Gene Burd A journalistm professor of 42 years, Burd took his last walk to campus on May 1. New Hollywood The 82-year-old has lived a As Austin’s music scene becomes deeply saturated, historically rich life. many wonder whether “The Live Music Capital of the World” is becoming the new Hollywood.
ATX Hip Hop Once a lost genre in Austin, hip-hop is beginning to make a name for itself in a rapidly-growing urban environment.
Beauty Perception As millennials in the digital age, four students explore their own definition of true beauty.
Editor’s Choice Not sure what Austin has to offer? Check out our editors’ favorites.
Other People’s Pets View a compilation of Austin’s cutest, furriest residents.
Raven + Lily Kirsten Dickerson makes fashionable clothing to empower women artists around the globe.
Boggy Creek Farm Learn how a local urban farm has managed to survive the worst drought in Austin’s history and a heated battle with the City.
Magazines were always one of my favorite treats growing up. I couldn’t wait for my Seventeen or Teen Vogue to come in the mail so I could curl up on the couch in my favorite pajamas and flip through each glossy page. I loved the photos, the design, the stories. Alhough the medium is changing, we here at ORANGE believe magazines are still something to be treasured. That’s why we created our first ever PDF issue that encompasses the best things about a magazine — the design, the photography and the compelling content -— for your enjoyment on your smartphone or laptop. Each page of this issue was handcrafted by UT students for the people of Austin. We explore the best parts about our city; from the evolving music scene in our “New Hollywood” feature to the history that lies in our urban farmland in “Urban Roots.” Our talented staff of writers, photographers and designers have worked incredibly hard on this issue, so if you are reading now — thank you. We hope that the content within these pages offers you a refreshing break from your workday or gives you a new perspective on our great city. Either way, we’re glad you’re here. So sit back, relax, and enjoy! Yours truly,
Our abilities to create amaze me. Over the past year, I have seen our online zine grow digital arms and legs, blooming from a brainchild into a business. A starting staff of five sneakily built into a staff of 50, making us an army of 250 fingers, ready to type, take photographs and document every bit of the stories we cherish. To be a journalist is to fall in love again and again with the most enticing of mistresses — the human condition. A testament to that romance, we have become addicted to the power possessed by the clicks of our keyboards and cameras. We have the ability to make something. We have the ability to tell the stories that live forever. We have the ability to step inside someone’s shoes, comfortably sinking our toes into the indentions of their lives. When we pour our hearts into something, we usually leave pieces behind. Consider this first online issue of ORANGE magazine a collection of the fibers — strands of our souls lost to storytelling — that make our team the loving, wonderful human beings that they are. I hope the journeys you read within these pages move you and motivate you, just as they encouraged the writers and photographers behind the bylines. xoxo,
Story and Photos by Danielle Smith
Daydreaming is a practice college students know very well. What are those people over there talking about? Did I remember to get my clothes out of the dryer last night? What will I be doing with my life after graduation? We wonder about things that are important and things that are trivial, but most of the time we want to know what those around us are thinking. Knows,” Dyer says that “on a day to day basis [she’s] pretty shy.” An Austin native who currently attends UT and majors in Russian, Eastern European, and EurDyer considers herself to be a “mentalist,” with the asian studies and Plan II in the Liberal Arts College, ability to see into the minds of others and know what Dyer enjoys art, literature and film. She has even volunthey are thinking about at any particular moment. teered at the Blanton Museum over the past two years. This is not a That’s So Raven type of clairvoyance, but rather an ability that allows her to hone in on oth- High school for a self-labeled mentalist could easily be a ers’ thoughts and see them clearly in her own mind. difficult place to fit in, but Sofia says she “actually really liked high school.” “I went to a high school where oddness She was introduced to the world of magic during her was very much accepted and very much the norm,” she early childhood around the age of seven. “My dad was explains. When asked about whether or not she was open always really, really into magic,” Dyer says. “I had a about her ability in high school Dyer says, “I think a lot of very untraditional childhood,” she adds with a laugh. people knew about it, but I didn’t necessarily advertise it.” University of Texas at Austin freshman, Sofia Dyer, does not have to wonder — she is “The Girl Who Knows.”
Her father encouraged her to perfect her mind-reading craft and perform in public. Her first street performance on South Congress Street only attracted one person: a police officer who told them to pack up their stuff and leave. The Dyers weren’t so easily scared off. They soon learned to be savvy about when and where they set up their show. “The Girl Who Knows” can be found performing most Saturdays on South Congress Street in front of Tesoro’s Trading Company from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. “When I become ‘The Girl Who Knows,’ it’s like I adopt a different personality… so I’m very mysterious when I’m ‘The Girl Who Knows’… and I have to be able to interact with the audience and put myself out there,” Dyer explains.
To stay true to herself, Dyer says she specifically chose to attend UT and stay in Austin to focus on her education and build her career as a street performer and mentalist. Although Dyer’s ability is a major part of her life, she says she manages her gift with responsibility. “My greatest fear is using my ability in ways that would hurt other people,” she says.
Dyer tries to keep her talent positive and upbeat, as well. “I’m not here to solve your problems and tell you about your dead relatives,” she adds. Like any performer she admits that she sometimes does not want to go out and put on a show, but she says “there are times when you go out and people are just so incredibly excited about what you do … and so I think that sort of When she performs, she is blindfolded and asks the audience motivation really keeps me going out every weekend.” to collectively focus on a single, random object. “If there isn’t focus within the audience, and even within myself, it’s “The Girl Who Knows” is an integral part of Sofia Dyer, not gonna happen,” she says. After focusing and using her but her future follows a path that diverges from magic ability, she is usually able to correctly identify the object. and street performance. Dyer hopes to one day be an art “As far as how it’s done, you know as well as I do,” Dyer says. museum curator, and she plans to spend time abroad in Russia over the next year. For now, tips people give to Unlike her performance persona as ‘The Girl Who “The Girl Who Knows” help to pay for her college tuition.
Saying goodbye to
Story by Jane Claire Hervey Photos by Hannah Vickers
In reports, the walk is usually described as a 2.5-mile trek. However, UT journalism professor Gene Burd does not have a GPS, nor does he use an iPhone to calculate the shortest distance from his apartment on Barton Springs Road to the Belo Center for New Media. He knows the streets as avenues for communication, not transportation, and chooses to take the long way around — to look at the City, note its changes, check all of the parking meters for loose change and stop for a chat with a lot attendant by the Capitol. In reality, the walk usually extends three to four miles, depending on whether Burd walks through campus or decides to make his way down the Drag to water a weed growing out of the concrete on the corner of 25th St. and Guadalupe St. He has made this walk almost every day for the last 42 years of his service at UT, with the exception of the loafers. Although the 21st Century may not understand, few times fellow professor Dennis Darling convinced Burd finds his walk normal. When he retires in August of Burd to get in his car on a snowy day. Only when Burd this year, his walk will not be his legacy. To that, Burd adds: feels dizzy or under the weather does he take the bus. “I don’t like the term ‘legacy.’ It sounds like you’re dead.” Many who know Burd describe him as interesting. Once, a professor called him “quirky,” and Burd lugged his thesaurus to read out every definition of the word to his students. Although most of the meanings were negative, his class convinced him by the end of the hour that quirky can have positive connotations. When asked to describe himself, Burd writes: 5’6” height, 145 lbs., single, Baptist, poet, writer-journalist, teacher (50 years) Burd has never been married. Some have made speculations about the silver band he wears on the ring finger of his right hand. He was in love once, but the ring is not for Dola Mae, the summer fling Almost 83 years old, Burd never learned to drive — he does Burd let slip away in pursuit of his career when he was 19. not have a driver’s license — and bicycling is not his cup of tea. He says he fears he may be hit by a bicyclist one day, if The ring was a gift. In 1964, the mentor who overhe does not “fall to the wayside” and get hit by a car first. saw Burd’s dissertation at Northwestern UniversiWhen the walk leaves him drenched in sweat or exhausted, ty gave him the shiny piece of metal to congratulate he sometimes wishes he had taken a class behind the wheel. him for the completion of his Ph.D. The ring would cover centimeters of his skin, whitening the flesh beBut the walk is just part of Burd’s daily routine, as evi- neath to conserve a memory, for the next 50 years. denced by the uneven rub of wear on the soles of his black Burd still has his dissertation, too, in two thick,
leather-bound binders on the top shelf of his office. His Ph.D. research on the demolition of the famed Hull House and Chicago’s urban renewal project in 1963 epitomizes the focus of his scholastic career. Once a resident of Hull House, Burd knew and respected the housemother, intellectual and activist Jane Addams. When Chicago gentrified that part of the city, only one of the Hull House’s 13 buildings, which had served as a hub for forward thinking and higher education, were left standing. Although memorialized by a plaque and a museum now, this destruction led Burd to question communication in urban settings and the way humanity chooses to preserve the past.
a part of his life documented by a photo of Burd in a cowboy hat and a pearl-snap, black and red-ribbed button-down. Professor Darling owns the historic shirt now. Burd raffled it off in an auction to raise money for students some years ago, and Darling bought it for $40. Although Burd sticks to ties and slacks now, his expertise in rural life stems from his childhood. He grew up in the mountains in the Ozarks. He had brothers and sisters, but the reality of rural poverty separated them at a young age. His mother died in childbirth. When Burd was 14, his father left to make money for the family as a migrant farm worker. With his older brother, Burd moved to Los Angeles to go to the Montezuma Mountain School in Los Gatos, California — from the land of buggies and outhouses to a city filled with cars and running water.
After finishing his Ph.D. and leaving Northwestern, Burd taught for four years at Marquette University and then three years at Minnesota. In 1972, a two-sentence acceptance letter to teach city and government reporting at the University of Texas brought him to Austin. Looking back at his four-decade career teaching UT When he graduated, he did not have the money to go journalism courses, Burd says, “I kept my promise.” to college, so he pursued a reporting job at the Los Angeles Times. The paper, impressed by his work and This was not Burd’s first visit to the “Live Music Capital dedication, awarded Burd a fellowship at UCLA. Burd of the World.” After graduating from UCLA, Burd was credits this moment of generosity as the act of kindstationed in Germany as a member of the U.S. Army’s ness that forever changed his academic career. Perartillery. When he returned to the States, he spent much haps it also speaks to the driving motivation behinds of his time before graduate school hitchhiking across the Burd’s monetary contributions to scholarship, as well. country. With a suitcase and little money, he hitched a ride to Austin and stayed at the Salvation Army, which In 2002, Burd donated $28,300 toward an annual $1,000 was then located on 2nd Street and Congress Ave. His award from the Association for Education in Journalthumb got him to Kansas City another year, where he ism and Mass Communication (AJEMC) for graduate procured a job at Ernest Hemingway’s alma mater, the students in Science Communication, Environmental Kansas City Star. At some point, he ended up working Health and Risk studies. He helped to create the award on a dude ranch in the northern reaches of the U.S. — in memory of Lori Eason, a graduate student who died
In 2007, Burd donated $500,000 to the Junior Statesman of America Foundation for the annual Institute on Media and Politics for high school students in Los Angeles. In 2009, he gave $30,000 to the Journalism Studies Division of the International Communication Association to award an annual prize for Ph.D. dissertations on urban communication. In 2010, he pledged another $50,000 to the Urban Communication Foundation for administrative and conference costs and an annual, international “communicative cities” award. Over the last ten years, Burd has donated $1,608,300 to higher education. When asked where the money comes from, Burd says, “I didn’t win the lottery. I didn’t inherit it. I saved it.”
in 2002 while trying to get her dissertation in media reporting on toxic waste disposal. Burd had helped Eason with her studies and considered her a kindred spirit in the journalism department. “I still miss her,” he says. In 2004, Burd founded the Urban Communication Foundation, an organization that facilitates and rewards research in urban media studies, with Gary Gumpert and Susan Drucker. The three met at a communications convention one summer, both sides already familiar with the other’s work. Gumpert and Drucker shared their interest with Burd in urban communication, as well as their aspirations for the topic to develop as an area of study. Throughout what they call a “magical,” 6-hour conversation, which ended with a night out on the town and a round of drinks, the group made an undeniable connection. Burd told them to call him when they returned to New York City to continue their discussion and develop further plans for collaboration. The following week, Drucker and Gumpert phoned Burd’s landline, and, in his signature quiet voice, Burd let them know he wanted to fund the beginnings of an organization for urban media studies — what is now the Urban Communication Foundation. Over the last ten years, Burd has donated $1,020,000 to endow the program and create grants for like-minded urban studies scholars. Two of the Urban Communication Foundation’s awards are in his name: the Gene Burd Outstanding Dissertation in Journalism Studies Award and the AJEMC Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award. “Never underestimate Burd,” Gumpert and Drucker say in unison.
One of the lowest-paid professors in UT’s journalism department, Burd’s frugality has made him a healthy sum of money throughout his career. A plastic jar filled with pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters sits on the dining table of his apartment, surrounded by papers and poems from his younger years. After every morning and evening walk, Burd dumps the loose change he finds — or maybe a $20 bill on a lucky day — into the container. At the end of every year, he cashes in about $300. He did not purchase most of the items in his apartment, either. Burd saved the floral print, blue and purple couches from a neighbor who tried to throw away the furniture during a move. The rooster figurines on his coffee table are gifts from former students who found out Burd loves chickens. As for his shoes, he bought them years ago. The two different hats he wears on his walks are so old he does not remember where they came from. His prized possession is a picture of the Earth from space, a sheet ripped out of an old magazine framed on the wall in his nook of a dining room. He holds on to that photo, because that was the first time he could verify that the Earth was round, although walking anywhere makes the planet feel flat — “amazing,” he says. Besides that photo and a couple of paintings, only neat stacks of manila folders and old cardboard boxes line the walls of his home. Filled with papers, from ones he has written to newspaper clippings, Burd has aggregated a tangible history. He takes some of these artifacts with him to class, showing students old reports from the 60s that correspond to current events and bringing photos from the time he worked on late President John F. Kennedy’s campaign.
Some of the stories do not have supplementary photos, like the time he caught “the pooper,” a graduate student who relieved himself on the roof of the CMA building. Although this usually garners a laugh from his classroom, like most of Burd’s stories — Burd often says he “hits the nail with a sledgehammer” — he urges students to regard the anecdote with sympathy. The man, who was later found to have a mental health problem, was arrested that day.
For these reasons, Professor Dennis Darling, gives Burd, known for his sweet tooth, a bag of candy every Christmas. For these reasons, Dylan Baddour, a UT journalism student, and his band surprised Burd and played his favorite hymn outside of the BMC one night.
For these reasons, Lydia Neuman, a grad student at UT, This depth of understanding translates into his contribut- visits Burd in his office, bringing him a movie to watch ed work, as well. Burd helped to develop the first classes or asking him for his thoughts on her dissertation. for minorities’ studies at UT. His research and book, “Jacob Fontaine (1801-1898): From Slavery to the Pulpit, For these reasons, Lou Rutigliano, now on staff at DePress and Public Service” on Jacob Fontaine — a Bap- Paul University, had the motivation to finish his Ph.D. tist preacher, newspaper publisher and community leader under Burd’s guidance. in the late 1800s, who was originally born into slavery — helped get the man’s name into the history books. For these reasons, journalism student Katie Paschall He served as a liaison for the AEJMC’s Committee on brought Burd his favorite dessert, a pecan pie, on his last the Status of Women in 1978. On top of that, his stud- day of class. ies have been published more than 74 times in different newspapers, magazines and books — not including the For these reasons, a group of six students and two profescontributions he made to the Encyclopedia Britannica. In sors, Kevin Robbins and Burd’s office neighbor, Bill Minuhis resume, half of its 28 pages list bullet after bullet of the taglio, walked with Burd on the morning of May 1 from many presentations he has made at different colleges all his home to the University for his last day. Burd gave them over the country. The man’s biography can even be found a special tour of the City, waving notecards he had prein Marquis’ “Who’s Who in America.” And if you ask pared at every stop. To make sure his “class” for that mornhim a question about anything, he usually has an answer. ing did not miss anything, Burd had made the walk the night before, making sure to include everything he knew. For these reasons, former magazine professor Dave Garlock pushed to get the AJEMC award, the Gene Burd Because it’s not the walk that makes the man. Urban Journalism Award, in Burd’s name. It’s the man who makes the walk.
Story by Alexa Babin Photos by Theresa Callaway “Leaving in one minute!” Austin cyclist Mike Kaylani yells. In the sky, a thunderstorm is visibly forming, winds ripping through the open space while the far-off booms of thunder resonate in the riders’ chests. The group of cyclists surrounding Kaylani gradually line up at a pedestrian walkway, like horses preparing to escape from the starting gate. “The wind right before a thunderstorm is the best wind ever,” Kaylani says. Then, Kaylani, Austin pastor and UT graduate, looks to the crowd and speaks soft words of encouragement, turning his head back and forth to address everyone present. “Are we ready? Alright, let’s go!” he shouts. The pack of tandem bikes takes off like a flock of birds through the air, just moments before the storm hits. Despite the outward appearance of this social cycling group, this is no ordinary bike ride through the neighborhoods of Austin. Most of the cyclists ride tandems, bikes built for two people with two seats. The second passenger on each tandem bike is blind, pedaling away as the captain steers the front. “I honestly don’t think that most people know there’s a blind kid on the back of the bike,” Kaylani says.
These rides happen every week at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) through the volunteer-run program, Lend Your Legs. The ride allows students to go on tandem bike rides with fellow members of the Austin community. Every Monday at 6 p.m., the tandem bike couples meet up for a short ride around the neighborhood surrounding TSBVI. “We usually stay within a couple miles of the school,” Kaylani says. And, according to Kaylani, the kids absolutely love it.
organize the first ride for visually impaired kids. From Before the ride, 14-year-old Lucas shares his excitement there, Lend Your Legs was born. Kaylani says the parents for the windy trip ahead. “Guess what? I ain’t gettin’ beat love the opportunity their kids have, the kids like hanging today,” he says. “I wanna be a rockstar.” out during the rides, and the captains thoroughly enjoy the good feeling that comes with seeing a kid smile and Above the whistle of the wind, fellow riders and tandem laugh. “Everyone comes out a winner,” he explains. captains can hear Lucas singing his heart out in preparation for the ride. “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion Gronquist agrees, noting that “the volunteers might sleeps tonight,” he belts. His tandem captain, Blake, get more out of it than the kids do — there’s so much asks if he is ready for a test run around the parking lot. joy.” Every volunteer rider has his or her own reason for Lucas tells everyone that it’s “showtime” and hops on being there, but Kaylani’s is partly spiritual. “I believe the bike with ease. The two ride off down the driveway. this is my way of sharing my faith,” he says. Kaylani also hopes the group might change the impression For Cesar Chapa, an 11-year-old student at TSBVI, biking cyclists have left on the people of Austin. “It’s hard to is not only a form of self-expression, but also exercise. “I can’t pass a group of bikes. We want to give riders a positive see anything at all. I just ride,” Chapa says. Lend Your Legs influence instead of being seen as road hogs,” he says. allows kids like Chapa to be energetic and active despite the limits often placed on them because they cannot see. The Lend Your Legs rides are not always seen as a reason for traffic, however. According to Gronquist, certain parts The program, just a little more than four years old, has of town are extra friendly to the cyclists. People stand in brought parts of the community together — cyclists their yards, clapping, cheering, waving and smiling at the and non-cyclists alike. TSBVI started with only six riders. “It’s like being in a parade as it goes by,” he says. bikes, but now has 18 ready to use. Mark Gronquist, recreation director at the school, has been involved with The end goal of the program is to give the kids a the program since it began in 2010. “We’re meeting lifelong leisure skill. “It’s something that you grow needs…and it seems to be working pretty well. Every up doing and take for granted,” Gronquist says. Lend week we do an eight to 10 mile bike ride,” he says. He Your Legs intends to ensure that cycling continues adds that the kids are “learning a healthy, social activity.” to be passed down from one generation to the next, without discriminating against those who cannot see. In Lend Your Legs’ beginnings, however, there were obstacles. “Back then we didn’t know if this would fly,” In a city of 843,000 people, Lend Your Legs bridges Kaylani, founder of the program, says. Kaylani was a the gap between Austinites and makes the ever-growing member of a social cycling group in Austin and wanted to city feel much smaller, if just for a Monday evening. figure out a way to serve the group and the community. “When they’re graduated and moved on, we hope to have He decided to contact Mark Gronquist at TSBVI and created a love for riding in their worlds,” Kaylani says.
“A poetry slam is an arbitrary competition where random people who have no prior experience listening to spoken word or slam poetry gives you a number based off what you wrote, based off what you felt and that in itself… It’s silly. It’s a silly game.” — Zachary Caballero, co-founder of Spitshine
Story and Photos by Kris Seavers Ariana Brown describes herself as quiet. An introvert. “I learned at a young age how to be invisible,” she says. Brown, a junior English and African Diaspora Studies major, also says it takes a lot of energy for her to interact with other people. It is true that she is soft-spoken. Sitting across from me, she does not exert the theatrical bravado that so many poets have. She is composed. Every word that rolls from her tongue is poignant, deliberate and vulnerable. She sighs before answering a question, and I think she sighs with the heaviness of the world. Zachary Caballero, a senior history major at UT, is in many ways the opposite of Ariana. He is a spirited extrovert. When he talks, he hardly stops to take a breath. His voice is loud. His smile and enthusiasm are contagious. In 2011, Brown and Caballero co-founded Spitshine, an organization at UT they both describe as a community of poets and writers coming together to develop their craft. Most of its members compete in poetry slam competitions, a series of three-minute poetry exposés that are rated on a scale of one to 10 by judges in the audience. When they started Spitshine, Brown and Caballero were both up-and-coming poets with the desire to encourage storytelling among their peers. “[Brown and I] grew up through this community where writing and being open and honest and telling your story was encouraged,” Caballero says, speaking of the youth slams each participated in throughout high school. “We saw how that molded us into the people we were, and it was integral into our identity. So we were like, ‘okay, let’s recreate that, but let’s build it from the ground up.’” Spitshine teaches workshops, not only on campus, but at non-profits, schools and businesses in the community. The poets mentor youth at low-income housing projects for immigrant families in East Austin. Caballero has organized poetry slams at Whole Foods and after-school poetry clubs at elementary schools. “Everything we do is an extension of the greatest Austin community,” he says.
In early March, Spitshine sent a team of five students, including Brown, to the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational, known as CUPSI, in Boulder, Colorado. Including big names like Stanford and Berkeley, 52 college slam teams came from schools across the country to compete. The Spitshine team, the only group representing a Texas school, placed first.
work that I do, because that doesn’t happen a lot for me.” Brown’s “quiet” performances are often the most memorable of Tuesday night slams in the Spiderhouse Ballroom. Her poems, inspired by the stories of her mother, her grandparents and her Mexican ancestors, spill over with vulnerable truth. She says she uses her gift of language to share the stories that her elders could not.
The victory came after the Spitshine team spent nearly five months practicing, fundraising and booking poetry slams in the region, Caballero says. “It’s not only that we are the best poets in the nation. I’m a big believer of the phrase, ‘It takes a village to raise a village.’ We have a very, very vibrant village here… We hone in on the craft of writing from an honest place and don’t compromise that.” The Spitshine co-founders also brought home individual awards from CUPSI. Not surprisingly, Caballero won the competition title of “Torchbearer,” or most spirited. Brown is more hesitant to embrace her honorary title as “Best Individual Poet.” “It’s interesting because with slam it’s super subjective… I always feel kind of weird assigning too much value to whatever the outcome of a slam is,” Brown, who likes to experiment with atypical writing and performance, says. “It really just depends whether or not people are interested in listening when I get on stage, because I don’t do a lot of work to make it super accessible to the audience. So, it does feel really good to actually be recognized for the
“Language is a tool but it’s also a privilege to be able to have access to language, to be able to master it. One has to be able to have the time and the luxury to be able to do that… So, if all I have in this life is language, then I’ll give it everything I can.”
Ranked the third best youth poet in the nation, Brown does books tour in the region and sells chapbooks of her poems. Even still, she says she sometimes she gets stage fright. To overcome this fear, Brown says she has to focus on the bigger picture: “I have to remind myself this is bigger than me. This is bigger than me being defensive about being uncomfortable in front of an audience that I’m unfamiliar with and that the only reason that I am able to do this is because I believe that God and love are the same thing. I believe that, when I get on stage, I have to allow God, and I have to allow love to travel through me. I have to be humble enough to make space for that. It’s much bigger than just me.”
By Ariana Brown I am a little girl with a locked door and dreams of being a singer. If only this was all I needed. The magic of a crescendo and a carefully placed “ay.” Ay, que chula. Mire la niña, who expects great love but for now, will settle for Jacob Quiñones, the fastest runner in the first grade. Jacob will be followed by a series of boys I admire with persistence and hardly speak to, but imagine myself shaking with at school dances I am never invited to and have no real interest in attending. I am everything but the girl in a party dress ready to sweat and smile. When I lose my naive soprano to the rust of a twice-broken heart, Selena coaxes my legs familiar. This rhythm, this one, is the one I have studied in all my years of wallflower quinceañera attendance. Too shy and too knowing about how hips move and boys eat with their eyes, I teach myself to cumbia in an empty apartment, watching in the mirror, sometimes forgetting the mirror altogether, forgetting my fear, forgetting my shame, shedding the secret of my body, crying the name of the last man I loved, allowing the ache in my back and the empty space in my bed to become a little girl with a locked door and eyes unready to devour the world.
Story by Devonshire Lokke Photos by Dahlia Dandashi
Abby Solomon is a 19-year-old UT and ACC student, born with
an extremely rare, undiagnosed syndrome shared by only two other people in the world. Without adipose tissue, Solomon’s body is unable to gain weight or retain fat. She has scoliosis and glaucoma, but, as she boasts, is “ridiculously healthy otherwise.” Bullies behind computer screens have labeled Lizzie Velásquez, a YouTube sensation who has the same unusual condition as Solomon, “The World’s Ugliest Woman” in the past. However, through motivational speaking and positive messaging about the differing definitions of beauty, Velásquez has worked to change that image. Solomon admits that similarly hurtful experiences have helped to form her own unique perspective on beauty, as well. In an interview with ORANGE, Solmon shared her positivity and tokens of advice for those struggling with body image or beauty ideals.
or ‘you can always eat anything you want and not gain weight,’ but being this thin is not easy either,” she adds. We’re human. We judge. Solomon says that knowing about the relativity of beauty can shield against hurtful judgment. “[My syndrome] has helped me be more aware how people judge me and has motivated me to not judge people,” she says. While she actively aims for objectivity, Solomon, a psychology major, also recognizes that it is a function of neurobiology to categorize things, sometimes unfairly, to make brain processes quicker and more energy-efficient. “I used to think I was super good at not judging people because I am so attuned to when others do it to me, but, over the years I have noticed that, also being apprehensive about meeting people, I could still get better at it and be more open,” she says.
Surround yourself with positivity.
Appearances aren’t definitive.
Although confident, Solomon is not immune to insecurity: She sometimes wavers between acceptance and frustration. “I’m always going back and forth between, ‘oh I am beautiful’, and [insecurity]… like everybody does,” she confesses. To keep herself in balance, Solomon tries not to let self-doubt blind her from appreciating her loving family and healthy life. Although her undiagnosed condition mystifies doctors and scientists, she doesn’t let fear of the unknown conjure negativity or misplaced blame — her condition does not define her.
What does matter, Solomon says, is having support from people who look past false judgments. “My mom always told me, if you are who you are, outwardly, [true friends] will come to you, and college is the time to focus on making friends who are meaningful and care about me,” she explains. Solomon says that she wants others to know her the way her family does. “I remember this story my mom was telling me, that when I was younger, before I started public school, I was so outgoing and I would talk to everybody… when I wasn’t aware of what I looked like,” she says. When she first realized she was “different” from her classmates, her mom told her: “’It never dawned on me before that you were different, you’re just who you are.’” Solomon says that now she is upfront about her syndrome, in the hopes that others will quickly move past it. “In college, because there are so many different people, I’m just like, ‘hey, I’m this girl with this syndrome, and I’m pretty cool,’ and people are pretty accepting,” she says.
“If I feel better, it will make people want to do better too. Try to notice the little things about yourself or other people, and voice them. That will make all the difference,” she advises. To share her story, Solmon plans to use her art and humor. Laughing, she notes that “it’s crazy Beauty is relative. how many people [Velásquez] influences and she’s already While Solomon describes the complexity of beauty, she writing her third book… I just like to stay in bed and makes it clear that there can be many ways to perceive watch Netflix.” Musing between sips of coffee, she adds: it — from outward appearance to someone’s manner“I’m too shy to do motivational speaking, but I paint isms. Traits perceived as “beautiful” by the beholder a lot… so if [Velásquez] can do it with words, I could come with their own set of insecurities, too. “[People] do it with pictures and drawings. I’d love to do that.” would always tell me, ‘I wish I could be as thin as you,’
Photos by Darice Chavira Video by Mikaela Casas
“There’s a million reasons to love Austin.”
“Some of my best times were at live shows.”
Story and Photos by Danielle Haberly In a perfect world, we would agree with everything our partner does and likes. But one of the best parts about being in a relationship is that we are both different people. Compatible does not mean identical. Because we are different, sometimes we have to compromise on things. Compromise means that in the car, you let him listen to Pantera, even if you hate it. Compromise means that on Thursdays, he lets you watch the new Grey’s Anatomy, even though he thinks it is “girly” or “too dramatic.” But is there a difference between compromise in a relationship and changing yourself to make the connection fit? To answer this question, I asked UT students: What makes the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend? Would you change something about yourself to be with that person?
Name: Lauren Lowe Age: 21 years old Relationship Status: Single
Name: Juliana Terry Name: Vamsi Vishnubhotla Age: 24 years old Age: 22 years old Relationship Status: Tak- Relationship Status: Single en (3 ½ years) A: “Someone who can hold A: “I’d say the top three their own. They need to be A: “The two most import- qualities I look for in a girl able to express themselves ant things in a relationship are honesty, patience and and not sound needy.” are honesty and someone I motivation.” A: “Well, I did change myself can communicate with.” A: “Yes, we change ourselves for a guy in high school. I A: “Yes, but I wouldn’t to become an ideal partwas emo. He was traditional. change unless it was ner. Those changes, overall, Over time, I transitioned something that made me should be for the better.” into a girly-girl. Since I’ve a better person. I think had that experience, I’d never relationships are about do it again.” compromise, sometimes.”
Name: Simon Handler Age: 19 years old Relationship Status: Single A: “She has to be good-looking, nice, able to carry on a conversation and doesn’t come with baggage.” A: “I wouldn’t change myself for a girl, that would mean she’s high maintenance, and I don’t like that.”
W. C. Fields once said, “Never try to impress a woman, because if you do she’ll expect you to keep up the standard for the rest of your life.” So, compromise doesn’t mean you don’t change. Be the person now that you are willing to be for the rest of your life.
Story by Ashley Lopez Photos by Dahlia Dandashi Tall. Long hair. Light eyes. Thin. Tan. Toned. American society’s perception of beauty has trickled down to a consensus of certain physical characteristics that the majority of people do not possess. Women like Candice Swanepoel and Brooklyn Decker are seen as the “it” girls, and, while they are gorgeous, their image fails to fully portray the wide diversity of beauty all over the world. Men also face similar societal pressures to be tall, or to be athletic. These standards of beauty may seem cliché, but their omnipresence cannot be ignored. To explore these unrealistic pressures to be a certain kind of beautiful, we talked with four UT students about their personal struggles with self-love and acceptance. Through their stories, Eleni Stamatakis, Khady Diack, Kalie Kubes and Blanchard redefine beauty and send a powerful message: Beauty is best appreciated — not achieved.
Eleni Stamatakis is a chemistry/pre-med junior who ORANGE: When do you feel the most beautiful? was born with a bi-lateral cleft lip – hardly noticeable with the permanent smile on her face. Having undergone more than ten reconstructive surgeries in her life, the 21-year-old says that learning to be comfortable with her appearance has been a long journey both physically and emotionally. “I always tried my hardest to make sure that I physically looked good, which I know sounds bad, but I worked out all the time. I would go to the gym four to five times a week because I figured if my face isn’t the prettiest, I’m going to make my body look awesome,” she says. ORANGE: How has your self-esteem changed through the different stages of your life?
Stamatakis: Last semester, I was asked to come in and speak at a parent conference for the Dell Children’s Hospital about my whole experience growing up with a cleft lip. I got up in front of about 50 people and talked to them about my journey and showed them before and after pictures from my surgeries. Afterward, so many people came up to me and just told me, “you’re beautiful,” and that I made their day and assured them that their children were going to be fine. I think that day I just felt like, “Wow, I really am beautiful.”
ORANGE: Do you think the University of Texas campus is an institution with its own standard of beauty, Stamatakis: I think I am a completely different per- or does it make people feel comfortable about themson now, because I don’t let anybody tell me different selves? than what I know is true about myself. If someone says Stamatakis: I think our university is so open to everysomething, I’m just like, “great, let’s have a conversation thing; there is no standard of beauty. I have seen some about this because I can tell you my entire life story, of the most unique people on campus and it proves that and then you will understand why I look the way I do.” UT is really good about diversity. That’s what I love most about UT — no matter who you are, you find your niche somewhere.
When asked to describe what makes someone attractive, journalism major Bobby Blanchard says professionalism comes first. Although confident, the 21-yearold has struggled with adult acne throughout college. He says he has also felt pressured to look and act a certain way because he is gay. Becoming more comfortable with himself has taken time, but Blanchard finds beauty in the little things, like matching socks. ORANGE: How has your self-esteem changed through the different stages of your life? Blanchard: I came out my freshman year [of college], and being a gay man has a big perception difference on what looks good. I feel like there is a lower expectation for straight men to look good than there is for gay men. I feel like gay men have to have it together. It’s expected of them. I’m not saying that’s the way it should be, but that’s just the way society makes it sometimes. Once I came out, I realized I had to take For Kalie Kubes, surgeries have also been a major part better care of myself because I was openly gay. Before life. The 22-year-old has been diagnosed with cancer I came out, I gave myself more leeway than I do now. three times. The first instance was in her kidneys, which led to a large removal scar across her stomach. The second time, cancer found in her leg resulted in sugergies ORANGE: When do you feel the most beautiful? and radiation that caused muscle atrophy. Most recent- Blanchard: When I have a clear face, when I’ve rely, Kubes’s third diagnosis of thyroid cancer required cently gotten my hair cut, when I have had time an operation just three days before her first semester at to do laundry and my socks match are times UT. Kubes shares that she has always struggled accepting when I feel most comfortable with my body. her physical appearance because of the psychological, as well as physical, impact the surgeries and cancer had on her body. Now at UT studying ______, the University has made her feel more comfortable about who she is. ORANGE: What moments have been the most difficult on your journey to self-love? Kubes: When I was younger, I struggled with eating disorders. Even though I was actually really thin, in my eyes I was still really overweight, so I would starve myself just to be skinny. That was definitely my lowest point. ORANGE: What is wrong with the way our society perceives beauty? Kubes: People have this ridiculous standard of what beauty is supposed to be, and it’s disgusting. Girls are supposed to be pencil thin with big butts and big boobs, and it’s sad when they try to achieve that, because it’s not realistic for a wide majority of us.
A pre-med student, 19-year-old Khady Diack describes herself as dark-skinned, a physical trait she says is unattractive to most millennial black males. It’s the age of the “light-skin,” and the lighter your skin, the more attractive you are, Diack says. For Diack, being “darkskinned” was difficult growing up, but she has learned to ignore the negativity and embrace her own beauty. ORANGE: How does our society define beauty? Diack: Our society defines beauty in women as tall, fairskinned — with black people, light-skinned — long hair, light eyes, big butts and big boobs. In males, it’s tall, doesn’t really matter what skin color, nice teeth, toned and muscular. When you open up a magazine, that’s what you’re going to see. Everything is always superficial and tends to skew toward the lighter end of the spectrum. ORANGE: Can you describe a moment when you felt the least comfortable about your appearance? Diack: During South By Southwest on Sixth Street, it was a very interesting experience. My friends and I went to Sixth Street, and, even though we did not go out with intentions of being approached, it was as if we were invis-
ible to everyone around us. All of my friends and I are all pretty brown or dark-skinned — I only have one friend that’s what you consider “light-skinned.” It was crazy because the night that we went out with her, people kept coming up to her. But when we would go out without her, it was just like, “wow, we are invisible.” It’s crazy because the one time a guy tried to approach me, he was just like, “hey, chocolate,” or something like that. That’s the first thing men see, that you are a dark skinned female, and it felt like being that skin color was taboo. ORANGE: How has your self-esteem changed through the different stages of your life? Diack: I always felt hideous as a child because everything about me has always stemmed back to the color of my skin. I have always been either the darkest one or among the darkest people at my school. Boys used to shun me and tell me my mom left me in the oven too long. I’ll never forget in middle school a boy said, “Oh, she’s not ugly, she’s just dark skinned.” As I got older I had to realize that my skin color is beautiful, so what these ignorant people say does not matter. I struggled a lot with that growing up and I have just recently learned to appreciate myself more and see myself as a beautiful person.
5-1-Tunes: Eclectic Austin group treks to the top.
Story and Photos by Bryan Rolli Hot off of the heels of an incendiary showcase at this year’s South By Southwest, Austin favorite Hikes is hard at work gaining the traction necessary to break out of the local music scene. But lead singer and guitarist Nathan James Wilkins isn’t afraid to speak frankly on the majority of local bands looking to graduate to the big leagues: “They’re not ready for the next platform! So many people aren’t. We’re going through growing pains, [which is] translating to the way we’re writing our music, too.” Hikes, a band that combines aggressive, technical rock and ethereal, atmospheric soundscapes to forge a style aptly described as “math-folk,” has been directing most of it’s energy toward climbing the ladder of stardom, even if it means abandoning
some of the ideals upon which the band was founded. Los Angeles as an example — uncomfortable at first, but it turned out to be the most successful date of the entire tour. The group’s lineage is not easily traceable. Initially a two-piece with Wilkins on drums and Will Kauber Kauber finds the group’s position to be especially faon guitar, the duo stumbled upon the name by acci- vorable, because they can pull what they love from dent. “Will, I think, was actually the one who just said any part of the musical spectrum. “If we were playing the word ‘Hikes,’” Wilkins recalls. “Just said, ‘Yeah, in another scene, we might just be a straight-up pretty I used to go on a bunch of hikes back in California.’” hard band, I think,” he says. “I think maybe that’s the reason why we’re the way we are, because we value all Not quite the tale of the man on a flaming pie prophesy- of our friends’ music and we’re inspired by a lot of it.” ing that four lads from Liverpool would spell Beatles with an “a,” but it works. The group made its debut at a house Although the band members never really took to formal party on Oct. 28, 2011. Shortly thereafter, friend and education (Long has an associate’s degree, and Kauber fellow drummer Chris Long returned home from Tai- “did physical theater for like a year, then I just dropped wan and replaced Wilkins behind the kit. Wilkins then out. I literally went to clown college, I kind of realized assumed role of guitarist and vocalist while Kauber left that the other day.”), they still have adopted a studious to work on a budding music publication and media plat- approach to their craft. This means anything from chalform called Raw Paw (of which he is still the print director lenging themselves musically — Wilkins plays guitar in and co-president). The new twosome went on a makeshift fellow Austin band SIP SIP to learn more about differtour (or a “tour-cation,” as Wilkins calls it) and recorded ent tuning methods — to securing a booking agent at an EP called Archipelago, which reflected the group’s scat- SXSW this year to bring their summer tour plans to life. tered nature at the time. Bassist Colin Jenkens and vocal- Punk purists may cringe at this notion, but the band unist/guitarist Claire Puckett filled out the lineup in time to derstands the leaps and bounds one must make to break record Friends, the band’s first full-length album, in early through on a national scale. “It’s moving beyond our 2013. Before long, however, Puckett had to quit to ful- punk, hardcore, metal and DIY scenes by kind of taking fill ever-increasing obligations to her other band, Mother on some of the things that aren’t so ‘punk,’ or aren’t so Falcon, leaving a vacant position to be filled by, of all peo- ‘DIY,’” Wilkins says. “There’s some business to this shit!” ple, Kauber, thus crystalizing the Hikes lineup of today. These are all just steps toward spreading positive, thoughtSince then, the group has been getting comfortable in ful music to the largest audience possible. Wilkins admits its own skin and working on creating music that rep- that Hikes has taught him to be more in touch with his resents its current talents and ambitions. They record- inner self, and he hopes to do the same for listeners. “I ed two songs for a split EP with Goldspine, Wilkins’ can feel so much more, and if I can get to that point, old band, at the end of 2013, and are set to enter then [we can] write about it, and we can showcase it Ohm Recording Facility, which previously worked the right way by practicing, and hopefully open peowith White Denim, to record a new EP on May 2. ple up to feeling more than they’ve ever felt,” he says. The band’s unique genre bending likely stems from the members’ previous immersion in their local punk and metal scenes, backgrounds that taught them the significance of positivity and unity through music. Melding these heavy roots with a more pop-oriented sound gleaned from their friends’ bands in Austin has resulted in a unique dichotomy: “We’re too soft for the hard, and we’re too hard for the soft,” Kauber quips. Nobody seems too distressed by this matter, though. “We always can jive really well with whatever it is, because there’s just elements of all this shit in our music,” Long says, citing a hardcore festival the band played on the outskirts of
For Kauber, this element of Hikes’ music is the most important. “I’m not in a Blink-182 cover band to just goof around, so there’s [always] this thought in my head, where it’s like, how is this gonna change someone’s life? How is this gonna shake the way people view their world?” Kauber asks. With a summer tour in the works and another studio effort on the horizon, Hikes is one step closer to finding the answer.
Above/below: Bands and festival attendees play and dance along to chiptune music at West by West Campus (WXWC).
Story and Photos by Tess Cagle Yoshi gulping down an apple in one bite. Super Mario blasting through bricks to collect coins. The heartbreaking song that can only be reminiscent of the end of a life in Super Smash Bros. These sounds are no longer limited to the keys of Zelda’s Ocarina or millennials’ childhood memories. A subset of gamers and musicians are combining the two forms to create a symphony of electronic nostalgia. Because those old Gameboys have no business in the local Gamestop bargain bin, this society of niche musicians has decided to employ them in a much more productive fashion. Chip music, also known as 8-bit music, is synthesized electronic music produced by the sound chips of vintage software, mainly game consoles, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Gameboy. Chip artists manipulate the programs, which are run and played much like a video game, to create songs that sound consistently redolent to Nintendo games, but also lend themselves to the artist’s choice of genre. Houston chip artist, Jeremy Buzek (Ten Pixels Tall), describes chip music as “a broad medium, one which allows everyone’s personality to show through.”
we have had in the past year, we started the night with an open mic. Anyone who showed up with a computer, phone or gameboy could play a song. We met so many people that way,” Weiss says. Through these open mic sessions, Weiss says the organization size has nearly doubled. Weiss says the most helpful part about the organization is its ability to bring artists together to collaborate. For instance, Weiss is part of the band Chalkboards, which has recently formed a “super group” with another local chip band, Hashtagyoloswag. The two bands, individually made up of two people apiece, come together and play each other’s songs as a four-piece. Weiss says this helps the songs sound much more complete.
Stella Mamimi Cannefax and Michael Dillon of Hashtagyoloswag play along to their chiptune music at WXWC.
This new medium received national attention when NY chip band, Anamanaguchi, composed music for “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: the Game” in 2010. Now, Austin is the hub for a large chiptune scene, known as TX Chip, which is home to nearly 30 chip bands and artists. TX Chip formed in Houston in 2010. It fizzled out for a while, and then resurrected in Austin in 2012. Artists from cities all over Texas, including Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Lubbock and Dallas, have helped TX Chip become a statewide organization. Buzek makes Gameboy traditional chiptune music and pixel art, and, although his art is not the main focus of the organization, he says TX Chip has been nothing but supportive and excited about his music endeavors. “As you’ve probably figured, this is not the most mainstream of musical styles. The people who are aware of chiptune are sadly few and far between, and people that actually make it are even more sparse,” Buzek admits. “Creating a collective hub in a place such as Austin is beneficial to any community of this nature.” Organizer of TX Chip, Jacob Weiss, says the organization provides a special kind of community that is very assistive and helpful for chip artists looking for ways to gain exposure and opportunities to play shows. “At every show
TX Chip also ensures chip bands are paired with a visual artist who creates and projects background visuals live at shows. Rachel Weil, also known as Party Time! Hexcellent!, is one of TX Chip’s visual artists. “My visuals for chip music shows are performed live,” Weil says. “I use NES controllers to affect animation and glitching, keeping the visuals in time with the music. I have also created some interactive pieces in which other people can control visuals and sound themselves.” Guitarist of Hashtagyoloswag, Michael Dillon, says the aesthetics of chip music cannot help but be reminiscent of the sounds that their audience grew up listening to when playing video games. “That is something that really helps us connect to the audience on a different level from most bands,” Dillon says. “While most of our songs sound so incredibly different from the compositions of those games, the hardware ensures that people will continue to make those comparisons, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.” These same comparisons can also be confusing. Dillon says that the familiarity of chiptune music can sometimes mislead listeners to think the bands’ songs are unoriginal. “The ultimate fear of an artist in our genre is that people think we are just playing some game on stage. That couldn’t be further from the case. We’ve dumped countless hours into writing these songs in this archaic format because we love it, and we love what we can do with the medium,” Dillon explains. Although the Chiptune audience may be small, chiptune “purist” Michael DuFault, also known as MicroD, says TX Chip has done a great job of being open-minded and supportive. “The shows I’ve performed at and attended have always been enormously positive experiences. I think that benefits the guests as much as the artists,” he says.
Is ATX the new
Story by Bryan Rolli Photos by Tess Cagle Willie Nelson. Janis Joplin. Stevie Ray Vaughan. A diverse trio of superstars with one thing in common: They all have their roots in Austin. But in the 30 years since Vaughan stormed the charts with his signature brand of electrifying blues-rock, who else has emerged from this buzzing music hub? Is anybody really waiting with baited breath for the next release by Spoon, the alt-rockers whose biggest claim to fame is penning the soundtrack to the Will Ferrell dramedy Stranger than Fiction in 2006? Many Austin advocates blind themselves to the fact that todayâ€™s musical climate is almost completely unrecognizable from the days of yore. As the city streets become more congested with starry-eyed hopefuls looking to strike gold, one disconcerting question looms: Is there actually any capital left to be made in the â€œLive Music Capital of the World?â€? Aspiring musicians move to Austin in such staggering numbers that the city cannot possibly house them all. One glance at the weekly live listing in any local publication makes it painfully clear that venues are filled to the brim with one nameless
“People are understanding of musical brilliance in this town. People understand what real
music is here...Bullshit can’t really swing by in this town like it can in Houston, it can in Dallas and San Antonio. It just won’t work here.”
act after another. But just like a tree that falls in an empty forest fails to make a sound, the racket stirred up by these newcomers often falls on disinterested listeners (if any at all), with nothing to distinguish one act from the next.
— Roger Sellers
musician’s struggle. It’s like, ‘What the fuck can I do to break through to these people or to open my band up to a new audience?’ If you’re smart, at least, [those are] the things that you’re thinking about,” he says.
Pursuing dreams of fame and fortune requires thick skin and an ironclad will to persevere, of which Austin electronic artist Roger Sellers is well aware. He thinks artists moving here and expecting a meteoric rise to the top are only fooling themselves and instead need to be ready to pay their dues. “I believe that persistence and just getting used to failing is such a large part of being successful as a musician,” he says. “Just getting used to fucking failure and knowing that one flaw or one huge mistake is not the be-all, end-all. And I think that a Tyson Swindell, owner and general manager of es- lot of people that will just do this immediately and teemed live music venue Red 7, considers this just a get popular, they’re not trained in that philosophy.” regular part of the music business game. “That’s the This means dedicating hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to honing one’s craft, developing the perfect stage show and enduring plenty of glorified practice sessions masqueraded as “gigs” where the only audience member is the one working the sound board. In the midst of such vicious competition, the only way for artists beginning to ignite their careers to ingrain themselves in a listener’s brain is to become omnipresent, snatching every available open mic night, unpaid gig and lousy opening slot on another local show. In a city with so much disposable music, great live bands have become a dime a dozen. One electrifying show isn’t enough to pique long-term interest, and Austinites won’t remember anything that isn’t shoved down their throats. Thanks to this earsplitting din, artists have a new, unenviable task — breaking through the equally (and sometimes more) talented clutter surrounding them. Stellar songwriting and captivating stage presence no longer cut it by themselves; listeners can find that by spending five minutes on Sixth Street. Instead, these up-and-comers have to show potential audiences why they should give a damn in the first place.
Sounds simple enough, right? Play tons of shows, and make audiences remember you. But the next step can seem pretty counterintuitive: Stop playing.
Swindell warns against the dangers of becoming too available: “The number one thing that I tell musicians in Austin is to not overplay. And that is so easy to do because there’s so many cool bands here, there’s so many cool venues, and bands are constantly coming through on tour. It’s really easy to play five times a month, or six times a month, but that doesn’t do you any good,” he advises. Instead, Swindell encourages bands to take four or five weeks off between shows to write new material, develop a more interesting theme for their live set and let audiences replenish their appetites and wallets. “We’re spoiled rotten as concertgoers,” he says, adding that the abundance of live music has desensitized audiences. “We just know, ‘Hey, there’s a show that such-and-such band is playing tonight. Ah, well, they’ll be back in two months, let’s be honest.’” Artists in Austin face a unique paradox. First, they have to play nonstop to build a fan base, but then they have to remain “fresh” by cutting back on their live performances. Just one problem — bills don’t pay themselves, and musicians still have to find ways to make ends meet in their downtime.
For Sellers, the solution lies in leaving Austin. “This is a great town to be doing well in. I can sincerely believe that. But once you do, you gotta get out of it. There’s other places, and there’s only so much this town can do for you locally. It can get you started, and I think after that you gotta figure something else out,” he says. By this point, Austin’s reputation precedes itself. The self-appointed “Live Music Capital of the World” lures countless artists into its confines, each looking to triumph where so many have failed before them. But does this city even deserve such a prestigious title anymore? Sellers doesn’t think so. “It’s the ‘Live Local Music Capital.’ There’s no fuckin’ doubt about it. This place has an unbelievable amount of venues here, and they’re always booked, because people want to get booked,” he says. Thanks to this glut of performers, Austin operates by different standards than most other music meccas, such as New York and Los Angeles, and “fame” is a relative term. Often artists who find success here have trouble breaking nationally, or even regionally, and vice versa. “We’re in this weird, cloistered musical world in Austin that you don’t
really get to see which bands are actually doing that [making it big], because there’s so much going on here that a band that has actually broken through on the national scene … is playing to 20 people somewhere in Austin. But somewhere else, they’re playing to 150,” Swindell says. Sellers thinks the City’s reputation for live music stigmatizes local artists and trivializes the value of high-quality recordings. “What I hear most of the time locally on a record is a band doing what they do live, and then having a producer try to make them sound good,” he observes. “It’s very rare that I hear really incredible artistic merit in an album that’s local. And maybe that’s why local albums don’t sell, because people think it’s gonna be bullshit anyway.” As negative as this all may sound, Austin is far from an impenetrable fortress of apathetic concertgoers, middling musicians and tightfisted venues. The city has maintained its status as one of the world’s premiere music hubs for a reason, namely all of the resources it has to offer aspiring artists. “There’s a hidden tool every couple steps of the maze or whatever, and if you’re going the right direction, you’re picking up the right stuff, then [it’ll] probably be easier for you to get to the next level,” Swindell believes. He still considers South By Southwest one of the best learning opportunities available, despite the myriad claims of over-corporatism and legendary artists stealing the spotlight. “You can go to seminars about how to make
your band more marketable. You can learn from the best in the industry, and those are things that I suggest bands take advantage of while they’re here, ‘cause they’re invaluable. You can’t do that other places,” he says. Sellers believes Austinites still have the ability to acknowledge and appreciate genuine talent. “People are understanding of musical brilliance in this town. People understand what real music is here, I think, a lot more than other places. Bullshit can’t really swing by in this town like it can in Houston, it can in Dallas and San Antonio. It just won’t work here,” he claims. Will Kauber, guitarist of Austin math-rock/folk hybrid Hikes, takes a Darwinian approach to the extreme competition among musicians in the city. “I think it’s really positive that the scene’s over-saturated or whatever, because it means that the ones that rise to the top truly have [been] put through the evolutionary rung,” he says. Stardom is no guarantee, especially in a city where every voice is clamoring to be heard. But if the bar for success keeps getting higher, one can rest assured knowing that those who do rise to the top have endured their fair share of trials and deserve their newfound success. After all, pressure creates diamonds.
Story by Sam Limerick Graphic by Courtney James A bandâ€™s success starts with the support from their scene. No critically acclaimed or hugely popular musical act was born great. Music lovers everywhere must realize that an unsupported local music scene encourages artistic stagnation and leads to the underrepresentation of certain genres on regional, national and international stages. To ensure a future with a variety of genres, each played by talented and hard-working artists, every music lover has a responsibility to support their local scene. Be it through attending shows, buying records, sporting a favorite bandâ€™s merch or sharing a bandâ€™s new single with friends and family, every ounce of support for local musicians helps to create better music and cultivate a healthier environment for homegrown sounds.
Simply search for local music on the Internet.
Immersing one’s self in a local music scene can appear to be quite difficult at the outset. Where are the shows? Who puts them on? Who is even playing them? Thanks to the Internet, local music is right at your fingertips. Becoming deeply ingrained in your local scene is certainly not easy, but persistence does not come without reward.
Stay abreast of all announcements – be it tours,
records or collaborations. You must work constantly to be an active consumer of news and trends in music. New media such as Facebook has paved the path for new opportunities in discovering music, and you need to be connected to take advantage. Like every artist page whose work you enjoy on Facebook – you’ll find that bands will post constant updates on their work, both recorded and live. Follow your favorite artists on Twitter and Instagram as well – I’ve personally seen tweets revealing the locations of last minute shows and Instagrams of awesome moments from shows I’ve attended.
We are home to an alternative musical scene that lives in the co-ops. These co-ops are nestled
very close to the campus community – the majority of them are in West Campus proper! The cooperative housing music scene is vibrant and all about the locals. The home-grown ethos of the cooperative houses lend themselves to the creation of a bona fide breeding ground for many Austin musicians. These cooperative houses are even home to the famous West by West Campus music festival, a completely free and grassroots music festivals created, planned, played, and attended all by university students, local musicians and co-opers during the past five years. The key to involvement in this burgeoning scene really is to make friends – and this little tidbit goes for any type of local music scene, and not just in Austin.
Keep doing what you are doing, but do it earlier. Impatience is irreplaceable – strive to be ahead of
the game and on top of what’s new and exciting in music culture. As “hipster” as it sounds, and we won’t even begin to touch on the semantics of that (editorializing here: incredibly useless/meaningless term), you need to hear good music before it hits the mainstream. A primary function of local music scenes is finding exceptionally talented artists who have the drive and passion to take their art to regional, national, and perhaps even international stages, and becoming a consumer of lesser-known tunes is necessary to become a local music pro.
There are many websites out there who compile events of all types, and as a responsible con-
sumer of local music and art, you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not be involved with these websites in some capacity. Concert compilers such as SonicVault Austin and DO512 are insanely helpful resources. You can also look to music venue websites as a source of information for the intel on your next night out at a show. Many venues have established reputations for the types of music they bring to their crowds. Another way to get in the know is to follow show promoters on the various Internet channels – their Facebook, their Twitter, their websites. Vagabond Shows puts on a wide variety of indie music, Area 512 Entertainment deals in electronic music, Third String Productions works with alternative bands and Raw Paw deals with art-rock. This is just a sampling – there are sure to be others out there. Discovering new sources of beautiful sounds is one of the most edifying and rewarding parts of becoming locally involved!
Story and Photos by Quinton Boudwin Hip-hop has been around for the better part of 30 years, and since The Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” emerged in 1979, the art of rap has spawned dozens of cultures and sprawling subcultures. It can combat or comment on the world’s social and political ills, while at the same time exploring new dance moves or getting a backpacker in tune with their inner rebel. It’s been a long time coming, but rap rules the mainstream right now. The masses are consuming hip-hop at alarming rates, grabbing on to the new generation’s lyrical fringes at each and every angle possible, from coast to coast. Whether or not this is healthy for rap’s narrative and historic past is debatable, but it’s what the kids want. In Austin, some hip-hop acts have caught on, but it’s relatively quiet on the western front for rap. So, what’s the deal? Is there a lack of talent? Spotty coverage? Or a disinterested demographic? In an interview with Zane Lowe last September, Kanye West fanatically exclaimed that “rap is the new rock and roll.” Like a number of things West has said, it came off as brash, maybe a little too ambitious. But he was on to something. Joined by his illustrious mentor Jay-Z and a hefty Samsung sponsorship, the duo virtually erased any remnants of South By Southwest’s cherished indie roots with one show. South By was bound to explode someday, but who knew rap would be that final catalyst to blow venue doors and business models to pieces? This year, finding a SXSW showcase that didn’t contain at least one hip-hop act was a trying
most talented groups Austin has seen. A solid and diverse group of sounds are in place, and exposure is up to par as far as local blogs go. South by Southwest’s all-seeing eye drops by annually, and, yet, Austin’s hip-hop scene has received no IRL or URL love on a large national scale. As a town that takes pride in being different, the size and demographic construction of the city has birthed an environment of abnormality. “Austin is just not a big city, and it’s segregated,” Sama’an Ashrawi says as he reflects on his time in Austin as a student and mentee under Bun B. He founded Texas Student Television’s Longhorn Hip-Hop and currently works as a writer and content curator for P. Diddy’s Revolt TV. In terms of national recognition, including all genres, Ashrawi thinks that it will take a stellar standout project or a major cosign for Austin to elevate to the level of national recognition. At a rare loss for words, Sama’an says the “million dollar question” is one that artists and fans alike have been asking themselves for a while and could be asking for years to come. Matt Sonzala, creator of Pushermania and former hiphop director for SXSW can take credit for the insertion of quality acts that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. As a tenured and respected figure within the Texas hip-hop scene, he believes Austin’s scene is strange, but has room task. For 2014, 25 percent of the acts were hip-hop — to grow. “The game is 100 percent about touring,” he the largest the festival has ever seen. And, as exciting as strongly advises. “It doesn’t matter how good your music that is, crowds were not checking for Texas rap while in is, you have to go touch the fans. If you’re at home, nothTexas. Austin has love for hip-hop, but it seems that affec- ing will happen, especially in a small place like Austin.” tion blooms and withers away all within the same week. Sonzala sees it like this: Austin is trend-driven and has begun to “mainstream out.” Individuals’ preferences are not dictated from an original place, and, as Spotify and the Internet tell the masses what to listen to — much like the radio — Austinites’ tastes today lack originality. “It’s not horrible, but it’s not weirdo central like it used to be. And by weirdo, I mean real music fans.” Fans and artists have to actively seek out truly genuine and unique sounds, but, more often than not, that Be sure that there is no shortage of talent in the “Live Mu- serves as too hefty of a task when it can be fed to them. sic Capital of the World.” The League of Extraordinary Gz has seen years of success, while We$tern Tink’s buzz has The amalgam of circumstances has created an offbeat been captured by the Internet and the rap-soul duo Rid- atmosphere, challenging artists who are striving to make ers Against the Storm recently received a major accolade. something out of their talents. Magna Carda’s fan base is growing exponentially, there are a number of guys cooking up sounds between classes, “It’s people from Dallas bringing their Dallas influence while Kydd Jones and the LNS Crew emerge as one of the and then people from Houston bringing their influence. The rest of the world’s appreciation for the new generation of Texan talent as a whole is lacking. Noisey’s Texas feature recently spotlighted a number of budding Texas stars that are redefining the South and pushing for the respect they rightfully deserve. If a northern music publication can pick up on the peculiar lack of representation, things are weird, to say the least.
Then, you have other groups that don’t really dwell on the Southern scene and can pull from other places,” Dougie Do, one half of Magna Carda explains. “There really is no identity.” Here at the live music mecca, sounds mix, but nothing is sticking. If there’s any group that can knock down indie’s rock-solid wall, it’s Magna Carda and their live band set, complete with keys, guitars and a drum kit. The instrumentation was added after local rock venues in Austin became hesitant to book a rap group, a problem that runs rampant throughout the city. “Austinites like to assume that hip-hop is rap and that we’re just talking about bitches and hoes, but that doesn’t work here,” Dougie expresses, laughing off the idea of party rap as the next big thing for Austin.
Sharma has been their manager from the start. Sharma, a UT grad and transplanted Austin local, views the city as a place where locals make up a small percentage of the population. Because Austin is the fastest-growing city in the world, transplants and students make up the majority of the music-listening community. “With The League, we’ve come to the realization that if Austin was gonna carry us it would have happened by now. There’s not a lack of hip-hop lovers or listeners, there’s a lack of casual listeners who want to discover underground music,” Sharma says.
On a deeper level, Sharma believes things like naming the criminal involved in the SXSW crash a “rapper” casts a bad light on hip-hop in the City, making it easy to compartmentalize and blanket a group of people Brian Hobbs, South By Southwest’s hip-hop coordina- who are working hard at their craft. “He wasn’t headed tor, is interested to see which artists can grab ahold of to an official showcase. We’ve got to stop blaming rap.” the Internet and gain national exposure on the World Wide Web. The wide variety of acts in Austin makes it Sharma digresses: “I don’t think there is a sinunconventional and perpetually awesome, but Hobb gle problem with the scene itself, but there are litconsiders local venue and radio support a joke. “Not tle things, and there is no single solution to solve it.” to say local support isn’t important, but reaching the entire the world is much more beneficial when you The future is hazy for Austin rap. A number of things can do it with just a click,” Hobbs says. “There is so stand in the way of the scene’s success and solutions are much room for expansion, and hip-hop is universal.” few and far between. It will take a healthy mix of positive factors and timing to elevate the scene to the next The League of Extraordinary Gz has led the rap pack in level. In the meantime, all hands are on deck, and artterms of success, going on multiple tours and stepping out ists are putting in overtime to live out their dreams. of the Austin scene for a taste of national exposure. Kunal
Best Businesses to Follow on Story by Madison Hamilton Photos courtesy of Instagram
~1400 Followers @citygrammag Why they’re worth following: Citygram Magazine has mastered the art of visually appealing layouts. It doesn’t matter if they’re at the W hotel or in a dark alley on Sixth Street, I guarantee the photo will be beautiful.
~30,000 Followers @hillsidefarmacy Why they’re worth following: It comes as no surprise that this eatery has lured in 30,000 followers. From the simple snap shots to the laid back chefs, each photo makes you want to live the Hillside Farmacy life.
~3500 Followers @hopdoddy Why they're worth following: Not only are their burgers and drinks delicious, but they're also beautifully plated, making them the perfect addition to your Insta feed. You can tag you friends in the weekly milkshake, burger and beer specials. And, by tagging, I mean @ your friends with a “get in ma belly!” comment.
Butterface Bake Shop
~500 Followers @butterfacebakeshop Why they’re worth following: If the name wasn’t enough to get you hooked, the sweets will.
Black Swan Yoga
~7600 Followers @blackswanyoga Why they're worth following: As cool as it is to see crazy yoga poses, the majority of Black Swan���s photos consist of hilarious memes and cute animals, which makes them even more likable.
East Side King
~2700 Followers @eastsideking Why they're worth following: Paul Qui's signature Asian-fusion is easy on the stomach and the eyes. Follow this account for mouthwatering photos of Thai cuisine and food events happening around the city.
~1300 Followers @stubbsaustin Why they're worth following: When the crazy guitarist jumps into the crowd, you can keep your phone in your pocket and just worry about keeping him afloat. Stubb’s has all of the best moments of the concert covered on their account.
Blenders and Bowls
~1450 Followers @blendersandbowls Why they're worth following: Not only do you get to see colorful photos of healthy food every single day, you will also be first to know about their deals, events and new menu items.
~2300 Followers @houndstoothcoffee Why they're worth following: If Austin wasn’t hipster enough, you can have an extra dose of boho when you start following these divine coffee artists.
~22,000 Followers @coolhaus Why they’re worth following: Although Coolhaus has trucks in Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York City, you can still follow their main account for Austin updates. Not to mention, you get daily photos of their heavenly sweet masterpieces.
Photos by Thalia Juarez
Canela Pit Bull 7 years old
Dora California Desert Tortoise 48 years old Oliver Tabby Cat 1 year old
Wilson Chinchilla 7 years old
Mr. Brownie Cat Age unknown
Shadow Brussels Griffon 1 year old
Sir Charles Boxer/Cattle dog mix 2 1/2 years old Kiwi Pug 10 years old
Compiled by Megan Fullerton Photos by Theresa Callaway, Gina Carra and Hannah Vickers ORANGE magazine is handcrafted by UT students for the City of Austin. Like our tagline suggests, we care about the local haunts and downtown dive bars that make this city a place to call home. As homage to the city, the ORANGE editorial staff has chosen their favorite local digs that capture what we love most about the â€œLive Music Capital of the World.â€?
The Face Behind
Story and Photos by Dahlia Dandashi
Frøyland says that she was always interested in fashion, even at a young age. She would change her outfits frequently and coat herself in glitter and blue lipstick as a child. She took up photography in high school as a way of documenting her day-to-day outfits. “I thought that if I started taking photos and showing my looks, then I would begin to evolve in my style,” the blogger says. In December of 2012, she posted her first blog entry onto her website, Fashion Conspiracy. The blog consists of classic, yet colorful, looks. Each blog post describes the outfit in detail and includes a bit about her day. To fit blogging into her busy schedule, Frøyland photographs six or seven looks a day, rather than one outfit per photo shoot. Frøyland’s boyfriend, Alexander Thorstvedt, helps her by photographing every look and creating beautiful images that capture the effect of the outfit. “With my clothing, I try to experiment with layers and textures, like leather or lace. I have a very classic style, yet I’m colorful,” she says. According to Frøyland, fashion in Norway is very different from the fashion in Austin. “The fashion in Scandinavia is very minimal, due to the fact that it’s dark seven months of the year,” she says, adding that Scandinavians wear little jewelry and a lot of black and white. Froyland moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas after completing a foreign exchange program in Dallas during high school. She was attracted to the Lone Star State because of its southern hospitality, weather and style. She believes the fashion in Austin has helped her own style evolve. “When I first moved to Austin, I thought, ‘What is going on? Why are people wearing hats inside? Are they wearing pants under their oversized shirts?’” Frøyland says, laughing.
With a hint of an accent and a whole lot of bleach blonde hair, it is no surprise that Norwegian blogger Emilie Frøyland is just as sweet as the desserts inside Royer’s Pie Haven. It is a hot Friday afternoon and Frøyland is wearing a black leather skirt and a navy striped blouse. Her blue nails reflect her blue eyes, and she models a pair of white pumps and a black Prada bag. With wide eyes and a big smile, the blogger proclaims her love for bags: “I definitely have a purse obsession!”
Since moving to Austin, she says she now has the courage to incorporate more color into her wardrobe. “Austin has a very bohemian, down to earth and relaxed style. I love seeing peoples’ fashion on the street, especially through street style blogs. They inspire me to try new things and incorporate different clothing in new ways,” Frøyland says. Frøyland says that a lot of fashion bloggers model extremely expensive clothing, alienating people who cannot afford the pieces for themselves. She says a good fashion blog must be approachable and open to all. “I find myself more inspired by the everyday people I meet on the street and my travels than by editorials,” she adds. Instead of buying expensive clothes, Froyland buys trendy and affordable pieces from stores like Forever 21 and Asos, but she will drop a dime on a good accessory. “I invest my money in classic purses that can work with all outfits,” she says. When asked of her family’s opinion on all of her fashion endeavors, she throws her head back with a laugh. “Actually, my mom doesn’t like fashion at all! She doesn’t really get it, but she’s supportive no matter what,” Frøyland says. The communication studies sophomore has big post-graduation plans. She intends to get her MBA with a degree in corporate communications. Then, Frøyland plans to return to Norway, but for now, the entrepreneur learns about branding to combine her degree with her love for fashion. And, although she is unsure whether or not she will come back to Texas after college, she knows one thing is for certain: She wants to inspire people back home to experiment with brighter clothes, no matter how dark the Scandinavian sky may be.
Carlos Ramirez â€‹
Emily Rae Pellerin
Photos by Dahlia Dandashi, Gina Carra â€‹ and Sarah Montgomery Chelsea Fullerton
Boutique of the Week:
With summer approaching, JM Dry Goods offers Mexican embroidered tunics, spiffy straw fedoras and handcrafted accessories perfect for any sun-filled vacation. If jet-setting to tropical islands is in your future, drop by and browse through the goodies that are made to bear the heat and keep you looking good — no matter what sands you dig your toes into. Story and Photos by Julia Duke
wanted to do a store featuring textiles, so we just jumped right in,” Teague says. Describing Marfa as a very hospitable place, Teague says the town’s natives welcomed her family and their new business venture with open arms. The Marfa site originally featured Texas necessities, including vintage cowboy boots, hats and work wear, soap bars, Mexican textiles and home goods — perfect for the dry, arid climate. “Eventually, it evolved into what it is today,” Teague explains. Now an airy, open space on South Lamar Blvd., the shop smells of burning incense and fresh flowers. The aesthetic boasts a bright color palette that complements the foreign nature of each item. The goods come from Oaxaca, Mexico, where artisans weave throws, embroider blouses and dresses, craft jewelry and wield pottery. Teague travels regularly to Mexico, sifting through markets and collecting lightweight, “beachy” staples for customers. The wooden shelves and long, narrow display tables feature Moroccan hand towels, colored glassware, painted seashells, sash belts, apothecary items and jewelry. The one-of-a-kind, embroidered “Juchitana” piece, made up of a top and floor-length skirt with lace trim from Juchitan, Oaxaca, sticks out as the centerpiece of the store. In addition, a tie-dyed purple and white caftan hangs on the wall next to its bright, blue-striped twin. Teague’s favorite piece changes regularly, but is currently the San Vicente white, hot pink and black embroidered blouse.
Michelle Teague opened the textile boutique in the dust bowl known as Marfa, Texas before moving the storefront to Austin in 2009. It started when Teague and her partner-in-crime, husband Jon Davidson, left the Big Apple and moved to Marfa while working on the film There Will Be Blood. The pair fell in love with West Texas and eventually moved to the desert land to help a friend open the hotel and campground El Cosmico. Michelle says it was the perfect excuse to stay. The New Yorker originally worked as a film costumer before taking on this project, and when a 100-year-old adobe dry goods store became available for rent, JM Dry Goods (named after their son Jack Maverick) was born. “I always had
The wide variety of merchandise, starting as low as $10 and peaking at $800, is not the only thing in the store that stands out. Davidson owns a fabrication studio called “Silla” and contributes all of the unique furniture and lighting
Teague was excited to talk about the opportunity, since Madewell’s Austin location features their exclusive line of blouses, dresses, clutches and belts. They now offer the limited selection of JM Dry Goods items on their site. JM Dry Goods is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
to the store, giving it an overall “vista” vibe. “We have both always loved the Acapulco chair design,” Teague explains. Since Davidson fabricates everything himself, he supplies the store with an assortment of chairs in different colors. He also makes bison wallets and clutches by hand, branded with an anchor, ranging in price from $68 to $120. Since the store’s relocation, magazines like Vogue, Lucky, Remodelista and more have included the boutique on their lists of things to do and see while in Austin. Most recently, the store teamed up with Madewell’s “Labels We Love” to broaden their customer base and offer their one-of-a-kind pieces to a larger group of women.
“I always had wanted to do a store featuring textiles, so we just jumped right in.”
Story and Photos by Helen Fernandez First, you pick your leather. Then, you pick your textile. At Teysha, the Guate Boot experience is entirely personal. Two years ago, Sophie Eckrich and Travis Breihan bought a one-way ticket to Panama in the hopes of starting a business that would help the people. Three months later, they returned to Austin with a business venture they never planned for.
The idea of making shoes arose when Eckrich remembered a pair of flats styled after “mola,” which is the name for traditional Panama women’s dress, that had been handmade for her during an excursion to Colombia. With this in mind, Eckrich and Breihan went door to door in Panama until they discovered a small shop led by five women shoemakers. There, they created the first pair of Teysha shoes — colorful “mola” flats with rubber soles, similar to the ones Eckrich loved and wore so much.
Eckrich and Breihan then returned to Austin with five Eckrich and Breihan were both born and raised in Austin. pairs of shoes and other products they had made during Eckrich studied textiles at UT and Breihan attended the their time abroad. They began to show the products to University of Georgia. Together, they run the wholesome, their friends and family, but Eckrich mentions that they socially-minded boot-making business that is Teysha. Breihan handles all of the creative and production aspects, while Eckrich looks over the workers and brand expansion. When the entrepreneurial couple originally arrived in Panama, they had four business plans in mind. All of them revolved around creating something that would empower people to “collaborate across borders,” Eckrich says. “Within the first week of being in Panama, we really had a sense, which was reinforced by the people we met, that anything was possible,” she says. “One wise friend told us that good ideas are a dime a dozen, but you’ve got to pick one and actually do it, and go for it full force. So, we did.”
were all especially excited about the shoes. Over the next month back home in the U.S., the couple developed the website and thought about how to get the shoes to consumers. Eckrich says that their goal was to bridge the gap between art and function, and shoes were the tools they planned to use to accomplish that.
Inside, on the wall near the entrance, a wooden triangle formed by planks of wood, displays the intricately embroidered Guate Boots. Under the decorative crescent moon that unites these two boards of wood, a sign reads: “Our purpose is to connect people through art, culture, and community, and cultivate a more vibrant world.”
As of now, the only other Teysha team members, apart from the artisans and co-founders, are Tessa Jacocks and Hanna Hall. Jacocks, the chief of U.S. operations for Teysha, graduated with a degree in textiles at UT last year. She was one of the first people to get her hands on the Teysha flats. As for Hall, she met Breihan at the University of Georgia, and they studied abroad together in Costa Rica. They spent five months studying Spanish and Latin American culture before heading over to Guatemala City after their program ended. “We spent about a month traveling Guatemala and Honduras and fell in love with the artisan crafts of Guatemala,” Hall says. Three years later, Breihan and Eckrich began putting their shoe business in action, but needed someone to live in Guatemala full time. Breihan offered Hall the job, and she made the move in May of 2013. Hall’s work involves hiring artisans, creating new shoe styles, buying textiles and forming relationships with textile producers around Guatemala. Originally from Houston, Hall says she now spends her days in Antigua in the workshop, cutting textiles, coordinating with artisans and looking over orders before shipping the shoes to Texas.
The detail on the sides of the Guate Boots are textiles taken from upcycled “Huipils.” “Huipils” are traditional garments worn by indigenous women in parts of Central America and Mexico. At Teysha, shoemakers upcycle these textiles and use them on the shoes. The weaving of a “Huipil” can take four to eight months, and they are made
on back strap looms, like the one framing Teysha’s mission statement. The patterns on each “Huipil” symbolize which tribe the women belong to. The textiles are cut and sewn onto the leather sides of the boots, flats and sandals. When At one point in Teysha’s business venture, the co-founders ordering Guate Boots, a buyer gets to customize everything were working out of Breihan’s parents’ garage. And, up from the type of leather to the textiles sewn onto the shoes. until three weeks ago, Teysha operated from the inside of Jacocks’ garage. Now, the business has a showroom, Although the boots are a hit, Teysha started out with flats perpendicular to Ancient Ink Tattoos, across from the — “Kuna Kicks,” to be exact. Kuna is the name of the indig“Greetings from Austin” mural on South First Street. enous people of Panama and Colombia, and their women make the mola textiles. According to the Teysha website, the Kuna are the only people who know how to craft the mola — an art form that has been around for hundreds of years. The first “Kuna Kicks” Teysha sold had a rubber sole. Now, revamped by the Teysha boot-makers, the flats have a leather sole, which makes for a more durable shoe.
“To bring more opportunities to indigenous and traditionals artisans. To empower people and places through social entrepreneurship.”
The shoemaking process at the Teysha workshop in Pastores, Guatemala begins with three key ingredients: the Sun, the outdoors and a very laidback atmosphere. Jacocks says that the work the artisans do blends into their way of life. The workshop is an open-air workshop inside one of the artisan’s homes, and 16 artisans work together to make the handmade leather shoes. The act of shoe-making can be a physically demanding job, so most of the Teysha arti-
sans are men. However, by incorporating the “Huipil” textiles, women also take part in the shoemaking process. Each of the artisan’s hard work and craftsmanship goes into making a one-of-a-kind shoe.
They have come a long way from the inside of a garage, selling shoes and filling out orders. Today, Teysha has a showroom, a partnership with Whole Foods Market and several other projects in the works. Every shoe takes a team They sell flats, boots, of people to make, too. hats, belts and will soon A “cortador” cuts the debut their sandals. To textiles and the leather. top all of that off, the A “prespuntador” puts Teysha team is about the body of the shoe toto launch a Kickstartgether. Finally, the “ener campaign that will suelador” hand-stitches the boot and sole to make help fund the construction of their dream workshop in a sturdy shoe. Then, a small leather tag is attached on Guatemala. the side of each pair, signed with the initials of the artisans for each part of the shoe-making process. The Teysha experience is all-encompassing, from their detailed website to their open invitation for visTeysha’s website has a page dedicated to the artisans and itors at their workshop in Guatemala. The fact that their personal stories. When a customer buys a pair of 100 percent of the profits go toward paying the artishoes, they can find out who worked on what part of sans and buying more shoe material makes the purhis/her shoe. For most of the artisans, shoemaking is a chase of Teysha shoes that much more rewarding. craft that has been passed down from previous generations. By employing their craft, the artisans earn a living Their business card sums it all up in five simple words: wage and make something that is used and appreciated internationally. That is what Eckrich and Breihan wanted all along. “They figured the best way to really gain an appreciation and modernize the ‘mola,’ and also bring attention to another kind of art form in the community, is shoemaking,” Jacocks says, while sporting her own pair of Teysha sandals. Uplifting the artisan community is one of Teysha’s priorities. Jacocks says that they do not plan on mass-producing, and they would never want to grow faster than the artisans could handle. A portion of Teysha’s proceeds go toward the Global Village Initiative, an environmental awareness and impact agency. The organization’s initiative is to “incubate social enterprises, provide educational opportunities, increase food security, create access to appropriate technologies, and offset our environmental impact through reforestation and sustainable agriculture initiatives.” Apart from running an eco-friendly business, Teysha is partnered with “Fundación Luz y Fortaleza,” which works with the community of Ustupu to create a women’s cooperative and food security program. In May, Teysha will have been in business for two years.
Story by Madison Hamilton Photos by Jane Claire Hervey It all started when a humanitarian met a film maker. Kirsten Dickerson had been doing philanthropic work for years — from a poverty exposure trip in Africa to volunteering with Mother Teresa and Compassion International — but it wasn’t until she started helping with wardrobe and art design on her husband’s film sets when she realized she could combine her two passions. Dickerson knew she wanted to empower women and children, so while living in Los Angeles she began collaborating with nonprofits that were training females in design skills. After working with two design groups — one in Ethiopia and another in India — Dickerson founded Raven + Lily in 2008 as a fairtrade nonprofit brand. “The lightbulb went off when we landed on two groups that really got it,” Dickerson says. “They had their act together. They got a leader that could communicate with us and the women artisans were really on board to turn this into a viable business within their own country.” Once Dickerson knew the teams in Ethiopia and India could be scalable, high quality and accountable, she re-
launched Raven + Lily in 2011 as a social business for profit. Dickerson planned to operate the brand in Los Angeles with her friend and co-founder, Sophia Lin, but, when her mother became ill, she moved to Austin to be with her. The Dickerson family soon came to love Texas and decided to reside in Austin permanently. Now, Raven + Lily has opened their first store just north of UT. Although their products are sold in more than 200 boutiques in the United States, and even more on an international scale, Austin is home to the first Raven + Lily storefront.
It took years for the farm-to-table revolution to really take off. For a long time, fast food corporations were faceless entities, and consumers remained clueless on the production process of their 99-cent burger. Over time, reporters and documentarians have exposed the inhumane truths behind the systems that these large chains operate on. This is similar to the fashion industry, Dickerson explains. Not until recently have designers been held accountable for outsourcing labor and paying the most minimal wages. Dickerson says: “The key for me is that the farmto-table movement wouldn’t succeed unless the food tasted good… unless it was well done and accessible. The same thing goes for Raven + Lily. It has to be well designed, high quality and accessible. And affordable. So, yes, organic food is going to be a little more expensive, but if you are more thoughtful about what you’re purchasing and not buying stuff you don’t need, it actually balances out in the end. I think the same is true with clothes. If you focus on buying what you love and buying thoughtfully, you may end up with less and spending a little more, but it’s more sustainable.”
“Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.” - Fair Trade Foundation, www.fairtrade.org.uk Dickerson was determined to not only pay the designers a fair wage, but also empower them. To achieve this, Raven + Lily became a founding partner and key brand in the Ethical Fashion Forum in London. And, in 2011, the forum launched SOURCE, a social enterprise that aims to empower 2.5 million people in developing countries, while also creating a more eco-friendly fashion industry. “As much as my first goal is to empower women through design who are coming out of poverty and provide sustainable jobs, I have increasingly found that it is only successful if I also empower women and consumers in the West to think differently about their purchasing power,” Dickerson says.
Furthermore, Raven + Lily does not restrict its fairtrade agreement to individuals. One of the groups they work with, Maasai women in Kenya, has decided to create a fairtrade community. The profits are split down the middle — 50 percent of their profits go toward sending Thus, her goal was to create a fashionable clothing line while their children to school, while the other 50 percent also being eco-friendly and, most importantly, fairtrade. goes to a collective savings account, Dickerson explains.
The Collections After introducing the Ethiopia and India collections in 2008, Raven + Lily has introduced eight new lines to their brand. Each region has different resources, therefore each line has a distinct look and sometimes even smell, Dickerson says (some of the Maasai bracelets were built around a campfire). “What it looks like and how they implement it is so different in each culture. There’s a lot of trust and accountability that we build in on both sides, but we don’t dictate details because we really want to be sensitive to what’s appropriate to women in their context,” Dickerson says. As she continues to reach out to new design leaders in different countries, Dickerson maintains a solid relationship with the women from the places that pioneered the brand.
The Artisans Each collection has one leader that communicates directly with the Raven + Lily design team. Although Dickerson has a deep-rooted respect for each leader and artisan, two of her most gratifying memories stem from visits to the company’s flagship collections in Ethiopia and India. Entoto, Ethiopia: Just north of the capital sits Entoto Mountain, a holy place that is believed to cure AIDS. When a child is born HIV positive or an adult is diagnosed with AIDS, they are sent to the holy waters in Entoto to cure themselves. Once exiled, they live among thousands of others who have the virus as squatters on the mountain. Although Elisabet, a Raven + Lily artisan, was never diagnosed with AIDS, her husband was. Her family was sent to Entonto in search for a cure, but once they arrived, her husband left her, and she was forced to beg for money on the street. One day, however, she joined a Saturday education program and learned how to make jewelry. Now, Elisabet is the leader of the Ethiopia collection and plans on moving to the city with her son.
Photos courtesy of Raven + Lily
Dickerson explains that during her last visit they had a celebration, and Elisabet told her: “We once felt like we were living in death, but now we are full of life.” Pakistan, India: Ferdoze had given birth to five girls. In her culture, this is shameful, and it came as no surprise when her husband left her and their five children to fend for themselves. But, because she wasn’t permitted to go outside alone, there was no way of finding work, and she eventually had to pull her girls out of school. When she heard about a design studio down the street, Ferdoze and her eldest daughter soon began making jewelry with other women in the community. Although suspicious at first, Ferdoze now travels outside without a man. Furthermore, the women who doubted Ferdoze now come to work for her, Dickerson explains.
The Future With five new lines launching within the next year, Raven + Lily continues to grow at a fast pace. In the spring of 2015, the brand plans to expand from clothes and jewelry to a lifestyle line that includes home decor. Furthermore, after explaining how difficult it can be to find fairtrade products for her kids, Dickerson says a children’s line might be coming in the future, as well. Now far from Raven + Lily’s beginnings, Dickerson encourages others to take their own ideas from dreams to realities. “You can do anything if you’re really passionate about it and willing to do the research,” she says.
Austin boasts one of the best food scenes in the country. Fortunately for ORANGE’s Food & Drink staff, that means there’s always something new to taste and write about. Below are our favorite Austin recipes redesigned for the home cook. Compiled by Food + Drink Staff Photos by Becca Chavoya and Sara Benner By Faith Ann Ruszkowski Gourdough’s donuts are one of Austin’s most popular indulgences. The plate-sized pastries are served warm and abundantly topped with rich, unexpected ingredients ranging from brownie bites to bacon strips. The Dirty Berry doughnut is topped with fudge icing and grilled strawberries. These simple ingredients yield a deliciously rich flavor, and make the Dirty Berry perfect to make for yourself when you don’t feel like venturing out from your apartment but still want some highly caloric goodness. Ingredients:
Pillsbury’s Grand Biscuits (generic brands work well, too) 3-4 cups Vegetable Oil for frying Hot Fudge Ice Cream topping Strawberries, sliced
Instructions: Heat vegetable oil in a pot to fry the biscuits at medium temperature. Ideally, the oil should be at around 300 degrees. Fry biscuits one at a time. Place one biscuit in the pot and fry one side until golden brown; this should take around 2 minutes. Then, flip the biscuit over and repeat on the other side. Place fried biscuits on a paper towel to cool briefly. Microwave the hot fudge sauce for approximately 30 seconds, and drizzle desired amount on each semicooled biscuit.
By Sara Benner Inspired by Franklin’s barbecue sauce, this tangy, bright orange-based sauce is balanced by dark-brewed coffee and tastes fantastic on chicken or burgers. Ingredients and Preparation: Orange-Coffee Barbecue Sauce: By Devon Grussmark Ingredients and Preparation: Guacamole: Mash avocado and mix in other ingredients.
1 avocado Diced tomato Sprinkle of cilantro Dash of lime
Queso Blanco: Sauté onions in oil for five minutes. The add flour and stir. While still stirring, slowly add milk followed by the cheese. Add jalapenos to taste.
2 Tablespoons yellow onions 1 Tablespoon canola oil 1 Tablespoon Flour 1 Cup Milk ½ Pound American White Cheddar 1 to 2 Tablespoons diced jalapeno, add to taste
Pico de Gallo: Chop and mix. Diced tomato Diced onion Diced Jalapeno Cilantro Lime Salt to taste To assemble: Layer the bowl with the guacamole, pour queso on top and sprinkle with Pico de Gallo. Serve with chips and enjoy!
4 tablespoons mashed and minced garlic 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil ½ cup cider vinegar 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice Zest of one orange 1/4 cup soy sauce 2 cups ketchup 2 cups honey Pinch of salt 1/2 cup of strong coffee or instant espresso Fresh, ground black pepper
Mash garlic with the side of a knife and finely mince to release oils. Add olive oil to a preheated sauté pan. Then add the garlic and sauté until it gets light brown (about 1 minute). Add the cider vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup and honey. Stir well. Add a pinch of salt, then whisk in the coffee. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks. This recipe will yield between 5 to 6 cups.
2502 Rio Grande St. 411 W. 23rd St.
603 W. Live Oak St.
75 Rainey St. 1700 E. 6th St.
Compiled by Jane Claire Hervey Graphic by Crystal Garcia
603 W. Live Oak St. South First Food Court
2502 Rio Grande St. West Campus Food Court The Eats: Cow Tipping Creamery Korean Komfort Thai of the Town
75 Rainey St. Rainey St. Food Trucks The Eats: Tapas Bravas La Fantabulous Scotty’s BBQ
The Eats: Mama Mal’s Italian Lard Have Mercy Candanosa’s
411 W. 23rd St. Co-Op Food Court The Eats: Mister FruitCup Delicious Thai Taqueria Jefes
1700 E. 6th St. East Sixth Food Trucks The Eats: The Vegan Yacht Cool Haus Via 313
The story of Boggy Creek Farm Story and Photos by Rebecca Chavoya
Head south on Airport Boulevard, swing a right onto Springdale Road and you’ll find a seemingly normal neighborhood, split by a railroad track and sprinkled with houses, a school and small businesses. But a thin gravel driveway on Lyons Road leads to a plot of land with rich soil and an even richer history. Step onto Boggy Creek Farm, and suddenly, you forget you’re two miles away from a bustling downtown. An old white house adorned with an “Austin Landmark” symbol near the front door greets you. It is one of the oldest homesteads in Austin, and it sits atop part of the original farmland designated for the city in 1838. Rocking chairs on the back porch face rows and rows of greens, from lettuce to kale to arugula. Chickens bustle about freely, cooing to one another, while Buddy, the young farm dog, chases them about. Vibrant colors bloom in beautiful flowerbeds next to an antique shed. The place bursts with life.
The farm was established in 1992 by husband and wife Carol Ann Sayle and Larry Butler. The two were coming out of other industries — Sayle was a painter and Butler remodeled homes — when they heard the farmhouse was for sale. They had nothing to lose, and farming was something that intrigued them, so they decided to try their luck on the land. “We thought it was great farmland, and we loved old houses,” Sayle says. “The idea of living on a farm in an old farmhouse was just wonderful.” The old house had been vacant for years and was unlivable at the time of purchase. The chimneys had fallen into the ceiling, trash was piled up along the fence and junk cars were littered throughout the yard. After purchasing the house and the land for a total of $40,000, Sayle and Butler took to renovations. “We hauled off 16 16-foot trailer loads of trash that people had thrown over the fence for years. There were no light fixtures. All the doors had been stolen,” Sayle says.
“Before, we would make a couple hundred dollars on a Saturday — after that, we made about $1,200.”
Business was good — not great — but it was enough to help Sayle and Butler get by. Years of growing and harvesting brought in a profit and allowed them to hire a regular staff of farmworkers, some of which stayed around for more than 20 years. But, the farm had two major obstacles to conquer in the years ahead: one of the worst droughts in Austin’s history and an equally heated battle with the city over gentrification allegations.
The Dry Days Texas saw the worst drought conditions in its history in 2011. According to the Texas Forest Service, more than 25,000 fires raged across the state that year, burning more than 5,000 square miles of land. More than 2,500 homes were destroyed, killing at least 100 people. Every part of the state felt the effects of the drought, which was rated “exceptional” — the most critical level of water shortage the state can achieve. Sayle had no experience in farming, but her husband did. He had grown up on a farm and knew the ins and outs of the lifestyle. The two had a vision: create an urban farm that grows fresh, organic, sustainable food for the people of Austin. By winter of 1992, the farm had lettuce in the ground. Sayer and Butler began selling their produce at Wiggy’s Liquor Store on Sixth Street where they made a small profit, all the while planting and harvesting more crops on the farm. Two years later, in 1994, they decided to open a farm stand on their own land, and by 1995, business began to take off. “A woman came out from the Austin-American Statesman and wrote about us as one of the first urban farms in the nation, and that really put us on the map,” Sayle says.
One of the main causes of the 2011 drought was La Niña, a weather pattern that creates dry, warm temperatures in the southern United States because of cooler surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. La Niña comes around every couple of years, the last one hitting North America in 2007, although it was much lighter than that of 2011. The effects of the dry spell were devastating for farmers all across the state. In March of 2012, the Lower Colorado River Authority cut off water to rice farmers in Southeast Texas. For the first time in history, the farmers would not receive the necessary water to operate their
businesses, many of which had been in the family since the early 1900s. Similar effects were felt at Boggy Creek Farm. “2011 was terrifying. It was a bad year for everyone,” Sayle says. “All the summer crops died. Okra and eggplant just fried. You couldn’t work the land because it would be dust. You would just be sitting there, trying to water, trying to keep something alive.” The farm’s water comes from an on-site well that sources from a shallow aquifer about 35 feet below the ground. In 2011, the farm had to resort to supplementing city water due to shortages, which Sayle says was “like chemotherapy” for the plants. City water contains chemicals such as fluoride and chloramine that disinfect the water for drinking. Chloramine is typically formed by combining chlorine and ammonia, which is safe for household use, but hardly pristine for farming due to its high salt content. “During a drought, you’ve got to give the crops less than perfect water, and you go bankrupt from using city water. That’s a problem,” Sayle says.
In order to conserve water at all times, Boggy Creek Farm uses a drip irrigation system. Well water travels through a hose, or drip tape, that runs along the top of each crop bed. Small holes are poked every 12 inches that allow water to slowly drip onto the beds, nourishing the plants with a minimal amount of water wasted in the form of puddles or by evaporation. Although conditions have improved since 2011, much of the state is still in extreme or exceptional drought. Sayle says there is no way to fully prepare for a drought, but they are able to take financial precautions to keep their staff employed. “We save, and this has served us very well,” Sayle says. “When we make some money and we have a good year, we save it, because we know the next year is going to have its challenges and we’re going to need it.” In the 23 years that Boggy Creek Farm has been in operation, its employees have never missed a paycheck.
A Heated Battle Aside from the wrath of Mother Nature, urban farms have another set of challenges to deal with: city regulations. Late in 2012, a neighbor of nearby HausBrau Farm made a call to 311 regarding a strong stench coming from the HausBrau farm. The odor came from chickens that owner Dorsey Barger had slaughtered onsite. The phone call sparked a heated debate between the City of Austin and urban farms, including Boggy Creek. On one side of the battle was People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources, or PODER. The group, dedicated to “redefining environmental issues as social and economic justice issues,” argued that urban farmland could be better used for affordable housing and that the farms contributed to the gentrification of East Austin. On the other side were urban farms like Boggy Creek and Springdale, along with the local chefs that buy from them (the list includes many high-profile names, such as Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine, Philip Speer of Uchi and Uchiko and Sarah McIntosh of Epicerie). For a moment, Sayle and Butler were worried about the future of the farm. “We thought we were going to lose everything,” Sayle recounts. “‘I told Larry, ‘We’re not going anywhere. This is our home.’” Both sides maintained a death grip on their viewpoints, and after a series of City Council meetings and a lengthy public hearing on Nov. 21, the city decided to allow
urban farming to continue with new regulations. HausBrau farm was shut down, and, consequently, the new regulations state that urban farms are not allowed to slaughter animals onsite. They are also limited to six events per year (such as fundraising, tours and weddings), and outside vendor sales must be kept to 20 percent of the farms’ total sales, among other rules.
and will continue to spend every day working the land the best they can. It is easy for farmers to be pessimists, but Sayle offers an insightful perspective on the nature of the lifestyle:
“If you’re doing this for money, there isn’t any. You have to have the passion for it. You The Harvest Ahead have to be a nuturing person; you have to be a hard worker. You have to like to sweat yourClimatologists have predicted that 2014 could see a self to death and get dehydrated and have leg worse drought than the record-breaking year of 2011. cramps. You have to be disappointed, get hurt, But, on the other hand, there is hope: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has predicted a 66 have stuff fall on you, have stuff cut you, get percent chance of El Niño, La Niña’s wet counterpart. eaten up by fire ants. But then, people thank The weather event is notoriously difficult to predict, but you for growing their food, and they say they if it occurs, it could mean substantial amounts of rain wouldn’t be as healthy if it wasn’t for you. And for Central Texas. But, as Sayle knows from experience, you look in the morning at all the lettuces and there is no controlling Mother Nature. all the colors with the sun shining through “Drought is a huge economic devastation, but there’s not them and it looks like stained glass. It’s just a anything anyone can do about it. You just have to wait moment.” it out, take care of the water you have and pray a lot,” Sayle says.
As far as city regulations go, the storm has passed for now. Sayle and Butler are content with the current rules
Boggy Creek Farm holds market days Wednesday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Story by Ashley Lopez Photos by Dahlia Dandashi Samantha Cade opens the door to her West Campus apartment with a warm, welcoming smile, both of her palms dyed bright red from kneading fondant for one of the week’s 14 cake orders. Her olive eyes are tired, yet eager. As a McComb’s business management student and the force behind Cade’s Cakes, sleep comes last on her list of priorities. Cade is the baking super-girl behind the @samcade Instagram account and small business known as Cade’s Cakes. A UT sophomore from Dallas, Cade has made her mark in Austin with her ability to single-handedly create one-of-a-kind cakes from scratch out of her West Campus apartment. Originally a cake baker by hobby, the high demand for her creations put Cade on a fast track toward being a small business owner. “It just kind of crazily took off by word of mouth. Last January I had around 400 followers on Instagram and didn’t really do cakes, and now I have close to 3,000 followers, and all of my pictures are of cakes,” Cade says.
Cade’s love for baking cakes all started with her sweet tooth, she says. From doughnuts to pancakes, her palette has always consisted of pastry foods. Soon, she was baking all sorts of cakes for friends’ birthdays and other special occasions. “It’s a pretty expensive hobby, and I bake whether or not I have orders, so I guess if I wasn’t selling my cakes, I would be just wasting time baking anyway. I figured I might as well make a profit,” Cade says.
school work until 3 a.m. and then do cakes into the morning,” she adds. Cade also admits she probably does not spend as much time on school as she should, but she still manages to keep it all together. Puig says another fallback on Cade’s part is her failure to recognize the worth of her talent. “She used to really undercharge people for their cakes, so one day I made an Excel spreadsheet of how much each cake should cost based on how many people it should feed, if she would use fondant, if the cake was 3D and so on,” Puig said. “We have a running joke that I’m her manager.” Cade confesses that she thinks people trust in her abilities more than she does. Despite having worked in a bakery during high school, she was never mentored on cake baking. “I’ve never taken a class or anything. I think people are a little too confident in me, and a lot of times I just have to figure it out,” she admits.
Cade launched her small business in Jan. 2013, and it has grown since then. Her social media influence has been a catalyst for her entrepreneurial endeavors, creating a follower audience that has turned into customers. In December, Cade launched her official website which she says made Cade’s Cakes “explode.” People who may not know her personally now have the ability to order via the website, and the orders do not stop, she says. With about a dozen orders per week, Cade spends most of her time in the kitchen. Flour and powdered sugar are Cade’s pixie dust, with which she brings her customers’ cake desires to life. As she generously ices and sprinkles a layer of Funfetti cake, Cade explains that she has become used to working out of such a small space. “I probably use my kitchen more than anyone else in the building,” Cade says. And she’s probably right. Above the sink hang two sorority paddles, each decorated with the names of her two roommates, along a wooden spoon with “Sam” etched in red. Lucky for Cade, her roommates support her hobby and are not fazed by the chaos that has become of their kitchen. One of Cade’s roommates and main confidants, Emily Puig , says she tends to stress the business side of Cade’s Cakes when Cade is too caught up in baking. From making sure the cakes are adequately priced tocritiquing them as they are assembled, Puig helps Cade maximize her talent. As she arrives home from work, Puig hops onto a barstool and begins to chat with Cade about the confection she’s currently assembling — a “Mrs. Harry Styles” themed birthday cake. It is obvious Cade values Puig’s input: She asks what colors would work best, the placement of decorations and other cake details. “I’m an advertising major, so for a while it really bothered me that Sam wasn’t using social media to the fullest extent,” Puig says. “She would be hesitant to Instagram too often for fear she’d lose followers, or she wouldn’t Instagram a certain cake because she’s too hard on herself and didn’t think it was cool enough.” Between managing her own baking business and keeping up with school, all-nighters are a frequent routine for Cade. “I can stay up all night and do cakes easily because I enjoy it,” Cade says. “I’ll do
This summer, Cade hopes to broaden her knowledge of baking in New York City. She recently announced that she will be leaving UT after the spring 2014 semester to attend pastry school. Her enthusiasm for the craft is evident as she lights up discussing her plans for the future. “I want to go to the International Culinary Institute in New York. It’s a 10-month-long program, and then I just want to open up my own bakery in Dallas,” Cade says.
And to top off the coolness that is Samantha Cade, a whisk tattoo adorns her left wrist.
in the kitchen and recreating restaurant meals at home. He was intrigued and began making kombucha for his family. Now that Brumbelow has moved away from home, the third-year UT psychology major has started making kombucha herself to save a few bucks and get her fix regularly. “There is some science to it, but you put it in your cabinet and let it do its thing. You don’t even have to touch it or worry about it,” Brumbelow says. There are two main phases in the making of kombucha, once you have acquired a mother culture, or scoby — a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. In the first phase, you pour sweetened tea into a large jar and let the scoby rest on the surface for about a week. Then, in the second stage of fermentation, you transfer the fermented tea into smaller bottles and add fruit, juice or herbs. The tea carbonates and converts the still, tart beverage into a sweeter bubbly one, like soda pop.
Story and Photos by Sara Benner “Boocha Queen!” one of Rachel Brumbelow’s housemates shouts from the other side of the industrial kitchen. “Teach me your secrets!” Rachel laughs warmly and continues pouring her homemade kombucha into large glass bottles. Her stainless steel workspace is littered with chopped fruit, and on her left is a gallon-sized glass jar with something brown floating on top.
For Brumbelow, Sundays are bottling days. She bottles that week’s first fermentation of tea into large swingtop glass bottles and flavors it with fruit. She then boils another pot of sweet tea, and, once it cools, she pours it into her glass jar and puts the scoby back on top. The weekly ritual takes between 30 to 40 minutes. This kombucha experiment was a natural choice for Brumbelow — her family is adventurous when it comes to food, to say the least. Her mom dabbles in making her own kefir, a fermented milk drink. Her father, Robert, also enjoys making his own foods, from kimchi to vinegar. “My entry to it was, ‘Gosh that’s expensive, I bet we could make that ourselves.’ I’m also a bit of a foodie, so it was not a strange territory for us to explore,” he says.
One summer day in 2008, Rachel and her sisters went for a bike ride to the grocery store. They bought a bottle of kombucha and brought it home to show their father, Robert But after Brumbelow moved away to college, she missed Brumbelow, who has a penchant for growing live cultures having kombucha around. Since a store-bought bottle
ranges between $3 and $4, she started making it at home like her father. “She could be closeted in her room, making kombucha and no one knows about it. Part of it is a social thing, you get to share it with people,” Robert says.
To begin the second fermentation process, pour kombucha into glass bottles with air-tight caps or lids. Don’t fill it up all the way — only just below the bottle’s neck. Add between ¼ to ½ cup of fresh or frozen fruits or vegetables. You can also experiment with herbs and flavor While Robert primarily flavors his kombucha with juic- extracts. Seal the bottles and keep in a cool place, undises, Rachel prefers to use fresh fruits and herbs and keeps turbed for two to three days. a running list of flavor ideas on her computer’s home screen. Her favorite flavors so far are ginger and cranberry Put your bottles in the fridge to stop the second fermengrape. “It’s more cost effective and a lot of fun to drink tation process. Once chilled, carefully open your bottles, it with your friends. It’s exciting when you pop the bot- pour and enjoy! tle and it starts fizzing like champagne,” Brumbelow says.
Rachel Brumbelow’s Kombucha Recipe
To start your next batch, measure out 2 cups of your kombucha and save. This will be the starter tea for the fresh sweet tea. Always save some kombucha as starter tea. Clean your second fermentation bottles and repeat!
14 cups water 1 cup sugar 5-7 bags of black tea or 3 tablespoons of loose black tea (if you’d rather use white or green tea, you can) 2 cups starter tea (from where your scoby was growing) 1 gallon glass or ceramic container 1-2 glass bottles with air-tight lids
Bring water to a boil, then remove from heat and quickly add tea and sugar. Let tea cool to room temperature, then pour into 1-gallon container. Add your 2 cups of starter tea. Place your scoby on top (recipe below.) Cover with a paper towel or washcloth, securing it with a rubber band. Let sit in a cool, dark place (like a closet or pantry) for about a week.
If you don’t know anyone who can give you a slice of their scoby, and would rather not order one from the Internet, this recipe is an easy method to make homemade scoby from a store-bought bottle of unflavored, raw kombucha:
1 16-ounce unflavored bottle of kombucha (GT’s original flavor works well) 1 gallon glass jar Wash cloth or paper napkin Rubber band
Pour the entire bottle of kombucha into your glass jar. Cover with cloth or napkin and secure with elastic. Let sit undisturbed in a cool place until scoby forms (when Brumbelow made her first scoby this way, it took about three weeks until it was a quarter-inch thick).
Co-Editors-in-Chief Becca Chavoya & Jane Claire Hervey Design Team Darice Chavira, Becca Chavoya, Crystal Garcia, Sam Grasso, Jane Claire Hervey, Courtney James, Sarah Montgomery, Selah Maya Zighelboim Writers Alexa Babin, Sara Benner, Quinton Boudwin, Tess Cagle, Becca Chavoya, Dahlia Dandashi, Julia Duke, Helen Fernandez, Megan Fullerton, Devon Grussmark, Danielle Haberly, Madison Hamilton, Jane Claire Hervey, Sam Limerick, Devonshire Lokke, Ashley Lopez, Bryan Rolli, Faith Ann Ruszkowski, Kris Seavers, Danielle Smith Photographers Sara Benner, Quinton Boudwin, Tess Cagle, Theresa Callaway, Gina Carra, Darice Chavira, Becca Chavoya, Dahlia Dandashi, Julia Duke, Helen Fernandez, Danielle Haberly, Jane Claire Hervey, Thalia Juarez, Devonshire Lokke, Sarah Montgomery, Paul Ramirez, Bryan Rolli, Kris Seavers, Danielle Smith, Hannah Vickers Videographer Mikaela Casas Cover Photographer Hannah Vickers Cover Model Devonshire Lokke Section Photo Spreads Darice Chavira