Remy Zerber and Benjamin Noel
“Being in The BASH was an incredible experience. For those who don’t know, The Bash is the LGBTQ+ cultural night. It celebrates gay pride and all different forms of expression. This year’s theme was “Over the Rainbow,” which highlighted the history and power of the LGBTQ+ flag. Being in this performance made me feel proud of who I am. I enjoyed researching all the disabled queer people for my video. I didn’t know there were other disabled queer people, so it was exciting to get to find and research them.” - Remy Zerber, Culture Columnist
All the other performances were amazing too. Everyone presented a unique display of their experience as a member of this community. There were paintings, songs, journal entries, and even a clown! Aero England’s song was really inspiring and beautiful. It was “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman. Lauren Smith told her touching story of coming out, and the importance of queer spaces that allowed her to express herself freely. Tyra Thompson also shared a powerful coming-out story. She bravely shared her most vulnerable moments. Tyra’s and Lauren’s stories of coming out were very inspiring to me. Saumya Khanna expressed the importance of the Intercultural Center to her. It felt like home in a sometimes hostile community at SMC. Everyone who was in the show did an amazing job, including the crew members. I am glad I met the people I did in this show. The show displayed the community’s strength and showed LGBTQ+ students that they have a home.
The 22nd annual Latinx Cultural Night took place in the Soda Center on March 9th, 2022. With over 100 audience members, the show was a complete sellout. In addition, Saint Mary’s very own Ballet Folkloricó Guadalupano group appeared three times throughout the night between the other SMC students’ performances. Each performance presented different talents, personal commemorations to family, connections to culture, and appreciation for the diverse cultures within Latin America and Latinx communities in the United States.
Christian Ramirez Rodriguez questioned “¿Qué es un Santo?” which translates to “What is a Saint?” which recognizes the significance of the Catholic faith within the context of Latin America. The SMC Merengue group performed an exciting dance choreographed by Teresa Martinez and shared that the merengue song and dance originated from the Dominican Republic but has become popular amongst other communities. The @Smcmemes22 Instagram page creator did a comedic segment on “The Roast of SMC,” stressing SMC’s most relatable and controversial characteristics.
The video titled “Ellas,” put together by Stephanie Ramirez, honored the influential female figures within her own family, such as her grandma, mom, and aunt. What followed was the reading of a personal poem written by Isabella Gutierrez in memory of her late grandmother, and how much of an impact she had on both her childhood and early adulthood. José Miranda, both a dancing member and serving as the co-fundraising chair of Ballet Folkloricó Guadaluano, performed a solo dance in the show’s latter half.
Maya Diáz-Villalta shared a poem written by Gloria Anzaldua titled “La Prieta,'' which describes the pain derived from views on colored skin and feeling alienated from the society they live within. Finally, Cecelia Estrada shared the “Senior Video” commemorating hers and her friend’s time at Saint Mary’s to end the show. It described the good, the bad, and the memorable moments they each experienced, ending with advice for incoming and current students at the institution. Executive team members Co-Chair Stephanie Ramirez, Set Director David Garza, Event Planner Athena Wise, and Publicity Coordinator Cecilia Estrada Navarro put together the event, which the Intercultural Center hosted. The event could not have been accomplished without their dedication and time coordinating the show and set.
(Images Courtesy Writer)
Oakland’s very own festival is finally back. After a two year shut down, the city looks to bring back life and joy with the return of First Fridays.
By Isabelle Delostrinos
It’s no question that the Bay Area has a rich culture. From Berkeley to Oakland and San Francisco, we are neighbors to some of the most unique cities. Just a BART ride away, we have access to the fast pace of Powell Street or the beauty of Lake Merritt. However, one of the most exclusive and popular events the Bay Area is known for only takes place once a month.
Oakland First Fridays is a community event hosted by and for the people of Oakland. Every first Friday of the month, Oakland residents gather at Telegraph Avenue to support local businesses and artists. From food booths, painted canvases, and live music, First Fridays are seen as a festival that uplifts the greatness within our very own communities.
First Fridays became a hit since its first debut in 2011. As popularity grew, the Korean/Northgate Community Benefit District (KONO) acknowledged the importance of the event and took over its operations in 2014. Since then, the community has dedicated every first Friday of the month to their neighbors. This festival looks to break the barriers between local small businesses and their customers. In an era where Prime Delivery and e-commerce exist, small businesses find it difficult to compete with giant corporations. First Fridays give local businesses the chance to showcase their work, all while making genuine connections with their community. Organizers prioritize Oakland-based businesses to ensure each booth is filled with entrepreneurs from the host city. Community-wide initiatives also take place by encouraging event-goers to participate in food, toy, clothing drives, and much more.
The monthly event is one of the most important events the city offers. Not only is it such a special experience, but it keeps the city thriving. With over thousands attending every month, money spent from event guests goes directly back into the community. The past two years of the pandemic heavily impacted marginalized communities like Oakland. First Fridays have become a cornerstone for entrepreneurs and artists to connect and grow their brands. Investing in these businesses reassures them that the city supports their craft and hard work.
If you still need plans for this Friday, round up your group of friends and head over to Telegraph Avenue! Festivities begin at 5 PM and go until 9 PM. The event is free to everyone: just walk up and join the party. You’ll be able to shop for unique crafts and goods, enjoy live entertainment and view art pieces throughout the night. Don’t miss out on this special event and be fully immersed in the rich culture Oakland has.
Directions from campus:
For up-to-date information, follow @oakfirstfridays on Instagram.
To learn more about the event and initiatives head to oaklandfirstfridays.org. There, you can also sign up to be a vendor, performer, or volunteer. You’ll also be able to find the online merchandise shop and gofundme to directly support the event.
An effort to make the required courses more diverse in readings.
By Madison Sciba
As part of the Saint Mary’s curriculum, every student has to take Seminar courses during their college careers. In the past few years, the lack of diversity in the Seminar readings has become a problem. This has led to the Seminar faculty working to change the curriculum to become more diverse. There has been a specific effort to provide more works by Black and African-American writers, authors, and speakers into Seminar.
Speeches and writings from influential African American movement leaders, include Martin Luther King Jr.'s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and On Christian Liberty, Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet,” and Nelson Mandela’s “I am Prepared to Die.” Another important step in diversifying Seminar readings was the inclusion of works by women of color. These works include Toni Morrison’s “Lecture and Speech,” Dana Johnson’s “Melvin in the 6th Grade,” and Maya Angelou’s “On the Pulse of Morning.”
This change in the required Seminar readings comes from a community demand for more opportunities for discussions of race and gender in Seminar. The Seminar website states, “focus on navigating difficult dialogues around race, gender and sexual orientation in Seminar classrooms.” In terms of the push for diversity in Informal Curriculum events, the Seminar website claims, “We will begin to develop a new series of Informal Curriculum events that highlight non-Western texts and perspectives.”
The Saint Mary’s community raised the issue of lack of diversity in the Seminar readings and in response, change is underway.
By Jenevieve Monroe
Afrobeat is a collection of jazz and funk rhythms, extended instrumental solos, and highlife music. This music genre has not only gained immense popularity from pioneering West African pop but has also acted as a form of Nigerian civil protest.
The father of the genre was Fela Kuti, a Nigerian artist and activist who lived his young adult years in the midst of a Civil War (1967-1970). He used the power of community, political discourse, and Afrobeat to challenge the militant coups that arose from colonialist dissension. The impact of Fela Kuti’s legacy is visible to the Bay Area today; the annual “Afrofunk Festival” has made its way to venues in San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles.
One Saint Mary’s course has brought Afrobeat and other non-European musical and dance traditions to the classroom. Professors Sixto Montesinos and Rogelio Lopez Garcia are offering the course “World Music and Dance” (PERFA 014-01) this spring, which educates students on the complexities of musical composition that stem beyond Western music theory.
According to Professor Montesinos, most music theory taught in schools focuses mostly on the musical styles and techniques of 18th-century European composers like Mozart and Beethoven. This eurocentric approach, he says, excludes other interesting and more complex types of music theory like Indian or Indonesian music theories.
“It’s alarming that many musicians have spent their entire lives and careers only studying the styles of 18th-century European composers when there is so much more out there to know!” Montesinos says.
Professor Montesinos finds it surprising that many students do not know who Fela was but hopes that students can appreciate his career and the influence he had in music. Montesinos also hopes that students can appreciate the depths and complexities of African music.
“There are many limiting stereotypes about African music out there that the story and music of Fela debunks. For example, people think African music is only drums. That’s incorrect,” Montesinos says. “There is so much more than drums. Fela’s music combines jazz and also highlife and has so many different instrumentations, saxophone, guitars, trumpets, etc! That’s what this class hopes to accomplish. Debunking stereotypes and focusing truly on the richness of dance and musical traditions not only in Africa but also from other regions explored like Indonesia, Middle East, México.”
COURSE PERFA 014, Professors Montesinsos and Garcia
Afrobeat reverberates throughout Bay Area – East Bay Times
The Politics of Fela Kuti's 'Zombie' by Samuel McIlhagga — Ostrich Records
Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) • (blackpast.org)
SMC Alumni owned Nirvana Soul is the Coffee shop of your dreams
By Kiera O'Hara-Heinz
With trendy decor, a welcoming atmosphere, and delicious drinks, Nirvana Soul, located in Downtown San Jose, is the trendy coffee shop you’ve been searching for.
Founded in September 2020 by SMC alumni Be’Anka Ashaolu ’08 and her sister Jeronica Macey, the shop is guided by the motto of “using the power of coffee and tea to bring people together.” Nirvana Soul is one of only a few Black-owned food and beverage businesses in San Jose. The shop's decor reflects this, with a number of murals depicting sayings like “Black Owned,” other paintings of Black folks, and the Black power fist.
The shop is very aesthetically pleasing and, when I visited, many people could be seen taking pictures for social media. The pink color pallet and the plants lining the walls make Nirvana Soul look like a place right out of a Pinterest board or Instagram feed.
The cafe has a pretty extensive menu with many different iced and hot coffee and tea options, and all the plant-based milks you could dream of. I had the serotonin sunrise, an iced tea drink with jasmine, raspberry, peach teas, and sparkling water. The drink really was serotonin in a cup and it was a refreshing drink for a hot day.
After visiting the coffee shop, I highly recommend you check out the surrounding area. Nirvana Soul is located in the SoFA district and is surrounded by many trendy and artsy businesses. A short walk down the street is the Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA), an art space dedicated to contemporary Chicano and Latin American art. Their current exhibit, Beyond the Diaspora, explores the Afro-Latino experience through a variety of mediums. The exhibit will run through March 13, 2022. Admission is free though donations are encouraged.
By Remy Zerber
Expressions of Blackness is a cultural night that is put on every year at SMC to celebrate the Black community here on campus. It is a night filled with fun events and performances. A memorable quote that summed up the night is “Home is where you make it,” as the theme of the night was “Homecoming”.
This cultural night had many musical performances. One of the songs they sang was “Clocks” by Coldplay. I can tell why they chose this song because it has a lot to do with the theme of “Home.” This song has many interpretations for what it is about, but one thing is for sure: the singer wants to go home at the end of the song. What home represents is up to interpretation. My interpretation of the song is it is about a relationship and the singer is watching their time together tick by. Home represents the person that he has fallen for.
There was also Nigerian music at the event. The person who played this song was originally from Nigeria, so it reminded him of home. Two other students sang the “Black National Anthem.” This song is about all the suffering the Black community had to go through to finally get their freedom. The next song that was played was “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar. This song is about racism and the Black experience. It connects to the theme of home because the Black community is home for many Black people. The cultural night opened with two people playing the drums, which is very reminiscent of Africa.
In addition to music, many people also told their stories. Some people used nonverbal forms of storytelling. For example, there was a dancer who did an interpretive dance. She swung herself around using her whole body. One performer also said he has lived in many different places so he doesn’t know where his real home is so he calls home wherever he feels at home. This connects to the theme of home. Another student showed a film she made about Rose, one of the first Black women to attend SMC. This was an important milestone for Saint Mary’s.
The Expressions of Blackness Cultural Night was definitely a night to remember with many performances and stories. Home was a big theme throughout the night.
A look back at Zendaya’s amazing acting and Maddy’s potential to dominate the rest of the series.
By Isabelle Delostrinos
So far this year, my Sundays have looked like this: sleep in until noon, treat myself to a trip to the mall, and be home by 6 PM to catch the newest Euphoria episode. Each week, I join the nationwide event of watching how the wild episodes of the Euphoria universe unfold. After each episode ends, I spend the rest of the night scrolling through Twitter and Tik Tok, unpacking the episode with the internet. The HBO series has united millennials and zoomers alike as the new season has everyone holding their breaths. Spoilers ahead!
If I had to use one word to describe Episode 5, it’d be Zendaya. Her performance in this episode was so impressive and captivating, that it was painful to watch. Her character, Rue, has finally reached her breaking point. She’s at the lowest she has been in the entire series and finds herself in an intervention with her mother and sister. In this fifteen-minute monologue, we see the multiple personalities of Rue. We feel her pain and betrayal from her mother, her constant struggle with the side effects of addiction, and her yearning to just get better. Zendaya seamlessly portrayed all of these different states of being; making it hard to hate Rue for what she had done or said. After her relapse and downward spiral into her hatred for Jules, Rue’s girlfriend, viewers are only filled with sympathy and concern for her well-being.
This episode also brings light to one of the most scandalous plot lines, Cassie and Nate’s secret relationship. In an effort to take the spotlight off of herself, Rue throws Cassie under the bus and admits to everyone that she saw the two kissing and driving off together one night. Cassie’s immediate defense and puzzled reaction instantly gave herself away, igniting anger from Maddy. Cassie all of a sudden runs straight up to her room trying to avoid the situation.
Where was that energy from Episode 2, Cassie? She said she was crazier than Maddy, but couldn’t talk the talk when it came down to it. Seeing how Cassie and Nate face Maddy throughout the rest of the season will be very interesting. Maddy still has the forbidden tape of Nate’s dad and Jules. What will she do with it? And what will she do about Cassie? I can’t wait to see this situation play out and see how Maddy could dominate the series as well.
Sam Levinson does an amazing job with his writing and how he directs episodes in ways that leave viewers wondering, “What happens next?” The show is unpredictable and exciting to watch, and I’m filled with anticipation for this upcoming Euphoria Sunday.
How Instagram went from just a photo-sharing app to a romanticization of our daily lives.
By Isabelle Delostrinos
What was your first Instagram post? Was it a photo of your food? A beautiful sunset with an oversaturated filter? Or a cringe picture of you and your friends hanging out at the mall? The birth of Instagram was the birth of an entire new world. The culture of social media changed instantly, as it’s still changing today. Originally, Instagram was just a photo-sharing app where you could follow your friends and see what they were up to that day. You could post whatever you want when you want. A random photo of a flower? Cool. A candid selfie you randomly took? Awesome. It was a fun time and a new way for people to keep up with one another.
Eventually, Instagram’s unspoken culture started shifting. You weren’t at the party unless you posted it on Instagram. Self-timer photo shoots with friends started becoming a normal hang-out activity. Selfies were once full-body, posed photos because front cameras didn’t exist yet. The portrayal of a fun, eventful life started becoming the Instagram norm. Perfectly posed and directed photos were the only way to post. This norm still exists today, but it looks like we may be entering a new era of Instagram culture.
The other day I was scrolling through my feed and came across someone’s “photo dump.” It started off with a picture of the sky, then a photo of a chair, a funny Twitter meme, a candid (but photogenic) selfie, and a photo of a bagel. I didn’t understand how all of these photos were so different, yet made sense. Things are starting to look a little more casual on the Gram, but not like how they used to. The evolution of Instagram has gone from staged, glamorous photos to casual, laid-back ones.
Romanticizing our daily lives has reached social media culture and our online presence. There’s no reason to wait for a party to post, it’s just as cool to post a photo of your water bottle sitting in the car. The more casual and candid your photos are the better. This is the new Instagram.
How the popular app increased interest in the international games.
By Madison Sciba
Back in Summer 2021, TikTok users got to experience something rarely seen before, an inside look at what it is like to be an Olympic athlete. By documenting everything from life in the Olympic village to practicing and competing, Olympians have given average people the chance to experience the Olympics.
For the Summer Games in Tokyo, athletes from all over the globe developed dedicated followings on the app just for showing their Olympic routines. By doing this, they also increased interest in sports that were not typically popular amongst fans. U.S. Rugby Sevens player Ilona Maher drew increased interest in Rugby with her viral TikToks about Olympic daily life. Australian diver Sam Fricker found similar online popularity with insight into the life and training needed to become an Olympic diver.
Throughout these Winter Olympics in Beijing, 3-time gold medalist Shaun White (US) and newcomer Maddie Mastro (US) have used their platforms to show TikTokers what gear they got, how they trade pins (an Olympic tradition), their training, and even an incredible view of the opening ceremonies. Maddie Rooney, 2018 gold medalist, has made just fun videos with her teammates on the US women’s ice hockey team in which she is the goalie. Anna Hoffman (US), a 21-year-old ski jumper, shared her entire journey to the Olympics. From videos of her as a toddler on her first set of skis to videos of the jump that got her a spot on the Olympic team.
Paralympians were also able to use TikTok to bring awareness to their games and how their sports have been modified and/or how they are different from the traditional games. Jack Wallace of the US Men’s Sled Hockey team documented how sled hockey is played and even how his sleds were made.
In a time when Olympic viewership is in decline, TikTok may offer hope for the games and is putting lesser supported events into the spotlight.
Ryan Ford '23,