Rocket VOL. XI, ISSUE 2
FA S H I O N
PH O T O G R A PH Y
THE COLLEGE OF WILLIAM & MARY WMROCKETMAGAZINE.COM ROCKET@EMAIL.WM.EDU @ROCKETMAG
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF DEPUTY EDITOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR EDITORIAL DIRECTOR ART EDITOR ART TEAM
ASTRAL CO-EDITORS ASTRAL TEAM
BEAUTY EDITOR BEAUTY TEAM
DIGITAL EDITOR DIGITAL TEAM FEATURES CO-EDITORS
ZARIELLE ANTHONY RUTH BEKELE A. CHARIS CONWELL AVERY HINES ANNA WERSHBALE, SOPHIE CASSIDY, ELLA GOLDSCHMIDT, HOLI RAPARAOELINA, LAURA REITZE, MARTHA ROSE FATIMA JEREZ, SALIMATA SANFO LEYAH OWUSU, NATALIE CARBALLO, ATIYA HAQUE, JAMIE HOLT, INAYA MIR, ANSH PATEL, EDDIE RODRIGUEZ-GONZALEZ NINJIN GANKHULEG BREYONNA ROCK, IRELAND DEGGES, EMILY HAN, VICTORIA KIM, DANELL MONTES, ISABELLA ORTIZMILLER, JASMINE TURKSON LIVIA MARTINEZ AVISHKA BOPPUDI, GAVIN AQUIN HERNANDEZ, FAIZA ISA, GWEN SARGENT, INDIA TURNER, CLARA WHITNEY KATE KOWALSKI, SASHA SKLAR
KATIE TAGUCHI, TESS CLARK, SOLEIL GARNETT, AZRAF KAN, CAROLINE LEIBOWITZ, LINDA LI, RYAN POSTHUMUS, CAROLINE SCHNEIDER, TREVOR SCHNEIDER, SOFIA WARFIELD, A. M. WHITE
A. CHARIS CONWELL, MONICA BAGNOLI, ALEXA CARMENATES, NASER CHAOUKI, AIDAN GOSSETT, KAI OKAI-BROWN
MARKETING EDITOR MARKETING TEAM PHOTO EDITOR PHOTO TEAM
PRODUCTION EDITOR PRODUCTION TEAM
PUBLIC RELATIONS EDITOR PUBLIC RELATIONS TEAM STYLE EDITOR
JULIA D’ELETTO HENRY NETTER, NASER CHAOUKI, MARIE FULDA, SAM GASTEIGER, LINA HUNT, SHELBY MUNFORD MONICA BAGNOLI DAWN BANGI, GARRETT GOLTERMANN, CATHERINE HODES, AMELIA LEVINE, HANNAH ISABELLA MONTALVO, JUSTIN SHERLOCK, FEI WANG KARISSA MCDONALD ALEXA CARMENATES, ANNA VAN MARCKE, CARSON BELMEAR, WILLIAM BENDALL, REILLY JACOBS, ERIN LIEBE, KAI OKAI-BROWN, MADELINE PUDELKA, SHARON SANDLER, NEHA SHARMA, ERICKA TORRES SAMMY MURPHY ABBY KITILA, NICKI GANTI, JESSICA SIGSBEE, YASMIN SLIMANI THANH NGOC PHAM
LEYAH OWUSU, JENNA ASHTAR, ELLA BANERJEE, BLAZE BANKS, NAOMI DIMBERU, BELLA GRACE FINCK, LACE GRANT, NIGEL SEABROOK, CALEB STREAT
letter from the editor WELCOME BACK, ROCKET! I am so proud of and thankful for everyone and everything we’ve been able to accomplish this semester and this year as we celebrate 10 years of ROCKET in print. We’ve been able to collaborate with campus groups like ACS and WCWM, successfully pull off back-to-back weekend shoots, and execute an incredibly successful ASTRAL revival. I never expected to be leading ROCKET my last semester, but when elected this past winter, I was ecstatic for the semester ahead and grounded by the faith the Editorial Board had in me. As we’ve struggled through the challenges of living in a pandemic and being disconnected, my goal this semester was to return a sense of warmth, love, and joy to the many facets of ROCKET. There is no better embodiment of that goal than the theme of our SS22 issue, “The Summer of Love”. We hark back to a time focused on the countercultural, which swept the nation, celebrated the taboo, and pierced the veil of perfection. Reflecting this return to theme, you will also see a shift in our formatting to include more non-traditional and interactive pieces to engage you, our reader. Even if you don’t have a soft spot in your heart for the late 60s and 70s (as I do), I hope you feel the love ROCKET has and cherishes for our community, the way old friends do. Gratefully,
08 12 21 26 30 36
Love profiles all you need is love a brief history of wcwm woodstock must die the summer of sam astral
CHILDREN OF THE FUTURE i want the world to know Burning the girlboss A pleasant, simple tune Perfect How social media has redefined NOSTALGIA trends 44 54 62 64 72 74
children of the future
text by SASHA SKLAR photography by MONICA BAGNOLI beauty by V. KIM, J. TURKSON style by N. DIMBERU, J. GOOLSBY, T. NGOC PHAM production by C. BELMEAR models JOELLE GOOLSBY, ALEXA CARMENATES
Resurrected Following nearly two years indoors, a yearning for nature overtakes us and the heat of the sun draws us near. We look towards the future, towards change and renewal— But we’ve seen this before. In ROCKET’s post-pandemic revival, we rewind the clock 50 years and peer into another time. We find ourselves lost in the Summer of Love. Stepping out into the balmy nights, gentle fogs soften our edges, while disco lights dazzle our eyes. Magic surrounds us: cool acoustic tones, applause from beyond a deep red curtain. But the warmth does not mean silence, or the death of the cold: Our voices will be heard.
I WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW let's celebrate black disco written by SOLEIL GARNETT
hen you think of disco culture today, you may think of the disco queens with huge, wild hair, bright and shiny bell bottoms, glittery makeup, or a jumpsuit to match some platform heels. Maybe you’re thinking of the people gliding around on roller skates and taking polaroids with their crew. I know a few people have donned a floral pattern mini dress with sunflower sunglasses at a Halloween party and broken out the iconic peace sign dance move. Whatever version of disco culture you’re picturing right now, it’s clear that there is a preconceived notion of the types of people at the forefront of disco based on what we see in popular culture today.
BUT HERE’S ONE THING YOU’RE MISSING: THE BLACKNESS.
photography by JAMIE HOLT beauty by I. DEGGES, B. ORTIZ-MILLER, B. ROCK, J. TURKSON style by N. DIMBERU, B. G. FINCK, T. NGOC PHAM, L. OWUSU, C. STREAT production by A. CARMENATES, R. JACOBS, K. MCDONALD, S. SANDLER models KEVIN BLOODSWORTH, LILY BOONE, SUMMER BURRIS, TAINA SANTIAGO, EMMA STEPHENSON
Disco wasn’t always seen as beautiful or desirable. It was a movement by and for people of color— congregating in darkly lit apartments because they weren’t accepted in society. House parties date back to the early 20th century, where “rent parties” were held by and for newly emigrated African-Americans to northern cities. Flash forward to postwar America - underground clubs were being run by Black, Latino, and LGBTQ communities as safe, social settings in order to escape the social traumas they were dealing with in reality. This ‘realness’ is what made it a counterculture: Systematic attacks on the Black community (specifically Black transgender women) created a need to resist the popular culture at the time. Forms of blackness in disco— later erased in reconstructed popular culture— can be seen in the early emergence of DJing in Hip-Hop, and in the glitter-littered afros that symbolized radical Black self-love, and taking confidence in being a naturally beautiful person of color. Disco has strong influences from social movements like the Black Panther Party, where marginalized communities rebelled against the system in a different way. The Stonewall Uprising in 1969, which marked a turning point for the LGBTQ+ rights movement, is believed to have been started outside of a gay nightclub in New York by Marsha P. 14 14
Johnson, a Black transgender woman who was outspoken for gay and transgender rights. At the time, marginalized populations of people were profiled, targeted, and raided as if they were delinquents. They were characterized as “bad actors”: people who partied all night, took illegal substances, and “fed” off of
society. The modern idea that disco culture (and 70s culture overall) is all peace, love, and good vibes detracts from the bravery and strength it took to be a contributor to the culture at this time. Failure to recognize disco culture as a necessary (historic) step towards Black self-love and social equality whitewashes the
significance of disco. Normalization of “white” disco (as in, whites-only disco) celebrates the perfection of the age of disco, but not of black people. It’s important to pay homage to the way Black culture impacts disco culture, and it is necessary in understanding how Black culture influences pop culture.
art by NASER CHAOUKI
Popular black disco artists truly made impressions on the music scene in ways that can still be seen today. Beautiful and Black dancing queens like Donna Summer - “The Queen of Disco” - and Diana Ross took to the stage and shared hits that are still being played today. These weren’t just Black artists performing a segregated version of underground music. They were the most influential artists of the time period, they made the disco scene.
the studio had on popular culture is still evident today; one look at the club’s entrance waitlist, and the status of a performer is secured (or destroyed). Famous pictures of Diana Ross dancing widely and singing proudly at Studio 54, sometimes alongside a young Michael Jackson, circulate even today.
are a culmination of an appreciation for race, gender, sexuality, and fluidity in all respects. Contemporarily, drag—and drag balls—is appreciated and appropriated in much the same way as disco.
Beside the club, Ross is remembered for speaking out for the marginalized populations that couldn’t find their voice at the time— singing Diana Ross’s radiating “I’m Coming Out” and “Upsmile matched her silky voice, side Down”, along with othbut her contributions to disco er songs, at the studio as a and pop culture don’t stop at tribute to the people. It’s no her looks. Her song “I’m Com- surprise that her top hits are ing Out” (1980) is a song used deeply rooted in sex posivito champion members of the ty, freedom of blackness and LGBTQ+ community even to- sexuality, and an unbothered day. and unapologetic self-love. Diana Ross was also a frequent patron of the famous 70s nightclub ‘Studio 54,” which— as soon as it was created— became a cultural phenomenon. The strongarm
This radical love was later celebrated in the “ball” scene— consisting of drag performances within different drag genres and categories. These high-energy ballrooms
The bottom line is that, because disco was encouraged by Black culture, there is a clear intersectionality between race, gender, and sexuality that only solidifies the importance of disco in the Black community. The purpose of restructuring the conventions of disco culture is to recenter the conversation around the Black women in such a way that acknowledges their contributions and accomplishments, truly of the Black essence. Disco can— and
always will be— peace, love, and blackness.
horoscopes aries (mar 21-apr 19) stock up on sunscreen! this summer, you’ll find yourself outdoors more than indoors.
gemini (may 21-june 20) this summer, try taking people at face-value; things might become a little less complicated. cancer (june 21-july 22) there is always time to work a little harder; there is very little time to take things slow. celebrate yourself! leo (july 23-aug 22) others are looking forward to winding down, you’re looking forward to things speeding up. trust your instincts! virgo (aug 23-sept 22) generosity is a virtue, but constant self-sacrifice is a sign. you walk that fine line: remember, one foot in front of the other.
scorpio (oct 23-nov 21) people are going to come into your life; filtering through or sticking around, they are guests nonetheless. welcome them in! sagittarius (nov 22-dec 21) this summer, you need to write everything down. capricorn (dec 22-jan 19) you will feel called to ‘prepare’. remember, a careful plan is only useful when you know what you’re working towards. aquarius (jan 20-feb18) you feel the change coming, and you’re afraid of changing along with it. remember, it is in your nature to be fluid: those who know you love your dynamic nature. pisces (feb 19-mar 20) you think way too much; pretend it’s the last day every day.
taurus (apr 20-may 20) you are surrounded by lowlows and high-highs, remember to enjoy the happy mediums!
libra (sept 23-oct 22) it’s time for you to get into the world! you have the skills to impress, and a little bit of showing off never hurt any-body. take pride in what you are good at!
written by A. CHARIS CONWELL
photography by CATHERINE HODES beauty by N. GANKHULEG, E. HAN, B. ORTIZ-MILLER, B. ROCK, J. TURKSON style by N. DIMBERU, B.G. FINCK, T. NGOC PHAM, L. OWUSU, N. SEABROOK production by R. JACOBS, K. MCDONALD, K. OKAI-BROWN models KELLSEY CARTER, MAYA LEWIS, MELINA RICE
BURning the Girboss
WRITTEN by kate kowalski 22
There’s no weapon against your political enemies quite as powerful as a caricature. Everyone’s heard the term “burning the bra”; it conjures up images of furious, hairy-legged hippie feminists performatively torching undergarments. Lesser known is the fact that no one actually burned bras at these 1970s women’s rights protests (they meant to, but couldn’t get a permit). But the image and phrase is far more enduring in the popular imagination than the true memory of that day. On the flip side, when social movements become mainstream, more radical images tend to get diluted, downplayed, and repackaged to become palatable to the majority. The activist evolves from caricature to mascot. When social justice mixes with capitalism, the latter always negates the former. Thus the popular phrase today, “Stonewall was a riot”--- an attempt to reclaim the radicality of the LGBT rights movement from the “rainbow capitalist” mess it’s become. Black Lives Matter activists have called attention to the radicality and controversy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s as conservatives today attempt to claim the martyred preacher’s words to demonize anti-racist and abolitionist protests of the 2020s. For the majority of America, the word “feminist” no longer immediately conjures the bra-burning caricature; most might instead think of Women’s March pussy hats, “this is what a feminist looks like” t shirts, GamerGate, Hillary Clinton. Feminism is an aesthetic; Marilyn Monroe posters, Instagrammable protest signs, Gwyneth Paltrow vagina candles, Venus symbols, Dove body positivity ads, boob earrings. The immediate reactionary shock has faded, and those threatened by it have had time to tranquilize the movement’s more radical demands, repackage their own interests with a feminist label, and present to us “girlboss feminism.”
Being a girlboss is about individual success, climbing the corporate ladder – exploitative capitalist but this time it’s a woman. Anna Wintour, Coco Chanel, Sheryl Sandberg. That one popular political cartoon by Sam Wallman, as relevant as ever, comes to mind: as American bombs fall, a man says “They say the next ones will be sent by a woman!” A woman replies, “Really makes you feel like you’re part of history.” Girlboss feminism invites women to feel like “part of history” by simply pursuing their own career advancement. Any choice a woman makes can be feminist, because it’s a woman choosing it. A woman is applauded for rising to a position of power, regardless of what she does with it. When the CIA is making ads that co-opt social justice language to tout their inclusivity of women… you know the movement’s taken a left turn somewhere. And as with most watered-down social movements, its figureheads are preferred to be white. There’s another name for “girlboss feminism,” or at least a Venn diagram that’s pretty much just one circle: white feminism. White women sit at that unique intersection of privilege and oppression that allows us to blind ourselves to the former and latch onto the latter, celebrating our individual successes as “empowerment” and ignoring the social structures that helped us get there. Too often, in celebrating feminism, we’re really just “reclaiming” a social power that was never really denied to us. White women are the number one beneficiaries of affirmative action; the majority of us also voted for Donald Trump in both elections. We made feminism our cause and pat outselves on the back for our self-advocacy; racial inequity was someone else’s battle to fight (that is, until black squares on your Instagram became trendy). Even when we engage in anti-racist discourse we manage to center ourselves— see performative “checking my privilege” posts, or Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, a top candidate for the #Girlboss of the 2020s (The New York Times bestselling author will come speak at your event for the modest price of $30,000-40,000). 23 23
White CEOs such as Sophia Amoruso, founder of NastyGal, have embraced this privilege. Amoruso released a memoir in 2014 titled #Girlboss which sold half a million copies and later founded a media company of the same name, producing merchandise, holding conferences, and releasing its own horrendous Netflix show. As she advocated for women to follow their capitalist dreams, she was paying garment workers in Leicester $4.55 an hour— less than half the minimum wage in England at the time— with news reports describing the environment as a “sweatshop.” In 2015, four former employees sued Amoruso and her company, claiming that they were illegally fired just before taking parental leave— it’s hard to think of something less feminist. Girlboss feminism preys on its own disciples; thousands of women, especially stay-at-home moms and low-income women, are scammed yearly by multi-level marketing companies that exploit them to sell essential oils and weight loss coffee that makes you shit yourself, all under the guise of “being your own boss” and other quasi-feminist platitudes. In an oddly perfect microcosm of the problems with white girlboss feminism, Audrey Gelman, founder and former CEO of the women-only Instagrammable-feminist-aesthetic co-working space the Wing, left her company after accusations of underpaying and ill-treating employees. These employees were mostly women of color-– the same women who were scouted by management to be featured on the company’s website, to present a college-brochure-esque facade of “diversity.”
The idea that you can vote for progress with your dollar is seductive, and companies have leapt on that concept— from menstrual cup companies that donate period products with every purchase to sustainable clothing campaigns appealing to the climate-conscious. I could buy a regular luggage set at TJ Maxx, or I could “support women” by spending hundreds of dollars more on a “feminist” company. Of course, not all of these movements are negative— for example, the rush to Black-owned bookstores in summer 2020. But the idea that supporting white female CEOs from middle class backgrounds is progressive in any way is ludicrous. Since the publication of #Girlboss in 2014, many have become hip to the manipulative strategies of Amoruso’s brand of feminism (e.g. “gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss”). The late 20teens were a period of reckoning for the girlboss; female CEOs of companies such as Away, Glossier, SoulCycle, and Reformation faced accusations of toxic work environments, mistreatment, and exploitation, (gaslighting, gatekeeping…) and many stepped down from their positions. The problem with making feminism your brand: if your actions are perceived as non-feminist, missteps hold more weight than they would from (male-run) companies who make no pretenses about their corporate greed. Your toxicity isn’t just a poor business decision, but a betrayal of a sisterhood.
Disillusioned by the corporate liberation fantasy of for-profit feminism, people finally became wary of power itself, and the inherent selfishness of its pursuit. Summer 2020 seemed like a wakeup call for many— but predictably, painting Black Lives Matter on sidewalks and browsing the “Black Stories” section of Hulu seemed the preferred route over tangible action. Voices have died down since that black-square-Instagram June. We have to learn from the Girlboss 20teens; we have to go beyond checking our privilege and open our wallets, engage in our communities, shut down bigotry from friends and family members. And to keep the action going, we can’t let these conversations die. In #Girlboss, Sophia Amoruso wrote “Is 2014 a new era of feminism where we don’t have to talk about it? I don’t know, but I want to pretend that it is.” Girlboss feminism tempts us to stop talking about injustice— rising and grinding for our own sole gain is enough. In 2022, we’ve realized that when the conversation stops, so does progress.
Maybe this is a bit unfair, maybe it’s an expression of internalized misogyny — women once again facing harsher penalties for actions excused daily in men. The problems girlbosses purport to solve are real: casual sexism, double standards, the pay gap, sexual harassment, policing of clothing, language and identity in the workplace. But to me, diverting and perverting a movement for equality for your own avarice leaves a far worse taste in my mouth than greed for greed’s sake. So you faced sexism at every turn, so you had to plot and plead and grind your way to the top; but in exploiting the aesthetic of feminism, you bound yourself to a moral and ideological code of equality. You emerged triumphant, you cast the code aside, you changed nothing about the structures that made your rise so difficult in the first place. Cosmetic changes only. This is the price you pay. On the other hand, our high expectations of corporations to enact structural changes are a sad testament to the faith we’ve lost in our government. Where can we turn when the state has proved again and again its hostility to progress? The sensible answer is grassroots activism. But the companies crowding our social media feeds with glittering fantasies of ethical consumerism are far more alluring, far easier, far shinier. I can splurge on sundresses and feel like I’m doing some good for the world? In the individualist world of the girlboss, solutions to inequality can be self-serving for the exec and the customer. Audre Lorde told us that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”; placing the master’s tools within tantalizing reach of a select representative few (white) women was the smartest and most poisonous trap the master could lay. 25 25
A pleasant, Simple Tune: Making Musical Theater in unprecedented Times feature by a. m. white For years, Broadway was known for embracing the Americana aesthetic in all its cheesy charm. From the 1940's to the 1960's, musicals were a celebration of the nuclear family, full of white picket fences and even whiter protagonists for whom everything was always hunky dory by the time the curtain fell. Megahits like Oklahoma, Hello Dolly, Bye Bye Birdie, and The Music Man became instant classics, leading many in the theater community to label this period the “Golden Age” of Broadway. But the social movements and political instability of the 1960s made the Golden Age aesthetic untenable. Artists could no longer pretend that there were no monsters lurking behind the alluring promise of Americana. This resulted in a creative vacuum that needed to be filled. There was no time to slow down and reevaluate the meaning of musical theater; after all, producers needed to see a return on their investments. It’s hard to know exactly what musical theater artists were thinking about this new creative environment. Hard, but not impossible.
Musical after the end of the Golden Age present fascinating— and in some ways, competing— conceptions of what it means to be an artist in a time of rapid social change.
In 1965, Tony voters named Fiddler on the Roof the best Broadway musical of the year. Instead of white picket fences in the American countryside, Fiddler takes place among the hovels of Anatevka, a fictional village in Imperial Russia at the turn of the twentieth century. Instead of Anglo-Saxon protestant nuclear families, the protagonists are a tightly-knit community of Jewish families. While rejecting Americana aesthetics, Fiddler initially seems to echo Golden Age values of rigid family structures and gender roles in its iconic opening number “Tradition.” However, that echo does not reverberate for long. Fiddler’s protagonist, a poor dairyman and father of five named Tevye, tries to accommodate changing times. He allows his two eldest daughters to marry for love rather than forcing them down the traditional path of marrying whoever papa picks. But when Tevye finds out that his beThe Antoinette Perry Awards for Ex- loved daughter Chava has fallen for a Russian cellence in Broadway theater, better known Christian named Fyedka, Tevye puts his foot as the Tony Awards, were already an annual down. “If I try to bend that far,” he bellows, “I’ll tradition by the mid-60s, and they are the best break!” For the sake of his family, his village, metric we have for understanding the mood and his culture, Tevye excommunicates his of the Broadway community at this time. It is own daughter. probably no coincidence that the first three productions to win the Tony Award for Best
r lo o c me art by ANNA WERSHBALE 27 27
If this were a typical Golden Age musical, there would be a happy ending. Fyedka would be portrayed as an irredeemable villain, Chava would heroically abandon him to maintain the sanctity of the nuclear family, and Tevye would be celebrated as the savior of his community. But the show ends with Russian troops evicting Tevye, his family, and everyone he knows from Anatevka. Clinging to tradition did not stop the world from changing. This tragic but authentic ending marks Fiddler as the first post-Golden Age smash.
explicitly about creativity in turbulent times. Man of La Mancha is an unorthodox re-telling of Miguel de Cervantes’s famous Don Quixote story, where a delusional old man runs away from home to become a knight errant. The musical opens with Cervantes being thrown in a prison cell at the height of the Spanish Inquisition, and he decides to act out the Don Quixote story with his fellow prisoners. Cervantes’s pageant lifts the spirits of everyone in the cell, and seeing Man of La Mancha performed live leaves you feeling like art and creativity truly can change the world. No wonder the BroadIt may seem odd that theater artists in way community in 1966 loved this show— it is 1960s New York could have seen themselves practically a love letter to anyone who picks up in a story that takes place so far away. But a pen in unprecedented times. Tevye certainly saw a bit of himself in artists. The title Fiddler on the Roof comes from the But when the hilarious book and sweepopening lines of the show, when Tevye sees ing score come to an end, Man of La Mancha a man playing a violin on his roof and tells the can feel… shallow. After the curtain falls, the audience, “Here in our little village of Anatevka, cast is still locked up and many of them are you might say every one of us is a fiddler on likely to be executed. No one is liberated by the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, sim- Cervantes’s story. In fact, the real-life Cerple tune without breaking his neck.” Perhaps vantes was never actually imprisoned. The the Broadway community in the tumultuous lofty ideals and irrational optimism of Man of ‘60s saw themselves as such fiddlers, search- La Mancha is based on imagined oppression. ing for new ways to perform their tunes while What does it say about the Broadway commuthe aesthetic they had relied on for decades nity in the 1960s that they flocked to this work? came crashing down. Were they really interested in doing good, or were they just looking for a way to temporarily The following year, Tony voters were feel good in a time when there was very little to swept off their feet by a production that was feel good about?
Maybe I am starting to sound too cynical. But the 1967 winner of the Tony for Best Musical is probably the most cynical show to ever reach mainstream success on the Great White Way. Cabaret tells the story of authors, singers, and dancers who live, love, work, and perform in 1930s Berlin as the Nazi party cements their power. Nightclub star Sally Bowles belts anthems of political apathy (including the titular ballad “Cabaret”) for adoring audiences at the Kit Kat Klub night after night. The Kit Kat Klub’s mysterious emcee beckons his patrons to leave their troubles outside, but performs nationalistic and antisemitic musical numbers that clear the way for Nazis to influence the minds of Berliners. American author Cliff Bradshaw gives impassioned speeches about the dangers of Nazism, but in the end he flees Berlin when the going gets tough. Cabaret is a story about creatives using their art to ignore or even empower a rising fascist movement, sending a not-so-subtle message to the Broadway community living through a conservative backlash to the social movements of the 1960s that they were in danger of letting history repeat itself.
men— are emblematic of how that crisis impacted the quintessentially American art form of musical theater.
Nearly fifty years after the Golden Age of Broadway came to an end, where are we now? Some of today’s Broadway hits seek to live up to Man of La Mancha’s impossible dream: works like Fun Home, Hadestown, The Prom, A Strange Loop, and the innovative recent revival of Oklahoma tell groundbreaking stories that Americana aesthetics could not. That being said, the resurgence of transphobic tropes in shows like Jagged Little Pill, Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the upcoming musical adaptation of Some Like It Hot which is occurring alongside the wave of transphobic legislation sweeping the nation reflects an artistic complicity in fascism that formed the thesis of Cabaret. But show business is a business, and powerful producers will do whatever it takes to see a return on their investments. That means making audiences happy. In times like these, that means distracting them from the real world, either by embracing the fake Miguel de Cervantes’s empty optimism or by beckoning These three shows presented musical playgoers to ignore social problems and treat theater makers with three different ways of en- life like a cabaret. Once the glossy veneer of visioning their role in the sociopolitical environ- Americana crumbled, far too many Broadway ment of the 1960s. Were they helpless artists producers seemed to conclude that these were caught in a stampede of rapid social change, the only options. Meanwhile, the theater artists like the characters in Fiddler? Were they no- who rely on funding from producers to make ble guardians of lofty ideals that could change a living will always be fiddlers on roofs, starthe world, like in Man of La Mancha? Or were ing down at the vast uncertainty of life in the they just creating a space where apathetic au- 1960/2020s, trying to scratch out a pleasant, diences could ignore the necessary struggles simple tune— in times that are anything but of a changing world, like in Cabaret? The so- pleasant or simple— without breaking their cial movements of the 1960s sent white Amer- necks. ica into a dizzying identity crisis, and these three musicals— all written by white American
Your "perfect" 60s Housewife feature by katie taguchi
photography by FEI WANG beauty by D. MONTES, J. TURKSON style by J. ASHTAR, N. DIMBERU, E. HAN, T. NGOC PHAM, C. STREAT production by C. BELMEAR, K. MCDONALD, K. OKAI-BROWN models JACOB BARKSDALE, SYDNEY GORDON, MORGAN JOHN, AVERY KEAN 31
cramble the eggs and toast the sourdough. Serve breakfast on the nice white china. Hang the washing on the line to air–dry. Tidy the bedrooms, make sure all the beds are pristine. Mop the kitchen floor until it shines. Freshen up, serve the meatloaf. Wash every plate and every fork. Close your eyes, escape to sleep. The daily life of a housewife in the 20th century was monotonous and repetitive, with all tasks meticulously completed in the same colorful white-collared dresses, lowheels, and big dangly earrings. And when women wanted to escape the mundane domesticity of their lives, they weren’t encouraged to pursue careers or establish fulfilling social lives - they were encouraged to take sedatives. At the end of WWII, lots of women were forced back into the private sphere after being in the workforce. These women were struggling to feel fulfilled in their roles as housewives. For centuries, a woman’s purpose was inexorably linked to her reproductive organs, which led to the belief that women should feel fulfilled in their roles as wives and mothers. But women began to speak up about how much they struggled with the simultaneous drudgery and pressure of being a housewife. Unsurprisingly, these women weren’t fulfilled. But don’t worry - doctors and pharmaceutical companies had the perfect solution to make sure that these women would stop threatening the traditional dynamic of the home. In the 60s and 70s, drugs like Milltown were described as a “miracle cure” for married women and mothers, and unsettling advertisements showcased women taking tranquilizers and sedatives in order to be better housewives. Mothers went “running for the shelter of mother’s little helper,” just as the Rolling Stones 1966 song describes. The lyrics are chilling because they’re 100% true; often, the only thing that could get a wife “through her busy day” was a prescribed tranquilizer.
Advertisements for “mother’s little helper” drugs were everywhere, with sayings like “now she can cook breakfast again!” The advertisements themselves are honestly haunting - I would never want to buy something from these placid women with such empty smiles. But really, this “cure” was just silencing women. The “cure” was to stifle women’s genuine feelings by forcing them into quiet and subservient lives, whether they liked it or not. 32
The FDA Consumer, a magazine published by the Food and Drug Administration, detailed a new kind of addict in a 1978 issue: “The smartly dressed woman driving a sleek, late model car could be the envy of her neighbors. She has a loving husband, bright children, a beautiful home in the suburbs, and apparently no care in the world. Except one. This woman is a junkie.” Women of this time period crucified themselves in order to be accepted. It was not understood that these women had to act as moral touchstones, as a pure symbol of a happy home. It was not understood that their roles were often difficult and unfulfilling, so any complaints were met with a prescription. These drug advertisements read like tonedeaf orders, like threats - these housewives needed to shut up. The more I researched this and thought about it, the more it felt like something out of a horror movie. Was society really so afraid of women entering the public sphere that they friviously prescribed medication as a solution? Instead of allowing women access to the public sphere, instead of allowing women to lead fulfilling lives, instead of trying to actually understand the anxieties of women, pharmaceutical companies encouraged women to take drugs to silence their needs that extended beyond the home. And the more and more I thought about it, the more I wondered: has society ever properly addressed the needs and aspirations of women?
I think the answer is no - and it’s because of the condemnation of female honesty. The pharmaceutical advertisements that targeted women in the 60s and 70s were indicative of a much larger historical pattern. Think female hysteria. Women have a history of being given false medical solutions for speaking up about feeling unfulfilled in a society run by men. When women express their issues, they’re viewed as “mad,” and they receive some kind of medical treatment that will shut them up. In the mid to late 1800s, lots of ambitious and assertive women were sent to insane asylums. These asylums were an easy catch-all for any woman who proved to be “difficult.” For instance, in 1860, Illinois housewife Elizabeth Packard was sent to an insane asylum for standing up to her iron-fisted husband. Elizabeth’s husband was able to admit her into the asylum on only his word; he didn’t have to have any evidence. Almost anything that was viewed as defiant or difficult could get a woman committed - menstrual cycle madness was commonplace. Women were institutionalized for wanting independence, for expressing their own opinions, for wanting their needs to be addressed for once. Around this time period, there was a generation of talented female writers who became addicted to the tranquilizing power of opium. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Dorothy Wordsworth and George Eliot were habitual users, as well as Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Perkins Gilman a bit later on. Sylvia Plath’s autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, published in 1963, follows a woman driven to insanity partly because of the societal pressures she faces as a woman. I hate that it makes sense that these women would turn to opium, but I think it does - they were women with strong voices, with things to say. These were women who likely felt the void of an interesting career and social life - women who felt trapped by being relegated to the private sphere. In Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway, the titular character expresses that she feels as though life is a “forcing of your soul.” These women felt like they needed to take these drugs to alleviate the drudgery of housework and everyday life, and nobody stopped them. Access to these drugs was not restricted, instead, it was encouraged; these opinionated and outspoken women needed to be silenced. And even further, consider suffragettes - they were called crazy, too. One male medical scientist even said that suffragettes were just “ungrateful women” and that their “unsatisfied sexuality is an intellectual disability.” The need to shut down the voices of women did not start with Milltown and the 60s housewife - it goes back centuries. In contemporary times, the image of the 60s housewife seems a distant one. The thought of getting institutionalized for simply wanting independence seems far-fetched and extreme. But these ideas aren’t as extreme as we might think - women’s genuine feelings are still being stifled. Women are still being called “sick” for being assertive and honest. Consider Donald Trump claiming that Nancy Pelosi is a “sick person” for standing up to him; he tweeted that there is “something wrong with her ‘upstairs’” so that people wouldn’t listen to her. Consider how in sexual assault cases, both Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby and various other men who have sexually assaulted women - used the defense that women are somehow off, and that’s why they make up lies for sport. Consider how often Taylor Swift is called crazy by the media for writing about her feelings and experiences. Women’s outspokenness is still often met with a mental illness diagnosis. So, when you think about all of that, are we really as far from the image of a 60s sedated housewife as we think? In many ways, we still don’t know how to actually address the needs of women. According to the Office on Women’s Health, if a man and a woman go to the exact same doctor, the woman is twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression and prescribed medication. On top of that, the female patient will be prescribed that medication in a higher dosage and for a longer duration than her male counterpart. If you pay attention to drug ads today, most of them have a woman at the center. This made me question if we’ve ever really understood female mental health. 34
For centuries, the only escape for women was to submit to this sedated silence. But that cannot and should not be an option anymore. Scramble the eggs, hang the washing, tidy the bedrooms, set the table. For some women, a life like this might be perfectly fulfilling, and that’s more than okay. In fact, many women are reclaiming the role of the housewife as empowering. But the important thing is that it should be a choice.
d w e hol Media defin a i e c r o S has
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Fashion is forever evolving— a reality that I’m sure we’re all more than aware of after having witnessed the avalanche of micro-trends cross our social media feeds in 2021. So we can all confirm from first-hand experience that fashion is in a constant state of development, morphing from one style to another as fashionistas and content creators churn out new ideas. It’s how in a matter of decades we went from 70s bell-bottom jeans to 80s mom jeans and eventually to the Y2k low-waisted skinny jeans that haunt all of our pasts. Styles that took a decade to create were revisited, regurgitated and cast aside in a constant feedback cycle. Along with being constantly evolving, our trends have become entirely unpredictable. There was a time when industries relied on something called the twentyyear-trend cycle to dictate next season’s trend— this was essentially a well-supported theory that fashion moves circularly, with trends resurfacing every twenty years like clockwork. But as of late, even when people try to map out exactly what will trend for that given year, something goes amiss. Long story short: our twenty year trend cycle is shortening significantly, almost to a point of nonexistence— and we have Tik Tok to blame (or praise, depending on how you look at it). Here’s why Tik Tok is the culprit in this new development. Social media platforms have made it exponentially easier (and more tempting) to adjust one’s life to fit the ‘societal mold’— and for Gen Z, this means keeping up with fashion trends, or what is commonly referred to as ‘Tik Tok Couture’. Tik Tok has created a platform for fashion savvy individuals to make certain looks and aesthetics readily available to the greater public, and as many can attest to (myself included) has expanded our vocabulary in the process. While once, wanna-be fashion enthusiasts would scour Vogue magazines for inspiration, now even those with little interest in fashion have a constant feed of suggestions through their phones. Never before have I used words like ‘Indie’, ‘Cottagecore’ and ‘Dark Academia’ when describing outfits, but as of late, I have entire pinterest boards dedicated to these beloved styles. So Tik Tok has changed the game for fashion by offering ‘regular people’ access to millions of malleable minds— unlike other social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, you don’t need to be an influencer to go viral. In fact, its algorithm primarily features videos made by these ‘regular people’— so the hope of going viral is always on the horizon, making it possible for anyone to start a new trend since having a following or credibility isn’t necessary. But with so many individuals starting viral trends on the same app, an incredible amount of pressure arises to continuously generate new and original content. Such competition between Tik Tokers is directly responsible for the various micro-trends that have overunn both the app and our lives. 38
With the rise of social media and a desire for individuality in a fast fashion society, trends keep going in and out of style faster than ever before. Take the sweater vest and pleated tennis skirt combo that monopolized Tik Tok back in October 2020. At one point, it was the biggest trend on the app, but by the end of the month, it was already overdone and tossed aside. The sense of boredom and annoyance that comes with seeing the same outfit repeated across your social media feed is the reason that we’re going through trends at a faster rate than ever before— which is why social media trends will always have a short lifespan. That, and because for very obvious reasons, microtrends are too exhausting to keep up with. Especially after summer and fall of 2020, the frustration of micro-trends led many to develop their own personal style, picking and choosing trends from various decades. So now we’re at an age where 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and Y2K clothing are being bought, worn, and marketed together. Our twenty-year-trend cycle has been obliterated. From a fashion enthusiast’s perspective, this opens up a whole lot of doors. Without the pressure of keeping to trends, there’s room for creativity and self-expression. You can draw from any decade and incorporate it into your outfit however you’d like.
Tik Tok has also inspired the public to repurpose pieces from old trends into new ones in creative and innovative ways. For example, the 70s crochet halter top has now been incorporated into ‘Cottagecore’, a hyperfeminine aesthetic that primarily features handmade clothing associated with the romanticized idea of a quaint rural lifestyle. By recycling trends, specifically those from the 60s and 70s that involved ‘groovy’ prints and bright colors, it evokes a sense of escapism— something that was especially attractive to the public during lockdown and quarantine. With everyone sitting around at home during quarantine wearing the same old pajama bottoms day after day, many were spurred on by this nuisance to develop a greater interest in fashion. So as people reentered society, they traded in their sweats for jeans. People were led to believe that if we changed our wardrobe, our/their lives would be fuller as a result. In this way, it’s interesting to note how quarantine catalyzed the recontextualization of past decades and how it evolved to fit into our newer aesthetics. 39
What I want you to take away from this is that fashion is forever changing unpredictably especially with the demolition of our 20-year-trend cycle. Social media hasn’t just changed the fashion industry, but also the role the public is playing in setting trends. Rather than waiting to be told what to wear, the public decides what the fashion industry should be selling and promoting. This boils down to one undeniable fact: we, as consumers, have an incredible amount of influence over the fashion world. And while trends can be inspirational, they can also be exhausting and expensive— no matter however long or short they last. So appreciate this opportunity to finally wear what you want to wear, draw from any decade you’d like, and be intrinsically you. Buy that top that you’ve always wanted and feared was “too out there”, or raid your parents’ closets for something vintage to pair with your Urban outfitter top. Everything is trending all at once, so there’s no limit to what you can do. 40 40
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Answer the following & get matched! ABBA or Hendrix? 1. ABBA (but only from the Mama Mia soundtrack). 2. ABBA (but only original tracks). 3. It depends on the mood… the vibes… the ambiancé… 4. Hendrix.
Should most people experiment with drugs in their lifetime? 1. No. 2. I'm not going to, but I think others should be free to. 3. Sure! Just stay away from the hard stuff. 4. Most people should loosen up a little. Drugs can help with that. Can money buy happiness? 1. It doesn't hurt! 2. Money can buy security. 3. Money can buy anything. 4. At the end of the day, money is why people aren't happy.
Who's in your ideal conversation pit? 1. Some friends, some family, and Barbra Streisand. 2. My favorite authors. 3. That quiet neighbor I've been trying to get to know. 4. Everyone that can fit!
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46! to page ip fl , s t 7! in t 9-13 po ts, flip to page 4 o g u o y If oin 48! t 14-18 p ts, flip to page o g u o y If oin 49! to page t 19-23 p If you go 4-28 points, flip page 50! to t2 If you go 9-33 points, flip to page 51! 2 t ip o fl g , If you 4 points t over 3 o g u o y If
Are you ready to Commit? 1. As soon as possible. 2. I'm just looking for that one special someone. 3. For a little while, sure! 4. I've already committed to too much.
Is disco dead? 1. I mean, look around you: Kids these days listen to ‘"knife"‘ and ‘"many gecos". 2. Disco is dead, but its influence is everywhere. 3. Ideas never die. 4. Disco died and has been resurrected.
How close are you with your mother? 1. Aubrey? Love her. 2. She calls twice a week: it's my favorite part of the day. 3. I love my mom! She's a little— well— I love my mom! 4. Not your business.
In one word, how would your friends describe you? 1. Sweet. 2. Sour. 3. Spicy. 4. Salty. What's a deal-breaker in a potential partner? 1. If they need way too much closet space. 2. Hygiene. Always. 3. If they can't keep up. 4. If they demand too much.
nthe librarian Strangers often assume Todd is an academic, but don’t be fooled by the salt and pepper hair—it’s a choice. That’s not to say Todd thinks he’s smarter than everyone else, no, the opposite. If you get the chance to pick his brain over tea and pastries, you’ll be struck by the trove of knowledge hidden behind a wall of immense modesty. His crowning achievement is reading every single book in his hometown’s library, so you already know he enjoys alone time and socializing with a small group of close friends. He’s inclined to find a stable partner with whom he can complete the NYT crossword partner every morning. Todd is your perfect match if you like to be organized and plan out big decisions. You may admire thrill-seekers, but your preferred adventure is checking out secondhand book stores and walking the dog. You want a sensible partner who will surprise you from time to time, but overall you know what to expect. 46
the grad student
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Jeffrey is a “model” Asian but will dispute any attempt at labeling him a “model minority Asian.” Are we clear? Good. He’s serious about academics but can always crack a joke to diffuse a tense situation. That said, poorly timed remarks have landed him in hot water before, and his witty personality would quickly turn bashful. You can usually find him practicing yoga and clearing his mind of his unfinished master’s thesis. His friends will say he dresses like a grandpa, but in an endearing way—Jeffrey boasts a large collection of vintage watches that he sold an arm and leg for. If you admire people who work hard and play hard, you’ll quickly bond with Jeffrey. He’s the perfect match if you need some time to warm up to people, but once you do, you’ll spill your guts and remain loyal forever. You’re looking for a partner who can easily down four tequila shots and win trivia night every Friday. 47
the musician Maybe your parents were overbearing when you were in school and you never forgave them for it. Meet Stevie, your new “therapist” who will heal your soul with soft rock and jazz tunes. He’s got an acute talent for crafting melodies that evoke specific emotions and sweeping the listener into an enthralling trance. Though Stevie tries to preach peace and solidarity through his work, he is vehement about advancing formal equality for all marginalized groups and donates part of his income to various charitable organizations. His parents came to the United States from Puerto Rico and wanted Stevie to become a doctor, but he dropped out of medical school to pursue music. He always tells people that was one of the best decisions he ever made but would never discredit the value of education. You have to meet Stevie if creativity is at the core of who you are. Bonus points if you know the difference between derbies, brogues, and penny loafers because this man can dress to impress. 48 48
f the stoner Contradictions make Paul complete. Originally from Florida, he’s a skateboard shop owner by day and a soupkitchen volunteer at night. He seeks to maximize a sense of purpose in life yet exudes nonchalance to acquaintances. He can be too devoted to his business at times, to the point where his friends wonder if he could be more engaged in political issues, but he simply prefers quiet acts of kindness to constant vocalness. When he’s not busy managing every aspect of his shop, he likes to de-stress by playing sports and, recently, researching how to make arcade games better. When it gets really stressful, though, he struggles to confide in somebody he trusts, making him too keen on compartmentalization. Still, Paul is a wonderful match if you like to step out of your comfort zone solely for personal gain rather than showing off to everyone around you. You like to go with the flow and see where every day takes you, knowing that you have a home—whether physical or mental—to fall back on. 49 49
athe performer You wouldn’t be able to tell at first glance, but Marsell is probably the funniest guy you will meet within a 100-mile radius. A professional comedian and dance hobbyist, Marsell is tireless in the pursuit of honing his craft not only as a performer but also as a public “friend”—that is, somebody to look to to make sense of our tumultuous world. No subject matter is taboo (besides the glaringly discriminatory ones). Dance used to be his main profession, but he serendipitously discovered stand-up when he showed up at the wrong performance venue one time. Like a magician who can’t reveal his tricks, Marsell can be difficult to read, and even when he’s not speaking, his mind is surely spinning. Some of his recent performances gained attention in the news, so he’s trying to get used to the constant attention without being consumed by it. Marsell is the right match for you if you’re dynamic and persistent about one or two passions. You don’t like people who overshare their lives but enjoy good company. You have deeply held convictions that keep you grounded. 50
b the activist Fierce and outspoken, Dennys devotes himself to progressive advocacy and grassroots mobilization. He’s always loved helping people, including being the primary caretaker for his elderly mother. A talented public speaker and community organizer, his experiences with bigotry have molded a rugged exterior that’s necessary for his line of work. Dennys has zero-tolerance for nonsense and isn’t afraid to rile people up to illuminate the undercurrent of injustice that permeates American society. It’s difficult to extract himself from his work because working too hard gives him the boost of adrenaline to get out of bed every morning. Speaking of going to bed, he’s prone to staying up late strategizing with fellow advocates and sharing reflections on political philosophy. You’ll match with Dennys if you have a strong sense of conviction that you are willing to burn bridges to uphold. You can be impulsive at times because waiting only leads to missed opportunities—and life is too short for that. 51
profiles by LINDA LI quiz by A. CHARIS CONWELL art by LAURA REITZE, HOLI RAPARAOELINA models ELIJAH BURNS, CALVIN KIM, JERRY LOPEZ, ISAIAH NUNEZ, JONATHAN PETERS
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ALL YOU NEED
...and arthur lee
tt e S nb ch y C n ei ar d er oli n
photography by MONICA BAGNOLI, HANNAH MONTALVO beauty by V. KIM, E. HAN, D. MONTES, B. ORTIZ-MILLER, J. TURKSON style by J. ASHTAR, N. DIMBERU, B. G. FINCK T. NGOC PHAM, C. STREAT production by K. MCDONALD, K. OKAI-BROWN, S. SANDLER, A. VAN MARCKE models HUDSON FORTNEY, STERLING HODGE, MARISSA INCER, LILY ST. REMY, IZZIE TAN
Envisioning the 1960s and 70s likely brings up images of bright, swirling patterns of blouses and flared pants adorning the bodies of flower children along with the idealism of peace, love, and understanding. These lasting visions of the era grew out of psychedelia. Cultural icons of the time used their experimentation with psychedelic drugs to explain the expanse of their artistic innovations. There is no greater example of this impact than in the formulation of psychedelic rock music – the backbone of the hippie generation and the key to unlocking the future of music. However, one of the most important figureheads of psychedelia is often left off of the pop culture reference list: Arthur Lee. The culture of psychedelic rock is centered around exactly what you’d expect – perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. The sound of the music itself focuses on emulating three main effects of LSD: depersonalization, dechronicization, and dynamization. The goal is to detach the user– or in this case the listener– from reality. This is achieved through electronic sound effects, extended solos and entrancing improvisation. The peak of psychedelic rock was marked by milestone events like the 1967 Summer of Love, the 1969 Woodstock Rock Festival, and the 1969 Harlem Music Festival. These gatherings were the culmination of an international countercultural movement, embodied through free spirited and exploratory music. Enter Arthur Lee. In the mid 1960s Love was one of the first interracial American rock bands. With an extensive list of stylistic inspirations––blues, folk, classical guitar, and orchestral pop to name a few— this quartet was one of the foremost pioneers of psychedelic rock. This feat could not have been achieved without their eccentric, self-proclaimed frontman, Arthur Lee. The lead singer and songwriter, Lee was flighty, hard-headed, and elusive. At the same time he had a distinctive style, commanding stage presence, and a unique, intuitive approach to music. While his legacy deteriorated due to his drug abuse and un-
founded, racist legal issues, he was an icon in his time and the footprint of psychedelic rock would not have been the same without him. Love originated as a sort of Beatles tribute band. They emulated the style of the British Invasion band, wearing matching suits and even got mop-top wigs. However, this phase didn’t last long. Lee became enamored with the style of folkrock groups like The Byrds. They combined styles inspired by soul, blues, surf-rock, classic guitar, and protopunk. Around the same time, Lee began experimenting with psychedelic drugs and the band’s entire aesthetic shifted. Its members coined a pirate-like look with buccaneer boots, ponytails, and little triangular glasses – an odd style that only added to their popularity. Their first success was a pounding cover of pop crooner Burt Bacharach’s “My Little Red Book.” However, they gained more traction with the psychedelic single “7 and 7 Is”. The song is the perfect example of their transformation in the psychedelic genre – it explodes in the ear. With a wall of noise that relies on sheer volume and the layering of instruments through repetition, it mimics the experience of a psychedelic trip. These effects work together to drown the consciousness of the listener, to be mesmerized and entranced in the obsessive mood of the song.
Love became the first rock band signed to Elektra records. Their first album, Love, was only moderately successful. Lee relied heavily on drugs to maintain his instinctive and inventive approach to music. Love’s second and third albums, De Capo and Forever Changes, greatly reflected the increased drug use. At this point, Lee’s relationship with drugs had turned to abuse. Forever Changes is considered by fans and other rock artists to be Love’s masterpiece, innovative in the genre of psychedelic rock by primarily being acoustic. This prompted much admiration from many other rock artists including a young Jimi Hendrix. However, Lee was hard-headed and a control freak. His growing drug problem made him even more difficult. Lee’s demanding personality caused irreparable damage to the relationships within the band and they fell apart after the release of Forever Changes. Lee kept the band name Love and continued to release music under it using studio artists, but his artistic production became less and less frequent.
Lee’s influence took flight through Hendrix. In fact, Lee gave Hendrix one of his first recording opportunities. They were only friends for a brief period of their careers, but through their relationship, and subsequent jam sessions, Hendrix became an avid Love supporter he grew from their music and emulated Lee’s unique style. Hendrix used his passion for guitar combined with what he learned from Lee’s style to become a legendary artist. He picked up some of Lee’s key eccentricities: his style, elusiveness, intuitive approach to music, and psychedelic experimentation. Hendrix experienced the success that Lee and Love did not, taking his talents to London where they could be fully appreciated. Perhaps Hendrix’s tragically short career benefitted his legacy; there was no room to disappoint or falter like Lee. He is as he was. He remains the poster child for the glory of psychedelic rock in its prime. As Neil Young, another contemporary rock musician of Lee and Hendrix, put it: “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away.” After Love collapsed, Lee spiraled deeper and deeper into drug abuse. This perpetuated his difficult reputation. Lee hit a new low when he was arrested after a firearm was discharged on his property. He was confident he wouldn’t be charged because he maintained that he wasn’t involved in the incident, however, being a Black man, Lee was the victim of a racist trial and was incompetently represented in court. He was tried, convicted, and served jail time from 1996 to 2001, released early when evidence of trial misconduct arose. Surprisingly, Lee managed a somewhat successful comeback in the early 2000s after his time in jail; he toured yet again and released live recordings of Forever Changes. But soon Lee was halted again – he was fired from his own band for erratic behavior. Rumors were that he was abusing drugs again but in truth, he was suffering from leukemia. As a result of his unstable career, Lee found himself nearly bankrupt. In an effort to support him, fellow musicians staged a benefit concert to raise money to help Lee with treatment costs – a true testament to his legacy as an artist. Sadly, Lee’s illness was terminal and he died in 2006. Arthur Lee was a one of a kind musician and yet never quite got the popular recognition he deserved. Lee led one of the first racially mixed American rock bands, one that led and innovated in the psychedelic rock movement. He used his intuition and experimentation in creating his, and Love’s, music. He was further known for his eclectic style and commanding stage presence. Without Lee’s music and style you might not have the sound and look that came to define the era. Love built the foundation of the time of peace, love, and drugs. 60 60
text by CAROLINE LEIBOWITZ archival photos from THE SPECIAL COLLECTIONS RESEARCH CENTER timeline by NASER CHAOUKI
DIE written by SASHA SKLAR
I walked past an Urban Outfitters on the other side of the world and it looked like 70’s America threw up in there. Psychedelic patterns in a whole host of bright, nature-y colours adorned crop tops and bell bottoms and maxi-skirts wall to wall. Listen, I love Stevie Nicks’ shawls as much as the next bitch, but I’ve gotten a little sick of the leftover Woodstock posters and scratched up records taking over thrift store aisles miles away from New York. The popular documentary claims Woodstock “Changed A Generation” and we believe them – more than half a century later we still talk and dream and fantasize about that three day festival. It all started when Wall Street drop-outs Michael Lang and Joel Rosenman joined forces intending to start a record label with a recording studio in Woodstock, New York and what was supposed to be a sick opening day party turned into a music festival with an unprecedented impact. But let’s backtrack. Everything that could’ve gone wrong with planning that festival went wrong. Between issues with obtaining permissions to hold an event of such magnitude, uprisings of conservative townsfolk, security concerns, and the failure of the construction team to finish building the venue in time, you could go so far as to call Woodstock a hippie Fyre festival (more on that later). But somehow it worked. There was a sanitation crisis, a medical crisis, a food shortage, and yet it worked. The state flew in doctors, the local community donated food from their pantries. A commune called Hog Farm was somehow able to manage security and create one of the most peaceful music festivals of that time. Watching that documentary, I kept seeing all these things going wrong, all the while knowing that the management of the festival was a disaster and that the whole thing is shrouded in fantastical romance today, and yet I somehow wish I had been
there. Why? Listen, I hate noise and large crowds, I’ve never camped in my life, and going without plumbing sounds like a nightmare. What could possibly be drawing me to Woodstock? There’s a magical sense of community that is so pervasive throughout the sights and sounds of Woodstock that it floods through you, drawing you into the mystical world that Lang and Rosenman created. Original festival goers described it as a pilgrimage of like-minded people, an astonishing crowd characterized by youth and spontaneity, a glimpse into freedom from war and law and capitalism. Yes, even capitalism. While tickets were sold to Woodstock, the crowds broke down fences and streamed into the field to the sounds of music. As a business venture, it was dead. An announcement came out over the loudspeakers – the festival was free. That’s it! The hippies killed capitalism! The marijuana-dazed crowds at Woodstock danced and sang past sundown and all fell asleep together in that Bethel field, wishing one another a good night in this otherworldly town that sprung up out of nowhere, fueled by little more than love and music. In our steel and concrete world of glaring LED screens and artificially temperature controlled air blasting in our faces, the vision of a peaceful gathering, free from the headlines that never cease to dictate our lives as they slide across our social media pages, is a fantasy we can only long for. No wonder it’s such an attractive idea. It’s no surprise that people have tried to recreate Woodstock time and time again.
photography by MONICA BAGNOLI beauty by N. GANKHULEG, V. KIM, D. MONTES style by N. DIMBERU, B. G. FINCK, T. NGOC PHAM, L. OWUSU, C. STREAT, production by A. CARMENATES, K. MCDONALD, K. OKAI-BROWN, A. VAN MARCKE models BRIGID CRYAN, CARA DAVIS, DYLAN HARTMAN, LINA HUNT, CAROLINE LEIBOWITZ, SANA SLOTBOOM
My personal favorite massive flop of a Woodstock recreation attempt is the infamous 2017 Fyre Festival.
Yes, you heard me.
For those of you unacquainted with the trainwreck that was the Fyre Festival, allow me to explain. It began as a money-making scheme (of course) and was supposed to be a luxury event featuring top-tier musicians and social media influencers, gourmet quality food, and glamorous accommodations – think several days of partying in the Bahamas. While this all seems a far cry from Woodstock, the event’s founders had intended to recreate that very festival – the one that had ‘defined a generation’. See, as I mentioned earlier, pretty much everything went wrong during the planning of Woodstock, so when Fyre started encountering similar issues, they said “Eh, whatever, look what happened at Woodstock.” And kept on plowing on. But Fyre had failed from the start. They may have both been devised by capitalists but where Woodstock was born of a yearning for peace, community and music, Fyre’s raison d’être was pure, Capitalistic personal gain – that of the founders, the influencers, and the very attendees. Above all, the event was marked by exclusivity and allure. It was a poorly masked attempt at designing a weekend meant to grace the Instagram feeds of millions, spurring awe and jealousy. Fyre’s founders Billy McFarland and Ja Rule had completely lost sight of why Woodstock had the legacy that it did. When Woodstock’s planning fell apart, it didn’t matter. Born of a yearning for like-minded community and escape from pervasive social fears, the infamous festival had revolutionized the impact music could have on its listeners. With wars, the Civil Rights Movement, feminist uprisings, free love, surging capitalism and intergenerational discontentment surging in the background, Woodstock sprung up like a beacon of escape. Luxury was nowhere in the equation. The makeshift tents and packed lunches of American cheese on Wonderbread that ended up becoming Fyre’s reality might have cut it in the 60’s, but by 2017, escape was wholly based on a capitalistic fantasy, not a countercultural one. Instead of a shared ideology, McFarland’s festival relied on a yearning for envy. More recently, however, visions of escape have shifted again. Today, we’ve got the Pandemic™, a massive Civil Rights movement, plenty of intergenerational turmoil, a resurgence of socialization following severe lockdowns, and the looming presence of late stage capitalism overshadowing us all. Suddenly I’m not surprised that the Woodstock era is trending. This generation is hungry for something different. Between TikToks advertising communes and touting the ‘cottagecore’ lifestyle and the recent increased interest in domestic crafts and agriculture, it’s clear that a yearning for the pastoral is becoming more and more prevalent. An event like Woodstock and the values it encompasses seems the perfect solution. But it’s only an ephemeral one. How often have you attempted a technology or social media detox only to flake on day three? Or tried to head out foraging or camping only to return home sunburnt and peppered with constellations of insect bites and nettle stings? I certainly envy the nature-savvy those of you out there who can brave the great outdoors and go without a phone for substantial amounts of time, but I’m not convinced that’s today’s standard. Consider Fyre Festival, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Burning Man – all these events stemmed from that thread of music festivals that began to pop up in the late 60’s, and all of these have devolved into capitalism-fueled soulless events of social media acclaim. To wish for the return of Woodstock is to wish for a perfect storm – and a denial of today’s society. With the commercialization of art and music and the pervasiveness of technology as an essential part of modern society, that same atmosphere of spontaneous escape and social catharsis seems a distant dream. That’s why I say Woodstock must die. But its soul doesn’t have to. It just cannot look the same. In this third decade of the 21st century, both escape and protest look different. Social media has eradicated our longing to find like-minded people – they’re a click away. But the war and the pain hasn’t gone far, I’m sorry to say. We still retain a longing for freedom, love, and peace – and perhaps we’ll have to find for ourselves a way to get there, three days that will define our generation. 70 70
WE ARE THE SONS OF SAM: THE SIXTIES’ BROKEN PROMISES written by TREVOR SCHNEIDER
May 30, 1977. Ten years removed from 1967’s Summer of Love, New York, the world’s financial capital, is cast into a season of darkness. Seemingly eons removed from the liberated ethos of the preceding decade, young lovers now venture forth only with great hesitancy and well-founded terror. The very institution of love appears under siege, as a revolver-wielding madman prowls the streets, targeting lovers’ lanes and secluded parked cars. Now, he has begun leaving chilling, mocking letters at the scenes of his harrowing crimes, vowing to indefinitely continue his reign of terror. As the Summer of Love and its message of peace and free love fade further into the rearview mirror, the Son of Sam readies to strike, a harbinger of the painful and regressive era to come… The Son of Sam’s psychological domination of New York was a gradual process, one which began more than a year prior to the summer with which he is so often associated. In December of 1975, two women were ambushed and stabbed in the dead of night, though the perpetrator was thwarted and both escaped with their lives. Shaken by this failure to realize his violent fantasies, this would-be killer cast aside his hunting knife in favor of a far more dependable .44 caliber revolver. On July 29, 1976, the suspect crossed a threshold. Exhibiting a degree of brutality that shook the city - and, eventually, the nation - to its core, the so-called “.44 Caliber Killer” shot two young women, killing one. Energized by his success, the killer struck month after month, taking lives at a steady clip from late ‘76 to the sweltering summer of ‘77. Secluded lovers’ lanes were his primary hunting ground, prompting young New Yorkers to avoid these havens of sexual freedom altogether. “The city of New York was experiencing a massive nervous breakdown,” mused Steve Dunleavy, then a New York Post columnist. The killings shattered the continental United States’ sense of invincibility, their seemingly random nature demonstrating that anyone could be next. But these attacks were, in truth, not random, as the Son of Sam proudly embodied the same ideals as the regressive regime that followed his reign. Once he was finally brought to justice and deemed fit to stand trial, David Berkowitz, the self-proclaimed Son of Sam, detailed the unmistakably reactionary philosophy behind his murder spree: “I wanted to destroy women, especially women who dance. I hate their sensuality, their moral laxity.” If 1967’s “Summer of Love” was birthed in opposition to the Vietnam War and embodied the youthful, forward-thinking sixties mentality, the Summer of
Sam reflected the dawn of a profoundly regressive era that assaulted and outright dismantled many of the tangible cultural and socioeconomic gains of the sixties. When viewed through the lens of the profoundly destructive decades it preceded, the San Francisco “Summer of Love” phenomenon appears equal parts painfully shortsighted and admirably optimistic. The unshaven, acid-dropping twenty-somethings waxing poetic about “changing the world” and achieving “peace on Earth” may have had done little to actually achieve said goals, but they at least seemed to embody the ethos of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and the socially progressive headwinds of the time. The war in Vietnam was evil. Segregation was evil. The movement, benign as it may have been, reflected a feeling that things were going to get better. That social change, gradual and inadequate as it may have been, was inevitable. As a 10-year retrospective on the Summer of Love, the Summer of Sam lays bare the naiveté of that feeling. Like Vietnam the decade prior, it marked a profound and intimate loss of innocence for the young baby boomer generation. But young people were not at fault in Vietnam; the aggressors were the war hawks and profiteers, the aging and out-of-touch Greatest and Silent Generations. In contrast, David Berkowitz, born in 1953, was one of them: a young person. He represented a stark rejection of the preceding decade’s peace and love ideals and demonstrated that “the kids” were not some pacifistic, forward-thinking monolith. His childhood in the Bronx was troubled and tumultuous, the bitter winters spent in search of his birth mother seemingly eons away from the cultural renaissance on the opposite coast. The “Summer of Love” was but a brief, regional flash in the pan, and its colorful, hopeful aesthetic bore little in common with the broader reality of the sixties. Societal progress was made that decade, yes, but it was slow-going. Civil Rights leaders and a beloved president were assassinated. The United States government was not some forward-thinking enterprise, enthusiastically liberating the populous from the iron shackles of prejudice. The “peace and love” movement was a primal scream, an outpouring of emotion for a young, jaded generation. It may even have been a philosophy, if you squint at it. But it was not a particularly coherent political strategy, much less an effective one. Once the Republican Party cleaned up its image and scaled back overt bigotry in favor of cultural dog-whistles, con-
servatives got right back to winning national elections. The Summer of Love may in retrospect seem a reflection of the hopeful sixties zeitgeist, a time when love was free and the kids were going to change the world. But they didn’t. The baby boomers didn’t end sexism, racism, or poverty. And so the Summer of Love aesthetic carries with it a bitter irony. The seventies were something a transitional decade, a brief moment of reprieve from the war and assassination-fueled frenzy of the sixties. With the disaster in Vietnam finally at an end and a Democrat, Jimmy Carter, in the White House, one would be forgiven for believing that the late 70s marked an inflection point, potentially a realization of the prior decade’s progressive momentum. But in reality, Carter was an anomaly—a mere reaction to Watergate, squashed between twenty consecutive years of Republican dominance. He was subsequently denied reelection in a historically brutal incumbent loss, and that year’s ruby-red electoral map ushered in the new normal: a dominant, bipartisan coalition in favor of slashing social programs, dramatically decreasing taxes for the wealthy, facilitating mass incarceration, and waging the war on drugs. Launching a profoundly regressive, hateful propaganda campaign denouncing “thugs” and “welfare queens,” the Reagan administration was incredibly successful at not only significantly neutering the protections and rights mandated by the Civil Rights Act, but at further eroding the shared sense of empathy and humanity that the young generation had hoped to foster. The Summer of Love, as its name suggests, was ephemeral. Despite its enduring status as the spirit of the sixties, it reflected neither the material reality of that era nor the one that followed and was fundamentally unequipped to truly inspire, let alone sustain meaningful social progress. Heart-warming and appealing as it may have been, it posed no real threat to the instruments of power and encapsulated only a small, unrepresentative fragment of the decade. Change would come at the pace American bureaucracy allowed, and not a moment faster. Though, as Dr. King famously suggests, the moral arc of the universe may indeed bend towards justice, that elasticity inevitably snaps back with a vengeance. It’s the job of people not the universe - to twist it back in our favor. Even a moment’s respite, a quick glance away from the road ahead, is opportunity enough for the David Berkowitzes of the world to remind us just how far we have left to go.
performance by DUCKTTAPE JESUS 76
BACK (IN BLACK) Welcome to ASTRAL.
written by A. CHARIS CONWELL coordinated by FATIMA JEREZ, SALIMATA SANFO, ASTRAL TEAM, AIDAN GOSSETT photography by MONICA BAGNOLI, JAMIE HOLT logo by ELLA GOLDSCHMIDT, AVERY HINES beauty by I. DEGGES, N. GANKHULEG, E. HAN, V. KIM, D. MONTES, B. ORTIZ-MILLER, B. ROCK, J. TURKSON, style by E. HAN, F. JEREZ, T. NGOC PHAM, L. OWUSU models JENNIFER ALVAREZ-ROMERO, GABBY BAJANDAS, LILY BOONE, MADELINE BURDGE, LILIAN CASTRO, BRYN DEPAUL, ELIZABTH FRETZ, SHRIIE GANESH, LEVI GOLDSON, PREETHA GOPINATH, DYLAN HARTMAN, MEG JONES, HANAN LEGESSE, SARAH MAHOOTI, GWEN SARGENT, SHAUNNA SCOTT, MARIA SOLY, ELI WEISSENBOECK, RU WILLIAMS, MARY YEILEEN
Ten minutes to show time, I was wandering through the lower levels of a parking garage, when I was approached by two police officers. “What’s going on up there?” The male officer asked. His partner crossed her arms, looking me up and down. He referred to the crowd of students, staff members, and event organizers, milling about on the top floor of that very garage.
I told him it was a fashion show, ASTRAL, returning to campus for the first time in almost three years. I explained that I worked with the ASTRAL team as part of a campus organization, ROCKET Magazine, and that the event had been cleared with the school.
“Well, we weren’t notified.” The partner said. I repeated that the event was bythe-book, that we had been advertising on campus, and had reserved the top deck months in advance. “But we didn’t know about it.” She repeated. Ultimately— miscommunication resolved— the officers went on their way, but the interaction felt a little onthe-nose. This dark, cool evening in April, over four hundred individuals gathered together, celebrating art and fashion at ASTRAL’s show-stopping revival. Our theme, ‘Subversion’, contrasts the editorial bent of our print edition, and opened the doors to a variety of creative and performance choices by event coordinators.
performance by HAUS OF SLAY
Organized by ROCKET’s own Fatima Jerez— primary event coordinator and head of ASTRAL team— and Salimata Sanfo— model coach and director— with support from EIC Aidan Gossett, ASTRAL began the evening with the clothes themselves, showcasing designs by Mayu Jayde, Kameron G., Tomboy Co., and Clouwdez. This was ASTRAL’s first year operating with a thematic vision, and featured designers were selected with that theme in mind. ASTRAL team spent hours corresponding with students and professionals in the field, ultimately selecting 10 complete looks for the showcase. Models were sourced from the student body, and friends and family showed out in support. One touching example of this support was the sudden appearance of the Jerez family — Fatima’s mother, father, and brothers. According to Fatima, this was a complete surprise. “They totally surprised me!” She said, “It was my dad’s birthday that day, and they had planned a dinner at home with family. So I wasn’t expecting them to come.” She continued, “It was very special, and I definitely cried the moment they walked in.” Clothes harked to the turn of the millennium, reenvisioning the utopian minimalism of the late 90s and early 00s with a punk, angronynous eye. Colors across the spectrum of dark and cool, layers of fabric, and huge, statement boots formed the foundation of most looks, accented by silver and plastic accessories (from safety pins to sunglasses). As they made their way down the cement runway, models interacted with these outfits, showcasing the wearability (and transformability) of particular items and looks.
KAMERON G. TOP BLUE DRESS WITH JACKET LOOK OTHER 5 LOOKS STYLED BY FATIMA JEREZ, LEYAH OWUSU, & STYLE TEAM
Energy at the event was high— almost explosive— largely due to the crowd itself. In Fatima’s words, “Astral is Rock et’s biggest event of the year. It is the time for us to share our love for fashion, art, and culture with the whole student body. Not only is it a celebration of ROCKET’s talented staff, but it is William & Mary’s only connection to the fashion world. It’s a way to bring together all of the staff for a common goal, and to bring together the whole student body as they cheer on their friends and enjoy a show like no other. A little detail that I love about ASTRAL is the students use the event as a reason to get dressed up and wear the outfits that they have always wanted to wear but never had the courage to.” This energy carried into a short performance by Syndicate, William & Mary’s premiere— student organized— hip-hop dance group. Syndicate’s performance also paid homage to pop culture of the 90s, and to Vogue— a uniquely American school of house dance which emerged from the Harlem Ballroom scene. Syndicate was on-board from the start, Fatima revealed to me, “Syndicate performed in the 2019 show, and I knew from the very beginning that I wanted Syndicate to perform in this year’s show. They were the first student organization that we reached out to.” ROCKET’s editors took a turn about the room, and festivities concluded with a performance by Richmond-based musician and rapper Ducttape Jesus. Bringing the show to a close, Ducttape Jesus alternated between interacting with audience members, and enjoying ‘stage space’ (standing on the bed of a chrome blue pickup).
This semester, ROCKET staff successfully relaunched our most treasured tradition, as well as producing a spring issue. While the hard work, creativity, and dedication of staff members cannot be understated, credit is also due to you, dear reader. Without this regional community of artists, designers, coordinators, performers, and students— on and off campus, from Williamsburg, Richmond, and elsewhere— none of this would be possible. So thank you, congratulations, and see you at
We are the children of the future – the bright eyed folk who were once but a dream in our mothers and fathers minds, now stepping out on our own.
Adrift in a world of overwhelming change, we look forwards and backwards at once. And for this instance, at least, let us peer through rose-coloured glasses.