fall 2016, issue 2
The BCC VOICE
for the BCC VOICE
Berkeley City College's
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ON THE COVER: Cecilia Majzoub is an artist, photographer, and writer from the Bay Area, currently attending BCC as a Sociology major.
Living and working both in the Bay and New York City, she has shot and written for publications such as Dazed & Confused, Under The Radar, and Altamont Apparel.
Got Books? BCC Students Do
Between homework, jobs and friends, finding time to read sounds like the chore right above wash sheets on your to-do list. But if you’re like many of your classmates, reading material is both brain fuel and creative energy; it’s good for the soul and it’s a nice break from textbook chapters and dramatic text messages from your best friend. To help you save some time and get straight to the literature, here are some recommendations from your peers at BCC.
“The Broom of the System” by David Foster Wallace
“My community of friends are all deeply interested in post-modernist novels like me and we often suggest novels we share a passion for,” says James Dennehy, introducing David Foster Wallace’s first novel. And if you’re familiar with Foster Wallace’s work, Dennehy’s brief synopsis will not surprise you: “The story is completely crazy and includes a baby formula that allows babies (and Lenore's parakeet) to speak, a character who loses his leg when his pregnant mom falls out of a window and launches him from her womb upon impact, and a man intent on eating until he physically explodes. But the most influential component of this story is its delivery and narration. It's experimental and tells the story in the non-sequential form that pulp fiction is known for.” Don’t be daunted by the description; Foster Wallace is an acquired taste, but he has a truly unique way of storytelling.
“Infinite Potential: What Quantum Physics Reveals About How We Should Live” by Lothar Schafer
Looking to flex your scientific and philosophical brain muscles? Philosophy major Angela Pope is diving into Lothar Schafer’s philosophies on the connectedness of the universe and the way science and spirituality come together more than we think. “My mom bought [this book] for me for my birthday because she knows my interest in quantum theory,” says Pope. “There are several principles to quantum mechanics that are interesting to me from a philosophical perspective.” Many of Schafer’s readers cite the difficulty of the read, but also point out how rewarding it is at the end. Says Pope, “I will continue to read on quantum theory, from a scientific, philosophical and spiritual perspective for the purpose of obtaining a bettered sense of understanding of the ideas and theories that are out there. This will mean that at times they will be far-fetched, for example, pseudo-scientific; while other times scientifically distinctive and theoretically plausible. I find it important to examine the nature of quantum mechanics from as many angles as possible, to have the fullest understanding I might obtain.”
“Stoner” by John Williams
Another reason we love to read? It helps us bond with the people we love, like for Erin Marshall Cohen and her dad. “We always have bookstore dates. It's our thing, he'd get lost in the bookstore with me and we would dive into great reads & poetry,” she says. “Stoner” is a 1965 novel by John Williams, chronicling assistant English professor William Stoner’s mundane life and lackluster career trajectory. Stoner’s passions and failures are a bleak look at academia, and Williams’ blunt truths about love, life, and workplace politics are a reflection of his own experience. “[My dad] said this book was beautifully written, and thought I should read it,” says Cohen. “I read it, completely agreed and felt the book was beautifully tragic.”
“The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan” By Jenny Nordberg
“I’m a sociology major and the topic of gender performance and norms is really fascinating to me,” says Voice staffer Sabrina Sellers. That’s what drew her to Nordberg’s investigative narrative about gender and persecution in Afghanistan. The author follows the stories of four women, exploring the practice of being reared as a boy in childhood and the expectation of “turning back into” a girl upon the onset of puberty. “Nordberg really sought out every possible angle of this issue which made it all the more compelling,” says Sellers. She recommends the read to those interested in any of the social sciences: “Nordberg takes on women's issues from every possible lens: economic, political, psychological, and sociological. I think it has a little bit for everyone.”
“Singing at the Gates” by Santiago Baca
If you’re a poet and you know it, Baca’s collection of passionate poetry explores the dynamics of injustice, race, and identity. “The poems he wrote show a very vivid structure to rethink in a deeper sense about the topics of prison and values of family and friends,” says Hilda Chavez. “My favorite poem in the collection is ‘We Prisoners.’” Raw, unforgiving, and fiery, Baca’s work remains as true today as it did when he wrote it. Reading this collection is as timely as ever in the wake of Black Lives Matter and criticism of America’s justice system. In just a couple of lines [poetry expresses] what a thousand words can't,” says Chavez. This is distinctly true of Baca, who’s imagery and storytelling provide a vivid portrayal of not only his life, but many like him in the barrios of New Mexico.
No matter your major or your interests, there’s a book out there for you. Didn’t find one here to suit your fancy? Ask your classmates, your friends, or your family—great suggestions come from the people who know you best, just like they did for Pope, Marshall Cohen, and Dennehy. And don’t forget that there’s a library on the 2nd floor of BCC and countless bookstores near Campus. Literature awaits---go and find it.
3 Got books? BCC Students Do
4 Boba, Why the Mystery?
Angela De Mesa
5 Represent Me
6 Are You Ready to Rock?
7 Kid Cudi and Hyper-Masculinity
8 The Perks of Being a Student
10 Co-ops vs. Frats
11 Goodbye to the Greats
12 The Bay Area Alternative Press\
13 86 Years on Planet Earth
14 Surviving the Pain Medicine Epidemic
15 BCC vs. Laney
16 The Future is Trump
Inside This Issue
BCC Voice - Fall 2016 - Issue 2
THE BCC VOICE is produced by English 14/15 students at Berkeley City College, with funding from the Associated Students. A special thank you to the ASBCC, the BCC English Department, administrators, faculty, and students who make this school great!
Photo Credit: Rachael Moore
By Rachael Moore
Here's What They're Reading
Illustration Credit: Remy Carreiro
Left: Ryan Reyes enjoying a boba drink from Sweetheart Café on October 21, 2016.
Boba drinks are undeniably tasty and have been around for years. Thankfully, Berkeley is blessed to be a boba center in the East Bay. Close to thirty options are available within one mile from BCC. This may explain why every day there is at least one student on campus sipping a milk tea or a fruit smoothie with the chewy, black balls on the bottom of the cup. So, with the hundreds of college students attending BCC and the amount of boba drinks purchased, do students know what they are consuming?
During Cal's home football game against the University of Oregon, Berkeley's Friday night life was busy and loud. Large groups of college students enjoyed their late night meals and of course some boba. I walked into Sweetheart Café located on Durant and Telegraph. This is a popular location that has been around for almost 10 years. When I asked the café’s employee what the ingredients in boba are, he said, “Why?” in a defensive, suspicious tone. He continued to show disapproval by shaking his head. His withholding response increased my curiosity and made boba a bigger mystery. This led me to take my questions elsewhere.
I walked a couple doors down and noticed a long queue outside of Boba Ninja. This is one of the area’s newer shops. Jason, the friendly cashier said, "I don't know what it is. My boss just buys it," after I asked what the ingredients are in the sweet, bite-sized balls.
Then, I met Ryan Reyes, a young customer of Sweetheart Café in Berkeley, who had a similar response to the same question, "Not really. I am not too concerned." Ryan and Jason both answered smiling. Innocent and without a care because boba sells and it still tastes good.
Attempting to discover the ingredients from local boba shops was more challenging than expected. I discovered the answer elsewhere. Tpumps, a major boba franchise in the Bay Area, describes the sweet, bite-sized balls as “another form of tapioca made from the cassava root” on their website. It is prepared with other sweeteners such as brown sugar and honey to enrich the flavor of the dark, jelly- like marbles.
Looking back to that same Friday night, many people had cups from Sweetheart Café and Boba Ninja. Seeing each person finish the last sip of their sweet beverages and enjoying their company with their refreshments from the nearby shops led me to wonder why boba drinkers enjoy it so much.
“It seals the deal after a good meal," said Reyes. "[It] cleanses the palette, especially after something spicy.”
Jessica Naniola, a loyal patron to ShareTea (also located in Berkeley) said, “I like the mixture of drinking something slightly bitter with sweet, chewy balls. It’s kind of like having a little surprise with every sip.”
These are just a couple great reasons as why boba drinks will continue to be purchased to satisfy taste buds worldwide.
While the boba ingredient mystery is far from groundbreaking, because ultimately, boba is just a root, it does not hurt to research what you eat. On the other hand, not everything has to be questioned. Some things are just meant to be enjoyed. So, drink that boba, buy one for a friend, and smile. Cheers!
Uncovering the Ingredients
It’s safe to say that we are living in a golden age of television. The sheer amount of shows available for us to consume is almost overwhelming; it’s hard to sometimes even know what to watch. One of the great things about this surge in available media is diversity in the stories being told. Television now compiles a cast of characters that include characters of color, queer characters, strong female leads, trans individuals, and everything in between. This is especially refreshing compared to television’s film counterparts which have come under fire in the last few years with social media campaigns, such as #oscarssowhite, commenting on the lack of diversity in its nominees.
As a Black woman, what I find most refreshing is the uptick in Black female leads on my television screen. When I asked my fellow BCC students who they felt was a promising representation of Black women on television, there was overwhelming support for shows like "How to Get Away With Murder," starring Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, and "Scandal," starring Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope — both ladies on a primetime television show. Not to mention that the shows are also run by another amazing Black woman, Shonda Rhimes, who has been hiring performers of all ethnicities and sexualities, most notably on "Grey’s Anatomy."
Black female strength has also been seen in Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyons on the show "Empire" and in a more contrasting role in "Blackish’s" Rainbow “Bow” Johnson, played by Tracee Ellis Ross. Among students, Ross’ character is quite popular.
“She is not the over-sexed, drama filled, woman that Hollywood portrays Black women to be as on shows such as 'Basketball Wives,' 'Atlanta Housewives,' or 'Power,' nor is she the poor, single mother trying to get out of crime-filled ghettos, as represented on shows such as 'Good Times' or 'What’s Happening,'” said BCC Voice staffer, Devisadaria Duchine-Khauli.
The importance of these characters, with the inclusion of their tragic flaws, is that there are finally Black women on television that young girls can aspire to be like. These characters are complex women leading lives in positions of power and respect; seeing beyond the typical portrayal of black women.
“Television does seem to portray Black women as angry, bitchy or weak,” said BCC student, Sareeta Young.
Television and film have consistently pigeon-holed Black women into these generic stereotypes of “the angry Black women,” token Black character, “ghetto,” forever struggling to make ends meet, or the comedic support to the leading man. It’s refreshing to see the Black female experience represented in success and strength and also beyond the shadows of men.
More recently, HBO released Issa Rae’s "Insecure," marking change on a network that typically tells stories pertaining to white characters. "Insecure," an offshoot of Rae’s Youtube series "Awkward Black Girl," is a half-hour comedy centering around Rae, an awkward Black girl who raps in front of her bathroom mirror, feels like the token black girl at her non-profit job to support inner city kids, and who, at 29, is still trying to figure it out. She sets herself apart from the many caricatures that have been black female characters on television — Rae is refreshing. But she’s also different from Washington, Davis, Henson, and Ross’ characters in that she’s content in the fact that she may not always emulate outward strength and power, but she’s still a complex human being with quirks and flaws.
Minority experiences are not monolithic, and the Black experience in particular has been told in stereotypical ways time and time again. These women are just a few notable Black characters who are leading the change in diversity on television. They are not only visually diversifying the playing field, but telling an array of stories that expand the narrative of the Black experience. Where Cookie Lyons, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating, and Rainbow Johnson are the women that we want to become, Issa is the woman who young millennials identify with.
Above: Regular sized Okinawa Milk Tea with mixed boba from ShareTea
Photo Credit: Angela de Mesa
Finding Color Among the White
By Sabrina Sellers
Photo Credit: Angela de Mesa
By Angela de Mesa
Boba, Why the Mystery?
By Jade Ingersoll
Hip-hop is a cathartic means of self-expression reflecting the Black reality in a raw and unrefined way. In terms of mental health, that same exposition of reality, falls short. Talking about clinical depression and/or suicide, in healthy ways has never been mainstream music fodder. In the ’90s, high-profile hip-hop artists like Eminem, DMX, Scarface and Notorious B.I.G. dealt lightly with the idea of suicide. In most cases, their music trivialized mental health and instead focused on frustration towards the unwanted defect that they claimed made them psychotic.
Pertinent mental health issues in the Black community become increasingly difficult to contextualize when all you have to reference are hyper-masculine rappers. Pair the artists' need to protect fragile masculinity with the long standing stigma against mental health in hip-hop and the Black community as a whole, and what you get is a recipe for people suffering in silence. As many as 80% of all depression cases can be treated with psychotherapy and medication, yet only half of sufferers seek help, according to Healthline.
On October 3rd, 2016, four-time Grammy nominated rapper Kid Cudi took to Facebook to share his current state of mental health, “Yesterday I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges. I am not at peace. I haven't been since you've known me. If I didn't come here, I would’ve done something to myself.”
Throughout his career, Cudi's songs have spoken through the point of view of his vulnerabilities which, in contemporary hip-hop, make him soft. This opposite of soft is the tough guy relic that many hip hop artists use to take the heat off the possibility that they may be clinically depressed (strippers and Hennessy won't fill the void in your heart).
Even though most of Cudi's music muses on his depression, loneliness and isolation, this reveal came as a bombshell to many of his fans. "I was really sad when I saw how human the post was; I never saw him as someone who'd actually try to kill himself." said Malik Whyte, a student at BCC.
Due to the shock from his Facebook post, many Black folks went to Twitter with the hash-tag #YouGoodMan as a call for emotional support and transparency towards the fragile male and the mask of masculinity. These hash-tags, spread through social media and some people's text messages, facilitating a safe space emotional discourse. This invitation is meant to test the malleability of defensive hyper-masculinity. It's the idea that bombarding the wall that levies mental turmoil, with open arms will lead to a full embrace of vulnerability, and one day even stability.
Depression and suicide plague the Black community, with suicide being the third leading cause of death for Black males ages 15-24, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
For Black men of all ages, mental health has not been prioritized within their families or communities. "We never spoke on the issue of mental health, it was kind of the elephant in the room that never got fed," said Brandon Smith, who suffers from depression.
Vulnerability seems to be the operative fear related to mental health. To some, mental illness is seen as a fabricated problem that hinders the Black community already suffering the plight of social and economic inequality. But just because we have external problems doesn't mean we shouldn't focus on internal ones.
Cudi's public admission came as a reminder to many, within the Black community, that some of our closest brothers and sisters are hurting beneath the surface. Cudi's vulnerability pushes to dismantle some of the corrosive stigma surrounding depression and suicide.
Male authority figures, inside and outside of popular culture, stress the necessity to “toughen up” and to be "a man” under the guise of self-preservation and protection. Although the threats of physical violence against Blacks are legitimized to the point of being sponsored by the state, i.e. prison culture and police brutality, the pressure to be hyper-masculine creates dissonance between emotions and behaviors.
Black bodies are brutalized at alarming rates and yet they’re simultaneously conditioned to relinquish their time for recovery. Kid Cudi’s music was exactly what his body and so many black bodies call out for— rehabilitation.
In a personal favorite, Kid Cudi greets his listeners "Lord of the sad and lonely, and the ones that feel like shit on the daily. I got you." Cudi's tempestuous and unabashedly sensitive songs serve as an invitation of inclusion, reverence and stewardship that challenges the paradigm of a genre that rewards the patriarchal and masculine Black male.
"His music came out in a time when I was going through a rough patch, and it started a conversation I might not have had otherwise." said BCC student Malik Whyte. Although Kid Cudi has been affected by mental instability in real life, the conversation of his illness, and the conversation created for others, struggles to separate his artistic persona from his actual self outside of his celebrity.
Beneath his current, personal battle, through the public lens, with little individual benefits besides the catharsis of disclosure, is a selfless act that inspired others to seek treatment and to provide discourse for those who may know someone in need of mental health assistance.
Illustration Credit: Bryce Tenor
By Nicolas Vargas
Dismantling the Relics of Hip-Hop Past
Photo Credit: Jade Ingersoll
Kid Cudi and Hyper-Masculinity
Bcc students share their concert experience
Are you ready to rock?
Whether you are an avid concert attendee or have yet to see your first live show, the thought of seeing your favorite artist or band will get your heart racing. There is nothing more exciting than traveling to the venue, purchasing merchandise, and singing at the top of your lungs to your favorite songs. Personally, I’ve seen over 50 live shows, each one unique, but all amazing, I couldn't tell you who has been my favorite, but my top three would include: Paul McCartney, Green Day, and Ed Sheeran. I reached out to Berkeley City College students to tell me about their favorite concerts and experiences.
Ned Pollock: 90 shows.
Top 3 Shows: Grateful Dead, The Clash, and Bruce Springsteen
What he loves the most about shows: "The Excitement"
If he could bring anyone to perform at BCC it would be: Trombone Shorty
"I've seen the Grateful Dead over 60 times. My first time on November 1, 1979. Back then, we had to wait outside a Ticketron outlet (Ticketmaster on the West Coast) all night to get seats. Later, the Dead sold their tickets through mail order. My favorite show was on April 16, 1983. The band was very hot that night. The icing on the cake was when Stephen Stills came out during the second set and performed with the Dead for three songs. Also, at the time, I wanted the band to perform songs I hadn’t seen them perform before, and they really obliged that night."
How he got into the Grateful Dead: "At first, I just heard the name, 'Grateful Dead.' I’d never heard their music, so I assumed they were the meanest, evilest heavy metal band ever created. Then, when I got into high school, my friends started singing, 'Drivin’ that train, high on cocaine...' I asked them what that was, and they said it was the Dead. The first time I saw and heard the Dead (no kidding) was when they played on 'Saturday Night Live' for the first time. And, what did they sing? “Drivin’ that train, high on cocaine....” The Dead is an acquired taste. I had to be exposed to a lot of their music before I understood what they did. Once I did, however, they became a big part of my life."
Sabrina Sellers: 20 shows.
Top 3 Shows: Chance the Rapper, Stromae, and Alabama Shakes
What she loves the most about shows: "Everything. There's no feeling like the one I get when I see live music."
If she could bring anyone to perform at BCC it would be: Anderson .Paak
Where Sabrina discovers music: "I discover music usually through streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music. My friends and I swap music through them so they’re a huge influence on my library. There’s also a great LA radio station called KCRW that I used to listen to at home that I find some music from. I’m usually drawn to music based on whether or not I can dance to it. I’ve danced for my whole life and music is such a big part of dance that I've carried with me. I like music I can groove or improvise to. "
Marabet Morales: 6 shows.
Top three shows: Lights, Zedd, and Porter Robinson
What she loves the most about shows: "The energy!"
If she could bring anyone to perform at BCC it would be: Lights
"I’ve seen Zedd twice over the last three years when he’s come to the Bay Area to perform. My first time seeing him was at the Fox Theater in Oakland. The second time was at the Bill Graham Civic Center. Both times were amazing but the last time I went was super magical. What was exciting apart from seeing Zedd was that I got to dance the night away with my boyfriend and go home tired and happy!"
Rachael Moore: 15+ shows.
Top 3 Shows: Coldplay, Billy Joel, and The Rolling Stones
What she loves the most about shows: "Being immersed in the music in a community that feels the same way."
If she could bring anyone to perform at BCC it would be: The National
Rachael has created lifelong friendships through music and going to shows: "My best friend and I met in dance class when we were 14. But we didn’t bond over dance, we bonded over music. The bands at the time were The Fray and Jack’s Mannequin, and we ended up seeing them together a ton times over the span of a few years, and even met both of them (meeting Andrew McMahon was a HUGE deal for me. He was hero status for the entirety of my high school years.) We are still best friends. We’ve fallen in love with so many different artists and gone to so many shows together. She introduced me to the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, and I flew all the way back to the East Coast last year so we could go together. We have so much more than music in our friendship, but our love for it brought us together, and our memories from concerts are something we really cherish. We’ve grown up, and our music has grown up with us."
Concerts are magical events that connect listeners and artists. If you have yet to attend a live show, I urge you to do so. If you have been to live shows and love attending them, keep on rocking!
The Perks of Being a Student
Discounts and Offers
By Devisadaria Duchine-Khauli
When considering tuition, the cost of living, books, and transportation, being a student can be expensive. But don't despair, collegian, because there are perks to being a student, and the offers listed below are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re unsure if a company offers discounts, just ask. What’s the worst that can happen?
One of the best things that a student can do is to sign up for a Student Advantage Card. The card offers students discounts with businesses they may frequent, such as Footlocker, AMC Theatres, Target.com, and Zipcar studentadvantage.com
I find it surprising that many Berkeley City College Students don't know that if they’re taking six units or more, they’re entitled to an EasyPass, which is an unlimited AC Transit bus pass. This pass is funded in part through the fees already paid by students and can be used anywhere AC Transit goes. The fall 2016 EasyPass is valid starting August 15th, and is good through January 30th, 2017. The spring 2017 Peralta EasyPass is valid from January 16, 2017 to August 28, 2017. More information regarding the EasyPass can be found on the "student" tab at web.peralta.edu.
Students with a valid student ID can receive 15% off the lowest value or Flexible Fare when they book their travel at least 3 days in advance.
Students with a Student Advantage card can receive 20% off select Greyhound fares or get 40% off package shipping sent through Greyhound Package Express. greyhound.com
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
The Berkeley Repertory Theatre
2025 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94710
$10 off of Rush Tickets for students and seniors (age sixty-five and over) with valid ID on tickets in sections A and B one hour before each show, based on availability. These discounted tickets are not available online.
Half price advance tickets are offered to anyone under thirty years of age for most shows. Proof of age is required. Some restrictions apply and are based on availability. These discounts are available online.
101 Zellerbach Hall # 4800
Berkeley, CA, 94720-4800
Students other than UC Berkeley students can receive $5 off single ticket prices with a valid student ID at the door. This discount also applies to high school and middle school students with current IDs, as well as children. Special events are excluded.
UC Berkeley students can get 50% off single ticket prices for all Cal Performances events. UCB ID required at the door.
1901 Ashby Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94703
$5 M.A.D. (Make a Difference) Ticket:
If you are twenty-five years old or younger, you can come to the theater an hour before the show starts and get $5 tickets. These tickets are not available online and can only be purchased with cash. Or, according to the website, you can “Make a reservation online for any Thursday performance and select the MAD ticket when choosing seats.” There are only twenty-five of these tickets and they are available first come, first served, with a valid ID.
Pay-what-you-can tickets are available during preview performances before opening night. These tickets range from $1 to $100, depending on what you’re able to pay.
1192 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Rush Tickets are $40, two hours before certain shows, or $25 during the drawings, two and a half hours before certain shows. They can also be bought with an app called Today Tix for $40 + $5 fee if you don’t want to show up two or two and a half hours early. This is open to all.
Student discounts are also offered, but in most cases, the Rush tickets are a better deal.
NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
Offers free magazines to everyone in the community through www.berkeleyprubliclibrary.org. You do not have to be a student to receive this service.
New York Times
Free for students. You can get the New York Times for your entire student term, so if you’re in college for 4 years, then you can get the New York Times for four years. You need to have a valid student e-mail account to receive the subscription.
Free for students. You can receive a digital copy of the National Review for twelve months. You must have a valid student e-mail account to receive the year’s subscription.
2132 Oxford St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Show student ID for discount. Follow Cinnaholic on Twitter to receive the daily special for $4.
1550 Shattuck Ave (at Cedar St.)
Berkeley, CA 94709
Students and educators can receive a 5% discount on all purchases. They must ask for the discount card from the cashier or at customer service.
AMC Bay Street
5614 Bay St #220,
Emeryville, CA 94608
Matinée before 12 p.m. $6.99 and student discount $10.99.
2230 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Matinée before 6 p.m. and student discount $8.50
2113 Kittredge St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Matinée before 6 p.m. and student discount $8.50
2274 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Matinee $9.25 before 6 p.m. and Student discount $9.75 after 6 p.m.
The New Parkway
474 24th St.
Oakland, CA 94612
General tickets $8, student discount $7 and Wednesdays are pay-what-you-can.
2401 Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Students receive an 11% discount with a Student ID.
2455 Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Students receive a 10% on used items only, not to be combined with other discounts.
Photo Credit: Devisadaria Duchine-Khauli
Including the mystical artist Prince, powerful pro-wrestler Chyna, vibrant activist Alexis Arquette, eccentric performer David Bowie, and existential poet and musician Leonard Cohen, 2016 has been filled with the passing of idols who have infiltrated our hearts and made their marks on history. Although each of these colorful human beings continues to spark a massive impression, this is not homage to them; this is a eulogy to other icons that have passed and rocked the world this year.
The hardest death of all. We’ve all crashed to our knees laughing, possibly crying, over these enigmatic 6-second video creations only the millennial generation could create. Is Vine 21st century art? Absolutely, and we love it. Whether it was Russell Brand blundering through sentences, transformed into Blur’s “Parklife” or the “WOW” a teenage-boy uttered after a belly-pierced peer bellowed vape smoke, the gold produced via Vine is never-ending. This app will be missed tremendously. Goodbye, old friend...
Apple Headphone Jacks
Apple is really doing that. Why? I don’t know! No one knows! They think they’re ahead of the curve, but this is tragic. Apple just wants us to buy adapters, lining their pockets further. Call me crazy, but I want to charge my phone and listen to music…wait for it… at the same time! What a concept! Not to be dramatic, but I want to cry over this traumatic change that 2016 has brought upon us. I’ll never open Spotify in the same way again.
Something we can all cheer about, the death of abstinence-only education! Goodbye to the ignorance that teens won’t have sex if you tell them not to, leaving the conversation at that. Obama cut funding for this sect of education, also proposing a $4 million increase for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. Keeping students informed about their bodies is immensely important; studies have shown abstinence-only education has not proven to reduce the amount of sex that teenagers may engage in.
Silencing of Activism in Sports
Another positive death this year! Colin Kaepernick is our Bay Area champ, creating a revolution of sports stars speaking out. Professional soccer star Megan Rapinoe (formerly on the USA soccer team, even competing in the Olympics) took a knee at a recent match. Even the Berkeley High students took knees at one of their football games, which Vice news covered. This is huge! Obviously, companies and sponsors keeping their athletes quiet is still an issue, but the topic is being raised which seems to be the most important part right now; people who have platforms within an industry that shuns outspoken behavior are using their voices to start and perpetuate necessary conversations.
The designer used locs on white and non-white models at a Spring 2017 fashion show, and tried to justify it by saying the complaints of cultural appropriation were “nonsense,” and that he finds it “funny” that people do not “criticize women of color for straightening their hair.” Wild. I would say rest in peace but, mmmm, I don't care!
I guess gluten has been disappearing for some time now, but abandoning gluten has become even more trendy as of late, and most establishments in Berkeley offer gluten-free options. Hooray for cardboard???
While competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics, the wholeheartedly entitled swimmer Ryan Lochte decided to come up with a story to cover his partying shenanigans that ultimately re-enforced the unfortunate perception of Brazil's people being corrupt and out of hand. Lochte is absolutely canceled. Can I get a helllllll Jeaaaaaaaah?
Berkeley is dominated by two major party scenes: The Fraternities of UC Berkeley and the independent, co-ed Berkeley Student Cooperatives. These two scenes are rigidly isolated with minimal crossover between their patrons. Hopefully these guidelines will help you make up your mind about where you’ll enjoy yourself the most.
Recommended party: Stebbins, Casa Zimbabwe
The co-ops of Berkeley are less visible and often get overlooked when searching for a Friday night get -together. But these parties can be more welcoming to BCC students, as many co-op residents attend BCC themselves. Co-op parties are kickbacks because the houses have quiet hours on most nights, but occasionally they will rage floor-to- floor and even house-to-house.
“The parties at Stebbins have always been fun, but this year the party group has really outdone themselves. Our room-to-room in October was the most hectic party I’ve ever been to, ” said first time Stebbins resident, Ali Sanford. When a co-op throws a massive party, it’s often more bizarre and intimate than your average house party. Many residents cover themselves in face/body paint and there’s always at least one séance room.
Recommended Parties: Sigma Pi, Sig Ep
Avoid: Pike, DKE, DU
Having two roommates in a fraternity, I’ve been afforded an opportunity few BCC students receive: a bid into UCB’s Greek life. I’ve lost track of how many frat parties I’ve been to, mostly because they’re all the same, but the number is staggering.
Simply knowing a brother or having a text message saved can unlock the gates to free DJ sets, alcohol, and a community of intoxicated peers. Overall, these parties can be extremely fun and crazy (I’ve personally witnessed frat brothers pouring a raw egg in a beer and shotgunning it). Though a fraternity’s main appeal may be excessive alcohol and the lunacy that follows, they also sponsor sporting events, barbecues, watch parties, and steak-and-cigar nights.
“A frat party has the most potential of any party, but can also be the worst place to be," says KDR and SMD brother, Jacob Strelnikov, “It’s really what you make it. I always focus on having a good time instead of meeting or impressing people.”
The deciding factor on whether you’ll have a fun time at these events is if you know a member of the fraternity. The dance floor and free light beer is available to anyone, but knowing a brother will open up doors you didn’t know existed.
These two collectives are polar opposite scenes with the only real similarities being their mutual enjoyment of great parties. Above all else, I would suggest experimenting and to hold off judgments until you’ve seen a good number of the scenes. No two frats or co-ops are the same. Inside the spectrum between co-op kickback and frat rager there is something for everyone.
The search for the ideal party scene
By Cecilia Majzoub
Goodbye to the Greats
By James Dennehy
Photo Credit: James Dennehy
Co-ops vs. Frats
Photo Credit: James Dennehy
The Losses of 2016
Adele Hanson before she was diagnosed with cancer. She loved to spend time with family and play the harp.
The Bay Area Alternative Press
The nondescript home of the Bay Area Alternative Press, a perplexing enigma of counter-culture, that is at best a diversion, and at worst, a web of secrets tied to a national cult
Photo Credit: Rose Hanson
Life lessons from a cancer patient
By Rose Hanson
Photo Credit: Axel Stanovsky
86 Years on Planet Earth
Nestled away in a beige, masonry building on Alcatraz Avenue in Berkeley, the corpse of a cold-war “cult” limps into the future long after the death of its founder. Their name is the National Labor Federation (NATLFED), although they front as the Bay Area Alternative Press (BAAP) in Berkeley, the Western Service Workers Association (WSWA) in Oakland, and various other community organizations in cities around the country.
Though they keep an intentionally low profile, the following can be pieced together from resources provided by the Cult Education Institute, a declassified FBI file, and a relatively exhaustive piece by SF Weekly from 2009.
NATLFED is a communist network that grew up in New York in the 70’s. Rumors and allegations of abuse swirled around the group, until the mid 1990’s, when their founder died and an illegal police raid uncovered $42,000 cash, and 49 antique firearms. Ultimately no charges were filed, and NATLFED went quietly back to work.
Oakland resident and substance abuse counselor, Mikhaëla Beaudet-Debois, told me about a friend who started off volunteering part-time at WSWA, but was quickly convinced to live at their West Oakland Headquarters and volunteer 40 hours per week. Then, Beaudet-Debois lost touch with her friend, "We were doing a multiple stage tattoo but she just never showed up for the third session.”
Months later, Beaudet-DeBus saw her friend at First Friday in Oakland, recruiting for WSWA. “She looked insane. It looked like she hadn’t slept in days. She had big bags under her eyes and seemed frantic,” Beaudet-Debus recalled. “It just made me really sad, because she had just graduated from nursing school, and now she didn’t even believe that if she became a nurse, she would be doing any good.” Later on, another friend had joined a similar organization: the BAAP, but had quit after Beaudet-DeBois, looked them up on the Internet and discovered a link to NATLFED.
The Heart of Drabness *
On a gloomy Halloween night, BCC Voice writer Sabrina Sellers and I scheduled to volunteer at the BAAP. Ignoring the accusations of brainwashing and bumfuzzlery, we entered their nondescript headquarters as storm clouds descended on streets full of costumed children, eagerly hustling for their candy.
Once inside we were greeted by Kathy, the volunteer coordinator. She gave us our orientation. Sellers and I took turns reading page after typo-ridden page of antique labor union doctrine. I tried to stay alert, to guard my subconscious, but there were no pictures, or breaks and the room was warm. My attention wandered to the left-wing propaganda on the walls.
“Absolutely nothing we do here is illegal,” Kathy cheerily snapped me out of my daze.
When orientation was over, Kathy introduced us to the handful of other elderly people busily shuffling around the building. Hal, a quiet man and one of the founders of the press, guided us around a complex of narrow hallways. In each room, yellowing office furniture, supported stacks of unfiled papers, books, and archaic computers.
Hal set up their 120-year-old offset press to perforate fliers he was preparing for BAAP's holiday party. We watched, and handed him things, following him back and forth through aisles of broken printing machines. We moved clutter from one surface to another as needed to access the tools for the job. After nearly an hour, we had proudly perforated eight sheets of blank white paper.
As Sellers and I prepared to leave, I thanked Hal for showing us the press. He perked up and asked a strange question, “Do you know why bees make their combs with hexagons?”
I fumbled with the question, until he eventually bailed me out, “It’s because they fit together. Like a…”
“Like a grid?” I asked.
“Like a grid,” he smiled, nodded and folded his hands on his belly.
With that, we left, emerging back into the crisp sprinkles of the evening. We were confused. The BAAP seemed harmless. The bizarrely slow experience sort of made us feel sorry for Hal, Kathy, and the others. It was a little bit like, if they just had our help, they could be something. That’s when I remembered a warning from the East Bay Express' 1982 article, "Shadow Politics," "Don't ever underestimate them. That's the worst mistake a person could make."
*Names of private citizens were changed for this article.
"Cult" of Boredom
By Axel Stanovsky
Adele Hanson is a retired teacher. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Pacific Grove. She spent twenty plus years as a teacher, including time as the Director of Early Education at Contra Costa County Community College. She was hospitalized due to complications related to her cancer diagnosis at the time of this interview.
Adele, please tell me about yourself.
I was born in March of 1930, in Chicago, Illinois. But I grew up in southern California. After high school, I moved to Berkeley to go to college at UC Berkeley with an academic scholarship. I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology. I completed my Masters at Pacific Oaks in Child Development as well. [Smiles behind breathing mask]
How was high school for you?
I have never been a "cool" kid. I was always fat in the face, and spent too much time reading. I was quiet, but I never walked to anyone else’s beat but my own. I was a proud introvert [Monitor by her bed shows an increased heart rate.] I was fond of the classical arts and was never into athletics. I always joked that P.E. would be the reason why I never got Valedictorian.
What made you go into early education?
In high school, we would take a test that would tell us what profession we would be the most successful in. The counselor comes up to me with my test, and tells me I would make a great social worker! I was perplexed! Well, needless to say, that is not what I went into. I always loved kids, I babysat to put myself through college. I could have made more money, but I wouldn’t have been happy! I got my masters then taught early education and loved it. I look back on it now, and I think I would have made a great social worker, then I remember not only what I taught all those kids, but what they taught me, and I realize I would not change a thing. I can picture all of their faces now. [Looks at her hands, folded on her stomach.]
You were married for a very long time, tell me about that.
I was married for 50 plus years to the love of my life. We were both teachers and never made much money. We were polar opposites. I loved classical music and was an introvert. Hobart was the life of the party, he always had this charisma about him that intrigued me. He was also 13 years older than me. I fell in love with him instantly, but he was hesitant because I was so young, and he had been married with kids before. It took months for us to even go steady. The first time we kissed, it was electric. Afterwards we just stared at each other with amazement. I hope whenever you find someone, you will have a moment like that. [Smiles at the nurse taking her blood pressure.]
I had been with boys before, of course, but Hobart changed my life. He was truly my best friend. I look back on our love fondly. Love isn’t complicated. Of course you fight, I know we had our moments. [Looks at the photo of Hobart on her night stand.] But you just look at one another and know that this is just a road block, not the end of the journey.
So you were diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin's Lymphoma in June of 2016.
[Sighs] Yes, it's been a hard couple of months.
Are you scared to…
I was at first. I would scream in my pillow and cry. But as I lay here [rubs hand along the white hospital sheets] I realize how truly amazing my life has been. I got to be with someone I love. I have four amazing children, and many beautiful and smart grandchildren. I got to travel the world and see things people only dream about! If I lived a boring life, of course I would be scared. But I feel as though I have lived life to the fullest. My heart, even now [puts hand on heart] is full of love for everyone I’ve met, and have yet to meet.
Adele B. Hanson passed away in her Berkeley home in September, 2016 after battling cancer for 3 months. Her last words were, "I love you."
By Lucia Wara-Goss
By Alizza Smith
BCC vs. Laney College
Photo Credit: Alizza Smith
A Cautionary Tale
After they wheeled my roommate out on a stretcher, I wondered out loud to the remaining roommates in our living room, “Why did she randomly decide to shoot drugs?”
I live in a dual diagnosed independent living home, the name of which I cannot repeat. We all have mental health and substance abuse issues, hence the dual diagnosis. And whenever there is a local drug surge, we are the most vulnerable to it. My roommate overdosed on pain pills, then started shooting speed as a pick-me-up.
You go to the ER because you hurt your back, have the stomach flu, or slice your hand open on a dull blade that slipped while cooking. Do they prescribe a week off? Anti-nausea suppositories? 800mg of Ibuprofen? Maybe. But they also prescribe pain pills.
I have learned during my 15 years clean and sober NEVER to accept a prescription for pain meds. But I always have to remind the doctor that I have a history of substance abuse.
Only once in 15 years did I accept a prescription, a three-day prescription for Oxycodon, which I took for the removal of an infected molar and wisdom teeth. I started taking the prescription after the removals, took it 3 times a day for 3 days, and didn’t ask for more. That was it. I took it exactly as the doctor prescribed. That is how everyone is expected to take medication. Like you have a lot to lose if you don’t take it perfectly. Like you have respect for the medication and the effect it has on you.
Pain pills are incredibly addictive. It's important to consider alternative therapies like acupuncture, homeopathy, massage, psychotherapy, group therapy, diet and exercise, etc. Otherwise, the pain can get worse while the dose stays the same. There are many in this predicament who, desperate and in pain and have turned to dangerous street drugs.
A Fox News story on the rise of heroin use in the Bay Area, cites 47,055 deaths due to drug overdoses in 2014, "the equivalent of about 125 Americans every day," according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In mining days, miners used to lower a canary into the coal mine as a warning system. If it came up alive there was enough oxygen for the miners to survive. If the canary did not survive, the miners knew not to go into the coal mine. If 125 people are dying from overdoses every day then this is an important message, a canary in the coal mine.
Not just the most vulnerable in society are susceptible, it could happen to anyone, even you. This is because prescription strength pain pills are just the start of reaching for a quick fix to feel better. Then it’s anxiety medication. Then it’s narcotics. Then it’s street drugs. That’s several steps. It starts with pain meds and ends in heroine use which can lead to death. Sometimes this devolution goes quickly, sometimes slowly. But the arrow ultimately points to a coffin. So what can you do at each step if you find yourself here?
I attend group meetings with many people. I heard one man say recently that everyone on the planet qualifies for at least three different kinds of 12-step programs. He was joking but he isn't far off. In the world we live in, everyone knows someone who has a mental illness or addiction problem. It’s kind of like poker. If you don’t know the fool at the table, you are probably the fool.
Mental illness and addiction touches a huge population of people, who often self-medicate before a doctor tells them they have a chemical or mental imbalance.
Diet, exercise, and vitamins may help stress, but before you let people tell you their opinions, often based in denial about their own imbalances, if you think you may need help, talk to a psychiatrist. Consider attending an open meeting of AA. If nothing else you will get a lot of inspirational speeches and information on how to be a survivor of going through the wringer, which we can all relate to.
I asked my fellow residents to offer their insights for this story, but none were willing to go on record, a fact which underlines the shame and secretiveness of addiction.
For a list of local and national 12-step programs ranging from drugs and alcohol, to eating disorders, to sex addiction, to co-dependency, to compulsive disorders and more, check out: www.samuelmerritt.edu/shac/12_steps
You can also get free, confidential counseling through the BCC Wellness Center, located behind the classrooms on the first floor of 2000 Center Street in Room 110, Monday - Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drop in or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
Check out our story "Who Wants a Free Massage" in issue 16.1 of the BCC Voice for more info about the BCC Health Services Center.
What's the Difference?
Surviving the Pain Medication Epidemic
When it comes to community college, students have different opinions about which local campus they prefer. While there are four community colleges within the Peralta district, including Berkeley City, Laney, Merritt, and College of Alameda, I am only going to talk about BCC and Laney College.
I conducted an anonymous survey of twenty BCC and Laney College students to discover which of the two campuses they preferred. The majority of students chose BCC. But there were some students who enjoyed learning at Laney as well. Four out of five Laney students liked Laney college the best. One student said they like both colleges.
There were new students who just enrolled in community college who did not know the difference. And there was one student who loved both Laney and Berkeley.
"I like Berkeley City College because you can be more social and you can join clubs," said one student, "[but] I like the music program at Laney."
The reason why a majority of college students picked BCC may be because the campus is more centralized, everything is inside the building. Every classroom is indoors.
By contrast, Laney's campus is much larger, and includes a network of buildings. Many of the classrooms are accessed from outside. But strangers and homeless people can easily roam the campus, whereas BCC feels more consolidated and secure.
Laney students don't mind the large campus, and two of the Laney students surveyed had never visited BCC, so they automatically favored Laney.
Half of the students picked BCC according to their majors. One student chose Berkeley for its acclaimed ASL program.
Laney College offers a Culinary Arts program; they also have a cafeteria. BCC does not have cafeteria, but it's near to many great food options within walking distance. (See "The Voice Eats" in issue 15.1 of the BCC Voice.)
Laney also has several sports programs like football and a swim team.
Both schools offer music classes such as guitar and voice lessons.
"I chose BCC because they have a good art program," another student shared. While both schools have art classes, only Laney has its own art gallery. At BCC, student artwork can be seen adorning the hallways and there are multiple student murals.
BCC and Laney have different majors they specialize in. Berkeley City offers extensive English and Creative Writing classes, and the BCC Voice journalism class, whereas Laney publishes the Laney Tower. Laney also offers classes in the trades, like plumbing, welding, and car repair.
"I like the parking at Laney College and its racial diversity," boasted a Laney student. We have diversity at BCC too, but not parking, and with the demolition and rebuilding of the former parking structure across from BCC, even getting dropped off for school can be tricky. Luckily, there's plenty of bicycle parking, and both schools are easily accessible by BART. BCC is by Downtown Berkeley BART and Laney is by Merritt BART station.
As a general rule, all of the surveyed students preferred the campus that was close to home. "BCC has quality classes and I live nearby!"
Some college students said Laney had better Science and Math teachers than at Berkeley City College. The others said they liked Berkeley teachers the most.
"BCC teachers are passionate about teaching their students" said one enthusiastic respondent.
Almost all the the students I talked to agreed that that their teachers at both schools inspired them to want to learn.
Laney and BCC each have their pros and cons, but they are both good schools, where you can get an AA degree, or a certificate, and/or transfer to a four-year institution without breaking the bank. Why not try both schools and see which you prefer?
4 BCC Students Reflect on What This Election Means to Them
Illustration Credit: Tatiana Ray
In one of the biggest upsets in political history, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, on November 8, 2016. The win was victorious for those who supported him, but devastating for those who disagreed with his fear-mongering campaign fraught with xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and pure bigotry. The win has been internalized by the BCC community in the past few weeks, and in their own words, 4 students share their fears, motivations, and hopes for their futures and the futures of their communities.
“I'm fearful of families being deported and separated even though millions of undocumented immigrants have been living in the US for years, working so hard and paying taxes, and raising their US citizen kids.” —Undocumented Student
“On one hand, as a Mexican/Indigenous mixed person that is apart of the LGBTQ community, I have faced prejudice and violence in many respects for simply existing while on the other hand, I have particular privileges that allow me to be political and vocal while others may not be safe doing so or be heard. Being situated at this point in the socio-political sphere allows me to see this as an opportunity for change while others may be paralyzed with fear or feel there is nothing they can do. Both are valid feelings in the face of what may come.” —Jack Garza
“For myself, I fear losing access to physical and mental health care. I fear myself coming to a place where my discomfort with being mistaken for a cisgender woman might one day outweigh my ambivalence about identity. I fear fully coming out. I fear violence as a female-bodied person, and as a queer individual.”—Kenzie Donovan
“I think I fear not being able to do enough to help. My community has a lot of damage and requires a person who genuinely wants to help it. Not being able to or forgetting why I want to [help] my people would destroy me.” —Cameron "Dizz" McGowan
“I'm deeply motivated to turn my attention to [Trump's] support base, listen to their reasonings, and appeal to them directly and personally (and even offline!) to recognize the humanity of the people harmed by their votes. I'm motivated to reach out more, and openly defend at all costs. I'm motivated to actively listen to people of color. I'm motivated to work towards coalitions of solidarity.” —Kenzie Donovan
“This feeling created a sense of urgency as far as getting my career in line in order to disseminate info to as many folks as possible. I am still going strong off of this feeling.” —Cameron "Dizz" McGowan
“I hope that families are going to be together and not separated by political interest. There's a Nahuatl saying, 'They tried to bury us, but they didn't know that we were seeds.' We are a resilient community, and we are here to stay no matter what happens. We're a hardworking community and we have survived other administrations. So, for me, my most rebellious act is to continue being a good Latinx student and transfer to a 4-year university and give voice to my community. Education is power and I am hopeful that more Latinxs are transferring and getting a degree. Aquí estamos y no nos vamos! We're here to stay and we are not leaving anytime soon. " —Undocumented Student
“What is important to remember, I think, is that there are so many of us. Yes, there are those that do not care for us or our causes, and there are those that fundamentally despise us. If we keep in mind the magnitude of response and solidarity that came from so many different communities and groups, we can hold on to the fact that we are not alone." —Jack Garza
“I hope intersectionality fuels the movements that are to come. I hope white liberals own up to our part in this result, and the work we have cut out for us. I hope we actually walk the talk this time and mobilize to eradicate white supremacy ourselves, without relying on people of color to do the heavy lifting for us. But there's a difference between hoping for something, and being hopeful about it.” —Kenzie Donovan
"I have been and will continue to hold hope for my community. Black people have lit fires for others since the beginning of recorded history. These fires have been passed to us. With that being said I am concerned for my people, but I am not worried; for I know that my people are resilient and shall overcome. Kendrick Lamar said it way better than I ever could. 'We gon’ be alright.'" —Cameron "Dizz" McGowan
Kenzie Donovan is President of the Sociology Club and frenemies with Facebook.
Jack Garza is a researcher, writer, and community activist.
Cameron "Dizz" McGowan is President of the Black Student Union.
Undocumented Student has asked for their name to be redacted.
The Future is Trump