Fall 2012 Issue 1
Get Linhspired Her music, her style, her Tumblrs
Fall play preview: Wedding of the year Looking back at Homecoming
Frank Ocean, Game of Thrones, and other things we love Cool Artists: Kelly McConnell
What We’re Listening to Goblin by Odd Future Odd Future stepped onto everyone’s watch list after the release of “Yonkers,” which won Tyler Gregory Okonma (Tyler, the Creator), a Video Music Award for best new artist last year. Odd Future’s radical approach to rap music has earned them a cult-like following of devoted admirers; however, the “misogynistic” and “homophobic” messages commonly displayed in their songs have also earned them a train of indignant LGBT groups. But amidst all the criticism, Okonma offers a gem of wisdom: “Do what […] makes you happy, because in the end, who’s there? You.”
Channel Orange by Frank Ocean Although Frank Ocean’s first solo mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra was released in 2011, his debut studio album, Channel Orange, which was released this year, brought him a new level of fame. Check out the hit song “Pyramids” from that album and get lost in the soulful, brooding vocals and psychedelic guitar riffs.
Southern Air by Yellowcard
Yellowcard formed in Florida in 1997. Their most famous song has been “Ocean Avenue” from their first major-label album of the same name. It has been 9 years since Ocean Avenue was released, and yet, Yellowcard is still rocking. With a four year hiatus from the recording world after Paper Walls in 2007, Yellowcard put themselves back on the map last year with When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes, which has helped set the scene for their newest release this year: Southern Air. On this new album, Yellowcard loses none of their characteristic alternative/punk feel, but there is a more positive vibe from this album than some of their past releases.
Home by Gabrielle Aplin From Bath, Somerset, UK, Gabrielle Aplin is a relatively unknown singer-songwriter. She gained fame from her YouTube covers and released her first EP, Acoustic EP, in 2010. Her newest EP, Home, which was released this year, displays her characteristic airy and relaxed vocals, but it also shows a stronger confidence and a deeper emotion than she has achieved in the past.
What We’re Watching
By Hunter Brown Adapted for George R. R. Martin’s bestselling book A Clash of Kings, Game of Thrones’s second season didn’t quite bring the same thrills that the first season delivered, yet it still managed captivate viewers. The cast continues to remain as enigmatic as the first season, leaving the viewer always guessing the motives of each of the (hundreds of) characters. This is a show that is unique from everything else on television because it fully submerses the viewer in an entirely different world, playing much more like a movie than a television show. Martin’s third book, A Storm of Swords, is considered the best in the series, which leaves viewers anxiously waiting to see if the TV show can continue to parallel the enticing drama of the novels in the
By Hunter Brown The Newsroom captures a completely different kind of drama than Game of Thrones: a behind the scenes look at a cable news show. The Newsroom has concocted a great combination between its strong acting, rich script, and gripping relevance. This last piece of criteria, however, is what really separates The Newsroom from most other fictional shows. The news stories that the characters discuss on the show are of great enough importance that anyone watching the show should know about them, and this means that the viewers can follow the plot from a different perspective than they would any other television show, making it a truly unique experience. This winning formula may not be coming back to viewer’s screens until next summer, but the wait isn’t so bad, as long as the show’s second season continues the successes of the first.
By Maya Singhal Love triangles, accidental suicide attempts, mean girls, weird girls, stalker tribute bands and more, Awkard has a little bit of everything for everyone. Being on MTV, it is definitely a guilty pleasure show, but with the Jersey Shore ending, it’s about time to start looking for alternatives. This show is a bit like Glee without all the singing and the drama reminds me of Greek. The main character is relatable, and she has the types of problems we, as viewers, wish we had (i.e. two beautiful guys fighting over us), but the awkward-ness of her life makes us a little glad we aren’t her, so we can feel a bit better about our own unfortunate moments, as well. Funny and dramatic with an interesting narration (it’s narrated as a blog post), Awkward is a must-watch.
Through her one-year experiment, Gretchen Rubin learned about the science of happiness. What makes people happy? How can people live lives in which they will thrive and be happy? Rubin explores all aspects of happiness in her account of her one-year “happiness project.” This book is easily one of the most uplifting and inspiring reads I’ve encountered in a while, and it definitely made me want to try a happiness project of my own.
By Elise Smith and Maya Singhal
The Mortal Instruments is a series about a teenage girl, named Clary Fray. When at a bar with her friend Simon, Clary witnesses a murder. The twist? Only Clary can see the murderer. Later, Clary finds out that the victim was a demon and the “culprit” was really a shadowhunter, or one who hunts demons. Clary soon becomes engulfed in the shadowhunting world, swept up not only by the conflict of the shadowhunters, but also by the conflict of a never-before seen kind of romance.
The novel Divergent follows the life of Beatrice Prior, who lives in a dystopian Chicago world where society is divided into five factions, each based on a particular moral value: honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness, and intelligence. In this world, all sixteen-year-olds must decide which faction they wish to join. A myriad of conflicts barrage Beatrice throughout the novel. First, Beatrice must decide whether to follow her heart or her heritage in choosing her faction. She must also choose her real friends and those who are more than friends. Underlying the novel, however, is Beatrice’s decision: whether to divulge her deepest secret or not, knowing that, in doing so, she could either save the lives of herself and those she loves or put all of those lives at stake. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight follows the tale of a seventeen-year-old girl, Hadley Sullivan. Hadley is on her way to her father’s second wedding in London to a woman who Hadley has never even met. Stuck at JFK airport, Hadley meets the perfect guy. Unfortunately, the airport bustle separates Hadley and her new “soul mate” and Hadley wonders whether this spark will have the chance to be reignited.
Looking back at Homecoming By Helena Ong Weeks of preparation since September led up to this: spirit week and then Homecoming on October 12th. Spirit week faced its challenges, but, as usual, it built school spirit for homecoming. The sports pep rally was cancelled, replaced by the Lapollas taking aim at a dunk tank, and, after offending students with Thursday’s “Thrift Store” theme, student council changed it to “Would You Still Be My Friend If I Wore this to School Day?” as Maddy Price, activities coordinator, apologized saying, “we are really sorry about that.” But with all that aside, on Friday, school spirit roared over the football field, the jazz band led the fight song, and the sea of gold rose in waves. Freshmen led the front of the pack, giving a dinosaurian roar, turning Menlo into a Jurassic Park. “Stealing the scene” from the freshman, the sophomores ran undaunted as crazed paparazzi, screaming and flashing lights. Riding in, the Juniors, twisted the chaparral (definition: a plant community of shrubs found primarily in California and Mexico) assigned theme, and saddled up into a western cowboy-esque parade. “One of the best years I’ve ever seen,” Senior Class President Eric Miller said. The words are expected of course, coming from a senior who led the Spirit Week Committee, but still, nothing could prepare us for the battle plan of the seniors. Dressed in battle-blood red, the Spartan seniors with waving swords, poised arrows, banging on shields, announced the arrival of the Menlo Senior Class of 2013. The seniors’ entry proclaimed the dance theme for the night as students left the Homecoming game and scrambled for either the nearest Halloween store or a clean bed-sheet. Even after the football team lost in a close match to South San Francisco, spirits ran high as the gym’s dance floor flooded with students dressed in togas and gold wreaths, accessorized with a Spartan sense of rowdiness. Homecoming was intended to “balance out the academic swing” of Menlo, Miller said, and the school spirit at the dance did just that.
Photos provided by Pete Zivkov, Menlo School
After spending the summer playing piano with a professional chamber orchestra in Austria, senior Linh Nguyen discusses her music, her personal style and her Tumblr fame. By Pooja Kathail Photos by Katelyn Weingart
The first words out of senior Linh Nguyen’s mouth during our interview definitely expressed the trajectory of the rest of the interview: “I am the incarnation of art itself,” Nguyen said. And Nguyen truly is “the incarnation of art” with her musical talent, unique style, and Tumblr fame. continued on page 9
Nguyen plays a stunning total of 7 instruments: cello, piano, ukulele, bass, bass guitar, clarinet, and tenor saxophone. A large part of Nguyen’s musical career occurs at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studies in the preparatory division. “I’ve been working on a Spanish music concentration as part of a performance certificate type of thing, so I’ve been playing a lot of Spanish classical music,” Nguyen said. “I am in the chamber music program at conservatory and I also practice cello there.” Nguyen, who is the principle cellist in Menlo’s chamber orchestra, also participated in the Music@Menlo chamber music institute and festival in 2009. However, Nguyen does not just play in chamber orchestras; she has been in her fair share of independent bands as well. “For a few years I was in this band called No Soap Radio, we were kind of a dream pop-indie kind of band. I played the electric ukulele, the cello, and the piano,” Nguyen said. Nguyen’s latest musical endeavor involves experimenting with Celtic music. “Right now I am working on some more root-sy, folk-sy music […] I am going to start playing the Scottish cello. I’m going to start jammin’,” Nguyen said. One of the highlights of Nguyen’s musical experiences was participating in the International Austrian Piano Festival two summers ago. “At the end of the festival there was […] an international concerto competition and if you win it then you play the following summer on a tour with a professional chamber orchestra,” Nguyen said. “I won, so last summer I spent about a month in Austria playing with a professional chamber orchestra. I played a concerto with them [and] it was super fun.”
Music is the primary focus of Nguyen’s artistic talents, but she also has a very distinct personal style as well, or at least what is perceived to be a distinct personal style by those who know her. However, in reality this style is a “bit of a misunderstanding,” Nguyen said. “It’s a little bit of a predicament that I’m in where my very feminine brother took all my clothes before he went to college and left me with all of his. […] I’m resorting to wearing my brother’s clothes to school, so if you’ve noticed I’ve worn very androgynous clothes, which I guess is just now my personal style. […] You could call it ‘lesbian hobo chic.’ ” Even with her plethora of musical abilities and ‘lesbian hobo chic’ style, Nguyen may best be known for the Tumblrs on which she is featured. Fellow senior Kelly McConnell created heygirlitslinh.tumblr.com and motivationallinh.tumblr.com which both feature photographs of Nguyen that McConnell has turned into memes. Hey Girl, It’s Linh mimics the style of popular Ryan Gosling memes, while the aim of Motivational Linh is to “add Linhspiration to your life.” Nguyen also created a Tumblr of her own, thingssenorasays.tumblr.com, which is dedicated to documenting humorous quotes from Menlo Spanish teacher Rebecca Mouser. Someday, Nguyen hopes to be famous, but she imagines that she will be “famous for something stupid, like ‘First Asian lesbian under 5’5’’ wearing a bonnet [and] riding a bike with no hands from Portland to San Francisco,’ ” Nguyen said. But despite her self-deprecating humor, it’s easy to imagine Nguyen’s numerous talents taking her far, far beyond trivial fame to something much more substantial.
Nguyen discribes her style as “lesbian hobo chic” and has been known to embrace her “French schoolboy style.”
“My personal style is actually a little bit of a misunderstanding.”
Nguyen plays George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” during her photoshoot.
Kelly McConnell takes photos on the quad
In the advanced photography class this year, senior Kelly McConnell has been making use of the darkroom in the new creative arts building. McConnell started photography during Knight School her freshman year, and has been working on photography ever since. “I was always interested in photography,” McConnell said. “I like how it combines artistry with technical skill.” McConnell has a proclivity for photographing people, and this year, McConnell’s focus has been taking black and white portraits of her fellow seniors. “People are always interesting to try to capture in an image, as I try to portray the character of the person through my photography,” she said. Trying to capture a person’s character in a single shot is a highly involved process, but the challenge is what McConnell enjoys about taking photos. In fact, having to be more involved is the reason that McConnell prefers to shoot film rather than digital. “[Film] makes you stop and think more about the composition of the shot, and pay more attention to the artistic aspects, as well as the technical aspects, because you only have limited number of shots,” she said. And this kind of dedication is visibly present in her pictures. More of McConnell’s photos can be viewed at mcconnellphotography.tumblr.com.