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TPM

ISSUE 4

TPMMAG.COM

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T H E PA P E R M I X TA P E


THE PAPE R MIXTAPE is a biannual publication, issued Winter and Spring, produced by UCLA students chronicling the goings-on of LA and finding

the subject therein. please contact morgan@tpmmag.com

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CON TAC T INFORMAT ION

Email — editor@tpmmag.com Website — www.tpmmag.com Instagram — @ThePaperMixtape PRIN TING

MGX Copy 8840 Kenamar Dr, Suite 405 San Diego, California 92121 ISSN : 23 78-086 X PAID FOR IN PART BY

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FOUN DER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR

E VE NT C OORDINATORS

Morgan Cadigan

AIG. Peretz

Valerie Merringer Seline Naqi Joey Wong Bianca Yugar

DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION DIRECTOR

FINANC E MANAG E RS

Sophia Arriola-Gibson

Alex Madrid

Amar Athwal Srinu Bhamidipati Ying Fam Leslie Young

SECTION EDITORS

SPONSORSH IP DIREC TORS

Aminah Ibrahim Amanda Lucido AIG. Peretz

Julia Maltz Zoe Yang

ASSISTAN T DIRECTOR

PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR

MARK E T ING DIREC TOR DESIGNERS

Doroty Sanussi

Sara Mon Stefanie Tam

MARK E T ING T E AM

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Anna LaPlaca Viviana Lira Julia Maltz Cami Pawlak Emily Westerfield

Gaby Cabalza Brielle Graumlich Sofia Torres ONLINE E DITOR

Lauren Haack BLOG C ONT RIBUTORS

ILLUSTRATORS

Jordi Ng Bethany Rennard VIDEOGRAPHER

Emily Perkins Rock CON TRIBUTORS

Ashley Aguilar Selina Che Rita Cimatti Abigail Clauson-Wolf Ellis Judson Clara Kim Krystal Lau Richard Page Shannon Wheeler

Tori Adams Brenden Benjamin Laney Chiu Cierra Djokovich Kendra Djokovich Iris Feldman Allison Grenda Jack Hau Libby Hsieh Claudia Leitch Janae Marable

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CONTENTS

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Concrete Patchwork

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Popular Demand

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A Simple Genius

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Leading a Creative Life

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Postmodern Persona

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On Being an Angel

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In the Eye of the Beholder

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Teen Witch

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With the Same Lungs

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Listen Differently

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Spinning Our Wheels

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We Are The Mainstream

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EDITOR’S NOTE

Ever since our first issue, no stories have been assigned. Our writers have chosen each of their articles, selecting topics that matter to them. We believe that because they matter to these individuals they matter to the greater UCLA and Los Angeles communities. Our goal is that through our research you are moved by our passion from page one. That’s what I love about the work we do and what we’re known for. Even though this is our fourth issue, this is an issue of many firsts. We feature our first illustration story by Jordi Ng, as well as our first independent photo essay by Anna LaPlaca. Featured on the cover, LaPlaca reinterprets the spirit of the late artist Francesca Woodman into her own body on film. I’m also excited about Clara Kim’s “In the Eye of the Beholder” because it’s the first time that we’ve published our own staff member’s poetry. Combining her paintings with photographs taken by Viviana Lira, they work to reconcile the rift between the public and private selves. Lira dismantles the physical likeness of the interviewed, instead projecting their personal oscillations in her photographs. We also introduce perspectives from outside the Los Angeles microcosm. Presenting our first writer working from overseas, Rita Cimatti studied here at UCLA for a semester last year from Bologna, Italy. Inspired by a recent exhibition at the Cineteca of Bologna, Cimatti asserts the legacy of the actor Buster Keaton in film history with her article, “A Simple Genius.” It’s these firsts and more that remind me of the ingenuity of our staff. Throughout the entire production process, I get to witness the growth of their ideas as well as the passion that accompanies it. This issue in particular persuades me that there are always new forms of creative expression to be experimented with: whether extended illustrations, combination of poetry to painting, the dialogue from one artist to another, you name it. It’s a great achievement publishing this magazine, but to me it’s a better one knowing that there is still so much we can do. M OR GAN C AD I GAN

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C ON CRE TE P ATC H W ORK WORDS

RICHARD PAGE

PHOTOS

FALL 2016

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ANNA LAPLACA


Los Angeles is a city of unparalleled diversity and multiculturalism. Home to massive immigrant populations, it is widely perceived as the pinnacle of the California Dream. Yet the city is a divided landscape, cleft by class inequality, racial tensions, crushing poverty, and massive infrastructure problems. Perhaps nothing represents these conflicting aspects of Los Angeles better than its freeways. These immense concrete ramparts cut across the city in slashes, severing neighbor from neighbor, culture from culture, person from person. A system built to unite the city, the freeways instead separate the many vibrant cultures and people of the city into boxes. They are not only throughways: they are boundaries and borders, segregating forces whose impact is felt both geographically and culturally. It takes looking at the history of Los Angeles transit, of public transportation and colossal freeway plans, to understand the city we know today. It wasn’t always this way. Before Los Angeles became infamous for its choked byways, the city was host to one of the greatest public transportation systems in the world. As part of a plan to develop the land in what would become the LA sprawl, Henry Huntington constructed two rail lines. Pacific Electric boasted its iconic red cars and Los Angeles Railway offered a more pragmatic yellow car through the city’s working class districts. Huntington’s ulterior motive was real estate development, the transit system operating as a means to deliver suburban homebuyers to the swathes of newly developed land that Huntington had to offer. A consummate salesman,

Huntington was in large part responsible for the development of the suburban sprawl Angelenos know today, but also for its solution: he sold the dream of vast sunny expanses and easy transportation, and people across the nation flocked to Southern California to buy. As anyone who has ever tried to navigate the 405 at peak rush hour, this dream was not to last. Pacific Electric and Los Angeles Railway did not outlast the 1960s, replaced with the lethargic bus system and a blossoming car culture. The cultural, structural, and commercial factors at play are complex and sometimes ill-defined, and there are myriad reasons for the city’s shift away from rail transit. Perhaps the most obvious is that few people actually used the trains. Despite a vast network of stops and lines in the red car and yellow car systems and their unrivaled affordability, usage numbers were dire. Between 1945 and 1951, ridership fell by almost 80 million, and Pacific Electric was only profitable in two years between 1923 and 1945. Even those numbers wouldn’t necessarily have spelt the end, but Angelenos also voted overwhelmingly in the 1920s not to collect LA’s railways into public property, instead leaving it in the hands of private entities with no incentive to continue such an unprofitable endeavor. With nobody using the decaying trains, the magnates were left with little choice but to close the systems, leaving the city with no reliable public transportation. It wasn’t just that nobody was riding the trains, however. There were also shadier interests at work, a dubious scheme to

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turn Los Angeles toward motor transport and the associated automobile and gasoline consumption. In 1945, a company by the threateningly generic name of National City Line began buying up train lines in cities across the nation, including Los Angeles Railway. Over the next two decades, the trains were completely phased out to make way for the much slower and less dependable bus system. The principal investors in this company? General Motors, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Standard Oil of California (now Chevron), and Phillips Petroleum. In 1949, the Federal District Court of Southern California ruled that the group was guilty of “conspiring to monopolize sales of buses and supplies” in violation of antitrust laws.1 Nevertheless, the damage was done: trains would not run in Los Angeles for another 41 years.

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As the trains declined, the freeways rose. The problem was traffic­­­—stifling, unavoidable traffic. Los Angeles’s roads in the 1920s and 30s were not equipped to deal with the automobiles then cloying its roads and enervating commerce and industry. The heavy decentralization of Los Angeles’s population to suburban tracts

meant that more and more people were buying personal automobiles; beginning in the 1920s, automobile registration went up by an average of 45,000 per year. In response, city planners came up with the idea of a road which did not have to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, or residential turnoffs: what we now know as freeways. The prototype of this new system was a four-mile stretch on Ramona Boulevard constructed between 1933 and 1935. The road, nicknamed the “Air Line route” and now incorporated into Route 101, was considered a major success, with the Los Angeles Times breathlessly proclaiming that “[a] great engineering dream is coming true here… a mighty route to go far easterly straight from the heart of Los Angeles… [and] a thoroughfare development of tremendous importance…” 2 Similar projects soon followed, and the face of the city was soon altered forever. The Cahuenga Pass Freeway first opened in 1940, replacing an infamous bottleneck where the El Camino Real crossed the Santa Monica Mountains. Soon after, the Arroyo Seco (now Route 110) opened between Pasadena and Los Angeles. The dedication ceremony was attended by an assortment of public officials and Sally Stanton, Queen of 1940’s Rose Parade. These first mega freeways remained isolated for the first years of their existence, anomalous contusions on LA’s vast skin; only in 1947, with a freeway master plan for Los Angeles and associated statewide fuel tax, did the era of massive freeway construction begin, finally lacing the Southern California landscape with the arteries which would come to distinguish the geography and cultural identity of the city. The initial impact of the freeways was disastrous—and completely successful. The initial plan called for 323.4 miles of freeway development across the greater Los Angeles area. The first effects were felt almost immediately as, beginning in 1948, urban communities in

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LA’s predominantly Latino eastern communities were demolished to make way for freeway projects. By the 1960s, seven freeways imposed themselves across the region. Five of them converged into a snarled knot at the East Los Angeles Interchange, a gargantuan structure composed of 30 bridges across 135 acres of land. The construction project demolished thousands of buildings and evicted countless homeowners. Members of these communities fought back, attending public meetings and picketing construction sites, but the plans were carried out unchanged. As journalist Nathan Masters described, the development “balkanized the community, making strangers out of neighbors and discouraging urban cohesion.� 3 In its rush toward automobile nirvana, the city ravaged its landscape and decimated the heart of its eastern neighborhoods. Yet the freeways fulfilled their intended purpose, allowing drivers easy access to dozens of communities and the

ability to travel easily from one side of the city to the other, simultaneously avoiding the same impoverished communities sacrificed in construction. For over 30 years after the Cahuenga Pass Freeway was completed, freeway construction ran rampant. In accordance with the 1947 plan, new freeways spawned across the city, including four interstate routes and dozens of regional highways: I-210 to San Bernardino, I-5 in a swathe from downtown to Riverside, I-101 Ventura Freeway, I-10 to Santa Monica, Route 2, Route 90, Route 107, and more. Many of these freeways were constructed in low socioeconomic areas such as South Central, Long Beach, and northeastern Los Angeles, while freeways planned for Beverly Hills and its neighbors were never constructed, crumbling under pressures from city officials and influential residents. For decades, urban planners and city officials chopped T H E PA P E R M I X TA P E

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the city into pieces, questing for an accessible, connected city which remained elusive.

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In 1958, this freeway-happy culture reached its apotheosis with a new Los Angeles General Plan describing a future where the greater city was paved with 1,500 miles of freeway, replacing stalwarts like the Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica Boulevard, and Laurel Canyon Boulevard with new superhighways and threading the city with countless new routes like a mesh wire. This extravagant concrete utopia was not to be, but the plan is emblematic of an era when civil engineers looked to the freeway as the salvation and the ideal for a Los Angeles already engulfed in unprecedented, insoluble vehicular congestion with no end in sight. Then, in the 1970s, this system of excess and mega-construction toppled in on itself as the city began a decades-long effort to produce Los Angeles’s final freeway: the mountainous 105-405 interchange, the last heaving breath of an era whose excesses still define and shape the city’s identity. Constructed in the impoverished, predominantly African American South Central region, between Watts and Lynwood, the project was met with vast public resistance, spearheaded by residents Esther and Ralph Keith. According to their lawsuit seeking an injunction against construction, the proposed interchange between I-105 and I-405 was “discriminatory and didn’t afford residents in the ‘blighted’ neighborhoods [which were to be demolished] the same considerations as better-off neighborhoods.”4

In 1972, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Harry Pregerson issued a preliminary injunction to prevent construction on the freeway until a new plan could be finalized for the freeway, which would be held to a new standard of accountability, sensitivity, and fairness. The plan was finally completed in 1979 after nearly a decade of negotiations. It included specifications for a housing program, a jobs program, a jobs-training program, an affirmative action program, and a child-care program, alongside plans for a light-rail system running down the middle. Essentially, the new plan turned the the freeway’s construction into a massive public works project, and, in so doing, made future freeway projects increasingly untenable. “This may mark the end of the freeway era in the Los Angeles metropolitan region,” stated an anonymous attorney at the time who was working for the Center for Law in the Public Interest. History proved him right, and the 405 became the final piece of LA’s freeway puzzle when it was completed, 22 years after its conception, in 1993. Though the city hasn’t been touched by a new freeway project since 1993, its geography—and its culture, its mood, its psyche—have been changed indelibly. Generations have grown up who have never known a Los Angeles without the looming freeways and their sluggish traffic. The impact is felt to varying degrees based on location and level of disruption. A stretch of communities on the Westside between Westwood and Downtown remain relatively untouched, providing a glimpse of the city as it might have been, a ribbon of undivided land bounded by

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the 10, the 405, and the 101. Koreatown transitions slowly into East Hollywood with its large Middle Eastern population, and thence to West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood; gradients of Jewish, East Asian, Persian, and Caucasian populations thriving alongside each other. These communities retain their individual identities as well as their connectedness, a multicolored thread through the northwestern part of the city. There are similar pockets elsewhere in the city. The San Gabriel Valley between Pasadena and Temple City south of I-10 retains its multicultural identity, a sprawl of Asian-American and Latino communities interspersed with each other. The City of Industry and its surrounding communities in far east LA, also, remain largely undivided south of the 605, and their predominantly Hispanic neighbors further south bordering on Orange County are similarly intermingled. In these parts of Los Angeles, there are no freeways to divide the neighborhoods, and there is a vital sense of shared space, even between populations that are not necessarily integrated. These parts of the city are unusual, however, and exist in the spaces that have not been so thoroughly partitioned. Where the freeways proliferate, the city reveals a more fractured side. The huge structures divide the city while also allowing its people to separate themselves from realities they would rather avoid. Route 105 bisects South Central, portioning off Compton, Westmont, Inglewood: a demarcation, a kind of demilitarized zone perceived as uncrossable by outsid-

ers. Above those cities, oblivious travelers safely ride the elevated freeways, blasting Kendrick Lamar from their car speakers as they sidestep the same decimated communities he describes in his songs. The 405, which delivers travelers from Calabasas down to Newport and eventually to San Diego, completely bypasses a rich cultural stew, from pan-Asian Sawtelle, through black Inglewood, to the oil fields of Signal Hill and Long Beach, simultaneously cleaving these parts of the city from each other. And Route 10 towers over northern Los Angeles, the unofficial wall between working class South LA and the Westside, a geographic concretization of class inequality. All across the city, people and cultures are literally divided by the freeways. The same story is told in the whole of Los Angeles County: disparate elements of the city sundered, homes lost, communities split, the very culture of Los Angeles altered. History has ushered the city from an efficient web of interconnected, interlocking communities to a harshly divided metropolis with lines drawn in concrete and steel. The result of the freeways, intentional or not, is a neatly delineated cultural patchwork, people of every color and class boxed in and separated by the implacable force of urban planning, transit systems, and “progress.” The systems we built to connect each other, designed and laid out over the course of a century, failed us: ultimately, the freeways of Los Angeles divide us more than ever. ␥

1. Marshall, Colin. “Los Angeles and the ‘great American streetcar scandal’” 2. Masters, Nathan. “L.A.’s First Freeways.” 3. Masters, Nathan. “They Moved Mountains (And People) To Build LA’s Freeways.” 4. Aron, Hillel. “The Last Freeway.”

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Popular Demand

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How Platforms Like Eater Find ‘The Best’ Restaurants in L.A.

WORDS

ELLIS JUDSON

ILLUSTRATIONS

T H E PA P E R M I X TA P E

JORDI NG


The best hamburger joint in Los Angeles. The best weekend brunch. The best Taiwanese in town. We want the best, period. But what makes something the best? Today, many of us feel compelled to do copious research regarding what we eat, what we buy, and where we go. In particular, dining culture has evolved to a point where we are continuously in pursuit of the best.

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Talking to Eater’s Farley Elliott, there is in fact a ‘secret sauce formula’ that sets certain restaurants or dishes above the rest. The Eater website for Los Angeles, which averages over 2.5 million monthly page views, is a top hit for foodies and food lovers alike. In particular, the site is known for its lists and maps that detail trends in Los Angeles’s culinary culture at any given moment. Boasting almost a decade of archives, most of the lists are updated in a timely manner. The famous Heat Map, all about what’s new and what’s hot, is one of the many lists to be updated monthly, while the Essential 38 map gets a quarterly refresher. Whether you are looking for 25 Feast-Worthy Steakhouses, 13 Picture-Perfect Diners, or seeking out 24 Mind-Blowing Signature Desserts, Eater LA has a spatially organized list for you. Learning about the delicious art behind a restaurant’s position on a list revealed that sites like Eater LA are not, in fact, creating trends, but simply reporting them. While attention from the site can fuel the fire, restaurants certainly don’t make the list without their own notoriety paving the way. As I pressed and delved, I expected to hear something along the lines of ‘atmosphere, flavor, and chef innovation.’ While those factors can definitely propel a restaurant to success, what is trendy and trending is ultimately decided by the public—us. Whilst describing the list-editing process, Elliott says, “A lot of it is from our own perspective of where we’ve been dining, or where friends of ours have been telling us that they’ve been dining.” Eater LA writers are quintessential food nerds, but they can’t canvass the entire city of Los Angeles on their own. When

quizzed about the selective network of friends, Elliott notes that, while there are a few food writers and chefs in the mix, “it is everybody at every level.” In many cases, his sources are qualified to report on the culinary scene simply because they eat out frequently. In other words, the upper echelon of culinary culture is not dictating trends, they are simply responding to them. As much as we want to think that there is some higher power telling us to go eat at a restaurant, it’s unpretentiously the community of people who love food, which includes just about anybody who enjoys a meal out, directing us to the crowded restaurant crosstown. The restaurant business, notably one of the hardest industries to find success in, is completely market-driven. Restaurants become ‘hot’ because the market responded to the concept positively, and what we often forget is that we collectively form that market. Certainly there are different levels which respond to different niche markets, whether that be authentic Asian food or luxury tasting menus, but the lists reflect that. Eater’s Heat Map details what is hot, which could be a famous chef’s new tasting kitchen in a five-star hotel or perhaps, a young chef’s fast-casual spot in a strip mall. Word of mouth is essentially key to the equation. If a restaurant is not busy, it will not make it onto an Eater list, or it will be removed if it was already on a list. Eater writers frequently touch base with their network of informants and in their own food-nerdiness, tend to have an “almost matrix-y, emotional sense of what place is doing well and what place isn’t doing well.” As Elliott notes, he eats about 17 of the week’s 21 meals out, and injects the lists with a well-earned sense of authority. However, do not underestimate the internet’s capacity in taste-making. Social media has allowed us to discover the world of food like never before. In past decades, a food critic in

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a newspaper was a monumental step on the road to success. Elliott explains, “It [was] really great if your restaurant [got] a full-page spread in a Saturday edition of the LA Times in 1998. But in truth, everybody else who [did] not necessarily know about your restaurant, if they didn’t catch that issue on that day and read that story, they might still have absolutely no idea that your restaurant exists.” With the rise of the internet, there has been a democratization of information about restaurants through giant databases like Eater, Yelp, and Chowhound. While critics like Jonathan Gold are still hugely relevant, their reviews are no longer the end-all be-all. In fact, many people subscribe to the philosophy that restaurants succeed when they get a bunch of small mentions instead of one big mention at one time. When a restaurant lands itself on a few lists on various websites, more people are obviously reached. And since we are the market, we matter. Today, our social media accounts carry weight as notable mentions for a restaurant. “The idea that stuff can pass through the hands of so many people, social media is changing the game in a way we could have never, ever imagined,” says Elliott. People want to eat at the place they saw on Instagram, follow on Twitter, or heard about on Facebook. However, Elliott cautions that “there can be a race to win the social media awards,” which “is not necessarily a good thing for the restaurant itself.” “That’s the thing about the Internet,” Aziz Ansari wrote in his book Modern Romance, “It doesn’t simply help us find the best thing out there; it helped to produce the idea that there is a best thing and, if we search hard enough, we can find it. And in turn there are a whole bunch of inferior things that we’d be foolish to choose.” We have never had more tools in which to figure out where we want to eat, and as Elliott put it, it can definitely lean towards “paralysis by analysis.” Take Los Angeles’ favorite meal—brunch. Apparently brunch used to be a meal at the place near you that served eggs.

Now we spend considerable amounts of time researching our midday meal because, as Elliott articulates, “it’s got to be the best, it’s got to be the coolest, it’s got to be the place I saw on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.” However, Eater LA has recognized aforementioned paralysis. Their lists and maps are never labeled ‘the best’ anything, precisely because a city like Los Angeles doesn’t call for a traditional analysis. In Los Angeles, where transit can be arduous and travel times can be exorbitant, people are essentially searching for “the goodest version of a thing in [their] neighborhood,” which Elliott explains as the reasoning for more generalized maps. In some ways, this is another unique characteristic of the Los Angeles food scene. With such an expansive food landscape, there is room for an amazing hamburger in Santa Monica and in Hollywood and in Watts and in Silverlake. We don’t have one famous chef, but dozens, who are all paving the way for culinary innovation in their own creative way. And most importantly, the diverse communities present in Los Angeles are beginning to be properly represented in market-driven restaurant culture. We are creating successes all over the city, in all different cuisines, despite the much-heralded belief that there can only be one best anything. Trendy food isn’t limited to West Los Angeles or the wealthy communities, but instead, it is present in every single one of our neighborhoods because we are the ‘secret sauce formula’ that sets trends. We decide what is the best. ␥

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a simple genius when every fall is an opportunity for creativity

WORDS

RITA CIMATTI

W I N TFALL E R 22016 017


1927. Los Angeles City College.

ABOVE

One Week (1920)

A tiny figure joins the college track and field team practice, but one could tell that he’d never set foot on the field prior, evident from the cold shoulders given to him by members of the team and a succession of failures in each discipline he attempts. That is, until he approaches the high jump. Perhaps this is his calling. Many times he nails the bar, falling limply to the ground, one time even breaking it. During his next try, he gives a graceful, resolute run—it’s looking like it is going to be a success! But just as he approaches the bar, it falls. It seems that not even the high jump will be a feasible option. Against all odds, he gives one last try. This time, the bar is still and he clears it successfully! His body, however, once over the bar sinks halfway into the sand, leaving only his legs to signal for help from a track team member.

Two students headed to the gym pass by the scene and curiously approach another bystander. “Excuse me sir, hello. What’s happening here?”

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“Gee, seems to me they’re making one of them motion pictures. And it’s darn funny.” In this day and age, Charlie Chaplin is a household name; the realm of silent film and slapstick humor is frequently attributed to his penguin-like persona, often negating the influential role of another little guy in black and white, capable of incredible ventures; one for whom the impossible was as ordinary as breathing.

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At six months old, little Joseph Frank Keaton fell down a flight of stairs; he then picked himself up, unscathed, and began life under his new Houdini-granted nickname, “Buster.” This incident would have left any normal, loving parents with their eyes wide and mouths ajar; however, his vaudeville performing parents merely saw it as a suitable audition for their wild spectaculars, in which they would throw him into the air and the audience. Taking the term “one of a kind” in its most literal sense, Buster Keaton has been essential to the history of cinema and comedy around the world. His body of work transcends time, and pervades the industry as we know it today. Although he dominated the scene nearly a century ago, his importance as an artist is still fostered and celebrated by various institutions; in fact, the world-renowned Cineteca of Bologna in Italy is currently doing a retrospective and restoration of his

body of work, evaluating his prevalence as a filmmaker. After the triumphant feat of restoring Chaplin’s work, in 2012 the Cineteca was commissioned by the Cohen Film Collection to turn to the other hero of the silent era—thus the Keaton Project was born. However, rather than presenting him as merely another master of silent comedy, the Cineteca emphasizes the uniqueness of his works, as they show his reflections and considerations on the medium of cinema itself and the exploration of the dialogue between an artist and his art. After that fateful tumble, Keaton went on to be described as a genius, undoubtedly one of the most influential filmmakers and one of the three kings of silent comedy, along with Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd. Though unique and innovative, Keaton could best be described as having a subtle complexity. His fixed character, straightforward plots and blank expression may suggest shallow material, and while “simplicity in the story” was indeed his number one rule, it was an aesthetic and technical decision that allowed for a lot more substance to boil beneath the surface. His character’s typical, deadpan gaze, retrospectively named the “Great Stone Face,” might imply disorientation, incompetence and weakness; when in reality, this non-expression hides the complex brain activity of a goal-oriented, intellectual individual who is thumbing through

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“ He avoided title cards whenever he could, and let the action of his brain and body speak for itself.”

LEFT

Publicity shot for Hollywood Cavalcade (1939)

RIGHT

Portrait, United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Division (1939)

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a mental catalog of efficient yet (and often logically inconceivable) means toward achieving his ends. The visual, physical comedy of Keaton was certainly that of an impressive kind. He avoided title cards whenever he could, and let the action of his brain and body speak for itself. He would perform death-defying stunts himself with technical precision and elegance of movement—all for a laugh. This little guy, who appeared to be lost in the world and therefore doomed to a pitiful existence by the audience’s expectations, managed to unfailingly surprise them with his ability to accomplish anything and everything with grace and ease. Aside with his acrobatic talent, however, we find his works full of brilliant, intuitive and widely imaginative gags. For example, in Cops (1922) he is in search of fire to light up a cigarette, and uses the first thing he finds: the fuse of a handy bomb. Deadpan as always, he carelessly throws this “match” away, unfortunately in the middle of a parade of policemen. In High Sign (1920), he needs support for his pork pie hat so he paints a hook on the wall, which, despite its two-dimensionality, obviously allows the hat to defy gravity, like Keaton himself. In Steamboat Bill Jr. (1927) a two-story building facade crashes down on Buster, but he is unharmed, thanks to a single open window which only offered a few inches of clearance around his body.

In the final scene of Hard Luck (1921), when he eventually finds out that his attempts to impress the girl were in vain because she is already married, he goes for the “high dive.” Despite the elegance of the leap, he misses the swimming pool entirely and crashes into the concrete, plunging deep into the ground. Then a title card appears, which reads, “Years later..” and in the next shot we see him climbing up out of the pit dressed as a Chinese man, followed by a wife and kids. Although Buster Keaton literally spoke no words, he managed to convey important insights on the state of humanity, contemplating the complexities of human experience, which he alleviated through the art of his gags. Through his impeccable sense of humor, he reminds us what life is about: challenge and hope—accompanied by an inevitable sense of irony. His films are a powerful mix of realism and fantasy. In his works there is awareness of the fact that the world is unstable and man is not in control, whilst also asserting the power of human potential, as only man has will. When in conflict with a world where anything can happen, anything that comes to mind can be useful. If faced with a problem, he does not complain or wonder about the causes; he acts and reverses the situation through his use of intellect and creativity. The themes which he explores are timeless: love, integrity, choice, accomplishment, individual worth, rejection, social

LEFT

College (1927)

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acceptance, and the interplay between man and nature—to name a few. He effectively explores these themes by framing his character in a relatable way, encouraging the audience to project their own sentiments unto him, thus creating an exchange of empathy. Indeed, the goal of most of his movies is to reject the belittling, superior attitudes toward him that derive from his slight frame and pathetic, unheroic appearance. But while undervalued and underestimated at first, he eventually manages to prove everybody wrong, especially thanks to the qualities

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that he had previously been denounced for. As a consequence of his efforts he gets what he deserves, usually recognition expressed in the form of requited love. Consequently, with a great dose of optimism, he remains the little guy who is trying to adapt to this world, whose perils can be fought with: a vast imagination, and a clear vision of the chaotic world. The effectiveness of Keaton’s style is still striking compared to movies nowadays in. Although modern technology has developed and reached results beyond imagination, the effectiveness of Keaton’s style still stands out. Special effects, 3D, super-hyper-high quality, and the like, while they may visually amaze the spectator their effectiveness when translating a message is often questionable. As an audience, we have evolved and developed the ability to recognize that which is artificial, or computer-made, and this tends to distract from the rhetorical content of the film, primarily because more often than not they aim at spectacularity more than credibility of the story. On the contrary, Keaton was certainly surreal but in a very effective way, as his use of technology and optical illusions were practical. In current films, the technology provides otherworldly scenarios, perfectly displayed and filled with imagery. However, the audience accepts them as they are consequences to the implicit agreement of entering a fictional world for two hours. This, consequently lowers the set of expectations for the spectator, convincing them that a “decent movie” LEFT

Cineteca’s backdoor, photo courtesy of Rita Cimatti RIGHT

Buster Keaton in 1924

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will satisfy. Whereas, Keaton’s intuitive and creative mind not only amazes in vision, but also promotes a delightful journey for the individual spectator into the images various levels of their own imagination as Keaton is able to illustrate the fantastic, in his very own dimensions of reality. Keaton disrupts all audiences’ expectations in a way that leaves the spectator even more satisfied. Whatever overly-saturated direction popular cinema is headed, it should be noted that the industry as a whole has not completely turned its back on silent movies and their profound simplicity. Just recently, in 2011 the Academy awarded the movie The Artist with Best Motion Picture, Best Director and Best Leading Actor. Although the choice of the Academy may have been an appreciation for its own history (since the movie is set in the glorious Hollywood of the ‘30s and deals

with the crucial transition to sound), it should be specified that the movie’s production was entirely French. Another example of this variation in foreign attitudes toward cinema, is presented by the cinema library (Cineteca) in Bologna, Italy, which—aside from restoring the work of these silent masters—has one of the most efficient restoration laboratories, along with an extensive cinema archive. This laboratory is an environment for cinema scholars and film specialists to work together in order to achieve the highest quality of product, that has an aesthetic awareness as well as a profound engagement with the content of the material itself. The Cineteca (di Bologna), whose purpose is that of preserving the cinematic memory and history, hosts a festival in the summer which goes by the name of Cinema Ritrovato (Rediscovered Cinema).

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Cecilia Cenciarelli, leader of the Keaton Project at the Cineteca, brings up the difficult issue of the education of today’s spectator’s eye. She explains that the Cineteca’s relationship with technology is double edged. On the one hand, technology clearly facilitates their work in speed and precision; on the other, in order to be historically and artistically accurate to the film they are restoring they need to rely less on the technology which makes everything possible today. For example, she defines grain as “a noise to the vision of a movie.” Now, there is a tool, namely the “degrain” which “solves” this problem. She stresses, however, that what would be called “a solution” by the audience of today—whose eyes are accustomed to a clear and flawless image—may result in infidelity to the work’s creators.

film, as his gags and intuition contribute to the reflection of the medium itself. The particularity of his approach is shown by the rapport between the artist and the technique. He makes use of objects and technology as a man who is in control, knowing their abilities but also their limits, thus utilizing them with a specific intent of reaching a particular goal. Nowadays technology is often overshadowing and oversaturating not only the medium itself, but the minds of the audience. In the oversaturated, complex, and constantly-advancing society of today, it is important to take a moment and appreciate the enduring, subtle profundity of his simple genius. ␥

Movies, since their inception, have followed certain standards: in narrative, in rhythm, in the interaction between characters, and the characters’ identities themselves. However, these forms vary overtime and fashions can emerge and submerge in the industry, in an effort to make the most “efficient” art. With that said, in almost one-hundred years, can it be said that the Hollywood industry has developed an easier way of creating both dreamlike visions and art? What distinguishes Buster Keaton is his very approach toward this concept. His movies themselves are original considerations and explorations of the advent of

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ABOVE

The Love Nest (1923)

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leading a creative life WORDS & ILLUSTRATIONS

JORDI NG

From a young age, nothing has given me more fulfillment than indulging in constant creation and creativity. I am always taking inspiration from the things around me, listening closely—whether they call to me loudly or softly. Whether it is watching my goldfish chase an invisible enemy for hours, keeping a peculiar and classified dream journal, experimenting with colored soaps on a mirror, or listening close to the soft crunch my sneakers make in dewed grass, there is always so much to create from. So here it is: an illustration essay that attempts to document my 19-year journey of hyper-awareness and gratitude towards a world that has been as rich as it has been enabling. May I not stop even after my goldfish has caught up with its foe.

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“ What is it about postmodern art that makes it so appealing to and accepted by the current generation?”

WORDS

SELINA CHE EMILY WESTERFIELD

PHOTOS

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Contemporary art has reached its pinnacle as the most prevalent and preferred style among today’s patrons and consumers of art. Just head up Grand Avenue, straight toward 2nd Street, and you will see the physical manifestation of the growing appetite for the genre: a mass of museumgoers, art aficionados and the like, wrapped around the corner of a gleaming white and porous building, standing in line for hours in hopes of getting a golden standby ticket into the Broad, one of Los Angeles’ favorite contemporary art museums. LA has long claimed the title as the West Coast’s art Mecca, with galleries in almost every neighorhood across the city and an expansive collection of old and new work. But lately, much more physical and mental space has been dedicated to the new than the old, and the Impressionists, Dadaists, and Old Masters are struggling to catch a break. But the genres that comprise contemporary art are not clearly defined. What exactly is contemporary art? Loosely prescribed as all art produced in our lifetimes—that is, the lifetimes of millennials—contemporary art encompasses many styles of art and is often identified as a goulash of mediums, concepts, and

methods that reflect the cultures and issues relevant in a society. Recent movements have focused on contradicting social norms, drawing adoration, discomfort, and speculation from its viewers. In this capacity, all art produced may be considered “contemporary” when placed against the backdrop of the time period in which it was created. Take Art Nouveau for example—in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, not long before the commencement of the current wave of “contemporary art,” the style broke decorative arts and architecture away from the academicism that dominated during the Romantic Era, opting for dynamic and geometric forms instead. Art Nouveau was contemporary for its time as it introduced a different way of interpreting arts and architecture. However, we now see the throes of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha and Egon Schiele fading away into the vast landscape of current artwork, thus losing their contemporary appeal to modern generations. 35

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For us today, what is contemporary predominantly embodies postmodern art. Postmodernism encompasses all artwork produced since the 1970s and incorporates a melee of mediums and movements such as conceptual art, minimalism, performance art, and installation art—


think Jeff Koons and his six-foot balloon animals, Takashi Murakami and his psychedelic renderings, or Marina Abramović and her provocative performances. Our generation has adopted a particular liking for such pieces, and the influence of youth on postmodern art has already shifted the dynamics of the LA art scene. In its September 2016 press release, The Broad announced that the average age of its visitors was 33, a full 12 years younger than the national average for art museums. The looming question is: What is it about postmodern art that makes it so appealing to and accepted by the current generation?

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In today’s age of information and mass consumption—where immediate gratification is increasingly sought after— young museumgoers are seeking artwork that is capable of fulfilling the demand for instant entertainment. Even to the untrained eye, installments such as Isa Genzken’s Rose III or John Baldessari’s Tips for Artists Who Want To Sell are widely appealing because of their sheer size and unapologetically blunt subject matter. Soto’s Penetrable pushes limits even further, engaging viewers by requiring physical interaction with the piece, breaking the traditional “no-touch” rule that is so strictly observed in museums. “Contemporary art has a lot of shock factor to it. When you look at contemporary, there are things that people wouldn’t necessarily expect, things that

are almost like popular objects,” said Hugh Long, Visitor Services Associate at the Broad. “Street art by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, for example. It’s graffiti and those kinds of things have become very popular because they’ve been disseminated through popular culture, and people, especially younger generations, are always fascinated by that kind of style.” But the in-your-face factor prevalent in most postmodern art is only one piece to the puzzle. Social media has seriously changed the game in the art world, exposing and popularizing thousands of images of artwork to the masses and further intensifying the explosion of interest in postmodernism. The pieces most sensationalized by our modern society tend to be those which have the most potent “spectacular” essence—in other words, the pieces that create a spectacle and generate the most likes on an Instagram post. Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room has been tagged over 23,000 times on Instagram alone, and Chris Burden’s Urban Light over 78,000 times. Social media has effectively taken art out of the hands of the elite and thrust it into the open arms of the masses, collapsing the barrier that once distinguished high culture from popular culture. Artwork is more widely and democratically consumed than ever, but in consequence, its message is being distorted by the perceptions of a new audience of unregulated, uncultivated and often uneducated consumers.

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The advent of social media as a propelling force in the art world also has a hand in the transformation of art institutions themselves. The concept of the traditional museum and gallery is fading out as establishments have taken to social media to market themselves while simultaneously installing new infrastructure, teen and young adult programs, and free admission, all with the goal of attracting a younger slew of visitors. The Broad staff consists almost entirely of millennials whose backgrounds in art range from mere interest to full-on profession. “We’ve made it a point at The Broad to try and be as open as possible to people who don’t go to museums all the time and we really want to be welcoming,” said Long. “We’re not that cold, stuck up space that a lot of people think of when you go to a museum. We’ve tried to warm up the view of what museum staff and art people are like, and how they interact with the visitor, which I think has definitely helped with [the popularity of] contemporary art.”

Zurich, London, New York, and Somerset. The LA gallery complements its collection with an ARTBOOK store, a seasonally centered, Southern style restaurant, Manuela, and an open courtyard for the occasional passerby to stroll through. “I’m certain that people will call [Hauser Wirth & Schimmel] a home away from home,” expressed Paul Schimmel, the gallery’s Vice President and Former Chief Curator for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), at its inaugural event. Hauser Wirth & Schimmel is the largest gallery space in the Arts District to date, and its opening is indicative of the

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, LA’s most recent addition to its burgeoning list of contemporary art galleries that opened in March 2016, has also taken strides to create a more comfortable atmosphere for its visitors. Occupying the vast, lofty space of an old flour-mill in Downtown’s Arts District, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel is the sixth location of Hauser & Wirth, an international gallery enterprise dedicated to contemporary art with locations in

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stimulating climate that LA has curated for postmodern art and artists. There already exists a deep contemporary art history in the city that dates back to the 1970s when Angeleno artists, such as Edward Ruscha, were at their peak and long-standing institutions like MOCA were first founded. For young artists especially, the city is represents a significantly more affordable and livable alternative to other art hubs around the country. As a result, young artists are gravitating toward LA, creating more postmodern artwork, and further whetting the city’s appetite for postmodernism. With the recent influx of younger visitors in museum and gallery spaces, as well as the growing relationship between social media and art, the extensive popularity of postmodern art is short of coincidental. With art institutions vying for the attention of the younger generation, more and more are these establishments catering their exhibits to meet the tastes of a demographic obsessed with selfies and amassing “likes”. The result: postmodernism may ultimately become all there is to consume in our generation due to its heightened accessibility and prevalence in museum and gallery spaces across the city. Artwork belonging to genres preceding postmodernism are losing traction amongst today’s consumers of art, tossed aside as outdated pieces of yesteryear in the eyes of millennials. This loss of investment in older art has perpetuated a vicious cycle where contextual consumption of art is in decline

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and sensory consumption of art is on the rise. In other words, today’s museumgoers no longer feel the need to understand the messages and meanings behind art, too distracted by the shiny exteriors of postmodern work. If current trends are at all indicative of those to come, perhaps the art scene in LA is heading towards an increasingly avant-garde future. But as of now, contemporary art has taken on a postmodern persona, and it appears that the appetite for the loud and eccentric has yet to be fully sated. ␥

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on being an angel WORDS & PHOTOS

ANNA LAPLACA I discovered analog photography at the same time I discovered the work of Francesca Woodman. Here was an artist whose haunting self-portraits had the same effect for me as the act of wielding a film camera: salvation from the mundanities of everyday life. Woodman’s black-and-white photographs seemed to mirror outwardly what I felt internally—an utter desire to escape my current state, to float above, to transcend. If the often lethargic process of shooting, developing and printing from film is a metaphorical life lesson in slowing down (as I would come to understand), then an attempt to mimic Woodman’s style as a photography student was an opportunity to indulge my fleeting daydreams. Although Woodman took her own life at the preternatural age of 22, the body of work she left behind continues to inspire a young audience, one who knows all-too-well the sentiments evoked by her images, myself very much included.

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My Assessment of the ‘Ideal’

WORDS + PAINTINGS

PHOTOS

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CLARA KIM

VIVIANA LIRA

This piece is an intimate attempt to discover the authenticity of one’s self-image in order to mend the destructive inner dialogue and discomfort that can be created by distorted perspectives and skewed lenses. Through these individuals’ perceptions of their “ideal” selves, juxtaposed with my portrait renditions derived from their descriptions, I was able to identify beauty not in the alignment of the ideal self, but in the subjectivity of our physical existences.


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Describe your ideal self, she said But that would be in a lifetime. 48

Buried in her quicksand, she wakes Reaching down A void between those boulders Reaching up Those blades have reached the mountaintops Eyes open and a cheery smile will be today. So long, Misery! Hope this break will be longer than your last. In her tile-floored privacy, she stands Lifting, placing, waking— Anxiously awaiting for her dear vexing friend Whose battered face still responds every morning Once pressed against her skin. Lifting, rotating, placing, waking— Anxiously awaiting again and again for her beloved dictator Who sometimes blinks nausea, this time blinks a generous lie. Matched against the silver platter, she surveys For an answer, for serenity from flesh cinched together Misery will be today.

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“ I would say my ideal self right now at the time where I am is to be more motivated and less insecure to go out and ‘do something.’ I have a lot of insecurities especially being in college and being in this environment where everybody is so active and I’m not doing enough. There’s so many pressures of me that I feel no matter what I do it’s not good enough. In terms of perfection it’s not that I see one thing as perfect; I just see everything in its own perfect way because there’s perfection in everything.”

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“ I feel like I am my ideal self, because I am very conscious of myself. I’m not saying that I have never felt self conscious or have had self doubt, but I ultimately try to overcome those feelings by acknowledging and understanding who I am and having confidence that I can achieve anything or be whatever I want to be, by working hard while staying true to myself.”

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“ I think my ‘ideal self’ would be someone who is content with where she is and confident the way she’s going in her life, and feeling that she’s doing what she belongs in. I just want to feel like I’m doing things for myself and for the greater good and basically just want to be confident in the way I am.”

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I’ve had a distinct mental image of LA handcrafted for me through pop culture since I was little. LA was and continues to be presented as the capital of the same tired tropes of wealth, extravagancy and inauthenticity in movies, music, reality TV and tabloid magazines. In all the depictions I’ve seen of LA over the years, the theme that transcends and unifies is egotism. Egotism is perceived as the defining characteristic of LA—it explains the Angelenos’ need to place themselves at the center of everything, and what convinces them that being in the center brings about pleasure and, from this pleasure, fulfillment. It governs every decision and lifestyle choice

Andrea Sonnenberg, aka teen witch, is a young photographer living and working in Los Angeles whose photos combat the egocentric stereotype of LA culture. Her work catalogues a counterculture of unheeding friendship and accounted adventure—an LA unbound and ungoverned by the ego. The form and narrative of her photos present an image of LA freed from these stale stereotypes that inspires joy rather than envy.

ANDREA SONNENBERG

SHANNON WHEELER

PHOTOS

WORDS

At least, that’s how we’re taught to think of Los Angeles. teen witch inspires a different picture of LA, one where you can be expressive, offbeat and gritty, where the only commodity of value

manifested as public display, from what we wear to what we do to what we post on social media. In any culture driven by egotism, happiness is weighed on a spectrum; the question “How happy am I?” is pretense for the question “How happy am I compared to him?” Egotism invites feelings of envy; the happiness of others forces an egotist to recognize the limits of his own happiness, since it draws attention to what he lacks, whether in material or emotional capacities. And out of this envy comes a culture of competition, a culture of scorecards and rankings, where outer appearances matter more than inner humanity and our relationships only matter insofar as they inflate our social status. Out of all of this, we find a culture where people compete with each other to reach the center, undercutting others for a sense of fulfillment.

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is experience, and the collective matters more than the self. Her photos capture a spirit of camaraderie and impulsivity that I long to have in my own life, and yet, when confronted with images of my dream lifestyle, I feel no envy. Her work inspires reflection rather than jealousy, since there is no material aspect of the lifestyle she portrays that I can specifically identify as something my own life lacks. Instead, finding my reflection in these photos shows me that many of the things I value in the content of her work are variations of what I have in my own life. And from this, above all else, I feel joy. While her work explores familiar subjects, teen witch’s unique position as a woman in many male-dominated subcultures makes her perspective completely refreshing. Her photos are

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loud and genuine, focusing on a reckless and creative group of friends finding their footing in a big city. Her photos tell a story of youth that feels familiar yet grand, honest yet idealistic, and above all else, completely bigger than ourselves. teen witch’s photos speak to the spontaneity and sincerity of their subjects—whether it’s her street photography or photos of her friends— yet in her commitment to capturing the world around her as she sees it, she never compromises the sophisticated form of her work. Everything from the color, framing and subject composition of her photos suggests a photographer whose expertise elevates her subjects to invoke

emotions and themes that extend well beyond their content when taken as a whole. is, above all else, a storyteller. To look at one of her photos is to step out of your own life and into a cast of characters unaware of the spotlight; the theme of relationships is valued more than any individual story. There’s a vibrating energy in her photos, a sense of movement and purpose behind each shot, which stems from her documentary and street style. Youthful experimentation and a sense of her inherent propensity for silliness ooze from each frame. From all of these observations emerges a very clear pattern: her photos suggest that genuine pleasure is derived through friendship, collective joy, through experiences and relationships. In aggregate, they represent a true deflation of ego, as they teach us that the happiness of others can and should be the foundation of our own, rather than a source of competition. When the self is no longer positioned at the center, envy no longer has a role to play. Instead, the happiness of others turns into a source of joy. Her photos allow us to see another route to pleasure that is largely a rejection of the egotism of LA.

teen witch

It’s important to note that while teen work represents the deflation of ego, it has a characteristic emphasis on hedonism. In a very tangible way, her photos are a collection of moments that depicts a group of friends trying to have the most fun possible. While one could witch’s

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argue that this pursuit is irresponsible, it isn’t motivated by greed, jealousy or malice; they have fun without doing harm to anyone around them. In other words, an individual’s happiness is not valued above others, nor is an envious spirit tainting it. While egotism cultivates an atmosphere of opposition, teen witch’s hedonistic lifestyle is about inclusion and fun. There isn’t room for bitter envy when there’s so much joy. Identity is a big question in LA, and many people here feel like their experience of its culture doesn’t align with the stereotypical image of egotism that is

often associated with it. I, like so many others, am looking for a way to show that while egotism is a part of LA culture, it isn’t a true representation of it as a whole. Andrea Sonnenberg’s work gives me something to point to, to present as evidence that in this city there are things free of egotism and envy, and full of collective joy. teen witch shows us an LA that embraces hedonism while rejecting the egocentrism that taints our relationships. And in LA, this distinction makes all the difference.

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with

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same lungs WORDS

KRYSTAL LAU MICHELLE WU

ILLUSTRATION

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Walk into my house and you might feel like you’re teleporting to another country. The TV’s playing the Chinese news network, the table’s set with chopsticks, and tai chi music issues from the backyard. You won’t be wearing shoes because you’ll have taken those off by the door. This was my “American” childhood. Growing up, I ate fried chicken with chopsticks. I learned zodiac animals before I even knew what the word “horoscope” meant. I was never acquainted with Miley Cyrus or her country-rock alter-ego until coming to college in LA. I didn’t receive allowance, but I did look forward to Lunar New Year, when my relatives gave me lucky red envelopes full of dollar bills. Needless to say, I never really struggled with feeling whitewashed or assimilated into mainstream American culture. Instead, I couldn’t help but feel Chinese. On the surface, I was—milky skin, pitch hair, almond-shaped eyes. And yet, something within me was shifting, changing to fit the mold of my American counterparts. As I left my home to attend preschool, then elementary school, then high school, I started to take on the beliefs and ideas of my peers, my teachers. Here I learned that independence was key, that individualism allows for success, and that to get to the top you have to fight for it on your own. These explicit school teachings clashed with the tacit, unspoken teachings of my family and culture—that the well-being of

the community is more important than the individual, and that quiet persistence rather than loud attention-seeking will take you further. It was like trying to sew together two pieces of unmatched fabric; inevitably the thread got tangled. Something intuitive and inborn within me shrunk from this American ideal of individualism; it felt viscerally wrong to me in a way I couldn’t explain. When I accompanied my dad on his doctor rounds to the nursing homes, I would see dozens of grandparents, alone and unwanted, wasting away on sawdust chicken and afternoon sitcoms. Now in college, when tuition payments come around, I hear of friends struggling with student loans, while their parents are more than capable of chipping in to cover the costs. This fend-for-yourself mentality seemed mercenary, unsustainable. It isn’t something I want for myself, for my own family. And yet, all the same, I resented the constant pressure tugging me towards the collectivist culture within my community—the need to share every detail of my life, to chart my life course around my family’s well-being, to never be separate, but always whole. I wanted one thing, and then I wanted another. I was content, and then I was restless. Living in China only exacerbated my sense of disbelonging. For many summers, when I would stay in Shanghai,

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I would hear my Chinese friends and relatives say things that made me deeply uncomfortable, holding standards that I did not adhere to. These individuals would approve of my height and my long legs, and then in the same breath object to my using them; when they heard that I ran a half-marathon, they would try to dissuade me from using my body in a manner unfit for women.

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When I would go shopping in the outdoor markets, I could never speak—my accent would give me away and mark me as a foreigner, which would inevitably increase the price. Some of my Chinese friends even tried to imitate my accent, thinking that the American accent was “cute” and “girly.” Despite their compliments and good intentions, their way of thinking still set me apart, making me into the foreigner, the “other.” What really stuck out to me in China though, was the unashamed and blatant sexism. One time, I saw a newsreel describing a Chinese boss’s habit of having all female workers line up to kiss him every morning at the start of the workday. (The Chinese man claimed to have picked up this practice from the States.) The soap operas and miniseries all broadcast on the main television channel depicted scenes of feminine weakness, with men in shining armor needed to come rescue them. And beyond the screen in reality, if a woman passed the age of

thirty still unmarried, she was labeled a sen nu, a “leftover woman”—undesirable and looked down upon. Never mind that more Shanghai women were choosing to forego marriage in order to have a career life—the stigma remained. In fact, that very choice of career over marriage demonstrated that the two were not compatible, that a Chinese woman could not have one without the other. If she chose a husband, the man expected her to relegate all other activities as secondary to the family. So it’s safe to say that I did not fully conform to the norms and beliefs of mainland China either. Existing in a kind of halfway in between, I floated in liminal space, trapped between cultures. After getting caught in the waves—pushed and pulled by the tide—I washed up on an island of my own making. I think, in a way, that this is what it means to be Asian American. To be not fully here nor there, to fit in—not with a geographical boundary—but with group of people. People who share the unique experience of trying to assimilate into a country that can never become your own. The truth is, you can read every Hollywood gossip rag and watch every primetime sitcom, you can take on a diet of purely french fries and apple pie, you can even dye your hair to straw and cake your skin with white powder—ultimately, you’re still different. There’s always going to be something that sets you apart. You

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see, you can’t change where you came from. You can’t change where your family came from. And try as you might—you can’t change your blood. Coming to terms with this sometimes feels like walking a narrow tightrope, balancing on the fraying wire and knowing with just one misstep you can slip off the line. Living this double identity means being extra careful, extra aware. It means navigating the space between forgetting how to speak the language of your ancestors, and overusing that same language to the point that non-speakers feel excluded. It means not being ashamed of hanging out with friends of your own background, but also building relationships and listening to perspectives outside of that culture, even though it might be more comfortable to just stay with the people who understand. And that’s the thing—that’s why it’s so hard; it’s nearly impossible for someone outside of this collective experience to do so, to understand. How can you explain to someone what it feels like to hear praise after praise for your pale skin, when all you’ve really wanted for years has been to be tan like your best friend? How can you explain what it feels like to be scolded for being loud by your relatives, and then in the same day be labeled quiet by your friends? How can you simultaneously live, and even thrive, under the judgments and standards of two distinct cultures? How can you breathe in open air and underwater with the same lungs?

I have no answer; I’m still trying. But things are looking up. The other day, I was having dinner at a restaurant when I overheard the table next to me struggling to communicate with their waiter. I intervened, and translated a few phrases for them. After the waiter left, one of the Chinese girls turned to me and said, “Wow, your Chinese is so good!” A little while later, the waiter returned to take my order. After collecting the menus, he turned to me and said, “Wow, your English is so good!” I can’t deny the unmistakable tone of surprise in both of their voices, but I can say it is nice to be appreciated sometimes. Whatever the reason. ␥

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Listen Differently

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A Look at Protest Art in Los Angeles

ABIGAIL CLAUSON-WOLF PHOTOS JULIA MALTZ WORDS

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Social movements are often thought of as rooted in time. As communities, we tend to adhere a timestamp to them, thus anticipating an inevitable expiration. However, I believe that the art and music which dictates and inspires the direction of these movements, in a way, eternalizes their messages. Art comes in many different mediums; there are endless displays of visual and multi-media art, along with performance pieces, including music. The creativity behind these manifestations of art often derives itself from pain and a longing for change. Accordingly, protest art has a long history that some of the most renowned artists have participated in. In the late 1930s, Pablo Picasso painted a massive oil painting on canvas that was in direct protest to the Nazi bombings of a small town in Northern Spain. This piece, Guernica (named after the town where the bombings took place), directly protests war and the devastating effects that it has on people’s livelihood. Picasso forgoes the use of color in a way that presses the viewer to really contemplate the images that are encapsulated in the massive canvas. Often used as a focal point of discussions about protest art, Guernica shows how the sentiments expressed during social movements can be kept alive and passed down through generations, because the art itself transcends the temporal confines in which the protests themselves may take place, thus preserving the messages. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is a present-day social justice move-

ment that utilizes art, especially music, in order to further their goal of highlighting the injustices against Black people in the United States. Though the media presence of BLM goes through waves of popularity, the organization steadily works to address the racism that Black people face in the United States, and works to bring people together to campaign for equality. A mural in South Los Angeles, which runs alongside a building near 65th and Broadway, demonstrates the power and necessity of art in relation to these current social justice movements. The artists painted the face of Ezell Ford—an unarmed, schizophrenic and bipolar man whom Los Angles police officers killed in 2014. The mural of Ezell is a simplistic piece. Rather than bright hues and intricate designs, the mural features Ezell’s portrait on an understated blue background. His left eyebrow is cocked to reveal an inquisitive, curious trait. The lack of design hints at the intention of the artists, which was not to make an elaborate and colorful piece, but rather to invite viewers to understand the subject on a humanistic level. The lack of complexity allows the image to resonate with all passersby; and while the viewer may know nothing of Ezell’s true personality, the point of art is to articulate a message, and the true intention of the artist fades into the reading of it by the viewer. It is evident that this particular piece serves as a memorial, remembering not only the life of this innocent man, but the capacity of this country to invoke blatant acts of injustice.

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Los Angeles has also been an epicenter for the Chicano Rights Movements over the past century. A 2,754-foot long mural, known popularly as the “Great Wall of Los Angeles,” spreads the message of love, equality, and acceptance—an affective alternative to the hate-fueled wall that our president once promised. This mural, located in the Tujunga Flood Control Channel of the San Fernando Valley, is exhibited as a timeline that aims to demonstrate the ethnic makeup of California from prehistoric times until the 1950s. The Great Wall of Los Angeles was not directed towards, or driven by, any specific organization; rather it is an amalgam of the contribution of many artists who have been affected by these sentiments—a colorful reminder that unity is at the root of acceptance and peace. The cartoonish nature of the images on the mural makes the piece more relatable, as does the simplicity of the Ezell Ford memorial. Much of mural arts aim at creating art that everyone is able to readily understand and enjoy, and the bright colors and bold cartoon-like figures in this particular mural do just that. In light of divisional speech regarding the U.S. and Mexico border, this “Great Wall of Los Angeles” is a different wall that brings people together by encapsulating these notions of solidarity, rather than dividing them. By displaying these murals outside, there is an inherent inclusionary aspect to the art form. Rather than requiring viewers

to pay money and dedicate time to view them in dark corners of old museums, they are on walls throughout cities, allowing people of all backgrounds to enjoy art. The transient nature of all murals brings a humanistic quality to the art itself. Unlike other forms of art that tend to be more enduring, like all who pass the mural of Ezell or The Great Wall of Los Angeles, the renderings themselves are mortal. They are subject to weather and deterioration, and may even one day be painted over by future artists or demolished in hopes of commencing a rebirth for the building. However, there is a phenomenon that occurs in the interim, in which people allow the art to exist there, consequently allowing the message to sink in deeper. Regardless of how the mural may fade, it is a part of the brick and mortar, and consequently, a part of people’s memories. The impermanence of murals as an art form only adds to their power. They are the visual representation of the movements themselves. As change eventually comes to fruition, the established organizations tend to fade. Though the work of social justice is never over, specific movements do have timestamps, even if their central message continues to permeate the social climate. In many ways, artists can strategically use visual themes in their music in order to linguistically paint the change for the listener. There is a reason why we talk about our feelings in terms of color, and why musical artists bridge the gap between paintings and feelings by describing sadness as blue, and happiness

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in shades of yellow. While artists create murals with the understanding that their art must be temporary, whether it lasts for days or decades, the art of music is able to reject the concept of time altogether, while bringing together the components of visual art that sway the viewers’ emotions. Music is an art form that is able to transcend time. The musical form has been passed down through generations as a way to preserve memories and uphold values that might otherwise be lost. I sat down with Dr. Shana Redmond, a UCLA professor of Musicology and African American Studies, whose book Anthem focuses on the power and importance of music in communities throughout the African diaspora. Dr. Redmond explains, “people have intentionality to their music” which writers, composers, and performers use to address current social climates. Dr. Redmond describes how music, “gives us the opportunity to make change that is not necessarily ordained by electoral politics or governing bodies.” Oftentimes, these creators feel left out of electoral politics and music is one way that they can generate change and motivate other like-minded individuals to come together and protest. Although music in these social justice movements certainly mobilizes, it is not exclusively about getting more people to officially sign on to a specific organization. Dr. Redmond describes, “the impact of these songs is not just about getting people to officially join these protest

movements, but it is to challenge people to think and live differently, whether it be on an individual or collective level.” In this way, the music is about inspiring change in and of itself, and the songs often act as the embodiment of this motivating force. This music, as Dr. Redmond puts it, “is not just auxiliary or background noise,” but rather, “it is intentional and strategic.” “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” one of Bob Dylan’s more potent songs, chronicles the murder of an African American woman, Hattie Carroll, by a white man, William Zantzinger. A theme all too familiar, Dylan’s raspy voice tells us in his song how Zantzinger beat Carroll, leading to her eventual death a few hours after the assault. Bob Dylan was able to use his platform to bring important current events to the forefront of his listeners’ minds. His lyrics boldly and importantly describe the events of the beating and the subsequent trial that demonstrated white privilege in its truest form. “With rich wealthy parents who provide and protected,” is a line that Dylan uses to show how Zantzinger was privy to the advantages of an upper class white male, and this added to the way that the case played out. “And high office relations in the politics of Maryland/Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders” William Zantzinger received a 6-month sentence for the murder of Hattie Carroll, mirroring recent murders that have been met with relaxed sentences, if there is any

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“ When you listen differently you live differently, and when you live differently, the world changes.�

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sentence at all. The “shrug of the shoulders” that we see demonstrates a lack of true equality in the justice system. Though Bob Dylan may not have intended for his song to remain hauntingly relevant, his lyrics manage to eclipse time. Dylan ends the song with a slight change in the chorus: “You who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fear bury the rag deep in your face/For now’s the time for your tears.” When injustice runs rampant through our society and criminal justice system, it can lead to tears and irrevocable sadness, but the fact that a white man can murder an African-American woman and face a mere six months in prison, is blatant injustice. When a man murders a woman and only gets six-months, that is unfair in the deepest of ways, and Dylan’s song—particularly his fearless decision to say her name—incarnates these sentiments and propels them forward throughout time and the various phases of our society. Dr. Redmond says of songs in social justice movements: “the point is not that the message remains static, the point is that it is flexible.” She goes on to say that music can “be adopted in ways that may be different than the original intention but are still powerful for the communities that use them.” This is the root of how music stays relevant, by creating dynamic songs that can continue to be pertinent across decades. Everyone approaches art and interprets art differently, relative to their position. For this reason, music and specific songs are relevant during every

time period because the listener takes what they need out of the song in order to inspire themselves and relate to their current situation. Dr. Redmond left me with hopefulness for the future of our society and the power of art, “When you listen differently you live differently, and when you live differently the world changes.” There must be an intentionality within our actions, even one as simple as listening to music, because that which is contained in the rhythm has the power to inspire and encourage positive change. In light of divisive politics and the climate of hate that seems to run rampant through our world, art can be used as a source of mobilization. Rather than fueling the tense ethos of politics, art should be used as a refuge that simultaneously demands change while inextricably linking listeners to one other. Rejecting speech driven by hate is imperative. Instead of building a wall that divides us, let us take a hint from the artists of “The Great Wall of Los Angeles” and build walls with the intention of unification. We must never stop creating. We must write songs, paint on canvasses, and design murals in spite of the fact that they may one day disappear. Though art itself has an enduring quality—material is not immortal. Rather, it is the act itself of physically manifesting these passionate messages—the intention behind the art— that makes it truly everlasting. ␥

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WORDS

SELINA CHE

PHOTOS

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JULIA MALTZ


An Interview with TLT’s Daniel Shemtob The name Daniel Shemtob may not ring a bell, but the blue crab grilled cheese, pork belly nachos, and bottomless mimosa weekends served up at his green and black, street food concept just might. TLT Food is the brainchild of 28-year-old chef Shemtob and offshoot of The Lime Truck, Shemtob’s food truck that he started at 20-years-old, which subsequently won the second season of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race.” Since the restaurant’s genesis in 2012, TLT continues to dish out an evolving menu of items with flavors ranging from Mexican to Mediterranean to Korean that reflects the ethnic diversity of its Southern California origins. It is Shemtob’s ambition to experiment with complex flavors and techniques that drives the enduring success of TLT, curating dishes that go beyond the boundaries of its fast-casual appearance. I recently sat down with Shemtob at TLT’s flagship location in Westwood to discuss the beginnings of the restaurant, what it was like running a business at 20, the influences behind his ever-changing menu, and where he sees TLT going next. After rushing down from his Downtown LA home via motorcycle to meet me, here’s what he said.

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THE PAPER MIXTAPE Take me back to the beginning. Why did you choose to pursue food? DANIEL SHEMTOB I decided early

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on that I wanted to be in food. It was something I was passionate about and loved, so I started the food truck. I grew up in Newport, and because SoCal is such a melting pot, you get all these flavors and I think that definitely garnered my love for food. You have Asian food, which is my favorite type of food, and you get Mexican—having access to that kind of food growing up, and having friends and grandmas come and cook all the time, it’s just unbelievable. I would say for ethnicities outside of America, their culture revolves around food. It’s all about sitting down and enjoying a meal with family and it’s kind of like, the language, I guess. That kind of translated into my childhood and growth.

TPM I read that you did a stint in real

estate for a while before The Lime Truck. That’s pretty far off from the restaurant industry. Why the switch?

DS When I did real estate, I realized

early on that I wasn’t very happy. I think real estate can be very fun, but what I was doing was very transactional based. I was just working for money and it didn’t motivate me or make me want to do better. It didn’t make me want to go into work. When I closed that, I decided after that I didn’t care about the money. I wanted to

do something that I really loved doing, and food always kind of spoke to me. So I came up with the idea of The Lime Truck. I called up my friend in Orange County who had just started his culinary career. I think he had worked at a restaurant for like five or six months. We came up with the idea to do this food truck together and a month later it was on the road. It was pretty quick from inception to actually running. But the concepts are always evolving; even now it’s always evolving. We always try to be kind of fluid in how we look at the industry, which is really important because I think restaurants get outdated really quickly. Food gets outdated really quickly.

TPM What would be the long-running concept behind TLT, then?

DS I think the concept has been simple

since Day 1: really, really high quality food with really great service at a low price. Some of the kitchen techniques, the produce and the meat that we’re using, they sell over at Napa Valley Grille for like 10 times the price, but it’s the exact same product, the exact same technique. The value is inherently here. We go to great lengths to secure different things, like we have spices that you can’t get in every place so we have to buy them once a month and hold them in the restaurant. I feel like in comparison to a lot of other fast-casuals, TLT is a lot more challenging because of this. But that’s why I think we’re a bit ahead of other concepts.

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TPM What was it like running a food truck at 20-years- old? That’s pretty insane.

DS You just do it. You do it, you make mistakes, you learn from your mistakes, you move forward. I think that being 20, there are some advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantage is that you have youth on your side—you’re persistent, you have energy, you don’t have that much to lose, and you can put in a 20-hour day and it’s not going to kill you. Now, at my age, when I put in those days, my back hurts the next day… but I still do it. It’s what you’re willing to take, and the wear and tear as a young person. But you don’t have as much wisdom, as much knowledge about the industry. Ultimately, though, I bet you that 30-year-old and that 20-year-old who open a food truck are going to face 70% of the same mistakes. But I have to be honest, I didn’t do that much research before I opened the truck. That’s the thing, though, almost every entrepreneur I know that is successful, they didn’t sit there for years writing the business plan. They just went in, got their hands dirty, and they accepted that that comes with some difficulty. So just do it.

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TPM And you had zero culinary

experience before The Lime Truck?

DS Nope. TPM Then how steep was the learning curve?

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DS The learning curve was… I’ll tell you how the learning curve was. It’s a funny story. When we started the food truck, we had a menu that we wrote. Then two weeks into it, it didn’t taste so good. The menu wasn’t very good, and we’re sitting there eating it and were like, ‘You know, this isn’t as good as it was 2 weeks ago.’ I look at my partner, and my partner just goes, ‘I’m really bored of just cooking the same food everyday. It’s not fun. I want to try new things and just mess around.’ Two weeks in, we decided to change the menu everyday. Everyday, a brand new menu, seven items. As soon as we ran out of something, you missed your chance— you’re not going to be able to have it again. This created a big buzz because we were doing these really special dishes. We were doing oysters seven ways, we had steak tartar Thursdays. We were doing $50 plates from the truck, and we had created a customer base of clients who would eat at our truck everyday. So the learning curve was that, because we weren’t able to create one menu and still be excited about it, we ended up writing a brand new menu everyday. That ended up actually doing a really good thing for our business, but we didn’t know it. It didn’t let us make any money—it was just fun. TPM Where did you find the inspiration to create a new menu everyday? DS We just did it. We made really good relationships with our purveyors, we asked for cool stuff and we always tried

to push the envelope. We used to go to our produce supplier and they’d give us a cart. Anything we could fit on the cart we could take home for free. We had so much fun because it was pretty much just ingredient exploration.

TPM With TLT constantly updating its

menu even today, how would you say the cuisine has evolved over the years?

DS So we’ve done over 1000 different

items on the truck and in the restaurant. Even when we opened the restaurant, our menu has changed about 50% till now. I’m going to do another menu change in 3 months or probably even sooner, like 25 days. It really comes down to, what’s doing well and what’s not, what I like and don’t like. If something changes market-wise, like the price of lamb keeps going up, maybe I’ll drop the lamb sliders. You’re always assessing because you want to create value. And if I don’t like to eat it, I’ll take it off the menu right away. I can feel what’s good on our menu and what needs to be changed. What’s cool about our concept is that we can do whatever we want. Like I added a rice bowl to our menu two years ago, and it’s my favorite item on the menu. See, now we’re in rice bowls and we were never in rice bowls our whole entire life.

TPM What would you say is the

biggest influence behind the items on your menu?

DS I draw inspiration from sometimes T H E PA P E R M I X TA P E

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nothing to what I have on hand. One of the luxuries of having a full kitchen is being able to play with spices and being able to create something completely new. For our new special for next month, we’re doing a Chinese chicken tostada with a raw beet salad and caramelized pineapples. We opened stores in Newport and Pasadena, and those marketplaces do not like spicy since customers tend to be older. So I launched this dish because I figured it would do well in those markets. I launched that with that inspiration. But I wasn’t going to just do a Chinese chicken salad because why would TLT do that? Then we went with tostada. Then I was like, instead of doing a regular lettuce base, why not do a raw beet slaw in it because 1) We already have the beets here and 2) It would add some texture, it’s sweet and healthy and it’s trending. But then I was like, ‘I need something sweeter and more interesting.’ So then we caramelized pineapples and we added it to it. Then we did fried rice noodles, but instead we tossed them in Korean chili flake and dried lime. Now there’s more depth and excitement, and I launched it as an item. If that item does really well as a special, I’ll add it to the menu.

TPM Looking back at ‘The Great Food Truck Race,’ the show really helped launch The Lime Truck. What was that experience like for the TLT team?

DS It was tough. It was two months of being in a competition where you do

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fight tooth and nail to win. There’s no coasting. Well, there was coasting for the first two weeks because there were teams that were obviously not going to make it. But after that, it was really hard and really stressful. It just adds up because you don’t even know if you’re going to lose or win until elimination day, and that’s also really nerve racking. The night before elimination, you have an idea of where you fit into the space but you don’t know for sure. Like on Week 2, one of the trucks thought they’d won and were talking shit about us. They ended up losing and going home, and it was pretty awesome.

TPM How long did you keep the trucks running after the show?

DS I would say for a couple years after the show. Even when we started the restaurant, I think I had 3 trucks still. The problem with food trucks is that it’s just a very challenging business to have a lot going out everyday. Our food’s rather, not challenging, but nuanced. You really have to taste everything and make sure it’s perfect everyday. It was becoming more of a challenge to create quality control. I was also running all my staff 100 hours a week, I was running 100 hours a week, and I felt like we were, no pun intended, spinning our wheels. We weren’t getting anywhere. I care a lot about the brand, and I don’t ever want to lose the truck. Whether it makes money or not, it’s something I love. I didn’t want to get rid of it completely, but I didn’t want to


try to do something that wasn’t good for the brand. I wasn’t really loving what it was doing for Lime.

TPM So the flagship store is here in

Westwood, and you’ve recently opened some in Pasadena and Newport. Where do you see TLT headed for in the future?

DS I see it as opening more stores. I’m

not sure, in what way or how. Always number one for me is quality control, and I got really lucky. My teams are phenomenal—everyone on my staff, my partner and my managers, I love each of them so much. As long as I have a team to build, I’ll continue building.

TPM Second to last question, can you

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explain the tattoo on your arm?

DS [I Am The Future] is a charity I

started a while back. We bring our food trucks to Skid Row, we feed people, we raise 15,000 pounds of food at Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, donate a ton of money, and we do a lot of stuff at local schools to help their education programs. It’s always a win-win.

“We’ve done over 1000 different items on the truck and in the restaurant. Even when we opened the restaurant, our menu has changed about 50% till now.”

TPM Any final words? DS I’ve just been stoked that UCLA has responded so well to us. When I opened this, I had friends who were still at UCLA and it was fun because they’d tell me that they’d hear about it at school. So I guess, thanks. TLT says, ‘Thanks.’ ␥

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we are the

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WORDS

ASHLEY AGUILAR

ILLUSTRATION

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BETHANY RENNARD


How does one define internet culture? Try googling it—the results are vague, too general or irrelevant. There are articles on how to explain twitter to your parents, an explanation of the ‘dat boi’ meme, and other Internet phenomena like juju on that beat, but that’s not what I mean. I mean the culture born-from social media—human interaction by non-tangible means. Social media allows people to digitally create a perception of themselves. The construction of one’s social presence is multi-faceted: it’s about appearances, attitudes, beliefs, and personality traits, which is why it’s called culture. However, the “alternative internet culture” I’m referring to is even more particular—a photo of a girl in a frilly dress with a bloody nose looking apathetically past the camera, someone clad in buffalo shoes and a shiny pleather skirt, or someone wearing nothing at all. It’s grotesque, pessimistic, ironic, erotic, androgynous, yet paradoxically, also sweet and innocent. This culture is characterized by melodramatic over-exaggerations—specifically urban goth or Lolita-esque mall rat clothes and a romanticization of stigmatized mental disorders. The leaders of this movement establish their style and make its presence synonymous with all aspects of their lives. Their interactions, interests, and jobs reflect an aloof, alternative style in order to fulfill their particular aesthetic. They are an alternative form of social media addicts —the construction of their image on social media is very methodical, yet they construct a facade of apathy. This construction is not only motivated by followers and attention, but also by artistic expression. The presence of this social media community is so influential and relevant because of the extensive and loyal following base. It consists of individuals that actually resonate with this gothic and alternatively angelic style, as well as those intrigued by its resistance to societies norms. The retro goth instagram personas appeal to adolescents that feel ostracized in their high schools, universities, or towns. Those that feel misunderstood in their everyday life, have the opportunity to forge relationships with like-minded people. This culture also represents the societal anomaly at a time when being unique is recognized, and being called basic is the perfect insult. The term “basic” dismisses uninteresting and unoriginal thought, action, and style. An insult typically geared towards a she—basic girls are predictably similar to their friends and don’t really care that they are either; they are followers. In an effort to avoid this characterization people look to these social media personalities for inspiration on how to be different, but in doing so contradict their efforts to distinguish themselves as an individual. So anything can become basic: it is following a trend due to an unspoken imperative it is inauthentic.

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“ Once children and adolescents, who are most influenced by socialization, begin to identify with the depressive, pessimistic, or apathetic qualities that this culture represents these labels stick internally.� WINTER 2017


Alternative Internet culture doesn’t just encompass a style but also a viewpoint that gives validation to mental disorders by romanticizing them. Many of the participants of this culture were ostracized and bullied and as a result being mentally damaged is a central aspect of its admittance. They’ve provided a space where it’s finally okay to struggle with the same mental illnesses that have been stigmatized. Consequently, there is an obvious display of symptoms of mental illness with suicidal captions, hallowed faces, irrational behavior, and empty stares. Having these problems is not desirable, yet anyone that even remotely relates can become heavily influenced by this made-up reality. There are impressionable and vulnerable adolescents that become intrigued and then entrapped in this community. This culture fosters and nourishes pre-disposed mental illnesses, perpetuating its value. The mental illness then becomes the very thing that connects people to this community that they cherish and look to for support. These adolescents act with accordingly depressive behavior in order to fulfill the reality they have established for themselves. They also use the self-diagnosed mental illness to explain their social divergence. This reflexive cycle can be understood by the sociological theory of ethnomethodology. Reflexivity can primarily be seen in the relationship between the unwavering proposition—mental illness, and the secondary elaborations— acceptance by an equally mentally ill community and attributing the negative aspects of their lives to said mental illness, thus reflexively validating and sustaining this reality. Socialization is the process by which we learn and internalize the values, beliefs, and norms of our culture and, in so doing, develop a sense of self 1. Once children and adolescents, who are most influenced by socialization, begin to identify with the depressive, pessimistic, or apathetic qualities that this culture represents these labels stick internally. Social media thus serves as a powerful socializing agent, being both empowering yet dangerous. It brings like-minded people together on the basis of artistic expression. Yet social media is also compelling for many of the wrong reasons. It is for those with a strong foundation, not those that are impressionable. Being apart of internet communities is both valuable and inspiring but conversely superficial, deceptive, and unintentionally conventional; and should therefore be approached with caution. ␥

1. Croteau, David, Stefania Milan, William Hoynes. “Media and the Social World.” Media/Society: Industries, Images, and Audiences (4th edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE publications, 2012. Print.

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PUBL I C

Popular Demand Concrete Patchwork

We Are the Mainstream Listen Differently

Postmodern Persona

In the Eye of the Beholder

A Simple Genius

Teen Witch

Leading a Creative Life

On Being an Angel

With the Same Lungs

PR I VATE

N OW

THEN

Spinning Our Wheels


ISSU E 4

T H E PA P E R M I X TA P E

WI N T E R 20 1 7

THE PAPER MIXTAPE Issue 4  
THE PAPER MIXTAPE Issue 4  

Our Winter 2017 edition opens up with an article on the divisive nature of LA's freeway system and ends with a look at internet culture. In...

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