TABLE OF CONTENTS
05 Masthead 06 From the Editor 07 Etymology 08 16 24
INTERVIEWS Brian Focarino Nina Cavazos Ben Weissman
30 36 48
FASHION Even Models Get the Blues Woven The American Jean
ROCKET Founder Editor-in-Chief Justin Miller Art Director Selden Koolman Photo Chief Gianna Baiges Parrilla Features Editor Eden Stuart Booking Editor Tara Oladimeji Beauty Editor Francesca Rizzo Text Victoria Jansson, Gladys Shaw, Grace Martini, Katie Plunkett, Lauren Jones, Elise Rivera, Kristin Hill-Clemons, Katie Sharp, Mayssa Chehata Photography Samantha Reichman, Joel Carela, Grayson Cooke,Mary Griffith Skye Keene-Babcock, Arianna Lyons, Katherine Matson Ashley Napier, Kathryn Plunkett, Alex Smith Beauty Elizabeth Ostick, Ellen Berry, Gladys Shaw, Justine Whelan, Jenny Horowitz ROCKET TV Samantha Roth & Eva Colberg Fall 2012 Vol. III, Issue 1
FROM THE EDITOR
nspired by the magic of Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, this issue of ROCKET attempts to curate blue. Whether that word refers to the actual color is left to the imagination; for our exploration of blue—in all its shapes and emotions—left us yearning for the depths of the ocean but also the threads of denim. Pinning down a single word, especially one with the caliber of this issue’s theme, proved itself impossible. I for one found myself fighting against language and actual art, reconciling with myself that all of the blue things in the world, no matter where they hide, are an experience themselves. This magazine is no different. Experience details change, and if ROCKET is known for anything it should be change. The design altered a bit—we needed more white space, more polished simplicity. All of our features are now saved for our forthcoming website; the magazine lives now as a pure exhibition of art, photography, and personality. Personality rests at the core of this exploration, this experience. Nina Cavazos, Brian Focarino, and Ben Weissman paint our pages with their individual personalities, yet also connect themselves by the palpable excitement and enchantment of their craft. So whether translated as ethos, words, music, or even the color itself, blue pervades the very human experience. Blue connects each of us, like a long vein, into one stream of conscious color. You just have to press hard enough to feel it.
pronunciation: /blu/ syllabification: (blue) 1. color or pigment. 2. informal (of a person or mood) melancholy, sad, or depressed. 3. informal (of a movie, joke,story) with sexual or pornographic content. 4. informal dated rigidly religious or moralistic; puritanical. 5. your definition ______________________________________.
bɹaɪn f n fokəɹinɔ θ ðθ tð øtθ ðæ βø æβa θβ a a øt æ ð
t ø æ
β a æ ø
ð t ø æ β a
ø β t ða
After spending a year at the University of Edinburgh and receiving his master’s in English Language, Brian Focarino returns to William and Mary for more. Hard at work as a first year law student at Marshall-Wythe Law School, Brian has found his passion in life: words. His time abroad, his studies of language, his feelings on blue—whatever the topic, Brian’s experiences and opinions mark the non-tangible influence of words as a “fashion.” Brian wears these words with comfort, making them feel classic, yet somehow new, in just the right way. Written by Katie Sharp. Photography by Gianna Baiges Parrilla.
Is it true about you potentially liking words more than people? I think the two have a lot to do with each other, which is why I study them. I’m very interested in how words express people, how words sound. The language that people wear has always been very interesting to me. Especially in the UK. Language is this hugely fashionable, or unfashionable, thing. It’s interesting in the United States how language is able to do so many things. The way that you and I speak is different than how others will speak. But here, language speaks race a lot. Language in the UK speaks social access, power, class. It’s been nice to see both aspects. Did you come into college knowing you wanted to do linguistics? I don’t think anyone comes out of high school going, “I want to do Linguistics!” It’s a small group here, and I liked that a lot about it. I studied in the University of Edinburgh. I spent a lot of time in St. Andrew’s. I didn’t go to St. Andrew’s for grad school, though, because I thought it would be too similar to William and Mary. The University of Edinburgh, which is 28,000 students, has one of the top five Linguistics programs in the world. I lived in a dorm that was 500 years old, right next to the castle. Scotland is such a beautiful place. Do you ever miss certain aspects of Scotland? I feel as if I have a huge capacity to live abroad. I like being American a lot more when I’m overseas. I feel more patriotic. I don’t miss the rain in Scotland. Or the winter, when it would get dark a lot. There is a huge sense of “you know what you owe” to other people. I think that escapes us sometimes in the US. Which is what makes [William & Mary] so nice—you come here and you’re placed in to this long line. It’s neat to study in places where famous people have been. Like studying where Charles Darwin was before evolution was really even a
concept. It’s beautiful. I miss trains that work. Buy a ticket, and have it be there. It’s drastically different than transportation in the United States—Amtrak is its own form of terrorism against people of the United States. Do you think you would want to move to the UK? The livability of Edinburgh was so high for me. I could absolutely see myself going back and living there. I love the feel of European cities. My second week there, I went to a garden party hosted by Princess Anne. There were 100 students that went; it’s crazy to be at a garden party. The princess is right there, and you’re surrounded by Sir So-And-So, etc. JK Rowling is, like, just walking around. It was such a neat experience. Does campus feel different at all to you, now that you’ve been abroad for two years? It’s strange because when I was an undergraduate here, I was so into everything. The law school is not like that, which is good. I don’t think campus actually feels that different. It’s nice to know that I can really love this place from a different perspective. My time here now doesn’t quash the time I had here for four years. Different aspects, different set of people. It’s interesting the things that I do find very similar. The quality and the caliber, the quirkiness of the law students is reflective of the undergraduate student. I came back because I felt that I could rely on the people here. When did you decide you wanted to do law? My interests in law overlap with my interests in Linguistics. I’m interested in the ownership of language, trademark/copyright law. Governmentally sponsored, recognized ownership of language. The copyright stuff is amazing. Everything you’re writing right now, you own. Copyrights are immediately granted. That entire notebook [pointing to my notebook] and every-
thing written in it is irreplicable. With trademarks, I have also studied a lot of prejudice rights—certain things like Apple, for example. You could never found an apple company called “Apples.” I have the right, as a human who communicates, to be able to use that word. But Apple, for computers, can use the word “apple”. You can own the word Apple, the logo. I’m interested in how battles like that play out, how people think they can benefit and profit from words. Copyright seems to become more and more increasingly relevant, especially with music copyright. It’s interesting that people cease to recognize ownership. If everything is at your fingertips, then everything seems like it is in the common domain. We see this increase in mashups—all of that is a new frontier. Do you feel like your style changed at all when you were abroad? Yeah, I normally wear a lot of baseball caps. They don’t wear baseball caps over there. If you wear one, you are clearly an American. They wear all these funny hats instead. I’m not a big hate person unless it’s a baseball cap. I wore a lot more things that were waxed/water repellant. Obviously, those big Wellington boots, too. I have about three pairs of them at this point. I worked in Parliament for ten months while I was there. Here, there was a fraternity, East Coast blue-blazer sort of look. I would wear a lot of khakis, blue blazer, a bowtie. In the UK, it’s all suits. At every event at the law school, I think I’ve grown out of the blue blazer thing. I’m much more of a full-suit person. I’ve almost lost the niche of casual frat blazers in my life. More than anything, I appreciate a good pair of slacks. It’s hard to find the balance between fit and tight. I don’t think that people’s style should make them uncomfortable. I’m against any sort of style that really makes you feel uncomfortable. William and Mary is unlike so many other places, in so many ways. You can go to so many other schools and sometimes, fashion sense
translates into feeling like you’re stifled by a culture of “must look like this.” I don’t think that’s the kind of place you want to be, you don’t want to be learning from those people. I like that people wear weird stuff here. Would I ever? No. You do you, I will do me. I like that I’ve gotten to a point where I can be comfortable with myself. What does blue mean to you? It’s hard to define what blue means to me. When I was much younger, I was on this really small plane. It lost propeller power, and started plummeting. It wasn’t because the weather was bad or anything. But I would equate blue with the idea of smooth sailing. I would love to fly on a day like today. I think blue is opportunistic. Blue skies, blue seas, smooth sailing. Blue, for some people, can mean something soulful. For others, it could mean something depressive. I have a very non-depressive personality, so I couldn’t immediately associate colors with various states of sadness. Blue is like a day that I want to be outside, doing something with people. Blue is a day I want to take a walk.
“YOU DO YOU, I WILL DO ME. I LIKE THAT I’VE GOTTEN TO A POINT WHERE I CAN BE COMFORTABLE WITH MYSELF.”
For the past three years Nina Cavazos has spent her time pretending to be someone intelligent and who knows what she’s actually doing. This year, the 23-year old—shall I say—woman has not come to terms with as much as she would like, but her six-year dream of playing Ophelia finally crystallized this fall when Shakespeare in the Dark produced Hamlet. Nina, standing at 5’1” speaks from her heart, and here she talks about blue, sacrifice, Hinduism, and Ophelia herself.
written by Justin Miller. Photography by Samantha Reichman.
What is your core object or relationship with art? I definitely feel like friendship is my core work of art. I try really hard to make everyone feel loved and know that I appreciate with them. But I don’t necessary identify solely with friendship or acting or any art in particular. It’s my sole existence.
Define Blue. I think of Shiva and his blue throat. Shiva swallowed Ananta’s vemon, and it was held in his throat. But what does that mean to you? I obviously don’t take it literally, but I try to view it as a metaphor, or something I can apply to my life. And, you know, I think of how much the artist has to sacrifice for creation, and bring themselves to the point of death. I stayed up till 3am in the morning to right my thesis, and even though I didn’t need to, I wanted. So, sacrificing things for the good of what your creating. I view my entire life as an entire work of art. Tell me about your relationship with art. When a lot of people think of art, they think of material culture, but art is a lot more than that—music, food, patterns, design. And I feel like art is not something that is ‘other’ it’s very much a part of you; it’s everywhere. And by being everywhere you are engaging in this art. Art is completely grasping me. It’s a relationship, I feel.
What drew you to Hinduism? This is something I have to work at, I wasn’t born in India and I’m not a practicing Hindu, so I’m making a conscious effort to notice everything around me. Something I’m really interested in is the presentation of the human body. The goddess is the supposed ideal human form. I’m really interested in religion and the arts, and how [they] perceive the naked form and how they relate the form of God to their own body. You mentioned the word sacrifice. What does it mean to you; you don’t get sacrifice back, so—? A sacrifice isn’t necessarily throwing into the fire. Sacrificing means maybe giving up “things that are important to you” or things you thought you wanted for an end goal that you know will make the whole better. What is the whole for you? To whom and for what? Ultimately myself. Not to sound trite, to become a more self-actualized person. To do things that I want to do, that I’ve always wanted to do. Being successful, being a successful woman, which is still tragically, and surprisingly, still a lot harder than being a successful man. I mean, I am the first generation American born on my father’s side, so I’m succeeding for them. Most of all, succeeding for myself.
“IT WAS SACRIFICING ANOTHER LAYER OF PROTECTING MYSELF FORM THE AUDIENCE. I FELT LIKE THAT ROLE WAS ONE OF MY MOST TRANSPARENT ROLES AS AN ACTOR. I FELT LIKE IT WAS ME, AT TIMES.”
To talk more about your process of sacrifice, exclusively in terms in acting, let’s talk about your role as Ophelia in this fall’s Shakespeare in the Dark’s production of Hamlet. Why Ophelia? I read [Hamlet] in high school and I always felt like people played her wrong. She’s not a weak wilting flower and a victim of her circumstance. For some reason I identified with her so strongly and I wouldn’t say those things about myself. I’m not a wilting child; I don’t have patricarchal control over me. And there is a tendency—especially with female characters in film, literature, in film, in whatever—to characterize her as one-dimensional and then use her through that one lens. Everyone says “Oh, Hamlet is crazy” but he’s a good son, he’s so smart, he’s this, he’s that. And when they call Ophelia crazy it’s a pejorative term. But why would Hamlet choose a partner who was weak and simpleminded? [Ophelia] going crazy is her going crazy; everything she was told, she feels, is becoming a lie, and her taking control is her killing herself. And that’s something a lot of people feel, you know? If she was weak and simple minded she wouldn’t have done that. Hamlet is also having an extensional crisis, but Ophelia’s isn’t as slow. She’s taking control of her life. And I feel people in the world and on this campus view suicide as this one-dimensional thing and that certain people do it, and it’s selfish and you do it out of weakness. And that’s not true. So in terms of sacrificing in terms of that role, I feel like I completely poured myself into that role. I mean, maybe we all have those feelings and those thoughts—I certainly have—and it wasn’t sacrificing my wellbeing or mind for just another role. It was sacrificing another layer of protecting myself form the audience. I felt like that role was one of my most transparent roles as an actor. I felt like it was me, at times. I made myself vulnerable. I was letting people know that—not just Ophelia, or I deal with things—but how some of us deal with things. If you could have write a letter to Ophelia or walk into the scene and talk to her, what would you say? I don’t know. I would probably just hold her. And tell her that I know, because I do know. And tell her that I see, because I do see.
For the majority of William & Mary students, asking what you plan on doing with the rest of your life will elicit a tried and true response. Needless to say, there was something refreshing about sitting down with BeWyze, known to most of us as Ben Weissman â€™14. With lofty ambitions to reach the top of the game, the aspiring rapper deftly blends a masculine bravado with an acute sense of awareness. The Boston native may not have the hard boiled background synonymous with hip-hop, but he doesnâ€™t try to fake it, either. Written by Eden Stuart. Photography by Gianna Baiges Parrilla 25
“WHEN I'M BEWYZE THE PERSONALITY IS LARGELY THE SAME, MAYBE WITH ADDED CONFIDENCE. ONCE I GET TO THE POINT WHERE I HAVE TO BALANCE THE TWO DIFFERENT PERSONAS, I'M DOING SOMETHING RIGHT.”
How would you describe your music? Good. And it’s real. It’s me. Who would you consider to be the greatest rapper of all time? Eminem. The stories he tells, his content, the way he takes on other personas—it’s the stuff your mother doesn’t want you to hear. And Kendrick Lamar, because he’s becoming the second coming of Eminem. Who do you most often get compared to? Mac Miller and Atmosphere Why do you think that is? I mean, beyond the obvious color comparison? I think most, if not all, of it comes from the color comparison. My voice sounds white so no matter what my flow is like, people hear a white kid voice and connect it to other white rappers, which makes sense. Miller and the guy from Atmosphere are two well-known white rappers, each in their own sphere, of course, so it makes sense that they would come to mind. I don't model any of my own material after either of them. If you could work or collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why? Early 2000s Ye [Kanye West], or Dr. Dre, or
[Detroit underground rapper] Elzhi. Elzhi is really the one I'd like to rap with most, because I think he's one of the best to ever do it and my mind is blown every time I listen to him. I would want to work with Dre and early Kanye as producers because they were both, at their heights, the most creative producers in the game. Dre had the West Coast feel on lock and Kanye's sampling is amazing. A good beat makes or breaks a song. How did you first get involved in music? I started playing trumpet in the 4th grade, and in middle school I began playing in the jazz band in middle school. How did your first Homebrew go? I wasn’t gonna do it, actually. It’s usually acousting and soft. My friend Katie [Sharp, chair of AMP’s Homebrew committee] convinced me to audition. It was a ton of fun; I got to sit down and talk [to the audience. What else should listeners know about your music? I recorded an EP over the summer in Boston. It’s the best music thing I’ve done, and there are some good singles. I also wrote some songs over the summer that I’m recording here and sending to Boston for production. Hopefully I’ll have a CD in November, that’s the goal.
How do you manage the different personas of BeWyze and Ben Weissman? Unfortunately, I'm not big enough for that to be a real issue. I'm not going anywhere with people recognizing me as a rapper, so nobody sees me as BeWyze first. When I'm BeWyze the personality is largely the same, maybe with added confidence. Once I get to the point where I have to balance the two different personas, I'm doing something right.
What is the first thing you think of when you think of blue? How does blue play into your life? My bedroom back home has blue walls. I like them. I remember painting them. I don't really like my bedroom though, it's not very special to me. I spend more time in the living room and in the basement. I just sleep in the bedroom. Also JetBlue. I always fly with them - great chips and I'm a big fan of the TVs.
Youâ€™re a pretty confident guy, but itâ€™s always with just the right amount of knowing humor. Do you think that your sense of humor comes across as flippant sometimes? I tend to be very responsible with my attitude. I'm not afraid to crack jokes in tense situations but I'm good at gauging the circumstances. You have to know the situational limits. I'm never disrespectful to somebody I don't know. Believe it or not I'm actually very polite, just not to people that know me well; in those cases, I don't have to be polite!
There's an Elzhi song I really like called "Blue Widow." Miles Davis' album Kind of Blue is also music that I like. I like it when it's sunny and the sky is blue - much better than shitty cold weather and rain.