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may 2014

{Lifestyle Feature}

LIVING LIFE SELF-SUFFICIENTLY

LA Bike Culture vs. Urban Homesteads www.themmagazine.com

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Lifestyle Feature pg 5

Living Life Self-Sufficiently LA Bike Culture vs Urban Homesteads

Music Feature

2 Realms of Music Mainstream vs Underground in LA

pg 13 Fashion Feature

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Coachella Fashion The Rise of High-End Labels Through Indie Music Festivals


Sports Feature

Cali Skate Scene SoCal – The Underground Skate Capital

pg 25 Entertainment Feature pg 29

15 Movies to Look Out For at the LA Film Fest

Art Feature

Mona Glows To Glendale

pg 35 Food Feature pg 39

The Social Food Truck Food Trucks versus Brick-and-Mortars

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CONTRIBUTORS ART ENTERTAINMENT FASHION FOOD LIFESTYLE MUSIC SPORTS

Amber Bartlett Eilen Mena Michelle Li Sapphira Dai Susan Seim Joanna Lee Michael Wagner

“Cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity.” — Robert Allen

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Living Life

Self-Sufficiently LA Bike Culture vs Urban Homesteads By Susan Marie Seim


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ur world today has many convenient elements. We can order all we need from Online. There’s no need to hunt or gather our food, as it’s already done for us and packaged ready for pick up at the grocery store. We don’t walk anywhere as we have cars to do the miles for us. Of course these are perks of living in a modern world. The ultimate goal is to relieve stress and work. Unfortunately, at times it seems that there’s more stress in this modern world then less. News about chemicals and GMO’s in our food is quite disturbing. Further, the harm of our fossil fuel dependency cripples our environment and our wallets. Perhaps, self-sufficiency is the answer in relieving this anxiety. But, is this possible while living in a large and highly populated city like Los Angeles? This is the main question that holds people back from letting go of their overall dependency of food and transportation. It can be done and it has. Let’s compare two lifestyles that embody self-sufficiency in a modern urban world.

The Los Angeles’ bike culture has been a growing element of this city. The city’s accommodation for the growing love of cycling includes the creation of larger designated bike lanes to ensure that bikers have their safe space to ride. This is impactful, as the growing numbers of large bike rides need these lanes to ride safely. Websites such as Midnight Ridazz (www.midnightridazz. com) provide a place for cyclist to plan bike rides for any beginning or avid bike riders to join in on. Lists of rides are posted in the calendar section of the website and include a date/time, meeting location with ride map, ride style (fast or slow), and at times specified themes (ex. costumes). These rides can attract cyclists into the hundreds riding all over Los Angeles. Posing a safety issue with cars, those large bike lanes prove to be useful during these times. Aside from the events posted on Midnight Ridazz, one of the largest bicycling communities out there is Critical Mass. This cycling group hosts rides all over the world and can have riders participate up in the thousands. rides like theses fill the streets with cyclists and overpower the flow of cars. There are other cycling events that occur throughout Los Angeles. Ciclavia (www. Ciclavia.org) is an example of this. Hosted every several months out of the year, Ciclavia is an event that temporarily removes cars from the Los Angeles streets for people to safely walk, skate, play and ride a bike. Originating from Columbia, Ciclavia brings communities together and reminds us of how life without cars includes less smog and more safe space for fun things like bicycling. This love of bicycling can be seen further with the growing number of bike shops and bike groups. Locations such as the Bike Oven, in Highland Park, provide support for bikers by assisting in bike repairs or teaching how to build a bike. They also host events for cyclists, which include rides and bike shows.

“Perhaps self-sufficiency is the answer in relieving this anxiety.”

LA Bike Culture Living in Los Angeles many would say that there is no way to get anywhere without a car. The spread out characteristics of the city and the troubling public transportation system makes having a lifestyle without a car difficult. Though this challenge may be the obvious elephant in the room, it shouldn’t cloud one’s goal to be independent of car driving and fossil fuels. Living carfree is a doable goal, and in a city like Los Angeles, there are many encouraging factors to guide you in that direction. The city has and is working towards a stronger public transportation system and has been conscious in accommodating the bicyclists of the city.

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Ride to workTHEM day in Los Angeles MAGAZINE


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Above: Critical Mass Ride in Los Angeles

With all this in mind, it is encouraging to see such a strong love and support for cycling. Though it’s encouraging the challenge of being car-free can still be a bit intimidating. There are aspects of Los Angeles that are changing that can encourage the car-free lifestyle. Though in the past the public transportation system was one of the worst in the nation, it has greatly improved within the last 10 years. The Los Angeles Metro system has launched several ad campaigns that have earned our city more money to contribute to improving the public transportation status. Our subway system has been growing and now reaches areas as far as Long Beach and San Gabriel Valley. This new ad campaign has now extended into increasing bicycle safety in Los Angeles County. The creation of those bike large lanes, mentioned earlier in the article, is part of this campaign. Since 2010, 147 miles of bike

lanes have been installed in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Moving towards a car-less lifestyle will provide you better health and less strain on your wallet. Further, the more bikes on the road will hopefully lead to fewer cars, leadings us less smog. Los Angeles is one of the worst smog cities in the United States. This toxicity is what we all are breathing in. Transforming over to car-less living is step away from this toxicity and into a life towards self-sufficiency.

Urban Homesteads Having a homestead lifestyle is all about having self-sufficiency. In a world with computers, corporate grocery stores, and malls it isn’t easy to subscribe to a lifestyle of complete

independence. Society today has impressed our comfort level to need and rely on corporations to bring food and clothing at our doorstep or a quick drive down the street. The challenge becomes stronger when you live in an Urban City, such as Los Angeles, and the idea of running a farm seems quite far-fetched. But, if one is able pull away from conforming to the corporate dependency and pursue a self-sufficient lifestyle, they may find the outcome to be much more rewarding. The Derveas Family in Pasadena, California has proven to be a successful example of Urban Homesteading. The family of four converted an “ordinary 66’ x 132’ urban lot into a self-sufficient city homestead with an organic garden that supplies [them] food year-round.” To be exact their garden provides them roughly 7,000 pounds of organic produce annually! Their vegetarian diet is 90% supported by their garden, which

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THEM | LIFESTYLE is means that they each live on $2.00 a day. Their gardening tactics include “saving seeds, companion planting, square inch intensive growing methods, and polyculture/intercropping.” In addition to their garden, the family raises small stocks of chicken (harvesting eggs and manure), ducks (harvesting eggs and manure), dwarf rabbits (harvesting manure), and dwarf pygmy goats (harvesting milk and manure). Aside from this they apply conscious living and self-sufficiency in the energy and fuel use, practice intense water conservation and attain income based on home economy (front porch farm stands – selling honey, produce, and hand crafts and goods). To add to their self-sufficient living, this family gives back to their community by allowing visitors into their home to learn about their way of living. They hold workshops and educational tours. They also have created a personal website that details their lifestyle and homestead and provides educational

tips and information on the process of homesteading. The homesteading lifestyle is not an easy one. The Derveas family is definitely one that exemplifies an extreme example. There are other urban homesteads that exist that take it to different levels, such as the home of Aimée Wimbush-Bourque who has the website Simple Bites (www.simplebites. net). Located in Canada, her mini homestead has chickens and a fruitful garden, but is a smaller scale of homesteading. Homesteading can become especially difficult for those living in apartments. Where can one grow their food if they don’t have land to grow it on? Well, community gardens have become a great place to try out your green thumb. These days every community has a community garden nearby. It’s a great place to plant and grow food and a great place to interact with the community. In addition to this, if one is not an experienced gardener,

Below: The Deveas Family Homestead, Pasadena, California

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than a community garden is a great place to learn from those who are. The Los Angeles Community Garden Council (www.lagardencouncil.org) is a great resource to locate community gardens in Los Angeles. Whether you have a home or live an apartment, growing ones one food is a great hobby to have and a great way to live. You are more in control of what you put in your body and have more pride in the food you eat. It provides a form of self-empowerment that you wouldn’t be able to attain from the grocery store.

Conclusion Learning about these life styles are is start to being aware of self-sufficiency. But why be self sufficient? Aside from the material benefits of it being cheaper in the long run, some of the strong reasons for this lifestyle is it changes your role in your life, it’s self-empowering, and it expands your perspective. Instead of a consumer you are a producer. Your appreciation for life increases and you find yourself fitting into the overall system of nature. In addition to this, even though it is a self-sufficient lifestyle, the ties to local community strengthens. Finally, it restores the balance of production and consumption. Self-sufficiency reduces our over-consumption, which is a major flaw in the United States. Self-sufficiency is not an easy task. It takes a lot of discipline and knowledge. Also - it takes a lot of passion for a lifestyle that you know is good for you and good of the planet. Whether is it going car-less or growing your own food, these are lifestyles that we all should be aware of. It’s not about changing instantly into a lifestyle of complete self-sufficiency. It’s more about a gradual change. Start off at the community garden and plant a tomato plant. Or pick one day out of the week that you’ll take your bike to work. These gradual changes will lead you closer to self-sufficiency.


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BeyoncĂŠ is one THEM of many MAGAZINE artists who performs regularly in venues in Los Angeles, which hosts mainstream music.


Hollywood and YouTube Music above and under the ground

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t the heart of music its ability to unite its massive g r o u p of listeners. Music is undoubtedly a powerful thing. It evokes feelings and serves as a way for people to channel their sentiments and ideas to the world, whether it’s through ingeneous lyrics or through catchy basslines. Yet, ironically, music artists today are rarely lionized for their musical finesse, but are rather judged on how ornate and fashionable their outfits are and how many times their opulent relatives can bail them out of jail. And thus, music is quite frankly lost.

L.A., the ultimate Musical Powerhouse At the heart of fame in general is Los Angeles: a burgeoning city boasting centerpieces of fame and wealth. Made up of dozens of communities, there is not one single experience that can sum up the life and heartbeat of this city. But what can especially be noted about Los

Angeles, by both tourists and locals alike, is the hustle-and-bustle lifestyle, the vibrant and unique neighborhoods, and the extreme diversity that sets it apart from any other city. From the eternal sunshine and Hollywood glitz to all the small communities with their own distinct cultural personalities, the City of Angels is many things to many people. This city of glamour is also a city that proudly receives visits from celebrities and is the derivation of mass idolization, especially in the music. Here, music has evolved into a shallow, image-obsessed industry that conforms to what the public wants to hear and see, eliminating the focus on the actual music or lyricalism. Mainstream music is no longer composed of emotion, but instead with money, sex, and fame. Artists who make frequent visits to Los Angeles include Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and Robin Thicke, to name a few. Although not all of the music under the umbrella of “mainstream music” encompass these shallow

societal values, it is safe to say that such music is so saturated that its popularity is guaranteed. Money is rarely a problem for these artists because nationallyacclaimed cities (L.A. included) act as havens for them. Encouraging listeners all across the nation to conform to these catchy songs, the music industry is powered by Los Angeles, which hosts events and festivals full of mainstream music. This is not to say that mainstream music is cursed with notoriety; tons of musicians who are labeled “mainstream” posess an immense amount of talent. It is the industry’s impact that shifts the talent, disregard it, and replace it with fame plastered onto other aspects that undermine true music. Regardless of how much of a cultural and national impact that mainstream music holds today, there also exist other musicians who are outside of the mainstream realm, upholding hope for music’s future trajectory. These independent artists usually rise to popularity in drastically. Interestingly enough,

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Under The Surface

Lindsey Stirling (27) the “dancing, dubstep violinist,” brings a new perspective on the violin.

people on YouTube prove this concept of the banal similarities among all songs under the mainstream bracket. Using the same singular baseline, one is able to play a medley of myriads of mainstream, top-chart songs because there is a dearth of originality. Instead of fascinating viewers, this should be a manifestation of the music industry’s ironic lack of musicality. On the topic of YouTube stardom, musicians that avoid the trap of centralized

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there are countless people on YouTube who prove talents via social media sites. Putting their own spin onto music, Lindsey Stirling, Sam Tsui, Clara Chung, Alex Boye, and Lexi Mae Walker, to name a few, are representative of the incredible variety of expressions that music can offer. Of course, songs today in the mainstream music industry fit into a very slim mold -- not just the music, but those who perform it.

With his stellar voice, Sam Tsui (24) covers mainstream music with a fresh spin.

fame usually channel their of sending other messages to its viewers: the inspiration to be creative, rather than the gradual and imminent degredation of music. These artists usually rise to stardom. It’s a footnote that Stirling appeared on America’s Got Talent - she was voted out during the semi-finals and was told by the judges that she needs to join a band and she can’t sell out show. Through the show, however, she was contacted by the

cinematographer Devin Graham who has gone on to work on nearly all of her videos. Her original dubstep composition, ‘Crystallize’, put her on the map by becoming a huge Youtube hit (it was the 8th most viewed video on Youtube in 2012) and her channel has accumulated over 200 million views since. Her success is achieved simply by being her nerdy but cool self. Her material ranges from classical, dub step, pop covers. She encourages


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Clara Chung (26) is a singer known for originals and her takes on popular songs.

audiences to cross-over classical music and dubstep, a total modernization of genres. Sam Tsui also does the same, but with his voice. Focusing on improvisations and individuality, Tsui’s videos galvanize his viewers to consider more than what mainstream music can offer. Clara Chung (Clara C.) also does this, but expresses herself with her original songs that mesh R&B and Pop genres. And there are others, such as Lexi Mae Walker and Alex Boye, who take hit movie soundtracks such as Disney’s Frozen’s “Let It Go,” and make a breathtaking, cultural rendition of it. These

Alex Boye (44) and Lexi Mae Walker (11) perform their Africanized version of Frozen’s “Let It Go.”

artists, although they are music that help them stand not as famous as stars out from the vast crowd of like Lady Gaga, place musicians that exist today. emphasis on the creativity It is interesting, however, to of their musical productions. assess the narrow similarities To contrast this production between these two groups of music as to mainstream of musicians. Both groups music, it is safe are in the to say that a road to [Underground musimainstream fame, both cians’] special intermusician has an g ro u p s pretations of music undoubtedly strive to help them stand out easier time reach a from the vast crowd of on their road l a r g e r musicians today. to fame. fanbase, Although this b o t h is a true fact, it’s easier for groups perform in concerts, “underground” musicians and both groups can use to achieve fame in another YouTube as a viable method aspect, through originality. to reach more popularity. It is their special and Yet because of the lack of personal interpretations of the music industry’s impact

on underground artists, this creates an interesting musical, cultural shift. Of all languages, music is universal and globally pertinent. Throughout history there have been so many musical movements that it’s hard to generalize and sum everything up in a sentence or through a mere article. But in a more modern perspective, observing these contemporary groups of musicians are representative of the world we live in today. Sure, it’s true that mainstream musicians and underground musicians differ. Ultimately, both music factions help shape the society values we live in today.

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THEM | FASHION SECTION

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COA FAS


ACHELLA SHION THE RISE OF HIGH-END LABELS THROUGH INDIE MUSIC FESTIVALS

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THEM | FASHION Are high-end labels suffocating the indie and boho authenticity of music festival fashion?

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pril’s biggest music festival, Coachella grows in popularity and size, heading the music festival list as the top-grossing concert of 2014. It’s no surprise that the (nearly) ten day concert has attracted thousands of people from in and out of California - including a notable list of celebrities. With Coachella’s rising popularity comes massive media attention, putting pressure on all who attend to have the perfect music festival outfit. And, of course, celebrities seem to feel this pressure the most. It is undeniable that festival fashion has become one of clothing retailers’ largest sales campaigns of the spring and summer seasons. Inevitably, higher end brands have caught on and started marketing themselves through famous trendsetters that attend the biggest music event of the year.

Indie fashion through music festivals first seriously came about at festivals like Woodstock and Glastonbury. These festivals were grounds in which people expressed themselves freely through the way they dressed, forming a certain kind of music festival fashion culture and attitude. Especially as a reaction to the political turmoil of the late 60s and 70s, these festival-goers dressed in a way that reflected their liberal and free-spirited mindset (as well as the music they listened to): loose, light, and colorful clothing. This culture became known as hippie culture – a pacifist youth movement – and it was one with a specific aesthetic. Over many years, this hippie aesthetic gradually transformed into indie and boho chic fashion. There was also the idea that these outfits were put together with clothing

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that did not come from popular labels and high-end brands. That notion would would contradict the very idea behind hippie, and later on indie and bohemian fashion. Fastforward to music festivals like Coachella, where attendees love to dress their best (matching the festival aesthetic regardless of what their usual style is). Celebrities have treated Coachella as “a bohemian costume party” - one where they can arrive decked out in floral crowns, flowy crop tops, and floppy sun hats.

Things have since changed within the fashion scene at Coachella, especially looking back on this year’s festival event. Lana Del Rey’s stylist Johnny Blueeyes reportedly went to the style house Chic Little Devil (located in the Fashion District of downtown Los Angeles) to pick out free clothing for the sadcore pop artist. Kate Bedrick, Chic Little Devil’s director of public relations, encouraged Blueeyes to take a $1,100 pair of Old Gringo leather boots, stating that “Old Gringo would seriously love to be on Lana. Feel free to take them.” This kind of scenario is not unusual for the celebrity regulars that attend Coachella. Nearly all fashion-attentive goers hire stylists to help them put together the perfect festival look – including Vanessa Hudgens, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Kate Bosworth. Anita Patrickson, a Harper’s Bazaar stylist who put together Julianne Hough’s festival looks, knows that “the irony is that this very unfussy, free look has been styled to the nines.” She goes on to explain that “It’s a tricky balance, because you don’t want someone to look at you and say, ‘Why is she wearing something that’s $5,000 that she’s gonna mess up?’ It’s supposed to look like it has no labels and was found in granny’s closet.”


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and say, ‘Why is she wearing something that’s $5,000 that she’s gonna mess up?’ It’s supposed to look like it has no labels and was found in granny’s closet.” It is this kind of reasoning that fuels the PR for celebrities to insure them the best outfit. Everywhere they go, a trail of paparazzi inevitably follows – and Coachella is no exception. In a way, the Indio music festival has become elevated to yet another red carpet event, pressuring celebrities to look impeccably free-spirited and creatively dressed. Patrickson further explains that if Hough looks cute and people like her outfit, Hough will come off as more relatable to the public. And in return, the brands she wears get a publicity boost – much in the same way that Kate Middleton’s outfits get sold out within minutes of her fashion publicity.

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Cher Coulter, a stylist of Bosworth and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, adds on, “What people wear at Coachella really sets the pace of the summer – a gauge for what stores should order more of.” It has come to the point where this kind of publicity has driven brands to not only give out their clothing to celebrities for free, but also pay festival-goers to wear them. The New York Daily News reported that Lacoste paid “Glee” star Lea Michele $20,000 to wear their pieces at Coachella, while McDonald’s gave $15,000 to Hudgens – although these allegations have been denied. On the other hand, some starlets don’t mind being walking billboards for these brands – they gladly accept the free clothes and the extra money, especially while being


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able to attend one of the best music festivals of the year. Patrickson claims that certain clients are more than happy to do this – she said, “Some clients of mine are comfortable doing that and say, ‘Hey, that means my weekend is free.’ They know it’s a game and decide to play it. Others don’t want to be beholden to anybody and just really want to be there for the music.” While some celebrities show up with a perfectly styled mixture of expensive pieces, some show up clearly indifferent to the idea. “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul showed up in a simple white T-shirt and a backpack. Diddy came dressed in an oversized football jersey. Despite the presence of the unaffected few, many people claim that the trend of brands using celebrities as a marketing scheme has

caused the diversity of festival looks to dwindle. Some say that they missed the diversity of fashion - so many festivalgoers wear such similar brands and clothing that many show up looking almost identical to each other. In a way, the conscious branding of the celebrities - the top-tier trendsetters in fashion - has , in itself, defeated the purpose of dressing oneself in an individual and creative manner (hiring stylists is a total cop-out to this concept). And, as a side-effect, the marketed trends have directly influenced the clothing that SoCal stores carry - encouraging attendees to purchase the same brands in the end.

-Michelle Li

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Cali SkateScene SoCal — The Underground Skate Capital and an interview with Mark Appleyard


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oday skateboarding is as popular as ever, and even though its reputation of recklessness and rebellion remains, San Diegans have come to accept skateboarding as an irrepressible rite of youth. In deference to the old “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” adage, civil governments and civic organizations like the YMCA have taken the step of building and maintaining skateboard parks around town, so there’s less conflict on busy streets and sidewalks. The ESPN X-Games, NBC Gravity Games and a whole line of commercial products and video games have brought skateboarding into the legitimate mainstream. Skateboarders as a whole seem to be more respectful of the public and much of their hardened attitude and hard-core appearance these days is just part of the persona. Among the first to mass-produce the skateboard were local surfboard makers like Gordon and Smith. Now, skateboarding has grown into a multi-million dollar industry, and leading manufacturers like Birdhouse and Sector Nine keep San Diego at the forefront of the global skate movement. Street skaters make the most of whatever terrain is at hand, expressing themselves on an urban landscape of stairwells and retaining walls, park benches and planters. It goes without saying that not all property owners and public officials appreciate this unique form of art, and you’ll see deterrent speed bumps plastered to handrails and other obstacles throughout high-impact, metropolitan zones. Many areas have strict codes that forbid skateboarding altogether. So, if you intend to leave your own mark on the San Diego skate scene, make sure it’s because you rip and not because you wrecked the place. Sometimes all you want is to go from A to B and, when it comes down to it, skateboards offer a fun and easy way to get around. Non-driving kids use them to visit their friends, students use them to get to

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and from school, and adults use them to grab a gallon of milk at the corner store. Soul skaters carve hills on their long boards, or cruise the beach when the parking lots are full. You’ll find people of all ages, all over San Diego, using their skateboards as a means of transportation. On flat schools all over Southern California kids to class to class. Ahh, good old LaLaLand; not only the birthplace of modern skateboarding, as we know it, but a hub of innovation for four decades running. It’s the Silicon Valley of skate cities, where the right factors- perfect weather, urban sprawl, convenient transportation links to the rest of the world - converge to create a skate paradise. More skate progression has come out of LA than anywhere else in the world, and just as Blockbusters stream from Hollywood, and shag-carpeted porn from the San Fernando Valley, the most progressive skateboarding and skate videos come from LA. Skateboarding may be more global these days, with cities like Barcelona and Shenzhen now mainstream fixtures, but Los Angeles remains the star and birthplace. From Dog Town, the surf scene, and Z boys skating was able to gain popularity and have perfectly smooth streets to try out their products. California founded the sport of skating and continues to produce some of the best and most talented skaters to this day. This is because SoCal is a hot bed of skate parks, natural smooth terrain, little rain, and ohh yah empty pools during dry seasons, aka every skaters old school home mode skate park, the original feeling of surfing on waves of concrete. It’s been five years since Flip’s Really Sorry and since Mark Appleyard (LA Born Native) was voted skater of the year. Five years since his last major video part. Apples was twenty back then, which makes him a quarter of a century now. Five years is a long time in skateboarding and a lot


SPORTS | THEM has happened since Really Sorry. Big name sponsors have lined up behind Appleyard’s door, Flip has gone through a lot of changes and skating itself has seen perhaps the most insane upgrading ever in terms of tricks that have turned from impossible to commonplace. But the one thing that has not happened is any sort of change of pace in Appleyard’s own skating. The past five years may not have seen a video part from him, but there’s been a steady stream of interviews, tour articles and individual photos in virtually every skate mag out there all these years. A nice little fact to keep in mind when we’re waiting for Extremely Sorry to drop sometime early next year. All that footage has to go somewhere, right? Another little bit of info on the dude is that the photos in this interview were shot at a rate of about two a day. There’s been more than fifteen hundred days since the last Flip video. Did you keep on filming right after and saving footage for the new one ever since then? Nah…those two, Sorry and Really Sorry kind of bought me some time to do what I want to do. They got me hooked up with some good deals and I have been skating ever since, I just haven’t really had anywhere to put the footage. I’ve been filming ever since, but I think it’s better to make quality vs quantity. If it takes a long time, it just means it’ll be quality. I’m going to pick and choose and just use the smoothest stuff, cause that’s what I’m all about now. I feel I’ve matured a lot since my last video part. You’ve been skating a lot of tranny recently. Is your Extremely Sorry part going to have a lot of that in there? Yeah, it’s more flowy and what I feel is more original. I’ve just concentrated more on the actual cruise and the ride of the skateboard, more so than the trick itself. Just enjoying the cruise, keeping a line going. You want to say anything about the tattoo you got when we took the portrait for this? One Love, it’s just something you can say and I think people can dig it. It kind of represents some sort of knowledge, knowing what’s up on a grander scale. It’s easy on the eyes man, straight away you can tell that I’m chill when I meet you. And I’d been listening to Bob Marley for like six months straight, I think that had something to do with it! (haha) You’re going to be in a video game soon right? Yeah, I’m going to be in Skate 2 for, I don’t know, Playstation. My character looks just like me, it’s got the tattoo and everything.

-Michael Wagner

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As the the LA Film Fest is about to kick-off here are some films you should check out while you are there.

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The Patience Stone Atiq Rahimi

Somewhere, in Afghanistan or elsewhere, in a country torn apart by a war. A young woman in her thirties watches over her older husband in a decrepit room. He is reduced to the state of a vegetable because of a bullet in the neck. Not only is he abandoned by his companions of the Jihad, but also by his brothers. One day, the woman decides to tell the truth to him about her feelings about their relationship to her silent husband. She talks about her childhood, her suffering, her frustrations, her loneliness, her dreams, her desires. In this wait for her husband to come back to life, the woman struggles to survive and live.

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Prim school teacher Miss Meadows is not entirely what she appears. Well-mannered, sweet, and caring, yes, but underneath the candy-sweet exterior hides the soul of a vigilante, taking it upon herself to right the wrongs in this cruel world by whatever means necessary. Things get complicated, however, when Miss Meadows gets romantically entangled with the town sheriff (James Badge Dale) and her steadfast moral compass is thrown off, begging the question: “Who is the real Miss Meadows and what is she hiding?”

Purgatorio

Rodrigo Reyes

Director Rodrigo Reyes takes a fresh look at the border between Mexico and the US, focusing on the striking imagery of the place and the people who play out their roles there, much like characters in a theater of cruelty. Leaving politics aside, he gives a voice to aspiring immigrants, an American coroner, a man of God who leaves water and food in the desert, the souls living and dying in border towns, and even a Minuteman going about his business of foiling the people trying to cross. Putting the physical presence and brutal beauty of the border itself front and center, Purgatorio re-imagines it as a mythical place comparable to the unending road of purgatory as described by Dante.

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Miss Medows

Karen Leigh Hopkins

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An Honest Liar

Tyler Measom & Justin Weinstein

An Honest Liar is a feature documentary about the world-famous magician, escape artist, and world-renowned enemy of deception, James ‘The Amazing’ Randi. The film brings to life Randi’s intricate investigations that publicly exposed psychics, faith healers, and con-artists with quasi religious fervor. A master deceiver who came out of the closet at the age of 81, Randi created fictional characters, fake psychics, and even turned his partner of 25 years, the artist Jose Alvarez, into a sham guru named Carlos. But when a shocking revelation in Randi’s personal life is discovered, it isn’t clear whether Randi is still the deceiver - or the deceived.


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Night Moves Kelly Reichardt

Josh, a young man who is immersing himself in the concept of eco-terrorism. Along with Dena and an older man named Harmon, Josh hatches a plan to blow up a dam in order to strike back at the capitalist forces that he believes are ruining the land. After their efforts end up triggering some unexpected results, Josh begins to wonder if can trust his cohorts to keep quiet, and worries that he may soon be confronted by the authorities.

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The Canal

Ivan Kavanagh

Sitting in an empty theater, a film archivist watches the grainy footage that will be his undoing. David and his wife are perfectly happy—or so he believes. When he finds out the home he shares with his wife and son was the scene of a ghastly turn-of-the-century murder, David dismisses it as ancient history. That is, until the sinister history ripples into the present and casts a shadow over life as he knows it. And when a looming secret shatters his marriage, David can’t help but suspect the dark spirits of the house are somehow involved. In his drive to unveil the shadows hidden in the walls, David begins to descend into insanity, threatening the lives of everyone around him.

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Human Capital Paolo Virzì

We open on a dark, snowy night in northern Italy—and begin at the end. Approaching a stranger’s tragic death from three vastly different perspectives, the lives of two families, at first only loosely linked by their teenagers’ relationship, overlap in multitudinous ways to devastating effect. Valeria Golina and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, two of Italy’s leading actresses, star in a story based on Stephen Amidon’s best-selling book of the same name that twists love, class, and ambition into a singular, true-life story. As the players tumble toward an ill-fated event of which they are inextricably linked, Paolo Virzi’s refined three-chapter tale reveals a cultural and systemic disparity in the value of human life.

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Mala Mala

Antonio Santini & Dan Sickles

In a celebration of the trans community in Puerto Rico, the fissure between internal and external is an ever-present battle. A unique exploration of self-discovery and activism, featuring a diverse collection of subjects that include LGBTQ advocates, business owners, sex workers, and a boisterous group of drag performers who call themselves The Doll House, Mala Mala portrays a fight for personal and community acceptance paved with triumphant highs and devastating lows. Through riveting cinematography that encapsulates the candy-colored, vivacious personalities as well as their frequently dark personal experiences, directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles dynamically present the passion and hardships reflective of this distinctively binary human experience. www.themmagazine.com

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Beneath the Harvest Sky

Aron Gaudet & Gita Pullapilly The story of Casper and Dominic, two best friends that are fiercely loyal to one another, as they come of age in a small farming town in Maine. During harvest break, Casper is drawn into smuggling drugs across the Canadian border with his outlaw father, Clayton. Meanwhile, Dominic works his final potato harvest, hoping to earn the money he needs to buy a car and take them away towards a better future. But with Casper’s life unraveling before their eyes, their friendship and loyalty are put to the test.

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Fishtail

THEM MAGAZINE

Orlando von Einsiedel

Virunga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Africa’s oldest national park, a UNESCO world heritage site, and a contested ground among insurgencies seeking to topple the government that see untold profits in the land. Among this ongoing power struggle, Virunga also happens to be the last natural habitat for the critically endangered mountain gorilla. The only thing standing in the way of the forces closing in around the gorillas: a handful of passionate park rangers and journalists fighting to secure the park’s borders and expose the corruption of its enemies. Filled with shocking footage, and anchored by the surprisingly deep and gentle characters of the gorillas themselves, Virunga is a galvanizing call to action around an ongoing political and environmental crisis in the Congo.

Andrew Renzi

Cowboys, roaring campfires, and vast landscapes—those hallmarks of the American West— punctuate director Andrew Renzi’s glimpse into a rugged lifestyle few Americans still pursue. Following the cowboys of Montana’s Fishtail Basin Ranch as they survive another calving season, Renzi captures the texture of pastoral life, highlighting its cyclical and untainted essence. Suffused with rustic beauty, this atmospheric documentary observes this idealized occupation with an honest eye. Set to a seraphic score, Stanton would agree, this is a film for “those of earthborn passion.”

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Virunga

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In Order of Disapperence

Hans Petter Moland

Nils snow ploughs the wild winter mountains of Norway, and is recently awarded Citizen of the Year. When his son is murdered for something he did not do, Nils wants revenge. And justice. His actions ignite a war between the vegan gangster the Count and the Serbian mafia boss Papa. Winning a blood feud isn’t easy, especially not in a welfare state. But Nils has something going for him: Heavy machinery and beginners luck.


| THEM SECTION | THEM ENTERTAINMENT

13

Loitering with Intent Adam Rapp

After a chance run-in with a film producer eager to invest in a new project, aspiring writers Dominic and Raphael need to come up with a script fast, so the pair head to the seclusion of upstate New York to churn out their masterpiece. But when Dominic’s siren of a sister turns up desperate for reprieve from her boyfriend (Sam Rockwell), they soon realize they’re in for more than they bargained for as their creative retreat is increasingly waylaid by uninvited guests, romantic entanglements, and unexpected distractions.

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Güeros

Alonso Ruiz Palacios

14

Extraterrestrial Colin Minihan

A months-long student strike at the National University throws roommates Sombra and Santos into a droll sort of limbo in their shabby apartment in Mexico City, whiling away the hours pining for the girl from the pirate radio show and tricking their neighbor’s daughter into helping them steal electricity. Their idiosyncratic routine is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Sombra’s teenage brother, Tomás, who has been exiled from his home by their mother following an incident involving a baby and a water balloon. The trio sets out on a road trip in search of Tomás’s hero, fabled folk-rock star Epigmenio Cruz, traversing across the city through perilous slums and the rebellious halls of the university to the ritzy nightlife downtown.

Five friends set out to a cabin in the woods for a fun weekend getaway—that is, until extraterrestrial visitors turn it into a fight for their lives. The group is pulled from their reverie when a flickering object crashes deep in the woods. As they investigate, the friends stumble across an alien spacecraft, and its inhabitants have not arrived in peace.

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MONA GLOWS 35 |

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ART | THEM SECTION

TO GLENDALE by Amber Bartlett www.themmagazine.com

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THEM | ART SECTION

The Museum of Neon Art “The Museum of Neon Art (MONA) exhibits, documents and preserves contemporary fine art in electric media and outstanding examples of historic neon signs.� Founded in 1981, MONA is said to be the only museum like itself in the world. Its first relocation landed in the Renaissance Tower in the South Park area of Downtown. Although it is temporarily closed again for its even newer location, we can expect to visit MONA in 2014 at its new location in Glendale, California. History: In 1994, the City Council approved a $415,000 for MONA to occupy a new 7,000-square-foot site in Los Angeles. The Museum of Neon Art has always worked hard to keep its establishment running and preserving the history of Neon lights I Los Angeles.

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ART | THEM SECTION MONA’s new neon glamour will live on in Glendale. For now, its history is stored in a warehouse in Pomona, awaiting its reunion with the people of Los Angeles. The museum cherishes and documents the historical, recognized signs of Los Angeles County such as “The soft curve of the Brown Derby’s hat. The dragon that danced outside Grauman’s Chinese. [and] The worn characters above a prewar beauty salon in Little Tokyo.” When the time comes we may see the Circus Liquor sign or the Felix the Cat icon joining the relics collected by the Museum of Neon Art. Over thirty years of a collection that keeps building paints the lights of the city with neon that a native Angelino would recognize and should remember. Once located in the slums of the industrial district between 1981 and 1992, the museum started receiving recognition in space located in Grand Hope Park. It also gained publicity from temporarily occupying a space in Universal City Walk. It reopened to the public with the show “Electric Muse,” an exhibition of over 60 neon, electric, and kinetic sculptures by 25 different artists.

Picasso Painting with Light

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SECTION | THEM

www.themmagazine.com

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THEM | FOOD

The resurgence of food trucks in the past five years has revolutionized the structure of the restaurant industry in Los Angeles. We investigate the causes for this shift and the possible social implications for the future of food services.

F

ood trucks have been around since the late 1800s when the chuckwagon was invented to feed cattlemen on the road during cattle drives. Later, night lunch wagons catered to night-time workers in big cities. Food trucks have remained popular for serving construction sites and other blue-collar professions. They are known to provide fresh food that is readily accessible for a low cost. These mobile vendors can be found in both the big cities and the rural areas of the U.S. where they traditionally provided a means for the on-the-go person to grab a quick bite at a low cost. Food trucks are not only sought out for their affordability but also for their nostalgia, and their popularity continues to rise. The resurgence of food trucks in the past five years has revolutionized the structure of the restaurant industry in Los Angeles. We investigate the causes for this shift and the possible social implications for the future of food services.

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THEM MAGAZINE

“Roach Coaches”

• Slang term for a mobile kitchen • Highly affordable food • Usually run by immigrants serving ethnic food • Primarily caters to blue collar workers • Stereotyped to have less than sanitary conditions which may attract cockroaches and other pests


FOOD | THEM Catering trucks are commonly known as “roach coaches” because they have gone under the radar for public health inspections. It is not to say that the trucks are unsanitary, but many struggle to maintain cleanliness in a cramped, mobile environment. As a result, a roach coach can attract cockroaches and other pests, which feed on dropped food and appreciate dark, greasy corners. Nowadays, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health requires food trucks to go through a thorough vehicle inspection program. These trucks are subject to food facility ratings similar to those of restaurants, and they must display the placards on their windows. These institutions pave a way to measure the successes of each food truck, while streamlining the new mobile vending industry. Ethnic food is frequently served because a catering truck represents less of an investment than a restaurant, making it more affordable for immigrants starting a new business. The taco truck, a roach coach that serves Mexican Limitations on food, is especially popular in Los Angeles. Many of these trucks have started Food Trucks up as family businesses where the food may be prepped in their homes and • Health Regulations sold on the truck. As a general rule, a food truck may have a refridgeration unit • Equipment and a food warmer. Due to the limited amount of room on a truck, most are • Staffing staffed with three to four crew members. The menu is comprised of a short list of items that are prepared hours before business is open that can be cooked or • Number of Menu Items heated within 5 to 10 minutes. Restaurants, on the other hand, have more flexibility with the range of Limitations on menu items and staffing options. With these luxuries, there is a high overhead Brick-And-Mortars cost. The fixed location can be both an asset and liability because the restau• Overhead Cost rant runs the risk of losing customers if the business does not gain customer • Fixed Location loyalty. Although a restaurant can hire as many staff members as it wants, each person’s wage will add onto the overall cost. Food trucks are built on a • Staffing staff-to-customer relationship especially via social media; however, customers • Customer Interaction are less likely to use social media to locate a restaurant or to interact with staff members because there is no need to. A lot of the restaurant’s business is dependent on a customer’s first impression of the setting and the quality and service of the food.

How a

Food Truck became a

Brick-And-Mortar

Kogi, one of the pioneers of the food truck resurgence, is a large franchise of Korean-Mexican cuisine trucks in Los Angeles. Utilizing the popularity and social media stardom of the trucks, the Kogi owners decided to open up Chego, Kogi’s storefront. The new brick-and-mortar promises a wider selection of food items to choose from in addition to the standard truck menu. The restaurant strives to replicate the street food ambiance that the trucks exude.

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THEM | FOOD

Public Opinion Food Truck Stereotypes

Before 2008 =

Mexican taco trucks. Roach coaches. Dirty. Cheap. Greasy. Fast. Ghetto.

2008 =

Kogi BBQ. Fusion cuisine. Gourmet. Rickshaw Dumpling Bar. Fad. Twitter. Grilled Cheese.

2010 =

Clean. Health Inspection Grade.

2011 =

Zagat Rated. Food Truck Reviews. Parking. Foodie. Food porn. Yelp.

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Economic and technological factors combined with “street food” being “hip” or “chic” has caused an increase in the number of food trucks in the United States. The construction industry dried up and food trucks needed to relocate to find new business. Chefs from high-end restaurants were being laid off as the demand to splurge plummeted. In order to make use of their culinary experience, they resorted to the food truck business. In turn, rather than serving traditional “roach coach” menu items, they introduced gourmet cuisines. A modern-day food truck one may find within the past five years isn’t just an ordinary taco truck one might find at a construction site. Often focusing on limited but creative dishes at reasonable prices, they offer customers a chance to experience food they otherwise may not. Finding a niche seems to be a path to success for most trucks. While one truck may specialize in outlandish burgers, another may serve only lobster rolls. Food truck franchises began to form, catering to the public who were searching for these delicious gourmet treats. Food truck rallies are also growing in popularity across the United States. Specific technological factors that revolutionized the food truck industry is the rise of social media. People interact with truck owners and social media experts via Facebook and Twitter that gives customers daily updates on locations. There are also apps available like Roaming Hunger that tracks down trucks in your local area. The food truck trend has grown to serve a variety of occasions. Utilizing their mobility, they even cater to private and public social events. Food trucks are now even Zagat rated. Another thing to develop is the food truck festival phenomenon where trucks gather in one place for people to stimulate their intercultural exchange and find a common ground over a love for food.


FOOD | THEM Food Truck Meetup • A small-scale version of a food truck rally • Ranges from 3 to 10 trucks • Occurs weekly, biweekly, or monthly

Food Truck Rallies • Event where a group of food trucks gather in one location • Alerted by Facebook, Twitter, and word-of-mouth • Allows customers to taste a wide array of cuisines • License for food trucks to overcharge for their food

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MIKE K


KELLEY march 31 - july 28 geffen contemporary


THEM | SECTION

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THEM Magazine - USC Student Graphic Design Project