last semester. It changed my life.


FORM & FUNCTION: How to dress like a...

Wire earbuds: Because I refuse to give into Capitalism and support Apple by buying Airpods. I prefer the analogue lifestyle. I still have an iPhone and Macbook though.

Cuffed jeans: These bad boys absolutely radiate sexual energy. Girls can’t get ENOUGH of me when I cuff my jeans four times.

White converse: These babies are timeless. I actually think that sometimes the most unoriginal thing you can wear is paradoxically the MOST original thing. I was high in Amsterdam when I thought of that. You’re welcome.

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