7.10.2016

Intermission is Over

by Ryan Benson

Not last night but the night before, I felt the Avett Brothers perform. And that sounds stupid and contrived, but there's no other way for me to put it. I was there, and my aunt was dancing--really dancing--beside me, and everyone was standing, and on stage a man with glasses was playing a cello. And that last part is important, because I've never seen a person be on a stage the way this man was being on a stage. I felt him as he felt my aunt dance. I felt him as he felt my hair, still wet from showering, beat against my back when I swayed. I felt him as he felt people watching him from every crook of the amphitheater. I felt him as he felt his bandmates sweat and sing. This man with the cello was not performing, he was being, and in that there was revolution. In his An Actor Prepares, Stanislavski discusses how in order to captivate an audience, an actor must be on stage in his most natural state; he teaches that when one is on stage she must remember to simply be. And that was what this cellist did. This was not a concert, it was an exchange. An exchange of music, of respect, of a desire to feel and be felt.

Avett Brothers concert 7.8.16
For a long time, I performed on YOUTH. Sometimes, my performances—my posts—were pure and true and felt and were felt. Other times, though, I put on gimmicks and what I wrote or what I photographed was more entertainment than art. And I struggled with this. My creation for YOUTH did not fuel me in the same way that other types of creation fueled me, so I stopped. I spent some time backstage. I worked on other stuff. And in the past months what I’ve realized is that intermissions are important. To nurture a desire for creation, healing is necessary. Before, I did not understand how to simply be on stage the way the cellist for the Avett Brothers is on stage. Yes, before, I was so focused on being felt that I did not try to feel.

Intermission is over. YOUTH will be different, so know this. Expect this. YOUTH will be closer. It will be more like this cellist for the Avett Brothers. It will be an exchange of love, of respect, of a desire to feel and be felt. And in that, there is revolution.

11.25.2015

11.05.2015

YOUTH Radio: Interview with In The Valley Below


By Amy Karp
A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the In The Valley Below concert at the Visulite Theater, a dark, crowded, cozy venue, perfect for the duo's sultry, melodic, dream-pop vibe. Angela Mattson and Jeffrey Mendel came together in 2011 to form the band and have since released their studio album, The Belt, which consists mostly of songs with powerful lyrics over thumping electronic beats.    Their most popular song "Peaches" which was included on many lists as one of the best songs of last summer, has gotten a lot of recognition in indie-pop circuits and main stream radio as well; popular electronic musicians such as Passion Pit, Omniflux, and Kele have remixed the track. 
Both Angela and Jeffrey are a little quirky and gothic and share the most amount of chemistry I have ever witnessed while on stage together. They are two equal halves of the whole dividing most songs into duos and carrying their weight instrumentally--Angela plays keyboard and Jeffrey plays guitar. Their live performance is hypnotic in the way that it is hard not to be entirely wrapped up in what they are doing regardless of what it is. 
Angela took some time out of her super busy tour schedule to answer a few of my questions, so please enjoy the interview below(:

Q. How did you two meet and what brought you together to start In the Valley Below?


A. We met in Los Angeles in the music scene. I saw Jeffrey performing with the band Sabrosa Purr and they blew me away. I later became their bass player.



Q. Were either of you making music by yourselves or with another group before you found each other?


A. We were both playing in bands and writing solo music. We decided to try and write some music together and it was awkward at first. Writing songs with someone is a very intimate experience. It took us a while to get comfortable. Eventually we got very comfortable. Then we decided to focus on the things we felt were our weaknesses, like singing harmonies, keyboards, recording.



Q. What does the name In the Valley Below mean to you and how did you come up with the name? 


A. It was inspired by Bob Dylan's song "One More Cup Of Coffee". The song has such a thick mood and he sings about going to the valley below. We want to be In The Valley Below.



How did you get into crafting your own beer? 


A. Purely for the love of drinking beer. It tastes so much better. Like a home cooked meal.



Q. As far as genres go, how would you classify yourself? You don’t really seem to fit into any particular bubble. 


A. It's in the spirit of Rock & Roll



Q. I read somewhere that you both are huge Phil Collins fans. Is he still your dream collaboration, and who else do you both draw inspiration from? 


A. Him or Peter Gabriel



Q. Do you both go through the whole song writing process together? Especially with the majority of your songs being duets, do you each write your own part to a song?


A. Usually one of us starts a song or comes in with an idea for a song and we finish it together. Often we write each others lyrics.



Q. Where do you find inspiration for your lyrics? Are they all personal or do you tend to play roles?


A. Most are personal, some contain surprising amount of foresight, almost clairvoyance. We'll write about things that happen a few years later. A lot about past relationships romantic or otherwise. Some are inspired by society.



Q. The song, Peaches, got picked up by radio stations pretty slowly, as most alt-turned-pop songs do. Were you surprised when it became so popular 2 years after its release?


A. We are always surprised when anyone pays attention to us. We made this record not expecting anyone but us to enjoy it. We knew it was good, but there is so much good music out there that never gets on the radio. We are constantly grateful and feel lucky to be where we are now.



Q. How do y’all get ready and excited before you go on stage? Do you have any rituals?


A. We dedicate every show to someone. Last night in Buffalo it was to the crew of the Edmond Fitzgerald. Then we slap each other on the face.



Q. After concluding The Belt Tour, what is next for In the Valley Below? 


A. We've got a warm basement somewhere cold and snowy to work on our next record.

10.29.2015

MUSE: Bring Life to Your Neighborhood

By William Ritchey



In a window of brainstorming and boredom, I was exploring TED talks and found an inspiring video. In the talk, the speaker, Mundano, an established South American street artist, covered the lives of "catadores." Catadores are residents of Brazil who pick recyclables out of trash for a living. He described them as super heroes, rightfully so, because they recycle 90% of Brazil's annual waste. That's quite a bit of recycling, folks. Mundano elaborated on his passion for making catadores known and integrating their culture with the culture of higher social statuses. With his artistic skills and a hefty number of volunteers, he began the campaign "Pimp My Carroca." The project grew rapidly and provided necessities for thousands of catadores: gloves, clean clothing, haircuts, free dental and medical work, and last but not least, reconstruction and designing the their trash carts.

I fell in love with this idea of bringing creativity and beauty into a community through something that is normally viewed as dirty. I set my mind on making trash day more aesthetically pleasing. This lead me to my current project: Pimp My Trash Can.

So, how do you transform your dull grey container into a pop of color on the sidewalk?
Please, view the video below.

https://youtu.be/uB03ffjyf-w





10.21.2015

What About Boys?




By Dirk Blanchat

I step out of the car and hear my own footsteps click on the black pavement of the carpool lane. My new kid status attracted much more attention than I was used to. I looked down at my feet to seem more casual. I decided to wear cowboy boots and jeans that morning--back in Dallas, this was the normal thing to do. It was accepted. I began to regret my wardrobe choice as laughs and giggles from other students began to procure my attention. Have I done something wrong? I thought to myself. I eventually heard that “only girls can wear cowboy boots” and that I was “dressing like a girl". Looking back to this moment, I realize that I was subject to society’s stereotype of how men should appear burly, muscular, and “manly”. Even today, I am not the contemporary “man” or “boy”; I am more in touch with my feminine side than most guys my age. Is that a bad thing? This question leads me to the larger idea of how many men are in my position, and how society is stubbornly incompatible with effeminate men. 


Throughout my years in middle and high school, I have always been the one guy to have more girl friends than guy friends. I dress differently, I act differently, and I even talk differently than the average guy. Countless times, I have come across the question “are you gay” or “why don’t you just man up”. Why do people feel the need to push me into the societal box of masculinity? I find myself being more afraid to wear the things I want, or to say the things that come to my mind with the fear of being judged.  This stereotyping is a product of the sustained image of society’s man, and these values are carried through generations, further perpetuating this image. My experience with this stereotype has not only made me more aware of this flaw in society, but my own judgments of others, and how I can work to reduce this. 


After becoming fully conscious of other’s perspectives in judging me based on what I wear, or how I act, I came to the realization that I do this just as frequently as they do. I contend that if I saw another guy wearing something more feminine than the “manly” wardrobe paradigm, I would judge him in the way that others judge me. Not only has this realization made me more open and accepting of others' self-expression in what they choose to wear, but it has helped me respect why others judged me in the first place. I am different. I know that. So why should I assume others are cruel for judging me as their initial reaction? People will never be used to difference initially, and respecting this allows room for a more open and accepting way of living. 


Many feminist activists are fighting for the same change in modern society; equality for men and women, with emphasis on acceptance of self-expression as the paramount theme. Feminist activist Gloria Steinem remarks, “We’ve begun to raise our daughters like our sons. But few have the courage to raise our sons as our daughters.” Steinem emphasizes the truth that this masculine stereotype is prominent in today’s society, and is worth bringing to the public’s attention. Understanding others’ perspectives in judging those who are different is important in realizing that those judgments are caused by society, not by the individual person.  My experience has not only led me to investigate the thought process behind judgment and stereotyping, but also allow me to be more of myself, knowing that judgments do not come purely from hate, but from society’s inflictions.

           

           

8.25.2015

YOUTH Voice: Girl Defends/Explains Feminism in Under 1,000 Words!

By: Kelly Mulrooney ( a feminist/ female / decent human!)




What is Feminism?












( Special thanks to Merriam-Webster for defining that for us! )

So, now that everyone knows feminism literally means gender equality, hopefully that'll clear up some of the uncertainty and prejudice surrounding the word.

Why do we need feminism? Not you, him/her, or I need feminism, but we need it--not just as Americans, or whatever else one might identify as, but as human beings. Equality is essential to happiness. It's a necessity. Now let's get down to the nitty-gritty.


Intersectional and Inclusive Feminism


Feminism isn't really feminism if it isn't inclusive and intersectional. Professor Kimberley Crenshaw pegged the term "intersectionality".  What it means is that to be a feminist you must want equality for all women. Not every woman experiences the same kind of oppression because each woman is unique and one of a kind. Women of different race, ability, sexual orientation, religion and age experience varying degrees of discrimination.
Feminism that inspires change and betters the lives of women is feminism that  can be molded to each individual, rather than a "one size fits all" type of deal. You can't proclaim to want equality for women but then be silent when it comes to issues of race. Feminists must acknowledge and combat racism! Women of color will undoubtedly face harsher and different types of discrimination not only on the basis of sex, but also race. Feminism is inclusive. It applies to all races and sexualities and is trans-inclusive. As feminists, we must acknowledge the different hardships and discrimination different types of women face and always keep an open mind.
                                       
Gender Pay Gap
It is the twenty-first century and women are still paid less than men. Hispanic and African American women are paid even less due to their gender and race. 

The pay gap varies from state to state, but in every state the gap exists. 

- Typically Caucasian women make 78 cents to every dollar a man makes

- African American women make 64 cents to every dollar a man makes 

- Hispanic women make 54 cents to every dollar a man makes

Empowerment
Feminism is also about female empowerment. Female empowerment isn't female dominance or superiority. Empowerment is positive. There is nothing menacing about female empowerment. A gender that has inarguably been oppressed throughout their existence deserves empowerment and a world with equality requires just that. Female empowerment can be something inspired by one's self or something inspired by others. It can even be something as small as empowering yourself to try out for a sports team or join a club or make a club or something as major as running to be the first female president!

Bodies
Women should be able to be fearless with their bodies and dress however makes them feel confident. If a gal chooses to wear minimal clothing and feel like a bad bitch, then she should be able to do that without worrying about a man feeling "entitled" to her. If a woman dresses "sexy," it should be understood that she isn't doing it for anyone else but herself. However, women should also feel confident covering up as much as they'd like without feeling like "prudes", or that somehow because they choose to cover up they're embarrassed about their bodies. A gal can be equally as bad bitchin' in a lot of clothes as she is in a little bit of clothes! It's all up to her!

Sex!
When comparing men and women there is an undoubted hypocrisy surrounding sex. Men are applauded and glorified for their sexual encounters, while women are shamed for theirs. Girls are taught from a young age that they are not the sexual beings that boys are. Sex is just a part of being a "man"--it's natural--but for girls sex is supposed to be something sacred. A boy "takes" a girls virginity and somehow after that moment, that one boy has forever changed her. Sex should be whatever one wants it to be and and shouldn't be associated with antiquated gender roles.

Boiz
Guys also face discrimination! Do not be fooled--feminism is a fight for equality and not everything is perfect in a man's world. Feminists (both men and women feminists) care about issues that affect men! Feminists actively try to combat the f'd up prison system which hyper-indicts racially profiled American citizens, more than often by poorly trained and aggresive police men and women. Rape, whether the victims are male or female, is an issue frequently addressed by feminists. There is undoubtedly representation of issues that affect men in feminism, but due to the fact that the fight is for equality in a society that has opressed and discriminated women througout their entire existence, making the fight heavily about men's issues would be retroactive. Women have a little catching up to do in the human rigths department. It's like the saying "all lives matter": all lives do matter, but due to the fact that currently African Americans have been subject to brutal discrimination and oppression, it's necessary for the spotlight to shine upon the injustices endured by African Americans, just as it is for the spotlight to be on women's issues.

                        


Feminism cannot be "destroyed." Feminism is equality. It is the good in the world, it is the future, the good fight, something to be proud to identify with. Feminism is for everyone. It's 100% inclusive! Just because you don't identify as a woman doesn't mean feminism isn't for you. It is the fight for EQUALITY. If you condemn feminism you are condemning equality and you are claiming to want male superiority, just to make it perfectly clear for all those out there who say they aren't "feminists".  There is nothing to be afraid of. 




Fight the good fight! Be a feminist!

links to definition!
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feminism 



8.03.2015

YOUTH Radio: Interview with James Hersey

by Amy Karp


James Hersey, Austrian electro-pop singer-songwriter, has spent the last year touring Europe, touring the US with Milky Chance, playing festivals, and breaking girls' hearts with his love songs. I mean, the man knows how to make an audience swoon. Unfortunately, unless you were the right combination of lucky and smart like I am and bought his debut album, "Clarity," at his show, you are unable to enjoy his music, as it is not yet available in the US. Until it is available, we must be content with his remixes of "What I've Done" available on SoundCloud (link at the bottom) and the few songs uploaded below.

Hersey, who plays the acoustic guitar during shows, has also been playing the drums, cello, and electric guitar since he was just a kid. He studied jazz in school and incorporates elements of jazz effortlessly into other genres.

Read the interview below to find out about Hersey's creative process, tour experience with Milky Chance, inspiration and more(:

Q. Seeing as you were so musically gifted at such a young age, did you always know even at that age that playing music is what you wanted to do with your life?

A. No, I didn’t know it would be my life until I was 17 and all I could think about was playing the guitar. I would literally play before, after, and even during class until my teachers yelled at me to stop.


Q. You also studied jazz after high school. Would you say that jazz influences the music that you are currently making?



A. There are certainly elements of jazz in what I do now, but it’s so mixed up with everything else it’s hard to pinpoint exactly.



Q. How would you describe touring with Milky Chance?


A. It was exciting because they're such a phenomenon, inspiring really, because you realize that anything is possible -- and they're also really kickass live.


Q. I know you are signed to their label, so do you work closely with them?


A. Yes, their label in Germany has been a big part of my career, they've helped in many ways. But Philipp and Clemens are not very active on the label side -- they're so busy with the band!



Q. I know that you produced your mixtape "Twelve." Do you still produce all of your own music or anybody else's?


A. I’ve produced all my own stuff until now, yes, but I’m very much looking forward to working with producers in the future. There is so much talent out there, it would be insane to think I’m the only one who can make my songs work.



Q. I am really interested in the creative process. The making of a song is something I have never really been able to really wrap my head around. Do you normally have lyrics first and then work out the instrumentals? And do you work with any other songwriters or musicians while you are creating a song?


A. It works both ways -- sometimes you find a chord progression that just strikes you before you write the lyrics, and other times you grab your notebook and write down a stream of thoughts before even touching an instrument. I’ve worked with a couple other people on my stuff, but only on rare occasions and always very carefully.


Q. A lot of your songs are pretty romantic. Are all of your songs really personal to you or do you ever make a song playing a character or just out of something random that you end up liking?


A. Most of them are real stories from my life, though often exaggerated as my imagination takes over. I’ve done a couple tracks from a character perspective as well -- coming up with a story and writing about that. Both ways are fun, but I’m probably better at just telling it like it is.


Q. How would you personally describe your sound? It seems like you gather influences from many different genres.


A. Yeah, I have the weirdest iPod shuffle you can imagine, haha. My sound is singer-songwriter alternative pop-rock with urban and electronic influences. That’s as close as I can get without getting too annoying, and that’s already pretty annoying.


Q. What artists are big influences to you, and likewise if you could work with any artist who would it be?


A. My biggest inspirations are John Mayer, Phoenix, Drake, Darwin Deez, and Jack White.



Q. You have traveled a lot and lived in so many different places. Does moving around help you gain inspiration for your music?


A. I need to feel free to make music, and moving around as I please helps me do exactly that.



Q. What would you be doing right now if you decided to stop being a musician?


A. Right now? Oh man, I have no idea. I’d probably find a couple friends and try to start another business together. I don’t think I could work for somebody else, that’s just not me.



Q. Take me through a typical day in the life of James Hersey. I’m interested in even the boring stuff
. For instance what were you doing before you started answering my long list of questions?


A. Haha, excellent question. All of them have been excellent, honestly… Today I woke up at 8.30, fed my cat, had a couple coffees, quick work-out, took a shower, called my manager, cleaned the kitchen, read my new book, folded clothes and listened to the hypem charts, took out the recycling, went food shopping, and called my parents. No meals yet, haha, but I’m going for dinner with a friend later! Yesterday was completely different though, and the day before that was totally crazy, so it’s not the easiest question, haha.



Q. How do you get ready and excited before you go on stage? Do you have any rituals that you have to do or something like that?


A. Yeah we have a small band ritual, but nothing crazy -- a little symbolic show of trust and support for one another! Otherwise I warm up my voice a bit and make sure I am relaxed and happy before I walk on stage.



Q. When will all of your music be available in the U.S. (please say soon!)


A. I am not sure when everything will be available for purchase, but believe me I’m working on it!