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TABLE OF CONTENTS Staff List
Ode to Camouflage
The Mask Menagerie
Secret Spaces/Designer Doors
I Am The Freak Show
In Defense of Modern Love
Photo by Madeline Bilis
Asst. Fiction Editor
Editorial Team Rachel Cantor Chris Conley Belinda Huang Mary Kate McGrath Jessica Waters
Kaylee Anzick Jenna Danoy Hanna Lafferty
Asst. Poetry Editor
Carina Allen Becca Chairin Nydia Hartono Shay Kim
Erini Katopodis Meaghan McDonough
Ben Allen Hayley Gundlach Mairead Hadley
Editor In Chief Managing Editor
Illustrators Haley Brown Christina Catucci Pimploy Phongsirivech Web Editor
Madeline Bilis Brooke Kramer Kavita Shah Tricia Sullivan
Marketing Team Laura Cafasso Alexis Cadavid Contributors Rebecca Ring Taina Teravainen Jacob Marrinson
LETTERS I’m sitting in the lobby of the Taj Hotel pretending to be a fancy tourist. A bunch of bridesmaids just marched by, clutching camera equipment and heavyduty purses in stark contrast to their frothy pink gowns. They’ll tell the bride they love her and that the day was perfect, but at the moment they look pissed. I didn’t go to the hotel with the plan to write this letter. I was sitting here, sipping coffee and reading Vanity Fair [fancy literati disguise) and realized that this was the perfect introductory setting to Gauge’s “Disguise” issue. This is a manufactured anecdote disguised as genuine moment. Creating this issue of Gauge, it’s been harder to tell what isn’t a disguise than what is. Rather than a stark division between the bald and the hidden, we’ve discovered varying layers of disguise. I, for example, have disguised myself as competent for the duration of my editorship. This is not to say I am incompetent, but sometimes it takes a facade to pull it off. Under the guise of reporter, I talked to some carpenters about architectural disguises. In journeying to a mask maker’s studio, Mary Kate McGrath
found that masks are actually a way of becoming more visible. Rachel Cantor talked to some people who are known by almost everyone in our generation, but not famous. And Jess Waters questioned the way that disability is disguised and distorted in horror films. I am proud of the Gauge staff, and proud of this issue. I hope that it prompts you to think about the many facets of disguise we encounter in daily life, peeling off each letter page by page. Enjoy. Loretta Donelan Editor In Chief Gauge has been under construction. From the hiring of brand new writers, photographers, designers, and copyeditors, to the countless hours spent training, writing, workshopping, arranging, editing, nitpicking, and endlessly perfecting, we are finally ready to present you with our newest creation: a triumph, disguised as a magazine. I am proud to call myself the managing editor of this semester’s issue, as it finds me in the company of such an immeasurably talented and curious staff. Every name associated with this semester’s issue of Gauge deserves recognition; expectations were high,
but they were also met, and in ways that make me proud to call these artists my peers and collaborators. It is with great pleasure that I present to you Gauge 26, themed “Disguise.” Please take a moment to look inside and discover what lurks beneath the surface. You won’t be disappointed. Emeralde Jensen-Roberts Managing Editor I thought Disguise would be a piece of cake, aesthetically speaking. There are so many opportunities to depict disguise in a photo or a design, and yet I found myself taking it too literally almost every time. This is why the cover has a ghost on it; it’s intenionally literal. The difficulty was in varying the images in these pages, considering how often disguise relates to a person instead of a place or thing. And yet you’ll read about camouflaged war ships and hidden bookshelves, as well as online aliases and facial recognition technology. Both old and new photographers did a radical job representing the varying degrees of disguise in this issue. I’m so happy to be a part of the Gauge team once again and I’m so excited for this final product. Courtney Tharp Photo Editor
Tara was nothing special – just a bland brunette with acne and a god complex, a pretty typical high schooler – but that didn’t stop me from loving her. There was something in her innocent flirtation that made me think she wasn’t joking when she flirted with girls – and everyone else thought so too. But if Tara was a lesbian, then she was in the closet and she wasn’t coming out, no matter how hard we banged on the door and insisted we knew she was in there. When David proposed the idea to her, stating in his usual blunt fashion that he thought she liked girls, Tara was so upset that she ranted at me for an hour about his presumption. I listened with gritted teeth and a clenched jaw, wanting nothing more than to scream I think you like girls too, you goddamn homophobe! and tell her that her agitation proved she thought there was truth in it. Either way, she knew I wasn’t the person to have this conversation with. When she lay her head in my lap in the band room during a concert, I looked down at her and knew I could kiss her and she wouldn’t stop me until someone else came in and interrupted us. But she was going on and on about the boy that she liked and her big brown eyes stared up at me with profound trust, and I just couldn’t let myself do it. What if she rejected me? What if I broke her trust? What if I was just misreading all of the hundreds of thousands of signs and she didn’t really like girls, not even in secret? I leaned back on my palms and looked at the ceiling. Tricia Sullivan
My grandmother is a contradiction. I know her in sun hats tied with Ralph Lauren bows, in wide eyes and open smiles and soft, strong hands. I know her in playful jokes and ferocity and the importance of God. I know her calm in the face of adversity, her serenity above family noise, her love for her grandchildren. From her, I learned graciousness and gentility, respectfulness and honesty. My father knows her better. He has seen her bite, felt the sting of her ringed hand on his face, his back. He has seen her divorce her sick husband. He has met her boyfriends and seen her smoke cigarettes. He has watched her lie to pastors and cheat the insurance agency. He has seen her make her Machiavellian ends meet. My mother knows her, too, but differently. She has seen Grandma offer sympathy to strangers and gossip about her sisters behind their backs. She has caught Grandma in lies: the other driver was drunk; they shut the lights on me; I didn’t know about that. My grandmother is a small woman. Every passing Christmas, I have to stoop a little lower to kiss her cheek, to let her smell my hair. Osteoporosis has weakened her bones, but, as she is quick to remind us, it has not weakened her resolve. Every passing year, the weight of her old secrets folds her a little more in half.
Photo by Evie Hansford
SHORT SHORTS It wasn’t that she hated the person she saw in the mirror. It was that she didn’t recognize her. During the day, she caked on make-up, put thick purple lines around her eyes like a mask and tried her best to hide this mystery person from the world. Walking the hallways at school, she avoided glancing at herself in glittery locker mirrors. She kept her gaze fixed downwards, afraid to even see herself reflected in the eyes of her peers. She always thought of herself as three people: the self that lived inside of her, the person that people thought she was, and that strange face in the mirror. The mirror person had grown breasts, hips, thick thighs that curved like the bowls of twin spoons. These were things that the inner self always firmly denied, and yet somehow everyone else seemed to notice them, teasing in the hallways at school or looking her up and down and saying, “Oh you’ve become quite a woman!” The person inside of her didn’t know that they wanted to become a woman after all. It seemed like too much of a hassle, all that growing up and the mockery and commentary it inspired. At night when everything was dark and her makeup was off and she was left with herself only, when it was just her and the face in the mirror, she pretended that she could pull her soul’s arms inwards and watch her limbs flatten like hand puppets lying unattended. She would pull her knees up to her heart, wrap her arms around them, and feel only herself, herself inside this other self, her own heartbeat vibrating through her chest and down to her toes. Kaylee Anzick
FICTION 8 Photo by Courtney Tharp
LESSON NOT LEARNED It was an early Monday morning, and the patio behind the cafe was suffused with a calm, sleepy atmosphere. The walled courtyard was vacant, save for Max and Maria, who sat opposite each other at one of the wroughtiron tables. They were in their street clothes. Normally neither of them got their uniforms on until opening time was practically upon them. It wasn’t uncommon for the first customer of the day to be greeted by one of them still struggling to get their apron tied. “How was your weekend?” Maria asked as she took a sip of her coffee. “Real good,” Max said. That surprised Maria. She raised her head and looked Max in the eye. “Oh yeah?” she said. “Why’s that?” He smiled. “I met someone.” “Well, I’ll be damned,” Maria leaned back in her chair and shot him a grin. “How did a wallflower like you ever manage that?” “I’m back on OKCupid.” Maria furrowed her brow. “Oh, Max, no.” “It’s fine,” Max said. “And it’s doing well for me.” “That’s the same thing you said last time,” Maria sighed. “I thought we weren’t going to get our hopes up again.” “This time will be different,” Max said. “Daniel’s not like Grant was. I can already tell.” “So you’ve actually met him then? In person?” “I did,” Max folded his arms. “We grabbed coffee.” Maria made a show of yawning. “Coffee.” She waved her hand dismissively. “Coffee means nothing.” “Daniel and I can really hold a conversation,” Max continued. “I think that counts for something.”
Words by Jacob Marrinson Photography by Madeline Bilis
Maria shook her head, “I don’t want to see you do this to yourself again.” “You won’t, Maria,” he insisted. “I’m off to a really promising start with this guy.” Doubts aside, Maria was glad to hear that something was going well in Max’s atrophied social life. As she understood it, he had no acquaintances outside of the employees at the cafe and no real friends other than Maria herself. This had been the case ever since they first met, three years ago, when Max started working at the cafe; they’d both graduated college since then, and their lives had consequently ceased to move forward. It wasn’t that Max was difficult to get along with - usually - at least as far as she could tell, he just lacked the necessary initiative. She’d never heard him mention going out of his way to meet people. The only exception was online dating. The bell over the shop door jingled, as the day’s first patron made his entrance. “I’ll get it,” Max said, grabbing his apron from where it hung on the arm of his chair and dashing inside. Maria leaned back and kicked her feet up onto the table. As she drained her cup, she wondered if Max might be right. Perhaps things would be different with this new guy. Certainly she couldn’t trust Max’s clearly overoptimistic testimony. He had been just as optimistic about the last boy, Grant, and the one before that, Blake. Both times Max had gotten too attached too fast, and it had ended in tears. It was always the same story with Max, and this time, she imagined, would be no different. Then again, if she wrote off every boy he met, Max would be
alone forever. She’d have to meet this Daniel herself. Two and a half weeks passed before Maria could meet Daniel, in which time Max went on three more dates with him. He told Maria about them one night around closing time. Max was relaxing in a booth when Maria slid in across from him. “Hey, how are things going with that guy you met?” she asked. “Daniel,” Max said. “They’re great. Really great. We’ve been on four dates now.” “Oh yeah?” Maria motioned for Max to follow her as she stood and began to walk to the back of the cafe. “What did you do?” “After coffee that first time we had dinner at Cavoli’s,” Max said, scratching his head and walking behind Maria. “And a couple times we hung out at his apartment and watched movies.” Maria stepped out into the courtyard behind the cafe, followed closely by Max. “I bet that’s not all you did, huh?” she reached into her pocket and took out a pack of cigarettes, winking and elbowing Max in the ribs as she did so. Max caught her tone and smirked. “Maybe,” he said. Maria grinned and lit herself a cigarette. She was concerned. She had hoped – unreasonably, she knew – that Max wouldn’t sleep with Daniel until she’d made the decision to trust him. Maria gave no sign of her reservations. “Well, if things are really that serious with this guy then I guess I might as well get to know a thing or two about him.”
Max heaved a deep sigh of relief and gave an easy smile. “So is this it then? Are you going to give him a chance?” “One step at a time, my friend. I want to know what he’s like. What’s he into?” Max paused for a moment. “Hiking.” “Hiking?” Maria said. “Yeah,” said Max, “hiking.” “Are you into hiking?” Maria cocked an eyebrow. “Kind of. A little bit.” “Really?” “No.” “Okay, whatever.” Maria waved it aside, pretending it was insignificant. She searched for something else to ask about, but came up with nothing. “You know what, how about I just meet him?” Max broke into a grin. “Absolutely! Great idea!” “You know the Halloween party?” Maria asked. She was throwing a costume party at her apartment that Saturday. “Yeah?” Max nodded. “Why don’t you bring Daniel along?” Maria said. “I know you were probably going to anyway, but I’m extending the formal invitation.” “Absolutely!” Max perked up. “I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to come.” Maria dropped her cigarette and crushed it underfoot. “Sweet. I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said. “Bye!” Max waved from the courtyard, digging the keys to the cafe out of his pocket. The rest of the week passed quickly, and soon it was Saturday. Maria woke up groggy at noon, having spent Friday night making sure that all the refreshments were on hand, a careful selection of cheesy Halloween movies were prominently displayed, and her costume was ready. After a short, lazy breakfast and a long, equally lazy shower, Maria picked up her phone. Many of her friends had texted her to remind her that they were coming, but Max was not among them. That didn’t concern Maria. She knew that Max didn’t go in for such things. Maria answered the door for the
first guests at seven. She was dressed as Batman. “Hey guys, welcome,” she greeted the couple on her doorstep, beckoning them to come in from the hallway. It wasn’t long before a lot more guests began to arrive. Maria greeted them all graciously and welcomed them into her home, which was quickly becoming crowded. By sevenforty, Maria figured that most of the guests had arrived who were going to, and it was high time she put a film on to entertain them. She was making for the collection of DVDs she’d laid out when the doorbell rang. When Maria opened the door, she saw Max standing out in the hall, and there beside him, she could only assume, stood Daniel. They were both dressed as 1920s gangsters, which Maria couldn’t help but chuckle at. For a moment, she appraised Daniel. He was slim and slightly taller than Max. He wore his pale hair short and tidily combed, and his face was cleanshaven. Maria observed with some concern that Daniel was considerably better-looking than Max. Grant and Max had been about the same, and at the time Max had wondered aloud to Maria why Grant would settle for someone as plain as him (she had, of course, obligingly assured him that he was not plain at all.) The answer, of course, had been that he wouldn’t, and he had never intended on sticking around. This had been something of a hard lesson for Max back then, but if those same concerns nagged at him now, he didn’t show it. “It’s about damn time!” Maria grinned. “You’ve gotta be Daniel, right? Maria.” She offered Daniel her hand to shake and he accepted it obligingly. “That’s right,” Daniel said. “Pleasure to meet you.” “Likewise. Come on in, I was about to start up a movie. You got any ideas as to what we should watch, Max?” “The Worst Witch,” Max said automatically. “Good choice.” Maria snapped her fingers. She scurried away to the DVDs as Max and Daniel closed the front door behind them. The Worst Witch was what Harry Potter might have looked like if it
had been made for TV on a far lower budget and starred an Olsen lookalike. It was agonizingly eighties, but there was a musical number with Tim Curry that had very little to do with the rest of the film and was easily the highlight of the entire thing. Maria traditionally watched the movie at least once every October, so she knew most of the film from start to finish and soon found her eye wandering about the room over the resting forms of her friends. Max and Daniel caught her attention, sitting curled up beside each other at the corner of the other couch. It struck Maria that while they were next to each other, there was a subtle disconnect between them. While most of the couples in the room were sitting or lying in each others’ arms, Max was simply leaning against Daniel’s side. Daniel had not put his arm around Max or made a reciprocal gesture of any kind. As Maria continued to study the pair, she also noticed that while Max would often turn away from the screen to glance at Daniel, Daniel’s eyes slowly swept the room, but never fell upon Max. Maria immediately felt triumphant, and then scolded herself. After all, she shouldn’t be pleased to find things wrong with Daniel, should she? Moreover, this was scant evidence. She would need more before she could draw a reasoned conclusion. Eventually the movie drew to a close and someone turned the lights back on. The guests rose groggily from where they sat and lay, and someone brought up the subject of dinner. Maria ordered a few pizzas, then she poured herself some Kahlua and went to mingle. While engaged in dull conversation with an acquaintance, she noticed Max passing nearby, sans Daniel. Disengaging herself, she swept up behind Max and tapped him on the shoulder. “Hmm?” Max turned on his heel. “Hey, what’s up?” “So Daniel seems nice,” Maria said, taking a sip of her drink. Max smiled and exhaled loudly through his nose. “I’m so glad you think so. What did I tell you, huh?” Maria nodded. “Where’s Daniel now?” she asked.
“He’s in the bathroom,” said Max. Just then, the bathroom door opened and Daniel stepped out. Catching sight of Max and Maria, he approached them, sliding his phone into his pocket. He smiled at Maria. “Great party,” Daniel said. “Thanks for inviting me.” “Glad you’re enjoying it.” Maria raised her glass. “So how long have you two been dating for now?” Daniel said nothing while Max placed a hand to his mouth and counted under his breath. “Almost a month now, I think,” Max said, at last. Daniel nodded. “Nice,” Maria said, bobbing her head slowly. “Very nice.” For a moment Maria considered just flat out asking Daniel his intentions, but she decided against it. She didn’t want to give him the chance to lie, and she certainly didn’t want to come on too strong on Max’s behalf. Instead, she decided to attempt a subtler approach. “The three of us should hang out sometime,” she said. “Yes, let’s!” Max said. He turned to Daniel. “What do you think?” “Maybe,” Daniel said. “When are you thinking of?” “How about tomorrow?” said Maria. Daniel shook his head. “No can do. I’ve got work tomorrow.” Max turned to him, his eyebrows raised. “You never told me that,” he said. “They called me while I was in the bathroom. Some guy called in sick, so I have to fill in.” Daniel rubbed the back of his neck. “I work at REI,” he explained to Maria. “Oh yeah, ‘cause of the hiking.” Maria nodded. “I told her about the hiking,” Max said. “Right,” Daniel said. “Yeah. I’m free next Saturday though.” “Works for me,” said Maria. Max nodded. “Sounds good.” “Then it’s settled.” Maria crossed her arms. “Lunch on Saturday. We can decide where to go later this week.” The doorbell rang. “That must be the pizza,” Maria said, and she went to answer it. The next Saturday saw the three of
them seated around a table on the terrace of a small Chinese restaurant that occupied the second floor of a flat-topped red brick building. Max and Daniel sat on one side of the table, while Maria sat across from them. “It’s a bit chilly for al fresco, isn’t it?” Max asked, pulling his coat tighter. Maria’s eyes flitted back and forth over her menu. “You’re just saying that because there’s nothing between your skin and your bones for insulation.” “The elevation doesn’t help,” said Daniel, from behind his own menu. “I thought you were supposed to be an outdoorsman,” Maria quipped. “Hey, speaking of which, where do you hike around here anyway? Like, in the parks or what?” “No, it’s... more of a rural thing,” Daniel said. “I go out of town to hike.” “Oh, of course,” Maria said, and looked back at her menu. A waiter appeared beside the table, carrying a notepad. “Ready yet?” he asked. “I’ll have the ginger chicken,” said Maria, passing her menu to the waiter. “Can I please have the chop suey?” Max said, when the waiter turned to him. “And I’ll have the beef chow mein,” Daniel said. When the waiter left, the table fell silent. Maria stared off in one direction, Max in another, and Daniel in a third. Of course, Maria surreptitiously observed Daniel whenever he wasn’t looking in her direction. He slouched in his chair, visibly bored. Just like that night at the party, though his gaze wandered, it never settled on Max. Daniel barely seemed to notice him. Meanwhile, Max was sitting with his elbows resting on the table and his face resting in his hands. From time to time, though, Max would turn his head to glance at Daniel. Maria studied Max’s face during those brief glances, and in his guileless expression it was plain to see just how far gone he was. “So,” Maria broke the silence, addressing Daniel, “Max tells me that you two can really hold a conversation.” Max broke into nervous laughter, and Daniel gave a perfunctory chuckle.
Shortly thereafter, their food arrived. The conversation finally started to pick up again as they began to eat. Maria was driving it, for the most part. Not wanting Daniel to sense her doubt, she tried to disguise her suspicion towards him behind a veneer of innocent curiosity. “So Daniel,” she said as she lifted a wad of rice to her mouth with a pair of chopsticks, “where are you from?” “Upstate,” he replied. “I moved here for college and ended up sticking around.” “No kidding.” Maria took a sip of water. “So you like it here?” “Eh,” Daniel said, and made a noncommittal hand gesture. “I don’t care very much for big cities, to be honest.” “Because it’s not conducive to hiking?” Maria said tentatively. “Among other reasons,” said Daniel. “I don’t just hike, you know.” As they spoke, Max remained almost silent. Furthermore, to Maria’s confusion, he seemed totally unperturbed as she and Daniel carried on, seemingly heedless of him. In group conversations, Max was usually on the quieter side, but in this instance it struck her as entirely inappropriate. The longer the conversation went on, the more confident Maria felt that her suspicions about Daniel were well-founded. Just as the way that Max looked at Daniel betrayed his feelings, and the way Daniel didn’t look at Max betrayed his lack of them. He was a flake, definitely, just like the others. Why couldn’t Max see it? “Damn!” Daniel interrupted Maria’s thought process. “Is that the time?” He was looking at his phone. “I gotta go right now, I’m running late!” “Late for what?” Max said. Daniel hesitated for a second. “Doctor’s appointment.” In a moment he was on his feet and pushing in his chair. He waved behind his back as he jogged away. Maria and Max sat staring at each other. “So?” Max piped up. “He’s good, right?” Maria gawked at him. “Are you serious? Max, what the hell was that?” “He had a doctor’s appointment.” Max’s face fell. “Apparently.”
“And he didn’t tell you about this earlier?” “There are lots of things he doesn’t tell me. I mean–” “And what, he can’t spare a second to say goodbye? Max, this is ridiculous! How do you not see what’s going on here? I actually want to know.” Max stammered insubstantially. “Do you really not get how awkward that was? I’ve never seen a person just ignore someone that way, let alone their supposed boyfriend!” “Well, he’s not usually like that!” Max furrowed his brow. “Not when it’s just us two.” “Because those are the times when he wants you! Just like Grant and Blake!” Maria shook her head. “I’m sorry, but they used you, you know they did. And Daniel’s the same. This is the same thing all over again, but even worse. He’s not even keeping up the pretense of being interested in you. He didn’t even try to include you in the conversation.” “Neither did you!” Max pointed out. Maria wavered, but soon recovered. “I was gauging him! I was giving him the chance to do it, and he didn’t! Look, Max, I know you have feelings for him, I can see it in the way you look at him, but he doesn’t look at you the same way! That’s all there is to it!” Their argument was growing heated, and it was beginning to draw attention from the other patrons of the restaurant. “That’s it!?” Max spluttered. “You’ve met him twice and decided he doesn’t look at me the right way!? That’s your grand total of evidence!?” “It’s all I need! I just know!” Max threw up his hands. “You know what? Forget this. I don’t care what you think of him anyway.” “Oh, really!?” Maria leaned across the table. “You seemed pretty keen for me to meet him! And unless I’m mistaken, just now you were practically asking me to tell you how good he was! How he could be The One! Isn’t that what you wanted!? Because it sure sounded like it to me!” Max stood up from his chair. “I’m going home,” he said. “I’m not listening to this anymore. I don’t need
you to look out for me.” He started to walk away. “Who else is gonna look out for you, huh!?” Maria stood up and shouted after him. “I’m all you’ve got! You need me! Max!” But he had gone. Maria stood hunched over, hands planted on the table, hyperventilating. She looked around. Everyone, the patrons and the staff, were all staring at her. Nobody moved. Finally, a waiter emerged from the restaurant and slowly began to cross the terrace. He approached Maria’s table with the solemn air of an executioner stepping up to the block. When he reached Maria, he looked her square in the eye, then he dropped the check on the table. “Fuck,” she said. By the time Maria got back to her apartment she was wracked by doubt and consumed with regret. She tried to call Max several times, but he didn’t pick up. As the afternoon wore on into the evening she found herself alone with her thoughts. She didn’t eat that night. Instead she lay on the couch and tortured herself with questions for which she had no conclusive answers. The questions were many and varied, simple and complicated, but what they ultimately boiled down to was one overarching question: was it wrong for her to intervene in Max’s love life? On the one hand, it seemed to her that she was the only one who could protect him from getting hurt, but on the other hand, it struck her as unhealthy for their relationship that she should see him as needing to be protected. Moreover, she had not actually succeeded in guarding him against hurt. If anything, she had hurt him herself. Even if she was right about Daniel (and though she still believed that she was, she had to admit that her evidence was flimsy) it didn’t really matter. Her attempts at investigation had come to a decidedly negative result. Maria was still lying on the couch when she lapsed from this state of agonizing reflection into a long and dreamless sleep. Maria’s mood hadn’t changed much by Monday morning. It was early, and
the patio behind the cafe was suffused with a calm, sleepy atmosphere. The walled courtyard was vacant, save for Maria, who sat alone in her street clothes at one of the wrought-iron tables. Max stepped out onto the patio. He was in his uniform. For what felt like a painfully long time the two of them stared each other in the eye from across the courtyard. Maria spoke first. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I was wrong.” Max shook his head. “No, I’m sorry. You were right.” “Well, then we’re both sorry,” said Maria. “For god’s sake, sit down.” Max took the seat across from her and covered his eyes with his hand. “Daniel left.” “Thought he might.” “He didn’t have a doctor’s appointment.” “Didn’t think he did.” “His real boyfriend came from upstate to help him pack. He’s moving there.” “Good riddance.” Max hung his head. “I’m sorry I didn’t believe you.” “It wouldn’t have mattered anyway,” Maria said gloomily. “There was no point in me blowing up at you like that. The damage was done.” “If I’d just listened to you from the start, though,” Max said. “Maybe,” Maria said. “But anyway, you don’t need me to hold you on a leash. You’re an adult, you can make your own choices.” “I just demonstrated pretty clearly that when I do that I get my heart broken.” Maria paused. “So what’s the lesson here?” Max shrugged. “You tell me.” “Don’t get your hopes up?” “That’s hardly something you can control, is it?” Max said. Maria tapped her chin. “Don’t date flakes?” Max shook his head. “I mean, I think it’s safe to say we already get those principles. It’s putting them into practice that’s the problem.” Maria frowned. “So is that really what we’re going to take away from this? Self-improvement is hard?” Max thought about that for a moment. “Yeah, pretty much.”
Illustration by Haley Brown
Photography by Nydia Hartono
MAIREAD HADLEY My stomach tucks, feeds on insecurities As hair ripples out, crashing beyond allotted shorelines And though my breasts fill the measurements, they pour messily into the unquenched cups of your hands I can’t quite fit into the body you want me to wear Lips are dry, experiential deserts Frames obscure the face you want, allow me to hide further and further behind And my legs stretch too long, unlike yours But they’re able to walk on alone at any moment, just like yours I can’t quite fit into the body you want me to wear These hips refuse to near the nature of children, even as they crave to nurture you And a hand scribbles where my mouth is meant to shoot witty responses But the small of my back, creating the illusion of average, is your favorite I can’t tell you that it aches, the base of a building occupied beyond capacity I can’t quite fit into the body you want me to wear These feet fear this body standing up for itself This heart remains open, over-active Yet this mind retreats to its soldier stance—sole, strong I don’t fit into the body you want me to wear
There are no ghosts in America, I said to my boyfriend, jokingly. What are ghouls and phantoms but children’s stories? Where I’m from, spirits flit amongst trees and call out to unsuspecting passersby in the dark. They will rip your entrails from you if you carelessly disrespect them. Wandering, hungry ghosts expect offerings, packets of rice or noodles, speared with chopsticks and set by the road. Every year they get a month-long get-out-of-hell-free card, and for the rest of the eleven months, they starve. He paused while eating his Pho, his chopsticks clumsily jabbed to stand upright in the bowl You’ll summon the dead, I smirked, smacked his hand, and placed the sticks on the rim, as my mother would. On Christmas Eve, my family piled into the car to drive slowly down the luminary-lined streets of Tinkertown, lit in preparation for Santa’s arrival later that night. In the spirit of family togetherness, it is our tradition to make fun of the tackier decorating efforts on certain houses. My grandmother went to bed before we left. Papa had died in the hospital three years ago today, he makes an appearance on the anniversary in her silences. On the way home, my aunt’s voice from the front seat serves as narration, the sliver of her face that I can see is illuminated by the occasional streetlight: Do you know about our neighbors – their house mirrors ours The husband hung himself in the garage a couple of years ago, after he retired. She’s been trying to sell. I had been mistaken, of course, tripping on my island’s warm heady mystique, entirely too aware of the joss sticks and scattered hell money that was missing here. I picture her on the top of the Good Morning staircase, offering him a solitary greeting each day, and apologize. I think of my grandmother alone in her house.
WHAT IS LEFT REBECCA RING
The wanting is gone. It once hung on my clothes like cigarette stink, waking me up in the night. It is gone. This is fine. I do pretty well. I’ve caught the fish and frozen all the meat I’ll need ‘til the end. I’ve got a couch and a dog. My batteries once purred and lit matches to drop down the back of my jaw. These days they yawn; deny ever knowing of an electron. (The illusion is gone.) I have forgiven both my parents. I close down my ears to the insistence of scientists and statistics that things happening now have never happened before. I still believe in nymphs wood sprites, mermaids, and don’t want to live long enough to be proved wrong. There are no more apologies in this bank. I have accepted my sins, downplayed my goodness, and will not acknowledge either, anymore.
My poems are coming out waving white flags. Some are dead when they arrive. This is fine. I do not shake them or say goodbye.
Photo by Madeline Bilis
[CAMOUFLAGE] Words by Emeralde Jensen-Roberts / Illustrations by Haley Brown
[ The Outfit ] In 1915, the French pioneered a new movement in fashion. It focused on complementary color swatches and fluid, swirling patterns, but most importantly, on being able to help conceal the wearer from machine gun fire and attacks from enemy tanks. Military camouflage uniforms—etymologically born from the French verb camoufleur, meaning “to disguise”— were initially designed to accompany the change of warfare tactics during World War I. Prior to the World Wars, French forces wore uniforms that loudly advertised the vibrant hues of the motherland: blue overcoats, smartly buttoned
cultivate a variety of patterns, each suited to the environment that was being fought in. Tiger stripe camo used broad, overlapping stripes of brown and forest green to cut a soldier’s body horizontally and blend in with forest scrub. The Woodland pattern was designed in the 1980s and emerged as a result of postVietnam, long-range tactics. Comprised of enlarged, puddled tiger stripes in brown, olive, and forest green, the Woodland pattern is perhaps the most recognizable form of camouflage to date. To this day, it is most prominently used by US Navy SEALs. During the Gulf War,
The French military hired artists, neuroscientists, and social psychologists to concoct formulas for patterns that would draw the eye away from its subject. to the chin and cut geometrically to reveal the bright red pantaloons tucked underneath. While a striking army to behold, it was not exactly subtle, and after a severe battlefield defeat by German forces, the French realized that they needed to make a wardrobe change. Determined to best the Germans, they went back to the ironing board and worked on developing a new, understated aesthetic for their uniforms. The French military hired artists, neuroscientists, and social psychologists to concoct formulas for patterns that would draw the eye away from its subject. They created an initial camouflage pattern that was later adapted by the United States, and throughout the years, American designers were able to
American troops favored a lighter, sandier “chocolate chip” pattern, featuring swatches of tan and yellow and speckled all over with little brown blotches. Today, color swatching has been drastically minimized. US Army troops wear pixilated camouflage, the patterns comprised of flattened green and gray squares arranged in scattered designs. Outside of the war zone, modern designers have recycled patterns of wartimes past for their own fashion-forward purposes. Through names like Michael Kors and Christopher Kane, camouflage has become a fashion identity, available on skirts, scarves, and winter jackets. Its initial purpose for blending in is now a way to become visible.
[ The Islet ] It’s 1942, and somewhere along the coast of Australia floats a moving island. Slowly and carefully, it drifts along the shore, traveling only after nightfall and stopping during the day to hover fearfully in place. With the sun overhead, anyone can find it. To conceal its pale underbelly, the island sprouts dense jungle foliage, the roots smeared with patches of warm earth, while underneath
tacked and defeated Allied forces from where they were stationed in the South Pacific, just off the coast of modern-day Indonesia. As a result, Ally soldiers were ordered to retreat to Australia, a friendly shore in unfriendly waters. The Abraham Crijnssen embarked as one of eight vessels from the fray. During the initial escape, the other ships in her fleet were shot, one by one, by enemy
ward friendly territory disguised as an island, watchful for enemy ships and planes. Throughout the course of this trek, three photographs watched over the Abraham Crijnssen. A portrait of King George VI of England hung austerely in the captain’s cabin, a testament to the strength of the Allied Powers during the Great War. Queen Wilhemina, the mother of the
This is the Abraham Crijnssen, a celebrated World War II minesweeper of the Royal Netherlands Navy. She’s small, only 184 feet in length, but scrappy, and infused with a will to survive. it all, there is a low rumble of two large three-drum boilers and a couple of powerful, triple-expansion engines. Slowly, the island propels itself forward. This is the Abraham Crijnssen, a celebrated World War II minesweeper of the Royal Netherlands Navy. She’s small, only 184 feet in length, but scrappy, and infused with a will to survive. During the Battle of Java in February of 1942, the Japanese at-
forces, laid to rest beneath the swollen waves. The Abraham Crijnssen needed a plan. The Axis powers patrolled the surrounding water and sky in search of enemy crafts, and if she were discovered, she would join the rest of her fleet at the bottom of the ocean. Thus, to avoid detection, the crew aboard the Crijnssen pieced together an elaborate costume using broad leaves, branches, and dirt. Cautiously, the little Dutch craft danced to-
Netherlands, hung from the bulkhead of the ship as a symbol of Dutch nationalism. But perched nearby in the wardroom was perhaps the most inspirational photograph of all: the actress Rita Hayworth, dressed in nothing but a sheer, black negligee, who pioneered the Crijnssen’s illusory voyage. In March of 1942, the ship docked in Fremantle on the western coast of Australia and took a bow.
[ The Secret ] Luckily for Albert Cashier, enlisting in the Union Army during the American Civil War required only an examination of eyes and ears. During this test, and throughout the course of his outstanding military career, his eyes and ears proved him a quick, precise, and strong fighter. Albert was a quiet soldier of Irish descent. He spoke very little and always slept alone in his tent. Smoothfaced and short of stature, his fellow soldiers teased him for his youthful appearance, but since their army was comprised of both teenagers and men, Albert Cashier was, in his own right, just like any other soldier. Except he wasn’t. After his threeyear enlistment ended in 1865, Albert moved to Illinois and worked odd jobs for good pay — a janitor, a lamplighter, a farm laborer. He voted in general elections, received a veteran’s pension, and never married.
Like in his army days, Albert kept to himself and for fifty years he worked, dressed, and lived as he pleased. Finally, after a road accident that broke his leg, the local doctor conducted a physical examination and uncovered a lifelong secret; Albert Cashier was a woman. The doctor who treated his leg never revealed the truth. To do so would have destroyed Albert’s way of life; his pension, his employment, his right to vote, and his social equality were all dependent on the concealment of his female body. While his leg healed, Albert’s identity remained his own. Unfortunately, this was not to last. In 1914, confused, fatigued, and fragile, Albert was committed to a state hospital for the insane, where privacy was laughable and identity was clinical. Upon discovery of his breasts and his history, the hospi-
tal staff publicly outed him and required him to wear a dress. Unaccustomed to the way it billowed around him when he walked, Albert tripped and fell one day, incurring a severe hip injury that left him bedridden. At the mercy of his physicians and in no fit state to fight for his identity, Albert died in 1915, alone and humiliated. Today, there is a tombstone that stands in Saunemin, Illinois. It is adorned with an American flag, a bouquet of crimson flowers, and a quiet reconciliation: Albert D. J. Cashier CO G 95 Ill. Inf. Civil War Born Jennie Hodgers In Clogher Head, Ireland 1843 - 1915
The Mask Menagerie: Inside Eric Bornstein’s Studio
rds ography by Shay Kim h by Mar McGrat y Kate
ucked in the garage behind an unassuming Somerville home is the world of masks that artist Eric Bornstein has created. These masks dangle from the ceiling, staring with ogling eyes and expressive faces. Clay and plaster creatures crouch in nooks between art supplies and filing cabinets. A chaotic Queen song blasts from hidden speakers. It is warm; the heat is cranked all the way up to dry out the materials. There is a distinct energy in the air, and for a place packed with inanimate objects, it is full of life. Thirty years ago, Eric Bornstein dropped out of medical school to become an artist. Mythology, fairy tales, and folklore intrigued him long before he pursued mask making, drawing him to the realms of
theatre and dance. He dabbled in everything from choreography to costume design. He also earned a Masters in Liberal Arts from Harvard’s extension school, focusing in on art history. As years past, Bornstein realized he kept returning to masks, unable to shake the power they had over him. “Why I was drawn to them, or they were drawn to me,” he says, “it has something to do with the fascination of the mutable nature of our identity. Trying to facilitate the empowerment and expression of our inner archetypal selves.” This philosophy is important to Bornstein, who insists he is not a creator of false faces. While traditional conventions in literature use the mask to symbolize the conceal-
ment of inner selves, Bornstein feels they have a different role in performance arts and society. “Think about what happens with Catholic confessional,” he explains. “Only by obscuring identity can people reveal the truth.” For Bornstein, these masks are an opportunity to liberate the inner truths of our identities, even when those truths don’t fit social norms. Rebellion against society is territory Bornstein is well acquainted with, and in the early years of his mask making, he seemed to be working alone. No community of mask makers existed to his knowledge, making it a lonely niche within the art world. He only knew that these masks supplied endless inspiration and intrigue, so he persisted. That, and he also knew
that he would be of no help to anyone in an office. Looking at his paint splattered clothing and the tiny earrings poking from his ears, it’s easy to believe him. It was not until Bornstein traveled the world that he began to truly understand the history and culture of mask making. He studied how to carve wood masks with masters in Bali. In Italy, he learned how to make leather masks from Donato Sartori, whose creations are prominent in Commedia dell’arte, a form of comedic mask-driven Italian theatre. These adventures shaped his technique, but he ultimately found traditional methods to be time-consuming and constraining. This inspired him to develop many of his own efficient and adaptable methods. As he visited these different places, he fully realized the different roles that masks have across cultures. “The purpose in other cultures is to reach the spiritual realm. The masks are thought of as spirit houses, made to be inhabited by the spirit that they want to attract. The person wearing them becomes inhabited by that spirit for a period of time, whether it’s a nature spirit, or a deity, or an ancestor, or some entity that they are beckoning to come and help them and aid them in some way,” Bornstein says. Bornstein also understands how masks are utilized in different contexts within these cultures. While nearly everyone is accustomed to the use of masks in theatre, dance, and opera, in recent years their uses have multiplied. The emergence of distinct subcultures like steampunk, biopunk, neo-burlesque, and cosplay has created new demand for masks. For conventions and other gatherings, elaborate costumes are the norm and customers pay Bornstein anywhere from $65 to $3000 to commission their custom masks. The Internet has helped spread these subcultures, and people are beginning to recognize the art of masks more than ever before. Bornstein has developed his own cultural niche. “We call our style Mythopunk, a catch-all because we’re inspired by different aesthetic models of
the ancient and modern. I’m inspired by mythology – I don’t play video games but I make all these masks of video game characters, and I recognize them all because they’re variations of folklore or mythological characters, horror archetypes, or others I’ve seen or known well for years,” says Bornstein. Video game companies are a surprising addition to Bornstein’s list of clients. Currently, he is working on two massive masks for Bethesda Softworks, a major video game publisher based in Maryland. When
finished, the masks will be shipped to a launch convention, where they will bring the characters of the company’s latest game to life. While Bornstein has always known that masks evoke strong reactions from people, it is only in the last five years that he has found this kind of customer base. Many still find that the mask faces make them uncomfortable. “There is always a reason to have the masks be a little unsettling. The closest word we have for that is the uncanny, that something is a little
creepy, a little anxiety-provoking; you’re not sure what’s going on,” says Bornstein. The expressions worked onto the face of each mask are crafted with deliberate care. For certain performances, expressions need to be intense and bold. For others, they need to be more neutral, so the character can be more dynamic. Yet it is the actual person wearing the mask that determines what the piece will convey. “It’s something consciously done and then supported by the performance,” Bornstein explains. “The mask is a beautiful work of art, but it doesn’t fully come alive until it’s being performed by the person, the dancer, or actor. While they look great on walls, when someone’s wearing them and they actually come alive and animate the entire body, that’s where you see the real magic.” Bornstein’s career as a mask molder, sculptor, and artist symbolizes more than just a personal success. It has become a testament to artistic perseverance. Bornstein’s masks have been featured in the Museum of Fine Arts and The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Esteemed performance companies like the Boston Ballet, Boston Lyric Opera, and King Richard’s Faire also frequently seek them out. Bornstein ships them all over the world for celebratory festivals, company conventions, and personal use. From his backyard garage, Bornstein is leading a profound act of artistic defiance through his achievements. “Making art for me is an act of rebellion, an act of peaceful rebellion, but still, strong. I prefer to create images that support what I love, or images that honor that which I love, rather than images that fight against what I hate. It makes me happier, and ultimately it’s a better energy.”
“Only by obscuring identity can people reveal the truth.”
Combatting Facial Recognition Technology Words by Chris Conley Photography by Courtney Tharp
hip out your flat iron and straighten those bangs; make sure they are covering at least your forehead, preferably your brow if they’re long enough. While you’re at it, get as much hair pinned, jelled, or sprayed forward to obscure your face. Now it’s time to put on some makeup, but avoid anything skincolored, just black and white or heavily contrasting colors. Avoid mascara and eye shadow; those will only make your eyes easier to see. Grab enough white foundation and eyeliner to make yourself look like a sugar skull, and begin to obscure your cheekbones and jaw with shapes that contrast with your skin
tone. Now that you look like one of Gaga’s little monsters, you’re ready to go out and avoid the all-seeing eyes of Big Brother. Your face can no longer be identified on any camera you’re caught on. Computer Vision Dazzle, or CV Dazzle, is a project oriented at confusing the facial algorithms behind recognition programs. It was developed by artist Adam Harvey, who made the patterns while attending the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. Harvey has said that though CV Dazzle has practical applications, it was originally created as an art project with not much intended other than putting it in a
portfolio. He wanted to find ways to disguise people from facial recognition, and this has been the ongoing focus of his art and collaborations. However, CV Dazzle has attracted widespread interest from both the paranoid and the artistically inclined, both parties seeking to expand its use. Dazzle uses bizarre makeup and hairstyles that basically scramble and mask the properties that are usually used to identify your face, such as cheekbone definition, distance between eyes, and the length of the nose. The peculiar project often favors unusual and asymmetrical designs to disguise the user.
“WITH ALL THE ADVANCING TECHNOLOGIES WE HAVE TODAY, HOW CAN ANYONE KEEP THEIR FACE DISGUISED AND THEIR PRIVACY WITHHELD?”
CV Dazzle originated shortly after the addition of auto-tagging on Facebook, which uses OpenCV, one of the most widely used facial recognition programs, to identify friends in photos so that you don’t have to. While this seems rather innocent, Facebook isn’t the only company using this technology. Many security and advertisement agencies use it too. CV Dazzle can combat facial recognition software and its implications. The website offers a variety of tips on how to perfect this disguise with makeup and styling materials of your own. They favor contrast in makeup over enhancers that amplify features, specifically blacks and whites. They also say that obscuring the section of nose where the brow, nose, and eyes meet is key in disguising yourself from programs like OpenCV. Another key to this disguise is obscuring at least one of the two eyes. Asymmetry is a huge factor in disguising yourself from the advanced algorithms that facial recognition technology uses. By breaking the symmetry that algorithms look for in faces, they make it much harder to find any sort of match. Masking the oval headshape with zany hairstyles can also greatly reduce the chances of being identified. While corporate investigation may not seem threatening to some, it has dangerous implications, especially if put into the wrong hands. Facial recognition technology is just one of the ways that corporations can monitor and track you. Equipped with a vast database of faces, facial recognition systems can take an image or a video frame and compare it with each and every image in their database, looking for matches. This can be particularly scary if you consider the fact that cameras are everywhere now, and families and friends are no longer necessary to ID you. The most prominently used algorithm in this type of data is the Viola-Jones algorithm, which scans images with a series of varying two-tone rectangles. Using these black and white rectangles, the Viola-Jones algorithm scans every little section of the image until it finds a face. Once it finds the face, it re-scans that section on a smaller scale, checking for matches within its database that match the exact color changes of the image in question. Software programs such as OpenCV, iPhoto, Picasa, and Photoshop Elements carry facial databases that can positively identify individuals in images. This software is located on almost every computer manufactured today. With all the advancing technologies, specifically cameras, we have today, how can anyone keep their face disguised and their privacy withheld? Aside from CV Dazzle, a few other projects and initiatives have been launched in order to disguise your ap-
pearance so that your privacy remains private. Using tape and makeup, Jillian Mayer, a Youtube personality, demonstrates the same tactics as CV Dazzle in a video on her channel. If you aren’t particularly fond of sending photos of yourself out to others without a bit of a disguise, there’s an app for that! For Android users, an application called “Face Dazzler” by Petr Prokop adds contrasting shapes to hide your face from the algorithms identifying you. Adding those shapes to mask
parts of your face disguises you from the facial recognition’s programming, the same way the makeup techniques of CV Dazzle are designed to work. Other artists, such as artist and hacker Bronwyn Lewis, have run workshops to help combat facial recognition. The need to keep information withheld is becoming more and more relevant in the public sphere. CV Dazzle is just one of many leading solutions to counteract photo recognition. However, not all voic-
es in online circles are in favor of CV Dazzle; many argue that it is impractical. Some argue in favor of masks while others suggest using LED lights on headwear to blind cameras. It’s possible (and enjoyable) to imagine a dystopia in which the bizarre looks of CV Dazzle become commonplace, with pedestrians resembling Ziggy Stardust and Boy George. Although OpenCV wouldn’t be able to recognize us, in some ways we’d all become a little more recognizable.
SPACES & DESIGNER DOORS WORDS BY LORETTA DONELAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY CARINA ALLEN
n the world that Bill Morgan creates, an old fashioned ticket booth swings open to reveal a hidden movie theater. Bookcases hide safe rooms. A curio cabinet filled with kitschy statuettes opens to display rifles and ammo, and a pantry serves as ingress to the wine cellar. Morgan is co-owner of Creative Building Resources, a small family company based in Idaho that primarily builds doors. Theirs are novelty items: secret doors, disguised as cabinets and bookshelves, in order to conceal passageways, hidden playrooms, wine cellars, and safes. His clients already have the space or items they want to conceal; Creative Building Resources simply creates the method of concealment and ships them across the United States and Canada. The people who buy secret doors from Creative Building Resources and similar companies have a little money to spare on a novelty. The company’s basic bookcase door, which serves the dual purpose of beautiful wooden bookcase and extra thick door, runs around $1,000. The marquee door, which looks like a beautiful wooden ticket booth with an electronic marquee and swings open to a home theater, is closer to $5,000. Other companies sell cheaper secret doors online, but Morgan assures me that what his products lack in affordability, they make up for in longevity. “There’s just a huge difference between them and us,” he says. “Our doors are made to carry heavy loads and be maintenance free. We’ve been in the business for a very long time and we’ve never, never had to replace even one hinge.” These concealment doors have an understandable appeal, equal parts practicality and whimsy. Literature abounds with examples of hidden doors, from the wardrobe that led to Narnia to the secret passages that cut through Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And they have played a vital and noble role in history. To escape persecution during Elizabeth I’s reign, Catholic priests hid in “priest holes” under homes to avoid detection. These can still be found throughout the United Kingdom.
There’s the bookcase that so nobly hid the secret annex of Anne Frank and her family. The United States is dotted with the tunnels and hidden stops of the Underground Railroad that helped American slaves travel North, including the “Grand Central Station” that was the secret room of Quaker abolitionist Levi Coffin. Over a period of 20 years, Coffin hid and helped 2,000 escaped slaves. In Prohibition-era New York, the 21 Club had a cement door that swung open to reveal a vast booze cellar. Certain architectural periods favored these quirky and pragmatic design elements. Remnants of the early
“‘A lot of people think that it’s a bunch of really eccentric types, doomsday preppers,’ says Steve Humble, owner of Creative Home Engineering. ‘But really, that’s a small minority of my clientele.’” 20th century revival of the playful Georgian period are evident on the Harvard University campus, where in some of the houses bookshelves open to reveal hidden rooms, and dorm rooms that appear to be triples are actually quads (the hidden rooms have naturally been used as party spaces). These days, when narrow staircases and dark corners have disappeared in favor of all things “open concept,” those wishing to add some mystery to their homes can either buy an old house, or order a door from a company like Creative Building Resources. Most of Morgan’s clients use the doors as fun additions to their homes or offices. Wayne Giosio has bought five doors from Morgan over the years, and considers him “a true craftsman.” He has one of the bookshelf doors installed at the end of a hallway connecting two buildings at his property company. Guests are confused by the
impediment until they realize the trick. Stephen Levine installed a secret door in the bathroom of his Canadian cottage. It leads to a den with a TV, couch, and desk. Levine hopes that when he has grandchildren, he’ll be able to escape to this secret space. He likes to use it as a party trick when he has guests. “I’ll say, ‘I think this cabinet’s a little loose,’” he laughs. “And then I’ll have them push on it, and they’ll think they’ve broken it.” Those seeking an even more luxurious product go to the similarly named Creative Home Engineering, a larger Arizona door company with a high-end clientele. “A lot of people think that it’s a bunch of really eccentric types, doomsday preppers,” says Steve Humble, owner of Creative Home Engineering. “But really, that’s a small minority of my clientele. The majority of them are everyday, ordinary kinds of people who’ve reached a stage in their lives where they can have their dream home.” Humble’s cheapest door is $2,500, but he says he has projects that cost $30,000 or more. These are usually installed in houses that are around a million dollars, but sometimes it’s in homes worth much more. Those more expensive projects are often elaborate, connecting the secret door to home security systems, or involving fancy mechanics, like turning a candlestick in another room to open the secret door. Creative Home Engineering’s team of ten ships doors all over the world. Like Morgan’s company, they rarely do door installations, since it would greatly add to the cost of the door. Instead, clients give them specifications about the entrance they need to cover. The company then starts making a door, along with a sample entranceway to test the product. Originally a mechanical engineer, Humble enjoys the challenge of creating a custom product. He says that though his clients often want the door for the novelty, there’s a practical side as well. “They decide they want a secret room, either for a fun place for their kids to play, or something to sort of show off to their neighbors at
parties,” he says. “There’s a growing subset that wants a door for security applications.” Many want safe spaces in their homes, usually to store their valuables when they are away. Back at Creative Building Resources, many of Bill Morgan’s clients are also concerned about safety. He says it’s often women looking for safe rooms in their homes, people worried about crime and home invasions. He gets his fair share of eccentrics. “I’ve had some interesting conversations,” he says, adding that those who buy his doors for safety purposes are a diverse group. “It varies across the age spectrum from kids to Korean war veterans and everyone in between, from a nuclear physicist to a rancher to a computer tech guy to a housewife.” Some put gun safes in their secret rooms, locking themselves in with their weapons in the event of a threat. Many of Morgan’s clients use secret doors only to conceal gun safes, worried that homeland security will one day take their weapons away. He says that national tragedies increase his business. “There have been different triggers that have meant spikes in our sales, from Columbine to the Denver theater shooting to Newtown. I can track all of those.” One night, Morgan dreamt of a new product, a curio cabinet concealing a gun safe. He couldn’t go back to sleep until he drew up the plan. The cabinet is now on sale on his website, and he says he was surprised to see it sell especially well on the East Coast. Morgan is happy to talk politics, but the conversation quickly returns to carpentry. He clearly takes pride in his work, discussing design challenges with excitement and debating the relative merits of different kinds of wood and hinges at length. “As you can tell,” he says to me, “I love to talk about my doors.”
Behind The Cartoon In Conversation With Voice Actors
Words by Rachel Cantor Photography by Courtney Tharp
hen I spoke to Richard White and Paige O’Hara, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Both had been a part of my childhood, and if you’re between the ages of three and 30, they were probably part of your childhood, too. You just don’t realize how well you know them. O’Hara and White are the voices of Belle and Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Even that phrase, “they’re the voices of,” implies so much about voice actors’ position in the public consciousness; you are your voice, you are that character. Because the actor’s face is so often concealed behind an animated persona, audiences don’t
match the voice to the actor, but rather the voice to the character. Everyone who’s seen Beauty and the Beast can recall or even imitate Belle’s voice, but relatively few recognize Paige O’Hara as Belle. The same goes for Richard White and Gaston. When I speak to them individually over the phone, neither White nor O’Hara is immediately identifiable as the voice of a Disney character, even though I’m listening for it. A lot of time has passed since Beauty and the Beast was released in 1991, but O’Hara tells me that she often used to be recognized on the telephone if she called for customer service. And when White
“AT TIMES, I SEE THINGS IN THAT CARTOON CHARACTER THAT I’VE ONLY EVER SEEN IN THE MIRROR.” 34
laughs at one point during my interview with him, I automatically envision the cartoon Gaston laughing. Like many contemporary voice actors, both White and O’Hara began their careers on stage. Both had Broadway musical theatre roles before they were cast in Beauty and the Beast. Prior to her Disney role, O’Hara appeared on Broadway in the 1983 revival of Showboat, and in 1985 in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. In 1979, Richard White performed in the Broadway revival of The Most Happy Fella. And while O’Hara voiced Belle in a few lesser-known Beauty and the Beast spin-off TV movies, and White reprised his role as Gaston in the Disney TV series House of Mouse, both have primarily stuck to stage acting in the years following the hit Disney film. “On the first day I started to record, they said ‘Okay Ethel Merman, you’re not playing to the second balcony!’” O’Hara recalls. “They wanted Belle very real; for me it was more about softening the voice and playing to the camera. You really play it like you’re playing film, rather than theatre.” Voice acting came to prominence during the Golden Age of Radio, when soap operas and serial dramas were broadcast to audiences across the country. In 1928, Walt Disney began to film animated short cartoons of Mickey Mouse, whom he initially voiced himself. Not long after, in the early 1930s, Warner Brothers began releasing televisions cartoons, eventually featuring the Looney Tunes— and Mel Blanc. Blanc voiced nearly every early Looney Tunes character, most famously providing the voice of Bugs Bunny. He began his career acting on the radio, later becoming “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” the first well-known modern voice actor for animated cartoons. With the release of Snow White in 1937, Walt Disney ushered in a new era of the animated film, and with it, a new niche for voice actors. Fifty years later, following a period of decline, the Disney animated movie-musical would be revived in large part by the dynamic musical duo of Howard Ashman
and Alan Menken. “Howard Ashman tried to write Broadway musicals for the animated screen,” says White. “In effect, he was making a two-dimensional realization of a three-dimensional concept and art form. He wanted to hire Broadway performers, people who were used to both acting and singing. That hadn’t been done before. Before, people were hired to sing the songs, and other people were hired to read the dialogue.” Ashman’s formula stuck; most animated musicals still hire only one actor to sing and voice the dialogue for a given character. With the explosive success of recent Disney animated musicals, like Tangled and Frozen, it’s clear that this type of animated filmmaking still holds the power to captivate audiences of all ages. Indeed, animated kids’ movies and TV shows continue to be among the most prestigious and sought-after work available to voice actors. Many celebrities do have voice acting credits—Miley Cyrus in Bolt, Steve Carell in Despicable Me—but their fame almost always stems from non-voice roles. The voice acting industry has its own niche stars. Jim Cummings has voiced nearly 400 distinct characters throughout a career that spans everything from The Lion King to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as taking over the voices of both Winnie-thePooh and Tigger for current Disney TV episodes. Jodi Benson is similarly prolific, voicing Ariel in The Little Mermaid and Barbie throughout the Disney/Pixar Toy Story franchise. Both O’Hara and White told me they prefer the degree of separation voice acting provides. “If I had done a feature film that was not animated, if it was my face up there, I would be recognizable in a way that I am not, even though I’ve been acting for 40 years,” says White. “But there’s something, I don’t know, safe about it. There’s something comfortable about being able to just walk down the street and not be recognized or accosted or hassled. There’s a freedom to being a disembodied voice.” “I think it must be really hard for people who are famous, that every time they try to go out in public, people are approaching them,” says
O’Hara. “I love the fact that I’m sort of anonymous.” Voice actors are free from the usual restrictions of both live-action film and theatre. “You’re not restricted to a set; you’re not restricted to gravity, even,” White says. “You’re not restricted to working with other people, because a lot of the time you’re there in the studio by yourself. You’re just invited to play.” Both actors fondly remember the experience of making Beauty and the Beast. “Beauty and the Beast was just so special; I’ve done other voice work, but it’s so different, because Disney takes apart every single note you sing and word you say,” says O’Hara. “The actors spent two years, on and off, working on the film and the film actually took four years to make—it was the last Disney animated film to be almost totally hand-drawn. They actually videotaped us during the whole process so that the animators could copy our expressions.” Indeed, there are clear similarities between Belle’s cartoon smile and eyes, and O’Hara’s own appearance in photographs. “I think that the animators managed to capture my mannerisms and quirks very effectively,” White says. Voice actors’ personas are often very recognizable through their characters, despite their lack of a physical, onscreen presence. “At times, I see things in that cartoon character that I’ve only ever seen in the mirror, because they do a wonderful job of finding what’s underneath: your expression. So maybe in that way, you’re not disguised. Although people who know me well don’t think Gaston is anything like me. So maybe it is a perfect disguise.” Unlike the world of live theater to which many animated film voice actors like O’Hara and White are accustomed, film is forever. “After all these years there’s new generations of kids discovering Beauty and the Beast,” says O’Hara. As Richard White puts it, “It’s very nice to have done a thing that is forever, and to have that is something you can take pride in.”
STYLOMETRY WHERE AUTHORSHIP AND TECHNOLOGY MEET
tic style. The field has recently moved beyond outliers or rare elements of a person’s style. Now—aided by evolving technology—it can analyze the basics of writing on a structural level. Teams such as Drexel’s Privacy, Security and Automation Lab (PSAL) are developing such technologies. According to their mission statement, this group of PhD candidates and researchers is working on understanding the “intersection between artificial intelligence, privacy and security, and human-computer interaction.” Sadia Afroz, one of the PSAL team members, explains that her work is based on the premise that writing style is unique. “Your particular style of writing is as distinctive and identifiable as your fingerprint,” she says. After all, writing is all about choice—what sentence structure to use, what syntax, what punctuation, or what tense. These choices make up your distinct linguistic style, one that is difficult to decipher or hide without help. That’s why PSAL developed two programs: JStylo and Anonymouth.
The former can identify a writer given comparative samples, and the latter helps make a person’s writing anonymous, increasing the difficulty of identifying the author. These programs have uses beyond the academic. While in the past the field was mainly applied to literary texts, the current state of stylometry is much more technologically savvy and widely applicable in a variety of fields, including forensics. One high-profile example of forensic stylometry was in the identification of the Unabomber, an American domestic terrorist active from the late 1970’s to mid 1990’s. After his “Manifesto” was published anonymously in The New York Times and The Washington Post, a woman recognized the writing style and tipped off the FBI, leading to the arrest of her brother-in-law, Ted Kaczynski, in 1996. Software analysis confirmed the identification and ultimately helped put Kaczynski in jail. More recently, PSAL tested JStylo’s applicability in cases where little besides the text was known or knowable.
“YOUR PARTICULAR WRITING STYLE IS AS DISTINCTIVE AND IDENTIFIABLE AS YOUR FINGERPRINT.”
In July 2013, the academic world of computer linguistics collided with popular culture by way of an anonymous tip on Twitter. The tip suggested that Richard Galbraith, who had recently released his debut mystery novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was actually a pseudonym for a much more famous author. A Sunday Times reporter approached Patrick Juola, a computer linguist and professor at Duquesne University, to find out the truth behind the text. The verdict? After using comparative linguistic software to analyze the novel, Juola concluded that Richard Galbraith was actually a pseudonym for J.K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. The data pointed to Rowling as a strong potential author across all tested criteria, which showed a strong link between the writing styles of the Harry Potter books and The Cuckoo’s Calling. The revelation, which came three months after the book was published, propelled the mystery novel onto bestseller lists around the world. The idea of writing style as a discernible trait has been around for centuries, with one of the first and most famous examples centering on Shakespeare himself. The question of whether William Shakespeare wrote all the works that have been attributed to him has generated centuries of academic debate and even a movie, Anonymous, claiming the Earl of Oxford as the real mind behind the works of “Shakespeare.” The resulting questions of authorship and authenticity are the basis of stylometry, the study of linguis-
WORDS BY BELINDA HUANG ILLUSTRATION BY HALEY BROWN
Her team looked at an online black market where people who steal credit card details, also known as “carders,” can sell and use their stolen information. According to Afroz, the main problem in identifying these people is that they use different usernames and emails across different forums, making it difficult to tell who is writing what. With JStylo, the team successfully grouped usernames by writing style to help identify over a dozen criminals. Although Afroz says that the information “can’t be used without a list of suspects,” this test is stylometry’s first step towards a more active role in forensics. The possibility of using stylometry to uncover anonymous online information, which is notoriously difficult to track, concerns those who believe in online privacy. Because of these concerns, stylometry experts are beginning to explore methods of staying one step ahead and avoiding identification, creating a new field of study called “adversarial stylometry.” Why do people need to use pseudonyms, anyway? Historically, the pseudonym has allowed writers to hide their social status or gender to avoid discrimination—think of the Brontë sisters, who all published under genderneutral pseudonyms, or even Rowling, who used her initials to hide her gender in a genre that traditionally undervalues female writers. Nowadays, authors are more likely to use a pseudonym to write in multiple genres and fields without confusing their audience, or to reboot a career. Laura Anne Gilman is a published fantasy author who also writes mysteries and romances under two pseudonyms, L.A. Kornetsky and Anna Leonard. “Pseudonyms are nothing to be ashamed of,” she says, adding that she uses them “as a brand, not to hide who is actually writing it.” For her, anonymity is a business decision that allows her to separate her work according to audience. Anonymity can also hold much higher stakes. One example of a writer using adversarial stylometry to mask identity was in the blog, A Gay Girl from Damascus, which was
created during the 2011 Syrian uprising. The blogger was supposedly Amina Abdallah Arraf al Omari, a young woman writing about the intersection of her Muslim faith and her lesbian identity during these struggles. The blog quickly gained a dedicated, global following that grew concerned when she was reportedly kidnapped in June 2011. That’s when people started looking for the person behind the screen. As Afroz says, research found that
“nobody saw this woman, nobody knew her,” which lead people to conclude that Amina wasn’t real. But they needed to know more. Identifying the real writer began with searching IP addresses and checking the veracity of photos posted on the blog. As the search began to narrow in on the identity of the writer, the PSAL team got involved, using their automated analysis software as yet another identification tool. The team’s work helped unmask the real person behind “Amina” — an American man named Tom MacMaster. MacMaster had spent years developing this alter ego on forums in order to explore social justice issues. According to Afroz, the more text they analyzed, the more “his origi-
nal style [came] through.” It was this disintegration of the artificial writing style that allowed PSAL to confirm his real identity. What MacMaster tried to do—sustain a false writing style—is incredibly difficult for most people. That’s why PSAL developed Anonymouth, a computer program that does a similar job in a more organized, effective, and sustainable way. The primary function of this software is helping whistleblowers and journalists maintain anonymity for their safety. The program uses a sample of a person’s writing and, after identifying unique characteristics, suggests changes that imitate other writers’ styles, thus diminishing the individuality of the piece. The suggestions that Anonymouth gives to its users can be as simple as changing your em dashes to ellipses or as complicated as using fewer “I’s” without changing point of view. There are limits to even the most technologically advanced software. JStylo requires over 5000 words of a person’s writing, as well as samples from a range of potential authors so that the software can compare and contrast writing styles. The Anonymouth software is still much too complex for everyday use, and it’s currently being reworked to be more user-friendly and accessible. Another limitation that stylometrists are only starting to explore is the way writing style shifts across mediums. The way a person writes in an academic paper is very different from the way he or she writes emails, blog posts, or tweets. As of right now, there is no way for the software to differentiate between the platforms, which can cause discrepancies in the results. The mystery of J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith had an easy resolution: Rowling confessed authorship, and sales of The Cuckoo’s Calling rocketed as a result. Not all mysteries of authorship are so easily solved. As language evolves through constant use and reinterpretation, the field of stylometry also adapts, finding new technologies and methodologies to better understand the fundamentals of human communication.
Words by Jessica Waters Photography by Becca Chairin
I AM THE FREAK SHOW THE PORTRAYAL OF DISABILITY IN HORROR FILMS
lack and red text screams from a yellow background: “Can a full-grown woman really love a midget? What sex is the Half-Man, HalfWoman? Do the Pin-Heads think? Do the Siamese twins make love?” The advertisement is not afraid to call itself what it is: “THE BIG EXPLOITATION NOVELTY SENSATION OF THE YEAR!” The 1932 film was entitled Freaks, director Tod Browning’s attempt at replicating his earlier success of Dracula by offering the public another narrative of thrills, chills, and the grotesque. But this was no hypnotically handsome Bela Lugosi—Browning’s film showed real sideshow performers, with real disabilities and deformities, to the widespread horror of mainstream America. The Atlanta Board of Review immediately banned the film, calling it “loathsome, obscene, grotesque, and bizarre.” One woman allegedly tried to sue MGM Studios, claiming that the film had induced her miscarriage. Some viewers were repulsed by the film’s images and characters, but others criticized the entire premise
as being unethical and exploitative. Frances Diehl of the National Organization of Women lamented “the disgrace of making money out of hurt, disfigured, and suffering humanity.” Freaks was pulled from U.S. circulation having barely made up half of its production costs. Why was Freaks so thoroughly decried? It was not the first portrayal of disability—all horror fans remember the ham-handedly labeled “abnormal brain” of the original Frankenstein’s monster—and it certainly was not the last. Thousands of horror movies, books, games, comics, and shows in the coming century—from psychopathic Norman Bates to the one-eyed Governor of The Walking Dead— would feature disability imagery to shock and horrify audiences, often at the expense of sensationalizing and exploiting those with real disabilities. Almost 100 years after Freaks’s debut, the premiere of FX’s anthology hit American Horror Story: Freak Show pulled more than ten million viewers. That makes it the most-watched single episode in FX history, smashing the previous record by more than
four million, and making American Horror Story the 9.5 billion dollar network’s most popular program. Set in “one of the last remaining freak shows in Jupiter, Florida in 1952,” Freak Show’s characters include Bette and Dot Tattler, conjoined twins, Ethel Darling, a bearded woman, Desiree Dupree, a threebreasted intersex woman, and Pepper, the show’s first returning character, who suffers from microcephaly, or congenital smallness of the head associated with incomplete brain development. It should surprise no one that the show draws deep from Freaks’s well of inspiration. Pepper is based directly on a real microcephalic sideshow performer named Schlitzie, often billed as “The Pin-Head” or “The Last of the Aztecs,” who played himself in Freaks. The fundamental difference between the two is that the real Schlitzie was described as a friendly and loving person. Pepper’s character, by contrast, is first seen locked in an asylum for murdering and mutilating her sister’s baby. This narrative doesn’t line up with reality any more than the life of blue-
eyed, high-cheekboned, 112-pound Naomi Grossman, who plays Pepper, lines up with that of her character, prosthetic makeup and fat suit aside, nor do Freak Show’s characters humanize the disabled while portraying them as murderers and rapists. We understand that these reflections of illness and deformity have little to do with truth. Study after study has shown that people with physical and/or mental disabilities are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. So why are we so obsessed with reversing that narrative, and what does that mean for real disabled people who live in the shadow of this fiction every day? Dr. Melinda Hall, an associate professor of philosophy at Stetson University doing grant research on the portrayal of disability in horror, calls the presence of disability “inescapable.” “The number one problem,” says Hall, “is when the disabled character becomes a stand-in for everything that’s wrong with a place. It really comes down to when the horror is communicable just by that character being on-screen.” The issue is where horror has turned disability into a trope rather than a trait, a signifier that “marks the monster.” Even when disabled characters themselves aren’t the villains, they are often shown to have a connection to supernatural or evil forces. Disability means something different to everyone. Disability is not always immediately apparent. Disability is a description with a lot of overlap. Even if you were to somehow find two people with the exact same disability, with the exact same symptoms that manifest in the exact same way—and I can tell you firsthand how miraculous that would be—one might identify as disabled and one might not. Disability is not, however, a synonym for freakishness, monstrosity, or villainy—and horror media needs to stop using it as one. “Done right, horror can be a tool for political transformation,” says Hall. “When horror points to the patriarchy and to other power struc-
“THE ISSUE IS WHERE HORROR HAS TURNED DISABILITY INTO A TROPE RATHER THAN A TRAIT, A SIGNIFIER THAT ‘MARKS THE MONSTER.’” tures as the sources of horror, that’s when it’s at its most powerful for me. When it points to these normalized structures it shows us there’s something terrifying about how we live our everyday lives.” Laura Robbins, a feminist horror critic, talks about how horror helped her learn to control multiple anxiety disorders. Working on her fanzine House of Horror helped her through a major depressive episode. “A lot of horror tropes can be double-edged swords,” says Robbins. “Even things like ‘the final girl’ trope —it may be sexist, but there is also strength in this female character who comes through all of this stuff and is a survivor.” Double-edged sword or no, hasn’t there been enough? Enough zombies, their shuffling, the shock value of missing limbs, eyes, jaws, and damaged brains. Enough schizophrenics
who can communicate with spirits. Enough people with Down’s syndrome who can predict the future. Enough characters of The Walking Dead: Season 2 video game leaving an autistic child for dead because she’s “a liability.” Enough horror set in asylums, in hospitals, in freak shows. Enough Psycho, Psycho II, Psycho III, American Psycho, Psycho Ward, Tokyo Psycho, Girls Gone Psycho, and Bloodbath in Psycho Town. Give us more Cycle of the Werewolf, in which a ten-year-old paraplegic saves his town from their local reverend, the one person no one else thought to question. Give us more Ms. 45, where a mute and mentally ill woman becomes a vigilante killer of sexual harassers and rapists. Give us more horror that empowers the disabled, rather than victimizes them. Almost a hundred years after Ted Browning failed us, we can do better.
The term “incognito” comes from the 1640’s Italian word incognito, meaning “unknown,” specifically related to travelling. Incognito is a celebrity wearing sunglasses and going by “Smith, John Smith.” It is an Agatha Christie detective novel. It is leaving no trace of our Internet escapades. When we are in transit, in physical and emotional limbo, we can choose to suspend our identity and travel as someone else, perhaps a prima ballerina from the National Ballet, the wealthy mistress of an oil tycoon, or even a happily married French perfumer. Our choice. After all, anything is possible in incognito mode.
Etymology Words by Belinda Huang/ Illustrations by Pimploy Phongsirivech
Masks have been used to hide, in the case of the Guy Fawkes mask, or to cleanse and refresh, in the case of a super-healthy face mask from Lush. The word “mask” originated in the 1530’s from the French word masque, meaning “to hide or cover one’s face.” What is more interesting, however, is the historical roots of this word, which can be traced to the Latin masca, meaning “mask, specter, nightmare,” and its link to the Occitan word for “witch.” Thus, to wear a mask is to simultaneously hide from the darkness and become it. Like Batman.
First seen in the 1560s, “freak” originally meant “capricious notion” or “unusual thing,” with roots coming from the Old and Middle English word frek. In this sense, we see phrases like “freak storm” and Freakonomics. It was not until the 1800’s, with the advent of the freak show and the commodification of difference, that it came to mean “grotesque or strange.” In 1908, the word took on the meaning of “extreme aficionado,” meaning someone who knows or cares an abnormal amount about something, like a “health freak” or a “neat freak.” Here, we choose to define freak as swerving from the norm, wherever that might be.
The word escape means “to extricate oneself from trouble,” taken from the Latin root word, excappare, meaning to “leave a pursuer with just one’s cape.” When we use our bodies it is called escapology, and we marvel as locks and straightjackets seemingly melt away underwater. When we use our imaginations, it is called escapism, and we read fantasy novels and daydream about the future to better bear the banality of quotidian life. A little flash, bang, and we can twist right out of the grip of reality, leaving only a souvenir of our presence and perhaps some smoke.
The word travesty was first coined in the 1670’s to describe a “literary burlesque of a serious work.” One example of such a travesty was that of Pyramus and Thisbe, from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Now, of course, the word is meant to describe anything deemed absurd, trivial, or improper. Textspeak is a “travesty” of literary English. Video games are a “travesty” of proper entertainment. But sometimes, what highbrow society calls a travesty is what the rest of us find the most fun and interesting, so how tragic is a travesty, really?
YOU SHO ULD WORDS BY
MARY KATE MCGRATH
Wear makeup. Cover your face in colors. Smear glitter over your eyelids. Paint your lips with red, black, blue, green lipstick. Put on thick black eyeliner and you are a pirate. Stick on sparkles and you are David Bowie. Cake on decades worth of creamy white makeup and you are Queen Elizabeth. See if becoming somebody else becomes you. If you donâ€™t have makeup, just put paint on your face. If you donâ€™t have paint, just rub on dirt. Make your face a piece of absurd modern art, and the world is a museum. Tell some lies. Convince someone at a party that you model for camping gear catalogs. Kevin Spacey is your step-uncle twice removed. Your best friend is actually your cousin and your cousin is actually an Olympic athlete. Disclose every silly, harmless fantasy you ever secretly wanted to be true and see who will believe them. It will quickly become apparent that everyone you know is much more gullible than you imagined. Just be sure to stop telling those lies before you start to believe them too, no matter how badly you have always wanted to model fishing poles.
Hide from your reflection for a day. Cover up all of your mirrors. Turn away from windows and avoid blank screens. When your hair comes undone or you need to straighten your tie, ignore the urge to fix it. For one whole day, tell yourself you look perfect and don’t let the mirrors tell you otherwise. Or, if that doesn’t work, imagine that your reflection is haunting you and you must hide from it. Just don’t tell anyone that one; you might get some funny looks. Better yet, imagine that your appearance does not exist at all. Free yourself from your looks; by the end of the day, you might see parts of yourself that have nothing to do with your physical appearance. Pretend to shop in a ritzy store. Don’t be intimidated by the snooty salesperson in the wellpressed suit, even if they have a sixth sense for personal income. Let them glare while you rub your pauper paws over the clothes. Those expensive fabrics feel oh so nice. Try on the shirt or dress that costs more than three months’ rent. Take a picture of yourself in it, just as proof. Hold the price tags up and talk loudly and obnoxiously about what an amazing sale the store is having. You just can’t believe how cheap it is! Then pretend you need to get your wallet from your car, leave, and never ever go back again. Wear a costume to a party. Not to a costume party. Just show up at a regular old party in your most flamboyant costume. Embrace the awkward stares. Pretend you didn’t get the memo. Nobody told you it wasn’t a costume party. Better yet, act oblivious. When people ask you why you’re wearing a costume, tell them that you have no idea what they are talking about. Repeat this until everyone at the party begins to worry about their own sanity—are you really wearing a costume? Nobody will ever know for sure.
Gauge Magazine is produced twice a year by undergraduates at Emerson College. We always welcome submissions for future issues. Pitch us your feature articles, fiction, poetry, photography, illustrations, personal essays, and everything in between. Copyright of all materials reverts to the individual artists and authors. No materials may be reproduced without permission. G26 was set in Didot, Ryman Eco, Haettenschweiler, Handwriting-Dakota, Imprint MT Shadow, Impact, Perpetua, Andale Mono, Stencil, Monaco, and Bauhaus 93. Cover photo by Courtney Tharp. Back cover by Shay Kim. Photo on this page by Evie Hansford. Special thanks to Nick Spanos at Kirkwood and to Gauge advisor Bill Beuttler.