fortnightly student magazine
volume 17 — issue 10
Aly Raisman at UMN
Q&A: Wealthy Relative
Body Positive: A Trans Latina’s Perspective
You Could Be A Victim of Sexual Assault
The Silence of Our Boys
Art by Andrew Tomten
VOLUME 17, ISSUE 10 EDITORIAL: Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Cities Editor Voices Editor Music Editor Online editor Copy editors Multimedia Editor Multimedia Producer
Emma Klingler Jake Steinberg Megan Hoff Tala Alfoqaha Liv Martin Alex Wittenberg Chris Shea Kikki Boersma Gracie Stockton Julie Malyshev
Editorial Interns: Claire Redell, Emily Ness, Farrah Mina, Hannah Haakenson, Luci Bischoff, Maya Ulrich
PRODUCTION: Executive Director Production Manager Creative Director Finance Manager PR/Ad Manager Social Media Manager Art Director Designers
Web Manager Distribution Manager
Holly Wilson Olivia Novotny Kate Doyle Rakshit Kalra Sophie Stephens Grace Steward Katie Heywood Andrew Tomten Kellen Renstrom Megan Smith Nikki Pederson Cassie Varrige
Production Interns: Darby Ottoson (PR), Jamie Rohlfing, Macie Rasmussen, Art Interns: Emily Hill, Jade Mulcahy, Jaye Ahn, Lauren Smith, Mariah Crabb, Natalie Klemond, Peyton Garcia, Sophie Stephens, Stevie Lacher
THIS ISSUE: Writers Chris Shea, Claire Redell, Farrah Mina, Jocelyn Gamble, Karl Witkowiak, Liv Martin, Marcie Rasmussen, Maya Ulrich, Megan Hoff, Megan Palmer, Morgan Benth, Sowmya Narayan, Sylvia Rani ÂŠ2017 The Wake Student Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Established in 2002, The Wake is a fortnightly independent magazine and registered student organization produced by and for students at the University of Minnesota. The Wake was founded by Chrin Ruen & James DeLong. Disclaimer: The purpose of The Wake is to provide a forum in which students can voice their opinions. Opinions expressed in the magazine are not representative of the publication or university as a whole. To join the conversation email firstname.lastname@example.org . The Wake Student Magazine 126 Coffman Memorial Union 300 Washington Avenue SE Minneapolis, MN 55455
Art 1 Jade Mulcahy, 2 Claudia DubĂŠ, 3, 4 Katie Heywood 5 Stevie Lacher, 6 Jade Mulcahy, 7 Stevie Lacher, 8 Morgan Wittmers-Graves, 9 Jade Mulcahy, 10 Morgan Wittmers-Graves, 11 Ruby Guthrie,12 Tessa Portuese, 13 Jaye Ahn, 14 Ruby Guthrie, 15 Phil Paulson, 16 Claudia DubĂŠ Cover by Will Hanson
colo r me!
Check out our artists online!
Claudia DubĂŠ claudiadubedesign.com
Katie Heywood katieheywood.com
Stevie Lacher stevielacher.com
Morgan Wittmers-Graves morganwittmers-graves. myportfolio.com
Peyton Garcia peytongarciadesign.com
Will Hanson willnhanson.myportfolio.com
Letter from the Editor
Aly Raisman at UMN
I am Somali
Body Positive: A Trans Latina’s Perspective Talking About Race in a Post-”Black Panther” Era
Art by Jennifer Moss
You Could Be A Victim of Sexual Assault
Art by Stevie Lacher
Period.MN: Tampons for All, Taboo for None
Q&A: Wealthy Relative
The Scary Undertones of Horror Movies
H&M Lawsuit: Exploiting Art for Commercial Gain
The Silence of Our Boys Six Reviews
4/19 TU DANCE and Bon Iver
Three visual artists from the Twin Cities whose work explores identity, recalls exile, and celebrates resilience
w/ Lomelda Turf Club
A soccer team of 9 girls navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. Jungle Theater
4/6-29 Mermaid Hour: Remixed
A new chamber musical exploring the gender continuum through the prism of a pre-pubescent transgender biracial girl.
Mixed Blood Theater
4/12-28 2018 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival
The largest film event in the Upper Midwest featuring more than 250 films representing over 70 countries. St. Anthony Main Theatre
4/15-29 Fund Aurora 2018
A series of events hosted by The Aurora Center - an center focused on being a resource for students, faculty, and staff in need of violence prevention education, victim advocacy, and more. University of Minnesota
Letter from the Editor It’s official – Happy Spring! As the snow slowly melts, as your classes amp up, as you trade your winter boots for sneakers, do not forget to stay involved on campus. I’m sure you know that current politics are pretty whack. During this pivotal time for our country—while we continue to reckon with sexual assault, gun violence, racism and hate—it’s important to do more rather than less. Stand up for what you believe in and support entities that can impact the world positively. While I step down from my soapbox, I have one crucial thing to share. This issue is a very special one. The Wake has partnered with the Aurora Center to bring you an issue dedicated to supporting the center in its efforts to be an invaluable resource for victims of sexual assault on the U’s campus. If you are not familiar with the Aurora Center, it is located in Appleby Hall. Its mission is to spearhead educational programming that will create awareness around consent, sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking on campus. The Aurora Center is a very important institution on campus because it provides free and confidential services to victims of sexual assault. The Aurora Center provides necessary services for students. Given this invaluable resource, we want to show the University just how much we care about and need the Aurora Center. So, we need your help. During the week of April 15 to 21, we ask you to participate in “Fund Aurora.” As part of this initiative, the Wake will be hosting a concert, called The Sound of Aurora, on Wednesday, April 18 at the Whole Music Club in Coffman. Come dance the night away to music by Bruise Violet and Sapphire and laugh until it hurts with comedian Kate McCarthy. Tarana Burke, the original creator of the #MeToo movement, said, “As a community, we create a lot of space for fighting and pushing back, but not enough for connecting and healing.” This is all the more reason to support the Aurora Center and this meaningful cause. Can you think of a better time than right now to give a damn about providing education to the masses and a safe space for victims of sexual assault? I can’t! Join us in supporting the Aurora Center during April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Liv Martin Music Editor
APR 9—APR 22
Aly Raisman at UMN Aly Raisman Speaks on Sexual Assault and the #MeToo Movement BY MAYA ULRICH Aly Raisman, Olympic athlete and medalist, came to speak at Coffman Memorial Union on Saturday, Mar. 24. This event was hosted by the University of Minnesota Student Unions and Activities and Minnesota Hillel, in partnership with The Aurora Center, the Interfraternity Council, and the Panhellenic Council UMN. While Raisman gave many supporting tributes to feminist movements in her talk, such as Time’s Up and #MeToo, she did not give any new insights into the discussion about sexual assault. However, she cannot necessarily be faulted for this. Her role is not really to provide new perceptions, but to raise awareness and promotion for a pre-existing conversation. As a sexual abuse survivor, she is doing the amazing, difficult task of speaking out about her abuse and experiences. She is a hugely inspirational figure that is promoting a message of support and openness— hoping for a future that blames the abuser and not the victim. Throughout her speech she shared deeply embedded themes of the importance of sharing and speaking out against instances of sexual abuse and violence, respect, leadership, and 2 support—the latter two subjects being the most overarching topics throughout the talk. “Using the power of your voice is so important right now,” Raisman said. “Whenever you decide that you are ready to come forward you will have an army of survivors ready to support you.” These all-encompassing messages are true to Raisman because she not only had to be a leader as a two-time Olympic team captain, but she also had to support herself and other survivors in the court case against Larry Nassar.
These validating sentiments seemed to be so genuine that they stirred up intense emotions and gave a very empowering overall message to the impressionable crowd to which she was speaking. Although Aly Raisman’s interview may not have enlightened the audience, it reiterated a conversation that needs to be had not only on college campuses, but everywhere.
How Naked is “Too Naked”?
Artspace Jackson Flats galleries question censorship and art BY MEGAN HOFF “Did you know that (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) flying pigs (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) kumquats (CENSORED) (CENSORED)?” This quote greeted all visitors to Artspace Jackson Flats in the past few weeks. Back in February, disagreements over displays of nude artwork sparked a conversation about art and censorship. The exhibit “Censored; Artists Respond” was on display for three Sundays in March. The Yellow Gallery contained works that were self-censored by the artists, including depictions of women with no nipples, blurred bodies, and even a dog with censored mammary glands. Just across the hall, the Gray Gallery had the offensive content on display. Naked women covered the walls, but it did not feel pornographic. One photograph showed a nude model covered in paint, while others were black and white with distorted bodies. The paintings were gorgeous. There was one portrait of a woman bathed in sunlight with streaks of blue and purple in her hair, another that was more abstract showing a woman in the shower with an exposed spine. The myriad bright colors made the canvases seem warm and cheerful, rather than grotesque and uncomfortable. One of the most interesting pieces was the statue dubbed “Porn Girl.” The artist, Christi Fumas, took hundreds of photos of women’s faces and pasted them all over a mannequin on its knees. Inspired by sex workers, she pays homage to them “because each woman on her knees has a moment where she knows her client has just erased her identity in order to get off.” Among the artwork, other quotes about censorship decorated the walls. However, the most provocative quote was in an artist’s statement. In Benjamin Wuest’s modern recreation of Michelangelo’s “Pietà,” he poses an important question: “Why should classical artwork featuring the nude figure be deemed appropriate for all ages but contemporary work considered pornographic?” In today’s increasingly bodypositive environment, artists are still looking to bridge that gap.
Body Positive: A Transgender Latina’s Perspective How Ikal Avila achieved self-love without the support of her family
BY CLAIRE REDELL Looking at Ikal Avila’s Instagram, it is nothing short of ordinary for a young woman like her. Selfies, food, and makeup looks scatter her colorful feed. A few years ago, however, her Instagram may have looked very different—Avila is transgender. Recently, she came to the University of Minnesota to share her journey of growing up as a Latina transgender woman. “Body Positive: My Personal Journey to Finding Self-Love and Acceptance as a Trans Woman of Color” was one of many events in the Queer X series by the Gender and Sexuality Center on campus. Past and future events put on by Queer X can be found on their Facebook, along with additional resources and contact
information for those who are interested. Born male, Avila grew up in Guatemala, and migrated to California at the age of four. “I knew that I was different,” Avila stated, explaining her fondness for women’s fashion and makeup that she developed at a young age. Avila’s reluctance to conform to her biological gender caused immediate detrimental effects to her short-lived relationship with her mother. “She would call me names and say how I ‘[wasn’t her] son.’” Avila had gender norms cemented in her head constantly, especially when expressing emotion. “That’s not a boy thing,” her mother would say, later shocked to discover that Avila was dressing in women’s clothing in secrecy. Avila only touched on the abuse that she endured but made it clear that her mother went to extremes to punish her for her choices. Oftentimes, Avila had to kneel on sharp bottle caps for hours at a time. “I couldn’t be proud of who I was … [my mother] destroyed me internally.” At the age of 17, Avila returned to her home country of Guatemala for what should have been a relaxing and heart-warming trip. Unfortunately, it was anything but that. Avila’s relatives became obsessed with pestering her for having a girlfriend—something she could not even begin to explain. “It felt like I was there for an eternity,” she said, reflecting on how discouraging and exhausting it was to be around her own family.
At 18, she was kicked out of the house. Up until that point, Avila’s mother forced her sibling to follow her everywhere to find out who her friends were and what she was doing. At a time in one’s life where self-discovery and expression are essential, Avila was patronized. Her last instruction from her 6 mother was to get a girlfriend and have a baby. “I didn’t want to be stuck in the heteronormative
way of having a girlfriend, a kid, and a family… so I said no.” In 2017, Avila was diagnosed with mild post-traumatic stress disorder, shortly after encountering her mother by accident in public. “I didn’t want to have that diagnosis,” she stated, not wanting the stigmas attached with PTSD. However, it was in that same year that Avila came out as a transgender woman. “It was a relief… [that was] the moment I was looking for.” Avila has been using hormone replacement therapy for the past nine months and has embraced the rollercoaster of emotions that has accompanied it. Avila shared her favorite Stephen Hawking quote, “If there’s life, there’s hope,” from which she was inspired to favor authenticity over all else. Today, Avila feels excitement when going to the doctor, where she can celebrate small victories as a result of her hormone therapy. Her current dreams involve being approved and scheduled for gender reassignment surgery at the Mayo Clinic, becoming a lawyer, and remaining an ally for other transgender individuals. When asked by an audience member how they could support Avila on her journey, her answer was simple—“Send me an e-mail! Talk to me on Instagram!” (her handle is @ikxl_mendozx). To her, words of encouragement are perhaps the most meaningful form of support. Additionally, Avila encouraged participants to be an ally to other transgender people by correcting others if someone is misgendered or treated in an unfair way. “What do you see yourself doing in 20 years?” someone asked. “I hope I have a lot in my 401k,” Avila said, laughing. Law school, policy work, and giving support to migrants were only a few of many things on Avila’s list of aspirations. Considering her immense amount of bravery, ambition, and passion, one can be certain that her dreams will become a reality in no time.
Talking About Race in a Post- “Black Panther” Era
6. Black heroes aren’t for everyone This one isn’t a lie. An article published in Forbes called the movie’s success “terrifying.” When a magazine with such heavy influence as Forbes puts out content that disregards the meaning behind the success of “Black Panther,” it’s clear that not everybody is seeing the big picture.
Dr. Frederick Gooding Jr. examines 9 “lies” about black heroes in Hollywood
2. Black heroes aren’t marketable. This is also false. Lexus used that iconic car chase scene in a commercial to pander to their audience, and their audience is not exactly the average middle-class American.
BY SOWMYA NARAYAN In the wake of “Black Panther’s” immense success, the U’s Office of Multicultural Student Engagement invited historian and professor Dr. Frederick Gooding, Jr. to talk about a topic that most avoid addressing—race. Dr. Gooding presented us with nine common myths about black people represented in Hollywood and evaluated whether “Black Panther” disproved them. Coming from Arizona, Dr. Gooding indicated that the feline pun in his title might have resulted from heatstroke. I decided to forgive it because the rest of his presentation was both engaging and hilarious. I personally was expecting something more serious until Dr. Gooding pulled out a lab coat and a pair of goggles and introduced himself as “The Race Doctor.” He managed to make a discussion about race lighthearted and inclusive.
3. Black movies can’t handle big budgets. This one was disproved by “Black Panther” as well. The special effects were incredible. As stated by our Race Doctor, if a movie like “Evan Almighty” cost a quarter of a billion dollars, then this black movie did a far better job handling its budget. He also touched on how, with Wakanda’s impressive technological advancements, “Black Panther” was unique in opposing the average westerner’s notion that African nations are behind the rest of the world—an important message. 4. Black women can’t be strong. How can anyone still believe this when Okoye’s character exists? Myth. Busted.
Dr. Gooding said that upon scrutinizing movies and TV shows, he began noticing patterns, such as the formulas Hollywood uses to write plots and characters that they know will keep us hooked. For example, the “Fast and Furious” saga has eight (eight!) movies in its sequence that are all basically the same thing. And yet, some people have diligently watched all of them. Hollywood doesn’t think we have high standards, so they’ve gotten lazy about their writing. The unfortunate part is that characters who are minorities are written with these formulas and end up having little depth or relatability, so they fall into stereotypes.
5. Black people can’t be villains, only thugs. Dr. Gooding asked the audience to list characteristics that distinguish villains from thugs. We came up with a checklist: a tragic backstory, an evil plan, etc. and concluded that Killmonger is a certified villain, not just some thug.
7. Blacks don’t have power over whites. After decades of only seeing white characters in positions of power in movies, it was refreshing to see at least one scene in “Black Panther” where the roles were reversed. However, Dr. Gooding points out that no superhero movies have had a main black hero and white villain, and maybe we can’t call this one a lie until this happens. 8. We’re in a post-Panther utopian society. It would’ve been nice if this movie had just solved institutionalized racism. But the reality is, we still hear a story every week about another innocent black person being killed by the police, and we shouldn’t ignore that as we’re basking in the glory of “Black Panther.” While the movie’s success is a great step for representation, this country is still far from utopian. 9. Vibranium is fake. Nope, “Black Panther” proved it’s real. Dr. Gooding says that the takeaway from his talk was that everyone should think critically about what they are watching and not be afraid to address race. We need to accept is that Hollywood doesn’t give treat people of color fairly on screen despite treating us the same at the ticket counter, and what has been lacking in representation and equality over the past century definitely hasn’t been made up for in a month by “Black Panther’s” success.
“Black Panther” has destroyed stereotypes about people of color in protagonist roles perpetuated by media. So what exactly are the lies we’ve heard from Hollywood? 1. Black movies don’t make money. This was easily shot down. “Black Panther” has made more money than “The Avengers,” and King T’challa can now claim the title of highest-grossing superhero ever. On the flipside, Dr. Gooding pointed out that the actors still don’t make nearly as much as their white counterparts despite being in other successful movies and performing exceptionally well. 5
Art by Jennifer Moss
You could be a victim of sexual assault. BY MORGAN BENTH
Art by Will Hanson
1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college
You could be a victim of sexual assault. It could happen to your best friend. Your roommate. Your signiﬁcant other. Your cousin. Your aunt. Your next door neighbor. Even one of your own parents. Those suffering in the aftermath of this callous crime are all around you. They’ve lost the ability to ever feel completely safe. They go about their day always anticipating traumatic reminders. They may feel triggered by everyday words. Harmless situations and innocuous touches can bring all the feelings of their experience back. They may be frightened to dress scantily for a night out. They leave their apartment in constant fear of seeing their assailant. Instead of jaunting home with their earbuds in, blasting their favorite song, they stay alert and look over their shoulder. These are real and valid reactions. Survivors’ trust is shattered the moment they’re taken advantage of, and their lives are never truly the same. Even though 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, sexual assault and rape remain the least reported of all violent crimes. This issue spreads across every demographic, and affects some groups of people more than others. Nearly half of all people with intellectual disabilities will experience 10 or more sexually abusive incidents in their lifetime. African American women experience intimate partner violence at a rate 35 percent higher than white women, and about 2.5 times the rate of women of other races. 41 to 60 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander women report experiencing some type of domestic violence in their lifetime. Some reports estimate that up to 66 percent of transgender people experience sexual assault. It doesn’t matter your age, income level, gender identity, race or sexual orientation. When it comes to sexual violence, the statistics clearly show that everyone is at risk.
The stories of those who have been attacked are numerous, and each as appalling as the last. Brave survivors have generously shared their stories with me for you to read. These recollections of sexual assault are depressing, but incredibly important in understanding how vulnerable these victims felt, the effect it had on their lives, and how it could have easily been someone you know. I have seen in these stories pieces that relate to my own. The naive view of the world before the attack, followed by the initial shock of the assault, coupled by the sad acceptance of its occurrence, and the aftermath of a daily struggle leftover. These stories could also just as easily be yours. These events could happen to any one of us and it is important to recognize their relevance across all identities.
Michaela, 22 at age of assault, female “Friday the 13th, January 2017. In my own bed with someone I considered one of my best friends at the time. I was drinking, he was not. A bottle of whiskey made him think I was fair game. I wanted to die.”
“November 11th 2012. Less than five months after I graduated high school. In my friend’s dorm room. The incident has plagued my life with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Samantha, 22 at age of assault, female
“What turned into confiding in the police as a safe haven, quickly turned into an unpredicted nightmare. My rapist was a police officer. He had the upper hand. He was automatically deemed the honest one while I was considered a liar. I was interrogated, questioned, emotionally torn apart and treated like a criminal. I was the victim in the situation, yet, somehow, I was the one being tracked down at work and harassed with phone calls. I felt too scared to confide in my friends. I felt too nervous to leave my apartment, but also too frightened to stay there alone. As the victim, I needed to get a lawyer to protect myself from the police who were supposed to protect me.”
TK, 12 at age of assault, female “From 1996 to 1997. In the middle of the desert. My boyfriend and his brothers. They hurt me whenever they wished for nine months. My boyfriend and his twin were 15 with their older brother being 17. I was only 12. I felt cold, alone, and worthless. But I also somehow felt guilty, like the situation was all my fault. They got me pregnant, but I lost the baby. They left me alone after that.”
MAR 26—APR 9
“I was 16 at the time of my assault. I thought since it wasn’t technically rape, I couldn’t do anything about it. I didn’t tell anyone for 6 months. When I turned 17, I was assaulted again on Easter by a guy I had been friends with since the third grade. It happened right up the street in a park I can never go to again.”
“I was a middle-aged college professor, married and six months pregnant. My assault occurred during a prenatal appointment at one of the largest and most powerful medical clinics in the Midwest. It felt like an out-of-body experience. I was in a professional space that should have been safe. I was in disbelief and terrified he would hurt my baby. It felt both like time was moving rapidly, but that it also slowed to a crawl.”
Anonymous, 16 at age of assault, male “I was raped by two college-aged men around 3 a.m. Each took his turn and was coercive. I was pulled by my arm and left in complete shock. I went into full survival mode. I was terrified and agonizing for it to end. I’ve since forgotten what happened towards the end, which I’m okay with. My chance to leave was after they left for classes. I had been 16 for about a month when the assault occurred and I did not deal with it until 39 years later after struggling with 16 years worth of anxiety and depression. It was finally explained to me that it wasn’t my fault.”
Alex, 20 at age of assault, female “I laid powerless, locked in a room in more ways than one. The walls were covered in pictures of himself, no matter where I turned, I couldn’t escape his face. My screams filled the empty apartment, echoing, reminding me that I was alone.”
Katrina, 18 at age of assault
“Homecoming day. It was two weeks into our relationship when he pulled me into the other room. It started out fun, a tryst in the dark, secluded from the mess of a party nearby, but with alcohol, the coin flipped. “Stop.” “Please stop.” I ran to the bathroom mirror and turned on the light. Bruises. Scrapes. Blood. Sudden purple, red, and blue where my tanned skin was supposed to be. He was quick to follow. Then I was on the floor. Then back in the bed. Everything was a continuous stream again. Pure adrenaline got me up, got my clothes back on, got me home. But there was no way it could have all happened. I wasn’t
assaulted, or raped, or compromised, or whatever, I was with my boyfriend and he just drank a little too much. Nothing out of the ordinary. Fast forward to Homecoming day again. I woke up to him knocking on my unlocked apartment door. He came in and immediately pushed me into my bed. Tried to take my clothes off and touch me. I asked him to stop and pushed him off me. He yelled at me for resisting what he wanted. Scolded me for not giving enough as a partner. Threw my things on the ground and walked out. He heard me call a friend, so he grabbed my phone and threw it against the wall and left. Too terrified to see him in person, I called him. I finally heard the words. “You are mine because you are my girlfriend, and I have a right to your body.” I dropped my phone. I couldn’t believe it. After the breakup, I found myself looking in the mirror at a person I didn’t know. I was living a strange alternative reality where I had no confidence, no voice, and not a speck of love in my body. I was finally diagnosed with PTSD, and spent six months in therapy. I realized the depth of what I was ignoring, and instead of resisting or running away, I started to listen and try to learn from it. It’s a nonlinear process, with lots of frustration and reinvention.” If you or someone you know is seeking help in relation to sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, or sexual harassment, the Aurora Center is an incredible resource serving those affiliated with both the University of Minnesota and Augsburg University. After an incident in March of 1986 involving three university athletes, the Aurora Center was brought into existence that July and has been providing their services, partnership, and education ever since. Along with walk-in appointments at their office in Appleby Hall from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and the 24-hour helpline that can be reached at 612626-9111, the center also facilitates support groups for sexual assault survivors, male-identified survivors, and those healing from relationship trauma as well as vying for accommodations for the individual affected and offering support during a potential reporting process. If you have experienced a form of sexual assault and are searching for a free and confidential advocate to confide in, the Aurora Center is available to assist you.
The Aurora Center is an invaluable resource for those that have experienced unspeakable trauma. It relies on a network of volunteers to satisfy the demand for its services. Still, the Aurora Center is underfunded. Fund Aurora is a student-led initiative to raise money for The Aurora Center while starting a meaningful dialogue around sexual assault on campus. Fund Aurora 2018 kicks oﬀ on April 15th.
This issue ... affects some groups of people more than others
Lexi, 16 at age of ﬁrst assault, female
Art by Stevie Lacher
APR 9â€”APR 22
Period.MN : Tampons for All, Taboo for None You knew there are hundreds of student groups on campus, but did you know there’s one for periods? BY JOCELYN GAMBLE
The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is currently home to more than 800 student groups. With this whopping quantity, it’s not surprising that there’s a wide range and thorough diversity to the nature of these student groups. With groups from “Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)” to the “Hammock Club,” there is a special interest group or potential niche to be found for just about every student. Many groups focus on religion or activism, while some exist simply for recreation and socialization. Period.MN is a relatively new student group that, in their own words, is “working to destigmatize menstruation and provide menstrual care products to local communities in need. We operate under the three pillars advocacy, education and service.” How about that. Young adults across the country are currently working to destigmatize mental health, gender bias, and more. Why not add something as natural, common, and biological as periods to the mix? Now, Period.MN doesn’t spend all of its time talking about the average woman’s menstruation experience and sharing bloody horror stories. The group strives to be active in the community by assembling period packs that are donated to local schools and prisons. They also are working to abolish the tampon tax. Now, here’s a truly revolutionary concept. What if women didn’t have to pay extra to bleed once a month in a socially acceptable manner? All kinds of students, and not just women who love to whine about their flow, should take an interest in this student group. I find it funny that women like myself have no problem scheduling a dental appointment at Boynton over the phone with a male receptionist, but when it’s a women’s health appointment, the inward cringing at mentioning menstruation to a man is second nature. This stigma was learned through environment and experience for many women. But, just because it’s hard to move past stigma and scrape away at it in daily conversation, there is no excuse to stand idly by. How can we expect women to “love and accept their bodies” if they cannot comfortably discuss all aspects of their health? Student groups like this deserve more credit and popularity for the battle they’re fighting against stigma. After all, you can complain about your three-hour chem lab to your neighbor or your awkward Uncle Todd no problem, but would you ever tell them about your 168-hour menstrual period? God forbid.
BY LIV MARTIN Dan Forke is not only a multifaceted creative, but a Wake magazine alumnus hailing from the art department. The Eau Claire, WI native, in addition to being a visual artist, is also a local rapper under the moniker Wealthy Relative. We discussed his latest, experimental project: a 6-track EP that is experienced through a video game. Read on to get a glimpse into Forke’s 3D world of art, music, and a whole lot of feelings.
W E A LT H Y R E L AT I V E : How would you define your style of music?
Art courtesy of Wealthy Relative
Dan: It’s rap, first and foremost. Yeah, this is something I ask myself a lot. I’ve been trying to define it in a way that’s like… digestible. My intentions with music are to make things that I want to hear that I don’t hear, and that I haven’t heard, you know? So, it’s rap. I mean, it has influences. I’ve heard other people describe it as like a journal, like journal rap, if you want to call it that. A lot of artists that I appreciate—a lot of other rappers I appreciate—have like coined the term art rap… and some have since rejected that. And, I don’t want to put myself into that. It’s left field. It’s softer than what a lot of other people think of when they think about rap music, or hip-hop. It’s honest. I have a lot of electronic, like digital culture influences, like video games influence me a lot. The music in video games influenced me. That’s a big thing. Jazz has its influence. Ultimately, it’s just kind of like me making music that I want to hear based on my experience and things that I care about and things that I like.
: Tell me the story of how you discovered you could rap.
D: I don’t know if there’s a specific story there, or like one specific moment. : So, has it been something that you’ve been working on and toying with since you were in middle school or high school? D: Yeah, definitely high school. So, yeah… When was I in high school? Like, 2007ish—something like that. I downloaded Fruity Loops, a program you can make music on like Logic or Ableton. I’ve always loved music. It’s always been a huge fiend, so I just started doing it. I don’t know… I’m trying to pull back to those early experiences with rap that influenced me. And, I was talking about video games a minute ago. There’s this game called “ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron”—it’s from the Second Genesis. There’s like this mini game in there that presents you with this hip-hop beat. You like mimic it back, in the game. It’s like “Boom boom clap,”
and you hit the buttons that correspond to the sounds, and then you’re like making a beat on your little controller. And, that game is just very funky and hip-hop influenced. There’s just these two weird little alien characters going around trying to catch these hooligan earthlings that landed on planets and send them back to earth. So, that was an early thing where I was like, “Oh, this is cool, and I love how that sounds.” Yeah… There’s this album, “Raw Material,” by Mars Il. It’s like a Christian hip-hop duo from the early 2000s. And, I got it from my dad—or from my dad’s church. He’s a Lutheran pastor. And I was like, “Woah, I’ve never heard anything like this before.” The production there is really cool and the writing is really well done—like, the flows are cool. : How were they able to make it about religion, but also super cool and appealing to you at that age? D: It’s not like every song was like, “I love God. Jesus saved me.” : Honestly, I’m not experienced with Christian rap. D: Oh, there’s not a lot of it that’s good. But this album—Mars Il, “Raw Material”—is fucking dope. It’s really good. They’re just really good at rapping and the beats are really cool. It was very late 90s, early 2000s kind of style. And, the DJ that produces everything has these really good instrumental sections—like these experimental things. And, you can tell that he is actually producing on vinyl. He’s like scratching and stuff. That doesn’t happen anymore, very often. Rap’s changing… as music does. : So, do you think your music is more nostalgic or more forward thinking, or a combination? D: Both. I guess I’ve just realized that a lot of it is just like me talking to myself about my emotions. It’s just me talking about my experiences, and me processing things. And in that sense, it’s therapeutic. I’m actually trying to avoid that, recently, just because a lot of song’s I’ve written in the recent past are essentially like, “I’m sad and that’s not great. Why am I this way? What’s happening in my life that I can change to make it better?” And, that’s kinda like what every song is about that I’ve written—not every song, but I feel like that’s a common theme. I’m just trying to explore new places. Yeah, at its core, it’s poetry and it’s self-expression. A main goal is just for me to be like as vulnerable and honest with my own experience, and if people can relate to that, that’s fantastic. But, it’s for me, more than anything. It’s for me to process existing more than anything.
Read the full interview online at wakemag.org
: What do you think is the best atmosphere for someone to listen to your music?
D: Like, in a dark basement at a house show with your friends that you care about. Or, just like at home alone with some nice headphones, and maybe it’s raining outside. You’ve got a scarf on… you’ve got some coffee if you like coffee and if you don’t like coffee then no coffee. : Some of your album artwork on Bandcamp you made is really funny and creative. How did you learn how to make digital art? D: I started off in Blender and then started using some other things, too. I saw it and I was like “I love this.” I love Pixar and stuff and other 3D things, and I thought, “I bet I could pick this up.” I grew up on Pixar, and was like, “Wow, you can just make a 3D character and have it exist in a space.” You can just build a world and live in it. So, I started doing that while I was still in college, and slowly learned it on my own. It’s really easy to learn because the internet is rich with tutorials if you want to put the time in to learn. And, it just gets better and better, too. Technology gets better so you can build a faster computer for cheaper and make more 3D work, and that’s great. But yeah, all of that coincided. So, my next project is a 6-song EP. With my friend Max Coleman, I’m building a video game to release the songs in. And, that sort of was a result of me being creative in all of these different mediums, like making music and painting, and design, and drawing, and then making 3D art, too. That was my solution to being able to present it all in one space. I do all of these things and most people only know one of them. People who know I make music don’t necessarily know that I’m also an artist. I have too many creative outlets and not enough time to pursue them all to the fullest extent. But, that’s okay. It’s a good problem. : What’s the aim of the game? D: At its core, it’s just a way to experience this album, but you’re actually inside of it. Its first goal is to present an album in a virtual space that you can explore and experience. There’s all the music of the record, but then there are all of these other things around it. Like, there are virtual art galleries in the same space. There are six different rooms, and each one is tailored to the video. : So, in these virtual art galleries, is it all your art? D: Yeah. There are collages, paintings, some 3D work… illustrations and stuff. There are a lot of different things. So, it’s called “Not Heaven,” and it’s the title of the game but also the record. And I guess, at its core, I’ve been figuring out how to present why I called it that in a digestible way.
Online Harrassment Why We Must Defend Ourselves and Why We Can’t BY CODY PERKALIS A fundamental aspect of society is supposed to be that it protects you. It may not keep you perfectly safe, but it allows you some basic security, or at least a sense of it. The impact of harassment can take different forms, including an attack on that sense of security. There is a recourse for standard harassment but not for online harassment. The way we can better protect people from online harassment is to increase technical literacy, especially amongst the court system and legislatures. Too little is done for these cases due to the amount of work required and a lack of understanding in those in power. Let’s start with defining terms. Harassment breaks down to actions that make people feel unsafe. The specifics vary from state to state, so we will be looking purely at Minnesota statutes. Singleevent harassment includes physical assault, sexual assault, nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images with an identifying component, and to use someone’s information, without their consent, to get a third party to engage in a sexual act with that person. Some actions can become harassment with repetition. These include targeted picketing, patterns of attending public events after being notified that the presence is harassing to another, and the focus of this article, “repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security, or privacy of another, regardless of the relationship between the actor and the intended target.” With cases such as these, some sort of paper trail is required to prove substantive effect.
With harassment defined in such a way, it would be difficult to charge anyone with online harassment. Instead, stalking, defined as “to engage in conduct which the actor knows or has reason to know would cause the victim under the circumstances to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated,” can better handle cases where an individual is sent threats directly. This is less the case for threats posted on a public forum (often allowing the poster anonymity). Examples include people creating Twitter accounts not associated with their names and then tweeting things such as “I set a bomb in front of So-andso’s house that will explode at midnight,” or “@Soand-so, I will … to you” detailing some violent act. These induce fear from the what-if factor. Essentially none of the people will actually do anything, but it only takes one. The victim could disconnect, but in our interconnected world, that is becoming tantamount to societal suicide. It also does not protect from other online attacks, such as impersonating someone to tarnish their reputation or trying to get them jailed. With as little as an address, which can be obtained as easily as typing someone’s name in one of the “people finder” websites, any stranger can make your life a nightmare.
full-hermit, pay for everything with cash underthe-table lifestyle might. Our current system is not adept at handling online harassment, although we are making progress. Technology is ever-changing and so is its impact on society. Agencies are little help given the amount of expert manpower needed to get harassers to face even a minor punishment for their actions. Here it tends to be up to you to protect yourself, at least for the time being. This has been changing. Laws are better able to account for the cyber world and police are slowly become more capable as well. Social websites are better working to flag harassment and deal with it. These are the towns that spring up along the frontier, but the frontier has always been a dangerous place. It’s time for us collectively to learn to navigate it.
The more you dig into this topic, the more you realize how vulnerable you really are. Being lost amongst the crowd protects people more than most initiatives, but to be protected you should limit what identifying information you post. Even this won’t protect you entirely; nothing short of a
MAR 26—APR 9
The Scary Undertones of Horror Movies
Understanding Horror Movies and Misogyny
BY KARL WITKOWIAK
It’s a common sight in horror movies: the teenage girl, skimpily dressed and running from a crazed maniac with a kitchen knife. The girl keeps up a good pace at first, until she trips or enters a car and frantically tries to start it, but to no avail. The maniac catches up with knife held high, the girl screams, cut to the title card. Latent themes of misogyny and sexual violence are a prevailing idea in horror movies, particularly the B-grade slasher type. Typically in slasher movies, the main characters die in very gruesome detail. This is no different for female characters, except they have the misfortune of being much more sexualized or victimized in their torture/ death. They are either caught up doing the dirty with someone or screaming helplessly as the main antagonist draws near. The killers in these films are typically male, and they relentlessly pursue and assault their victims, something that is bound to cause unease in viewers who have suffered abuse before. Although this trope has been subverted in some films (see the first “Friday the 13th” for a decent example), it is usually few and far between. There is usually one female survivor, deemed the “final girl,” who stops the killer by the end, possibly to have the movie not come off as “too” insensitive to women as opposed to having the movie end with a male survivor instead. This character is also usually the virgin, as opposed to the other, more sexually active women in the movie, making an empty and vapid illusion to feminism. The “Friday the 13th” films are arguably the most guilty of this trope, as well as several others. It got to a point where even famed movie critics, Siskel and Ebert, lashed out against the rampant misogyny in trashy slasher movies during the time. Granted, it isn’t just slashers that give women this sort of treatment. One of the major horror films
that is criticized for its stereotyping of women in the media is “Carrie.” In this movie, the main character gets both verbally and physically abused by her peers and her mother, which can make for an uncomfortable watch in some instances. Unlike most slasher movies, however, the abuse on display serves the narrative in “Carrie,” and it’s the same for movies like “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Exorcist,” and “I Spit on Your Grave.” However, these movies contain some unsettling undertones as well (though not as obvious or explicit as your typical slasher). Films like “Carrie” feature a socially awkward teen who is then associated with dangerous psychic powers. Sexual or verbal abuse are the themes in plenty of horror movies and if played right, they can be effective, even while being uncomfortable. The trend of female characters in horror movies seems to continue to this very day, with movies like “It” having its main female character suffer from implied verbal and sexual abuse. In addition, the misogyny in horror films has been satirized in movies like “Cabin in the Woods” and the “Scream” franchise. So why does this matter, you may ask? Are these really just dumb horror movies that teens will go to regardless of quality? Well, not only does this alienate audiences who have suffered from traumatic abuse such as is featured in these films, but this is also a theme that has permeated horror movies for decades. Not all horror movies are intrinsically misogynistic. The classic sci-fi horror film “Alien” features a predominately strong and well-written female protagonist (at least until “Alien 3” took most of that away). However, there are some unsettling undertones that plenty of horror movies still share to this day. Sure, it may not be as bad as it was in the 80s, but the stench of misogyny still remains. They coated the horror house with Febreze, but they didn’t remove the source of the smell, and that is the true terror.
The Problem in PLUR Recent allegations against a popular EDM artist reveal ugly truths. BY SYLVIA RANI Earlier this month, multiple women came forward with a number of sexual assault allegations against popular dubstep artist Datsik. They recount their experiences of him giving them drugs and alcohol, rendering them unable to consent, and proceeding to have sex with them. The series of allegations shocked many in the electronic dance music community. It would come as a shock indeed, as the electronic dance music scene is one that is known for promoting Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect (commonly shortened to “PLUR”, sometimes with an additional R for Responsibility). These women’s stories reveal an ugly truth behind many major music artists and the ways in which they abuse their fame status. Datsik’s Twitter response to the allegations provides an unsettling look into the mind of a man who clearly has some growing to do: “Yo everyone … I am a vibe reader… It really breaks my heart when people feel upset at the end of the day because I am a good person and would never take advantage of anyone.” He denied any accusations of assault and emphasized that his actions had been “misinterpreted.” Unfortunately for Datsik, the standard definition of rape requires enthusiastic consent. If enthusiastic consent had been present, he would not have needed to provide his victims with blackout levels of alcohol and drugs.
An important takeaway from this is that people in positions of power have great capacity to abuse others, as well as to keep them quiet. Many women contributed to the Datsik conversation anonymously, fearful of the response that they might receive from his fans. It’s also important to note that Datsik’s actions didn’t occur without witnesses. Tour managers, crew members, and fellow music artists almost definitely knew of Datsik’s repeated predatory behavior, and it took a lot of people turning a blind eye for him to do the same thing to so many women. So, while the blame remains fully on Datsik, it’s apt to remember that a safe environment is a shared Responsibility.
H&M Lawsuit: Exploiting Art for Commercial Gain H&M challenges the applicability of copyright law on illegal art in recent lawsuit. BY FARRAH MINA In light of recent events, H&M has been under fire for more than its notorious fast fashion ethic. The company’s latest controversy takes the form of an inadvertent question mark surrounding the fair treatment of artists and their corresponding creations. The altercation began when H&M chose a location for a fashion shoot. After deciding on a spray-painted handball court at a park in Brooklyn, H&M asked the city park whether it needed to pay royalties for featuring the mural in the shoot. After learning that the graffiti was unauthorized and the identity of the author unknown, H&M proceeded to use the art in its campaign. A few months later, the company received a cease and desist letter from the artist himself, Jason ‘Revok’ Williams, threatening further legal action. H&M reasoned that because the art was produced illegally, Revok could not make any legal claims to his own art. This is a blow to the integrity of the artist’s craft because not only does H&M blatantly steal from them, but it attempts to justify the crime itself. When we strip the issue back to its legal roots, H&M does not have the law behind it. Two conditions must be met for copyright protection: the work must be original and fixed in a tangible medium. The law makes no mention that the work must be created under legal circumstances. Thus, by law, Revok’s work must be afforded legal protection. Plagiarism is a serious offense, so why is this situation any different? Though H&M ultimately dropped the lawsuit, the situation put the plight of the artist into perspective. The artist who struggles to protect their artwork endangers themselves in the process, risking jail time for vandalism. Big companies exploit this by pushing the artists into an inescapable legal corner. The appropriation of art, illegal or otherwise, for commercial vainglory is, thus, shamelessly exploitive. Simply put, art exists in its own right by virtue of its production.
APR 9—APR 22
The Silence of Our Boys Why our culture continues to ignore male survivors of sexual violence BY MEGAN PALMER The catalyst of the #MeToo movement, arguably one of the most important of this generation, was a story published in early October of 2017. The New York Times article detailed the accounts of multiple actresses’ encounters with the now infamous perpetrator of sexual assault and coercion, Harvey Weinstein. Instead of dying out overnight, a national conversation was immediately ignited, with survivors of sexual assault sharing their stories from Hollywood to Capitol Hill. The nation was intrigued by their candor and appalled by their assailants’ actions. In a country as supposedly equal and industrious as ours, sexual violence is thought to be a relic of the past, or something that is committed by criminals featured on the ten o’clock news, but certainly not by our bosses, advisors, and peers. Since then, the #MeToo movement has only strengthened, expanding from accounts of only the most famous in American society to include those of athletes, local politicians, and workers most prone to harassment, such as waitstaff. Yet with the sudden social emphasis on survivors sharing their stories, it is becoming more and more blatant that there is a group of victims that is still largely being ignored in the #MeToo movement: men. In the United States, and most of the modern world, gender roles are institutional adages that are learned and practiced from birth. Girls are taught to be docile and polite, lest they cause any ripples, while boys are taught to be commanding and abrasive, with no opportunity to show empathy or vulnerability. These expectations are what cause men to feel entitled, occasionally to the point of violence, to the attention and affection of those they are interested in, while rendering them silent for fear of social repercussion when they are on the receiving end of this violence. On average, one out of every ten victims of sexual violence is male; it is no wonder why they feel they have nowhere to turn in a system that only benefits those who fit the mold. Yet there have been notable attempts to bring the plight of male victim-survivors into the
mainstream. There was an investigation in January from The New York Times that highlighted the sexual assault committed by designers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber upon dozens of male models in the fashion world. Actors such as Terry Crews and Brendan Fraser have come forward to share their encounters with sexual misconduct at the hands of powerful Hollywood executives. Perhaps the most well-known example is when Anthony Rapp called out Kevin Spacey, causing others who have suffered at his hands to speak up, and Spacey to be ousted from House of Cards and shunned from the public sphere. However, public outcry focused more on the disbelief that Spacey was capable of such horrendous deeds than on uplifting the stories of the survivors. It’s perhaps in the nuances of consent, circumstance, and exploitation where our cold indifference toward male victims is most apparent. In a recent episode of American Idol, Katy Perry decided to give a male contestant his first kiss without warning, leaving the man feeling frustrated and uncomfortable. If the roles were reversed, with a male in the position of power and a woman competing, outrage would be swift and prominent, resulting in an onslaught of tweets and an uptick in donations to Time’s Up, the organization created in the wake of #MeToo to fund legal battles concerning harassment. On the other extreme are the countless stories of young female teachers raping their teenage male students, which 10
often includes bribery on the part of the teachers to silence their victims. The media has played these stories to seem like consensual relationships that the boys have a say in, but rape is rape, and the stories of these vulnerable teens have not received the attention they deserve. According to RAINN, victims of sexual assault are more likely to abuse hard drugs, feel severely distressed, and have problems maintaining professional, familial, and romantic relationships, issues which only worsen if the victims do not seek out help. If our society continues to discredit the valiant men who are attempting to come forward and share their stories, they will only be reinforcing the harmful gender roles that so many activists and everyday people are trying to dismantle. Men are hurting, and it’s time for #MeToo to truly become intersectional and hear their pleas.
SIX REVIEWS 11
A Wrinkle in Time BY MAYA ULRICH When I heard that there was going to be a movie adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time,” I felt a strong sense of excitement for the possibilities that could evolve from a novel with such a strong humanist message. Considering the powerful themes presented throughout the novel, I was really hoping this film would tackle some current topics and issues. However, I seemed to be forgetting that “A Wrinkle in Time” is a Disney movie directed at an audience younger than myself. Bearing in mind the target audience, it felt like “A Wrinkle in Time” took many liberties to be more of a visual experience than a political statement. Often, the focus on vibrant scenes and sweeping colors left instances of actual dialogue feeling dull and a bit forced. When the film focused purely on the grand special effects and the actors’ emotive expressions, there were a lot of empowering moments that really struck me, especially from a female perspective. With the diversity of the cast there may be a lot of other people in the audience, many of whom are often underrepresented in the film industry, that would feel a similar—if not stronger—feeling of girl power. Even though the movie felt juvenile at times, I think director Ava DuVernay did a great job with themes of inclusivity, and the power of love over hate: much-needed messages in the current political climate. Plus, who doesn’t love a movie with Oprah in it?
A$AP Ferg at the Novo
at the Xcel Energy Center
BY SYLVIA RANI
BY MACIE RASMUSSEN
A$AP Ferg’s 31-city Mad Man Tour began late February and has been selling out venues ever since. I had the opportunity to catch him at the Novo DTLA in Los Angeles while on spring break.
With a stage presence that is so captivating, it’s hard to believe that the New Zealand-born star Lorde is only 21 years old. On Friday, March 23, as part of her the Melodrama World Tour, the singersongwriter stopped in St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center and invited the audience to let go and dance with her. Lorde’s ability to execute a performance that is incredibly mature, yet playful and charming, is a feat that made her show an emotional rollercoaster, but one that I was thrilled to be on. Featuring music from her two albums, Lorde’s setlist was packed with jams and tear-inducing songs. Favorites of mine, “Ribs,” “Supercut,” and “Perfect Places” did not disappoint. Emotionallycharged and personal “Hard Feelings” and “Liability” were great songs to cry to. Of course, every person in the over 20,000-seat Xcel Center sang along to the lyrics of cult hit “Royals.” Then, as many artists do when playing in the Twin Cities, Lorde gave a shout-out to Prince and covered his upbeat “I Would Die 4 U,” which was ironic because it was, in fact, me who would die for her. The most memorable part of the show was her performance of “Green Light,” a song that is something else altogether when played live. Lorde brought intense energy to this final number, and as part of the audience, it was easy to observe her joy on stage. She is often critiqued on her unconventional style of dancing, which some might describe as “weird,” “wild,” or “uncoordinated.” But, in the beauty of being in the presence of a performer who clearly doesn’t care about judgement lies the freedom to forget about who’s watching and just dance.
Rapper IDK opened the show, performing his whole set with a slightly unsettling Ronald Reagan mask covering his head. With his punchy lyrics and striking appearance, he got the crowd sufficiently amped for the next opener, Carol City rapper Denzel Curry. Curry is notorious for his high-energy, quick-witted verses, and his stage presence was no different. Halfway through his set, he jumped into the pit and ended up performing the rest of his music while crowd surfing. My favorite part of his set was when IDK joined him to perform his song “No Wave,” which Curry is featured on. A$AP Ferg’s set opened with a dramatic light display as the Hamilton Heights rapper jumped on stage in a blinding all-white outfit. His set was mostly focused on “Still Striving,” his latest album release, but he covered other bits of his discography as well. Ferg’s stage presence can only be described as powerful. He has the ability to hype people up and then make the whole crowd quiet down and listen closely. He really showcased his talent as a solo rapper, as he was the only one on stage for most of his set. Ferg’s final song was “Plain Jane,” his highest charting single to date; the whole crowd voiced along, never missing a word.
APR 9—APR 22
RET RO R E VI E W
“Reckoning” R.E.M. (1984) BY CHRIS SHEA In 1983, the college rock band R.E.M. burst onto the scene with their debut album “Murmur.” This album was very well received by music critics, most of which praised the quartet from Athens, Georgia for creating such an enigmatic post-punk experimentation. For R.E.M.’s sophomore album, “Reckoning,” they consciously abandon this experimental sound to return to the band’s garage rock origins.
“Firepower” Judas Priest BY KARL WITKOWIAK Fifty Years. It’s extremely rare for bands to survive for this long, but Judas Priest proves to be powerful and unrelenting even nearing half a century as a band. As some of the original pioneers of metal music, they come back with their 18th album, which still has plenty of firepower.
The sound of “Reckoning” was created to better evoke the band’s live sounds. It does. This album further showcases Peter Buck’s guitar skills, as his jangles pair perfectly with the melodic basslines of Mike Mills. Each of the songs on “Reckoning” is an absolute classic, starting with the ringing of the opening track “Harborcoat” and ending with the hard rock rhythms of “Little America.”
There aren’t many albums like “Firepower” today. Even most other long-lasting metal bands like Metallica or Megadeth cannot capture the magic of their older music. Judas Priest actually does. From the chugging guitar riffs, face-melting guitar solos, and crowd-chanting choruses, “Firepower” offers it all. Each member’s musicianship is topnotch and Rob Halford’s vocals have withstood the test of time marvelously.
When “Harborcoat” first starts, it sounds like the album is going to follow the blueprint the band established in their previous album, with Buck’s echoing guitar accompanying the fast pace of Mills’ bass and Bill Berry’s drumming, along with Michael Stipe’s confounding vocals. But by the third track, “So. Central Rain,” the album truly takes off. This song is one of the most quintessential R.E.M. songs from their years with the label I.R.S. Records. This song is followed by “Pretty Persuasion,” which is just an absolute jam. The rest of the album is also filled with excellent songwriting and tighter performances from the band.
“Firepower,” as Halford stated, describes the “fire and power of heavy metal music,” and that is certainly no exaggeration. The lyrics explore the mythical (on songs like “Spectre”) and the violent (such as on war ballads like “Never the Heroes” or “Traitors Gate”). Sometimes the sound might feel repetitive, but you will leave this album with plenty of choruses stuck in your head (“Lightning Strike” and “Never The Heroes” especially).
It’s not often that a band can take a step backwards in terms of production and experimentation and it ends up being one of the band’s most iconic albums. R.E.M. made the exception.
“Firepower” isn’t just a solid heavy metal album, it is also a testament to Judas Priest’s amazing longevity. It is a statement that Judas Priest has yet to burn out even with almost 50 years under their belt. “Firepower” is old-school, but also modern, making for a great listen for metalheads old and young.
at Fine Line Music Cafe BY MEGAN HOFF Just days before spring break, two Canadian bands soft-rocked the night away in downtown Minneapolis. The Weather Station opened for Bahamas on March 8 at the Fine Line Music Cafe. Both ensembles hail from Toronto and put a unique spin on folk music. The Weather Station’s frontwoman Tamara Lindeman kicked off the night with her deep voice and moody guitar riffs. When Bahamas came on stage, the band members sported various shades of white and light brown as a tribute to their latest album, “Earthtones,” released in January. Their first song, “So Free,” was groovy and mellow. Several floodlights backlit the band and blinked off and on in sync with the music. Lead singer and guitarist Afie Jurvanen had one of those unexpectedly smooth voices that paired well with his weathered pink Stratocaster guitar. With a laid-back, headbobbing vibe, his voice put a spell over the crowd. Though all of his fellow bandmates wore typical hipster shoes like white Dr. Martens, Jurvanen was proudly rocking a pair of dad sneakers. He kept up the level of “dadness” by emphatically and awkwardly bopping to the beat of “Bad Boys Need Love Too.” The best part of the concert was the final song. Jurvanen had one of the roadies bring him a drink and half of a mic stand. He said that he wanted to sing “Freddie-Mercury style,” then he tucked his beer can into his breast pocket and began crooning out “Any Place.” Before he could finish, a fight broke out in the balcony. After the fists stopped flying, Jurvanen called them out for ruining his “amazing performance” and went right back to his serenade.
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