GA U G E
REVIVE FALL 2016
Models: James Gordon and Mina Brewer
TABLE OF CONTENTS STAFF LIST 3 EDITORSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; LETTERS 4 ODE TO THE ANTIDOTE by Rachel Fucci 7 POETRY 9 ONE STRAND/WAVES by Kamryn Leoncavallo 10 GENESIS by Kenna McCafferty 11 THE STEPS OF SELF-MEDICATION by Laura Cafasso 12 ESCAPE by Olivia Townsend 13 ODE TO CHANGE by Tanner Pratt 14 FROM DECAY by Cassandra Martinez 15 NONFICTION 16 ASTRALLY PROJECTING by Sara Barber 17
IT IS BACK: THE CLOWN PANIC OF 2016 by Rachel Cantor 20 IMMORTAL ART by Micaela Pryor 23 DEAD SET AGAINST DYING by Rebecca Johnson 26 ARTIST COLONIES: THE SPACE TO BE DEEP IN by Chloe B. McAlpin 30 STEP INTO MY BLUE SUEDE SHOES by Renee Esteban 32 TV REVIVALS by Callie Bisset 35 FICTION 39 DARK MATTER by Jocelyn Pontes 40 YOU SHOULD by Callie Bisset 51 ETYMOLOGY by Chloe B. McAlpin 52 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
STAFF LIST Gauge: Revive Fall 2016 Issue 30 Co-Editors-in-Chief Rachel Cantor Rachel Fucci Managing Editor Micaela Pryor Staff Writers Sara Barber Callie Bisset Renee Esteban Rebecca Johnson Chloe B. McAlpin Photo Editor Sara Barber Photo Team Mack Blalock Hannah Choi Stella Choi Soleil Hyland Shay Kim Xia Rondeau Tarik Thompson Nora Wilby Fiction Editor Betty Capot
Fiction Readers Graham Crolley Sally Greene Sarah Heatwole Tatiana Montalvo Poetry Editor Meaghan McDonough Assistant Poetry Editor Melissa Close Poetry Readers Sarah Alexander Melinda Fakuade Andie Taft Marketing Manager Samantha Jo Stamas
Marketing Team Cary Spector Tarik Thompson Jaclyn Withers Design Team Nick Garel-Jones Laura King Samantha Jo Stamas Jay Whitaker Web Team Laura King Laura Sabater Copyeditors Emily Hillebrand Inbal Kadim Talia Santopadre Dottie Tomasini
LETTE R S
Rachel Fucci Co-Editor-in-Chief
The word “revive,” to most, is a phoenix rising from the ashes. It’s a lost cause given a near-miraculous second chance. But after this semester, it will always mean an underdog story to me. We saw the project we had long been passionate about when it was on its last legs; misunderstandings had left it weak and wounded. At times, we worried that we had taken on too much, but the support of our incredible staff propelled us forward. And now, after countless late nights and a few frantic scrambles, Gauge: Revive is in your hands. We gave our all to this magazine because we love it and believe in it. We hope that it restores your strength in the same way that it restored ours.
Rachel Cantor Co-Editor-in-Chief
Fall 2016 marks Gauge’s 15th year in print. Gauge: Revive is Issue 30. In September, we welcomed 16 returning staff members and 21 new staff members. In October, we chose to feature many more contributors, from poets to photographers to models. In this issue, you’ll find the cumulative creative work of more than 60 students. “Revive” is a verb. It’s been our rallying cry these past three months.A steady pulse that beat through uncertain hours when we weren’t sure we’d end up with anything to show for so many students’ hard work. But you hold these pages now, and you fulfill the image of our revival. “Revive” is a verb. It may seem out of place for our new reality, but we hope it can carry you past these pages, can be your rallying cry, your steady pulse beating on. Fulfill the image of hope’s revival. Revive the promise of a bright horizon for us all.
“Te Encontr?” by Cassandra Martinez
Ode to the Antidote
By Rachel Fucci Photos by Tarik Thompson
Contributors: Tate Horstkotte, Jake Haddock, Elle McNamara, Hope Alexander, Hannah Riffe, Jesse Nichter, Jedy Xu, Shelby Renjifo
Whether we want it to or not, no matter if we spend all our lives running from it, keeping our fingernails clean, eating all of the right fruit-and-vegetable-non-GMOfree-range-this-or-thats, at one time or another, we are all infected with the poison. And the poison, whether it is of the mind, body, or spirit, is dastardly, a menace to get rid of. We have fought this same battle against it for our whole time on earth, each wave of human beings dreaming up new methods of neutralizing it, extracting it, transforming it into something safer and sweeter. In the heart of ancient Egypt, priest-physicians prescribed herbal remedies for pain and cast their spells to do the rest. The balancing act of faith and medicine was one of constant observation. Each disease or failing body system had its own shaman, one who knew just the right prayer to beg for the remedy and expel the evil spirit inhabiting the being. But some common ailments had more simple cures - the milk of a mother who had given birth to a boy could cure any cold, raw garlic could stop asthma in its tracks. The indigenous people of North America acknowledged that poison could manifest itself both in and outside of the human body. They smoked pure tobacco and sage to heal the stomach, liver, and lungs, and kept it burning in their homes to cleanse the space of evil energy. In doing this, they were the first to acknowledge the connection between a healthy environment and an equally healthy body. And perhaps they shouldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve burned the sage in Europe, because when the Black Death came it came without warning or weakness. The medieval peasants looked to the humors for their answers. It was a surplus of sanguine, so allow leeches to drain the blood. Perhaps too much black bile brought on the plague--induce vomiting immediately. Half-dead bodies slumped through the streets masked with bulky doctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beaks, their crafted nose cavities filled with crushed herbs and flowers; inhale new fresh air to eradicate the poison. But what if poison is a person? What if poison refuses to attend church on Sundays, lives outside of the community.
What if, rumor has it, poison cast a spell on a particularly notable elder, showed a group of young girls magic tricks, was (allegedly) spotted dancing erratically in the moonlight? If it was a witch poisoning a good Christian town, they were burned, hanged, pressed to death by their fellow townsfolk. It was neighbor against neighbor, fueled by fear all in the name of purifying a village infected with evil. Salem was proof that the poison could spread to our minds as well, but we spent centuries attempting to cure our mental states, each idea seemingly more horrifying than the previous. The dingy white wards with flickering lights and despicable sanitation housed those thought unfit for the outside world. But who was truly unfit? Was it the ones on the receiving end of the highly dangerous medicines, the lobotomies, the unmentionable experiments, or the ones prescribing them? The hands that hold the cure become the most powerful of them all. There are those that test the limits of what is curable, treatable, those who confuse the poison with its counterpart - the light, the love that can defeat it. Conversion therapy wears the disguise of good intention and religious morality, but it hides a core of hate and ignorance. There is nothing to be electrocuted or overdosed or prayed away-the only poison lies in the minds of those who believe such things are possible. As we age we spend more and more time collecting little cures for the things that frighten us. We grab a cream for the fine lines and a box of dye to hide the greying roots. We ingest the vitamins and supplements to stretch our lives out to the last possible second. There is no antidote for our thirst for time and experience. We do all that we can to keep indulging in what it means to be present and alive and still breathing. And for some of us, even after the breathing stops we are still reaching for one more chance to fill our lungs. In our final fight against the poison, we have developed the ability to freeze ourselves, confident that when we eliminate it for good we can reemerge stronger than ever before. If our suspicions prove correct, we will be the first ailment to have outmatched our own cure.
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by Kamryn Leoncavallo
One strand of hair comes off your head one chain from the necklace around your soft, soft parts when he is calm and he’s controlling him and you and destiny: suddenly, a shift. He thinks he’s not still in control so waves waves waves of frightened, loving, angry coming in tides and shifts. His body is mostly water like the ocean is mostly water; both have waves, need waves, come in waves. His body becomes more water when he drinks: water or Coke or milk or wine. The way it works is the liquid moves in waves into his cells (small) and they get faster, and faster: so fast he’s buzzing he’s jumping but won’t hurt you. He’s drinking a lot of that wine. The waves get faster and bigger and scary they get rougher and deeper and you’re in the sea. He is the ocean. He’s trying to be: caring and loving with his waves but unsafe. His anger and frightened and loving are mixed he’s angry with love and frightened of drowning: are you drowning? It’s hard to see. Maybe you’re both going to be dead in a month or four or five. The promise of death makes it easier to live, but so much harder to die. He wants to die so much without you but with you he keeps himself alive. He thinks you’re the strand that’s holding the knife above his heart as he lays in bed. You think he’s the ocean sweeping you both out to sea. Everything is water in the end and the beginning and the middle of the sea is where you’ll find peace. Peace is kindness to love. Love gets killed by the boring. In the middle of the sea you get peace but not boring: you get to fuck underwater like hippopotamuses and dolphins and things. He’s safe from the knives here, he’s safe always with you. You’re safe and safe and he’s safe not sad go to the ocean be swept out to sea one strand beauty is in you and you will be free.
“Untitled” by Olivia Martinson
by Kenna McCafferty I watched you always through layers of sea salted satin and holy oil. The mouth of a churning stomach, the incense of your words and the hallowed embrace of the cathedral. Kneeling on the floor of the ocean or a prayer bench. You lead me, always, through the tunneled, or the trickle of rounded sounds and whispered pews, through clouded words and anointed promises. It's cold enough to taste you through a hurricane of fifty-something verses, hailed and poured from mouth to mouth. A slippery hand and the crumbling of bread: something outstretched and sinful. Perversions of a theme. You were my mask and I wore you out, with time and mercury poisoning. In the drenching warmth I see you now: A song and a purpose. A verse and a lie.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Reviving Light of Paris" (Cathedral de Notre Dame, Paris, France) by Tarik Thompson
“Felt Constraint” by Christine Lavosky Model: Madeline Lavosky
THE STEPS OF SELF-MEDICATION
by Laura Cafasso
Make sure you’re alone. Don’t let anyone see you this vulnerable. Pajamas and Netflix are necessities, but not required. Time of day shouldn’t matter – but nighttime, especially a Saturday night seems optimal. Eating drowns out the city ruckus: club goers, car radios, and emergency sirens. Forget that you can’t fit into a party dress, feel comfortable in a belligerent crowd, or see your body move in any intended way. Your mom says “your time will come.” Let that sink in, dissolve the pressure, the pain like Mentos in cola. Just keep eating until it explodes. Watch something comforting. Recommendations: Gilmore Girls, The Office, or anything with Bobby Flay. Pretend that reality can be happy like on any of those shows, because every problem has a solution. Go to bed early. Your stomach will be numb; not upset, even though it should be. But the sugar plasters your eyes open, and sleep comes slow. Suppress the rage, the sobs, the hopelessness. Tell yourself, "I’ll start over again tomorrow." I’ll go the gym and sweat out the toxins – the sludge that sticks to me. Tomorrow, I’ll resuscitate what’s left.
by Olivia Townsend I could have scraped the sky apart with my two front teeth that night. The city awoke as each light went on except for ours. The streets moved beneath our hips, leaving lines and layers, folding our sheets into dusk. Our breath cut along the skyline. Listening, loving all but each other. We fell in love with zippers and straps and hooks and skin and skin and backs and lips instead. We laughed at each noise, as we floated above it all on the third floor, where cars slid beneath our thighs and the horns melted in the pavement. How beautiful! How beautiful, the illusion of companionship as we tear at the sky for escape and all we get is skin.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Numb Escapeâ&#x20AC;? Model: Victoria Kennon by Christine Lavosky
ODE TO CHANGE
by Tanner Pratt
Today bones crack a different way like how eggs unfold in thin fractals or a mother’s smile erodes skin to ridges. And then there’s the ghosts of milkmen tipped hats shimmering a clean clink of conscience. Today is a chime plucked from messes of creaks, bangs, and scrapes remarketed for imagined generations as music for young people, finally tired of finagling and status updates and the made-up wars. Today is one small sound like a smile or a laugh in the face of madness and rooms walled with beer bottles but, see, the empties are smashed to shards, now a mosaic in infancy. Look at them Gleam. Today was a good day and it almost Killed me.
“Dancing in the Void” Model: Emma Fishman by Christine Lavosky
by Cassandra Martinez
Summer has arrived in all her glory, And I think I owe the world a love song, Perhaps a scream in accordance. There are moments in which my blood goes still Despite the summer haze And darling, the world rests so heavily against me, She leaves fault lines across my body, She leaves dirt beneath my nails, Embers in my chest and vines wrapped Around my lungs. There are moments in which I cannot breathe, Choking on all this glory And I tear at my skin, Sowing the seeds to remain another day, Drops like pomegranate seeds. My hands become magnolias To remind you of those Virginia summers, Us darting between the ruins And yelling out— Oh, the broken ground, the bloom! And all the blazing light my mother promised me.
“Silence” by Cassandra Martinez
on -f i
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Here is your physical body, existing in our identifiable reality. If
you were to pinch your shoulder, you would feel a prick of painful sen-
sation. If you desire to walk from one place to the next, your legs will maneuver the motions. People tend to have complete control over what movements their body will produce, which identi-
fies the physical body as an entire human
contraption controlled by one person’s mind.
So what happens when your mind—or soul—leaves this physical
body? Western esotericists, also known as people who study and celebrate rejected knowledge, have defined someone’s soul or conscious as an astral body. This form is said to be capable of exiting and reentering our physical one. When our astral body leaves our physical body, it enters the
astral plane—an area of existence said to be populated by angels, spirits, and other ethereal beings. In this dimension, you can fully explore the possibilities that the physical body prohibits.
One in ten people have had an out of body experience and many
interpret it as astral projection. Astral projection is often a willful en-
counter, usually associated with dreams and meditation. In “The Esoteric
Codex: Theosophy I”, Mark Rogers describes the astral experience with, “Once projected, he will realize that the thought-creating faculties of the mind are so tremendous that a constant series of kaleidoscopic changes
are taking place—not only around him but within himself as well.” The depth of the astral plane goes further than lucid dreaming because it is an entire other dimension.
If you are not in touch with the depths of your consciousness,
astral projection can be formidable. Thoughts and feelings can manifest themselves as demons or other frightening entities in the astral plane, which can leech into our physical beings and manifest themselves in ill symptoms.
While people who have researched astral
projection know its impact, the existence of an astral plane is contrary to the limits of science. Many find the notion of leaving your physi-
cal body unfathomable, but many find solace
Astrally Projecting by Sara Barber
and enjoyment in enhancing the dimensions of their mind. However, most of the research on astral projection is derived from firsthand experience
on small blogs and clanky
as opposed to scientific accounts.
W hile it cannot be
proven that astral
projection is a fac-
tual occurrence, traces
of its impact can be con-
nected to the history of Japan,
India, China, and even the Bible.
While there is no known scientif-
ic evidence that astral projection as
an objective phenomenon exists, its influence can be traced throughout
much of popular culture. The concept
of astral planes and astral projection is
often referenced in music, having been
mentioned in songs by Tupac, Aerosmith,
and Pearl Jam.
So even if astral projection isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t entirely based
in fact, the idea and practice of leaving oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s body is
an exciting phenomenon for many and the impact it has had on our surroundings is undeniable.
Photo by Sara Barber Model: Johan Urrea Location and Equipment: Victoria Capraro
It is Back: The Clown Panic of 2016 by Rachel Cantor
Thousands of people, running through the streets, chanting. Hunting for a mysterious, perhaps supernatural being. Wielding brooms, bats, sticks. Leaders addressing the mob, calling for unity against this evil apparition. It might sound like a medieval witch hunt, but it happened on the night of October 3rd, 2016, at Penn State University. The students were out to get clowns. Since August, the U.S. has seen a sudden increase in “creepy clown” sightings. It seems to have begun in South Carolina earlier this year, where several children reported sinister clowns lurking in the woods by their homes, beckoning. More recently there have been realer, more troubling clown threats. The phenomenon has spread across the country, even to our own campus: two clown-masked men threatened students by Emerson’s Colonial dorm on the night of October 12, before they were apprehended by campus police. It seems that some people have been prompted by the possibility of evil clowns; inspired to make rumors real. Or perhaps it was “real” all along.
As it became more violent, I began to worry.
from a loudspeaker somewhere. I ran downstairs and went outside and it was just mobs of people.”That night, someone also projected a giant image of Pennywise, the evil clown from Stephen King’s It, onto the exterior of a dorm. King’s novel—and the miniseries based off of it—took the “scary clown” to new heights, searing the idea and image of evil clowns into the American consciousness. Coincidentally, a movie remake of It is set for a 2017 release (or perhaps it is not a coincidence—some online conspiracy theorists ponder the possibility of a clown panic sparked by shrewd marketers.) But scary clowns are not new. It was published in 1986. In 1981, there was a “clown panic” centered in the Boston area, when many children reported clown sightings. No malicious clowns were ever confirmed. In the 1970s, John Wayne Gacy was a clown by day and a serial killer by night. When his horrific crimes came to light, they perhaps contributed to the fearsome linkage of “killer” and “clown”. But even further back in history, the fool, the jester, the trickster, and the clown have played important roles in social commentary that were often more frightening than funny.
At first, I was among many people who found the clown trend mildly amusing. As it became So what do our re-emerging clowns say about us more violent, I began to worry. I started to hope it this time? would burn out fast, like so many viral phenomena, soon to be replaced with the next fad craze. But I also In her op-ed “Trump Goes to War” in The Atlantic, Molly Ball writes that “Trump is refusing to go down started to wonder why. Why clowns? Why now? without a fight. He intends to drag [down-ballot Re“It was just chaos,” says Nico Martinez, a freshman at publican candidates] down with him if he can, down Penn State. He witnessed the beginnings of the Octo- into the swirling chaos. Scary clowns have been popber 3rd clown hunt from the roof of his dorm. “I saw ping up all over the country, and somehow this does people in groups, moving around, chanting ‘beat his not seem like a coincidence.” ass’. Then someone got a creepy clown’s laugh going,
I don’t think it’s a coincidence, either. There is a striking amount of cross-referencing between recent opinion pieces on America’s current political situation and recent opinion pieces on America’s current clown sightings. I think this goes beyond a simple analogy between politicians and clowns, and strikes at something deeper in our current social climate.
"No matter who you're voting for, we can all agree on one thing: fuck that clown!"
In a Penn State student video of that night—the footage of which was picked up by the New York Post—hundreds of students are seen crowding a lawn outside a university building. “Fuck that clown!” they chant. A student on the building’s stairs, shirtless with “Fuck That Clown” written on his chest, quiets the crowd long enough to make a short speech. He is interrupted by one more “fuck that clown!” from the crowd, and holds up a finger. “I’m getting there!” he promises. Then he begins. “No matter where you come from, no matter your color, your religion, your creed. No matter who you’re voting for, we can all agree on one thing: fuck that clown!” And the crowd goes wild. There were no clowns confirmed on Penn State’s campus the night of October 3rd. Maybe some students were really out hunting for something to unite against, amidst the divisiveness of America’s current social climate. Maybe that’s what clown-fearers and clown-fighters nationwide are really searching for. Maybe that’s overanalyzing things, but we humans do love our scapegoats—or rather, love to hate them. The human tendency to scapegoat has always had terrifying implications for people considered “others” in any society. American history is filled with scapegoats, from the fate of outcasts in the Salem Witch Trials, all the way to protestors cast out from Trump rallies. In fact, Mr. Trump’s entire campaign was fueled by scapegoats—he blamed nearly all groups of people for America’s supposed fall from greatness, except for white men like himself. “Some people brought out speakers and opened their
windows, and they were playing the theme music to ‘The Purge,’” says Martinez. “I heard that big opening line: ‘The Purge is now commencing’, and the countdown.”“The Purge”, as well as its recent sequel, “The Purge: Election Year,” take place in a dystopian America where all crime, including murder, is legal for one night each year. They are political horror movies. While there are clown appearances and people in masks in both films, they are more focused on the concept of targeting and “purging” others. This was the music some Penn State students chose to underscore their night. “The Purge: Election Year” played directly on Trump’s campaign; its slogan was “Keep America Great”. The pattern is the same in a clown panic as it is in a political mob: we must purge those who threaten our greatness. But where does that leave us? When someone cries “fuck that clown” to the masses, what do they truly mean? Who is the clown—the hunter or the hunted? I finished this piece the night before the 2016 presidential election. The death throes of this political cycle have been especially marked by uncertainty, blame, fear, and worry. It seems the perfect storm for sinister figures and sinister deeds. But by the time this magazine goes to print, we’ll all know what came of America’s votes. What’s it like in that future? Have the clowns come back…again?
Photo by Mack Blalock
Models: Joe “Alaska” Boudreau and Haley Cohen Lighting: Kate Casner and Erin Nolan Makeup: Daniella Roberge
by Micaela Pryor The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (ISGM) is a staple of Boston art, and has been since 1903. Gardner meticulously collected each work of art, and had a heavier hand in the design of the building than the architect. When she died in 1924, her will demanded that the museum be open “for the education and enjoyment of the public forever.” It’s no trouble to keep a museum open to the public, but the notion of ‘forever’ is a complicated thing at this particular museum. The ISGM’s conservation department was established in 1933 by George L. Stout, a forerunner in modern art conservation, and also the museum’s second ever art director. Today, the conservation department is still doing everything in its power to make Gardner’s dream of ‘forever’ a reality. A building like the Boston Museum of Fine Art is climate controlled and specially set up to keep each work of art in the exact conditions it needs to be in to keep it looking like new. The ISGM, however, was built as a hybrid of museum and home, a place where art was housed and artists lived. The courtyard, which displays several marble statues, is
awash in sunlight and filled with greenery. The windows around the building let in light that, over time, can create significant damage to any art placed near them. Gardner made it clear that nothing in her treasured house of art would be moved or removed, so the museum has taken clever precautions to keep the art alive forever as she willed it. Some rooms are kept darker than most, with the curtains drawn tight and the lights turned off. The third floor of the museum has a long hallway lined with wide windows, all letting in bright sunlight. Long exposure to sunlight can significantly and near-irreversibly lighten the colors of paint, cloth, and paper, so conservative action must be taken. The glass cases and bookshelves in the hall are shrouded in thick brown fabric with labels affixed that say “Visitors may lift cloth”. It’s an uncomfortable expirence to get so close to art in a museum. Doing so leaves you feeling like you’re breaking the rules, but the ISGM experience is to be just that--personal. The usual experience of art viewing involves standing at least three feet back, nodding to yourself, and making sure not to upset anything the
the pristine environment, which,The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is anything but. The museum feels lived in, with an atmosphere like that of a home tour leaving each room with a personality and a purpose unlike any other. The key to keeping the ISGM collection standing is skilled conservation artists. “Conservation is a field that is divided into three components: art history, studio art, and chemistry,” says Holly Salmon, the museum’s objects conservator. Conservation walks the line between art and science, combining technical skill and historical appreciation with a familiarity in the chemical composition of art materials. An artist must know each piece of art they encounter intimately; they have to know its history, its materials, and its usual placement in the museum. They have to have steady hands and an eye for detail to care for the art, as well as an understanding of the techniques used by the original artist. It is a meticulous job for artists with great patience and skill. The ISGM was one of the first museums to own a device that cleans through the use of lasers. Usually used to remove tattoos, the conservation department utilizes the laser tool to remove dirt and grime from statues. The laser emits a beam of energy that gets absorbed by the pollutants sticking to the surface and the grime is lightened,loosened, and sucked away by a small vacuum. Like a power hose against a filthy brick walkway, the device sweeps the statue clean bit by bit, revealing the bright stone underneath. In 2009, the Portrait of Joséphine Gaujelin that hangs in the museum’s Yellow Room underwent a significant restoration. Created by Edward Degas in 1867, the painting was sealed with a natural varnish to keep the paint from eventually chipping away. Routine cleanings of the resin took place in 1934 and 1976, touching up colors, cleaning the resin, even replacing the resin entirely. Thirty-three years later, and the painting was considerably duller than it was at its creation. Natural varnish has a tendency to become yellow and opaque over the years, robbing the painting of some of its most standout features. Under the natural resin, the dramatic black sequined dress of Gaujelin has become grey in some places, and the sequins are barely noticeable. Under an ultraviolet light, it was clear that the natural resin was the root cause for the painting’s frequent deterioration.
Once it was removed and replaced with a modern synthetic resin, the full colors of the painting were restored. The process was thorough and tedious, thinning the varnish and wax layer by layer with solvent. Any restoration done to a painting also damages it; the tools used to remove and apply new varnish also create small abrasions in the paint. The 2009 restoration of Portrait of Joséphine Gaujelin filled in these abrasions and retouched the paint with new pigment. The process brought back the dramatic contrast between Gaujelin’s black dress and the light yellow wall behind her. Object and statue conservation can be even more complicated, and relies more heavily on technology than you might think. For three years, starting in 2007, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts collaborated on the restoration and conservation of the Bust of St. John the Baptist, created by Benedetto da Maiano in 1480. The sculpture was hand-crafted with clay and painted with a few bright colors. Through the centuries, it was repainted many times over to varying levels of success. Upon analysis, it was revealed that at one point the statue had been painted over entirely with metallic paint to make it appear bronze. They still aren’t sure why. The partnered conservation departments were able to identify the chemical makeups of each layer of paint through energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), Raman spectroscopy, and other similar processes. In the world of conservation, EDS essentially involves firing a beam of electrons, protons, or X-rays at a paint sample. The electrons of the various elements that make up the paint are then excited at different levels and the level of energy emitted from each element identifies it during analysis. With Raman spectroscopy, a laser, near infrared light, or near ultraviolet light is shone onto the sample. The light interacts with how the molecules of the paint vibrate and, like with EDS, monitors the shifts in energy unique to each individual element. With Bust of St. John the Baptist, test after test was run to find the colors and paint types originally used by Benedetto da Maiano centuries ago. Once the pigment tests were complete, they discovered the original colors: lead tin yellow (type I), yellow ochre, vermilion, red lake, and lead white. With this particular sculpture, the scientific analysis was the most complicated process. The actual restoration of the sculpture’s paint was rather minor, setting flaking paint, cleaning
with water-based solutions, and dabbing paint on a few rough patches. Three years of work for a simple solution, and worth every hour if it meant preserving a piece of Gardner’s collection. Keeping Gardner’s dream of ‘forever’ is a constant battle against time and nature. The work that goes into keeping works of art alive equates to far more hours, days, and years than it took to create the art. A conservation artist must be crafty and knowledgeable, possessing the fine tuned patience and steady hand of a surgeon to carefully fill in the holes that time has made on paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and furniture. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is unlike any museum when it comes to conservation. Other museums can switch out exhibits and create new spectacles for tourists, but he ISGM must work day in and day out to try and endow every piece of the collection with immortality.
Photos by Hannah Choi
DEAD SET AGAINST DYING BY rebecca johnson
MODEL: SHAWN MCNULTY-KOWAL On November 10, 2008, renowned neurosurgeon Eben Alexander slipped into a weeklong meningitis-induced coma. He was placed on a ventilator, and expected not to live. His brain was inactive with his entire cortex basically turned off. As his body refused to respond to every antibiotic, he was brought closer and closer to the brink of death. On the seventh day, however, he miraculously opened his eyes. In his prior work, Alexander had dismissed claims of out-of-body visions of heaven when faced with patientsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; near death experiences (NDE). That is, until he awoke from his own NDE overwhelmed by memories of the afterlife and his mystical odyssey to heaven. Alexander then wrote Proof of Heaven. In the book, Alexander backs his experiences with his neurological expertise. Proof of Heaven has sold millions of copies, bringing the phenomenon of dying and coming back to life into many discussions, both
religious and scientific. An NDE is defined as a period of time when a person who is physically close to death experiences a sensation or vision of the afterlife. Many people skeptically refer to these encounters as dreams or hallucinations. Others question whether an NDE is a spiritual experience or a scientific phenomenon. So what is it? Religion or science? Hollywood seems to have taken to the religious approach; particularly in the movies Heaven is For Real (2014) and Miracles from Heaven (2016). Both Heaven is For Real and Miracles from Heaven come from the perspective of children who have faced an NDE and lived to tell their experience of the afterlife. They are both considered Christian dramas, and are based off of books about real experiences. In each story, the child tells of meeting Jesus or God in a bright light. They describe
feeling safe and calm, which should be comforting for those who maintain a fear of death. Various online forums for NDE survivors tell that while every NDE is unique, these images of God, Jesus, angels, or bright lights are relatively common. However, these stories are met with a lot of skepticism. The majority of NDE afterlife accounts are from people or families who practice Christianity. This has resulted in many theories about the real origin of afterlife experiences. Many question why all the stories include images of God and Jesus, while very few tell of other religious/spiritual deities such as Buddha, Vishnu, or Allah. The theory is that experiences of “heaven” result from our brain showing us what we find comforting in a time of great fear and stress, such as when faced with death. In this case, NDEs are indi-
vidualized for each person. We will see and experience what we want the afterlife to look like. However, this equates NDEs more to visions or hallucinations rather than a tangible experience. It is important to note that most NDEs report very distinct details related to their senses of sight, sound, and touch. The human brain is capable of creating these sensations within the confines of the mind, which many of us experience through dreams. That’s why NDE’s are easily brushed off as resulting from something as simple as an overactive imagination. Some of the more deeply skeptical theories, though, show concern that these experiences are subtler efforts to convert people religiously. Since some of the most famous accounts come from children, we are perhaps more likely to sympathize with their stories and believe what they tell us because they have no reason to lie. Yet, some are also inclined to believe that these stories stem from the subliminal messages received in church or at home about what the afterlife is supposed to look like. Encouraged by their parents, children retell what they think is the right answer or fits what they have been taught. But then there is Eben Alexander. A highly regarded, well-educated neurosurgeon with little stake in religion prior to his brush with death. Coming at it from a background of medicine, he writes, “Science—the science to which I’ve devoted so much of my life—doesn’t contradict what I learned up there. But far, far too many people believe… that science and spirituality cannot coexist.” Alexander explains that we cannot simply attribute this to a religious or spiritual phenomenon because science and spirituality are intercon-
nected. When you think about pronouncing someone as dead, most people first think about the heart stopping. When a person goes into cardiac arrest, their heart may stop beating but their brain can still be functioning. They are biologically reaching death, but according to anecdotal evidence, potentially still aware. Thus poses the question for NDEs about what is going on medically and consciously in the brain. In December of 2015, the European medical journal Resuscitation published an article discussing the function of the brain during cardiac arrest. According to their research, the brain stem reflexes are lost as soon as the heart stops beating and do not work again until the heart has been restarted. Without brainstem reflexes, a patient is considered comatose and ventilator-dependent, or brain dead. Resuscitation has published many articles studying the medical function of the brain during NDES, and the psychological after-effects. They have found that 10-20% of cardiac arrest survivors are able to remember distinct details from their resuscitation. Unfortunately, the trauma from being consciously aware during such experiences has led to many cases of PTSD. Many people who suffer from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, will experience flashbacks to that traumatic experience or attempt to repress the memory of it entirely. It is possible that many NDEs are repressed as a defense mechanism in the brain to maintain emotional stability. The brain is responsible for all physical functions and sensations. The cerebral cortex handles perception, memory, and awareness with the neocortex, a subsection, taking on sight and hearing. A person who is pronounced brain dead, and has lost function of their cerebral cortex, should technically be incapable of a conscious experience. It should not be medically possible for the patient to see, hear, or feel any sort of sensation. Consciously, though, such patients who recover report feeling like
they left their body, and had some sort of visual or auditory episode. It is not just the “bright light”, as goes the typical cliché. Reports of NDEs have included having conversations with others who have passed on, touching objects and people or animals, and even hearing music. Some say they can recall looking down on their physical body lying in a hospital bed or hearing the voices of their loved ones back in the physical world. Eben Alexander described a very unique combination of sensations. “Seeing and hearing were not separate in this place where I now was. I could hear the visual beauty of the silvery bodies of those scintillating beings above, and I could see the surging, joyful perfection of what they sang,” he wrote. Baffling and unimaginable, yet this is what he witnessed throughout his vegetative state. It is almost too fantastic to have been imagined. An NDE requires the loss of body function in some way. Whether it is being pronounced brain dead, or falling into a deep coma, the patient must not be conscious. This fact has to be emphasized because NDEs often sound similar to dreams. A big difference between dreams and these experiences, though, is the chronology of the experience and the ability to recall the experience in full. Dreams often take place in spliced sequences. Events do not play out in their entirety, and your mind can jump from one location to the next without a transition physically or in the so-called storyline of the dream. Not acknowledging the medical state of the body, this is one of largest indicators of the difference between a dream and a near death experience. If a dream takes place inside the mind, we then have to wonder where an NDE takes place. It brings up the question of whether out-of-body ex-
periences really take place outside of the body. In order to validate this scientifically, experts would have to acknowledge a sort of separation of body and soul or spirit. However, such a statement is unlikely to ever be made by the scientific community because of the lack of tangible evidence and controversy over mixing science and spirituality. If these stories could be confirmed, by science and religion alike, both communities would likely have to rethink their philosophical foundations. As for religion, it would mean that there is some sort of spiritual connection beyond this realm. This does not confirm a “heaven” or an eternal afterlife. However, it tells us that there
is something else beyond this physical experience, and everyone, regardless of religion, has access to it. This still leaves the door open for controversy though. Is what is described in an NDE a depiction of the journey towards the afterlife or the destination? We are left to ask if our spiritual experience is confined to a single realm and how far after leaving our bodies does our consciousness take us. Scientifically, and more specifically, medically, this kind of scientific discovery would open whole new doors for discussion. Doctors would have to explore the in-between time after a body is pronounced dead but might still be resuscitated. It would change the game for DNR and life
support decisions. DNR is a medical label for patients who are not to be resuscitated if their heart stops. If we could definitively prove that there is something beyond this, would we use that knowledge to prolong our lives, attempt to make resuscitation possible even long after physical death, or would we question medically the purpose of resuscitation? It is fascinating to think about. The effect the afterlife has, and could have, on our current life. Every story must be taken with a grain of salt, though. It is like seeing â&#x20AC;&#x153;based on a true storyâ&#x20AC;? at the beginning of a movie. You can be in awe of the amazing events that took place, but must remember that some things are likely exaggerated to appeal to the audience. This is not to say that people are lying or purposefully exaggerating, but the mind is a tricky force. All that we know and experience has been developed within the boundaries of our brains. We access the world through a physical consciousness and interpret events based on neural reactions, including emotions. Consequently, we must individually decide what is real and what is not. While no one wants to come so close to death, we are constantly questioning and discussing what will happen. If you had access to the truth, if you survived death, how would you see the world? Would you share your knowledge with the rest of us?
PHOTOGRAPHY BY STELLA CHOI
By Chloe B. McAlpin
“The Space to be Deep In” What would you do if you could buy seven months? The apartment complex does not look like a creative haven. It looks more like an unusually neat motel. Only the “Fine Arts Work Center” lettering, hammered into the side of the building, lets me know I have arrived at my destination. If not for this, I might have passed it by, which in my case means continuing to drive the wrong direction down a one-way street. This doesn’t matter, the quiet Provincetown neighborhood is completely empty.
A.H. Jerriod Avant, a second-year poetry fellow, looks solemn when he tells me, no matter how his career takes off, he doesn’t “think [he] could ever buy seven months.” Here, he is given the time to create, work, and be indulgent.
“When creating in your work-a-do world you can easily feel that you shouldn’t be indulgent with yourself,” says writing coordinator Sophia Starmack, “but I think to make anything you need to be selfish and Here at the curving tip of Cape Cod, a lucky ten you need to be playful, you even need some time to be emerging writers and visual artists have been given a little lazy.” the ultimate gift: time. From October until May the accepted artists are given on-campus living accom- We are sitting in one of the campus’ communal spacmodations and a small stipend, free of any charge. es; bright artwork hangs on the walls. Three of the
resident artist, A.H. Jerriod Avant, Hilary Vaughn Dobel, and Tom Macher laugh and nod in agreement. There is a sweet relief in being allowed to be lazy, and selfish, to lay in bed for hours reading. “People don’t talk too much about the time writers spend staring out the window,” Starmack continues, “but it’s a part of the process. It’s time to not know what’s going on. The writers are finding the space to be deep in.” This space seems to be the reason the center receives 800 applications a year. Hilary Vaughn Dobel, one of the first-year poet residents spends her “lazy” time taking long walks through Provincetown. Her “play” is what she describes as “weird stuff.” “I have notecards tacked up on my wall and I’m taking voice memos of myself trying to read things phonetically in German, which I don’t speak.” She has started a new project in the month she’s been at the center. “Even if I don’t use it or I don’t know what it means yet,” she says putting her elbows on her knees and leaning into the conversation, “I think it's important.” Seven months to create is rare, even among other artist colonies. The Vermont Studio Center is more common; it’s chosen artists can stay as short as 2 weeks and as long as 12 weeks. Most artists though stay for a month. In 2015 Vermont Studio center hosted 834 artists. The Fine Arts Work Center hosted twenty. When I talk to Kathy Black, the program director at Vermont Studio Center, she tells me that community is an important part at the Vermont Studio Program. “You come to here and you find your people. You find your tribe.” Black describes the friendships made and the influence they have on artists’ processes. Aaron Richmond, a second-year visual artist at The Fine Arts Work Center thinks Vermont Studio Center is like “summer camp.” The constant socializing didn’t suit him as well as the isolation in Provincetown. Richmond’s hands are smudged with paint as he pets his dog Lotto. He is soft spoken and our voices echoes off the high ceiling of his studio. “[Fine Arts Works Center] is low key. You have just the right amount of contact, people are around.” I ask him about his creative process and Richmond describes a
Artwork by Shay Kim
full day alone inside his studio. When I ask the Provincetown writers if they get lonely there is a pause. Eventually, A.H. Jerriod Avant a heavily bearded fellow who holds his hands in his lap, nods. It is Starmack who answers though. “They’re supposed to,” she says gently. In early November, Provincetown is misty. The sand dunes that surround the highway are covered in red foliage, but the season is quickly changing to winter. “I take long walks down Commercial [Street] and there’ll be nobody in the world out. You can walk two miles without seeing anybody.” Fiction writer Tom Macher says. He speaks slowly, each word is drawn out. “You’re stuck with your work in your head and I think that creates room for things to happen." Avant is still sitting quietly in his seat. Like Macher he is a second-year resident and has gone through the long, Provincetown winter before. If he is remembering this though, he stays silent. Starmack admits that come February the artists are “a little crazy.” They can go a whole day without seeing footprints in the snow. “But then the Spring comes and they’ve made it,” she continues. Loneliness is not a problem for Macher. This year, he returns to the Fine Arts Work Center with a partner. “In the beginning it was problematic,” he says. “Our space situation is not as big as the last time I was here. So what I’ve done to counteract that is I get up as early as I can and I go into the this dark room and I work for four or five hours.” Macher has trouble writing when there are distractions, when he works the windows must be drawn. In his first year, he even suggested his apartment get soundboards to block out noise. The “dark room” he refers to is a media lab with no windows. “Nobody is in there!” he says with a laugh, “I’ve got to lock myself up.” He must seek out isolation in order to write. Creations made in the seven months at the Fine Arts Work Center are solitary acts. When A.H. Jerriod Avant does speak, his voice is so low that it rumbles. “The time here has a way of changing the work. I’ve started to trust my work on a level I hadn’t before. And it’s been good and it’s been generative.”
E D E U S S HOES E U L B Y M O T N I P BY RENEE ESTEBAN E T S When Elvis tenderly sang, “Take my hand, take my whole life too,” I’m not sure this is what he meant. Despite his wild fame, there’s no way Elvis would’ve been able to predict the scale of his legacy. While there’s no official record of his first impersonator, the earliest mention I could find was from 1954, when an Arkansas teenager named Carl Nelson—endearingly and perhaps unfortunately nicknamed “Cheesie”—was paid to mimic him. On one occasion, he actually ended up singing with Elvis himself. From there, the number of impersonators rose from around 200 at the time of Elvis’ death to estimates in the hundred thousands today. In more recent years, the word “Elvis” has become synonymous with parody and shotgun weddings in Vegas, but the longevity of his music speaks for
itself. Recently, he’s become the most successful solo artist of all time in the UK, earning the record for most number one albums with 13. He now holds the record for the longest period of time between number one albums—a whopping 60 years. Furthermore Graceland, his home in Memphis and a National Historic Landmark, generates over 40 million dollars annually, a number that is set to rise with the unveiling of an Elvis themed hotel in its proximity. At this point, almost 40 years after his death, it’s obvious that we are incapable of getting over Elvis. He continues to entice, whether it be with his swinging hips, iconic outfits, or unapologetic attitude. Of course, his unmistakable voice and the music that cemented his status as “The King of Rock and Roll” are mostly responsible for his continued popularity, but let it be emphasized—he was the total package. It’s no wonder that Elvis impersonation has become a worldwide phenomenon—a feat that can be best expressed by a quote from a 2001 documentary titled “Almost Elvis”, “There’s an Elvis of every color, stripe, and persuasion; every nationality.” After his death in 1977, Elvis impersonation became increas-
ingly common in the mainstream. This may be related to the interesting “rebirth” that occurs when successful musicians die, their work experiences a resurgence. Astoundingly, on the day of Prince’s death alone, he sold approximately one million copies of his songs. Within the next few days 654,000 albums and 2.82 million songs would be purchased. Comparatively, Elvis’ final single, “Way Down,” topped country and pop charts days after his death. These huge numbers could be the result of abundant press. Each post mortem article seems to urge established fans to buy albums for nostalgia’s sake and drive those who don’t want to be left out of the loop to discover what they’ve been missing. Mostly, I think it comes down to the age old saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” There’s so much music in the world that it’s easy to take it for granted. It’s easy to assume that artists will just keep putting out albums, or that if the tickets are too expensive, we can catch them in concert next time they tour. When we have to face the loss of those possibilities, we go berserk for a bit. Elvis’ situation in this regard is unique, his revival never faded. Instead, it just keeps growing. There are so many Elvis impersonators of so many types that it’s impossible to keep track of them. There are those who specialize in looking like Elvis and those who specialize in sounding like Elvis. There are impersonators for every decade of Elvis’ career, from his rockabilly beginnings to his later jumpsuit glory. There are contests for best impersonator that take place globally, including the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, which is held
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NORA WILBY MODEL: ROSS CRISTANTIELLO
in Graceland. If I gathered anything from my interviews, it would be that all these impersonators have one thing in common—besides their love for Elvis—and that’s adding personal flair to their acts. Both men I spoke to, Gene Dinapoli and Frank Raines, stressed the fact that “tribute artist” is a much more accurate descriptor for what they do. In Dinapoli’s words, “We’re called Elvis Tribute Artists (ETAs) because we all bring our own little personal touch to doing Elvis—I never wanted to be Elvis, I wanted to be myself doing a show.” Dinapoli, who started at fourteen and has now been an ETA for 36 years, has been an avid fan since he was five years old, when he sang at his uncle’s restaurant, “There was a band and I got up with my uncle to sing a song. After the song was done I wanted to sing another, so I turned to the band and asked if they knew ‘Blue Suede Shoes’… the rest is history.” Since then, Dinapoli has become a full time entertainer who performs every era of Elvis’ songs. Funnily enough, Frank Raines also mentioned a connection to ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, but in an entirely different context. In fact, the contrast in backgrounds between the two serves to underscore the fact that there is no standard for ETAs. Raines, who called himself “a fan, not a fanatic,” saw Elvis in concert in the 1970s, but only because his friend’s wife couldn’t make it. He remembers that Elvis sounded incredible, but jokingly noted that he didn’t look great. Raines, 60, had been playing in bands and singing professionally throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but performing as Elvis didn’t occur to him until a 1994. On vacation in Dewey Beach, DE, he visited a bar on a quest
for Bloody Marys. At the time, he had “funky sunglasses on, a tank top, [and] a towel around [his] neck,” and a couple of guys at the bar likened him to Elvis. Later, Raines was given free beers in exchange for photos with him. By the end of the afternoon he was “three sheets to the wind” and singing Elvis songs on top of a table, thinking that he might be onto something. After performing for a few years, Raines ended up with the opportunity to perform at President Clinton’s birthday party in 1997. Of the experience where he was rescued from being cancelled by Hillary herself, Raines says triumphantly, “I got [Bill] to sing with me; we sang ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ together.” Although Dinapoli and Raines got started in opposing ways, they have gained a stunningly similar mindset. Their favorite aspect of being ETAs is making people happy and being able to connect with people of all ages through the music of one iconic man. They both fondly recalled numerous occasions when their shows improved lives—from kindergarteners to college students to retirees. As for their opinions on why the persona and music of Elvis is so enduring, Raines notes that Elvis “changed the face of music back in the 1950s and made rock ‘n’ roll more acceptable being the good wholesome kid that he was.” Dinapoli says eloquently, “The funny part is he’s one of a kind, and yet he’s spawned millions of people that want to be him. But the key to Elvis was that he was a regular guy who became famous and stayed a regular guy.”
TV REVIVALS “Lorelai wouldn’t wait for coffee,” said a voice from amidst the crowd, eliciting a rupture of communal laughter. It was a chilly Boston morning in early October, a line had been building around the block since long before Cafenation opened its doors at 7 a.m., and by 8:30 the line stretched around the corner and down the next street, blocking the entrance to the Bank of America parking lot, and causing annoyed beeping from customers every ten minutes or so. Commuters stared wide-eyed out of bus windows, visually startled by such a scene of unusual chaos. “What are you all waiting for?” seemed to be the question of the morning, typically followed by “How long have you been waiting?” Fans in line shrugged and smiled, most waited a few hours before they were able to make their way inside for a promised cup of warm coffee. The cause of all the commotion: a Luke’s Diner pop up shop hosted by Netflix as part of a promotion for the new “Gilmore Girls” revival, “A Year In The Life”. “Gilmore Girls” is just the latest in a series of fan favorites turned Netflix revivals. In 2013, back when Netflix was just beginning to step towards producing their own content, an “Arrested Development” revival was one of their first original programs. Since then, Netflix has become known not only for producing original content, but also for their revivals of cancelled shows. “Fuller House”, a “Full House” spin-off, debuted on Netflix earlier this year averaging 14.4 million views and has fans anxiously awaiting a promised second season. The success of these shows is vital, as Netflix transitions towards producing even more original content. The streaming service is aiming for at least half of its content to be Netflix originals over the course of the next few years. Based on their viewership, continuing revivals and reboots seems to be a good way to achieve this goal. This throwback programming consistently draws in nostalgic fans to familiar stories and in the realm of streaming services fans have a voice more than ever before. The concept of returning to an old story is certainly nothing new. In fact according to Damon Krometis, a Professor at Emerson College, it is one of the oldest plot devices. Krometis is relatively young, but speaks at length
by Callie Bisset Artwork by Soleil Hyland
on theatre and film. Krometis has spent years concentrating on the study of different theatrical forms and currently teaches Theatre into Film, a class discussing transitioning forms of media. “The history of all human art is to retell stories that are familiar to us,” says Krometis. One could even cite Romeo and Juliet as the epitome of a story played out time and time again. Recent reboots and remakes are a clear example of playing out old storylines. Disney introduced “Girl Meets World”, a “Boy Meets World” reboot, in the summer of 2014, and the show is currently wrapping up a third season. Former child star Raven Symoné also recently announced that Disney has also green-lit the return “That’s So Raven” in a similar style. Even a “Will & Grace” revival is rumored to be in the works. These reboots bring the shows to a whole new generation of fans, while also garnering high ratings from fans of the originals. From a network perspective, they are quite profitable. In terms of current popular culture, Krometis explains much of the current trend of reboots has to do with a nostalgia for the past. Years after the fact, a certain generation wants to see its stories retold. There is a desire to revisit familiar characters and stories that have etched themselves into our cultural memory. Shows like “Fuller House”, play solely into this nostalgia, and do it very successfully. “There is something safe about characters going through our problems,” says Krometis. The idea of using characters to address our problems is exactly what led to the 2016 female focused “Ghostbusters” remake. The film that was a summer hit at the box office, addressed the inequality of Hollywood casting through the scope of a beloved story. It also led to much controversy, as for many the “Ghostbusters” storyline came with a certain set of expectations. The remake was a “smart attempt to break cultural norms,” says Krometis. Much of the backlash, however, came from the fact that the story did not necessarily address its past, something that Krometis stresses is important in any retelling of a story. “Gilmore Girls” faces a similar sort of problem due to its complex past. At face value the reason for the
revival has much to do with the nostalgia factor. Krometis recalls his family’s own love for the show. “There is a familiarity with that story that we came to miss,” says Krometis. However, viewing it through a larger scope there was also change of writing in the last season, and for many fans the show did not end how they expected. Even while the last season was being filmed, the cast and crew were unaware that it was the final season. Therefore, it adds to the desire for a second look at the storyline. However, in order to succeed, the previous ending is something that the show must address in the revival. Krometis explains that remakes and reboots must deal with the expectation of them, as well as the current cultural conversation including fan expectations. The fans very high expectations of “Gilmore Girls” were obvious the weekend of October 21-23 at the first ever “Gilmore Girls” fan fest. The fest was an unofficial gathering held in the real life Connecticut town of Washington Depot that inspired the fictional Stars Hollow of the “Gilmore Girls” universe. The fall foliage set the perfect backdrop for fans to discover the inspiration behind the beloved television show. Even the rain could not ruin the momentum of the weekend, as the anticipation of the next month’s revival soared through the air. The fact that “Gilmore Girls” is a lifestyle more than just a show seemed obvious here more than ever. Goodie bags filled with toaster pastries, favorites of on screen characters, were given out to attendees. Old episodes were shown. Cast members held signings and various events around the small New England town. Netflix was certainly a common topic of discussion of the weekend, and there was an understanding that Netflix brought about a whole new generation of fans. Jessica Terry watches the show with her infant son. Terry recalled being a casual fan when the show was originally broadcast, but has gained a new love since the show came to Netflix. “I watched it three times while I was pregnant, and now again before the new episodes,” says Terry in a post on the
“Gilmore Girls Revival” fanpage. Many at the fan fest, like Terry, were finally able to watch all the episodes in order once the show was released to Netflix. Others too young to have watched the show when it originally aired gained a new appreciation for it once all seven seasons were a click away. The new streaming culture created a new demand for the show, and thus “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life” was born. At fan fest, the weekend was anchored by panels of various cast and crew discussing their experiences inside the Washington Depot Town Hall. Entry was for VIP ticket holders only. The rest of the attendees gathered in large white tents outside to watch a live stream of the discussion. During the first panel of the weekend casting director, Jami Rudofsky, said “If it weren’t for Netflix, I don’t know if anyone of us would be here...They kind of revived the ‘Gilmore Girls’.” The crowd cheered. In the 16 years since the show first premiered, the fact that this was the first notable fan festival can surely be credited to Netflix. The crew joked, during the panel, that when they were originally on the air almost nobody knew about a little show called “Gilmore Girls.” The crowd laughed. The irony was palpable; hundreds of fans tightly packed together, in an outdoor tent, on the coldest weekend in October, laughing about how their prized show was once a little known production. The weekend ended with a streaming of the seventh season finale, that is no longer quite so final. The rolling credits solicited tears from all in attendance, but an unmistakable optimism also filled the air. In just a little over a month, this will no longer be considered the end of the series. Old fans and new fans are suddenly on even playing field. On November 25th all can gather their favorite “Gilmore Girls” inspired junk food, open their laptops or turn on their smart TVs, and will be able to view just a little bit more of their beloved show. Fans will finally be able to watch another “Year in the Life” of their favorite characters.
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DARK MATTER by Jocelyn Pontes
Dear Science Journal, Dark matter killed the dinosaurs! Beth didn’t believe me when I told her, so I showed her the article to see for herself. But she just stuck her tongue out at me and called me a nerd. She calls me that all the time, though, so it didn’t bother me. Dark matter is very mysterious and invisible. It’s hidden everywhere in the universe, in-between all the regular matter that we can see. It’s even inside our own galaxy! Dark matter is able to move comets around, and it sometimes throws them at Earth. The Earth was inside a ring of dark matter at the exact time the dinosaurs went extinct. So this means that dark matter threw a comet at Earth and killed all the dinosaurs! The scientists said this is only a theory, but it makes a lot of sense! Isn’t that amazing? I like trying to figure things out like scientists do. It helps me feel better, and understand confusing things like why my parents don’t get along anymore. Dad looks so sad and tired, and Mom is always angry. I’m trying to figure out why this is happening. I think it has to do with me being sick. Scientists say there is an answer for everything. I’ll let you know when I discover this one. Signed, Kennedy Banks
The ink ran in a wet spiderweb across the page, and I swiped the tears from my cheeks. Sitting on the floor with the leather-bound field journal gripped in my hands, I felt all the energy that I had stored up to finally clean out my daughter’s bedroom flooding from my body. I slumped with defeat, gazing emptily at the posters on the walls, the books on the floor, the telescope by the window. None of it had been touched in a year. Everything had a layer of dust – even the air itself was swimming with motes. A cylinder of light from the window illuminated their semivisible swarm. It was the same shade as Kennedy’s hair, a pale gold. My eyes lingered there for a moment, then shifted to a large poster of the constellation Andromeda, the centerpiece of Kennedy’s wall collage. Sighing, I struggled to gather enough strength to lift myself up and continue organizing the bin in Kennedy’s closet. My mind filled with thoughts of forced motivation again.
Ok, you’re going to go through all this stuff, decide what to keep, what to donate … because you have to. It’s already been a year and you’ve put this off long enough.
But my fingers refused to loosen their hold on the soft parchment. On the bottom corner of the page was stamped “Museum of Science,” with the silhouette of a tiny planet in orbit. Kennedy was crazy about science, especially astronomy. A memory surfaced from long ago of her flitting from shelf to shelf at the museum gift shop in search of the perfect item until she excitedly snatched up the journal. After that museum trip, the journal became an extension of her body, forever clasped under her arm or hugged to her chest. She scrawled things down constantly, and never let anyone read it, insisting that it contained confidential scientific research.
Pulling my sleeve up around my hand, I tried to wipe my tears from the page. I carefully closed the journal with only my fingertips, as if my touch would cause it to crumble like some ancient, priceless relic. But it wasn’t. It was just a silly little journal scribbled in by a thirteen-year-old kid with leukemia. No one would read it, let alone deem it important enough to put in a museum. At that moment a fierce anger rose up in me, a burning sensation in the back of my throat that felt simultaneously cold, as if I had swallowed a comet. No, her journal was not important – not to the rest of the world, at least. And they would forget her. Even I, over the past year, had begun to forget the details of her; the exact color of her eyelashes, the shape of the small waves at the ends of her blond hair. The images were still there in my mind, but their focus was being slowly recalibrated, as if I were only allowed to see her through a telescope operated by someone else. Suddenly, I noticed that a sheet of lined paper poked out between the last few pages of the journal. Pulling it out, I found a letter, neatly folded and taped closed. Across the front read a single word, “Dad,” in precise cursive. The thought of my ex-husband Christopher sent a shiver of anxiety down my spine, and the burning sensation flared in my throat. What had she written to him that I couldn’t see? An intense curiosity tugged at me, and for a moment I considered opening it. But I knew I would have to deliver it to him. I would have to see him. The cylinder of afternoon light was burning into a crisp sienna, reminding me that Beth would soon be home from soccer practice, dropped off by a friend’s mom. For a long time I stared at the bright shaft of floating particles, wondering how they switched from invisible to visible just by adding light. Then, through Kennedy’s door I heard the sharp clicking of footsteps followed by a shrill call of “Mom?” The clicking grew louder, and before I could think, I called out in annoyance, “Beth, take your cleats off in the house.” I paused at the harsh sound of my own voice as it rasped awkwardly around that angry comet, freezing and burning my esophagus until it was raw. I tried to clear my throat, scraping out its accumulated sludge of sorrow. The air seemed to shake as I grasped for a kinder tone. “How was practice?” I waited for a response, wondering if Beth would come in to find me hunched on the floor like a crumpled piece of paper.
But she didn’t, and instead said from behind the cracked door, “It was good.” Her ten-year-old voice was feathery, unscarred. I envied her for the ease of her words, puffed out of her mouth like weightless bubbles. Meanwhile mine dropped from my lips like stones. I could hear the plunk of each word’s impact as it slammed into the floor, leaving a crater in the dust. “Well, that’s good.” I didn’t know what else to say. It seemed that Beth was growing more and more distant lately, like a galaxy drifting outward. There was a long pause before she said, “I’m gonna go do homework now.” I buckled with a sigh, dropping my precarious facade. A cold wave of guilt swept over me, and my body caved in on itself. The light had shifted to rest on my curved back, warming my body like a comforting hand. I sat for a moment absorbing it, as if the gentle heat were slowly healing me. A sense of resolve settled in my mind, and my tingling fingers gripped the journal and letter more tightly. As I picked myself up, I glimpsed something through the cracked doorway. Peeking in were a pair of hazel eyes and a sweep of long, dark hair, which ducked away and vanished as soon as I had spotted them.
Dear Science Journal, Can you believe that dark matter also holds the universe together? The scientists say it’s like an invisible glue that keeps the universe in one piece. No one has found any yet, though. I hope they do, because it is so interesting. Without it the universe would just fall apart. I’m not feeling good today, because I just had chemotherapy. Dr. Percy said I’ll feel like this for a while. Mom wants me to stop writing so much and get some rest, but I don’t want to, because writing makes me feel a little better. She and Dad are having an argument about it in the kitchen now. Even though my door is closed, I can sort of hear it. I’m glad that Beth is at her friend’s house right now so she doesn’t. Mom’s coming back in with soup. I’ll write again soon. Signed, Kennedy Banks
I flipped the journal closed and sighed. My fingers drummed against the ugly, unvarnished wood of the dining table, which I hadn’t sat at for about a year. The memory of that day last spring surfaced in my mind, of me plunking down in my usual seat and staring emptily at the weak sunlight of the early May morning, stretching across the wood in a long streak like a strand of golden hair. I sat and watched the streak all day as it shifted across the table like the hand of a clock. Christopher had been there too, his head resting in his arms, his shoulders sagging from defeat and sorrow. That was the last time we sat at this table together. It was also the last time we came home from the children’s hospital. Now it was spring again, and the flaxen sun streak was there in the same place on the table. When the doorbell rang, I flinched as if roused from a dream. My throat began burning more harshly as I made my way to the front door. I forced my reluctant hand to turn the knob, and open up the part of my life I thought had ended. Christopher stood on the front stoop with a container of lasagna and a hesitant smile. He looked exhausted. In his face, I could see the vast complexity of the situation being sorted and analyzed as his mind computed what was most appropriate to say. The events of the past year, the loss of Kennedy, the fights, the divorce, the custody battle – all of it seemed to swirl just behind his eyes. After an awkward pause, he decided on, “Hi Cassie, thanks for inviting me over.” I plastered a fake smile onto my own face and tried to think of something civil to say in response. “Hi, Christopher, please come in.” Everything about it sounded wrong, as if I were a dentist speaking to one of many faceless patients, not to a man I had once loved. We sat down at the dining table. The sun streak had not moved. A moment passed before I noticed that we had instinctively settled into the same seats we were in a year ago. I began, awkwardly, “So, I found this letter for you … from Kennedy.” The folded paper gave a soft sigh as I slid it out from between the journal pages and handed it across the table. He grasped it gingerly. I waited for him to open it, but instead he tucked it into an inside pocket of his jacket, where it disappeared. “Why didn’t you read it?” I couldn’t help but ask. His stony face opened up just a little as he said
softly, “I don’t think I can. Not yet.” He gave a shaky sigh. I looked down at my hands, suddenly ashamed that for so long I had forgotten I was not the only one who lost a daughter. Neither of us spoke again for some time. Then, he asked, “So how’s Beth doing?” “Oh, she’s okay, but still really upset about … everything.” I said these words as if I actually knew. In truth, Beth was rarely home enough for me to tell how she was feeling. She spent most of her time at friends’ houses or soccer practice. Whenever I had the chance to talk to her, I felt like I no longer knew how. As I realized this, the familiar chill of guilt filled my lungs. Christopher nodded silently, and I couldn’t ignore the feeling that we were both wearing masks. In that moment, my face was made of wax, and my lungs were two blocks of ice in my chest. I grasped desperately for words, but my throat buckled from the comet’s rueful scar. Finally, the fake smile fell from my lips and I managed to ask weakly, “Why did this happen?” The comet was searing a hole through my throat, and the words came out in a wheeze. He didn’t say anything; he didn’t need to. In an instant, the memories from last spring swept through me like a slicing winter gust. Kennedy had been improving for a while. Every day she said she felt better. But then her health plummeted, seemingly for no reason. Dr. Percy couldn’t explain it, but told us she didn’t have much time. And we deteriorated around her. Everything became a point of contention between me and Christopher. Streams of venomous words from our arguments flew violently through my mind now, vague in meaning but acute in cruelty. By the time Kennedy passed away, we had completely unraveled. Christopher hunched over the table and rubbed his hands across his haggard face. When he looked back at me, his eyelashes were sticking together with moisture. I knew the same memories flickered with keen malice behind his eyes. I choked out a few more strained words. “None of it makes sense.” The words spun out and dissolved away. Tears slipped from my eyes. I wiped at them, and then let my cold hand fall to the table with a smack, landing on the streak of sunlight. The light began warming my hand, and I felt the same sense of comfort I felt from the light in Kennedy’s bedroom. I heard Christopher say, “I know.” He reached his hand across the table to mine, and I eventually took it, knowing that even though we couldn’t stay togeth-
er our dark matter still held us in orbit. Beside our sighed as I swung the door open. “Come on, turn the hands, the sun streak arched across the table, having TV off.” The aqua light was not from the television, barely moved an inch. though, but a small projector that cast constellations on the ceiling. It was Kennedy’s projector, a gift for Dear Science Journal, her sixth birthday. She always said Andromeda was I’m feeling a lot more tired lately, but I just her favorite constellation. Looking up now, I saw Andromeda sail across the plaster, and the comet seared had to write again today. I haven’t seen Beth very my throat. I did not understand why I was becoming much. I think she wants to stay away because of Mom and Dad’s fighting. They fight a lot more now, so angry, but something urged me to lunge toward the projector and yank the plug from the wall. usually about stupid little things like the laundry Before I did, though, I noticed Beth curled in or feeding the fish or something. I don’t understand her bed, the comforter pulled up around her chin, her why. dark eyes fixed on the slowly turning ceiling. The soft It makes no sense, kind of like dark matter. blue light changed her brown hair into a tangled, inI don’t know if we will ever be able to learn about digo swathe, and glimmered off of the silver streaks dark matter. The only reason the scientists think it running across her face. I sat down on the edge of exists at all is because of how space objects that are her bed and immediately felt out of place. I had not made of regular matter move around. We may never come into Beth’s room in a long time. Neither of us find real dark matter particles, because they are spoke for a while. I stared at the constellations moving invisible. Maybe there are just some things we can’t in quiet harmony, afraid that if the silence were broken, all of the golden stars would dissolve and shower understand. down. Eventually Beth whispered, “It’s not real, is it?” Signed, “Well, no, it’s just a light projector that spins Kennedy Banks around –” But as I said this I knew it was not what she meant. I sighed, then said, “I don’t know, Beth. I don’t know if any of it’s real.” The lasagna came out of the microwave half “If it’s not real, then where do people go when frozen, but I didn’t care. Sitting in a tangle of blan- they die? Do they just –” kets on the couch late that night, I ate around the icy “Beth, don’t.” My voice cracked, and sudden edge the microwave had neglected due to its broken terror swept across my chest. I gazed back up at the turntable. A distant part of my mind told me I should ugly plaster where the fake constellations zoomed by, get that fixed, as it had not worked in a while. But cast by that silly plastic projector with its harsh yellow frozen food didn’t bother me too much these days, as lightbulb. Suddenly, their movements looked violent I didn’t usually have much of an appetite. Tonight was to me, spinning out of control on a buckling axis. And no exception, and after taking a few small bites, I re- then I could see it: the universe was about to fly apart. wrapped Christopher’s lasagna in plastic and shoved “– stop existing?” it back into the freezer. A sense of awe overcame me when I heard The house was cold despite spring’s steady ap- how calm her voice was. She showed no sign of sadproach, though I didn’t have the energy to fiddle with ness except for the silent silver streaks beginning to the thermostat. Instead I pulled my blankets tighter crystalize on her cheeks. She did not look at me, but around my body, Kennedy’s journal resting beside me. kept her eyes locked on the lights above. No sorrow. I had almost fallen into a light sleep when I noticed No fear in the face of this potential abyss. Just a sima vague light shone from the darkened hallway. A ray ple curiosity. How can a child speak so easily of death of shifting blue slashed through the shadows where when it eludes the tongues of most fearful elders? Beth’s bedroom door was left ajar. After contemplat- “I don’t know,” I said in a desperate gasp. The ing whether it was worth it to get up, I grudgingly statement settled in the air like an admission of guilt, dragged myself out of my blanket nest and lumbered as if I were a scientist who failed to gain the evidence to her room. I was certain would be there. My hypothesis had im “It was your bedtime a half hour ago, Beth,” I ploded on itself. The truth would remain forever bur-
ied, if it was even there at all. I then noticed the words falling out of my mouth again, as if by themselves: “I don’t know.” And this time they sounded different. They were not an admission of guilt or defeat or failure. They were simply a statement of truth. Beth’s eyes finally moved from the ceiling to meet my own gaze. We exchanged a moment of silent
understanding, and her face settled into a shadow of serenity. Together we looked back up at the shifting constellations, and again Andromeda glided across the ceiling along her circular route, her silent, palegold light leaving behind an enduring warmth.
Photo by Abigail Baldwin
You Should by Cassie Bisset | Artwork by Xia Rondeau
1. You should cry, even though you’ve taught yourself not to hold it in. Cry again like it’s your birthday, and you’re leaving the womb for the first time. You should not be afraid of any of it, or rather, you should allow yourself to be afraid, but use your fear--- rationalize it and take power over it. 2. You should call your mother and tell her you’re sorry. You’re sorry that you complained about doing the dishes. You’re sorry for all the times that you were embarrassed to be seen with her in public. You’re sorry for arguing politics with your uncle over the Thanksgiving meal. You’re sorry for all the times you didn’t say “sorry” enough. Even if you don’t know exactly what for, apologize. Humility will do you some good. 3. You should start creating again. Make art like you used to, but not because you used to. Make art for yourself now. Put it down next to your bed and wake up each morning remembering that you are only as creative as you allow yourself to be. 4. You should stop clinging so hard to everything. Stop looking at all the old photos. Stop seeing everything through the rose colored glasses of nostalgia. Stop feeling like you’ve lost something. Stop feeling so goddamn sorry for yourself. If you miss the past so much, do something about it or if not, simply let go. 5. You should call your best friend from home. Tell her about how you still think of her sometimes when you order your coffee. Tell her that even after all this time you still love her, because you do. If she doesn’t answer leave a voicemail. Keep calling until you feel satisfied, this isn’t about her, it’s about you. 6. You should cut your hair short like in your kindergarten class picture. Stop worrying about what everyone thinks about you. Leave the house without looking in the mirror. 7. You should leave the house. Get up, walk out the door. It’s okay.
etymology BY CHLOE B. MCALPIN
ILLUSTRATIONS BY JAY WHITAKER
to sexually excite - Men have yelled strange things at me. It’s a compliment, because look, they think you’re pretty. I’ve been told I have nice legs, that I should smile. They think I’m sexy, I’m disgusting, I’m an open invitation. Once, a man told me he would rape me if I didn’t put on a longer skirt. Another man screamed that I was a slut as I crossed the street to avoid him. I’ve been told to come closer, to fuck off, to bend over, to die, to be polite, to say nothing at all.
to be roused from sleep - Growing up, I read only one book from the point of view of a Black girl. In it, she is enslaved. I dog-eared the pages and went about my day. I didn’t ponder that we were both ten years old and that we both liked to draw. Years later, I learned that my ancestors owned slaves in rural North Carolina. I was told to put that book down too. Don’t think about it. I wanted to dissociate from history like I had when I was a girl. But I couldn’t; this time it was in my blood.
an overthrow of a government or oppressor through radical action - All nine of us in the room were women. One of us laughed and said “Hey, maybe we need to resort to the supernatural to overcome all this.” We laughed. “We’ll put a curse on our enemies,” we said. We’d all chant together in a low, raspy voice, hold hands, sacrifice a goat, smearing its blood and then, we trailed off. I looked outside; the wind was still. It didn’t matter. In that moment, I didn’t think I’d ever be powerful enough to change anything.
to become healthy again - On the night Donald Trump was elected president, I searched for volunteer opportunities at animal shelters. I wanted to be kind to something. I wanted to care for a creature that did not understand I was being kind. I saw myself, hand feeding a lame horse, petting the bumpy head of an iguana. I wanted to live here, in this gentle world.
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