Mission Statement Basement is an online magazine in association with Titan Radio to showcase writers, artists, and photographers of Cal State Fullerton. Basement is built upon the Titan Radio community and focuses on a music and lifestyle Journalism approach. We took a vintage approach to this issue while illustrating modern topics that speak to the Titan Radio and CSUF community. By keeping it original we hope to not sound or be like any other publication out there. Keep it real.
Titan Radio | 1
Inside The Basement Pg. 6
Advice From TR
Pg. 22 The Indie Kids Aren’t Alright
Ohio to CA
Pg. 24 Did I Make the Right Choice?
Pg. 10 Grindr Horror Stories
Pg. 26 Not My Parents Trauma
Pg. 12 Takeout Takeover/ Meat Mountain
Pg. 28 Nobody Taught Me How To Grieve
Pg. 14 Dylan Gardner Q&A
Pg. 30 Mamba Appreciation
Pg. 16 TikTok Challenge
Pg. 32 Highland Park Lost It’s High
Pg. 18 Riff And Destroy
Pg. 38 Pakistan B-Roll
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Titan Radio | 3
The Head Cheese Shelby Stancliff (GM) Matt “Sully” Sylvester (Coordinator) Editors Michelle Ibañez Tannan Luzzo Writers Areeba Kaukab Daniel Lozano Jon Buzdar Landy Waight Marissa De La Cruz Michelle Ibañez Tannan Luzzo Shelby Stancliff Siz Photo Peeps Jon Buzdar Landy Waight Michelle Ibañez Matt “Sully” Sylvester Siz Communications Areeba Kaukab (Director) Alexis Arreguin Andrea Carvajal Bianca Lambert Cesario Mora Marketing Landy Waight (Director) Daniel Lozano Grace Luong Luna Delgado Savannah Terrazas Music Jon Budzar (Director) Devin Puente Julian Romero Program Michael Quintero (Director) Marissa Del La Cruz Michelle Ibanez Tannan Luzzo William Maurice-Africa Web Sazeda Sultana (Director) Kshitij Shah Sagar Joshi Miss Congeniality Areeba Kaukab Loser Machine Michael Quintero
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I could start this letter like every other magazine about how the pandemic has been a shitshow, but instead I’ll tell you the story about how I ended up in this position. Before I get too personal, I want to say how honored I am to be a part of the first issue of Basement, produced by Titan Radio. If you aren’t familiar with TR, Basement comes from the fact that the station is located in the basement of Pollak library. As I sit here putting together these words, I start to think about how I even ended up at CSUF, at Titan Radio, and on the verge of a Bachelor’s degree. As a 27-year-old in an undergrad, I feel like a lost cause. 90% of my classmates are around the ages 19-23, so I feel after I graduate, who in the right mind is going to put their faith in a 27-year-old double drop out? Yes, I dropped out of community college twice, once because I was too lost in the party scene and twice after my father passed when I was 22. Upon my second dropout, I would be found with half a cigarette burning, passed out on someone’s couch at 3 am. Everyone grieves differently, but I can say I took the left turn on a one way street. Eventually, I put myself together after a year I can’t remember and happy I don’t remember. I found a love for Journalism and photography at Citrus College. Joined the Clarion, the schools newspaper, and found a reason to be around. Though I still didn’t quite fit in, I knew telling stories was something I wanted to do. Why bring up a Community College in a University magazine? I just want to let anyone out there outside of CSUF, in high school or wherever that it is 100% ok to find yourself in Community College, Trade Schools, or at Adult School. Look at who is writing this letter. I’m nothing special. I found myself lost at CSUF, until I found a safe space at Titan Radio. A place where I could be accepted for listening to The Beatles, The Oh Sees, or Karmah. Artists I could play without judgment. To show my gratitude to the station, is why
Basement came to life. All things aside, this issue is filled with comedy, it is also filled with grief, existence, gentrification, trauma, and a whole lot of music. Stories about losing a family member, growing up in Ohio, photo essays of visiting home in Pakistan, skateboarding, dealing with parental trauma, or coming back to a home that has been stripped down to white America. I couldn’t be happier to publish the stories my fellow colleagues put together for the first issue. Throughout this issue you will find yourself laughing, crying, interested, mad, and maybe even thinking about yourself and how lucky you are to live in California. This is the beauty of Basement, there is no specific beat. Just some rad stories. I’m sorry if I rambled on too much, but again I’m so proud to even be writing these words on this page to introduce Basement magazine. Thank you so much for taking the time to read our magazine. Smell you later, Michael Quintero
Titan Radio | 5
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You Wanted Some Tea? I Mean Advice? Our trusty TR staff, who is very much qualified, answers your questions about life
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I’m worried about graduating and having no direction. I like the structure of being in school and going back in the fall and whatnot. So, I’m considering masters, but I’m hella in debt. Like $45,000 in debt. Should I just do it anyway? Before we say anything, just know that it is completely normal to not have everything figured out. So just make sure that you’re not rushing into a debt-heavy decision unless you are absolutely positive about it. Master’s programs are much more narrow and specific than your B.A. so just make sure you’re prepared for talking about one thing for the next two to three years. We suggest doing some soul searching and maybe giving yourself a break before jumping into anything headfirst. Write out some potential goals, opportunities, and career paths that you might take instead. See what speaks to you the most and then you can have concrete ambitions to work towards. All of a sudden I’m an adult, but I feel like I don’t have the basic knowledge of what an adult should have. Mainly financial literacy about management, cars, house, investing, opening savings etc. What should I know and where do I start? This is so relatable, so many of us feel really isolated when it comes to pending tasks in adulthood. The best thing to do is start by picking items one by one, do not try to do everything all at once when you start because you’ll get horribly confused. Focus on opening a savings account because financial stability is always key to making everything else go smoothly. It’s also really important to not compare yourself to others and feel bad if you rant as rich or successful etc. everyone moves at their own pace. No one has any idea what they’re doing most of the time. It’s good, thinking about this, in general, is a good step in the right direction. How to separate politics from friendships? Don’t. If this year has taught us anything it’s really important to make sure we have hard-hitting conversations with our inner circles. The more we talk about the uncomfortable stuff the more we may re-
alize the weight politics can have on our morals. Just remember to be respectful and open-minded, unless they’re being mean or bigoted, then go ahead and stand up for what you believe in. I want to join this class next semester, that might be a very good handson experience within my major. More than anything I want to take it because I want to learn, but I’m scared that I don’t have what it takes to be a part of it. What should I do? TAKE THE CLASS! You’ll be fine, always jump at the opportunities that are at hand’s reach. It’ll probably teach you a lot and will give you marketable experience to put on your resume. Take the chance, life’s all about taking chances. Don’t doubt yourself, you’ll probably surprise yourself and succeed way more than you could ever imagine. Soooooo I’m starting to get a crush on a coworker. But I’m in a long-term relationship and so is she, so like that’s totally not okay. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me either. Something about those retail employees, amirite? How do I knock these feelings? Remember that sometimes our brains skew how we feel about people based on so many different things. So maybe just sit down and remember why you are in your relationship and what your partner means to you! Also, if you can try to distance yourself from your coworker as much as you can because it’s not worth losing long term relationships over flimsy crushes.
dating men who are bad for her. There have been many times where I have pointed out red flags to her and she gets defensive, and then when the men end up hurting her she runs to me and says she should’ve listened. At this point, I feel like I should just let her date this guy and get hurt. Am I a bad person for thinking that? Or should I try to intervene? I think that if you’ve tried to intervene before and she consistently gets defensive instead of trying to hear you out there might be different ways to approach the situation. Maybe try and evaluate how you usually air out your opinions and take a different approach. Make sure you reiterate that all you’re trying to do is look out for her and make sure she is treated right. Through all that it is important to acknowledge that your friend is also her own person and there is only so much you can do! Just do what you can and if she isn’t receptive to that it might just be time to move on and just know that you tried your hardest. How do I find a girlfriend through school? Ummmm, you should probably focus on your grades. Tinder is a lot cheaper than 3k a semester.
How do I tell my friend that she probably shouldn’t be dating a Trump supporter? My friend has just recently gotten into a relationship with a Trump supporter. Keep in mind, she is Hispanic. As far as I know, she doesn’t support Trump, and whenever anyone brings up her bf’s political views she’s always quick to defend him and says things like “it’s just his belief.” Obviously it’s so insane to me that she would choose to date someone whose “beliefs” have negatively affected her people. She has a history of Titan Radio | 7
Country Roads To City Traffic
I grew up in Geneva, Ohio. It is home to just under 6,000 people. I lived here for 18 years before moving to Fullerton in 2018. As you could assume, there’s a big difference between smalltown, rural Ohio and suburban Southern California. A lot of people have no clue what it even means to live in a rural area. This is what it’s like. Story and Photos by Shelby Stancliff Design by Michael Quintero
Here are some things that I apparently said wrong and had to change to fit in here in Fullerton.
Well for one, as you could assume, Ohio is primarily white so there’s not much diversity. “Geneva culture” consists of wineries and vineyards (which there are so many), an annual grape festival, covered bridges (which are just bridges with roofs that are apparently interesting to tourists), and something we call Geneva on the Lake, which is just a little strip of restaurants, bars, and arcades along Lake Erie. Just think Downtown Fullerton but it smells like fair food and there are way more drunk bikers.
Freeways.... I say 57 = the 57. I said bookbag = got laughed at now I say backpack. Ohio says pop = I was smart enough to start saying soda before I moved here. Lightning bug = firefly but apparently those aren’t common in CA anyway. 8 | Basement
Nature Yes, Ohio has beaches. I grew up right along Lake Erie and yes we swim in it and yes there’s sand like any other beach. Ohio also has so many trees and just natural greenery. California thinks planting palm trees makes everything more appealing but you’re not fooling anyone California, we know palm trees aren’t indegenous here. Also I’ve never seen a frog or deer in California?
Around my town, freeways are only two lanes wide. Speed limit is 70 and the max is 75, anything over that will get you pulled over. And guess what Southern Californians, y’all are the only people in the country that put the word “the” before the number of the freeway.
Go Browns, and Lebron was ours first, sorry not sorry.
In Ohio, I only use two freeways, 90 and 2. There’s more but you have to drive farther out to get to them. In California? The 5, the 57, the 91, the 101. So confusing.
Industrialization Geneva doesn’t have much when it comes to stores and restaurants. For example, it was 22 miles to the closest Starbucks and Target, 7 miles just to get to a Walmart, only one grocery store for the whole town, and Chipotle didn’t come to a close city until 2019 (either way it’s still 13 miles away). It’s 29 miles to the closest “real” mall. Another was to put things into perspective. From my town to Cleveland, it’s about an hour drive. That’s about 50 miles. From Fullerton to LA, it’s about an hour drive. That’s about 30 miles. Whaaaat? So imagine driving from Fullerton to LA just to get to the nearest mall.
Politics So Ohio has always been considered a swing state but unfortunately, for the past two elections, Ohio has been red. The people that live in my area were most likely born and raised there, meaning their world view is a bit limited. Not many of the adults in the area ever went to college. Of course, many of the younger people are liberal but, there are those kids that let their parents influence their beliefs. But there is a lot of yeehaw county around there meaning, pretty much wherever you see green on this map, they’ll vote red.
Weather Duh. This is the first thing people ask me about. Yes, it snows a shit-ton in Ohio. I’m talking feet of snow, negative temperatures, scraping ice off of your windshield, plow trucks and ice trucks driving around, and snow days off from school. But, at least Ohio doesn’t have to worry about earthquakes that much, only the occasional tornado. One thing I do miss though is the thunderstorms. Titan Radio | 9
GRINDR HORROR STORIES Story and Photo by Siz Design by Michael Quintero
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Like other queer men looking for romance I used the dating app Grindr, to find meaningful relationships that blossom into passionate love. Just kidding. I’m a slut. If you’ve ever used the app, then you already know the depressing world of hook-up culture. You find someone, say “hey” “top/ btm?” “host?” “location?” and hope you don’t get murdered. I had my fair share of fun, but I don’t think back on them as often as I think about all my awful experiences. Here are my top five Grindr horror stories. Bloated Sometimes nature calls you at the worst possible time. It is a rite of passage I’d like to believe every gay man goes through when they are in the middle of hooking up, and realize they have to take a huge dump. My life flashed before my eyes and he put his body weight on mine, and I let out a huge fart. Our eyes locked and felt my face turn red. I quietly gathered my belongings and walked out the door. Wrong House
It was 11 pm when he sent me his location. When I arrived, he was sitting on his porch, smoking a cigarette, and gave me a confused look.
He was tall, handsome, and able to host. All the qualities I look for in a man. The problem was that he smelled like a corpse. But I already put in a full tank of gas and drove 10 miles. I had to get my money’s worth.
“So, we doing this here?” I said. “Doing what here?” he replied. I listed everything I was down to do. He laughed and said I was at the wrong house. Confused, I opened Grindr and realized I was at the wrong address. Mortified, I apologized and bounced.
No matter how much I showered or deodorant I used, I still smelled him days after the fact.
Masked Man He was only 300 feet away from my bedroom when he messaged me. He told me that his front door would be unlocked. “I’ll be waiting,” he said. Intrigued, I walked to his house. As I entered, the first thing I noticed was his collection of porcelain dolls. I explored his house and found him in a dim-lit room. The walls were covered in plastic wrap, serving Dexter before he kills someone realness. Wearing a leather mask, he turned me, and I screamed and bolted out of his house. He blocked me.
Jesus Statues Nothing sets the mood for going down to pound town like smashing it in front of 50 variations of Jesus statues. There was white Jesus, brown Jesus, small Jesus, titan Jesus, and baby Jesus. I wondered if I was about to get laid or exorcised. I jokingly asked which church he stole all these from, and he told me it was all his mother left him when she passed. I consoled him for an hour as he cried on my lap. Titan Radio | 11
Have a nice day!
Story by Tannan Luzzo Design by Tannan Luzzo
Over the past year or so, we have all seen the COVID-19 pandemic rock the world in so many ways, but there is one part of life no one never imagined would ever change: how we eat out. Restaurants, bars, breweries and those alike are staples in American life, especially California, but the pandemic has pushed for change in the way we eat and how we’re served. We’ve already seen some of the best buffets and family style restaurants succumb to the virus, like Souplantation (RIP). The thought of that business model ever working again just doesn’t seem feasible. At least in the upcoming years, maybe even decades. One thing I did see was some restaurant master the takeout experience, at least in my perspective. Takeout ruled in 2020 and has so far this year too. Cal State Fullerton and the surrounding area has a slew of restaurants, some of which are staples within the student body. The ability to serve takeout during the pandemic has helped them stay afloat. Not only did the primary option change 12 | Basement
to take out but the menu items and bundles were re-tailored to a take-out experience. For example, the Lucille’s BBQ chain, which has a location up the road in Brea, has completely revamped and changed their menu. They now have drinks to go, which come in a mason jar, cold food to heat up at home, amongst other new take-out style options. Not only has takeout taken over, but the idea is elastic. As places open back up and Fullerton phases into re-opening, takeout adapts as well. Recently, as I was driving by campus and turning onto Nutwood, it said “open for takeout.” Then a couple weeks later I noticed a sign saying you could take out, drive in, or dine in. I thought how interesting a drive in experience, I haven’t seen that at a Denny’s before. So already, there was a Denny’s offering drive in style, which just shows how they are adapting with the times. Takeout options for a place like What’s Up Japanese Noodles, otherwise wouldn’t have been probably a preferred method to eat those types of foods, but given the pandemic it’s almost preferred now given the long wait times and the amount of residents eager to go out is steadily increasing.
Wait times are into the several hours, and depending on location, reservations aren’t even an option at the moment. Takeout is quicker, more efficient, and in some cases restaurants even offer a percent off discount for ordering online or via apps, takeout, call-in, etc. I think the coronavirus will change the way we live at least for a while longer. I may be in the minority, but the takeout experience has been nearly perfected by restaurants after they were thrust into the situation of having to close their doors to indoor customers. Some had the luxury of using the streets for outdoor dining, like Downtown Fullerton restaurants had space in the street they could use. But some were forced to come up with a new idea. Takeout takeover was the result. Takeout has taken over and it’s honestly likely that it will stay. While there are indeed cons with every innovative process, takeout takeover has too many positives to let it go. Customer ease and satisfaction, simplicity and overall trends in the market suggest takeout is likely to remain dominant for the long haul. In this day and age everyone wants instant gratification. While food ordering will never be quite instant, takeout serves the needs of the consumer at this given time in the world. We’ve seen the parking lots with the delivery spots in the front takeover. It is a takeout frenzy and it’s here to stay people.
Are You Going to Finish That? Basement writer takes on Arby’s meat moutain sandwhich, for your health Story and Photo by Daniel Lozano Design by Michael Quintero I did it. I did it. They told me it couldn’t be done, they said I was a fool, they said I was irrational, they said it was never possible, but I did it. Today, in my possession I have the Arby’s meat mountain burger sandwich, whatever you want to call it. And for weeks I kept telling my friends come on we have to try this, come on lets go to Arby’s lets go to Arby’s. And I don’t know, they hate Arby’s. Everyone I know hates Arby’s for some reason they have some vendetta against them. So I’m here alone in a parking lot with the meat mountain, all for myself. The reason why I knew I wanted to try it was because I know a lot of people would be afraid to try something this big, I think it intimidates a lot of people. That’s partially why I’m doing this, because I’m here saving your arteries. You know I’m testing this out so you don’t have to if that makes sense. This thing is heavy, it’s at least a pound of...something. It is like the weight of a small child if I’m guessing. This thing is, if you threw it at someone’s head could most definitely knock someone out without a shadow of doubt. Yeah, here we go. This is enough protein for the year. If I eat this whole thing which I think at this point would be physically impossible, I think my body would never need another ounce more of protein cause this is all the meat you could possibly handle. I don’t even think I can handle
this much meat right now. There’s no way all this meat can go into my mouth whole. My mouth isn’t big enough. I would literally have to get a fork and scissors. Alright I’m taking my first bite and I don’t think I am even going to get the top bun in, I’m just aiming for the bottom half of it. Wow. Ok. That’s not as bad as it thought it was gonna be, you know? I was expecting none of it to work but it actually kind of compliments each other. I’m going in for another bite. The top half, which is the bun, the top bun, bacon, the orange cheese, and then the two roast beefs. It’s not bad. I think I like the bottom bite better. But I’ll be real with you, I definitely feel my arteries starting to close. I definitely feel them starting to get clogged up. I think my blood pressure is rising as we speak. A few more bites of this I think i might need a stretcher. Alright I am going to attempt the impossible and get one bite and get all of the four to five meats all in one bite. So, I’m squishing it as much as I can, juice is coming out from I don’t know which meat at this point could be from any meat, I might have to drink that later cause I’m going to be really thirsty after eating this. I’ll be honest with you all the flavors kind of mix in and they all get kind of lost and it just becomes one meat. You can’t really tell which is which, when you’re tasting. I think Arby’s has made a new
meat here. Alright one more bite here we go. I think that might have been the best bite out of all of them. Besides the fact that I’m not feeling too good right now and that I think the effects of this sandwich on my body have already taken stride, I think if I would rate this either a 5.8 or 6.3 out of 10. Experience wise, paying for it, looking at it, seeing it for the first time, and trying to fit the whole bite into your mouth. I’d say experience wise an 8.5. Maybe don’t get it on a day when you have a lot of things to do or you have anything to do because you might feel so lethargic after that you won’t be able to do anything. But I 100% definitely recommend it. Maybe you want a family dinner or maybe you want to feed a family of five or six, go to Arby’s and get one meat mountain burger. If you split it between the five or six of you, I guarantee you will all be fed and stuffed and there will be left overs. I guarantee you that. Titan Radio | 13
ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELIA Communicant’s Dylan Gardner speaks new EP, beginnings and music inspiration Story by Marissa De La Cruz Photos by Dylan Gardner Design by Michael Quintero Led by frontman Dylan Gardner, Communicant is a psychedelic band that will leave you wanting more. Their six track EP “Memory Palace” released in March 2020 gave a whole rebrand for the young artist. Gardner started out in the alt pop genre as a solo artist, and had previously released two albums: “Adventures in Real Time” (2014) and “Almost Real” (2018). “Memory Palace” has taken a different route, transforming both sound and presentation. Basement got to talk with Dylan about his beginnings/experience in music, “Memory Palace”, and his passion for music. M: What inspired you to get into music and how was it at first? DG: I grew up in a very musical house. My mom worked at record stores her whole life, my dad played in bands his whole life, so I was sort of the byproduct of both of those things coming together. My brother, who is the drummer in Communicant is eight years older than me, he was playing drums around the house growing up, so in a way that’s just gonna rub off on you. I just started playing and writing my own songs when I was about 13 or 14 when my parents were the first people to notice and be like “Are you writing those songs?” and I was like “yeah!” So I just never stopped playing and writing and just trying to learn as many instruments as I can while learning about the song craft. And it was just like a kid in a candy store. For me it took an idol, like Jimmy Page for guitar, Elton John for piano. I would want to learn all their songs so I would get into the instruments through them. My first public performance was when I was 7. I did the school talent show and did a drum solo. Looking back at it, it sounded pretty good! It was funny. I had like the velvet 14 | Basement
blazer and a buzzcut looking like I was in the James Clarke 5, but it was awesome, getting into music was as pure and as fun as anyone would want it to be. I M: How does your first album differentiate from your current album, both process wise and experience wise? DG: They’re very similar in terms of it’s just me in a room writing every single song by myself and playing every single instrument by myself, but they’re obviously extremely different musically. When I was 16 my worldview was very small and although I was still listening to the same music, like psychedelic rock, you would never know that cause my music was very indie pop, bubbly, bright. It’s like a snapshot of me at the time but I’ve always wanted to make psychedelic music and be The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, or the late Beatles because that’s what I always wanted to be. I mean a difference now is the music is much more mature, so are the lyrics, I’m a much better musician. The biggest difference is how much more I care about texture. I mixed more than half of this record, which I’ve never mixed my own stuff before. I wouldn’t have never thought about doing that cause it’s like an artistic death sentence but I just learned how to do it cause you have to, it’s just another skill. I also did the artwork on Memory Palace so they both carry a very DIY nature to them. M: I remember listening to “Adventures in Real Time” and thinking that it sounded very early Beatles then hearing your current and being reminded of late 60’s Beatles. DG: Yeah! It’s the before and after. To me I’ve always wanted to make that music since I was young so bad, I just didn’t have the mental tools or the confidence
to make music like that. To me as a kid it was sole to me that it had to be a radio single, it’s gotta be this, it’s gotta be that. I let a lot of that get to me. But I was really happy I was able to discard that and just make what was in me which everyone wants to do, and I feel like if it’s gonna be a radio single it’s not gonna be because they tried to make it a radio single. It’s gonna be something that came honestly out of you. People can tell. The thing that finally gave me the confidence to go to the top was the record in between that second “Dylan Gardner” record which I don’t like mostly because of the experience of everything. It makes a lot of people happy but to me it’s like a shit stain. Because it just got so far away from what I wanted it to be. When I was 16, I truly was making music that was from my heart. And when I was 18 making Almost Real, I was making the music in my heart no doubt cause I’m writing all these songs and there’s some songs that I’m really proud of but I was making them with this subconscious umbrella of this “needs to sell,” this “needs to be commercial,” “this needs to be top 40,” and to me that’s the artistic kiss of death. Once I got off Warner Brothers, I was like I gave into the pop machine and I have nothing to show for it. I learned that lesson very young as an 18-year-old. Like this is a chance to undo that and truly make what’s in my heart. Whether it sells or not, whether it’s anything. It’s an uphill battle and it’s just what you have to do. That is what put the confidence to make Memory Palace. I made a lot of recordings between that and essentially made a third album that had a pinkie toe in the direction where I’m heading now. It was cool and everything but a lot of the stuff I did on there never came out because I realized this is transitional. I’m dipping my toe in the water and I just need to jump in. So, I made the hard decision. I spent so much money making
that third record. And I was like “I can’t put it out, you have to put out something that is real. Scrap the whole thing, start it over,” and that’s what memory palace is and that’s what this new album is. Now I’m at a place of Zen and happiness because I’m just making the music of my brain. It just flows out so naturally M: What inspired you to change genres from pop to psychedelic? DG: That was the music I’ve been listening to my whole life. I just always gravitated towards psychedelia. When I was a kid The Beatles, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, and the Zombies were huge on me. And I really got into their songwriting while starting to gravitate towards psychedelic work without truly knowing what psychedelia was. I just loved the world. It was just so magnetizing to me. I started to say to myself “man, I wish I can make that music then I would be happy,” but why don’t I? Really nothing is stopping me except the mental crutch that I think it’s not gonna sell. I then said screw that. I was just like “stop. Just make music, stop fighting it and make psych music,” and when I did it was the best feeling ever. It just feels so natural for me, it’s where I belong, where I feel happy. M: What was the inspiration behind Memory Palace? DG: It came about as I was finishing up my album. I finished them at the same time. I wanted to have an EP or something out that people can live with until I get the album perfected. The inspo was that I saw a group of songs that didn’t make the album in terms of it just didn’t fit with the track listing and the flow of music I wanted. It was the first time I had great songs that didn’t make the album so I put those aside and wrote some new ones like “Feeling Better’’ and “Quicksand ” and I did a cover of one of my favorite songs of all time “Parachute” by Sean Lennon. I wanted it to be a bite size experience that felt like an album. I was really proud of it and it really flowed together well. And I remember just piecing the track list together and I’m really proud of that EP. M: What was the writing process like for the songs?
DG: The most interesting one was “New York Times” because Syndie Jo, who sings on that song, first of all I’ve never done a duet before and she was someone who I met on Instagram because we liked each other’s music. She started following me around Adventures in Real Time and was one of the first “fans,” but we always stayed in touch. I really liked her voice. I was like “Man, there’s something about your voice and I really wanna do a song with you.” And I asked her “Do you wanna do like Facetime and try to write something? Do you have anything that you don’t wanna play for anybody? Something you wrote that you’re scared of playing,” and she says, “Well there’s one thing” and she plays 5 sec of it. “I lost my heart in the New York Times” and I was like “What? Dude that’s a great melody. Let’s work on that.” And she says, “Oh it’s not about anything, I don’t have a verse.” And I said, “No let’s figure it out.” So, we looked at the first couple lines she had, and I said, “Let’s make this song about touring, about going around the world.” And the sense of adventure but also of loneliness. So, we wrote that song over Facetime and that’s probably the most fun writing story. “Feeling Better” I was just walking out the door and I got that melody and played it on piano. The end of the song was how it was written initially. Played it on piano and it just came out. Most of my songs I don’t remember writing cause it happens so fast. A song like “Quicksand” I read a story about a guy who shot a lover of his girlfriend and was running from the police and some version of a gang, he was just wanted in every direction and I thought it was really interesting story I wanted
to try my hand out on like a story song. Something that was just very visual. I was watching a lot of desert movies and I thought it was just a fun invention of taking the psychedelia feel to the desert as a story. I think that those are the most interesting stories I can think of. M: Personally, I think this album sounds more authentically you compared to the other albums. DG: Yeah. I’m not like trying. It always sounded like I was trying in a bad way. That is the first thing that I have heard from a lot of people. Like “This is so you,” like verbatim. It hits the nail on the head on what I’m talking about. I’ve been listening to that type of music my whole life, that’s who I am but it wasn’t the music that was coming out of me. It was a very disjointed thing I had to adjust. I wish I could go back to when I was 16 and shake myself and be like you have an opportunity to do this back then but everything happens for a reason. M: Do you have anything else to add or announce? DG: Yeah. I have a new record coming in 2021. We’re putting out a new vinyl 45’ with a label called Hypnotic Bridge in November (2020) and a new music video which is shot in 8 mil which will be cool and two new songs coming out in November. But yeah, we’ll have our album out in 2021. Look out for Communicant’s new album coming in 2021 and check out their current EP Memory Palace which is out now.
THE TIKTOK CHALLENGE
How a social media app is revamping the music industry Story, Photo, and Design by Michelle Ibañez Like every single social media app before it, TikTok specializes in the sharing of content created by its users. Ranging between funny, sad, bizarre, or questionable videos. Most of its users thrive in the ability to share short-timed videos, and the content can be either very outrageous or very lazy. It’s really hard to concise in words the amount of content and things someone can do with TikTok. It feels a lot safer to go with Instagram, where photo sharing and video producing is very straightforward, or with Twitter, where things are a bit more serious, and let’s not forget Snapchat, where it’s a lot more private and also a little sketchy. As an emerging source of entertainment, TikTok holds the same group of people that make up most of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Influencers. Usually people with a significant amount of money, or sometimes none, looking for stardom in the one city that guarantees it. As stated earlier, the creation of content for TikTok can be really lazy or really complicated, just like with anything that goes up on the internet, a single moment can make you go viral. Take into account Brittany Broski, or better known as “Kombucha Girl,” whose rise to TikTok fame came after a single video of her considering kombucha. 16 | Basement
The complexity of TikTok is sometimes easier to perceive when you watch videos where you can realize that the content creator put effort into making it. Another thing that sets TikTok apart from other platforms is the fact that your feed, the part of the app where you get your “information” from is already fed to you through an algorithm based on things you’ve interacted with. The “For You Page” allows newcomers to see either the most viral videos or the ones that have been hashtagged that way. It allows for virtual socialization without the actual socializing that usually comes embedded in social media platforms, which is an example of how this site falls into pop culture and plays the power card in American society.
can now share their talents and become the center of a viral sensation, landing deals with companies left and right, just Google Charli D’Amelio and Dunkin Donuts, for example. Homemade DJ’s, as I like to call them, have been on the rise. Remix after remix will flood your feed even if you don’t interact with it. It’s not your usual remixes either, can you imagine the Fugees’ Killing Me Softly as a rave song? You don’t have to, it actually exists! Bruno Mars and Melanie Martinez? Yep. Even better, Doja Cat and Paul Anka? Man, do I have news for you!
But one thing that TikTok has exponentially contributed to is the rise of music. Now you may be asking yourself, music already existed before TikTok, didn’t it? Yes, but the complexity of the app goes beyond videos like Kombucha Girl, because as you’re reading this, the app itself is paving the way for up-and-coming artists.
Remember at the beginning of the COVID-19-induced quarantine when everyone turned to TikTok to do the dance challenge to Doja Cat’s Say So? By May of 2020, Miss Doja’s song peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart after the disco-inspired pop song was the theme of one of the app’s most popular dance challenges. Created by Haley Sharpe, who’s following count surpasses the millions, the dance was among those that catapulted Charli D’Amelio and others to viral stardom.
Many hopeful musicians have taken to TikTok, whose shareable features and know-it-all algorithm are at the top of the game, to create their own musical content. It could’ve all started with one singing video, or an acoustic cover of a popular song, people all over the world
While the dance and the app are mostly tied to Gen Z and under, TikTok has also allowed old music to enter the mainstream online wave. Songs like Britney Spears’ Gimme More, Mike Posner’s Please Don’t Go, oldie but goodie Rasputin by Boney M, and even
Billy Joel made it on there. The app has blessed a new generation of online users with generations old of music content. One word of advice though, don’t ask your young, wannabe-e-kid family members to tell you who Lauryn Hill is… This past year, TikTok has become the one social media platform that has probably given America the hope that things could be okay, at a time where the world was going through political and economical changes, and yes, living through a pandemic that has pretty much changed the dynamic in which people interact with one another. TikTok allowed people to breathe a little easier and remember that things could be a lot worse. In an article published by The New York Times, titled How TikTok Is Rewriting the World, writer John Herrman explains that TikTok “questions the primacy of individual connections and friend networks. It unapologetically embraces central control rather than pretending it doesn’t have it.” Meaning it allows for its users to build a brand with no audience, no friends to help. Different from others, TikTok challenges the idea that you already have to have an audience in order to thrive in its platform. “TikTok... encourages users to jump from audience to audience,
trend to trend, creating something like simulated temporary friend groups, who get together to do friend-group things: to share an inside joke; to riff on a song; to talk idly and aimlessly about whatever is in front of you.” Herrman explained. This is a jab at the power dynamics and the popularity contest that has been fermented in social media platforms. Whoever makes the best content wins likes and more followers, but in TikTok, this idea goes out the window. Yes, people can follow you if they enjoy your content and want to see more of you, but it’s not really that necessary when you can add a hashtag or it floats away into the internet space, people will see it eventually. Funny enough, even though you don’t need an audience to start creating, the ability for users to build their brand and monetize out of it is easy. Kombucha girl has gotten several features in media organizations, up-and-coming makeup artists have gotten brand deals with big makeup brands, and let’s not forget the pop culture references all of these will be part of. TikTok ultimately seems to play a heavier role in American pop culture than other apps before it ever played, it has completely changed the game for content creators, so much that even Trump battled its relevance in society, but that’s another story for another day. Titan Radio | 17
Story by Michael Quintero Photo Illustration by Michael Quintero Photo Credit: Unsplash Design by Michael Quintero
18 | Basement
Skateboarding and music go hand and hand. You could have a rad part but also the music has to match the skating or personality. People outside the skate world may see a skate video a just a video about skating, but it is more cinematic than that. Having said that, here are some videos I grew up watching and turned me on to some cool music. Baker 3 (Baker): 2005 Definitely one the best intros songs in skate history, starting off with “I Can’t Hardly Stand It” by The Cramps. The heavy guitar riffs match the antics and rebellion of the Baker team. Reason why this makes the list is not only is Baker 3 one of the best videos of the early 2000’s but song selection from “Glamorous Glue” to Antwan Dixon nollie flipping Carlsbad Gap to Notorious BIG’s “Let’s Get It On.” And now everytime I hear Lou Reed’s “Street Hassle” all I can think about is the Baker video. The video not only has bangers in clips but Dustin Dollin showing off his rail tricks while half-drunk to “Downfall” by Children of Bodom and Bryan Herman ending the video off with David Bowies “The Width Of A Circle” makes you feel some type of way.
Screen Shot Credit: Baker Skateboards
Misled Youth (Zero): 1999 One of the gnarliest skate videos of the bunch and probably the 90’s. Misled Youth did a good job in song choice with style of skating. This video is full of big stair sets, big rails, and gnarly slams. Erik Ellington doing his notorious big spins to front boards while Slayer’s “South of Heaven” is blasting in the background makes you want to get up and hit a stair set. Of course Jamie Thomas absolutely killed it but changed the vibe up skating to The Who “Baba O’Riley” and a snippet of “The End” by The Doors. Aside from the two bangers in the video, there are some lowkey songs that slap. Modest Mouse “Shit Luck,” The Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Black Flag “Fix Me,” and Pailhead “I Will Refuse.” There is a ton of metal and other rock n roll mixed it but the video itself is one of the gnarliest of the 90’s so makes sense.
Screen Shot Credit: Zero Skateboards Titan Radio | 19
Did you really think I wasn’t going to put a Toy Machine soundtrack in here? The problem was, which one? All things aside Welcome to Hell is in my opinion the best Toy Machine video.
blow s! Have you eve n seen
Welcome To Hell (Toy Machine): 1996
Elissa Steamer graceful skating and vibing to The Sundays “You’re not the only one I know” then switching it up to a tour montage with the late Van Halen slaying to “I’m the one” then to Brian Anderson’s part along with “Another Brick in The Wall PT 2,” what more could you ask for? Oh yeah Ed Templeton and then maybe the best part of the 90’s with Jamie Thomas just send this video straight to the devil himself. Templeton kicks it up a notch with Sonic Youth’s “Titanium Expos,” and is it just me or is Sonic Youth and Interpol just the perfect bands for skate parts? Not much to say about Thomas’ part beside you fucking killed it and did you expect anything else besides Iron Maiden to a Thomas part? “Hallowed Be Thy Name” has that creepy feel with that slow intro into just gnaliness only from one of the best skaters of all time.
Screen Shot Credit: Toy Machine Skateboards
Yeah Right! (Girl): 2003 Of course, you knew there would be a Girl soundtrack in here, but this was tough to choose from, whether it be Mouse, Goldfish, or even Pretty Sweet, but I think Yeah Right! kills it on this one. Brian Anderson skating to Interpol “Obstacle 1” Marc Johnson or MJ (yes there is an MJ in skating) getting technical with “Love with Tear Us Apart” or a young Jeremey Rodgers, before the cringe rap albums, skating to the other MJ “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” and the list goes on. And who could forget the Koston and McCrank back to backs. McCrank jamming to “Deceptacon” by Le Tigre and Koston punking an homeless man in his intro to ending with a 360 filp, noseblunt on the handrail to Frank Black “Los Angeles.” 20 | Basement
Screen Shot Credit: Girl Skateboards
That’s Life (Foundation): 2004 One of the most underrated videos and soundtracks, probably because this video was definitely the one your parents didn’t want you to see. Kicking it off with King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” and the iconic face slam by Corey Duffel in the intro mixed with fights and other slams. Leo Romero’s part is one of the best hitting his gnarly rail sets to “Between Us & Them” by Moving Units fits right in. The whole video has this punk rock alternative feel to it from Moving Units “PDA” by Interpol and “Alive” by Ima Robot. Also, if you don’t know Ima Robot then just stop reading here.
Screen Shot Credit: Foundation Skateboards
Bag OF Suck (Enjoi): 2006 The Enjoi team is the epitome of skating with your best buds and Bag of Suck is easily one of the most creative and fun videos of all time. Louie Barletta hitting a tailslide on a snapped board while skating to Rod Steward’s “Young Turks” is easily my favorite part. But, Jerry Hsu full on slammed the video down with technically switch the bank sessions and manual combos needed two songs to fulfil his insane part. Cass McComb’s “Sacred Heart” and Sonic Youth’s “Superstar” fit in so perfectly with Hsu’s weird edgy part. The video has a diverse set of songs from “Hip Hop” by Dead Prez and “Going Up The Country” by Canned Heat. Also this video just makes me happy, music and skating wise. So if you’re feeling down? Throw this video on.
What Didn’t Make The Part
Screen Shot Credit: Enjoi Skateboards
If I had more pages all these videos would be included but I only have some much room. But needless to say, these six videos rip. Go watch them, like now.
This Is Skateboarding (Emerica): 2003
Fully Flared (Lakai): 2007
Sorry (Flip): 2002
Baker Has A Deathwish (Deathwish): 2008
Video Days (Blind): 1991
Photosynthesis (Alien Workshop): 2000 Titan Radio | 21
Story by Daniel Lozano and Michael Quintero Photos by Michael Quintero Design by Michael Quintero
The Indie Kids Aren’t Alright
Indie is thrown around so much, to describe hipsters or edgy people. But, at the end of the day an indie artist or musician is an independent artist, so someone who puts out their music themselves without having a label to put out their music. The term indie is weird to throw around but I don’t think anyone has a true definition of it, but this is as close as we can get to it. Anyways we both decided to interview each other on some indie bands and we can tell you some of these answers are going to be highly controversial. Just remember this is our OPINION, so don’t whine when we say an artist lame. Get over it. Most overrated artist Daniel: This is going to get super controversial but I think The Garden is overrated. I’m just going to say it. I listen to their music and so much of it is hit or miss. Some are actually really good songs and some are like if I was at a circus, with screaming, barking, you know crazy noises. But, I can appreciate that, I can appreciate that in some songs but I think in some of them it is just like ‘what is this?’ I think I respect their solo projects much more than The Garden. 22 | Basement
My second overrated artist is Omar Apollo, that guy. His first ep or album that came out was good, it was really good, I liked it. But, everything after that and how much he gets hyped up on Twitter I just don’t know. At this point I think he’s more of like a sex icon than an actual good indie artist. I listened to his new music, not good. Not good at all. Michael: I also think I will get a lot of hate on this one, but I think Gus Dapperton has just fallen off. I’m still a huge fan of Gus, but his last two albums have
just gone to what I would hear on KROC. I just walked into Vans to buy shoes the other day and I heard “First Aid” on the speakers and I was just like really? Not saying he is a shitty artist now, but just the way people hype him up now thinking he is still underground is wack to me. I think Orca and Where Polly People Go To Read both have so many skippable songs compared to Yellow and Such and his older stuff. This may be a little of a hot take but I think people like Rex Orange County
(Alexander James O’Connor) are just people who are told to like him. If you truly listen to Rex, so many of his songs are just so skippable or just sound the same. Don’t get me wrong I can throw on a song and it will put me in a good mood and it is really chill music, but I feel ever since he got cool with Tyler the Creator that whole fanbase is like he’s cool. Also please don’t get me started with the Tyler the Creator fanbase, that is a whole other story. Most Underrated artist Michael: I have two artists, Goth Babe and SadGirl. I honestly think all indie artists are underrated so these two could be properly rated or whatever, but every show or festival I got to had both these artists super low on the flyer. Which I think is really disrespectful. Goth Babe “Griff Washburn” has changed his music so much but I think he really has kept this vibe of garage rock to a vibey synth sound that is not respected. Same for SadGirl, I remember seeing them at Viva Pomona back in 2017 and they played early as fuck compared to most the artists. I think they should have blown up way faster than The Frights or SWMRS. But, that is my opinion. Glad to see them get some recognition when Water came out. Daniel: I think one underrated artist is Frankie Cosmos, I think she pioneered so much of what bedroom pop is right now. And didn’t get any of the credit she deserves. You have Sales, who has similar sounds, and then you had Clario. She really blew up with the bedroom pop and I feel that blow up should have gone to Frankie Cosmos or Sales or someone like that. It just makes me a little upset that Frankie Cosmos has much more quality than Clario and much more depth to her music than Clario. Who would you have play at your funeral? Daniel: I think if I really want people to feel depressed, I think maybe Alex G. Yeah let’s go with Alex G and he can play any song. I think any song he plays can really bring the house down and make people start rethinking their life and what they thought of me. I really hope they’d
start bursting into tears. But, also I don’t think I would want anyone too cool their because I would be dead. I want to be there to experience it and not be dead. If my friends are going to enjoy it, I would want to be there too. I’d just be salty about it, like damn they played only because I died. You know, when I was younger I would imagine if I were to ever start dying and to make a wish, I would always think of what bands I’d want to play. I would tell myself for the longest time if I ever ended up in that situation I would have Inner Wave come to my hospital bed and play the same song for hours until I passed away. I don’t know why I had that in my head but yeah. Michael: So I don’t consider them an indie band but I think Future Islands fits in for playing at my funeral. I’m just saying on a rainy day thrown on any Future Island song and you’re definitely contemplating why you are living the way you live. Almost the way when you get really high off weed and look in the mirror and contemplate your entire life. Also to hear Samuel T. Herring do his hardcore growl and his stage performance… life changing. I mean I would be dead but still. But, if I wanted to bring the mood up, I would probably have the Allah-Las play. Mostly because the vibe is really chill and I have some crazy stories about every time I’ve seen them live. But, I’ll leave those stories in my grave. What artist or band do you think is the smelliest? Daniel: I don’t think Mac DeMarco showers. I remember watching some interviews where he said he wears the same pants for like five days, same underwear for days and he just flips them out as many times as he could. I think we both mutually agree that Mac DeMarco smells. Like one of the worst artists out there, he just doesn’t look clean. The Frights too. Their lead singer just looks really sweaty all the time. Michael: I think we both mutually agree that Mac DeMarco is a smelly person. I remember seeing a Nardwuar interview where he put his thumb in his butt at
a show and actually sucked on it later in the show. So that goes to show he doesn’t give a shit. I think FIDLAR probably smells pretty gnarly. But, FIDLAR back on their self titled album and second album era. I think mostly because they are skate rats on top of playing shows, so they don’t really care to smell nice. But I back FIDLAR, fuck it. Also I think Clementine Creevy of Cherry Glazerr might smell. More so she looks like she doesn’t wear deodorant for health reasons. I don’t know but she does go hard on stage too. Who is/are the biggest posers? Daniel: I feel the biggest poser could coincide with any industry plant you know? Because that is basically what they are. For me, I’m going with The Wallows. Not that I don’t like their music but, I think they’re just posers. I think they make music strictly for coming of age movies. They music strictly for when you’re 17 years old, and you think the world revolves around you and you’re in some type of movie. It’s just like teenage moody, whatever this and whatever that. Michael: I think there are quite a bit of artists that do it just for the fact of getting laid or just to make it by copying other artists. But I see Clario as a poser. I think she is ripped off some artists like you said before, and she just seems like she’s not there for the music and rather cash in on a genre. Also pretty funny you said Wallows, when Clario is a feature on their biggest song. I have so many others but I also think Slow Hollows is more in it for just that weird hipster vibe now. I liked them when they first came out but ever since Austin Anderson got on that Tyler the Creator track and then they totally changed their sound to this poppy lame sound. Also why do all their songs start out with a question? We probably hurt some feelings today from fans or bands, but at the end of the day who cares. This is all opinion based and if you want to cry about it, then cry on the Internet and see where that gets you. Titan Radio | 23
After years of so called wasted years, I chose the academic life, but did I make the right choice? Story, Photo, and Design by Michael Quintero
24 | Basement
I wake up in my friend’s living room, freezing with a bomber jacket as a blanket. I check my phone, it’s 7 a.m. The night before was Valentine’s Day, but I don’t remember going inside to sleep. Usually the house is off limits and we only partied in the back house. My stomach is eating its insides, my throat is raw from the brand new pack of cigarettes I finished, and my head is pounding. But this was a normal feeling for me at this point in my life. I hear noises and talking upstairs, I walk in on my friends having a three-way with a fourth person passed out next to them. I close the door and try to think of what happened the night before. My friends set another friend on fire and then shaved his head and eyebrows for acting like a drunk asshole at the party. Seems reasonable, but when I tell this story to my academic friends they look at me like I’m nuts. Yet, nights like these were very much normal to me. Later that day we started drinking before noon, and by the end of the night we ended up at a casino in San Diego. Drunk in the backseat I realized this is day four of my bender. The next morning I wake up to the same situation. Stomach growling, raw throat, head pounding. I remind myself of this story often because that was when I decided I should probably go back to school. I had previously dropped out after my second semester at Citrus College, in 2012. I re-enrolled in the fall of 2015. Later I dropped out again after my dad passed away, but that is a whole other story. Between the ages of 18 to 22, my life may have seemed like shit. I mean, maybe after reading the story above
you may think this person is a piece of shit, low life,but actually, I think these years were the building blocks for my creativity. Yes, I was drinking or smoking weed just about everyday. But I was also taking photos, painting, and collabing on art shows with the friends I grew up with. I look back at those times and I was pushing boundaries with my photos. Pictures of the party scene in Rancho Cucamonga. But after my dad passed away, I felt like I needed to do something to make my mom proud. So I went back to school, and the first photo class I took was the best decision I made; at the time. The photo teacher absolutely loved my photos and saw creativity in them. But as I went through the motions of school, more and more teachers would put me down on my style and subject choice of photos. I still pushed through and somehow got accepted to CSUF with a 2.88 GPA. I was also accepted to SF state and CSULB. They must have mixed up my applications. Now as I finish school, I’ve learned that the academic system has actually made me less creative. I thought going to a four-year school would actually expand my creativity,but my time at CSUF actually set me back. I do have a whole lotta love for CSUF because it wasn’t entirely negative. But as I look back on what I was doing in my so-called “shitty years,” I’ve just seen my artistic skill change to a more mainstream vibe. Just to pass classes or to be accepted. As I got older, I learned to swallow my pride a bit more when teachers kept telling me “this isn’t going to get you hired.” I was told my art wasn’t working for today’s society, and a 19-year-old Michael said in his head “fuck that,”
and left the class. Though I did finish my undergrad and I do have something to show for it, I’m writing this for the kids and young adults who came from my position. For the people who didn’t grow up with the nice cars or fancy equipment. School can be for you, but it also doesn’t need to be. Honestly after these four years, I’m not my authentic self anymore, and that is academia for you. Grades are based on biased opinions, only once did I have an art teacher or journalism teacher who was Mexican or Hispanic. That is a problem. And maybe I could fix that with this degree. But, the question I keep asking myself is did I choose the right life? The answer is yes and no. No in the sense that I could have stuck to my roots and created something original and authentic. No in the way that I was nothing but judged in academia. No in the way my background was seen as someone who shouldn’t be at a four-year institution. And yes in the sense that I could use this rather negative experience to fix what is wrong with academia. Yes in the way I can use this as motivation rather than dwell on wasted years. At the end of the day, the point I would like to get across is, don’t follow what society is telling you to do. School is great, but if you’re doing it because that is what you think society wants then don’t do it. If your life is waking up on cigarette burned couches and forgetting the night before, that’s ok. We all go through it, but stay motivated. For the creatives that are lost, you will find your way. Choose the life you want, and not the life society wants you to have.
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Fun Fact :
You’re NOT YOUR parents’ One thing to remember about growing up is how you never stop. Sounds depressing, right? But it’s the truth. I don’t generally apply this idea to myself, since I mostly don’t think about me growing up. I’m just living my life. It’s not really like I watch myself do it, I just do it. No, I actually apply this to my parents. My parents have always been amazing parents, but their internal problems have always gotten in the way of us having clear communication. My dad moved back and forth between Mexico and California when he was younger, and my mom had a difficult relationship with her mother. It’s hard to think of them as anything other than my parents, but for me to be at peace with not just myself, but with them. I have to remind myself that they’re humans, with their own minds and hearts, and they have to deal with stuff on their own either because of their culture or for their childrens’ sake. I went to Mexico recently, and while it was mostly all sunshine and rainbows, I realized a lot of things, and that was all the unresolved trauma my family has. Therapy is not an option since Mexicans like to sweep their problems under the rug, and talking about it receives blank stares and an echale ganas mijo. So where does all that pent up frustration go to? To others. It’s usually projected towards the less undeserving: the sons and daughters.
I have to remind myself that their frustrations with several other factors are not my doing, in fact I have to protect not only me but also my siblings for the extra emotional labor we sometimes have to go through in order to keep our family at a peaceful bay. It makes it harder, but I refuse to let their traumas become mine. I can, to an extent, try to understand them, but it becomes harder and harder at times when stress from school, responsibilities and a minimum wage job come into play. So how do we go about this? I don’t know actually. Weirdly enough, I’ve learned that doing the opposite of not talking is better. While in my culture I’ve been conditioned to just act like it never happened, that just builds on to the problem, never addressing it is never going to make it go away. If I speak up, it’s more likely that I’ll cause a scene but I’ve noticed that it actually makes them think about what they’ve done. I’ve kind of made it my mission,
Story by Michelle Ibañez Illustration by Jade McIntyre Design by Michelle Ibañez
actually, to call them out. Respectfully, of course, they have helped me exponentially throughout my life. But I think calling them out has definitely made them think twice without overreacting or projecting their own problems at me or my siblings. I think it’s safe to say I’ve refereed this well, but there are still a lot of things to work on, not just them, but also me. I can be a little mean sometimes. Extra emotional labor is exhausting. It drains the life out of you. It makes me doubt and overthink, and I don’t want that. I want to help them, but I have to stay out of it sometimes. All I can do is remind them that I’m not there to cause them harm, I’m just growing up, living my life, trying to figure it out while I still have the time. Whatever that means. I am not my parents’ trauma, and as much as I want to take away all their fears and pain, I don’t want to carry their trauma. It’s not mine to deal with. It should never be. Titan Radio | 27
Nobody Taught Me How To Grieve Story by Areeba Kaukab Photo by Michael Quintero Design by Michael Quintero
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I recently received some of my uncle’s belongings so my family can try and make up for the fact that I was not there when he died from cancer. I sit and look at his glasses, the ones that rested on his face the day he died, trying to catch a glimpse at what he saw and knew. I wasn’t able to see him and I wasn’t able to hug him one last time. But I sit here holding his glasses, grasping on to the only thing of his I have left. My uncle dying was the biggest shock of not only this year but my life. So I’m not even sure if I’m reacting normally? Does grief just stick around? Like a stray dog? Do I feed it? Do I walk it? What do I do with it? It just follows me around everywhere I go wanting every ounce of attention I’m willing to give it. I wake up feeling like I can’t breathe, there are moments of inexplicable dread that envelope my heart. Then regardless of how I feel, I must tread on, go to work, finish my assignments, and fake a smile for my closest confidants. No one prepared me for how ongoing life will be regardless of what events have occurred. I still have to wake up and smile like everything’s okay. There has been so much grief to deal with this year, with people dying of sickness and people being killed from racial inequalities. All of this combined made me realize that learning how to cope with grief and death should be taught to us in abundance. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but I feel like this year pulled a rug out from under me, and under that rug was a black hole with no means to an end. How do I make sure I am giving myself room to grieve? Everyone says things like “take time and come back to normal life when you’re ready.” But, will I ever be ready? What even is “normal” life anymore?
How do you expect me to take time when life is clearly fleeting by and ending right before my eyes? I understand the negativity is oozing in this piece and I apologize, but my truth is, grief is confusing. I grieve every day, as of recently it’s been for my uncle. Before that, it was for the people dying at the hands of police brutality and COVID-19. How does anyone cope with grief when it is not in small doses. When it is in fact in large vats of oozing, bubbly, and gooey fragments of sadness and reality. My uncle brightened my life in ways I didn’t realize until he died and I will have to live with those dim pieces for a while. I don’t feel like ending this piece with an uplifting ending because I’m not there yet. Though, I will leave with one piece of advice I have learned is to honor who you or what you’re grieving for. Honor that grief by being actionable, and putting your mind into healthy and sustainable spaces. For me, I started educating myself more to better combat racist ideologies and to be a better ally. I also started putting a harder focus on school because nothing made my uncle smile like education did. He was so proud that I was graduating this May and all I wanted to do was sleep for the rest of my school year. Though the blueprint of the way his eyes crinkled every time he smiled when I talked about my ambitions is stamped into my brain, my grief turned into small facets of life and communication; goals to be completed rather than be avoided. These actionable things can be anything and personal because that’s what grief is. I don’t know when I’ll personally be able to overcome my grief but I might come to the realization that I might not even want to.
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An Ode To Black Mamba Story and Photos by Landy Waight Design by Michael Quintero About two weeks after the Los Angeles Lakers secured their 17th franchise championship, I took a trip to Downtown LA to watch the Dodgers try and win another championship for the city (which they eventually did). While there, I walked the streets surrounding the Staples Center, looking at all the murals dedicated to Kobe Bryant. Still high on the Lakers winning the title, I couldn’t help but feel proud. Proud that we had found our way back to greatness after a decade of defeat. Proud that the Lakers and Dodgers won it all in what’s considered one of the craziest years in sports and life. Most of all, I was proud that Angelos celebrated a championship the year we lost our most loved player of all time. When Kobe passed away earlier in the year, I knew that the only real way to honor him was to win a championship. Yeah, everyone would understand if the Lakers didn’t pull it off, it was a rough year but deep down the city knew. We all knew that Kobe Bean Bryant cared about one thing and one thing only, championships, this one’s for you Bean.
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Story, Photos, and Design by Michael Quintero I remember about a year or two ago after a night of partying with a new group of friends, and the next morning they all said they wanted to get ramen and a beer in Highland Park. I said, “You want to go to Highland Park for ramen?”
at in the 70’s and 80’s. My mom went to Franklin High, embarrassed to say where she lived, she would tell her friends she lived on the border of South Pas, so it seemed like she lived in Pasadena.
Given I haven’t been to Highland Park since my mom showed me the house she grew up in, and that had to be in the early 2000’s. They replied with something along the lines of “Yeah HP has so many vegan spots.” I never thought I’d hear that phrase in my life.
So, when I heard ramen and they had vegan burger spots in Highland Park, I had to check it out for myself. Apparently a lot has changed since my last visit, including a barber shop/record store, Owl’s drug store turned into a bookstore, and Franks camera turned into trendy butcher shop.
I remember hearing stories of White Fence gang hanging around Highland Park and typically wasn’t the spot to be
My mom was actually in tears seeing her whole childhood stripped down for tofu burgers and high end thrift shops.
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Gentrification at its best huh? There are ups and downs to gentrification, but to the point where you need to have a $20 black bean burger stand to take over a mom and pop bakery, I think that is a problem. Even visiting my moms old house resulted in a “yeah right you used to live here” from a white entitled family. Which is the vibe I got from most people in Highland Park now. It went from White Fence or the Avenues walking the streets to hipster couples walking Golden Doodles. So here’s some photos of the places I remembered as a kid.
Lost its High Looks like im not the only one that noticed. Treads shop is located on Figueroa street in Downtown Highland Park
The house hasn’t changed one bit, except for the community around it.
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Owls drugstore is now a bookstore. They still kept the sign to trick the returning folks.
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My Nana used to make handmade tortillas until this dairy opened up, and would send my mom down to pick up brand name tortillas. I think Nana got tired in her old age, but at least the dairy is still running.
Marcello’s Beauty shop on Figueroa street is still pushing through despite the coffee shop down the street charging $15 for an Americana. My Nana would also get her perm here in the 70’s and glad to see they still have the same hair dryers. Some things just don’t wear out.
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My mom got caught by my Tata smoking her first cigarette in the theater. Yes, you were able to smoke inside in the 70’s.
Mom’s junior high hang out spot.
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One of the newer places in Highland Park, but the drinks aren’t bad.
Franks Cameras turned into butcher shop connected to a beauty supply shop. My uncle bough his first Minolta film camera at Franks. But, I guess the new neighborhood really needs their hair dye and $20 grass fed steak. But, aren’t y’all vegan?
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Pakistan B-roll A photo journey to a foreign land Photos by Jon Budzar Design by Michael Quintero In the summer of 2018, I visited the country of my origin, Pakistan. This is a collection of photos that capture the people and the sights that I was exposed to. Every photo is taken in Quetta, Pakistan which is the capital of Balochistan,a region on the northern border of the country. I chose to edit the pictures with color because of how vibrant and diverse the region is. Enjoy.
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A father and son pose for a picture on top of a graffitied structure.
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A group of Afghani refugee children look pensively at the camera.
The view from inside a Rickshaw in Karachi, Pakistan. 40 | Basement
A man cooks bread in an underground oven, often referred to as a tandoori oven.
A man prepares to slaughter a goat for a celebratory meal.
Pakistani’s celebrate Independence Day on August 14th. Titan Radio | 41
A man looking at his phone on the top of a mountain at Ziarat National Park.
A man on a bicycle takes a joyride around the city of Quetta.
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A man sells coconut to passing cars.
A local boy stands in front of a store looking into the distance. Titan Radio | 43
Join Us If you would like to get involved, visit us in PLS-51, located in the southern basement of Pollak Library. Our station is open to the public. We also encourage you to follow our social media accounts (@titanradio) for all upcoming ticket giveaways, announcements, and events. We offer DJs applications and street team applications every semester. We also offer staff positions and internships. If you would like to get involved please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. 44 | Basement