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Magazine Sport Volume 71, Issue 1

Oakland Baseball and the Legacy of Unsureness

Written By Brennan Dumesnil-Vickers

Graphic By Abby Halverstadt

Recently, the Oakland Athletics have taken the phrase “Rooted in Oakland” and run with it; odds are any sort of promotion for the team has the word “rooted” somewhere. Baseball historians may disagree, as the A’s were founded in Philadelphia and had a brief spell in Kansas City before settling in the town. So, in a literal sense, they’re rooted in Philadelphia. However, when you consider their legacy and ever-changing future in Oakland, the statement makes a lot more sense.

When the A’s began the 1968 season in Oakland, they joined the Raiders at the brand-new Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with the Warriors’ equally new Oakland-Alameda County Arena right behind it (generally referred to as “the coliseum” and “the arena”). This was also right around the time that construction of BART, a public transportation light-rail system, was wrapping up. A new age of the Bay Area was on the horizon, and Oakland was right in the middle of it.

Oakland baseball got off to a hot start as the A’s won the World Series in 1972, ’73, and ’74. To the ultimate dismay of Oakland fans, the Raiders were moved to Los Angeles in 1982 in search of more financial flexibility. However, it did mean that the A’s got the Coliseum to themselves at a time when two-sport stadiums were still the norm.

Despite the loss of Oakland football, the Bay Area sports connection was never stronger than during the 1989 World Series, when not only were the A’s and Giants facing off for the Trophy for the first time since ’68, thirty minutes before Game 3 began on October 17 with over 60,000 electrifying San Francisco’s Candlestick Park . . . the Loma Prieta Earthquake shocked a Bay Area already jolted by the Series, the most devastating local quake since 1906.

Lifetime Bay Area resident and Giants fan Paul Dumesnil was at this game. He said, “I took my 13 year old son to the game as a special treat…We were seated in the upper right centerfield section. When the earthquake hit it was clear this wasn’t a mild earthquake. The upper deck rocked back and forth and with each move forward I wondered how long the stadium would hold together. There were shards of concrete flying over our heads that were breaking loose from the overhanging.” Powerful words about a powerful moment in Bay Area history.

After a 10-day hiatus dedicated to recovery, the A’s swept the Giants and won their fourth World Series as Oakland’s team.

The A’s thrived during the steroid era with the likes of Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco electrifying not just Oakland but baseball in general with their power, and in 1994, Oakland opted to move the Raiders back to the Coliseum at a time when other two-sport stadiums were starting to phase out. Despite unwavering fan support, the Oakland market simply didn’t give the Athletics enough money to be as sustainably successful as they were in the ’70s and ’80s, which led to the initiation of Moneyball.

After another early playoff elimination in 2001, general manager Billy Beane famously revolutionized player scouting for the 2002 season (i.e. Moneyball). After a book published in 2003 and a movie released in 2011 starring Brad Pitt as Beane, Moneyball became public, and the concept was adopted by teams league-wide. Despite continued regular season success since 2002, the A’s have still failed to make it far in the postseason, as they have made it into the postseason nine times but have only made it past the ALDS (quarterfinals) once, in 2006, where they were swept in the ALCS (semifinals).

Today, the Warriors and Raiders play in brand-new stadiums in San Francisco and Las Vegas respectively. The Coliseum is the only stadium left in MLB that was originally built to house two sports, as it shows clearly with its massive foul territory and seating capacity of 63,132 including the huge expansion of seats above center field, originally built for Raiders games but almost always covered by a tarp nowadays. Longtime A’s fan and WCI teacher Susie Reisfelt said, “Before [former Raiders owner] Al Davis ruined the Coliseum, it was lovely to see the bed of pink blooming ice plant above the outfield.”

As the Coliseum celebrates its 55th birthday, talks to move the A’s to a brand-new ballpark at Howard Terminal (near the Port of Oakland) are at an all-time high, but so are talks of moving to Portland or Las Vegas. Regarding this, Reisfelt said, “I think Oakland is very shortsighted if they allow them to go. The data on what a waterfront ballpark does for a city is staggering.”

Currently, from a baseball standpoint, the A’s are a few games out of a playoff spot. From a location standpoint, team president Dave Kaval said in a San Francisco Chronicle article that it’s “hard to say” when the A’s will choose what to do.

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Magazine Magazine News Volume 71, Issue 1

Newsom to Remain Governor After Recall Election

Written By: Cam Lippincott

Graphic By: Yiying Zhang

Democrat Gavin Newsom survived the September 14th recall election and will remain in the office of Governor of California. The result did not come as a surprise in the deep blue state, which voted for current President Biden over former President Trump last year by a margin of 29.2% of voters.

For a recall election to occur in California, an equivalent to 12% of the total voters in the last gubernatorial (Governor) election must sign a recall petition. The recall supporters had 160 days to obtain the signatures. A total of 1,719,900 signatures were collected, far more than the 1,495,970 required.

There have been multiple attempts to recall Newsom ever since his inauguration in 2019, but these attempts were futile. Nevertheless, a surge in support for a recall came during the pandemic, mainly due to anger over COVID-19 restrictions such as mask mandates. The final nail in the coffin came when Newsom attended a birthday dinner at the French Laundry, an exquisite five-star restaurant in Napa, during November 2020, breaking his state’s then-COVID-19 restrictions. 

The recall ballot featured two questions: should Gavin Newsom be recalled as Governor of California? Furthermore, if he is, who should replace him? The first question only had “Yes” and “No” options. However, the latter had an astonishing 46 candidates on the ballot, nearly all Republicans.

The only other recall election of a Governor in California occurred in 2003 when former Governor Gray Davis was successfully recalled from office and replaced by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The only two other attempted recalls of Governors in the United States occurred in 1921 and 2012, in North Dakota and Wisconsin respectively.

The Newsom campaign referred to the election as the “Republican Recall,” backed by “a partisan, Republican coalition of national Republicans, anti-vaxxers, Q-Anon conspiracy theorists and anti-immigrant Trump supporters.” Moreover, the campaign ran advertisements featuring democratic politicians such as Senators Bernie Sanders plus Elizabeth Warren and even former President Barack Obama to encourage the Democratic base to vote. 

Newsom’s most notable opponent was conservative radio host, Republican Larry Elder. Elder ran on ending COVID-19 restrictions, cutting taxes, school choice and other conservative policies. Elder consistently led in every single poll since his campaign announcement as a replacement candidate on July 12th. Due to the Democratic supermajority in the state senate and assembly, it would be effectively impossible for Elder to pass any legislation. However, the Governor’s responsibility to appoint replacements to the United States Senate in the event of a resignation or death became the centerpiece of the race, due to the rumored deteriorating health of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat. If Elder appointed a Republican in her place, the senate majority would flip from Democrat to Republican, effectively ending President Biden’s legislative agenda.

“I want to focus on what we said ‘yes’ to as a state. We said ‘yes’ to science. We said ‘yes’ to vaccines. We said ‘yes’ to ending this pandemic. We said ‘yes’ to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression. We said ‘yes’ to women’s fundamental, constitutional right to decide for herself what she does with her body and her fate and future. We said ‘yes’ to diversity. We said ‘yes’ to inclusion. We said ‘yes’ to pluralism. We said ‘yes’ to all those things that we hold dear as Californians,” said Newsom during his election night victory speech.

“I’m very pleased to see that the election to recall Governor Newsom failed. Recalls should be used for reasons that include crimes or significant ethical improprieties. The use of the recall because the minority party wants their own candidate, is an abuse of the recall system. This was the sixth recall attempt in Governor Newsom’s two and a half years and the only one to come to the ballot because the recall petitions were allowed to circulate for an additional 4 months. It was a serious waste of time and hundreds of millions of our tax dollars,” said Walnut Creek Mayor Kevin Wilk in a statement to The Page.

Senior Moxie Marsh was not surprised by the results, saying, “…I didn’t really expect Elder to win, but also it’s Newsom so I didn’t weep with joy.” Marsh also expressed her dissatisfaction with Newsom: “He’s awful and compels people to be complacent with the status quo but at least he kind of tried sometimes to put peoples lives above profits…he could focus on supporting people in California with things like better and more affordable housing and actually listening to and supporting the needs of people instead of just doing what will look good for him in a photo or on paper and actually dedicating effort to make California a better place [and] not just look better on paper.”

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Features Magazine Magazine Uncategorized Volume 71, Issue 1

Fall Fashion 2021

By: Riley Martin

Fashion is all about expression and typically the seasons influence fashion through colors and styles of clothing. As fall is in full swing, we see this change from summer inspired clothing to colder weather and warmer color tones. 

Freshman Ela Asarvala

Las Lomas Freshman Ela Asaravala is excited to see how fall will influence her current style. Her philosophy behind creating an outfit is centered around a realistic monetary standpoint. She said, “Especially nowadays, I feel like some people think that you have to have a lot of money to be able to have a good sense of style which isn’t necessarily true. An outfit can be great no matter the price!” This philosophy manifests through simple but noteworthy accessorizing which she demonstrated in her outfit in the photograph. When describing her fashion in one word, she said, “uninhibited,” an adjective she wishes to fulfill in the majority of, if not all of her outfits. 

Junior Nadya Novichkova

Las Lomas junior Nadya Novichkova has a personal relationship with her own fashion and what it stands for within herself. Novichkova realized the direct correlation between her style and mental health: “Something that has inspired my style is definitely my mental space; wearing a fun outfit that I’m comfortable in and feeling myself starts my day off better.” In addition to her style allowing her to feel more comfortable within her skin, it also allows her to break from traditional trends and illustrate more authenticity. She said, “It is also a way to express myself and I think dressing the way that I want to has helped me become more of myself.” In this fall season she is most excited for cold weather and the fashion that comes along with it: “Fall is a time for old sweaters.” She looks forward to new fall trends she expects to see and is always looking to try out those trends as long as she has her staple clothing item, “any type of jeans.”

Las Lomas Senior Lee Madsen

Las Lomas senior Lee Madsen has developed a foundation of clothing items for the season of fall: “As fall comes around, I usually get out the pants and vests.” It doesn’t stop there, they also enjoy thriving and build their outfit from that. This foundation allows them to shop in order to build on what their current foundation is. They said, “I usually wear skirts, but I love going out to buy some new clothes to prepare for the end of the warm weather. I really enjoy the year round shopping sprees that are brought about by the seasonal changes!” The specifics of these shoppings sprees typically vary, but there is one constant in their wardrobe, an essential: Doc Martens. 

Senior Bryant Odena

Las Lomas senior Bryant Odena categorizes his fashion as a “combination of grunge and indie.” He reflects on both his culture and identity and uses it to inspire his outfits: “I get my inspiration from Asian fashion mostly from an influencer named Wy.an.” He uses this inspiration and executes it “by thrifting; I tend to look for earth colors, like browns and greens.” His enjoyment of earth-toned clothing fits right in with the fall season and he looks forward to reaching the full potential of his outfits this season, as the weather more accurately reflects his style. He said, “My style is mostly layers and made for colder weather.” 

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Magazine News Volume 71, Issue 1

The Smoke Strikes Back

Written By: Sebastian Squire

Graphic By: Luke Theodossy

In what has become a seasonal norm for a climate change-stricken California, dry conditions have led to increasingly pervasive wildfires and smoke. Driven by the almost one million acre Dixie fire and the almost 250 thousand acre Caldor fire (as of September 8), darkened skies continue to settle over the Bay Area. While inconvenient, it is possible to limit exposure to smoke, something that can lead to improved long-term health.

In order to quantify and track air quality, the National Weather Service, a government organization, uses an air quality index (AQI) system. The system assigns different tiers based on the AQI: good (0-50 AQI), moderate (51-100), unhealthy to sensitive groups (101-150), unhealthy (151-200), very unhealthy (201-300) and hazardous (300 or more). According to the National Weather Service, the AQI is calculated using measurements for “groundlevel ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide,” and is measured against the Environmental Protection Agency’s national standards.

Long-term exposure to wildfire smoke can have adverse impacts on one’s health. According to Brittany Paris, a Contra Costa County Department of Health representative, “exposure to smoky air can make people feel unwell with coughing, a scratchy throat and headaches. It can also irritate residents’ lungs and sinuses.” The California Department of Public Health reinforced this concept, explaining that wildfire smoke can contain “respiratory irritants, and when inhaled deeply, can affect the lungs and the heart. Exposure to high concentrations of [smoke] can cause persistent cough, runny nose, phlegm [excess mucus in the respiratory tract], wheezing, and difficulty breathing.” Las Lomas Senior Nico Wells has also been affected by wildfire smoke, saying that in addition to causing the cancellations of cross country practices, “it has given me migraines [and] made it harder to breathe.” 

Both sources acknowledge that these effects can be particularly dangerous for those with preexisting or cardiovascular conditions; Paris noted that “older adults, pregnant women, and people who have asthma or lung or heart disease” are at particular risk. Exposure for only days or weeks can have few apparent effects. However, long-term exposure to smoke is even associated with negative effects on the health of otherwise healthy people. Contra Costa County recommends that citizens “limit their exposure when air quality is poor by staying inside when possible… limit strenuous outdoor activity or exercise–anything that makes you take more breaths or breathe deeper.” Finally, those who smoke cigarettes are at increased risk due to their increased susceptibility to cardiovascular ailments and increased particulate in their homes from smoking. 

An August 13 Harvard School of Public Health study of the relationship between cases of COVID-19 and air particulate in wildfire smoke found an “11.7% increase in COVID-19 cases, and an 8.4% increase in COVID-19 deaths” for each increase of 10 micrograms of particulate less than 2.5 micrometers in width over 28 consecutive days. These measurements refer to tiny particles, sometimes found in wildfire smoke, that are extremely difficult to filter. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also has information on navigating wildfires and their smoke during the pandemic, explaining the importance of planning ahead, stocking up on critical supplies and avoiding smoke whenever possible, particularly when exercising. The CDC also detailed the differences in symptoms of COVID-19 and smoke inhalation: common symptoms between the two include “dry cough, sore throat and difficulty breathing,” whereas symptoms associated with COVID-19 include “fever or chills, muscle or body aches and diarrhea.” Individuals reporting the latter symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for guidance regarding possible COVID-19 infection.

The county recommends that residents take precautions to avoid exposure to wildfire smoke, such as staying indoors whenever possible, wearing N95 masks and purchasing indoor air filtration systems. The recurring theme among public health officials is staying indoors “with the doors and windows closed [which] can usually reduce exposure to air pollution by at least a third or more” per the California Department of Public Health. If possible, residents should try to avoid “smoking cigarettes, using gas, propane and wood-burning stoves and furnaces, spraying aerosol products, frying or broiling meat, burning candles and incense, and vacuuming,” during high smoke days. Using air filtration devices – including HVAC such as air conditioning with proper and unexpired filters – can also be a valuable tool in reducing the amount of particulate matter in one’s home.

As the fire season continues to grow in duration, the need for strategies to ward off the long-term effects of smoke inhalation becomes greater. The key takeaway from public health officials is to stay inside when the concentration of smoke becomes dangerous and to stay outside only when safe. Also important is following the advice of local, state and national departments of health and any advice from reputable healthcare providers.

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Entertainment Magazine Volume 71, Issue 1

October “Horror”Scopes

Written By: Cam Lippincott and Josh Silva

Graphic By: Sara Valbuena

Pisces : February 19-March 20

Pisces, it’s time to stop procrastinating. Whether it’s a last minute Halloween costume or last minute homework, it’s gone too far. Haven’t you gotten tired of staying up until 2:00 AM finishing homework? Oh well. Just be wary, because after these coming weeks, you will have no choice but to stop…

Taurus : April 20-May 20

Your Halloween will consist of binging the same shows over and over, eating chips in your bed and not doing your homework. Some friends will try to get you out of your shell but to no avail. You won’t be without some scares this month; however, let’s just say don’t check Canvas after last week’s test grades are put in…

Gemini : May 21-June 20

Watching a scary movie with your friends? What can go wrong? Well, everything. Look out for spilled soda on your carpet and popcorn in between your couch cushions. The movie won’t even be any good, but you’ll probably still end up paralyzed in fear by some cheap jumpscare. At least the two pounds of candy you eat will only make you sick for three days.

Cancer : June 21-July 22

Here’s the deal Cancer, we all love a good Halloween costume, but wearing a realistic lobster suit to school on Halloween? That might be pushing it. We know it’s your “passion” and all of that but maybe it’s best if you keep it to yourself, no offense.

Leo : July 23-August 22

Leo, it’s time for you to realize you can’t just repeat the same jokes over and over again and expect them to be funny. The joke was funny the first time, but that doesn’t mean it will be better the 100th time. Maybe this Halloween, you’ll realize the horrors of your ways.

Virgo : August 23-September 22

Look Virgo, we both know these past fall seasons haven’t gone too well for you. Maybe it’s been a bad cold or a regrettable DM — okay, a really regrettable DM, but that’s beside the point. This fall will be different! Look forward to candy and watching movies with your friends, or maybe you are doomed to repeat your past. 

Libra : September 23-October 22

This will be a month for readjustment. You’ve faced significant changes recently and they may be daunting. Adapting to these changes will take time, but your strength and the care of loved ones will get you through the toughest moments. It’s just too bad that the only handsome British man you’ll meet will be an Austin Powers impersonator.

Scorpio : October 23-November 21

You will be feeling feelings and you’ll want to introduce a little anarchy into your Halloween. It’s a day to wear masks, but you’ve always been wearing a mask, and soon, you’ll have to survive the scariest monster of all: society. But the joke will be on them; your costume will be the only one which tells the truth about society. In fact, you’ll feel like the only person without a costume at all.

Sagittarius : November 22-December 21

Usually, people only go on the streets to Trick-or-Treat, but you were born on the streets. When you got rock candy, it was made of actual rocks. Because of this, trivial Halloween scares have little effect on you. But just because you left the streets, don’t forget that the streets raised you. 

Capricorn : December 21-January 20

This month you’ll want to put your nose to the grindstone of schoolwork. But though grades are important, they cannot replace the enjoyment you’ll get from a Halloween bike ride or game of 8-Ball. Study hard and you’ll accomplish amazing feats, but take a load off your feet and embrace the atmosphere of the season.

Aquarius : January 21-February 18

Aquarius, don’t let your recent streak of good luck encourage you. This month will be miserable and will have no redeeming qualities. Your closest friends will betray you, your teachers will fail you, your pets will abandon you and you’ll be left with nothing but the bottom of an empty candy bag. Better luck next month!

Aries : March 21- April 19

Last month may have short changed you but look upwards. You’ll have astonishing foresight for the outcome of your Halloween, so much so that you can manifest an enjoyable one. Just don’t let your vices get the best of you; the Halloween sugar high is euphoric, but it is also fleeting and you may be in a candy coma come November 1st. 

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Entertainment Magazine Volume 71, Issue 1

October Movie Madness

Written By: Josh Silva and Andrew Francois

Graphic By: Makena Carey

Come October 31, millions repeat the tradition of testing their nerves with scary movies. In the spirit of the season, we recommend some Halloween classics, hidden gems and recent standouts of the horror genre to help potential viewers carry out this ritual.

Dracula (1931): The charming Count, iconically portrayed by Bela Lugiosi, heads to England to stalk his prey in what is one of the most influential horror films ever made. Dracula’s impact as one of the first sound horror films ever is immense, and in the age of jump-scare-reliant and increasingly repetitive horror films, nothing feels more refreshing than a timeless classic. The thrilling story of the Count’s bloodthirsty endeavors keep the viewer in a trance from start to finish, as he works his way from his Romanian castle to Carfax Abbey, terrorizing Dr. Seward’s family and Professor Van Helsing along the way.

Psycho (1960): What new words can be written about Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock’s pillar of the horror genre? Ironically, its reputation is largely based on the shock it instilled in an unwitting audience, an effect that has since become impossible to recreate. The shower scene, the twist ending and Bernard Hermann’s unmistakable “dun dun, dun-dun” are staples in popular cinema’s lexicon. But knowing the plot beforehand only illuminates the richness of Hitchcock’s craft, which is at its peak in the first hour. Had the film ended on the shot of Marion Crane’s car sinking into the water it may have been Hitchcock’s finest work. Unfortunately, the obligation to execute a resolution undermines the film’s terror. In the final scene, Hitchcock removes the mystique and indulges in his greatest weakness: turning his psychological subtext into text. Regardless, the craft of Psycho has and will continue to echo through the images of innumerable horror films.

Halloween (1978): It’s hard to think of a film that epitomizes Halloween more than, well, Halloween. John Carpenter’s thriller immensely popularized slasher horror, and established a vast number of tropes and clichés that continue to be used in horror films today. For over four decades, the murderous odyssey of Michael Myers through Haddonfield, Illinois has captivated audiences, from his psychopathic beginnings as a killer at the age of six to his stalking of Laurie Strode fifteen years later. Donald Pleasance and Jamie Lee Curtis deliver unforgettable performances, and what’s not to love when Carpenter’s classic piano score kicks in?

The Shining (1980): Though technically not a Halloween film, Stanley Kubrick’s psychological thriller remains perhaps one of the most influential horror films ever made. Any viewer of the Torrance family’s fateful stay at the Overlook Hotel and Jack’s terrifying descent into madness can count on no shortage of familiar visual and auditory tropes; “Redrum” etched by Danny with lipstick on the door, the striking hallway shots of the Grady twins, and of course Jack Nicholson’s iconic axe rampage (“Here’s Johnny!”).

Friday the 13th (1980): Sean Cunningham’s indie slasher flick overtly tried to ride the hype surrounding Halloween (released two years prior) with a similar style killer to Michael Myers and many of the same clichés as Carpenter’s work. The story follows the counselors at Camp Crystal Lake, who are picked off one at a time by an unseen knife murderer. Friday the 13th was, like Halloween, immensely popular, but received much more criticism for its overuse of graphic violence and lack of a substantial plot or characterization, relying far too much on cheap scares and not spending enough time building legitimate suspense. However, a cheap scare can still be an enjoyable one, and Friday the 13th remains a beloved Halloween movie by many.

Ghostbusters (1984): If Carpenter’s Halloween is the quintessential Halloween movie, then Ghostbusters must be a close second. Ivan Reitman’s supernatural comedy blockbuster is not only a fun film to watch, but at the same time is a masterful blend of hilarity, tepid horror and science fiction, and the timeless tale of four professors of the paranormal fighting to keep New York safe from demonic armageddon made a huge splash in popular culture as a whole. Of course, Ray Parker Jr. ‘s theme song alone is reason alone to rewatch the entire movie, if only to savor a few minutes of good old upbeat rock montage.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992): Both the grimmest and most moving film on this list, David Lynch’s prequel to his landmark series was skewered upon its initial release, and it’s easy to see why: its unvarnished depictions of abuse often continue without reprieve for dozens of minutes. Despite featuring supernatural occurrences, the fright comes from confining them to supposedly mundane domesticity. It’s this grounding in concrete emotions which makes it not just a horror film but a profound work of empathy on the part of Lynch. His only problem was that audiences in 1992 wouldn’t give nearly as much of that empathy as he did. But if you give yourself up to his ingenious hand, you’ll be greatly rewarded. By the final scene, you’ll feel as though you’ve lived with the protagonist through her darkest moments and can now bask in light.

Cure (1997): It’s best to view this film with as little prior knowledge as possible. Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s horror mystery features no jump scares or creepy monsters lurking in shadows, but the lingering fear it instills is enough to leave one shaken for days. By removing horror’s laziest crutches, Kurosawa lets uncertainty and suspense snowball until the dread is unbearable. 

Get Out (2017): The most famous in a long line of horror-as-social-commentary films, Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a masterfully inventive take on a simple premise: a Black man meets the family of his white girlfriend. A balance of horror and comedy, Peele’s strongest tonal choice is that he has his cake while eating it too; the film follows modern horror conventions in order to smuggle in social critique, but does so without any disdain for its genre framing. His tonal synthesis is flawless; the plot scares and entertains on a textual level while provoking thought on a subtextual one.

Hereditary (2018): The quintessential text of the recent “elevated horror” craze, Ari Aster’s Hereditary is about a family haunted by disturbing occurrences in the wake of its matriarch’s passing. Of course what it’s really about is the inescapable rippling of generational trauma, or whatever blurbable drivel Indiewire wrote upon its release. Hereditary is a genuinely–sometimes even outrageously – scary film, yet it seems that for Aster, those scares have no value unless they’re in service of a Deeper Theme. That sophomoric, screenwriting class-inspired self-importance deprives Hereditary of indulging in its campier elements. Still, for those looking to fuel their nightmares, this is probably our list’s most chilling film.

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Features Magazine

Seventh Graders to the Freshman Class of 2025   

Riley Martin

Graphic by Sara Valbuena

As I start my final year at Las Lomas, I have found myself caught up in the leadership role I inherited as an inevitable result of being a senior. When looking outside of this shocking rift in my responsibilities, I found the new freshmen have a feeling of these added responsibilities as well, but potentially even more heightened. 

The last “normal” year of the freshman class of 2025 was the beginning half of their seventh grade year. Their middle school years were cut directly in half and now they are expected to return to school, but not just any year with the same familiar campus. This time, they are expected to return as full-fledged freshmen; completely to engage in both their first normal school-year in a year and a half and their first year of high school. It begs the question of what their expectations were prior compared to the reality they faced.

Freshman Luke Wauthy

One of these freshmen, Luke Wauthy, found himself excited to return to school for the comprehensible schedule, the learning itself and seeing his friends. Wauthy participated in the hybrid schedule for the end of eighth grade at Walnut Creek Intermediate (WCI) and expressed strong negative feelings for it: “The hybrid schedule sucked, I went to school in person only two times a week and I prefer going everyday.” For Wauthy, consistent in-person instruction is important, “Learning in person has been so much more productive and better than online.” His appreciation and benefit for full-time, in-person instruction was a reality that he expected to come with the new school year at Las Lomas. 

Along with his appreciation for the new learning environment, Wauthy found himself eager to see his friends everyday, thanks to this year’s return to the pre-pandemic schedule. This concept might’ve seemed mundane pre-COVID-19, but this seemingly new concept feels like a luxury now. Wauthy said, “I was excited to see all my friends and see them everyday.” School once again symbolizes a consistent atmosphere to see one’s friends everyday –not just sometimes — which seems so new amidst COVID-19. 

However, seemingly inevitable in this absence of human interaction throughout the quarantine is the presence of small-to-large amounts of social anxiety in its place. When talking about his fears about starting high school he said, “The only thing I was afraid of on my first day of Las Lomas was ‘who is going to be in my classes?’” This anxiety feels natural on the beginning of any first day of school, but it is evident that this expected anxiety was more potent this year as a result of quarantine. Wauthy goes further in depth: “The first day of school I had quite a bit of anxiety, but nothing too bad and I remember walking into my French class first period, looking around and not recognizing anyone. It got me concerned, but all my other classes I have friends in which made my day, and now in French I know everyone in there, so it’s all good.”

Another student experiencing their first year of high school is freshman, Norah Mack. Like Wauthy, she also partook in the hybrid schedule for her eighth grade. Mack also encountered some of the typical anxiety with being the youngest on campus this year. She expressed her thoughts and said, “I was scared of being a freshman and all of the stories behind it, but I was paranoid for no reason, and it’s easier to get by than I thought.” This was a theme for Mack; her anxious thoughts were quickly put to rest when she realized her fears would not be realized. She added, “I had thought that on the first day I would be trampled or get lost before one of my classes, but I quickly realized that I was fine.” The fear of entering high school as ‘incomers’ is a typical fear shared amongst the incoming freshman of all ages. Fortunately, these fears were not realized for Mack. 

When entering a new situation or circumstance, like progressing to the next campus for the next year of school, we feel our expectations or anxious thoughts come about either unconsciously or consciously. Wauthy didn’t feel such a dramatic shift between his expectation and reality: “I thought it would be like a normal day, which it was. I was fully prepared for the start of the school year. Most of the expectations were reality.” The difference between Mack’s expectations and reality were more dramatic than Wauthy, but the difference fortunately yielded positive results. She said, “My expectations were for it to be overwhelming, but it is less nerve racking than I thought it would be.” 

The parallels of entering 9th and 12th grade after a year and a half of untraditional learning are more apparent than I ever thought. Regardless of the parallels though, there is one big difference between the two grade levels: as seniors enter our final year of our journey, the freshmen have only just begun theirs. 

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Entertainment Magazine Volume 70, Issue 8

The Father: A Mind At Sea

By Brodie Ziegler

Sony Pictures Classics Sets 'The Father' and More New Dates | IndieWire

Despite a labyrinthine release since its initial debut at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Florian Zeller’s The Father is one of the best films to come out since the start of the pandemic. Showcased at multiple film festivals throughout 2020, The Father received numerous setbacks in its worldwide release. However, Zeller’s disturbing and absolutely devastating portrayal of an aging father (Anthony Hopkins) suffering from dementia finally received a release late this March that a film this powerful deserves. The Father follows and strictly locks on to Anthony as his battle with dementia faces him with various caretakers, and conflicts with his daughter Anne’s (Olivia Coleman (and at times Olivia Williams)) supposed plans to move to Paris with her lover Paul (Rufus Sewell/Mark Gatiss). As appearances change, surroundings transform, personas blend, and history fades. The Father navigates the blurred perspective of Anthony as his grasp on reality loosens.

The Father is a character study and a character-driven film above all else. That is, Anthony is the core influence on his surroundings, rather than the other way around. When considering his situation, and the disease in which he is struggling with, this dichotomy between Anthony’s ever-changing worldview, and the unchanging world around him becomes unbearable. Zeller’s unique decision to structure the film almost purely around Anthony’s perspective allows for a perfect storm between the film’s point of view, and Anthony’s own personality. A charming, yet biting man, who masks his fear and uncertainty with a veil of hubris and stubbornness, Anthony’s character is an amplification of his illness. This facade of certainty and strength crumbles throughout the film, and like a reverse aging process, Anthony’s pure center is left in the rubble, vulnerable and scared.

The entirety of the film’s success is built upon the foundation of Anthony Hopkins’s performance and character, not only structurally, but also thematically and emotionally. Aided by their identical names, Anthony Hopkins disappears into his role, portraying confused rage, extreme pride, charm and sensitivity throughout the film’s short runtime. The overbearing feeling exuded from both Hopkins and Coleman in their two remarkable performances is vulnerability, and yet Zeller doesn’t limit their characters to this singular quality. Surpassing what possibly most directors would have established and developed, Zeller takes both Anne and Anthony and molds them into very specific multi-dimensional characters. Prohibiting their vulnerable circumstances to define their characters, both Anne and Anthony possess unfavorable characteristics, allowing them to appear as humans rather than puppets for emotional resonance. While Zeller’s screenplay does veer off towards the realm of heavy-handedness at the end of the film, it feels deserved as Anne, and especially Anthony, have juggled with the viewer’s sympathy throughout the film. Rather than crafting a story of pure woe that could potentially border on being off-puttingly maudlin, The Father is a film of uncertainty-bred conflict, fearful hostility, and striking fragility, making it all the more human. It is in this humanity that The Father is maximally powerful.

It is The Father‘s presentation of its study on a man inflicted by dementia that makes the film so impactful. The uncertainty and fear deep-rooted in Anthony are reflected in Zeller’s similar direction to that of a horror film. With tense musical scores, dim lighting, and unrevealing camera angles, The Father is a terrifying viewing for multiple reasons. As the audience, we only perceive the characters, narrative, and environment through Anthony’s eyes, as his own uncertainties bear down on the viewer as well. The most heartbreaking occasions are when Anthony is forced to accept his changing environment, and therefore, we are as well. Viewing the world through a shattered lens, the viewer is forced to find air on a sinking ship, as it sinks below the surface with us. 

Zeller deftly utilizes every aspect of filmmaking to aid in the representation of Anthony’s broken perspective. One of the most pressing concerns of Anthony is in regards to his flat, as any perceived change in his surroundings results in conflict and disorientation. The film’s production design brilliantly changes the colors of the apartment’s walls and the location of various pieces of furniture to represent this experience. However, the camera is latched onto Anthony to the point where these changes may even go unnoticed by the audience, ingraining an unnoticed feeling of doubt and uncertainty in the viewer as well. Another common focus of Anthony’s is his watch, which is often misplaced by Anthony and then mistaken for stolen. The intense focus on this item, and repeated search for its whereabouts, heartbreakingly calls back to Anthony’s metaphorical loose grip on reality, and his repeated attempts at finding stable ground. 
A film that delivers levels of intricacy rarely seen on the widescreen, multiple viewings of The Father may be intellectually rewarding, but too emotionally devastating for most audiences. The narrative unravels out of chronological order, and the setting, actors, and characters repeatedly change throughout the film, making Anthony’s tenuous grasp on time and his whereabouts a shared experience for the viewer. Whether the circumstances are relatable or not, The Father is an incredibly empathetic film. Approaching life, and casting it in perhaps the most devastating shade, The Father is a film about fading relationships, and yet it manages to reaffirm their importance in the first place.

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Entertainment Magazine Volume 70, Issue 8

Uncut Snyders

By Josh Silva

Graphic By Jennifer Notman

As the last bastion of blockbuster auteurism, Zack Snyder stands tall. The director, after suffering a personal tragedy and the seizure of his Justice League, triumphantly emptied the pockets of Warner Bros. to complete his passion project. He could only do so with an army of fanatical devotees, whose sheer numbers and persistence willed the nonexistent “Snyder Cut” into being, culminating in a four-hour opus of unprecedented proportions. 

After the death of Superman in Batman V. Superman (2016), Bruce Wayne gathers a team of superpowered beings to fight some alien named Steppenwolf, who wants to bring three boxes together that will unlock a portal allowing his master, Darkseid, to take over every living being with an “anti-life equation”… or at least I think that’s what happened. As with Batman V. Superman, the plot’s convolutions aren’t primarily important; they serve as a vehicle for Snyder’s grandiose, CGI-laden frames.

As a phenomenon, fandom is largely contemptible. Constructing one’s entire personality around a slavish love of someone else’s intellectual property is not only embarrassing but also psychologically harmful. However, it is uplifting to see a legion of fans browbeat a studio into letting an artist fulfill his personal vision, albeit one that still fits within the blockbuster framework. In an age where hegemonic studios suffocate artistic expression more than ever before, Snyder’s idiosyncrasy has more value than it possibly should. And watching this, the differences between his vision and the focus-grouped blockbuster standard became increasingly vivid. 

It’s silly to call superheroes, who have only existed in a corporate context, our modern mythology, but they are characters of mythic proportions. In the Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan approached this myth as an abstract belief among a society, whereas Snyder shows its physical existence. He is perhaps the only superhero movie director who believes in the mythology he depicts. Take, for example, an early scene where Wonder Woman (played by a comically bad Gal Gadot) tells a girl whose life she’s just saved that she can be anything she wants to be. An exchange as trite as this could, in any other superhero movie, be rendered tiringly saccharine. But Snyder truly believes in the power of such a message and who it comes from. While this doesn’t make him a good filmmaker, it certainly makes him a compelling one. 

Snyder’s talent is his ability to find humanity in these larger-than-life figures. His characters are burdened by a core duality: that they are both man and myth. Myths do not know death, but mortals do, and this difference makes the bonds between the superheroes and their loved ones all the more tragic. The resurrections of superheroes and the irreversible deaths of their loved ones are equally pivotal plot devices. The film, completed after Snyder’s daughter tragically took her own life, is one grief-laden reckoning with death. The same director who nonchalantly showed thousands of civilian casualties in the climax of Man of Steel (2013) has strikingly matured on the subject.

Unfortunately, this duality doesn’t apply to the cartoon (both literally and figuratively) villain, Steppenwolf. Moreover, the four-hour runtime’s necessity is questionable. While it allows Snyder to better pace his film and showcase his strongest suit, slow motion, it takes a few unnecessary detours and, like its predecessor, culminates in a drawn-out epilogue that only serves to tease future movies.

On its own, the Snyder Cut is not quite a good movie. Its bloatedness and bombasticity get the better of it, and Snyder exhausts his tricks well before the four-hour mark, but its earnestness is a refreshing corrective to the otherwise cynical landscape of superhero cinema.

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Features Magazine Volume 70, Issue 8

As Eligibility and Rollout Expands, Las Lomas Students Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations

By Lukas Carbone

Graphic By Susan Rahimi

In recent weeks, the vaccine rollout and eligibility, both throughout the nation and state but particularly in Contra Costa County, has expanded rapidly. Contra Costa County notably is one of the first counties in the state to expand eligibility to all residents 16 and older as of March 30. With this rollout expanding, a number of Las Lomas students, especially juniors and seniors, have now become eligible for the vaccine, either through this general eligibility or through more specific criteria, such as being immunocompromised or an essential worker.

For example, in a survey sent out to students, one anonymous senior, Student #1, who has received one but not two doses said that, “I scheduled my appointment mid-march and fit under the immunocompromised tier and was able to get my first vaccine when spring break started at DVC,” while another senior, Student #2, who filled out the survey said that they “made an appointment when the [County] made it available for all people 16 and older,” having also, at the time of the survey, received one but not two vaccine doses. Another senior, Student #3, stated that they, as a restaurant worker, “received [their] first dose on March 4th and second dose [on] March 25th.” All students quoted in this article have received two-dose vaccines rather than the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

With this vaccine rollout, some students, but not all, have shifted their behaviors  in accordance with CDC guidelines which state that vaccinated individuals may resume certain activities, such as gathering with other vaccinated individuals, or one household of low-risk unvaccinated individuals, indoors. However, the CDC still advises caution in other areas, saying that fully-vaccinated individuals (defined as two weeks after receiving a full vaccination whether it be two-dose or single) should “keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.” Student #1 stated that they have “been feeling more safe in public and [I was] able to go to a friend’s house for the first time in a year last week since she was vaccinated too. Although, I think I will continue distance learning until graduation and keep social distancing and wearing masks in public.” However, Student #2 – who, like Student #1, has been partly-vaccinated – said that they have not yet made any changes to their behavior, and Student #3 described themselves as “still nauseous.”

Student #3’s side-effects were particularly noticeable – they said that they experienced “headaches, a lot of nausea, [was not] able to eat for a week after the second dose, chills, fever, [and] muscle pain.” Conversely, Student #1 and Student #2’s experiences when receiving the vaccine were much less drastic, but still noticeable. In particular, Student #1 said that they “[felt] no symptoms until a few hours after the shot– [but then] started feeling very tired, [and] the next day I had a lot of arm pain and had a fever that lasted about three to four days.” Student #2, meanwhile, said that they experienced “just soreness and arm pain.”