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Entertainment Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 9

Becoming Review

Graphic by Madison Laxamana

Becoming is a Netflix documentary covering parts of Michelle Obama’s life and several moments during her tour for her book of the same name.In Becoming, Michelle Obama talks about her relationships, what life was like as First Lady, race, and what life is like after her husband, Barack Obama, finished his presidential terms. Becoming is lighthearted and doesn’t go too deep in the details of the presidential life; if you had some knowledge of the Obama’s and the tour, this documentary most likely wouldn’t give you too much additional information. Things never seem to heat up too much; it’s a very easy going slow-paced documentary, and some may find it boring. I, on the other hand, found it relaxing. It’s fun, but it definitely spares some details.Some of the problems of Becoming is its slightly confusing timeline. It doesn’t seem very linear throughout the documentary and it sort of jumps around to different places intime. At one point an interview starts about halfway through, and then there are a bunch of different clips in between and in the final ten minutes, that same interview clip is played again. Many may find this confusing, and it definitely could have been edited better. Becoming is a fun documentary for a relaxing afternoon, though some may be bored by it.

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Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 9

Quarantine Predictions Versus Reality

Graphic by Madison Laxamana

This period of lockdown has been much different than any of us could have predicted. Originally, we only expected there to be school shutdowns for two weeks; we expected to be able to see our friends, go on our spring break trips, and be back at school by April. However, the pandemic progressed and any plans we had for the next 2 months were shredded. I know that I, personally, had much different expectations for the lockdown. I expected to be bored out of my mind, watching my favorite TV shows all day and doing a few hours of homework per week. I also thought that I would be back in class by April and that I’d be able to take my permit test in May, but we can’t all be right all the time. I did end up watching obscene amounts of TV the first few weeks, but as teachers found their footings in online school, I found myself watching less and less TV and sitting at my desk doing work more often than not.

“I thought I would be a lot more productive,” said Sophomore Evan Nishi, “but I’ve been getting bored, so sometimes I get off track.” He thought that he’d mostly be programming, or playing video games, or watching YouTube but he actually mentioned a few different hobbies, “[I’ve been doing] a lot more reading and [watching more] YouTube than I thought.”

Tyler Winland, a Junior, thought he’d be watching TV, making short films and music, doing plenty of homework, and talking to his girlfriend. Now, Winland says, he’s doing what he thought he’d be doing, plus hanging out with his friends in the open space. He’s actually doing more than he thought he would, “Because at first there were a lot of unknowns, and then when it was discovered kids weren’t affected as much, I wasn’t concerned.”

Other students have also been doing what they thought they were going to do.  Junior Martin Valbuena thought he’d be working on his script, “I promised myself that’s what I would do the second I had more free time.” We are now 2 months into quarantine, and Valbuena’s working on his script and exercising as well, he reported. Valbuena mentioned that the reason he’s doing what he thought he’d be doing is because “I set specific schedules for myself every day.” 

Plenty of other students responded, and while many aren’t doing what they thought they would be, there are still those who are. But one of the main things that was shown in almost every answer was that none of us knew what we were getting into, and we can’t blame ourselves for not doing what we thought we were going to do.

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Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 9

Athletes Without Sports

by Brian Gewecke

Graphic by Cael Hill

With sports occupying such a large role in worldwide cultures, their absence during the COVID-19 pandemic leaves fans with the feeling that a large part of their lives is missing. However, athletes are affected even more than fans, as although they likely are missing watching their own favorite sports teams, they have sports of their own that the quarantine has prevented them from playing. Of course, there are many factors to sports that can’t be replicated during the quarantine, such as the competitiveness, companionship with teammates, hard work as part of a group, and the rush of adrenaline in a narrow competition. The big question is: what are Las Lomas athletes missing the most about their sports?

“I think the thing I miss most is being able to work with my teammates,” said Griffin Hamlin, a Junior baseball player. “Of course, I miss being able to work on getting better and compete with other teams, but the part I miss most is spending time with my teammates”. Team comradery is one of the largest parts of sports, and is among the most important factors for success. Undoubtedly, many athletes are missing building team chemistry by spending quality time together. Although it’s not impossible for teammates to stay in close touch with each other through social media, video calls, and perhaps even playing online video games together, it’s nothing like being able to meet in person and participate in activities outside. That doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t do whatever they can right now to stay connected. The online methods mentioned before are solid ways to do so. They can make it so that when teammates finally can meet up, they haven’t missed a thing.

Like Griffin, his fellow Junior Grant Askins, a track-and-field runner, also misses the companionship his sport brings. “Luckily, a lot of my friends do track, and I’ve already been staying in touch with them throughout the quarantine,” he said, “But what I definitely miss most is spending time with my teammates. Every year, I meet more people in track, and I just wish we were able to all spend time together like we do at practices. I’m still able to run by my house, so I still have access to that part of the sport”. When asked if he was hoping to do anything soon, he responded, “Hopefully when possible, my teammates and I can organize sessions to enjoy time together”. Participating in baseball and track, Griffin and Grant both play sports that greatly emphasize team chemistry, and since they spend so much time at practices and competitions building that chemistry, they have felt the absence of it recently.

With sports having such a big role in entertainment for many and an activity for many others, with huge influence not only in its sphere of entertainment, but others as well, it is no surprise that its absence affects people around the world, mostly, but not limited to, the fans and the athletes themselves. Sport teams everywhere should be encouraging their athletes to stay in touch with teammates as much as possible, to keep connected and prevent chemistry, that may take much time to build, from falling.

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Entertainment Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 9

Never Rarely Sometimes Always Review

by Josh Silva

Graphic by Yiying Zhang

Eliza Hittman’s third feature tells the story of Autumn (Sidney Flanigan)’s attempts to get an abortion. Accompanied by her friend/coworker Skylar (Talia Ryder) and without the knowledge of her aloof parents, she treks from her rural Pennsylvanian hometown to New York City.

So common are the events in this film, but so rarely are they depicted due to their unglamorous and unmarketable – especially to a male audience – qualities. Hittman, however, approaches the subject head-on with a warts-and-all, unflinching portrait carried exceptionally by Sidney Flanigan’s unpretentious and painfully vulnerable performance. The film relies heavily on her conveying a myriad of emotions without saying a word, and she disappears so completely into her character that the suppressed feelings are as palpable as the physical objects on screen. Seeing teenagers on film who have genuine interiority and don’t endlessly quip is a breath of fresh air.

Her performance is complemented by the unobtrusive direction, which quietly facilitates the emotions by filming her in direct closeups. The muted blue and brown color pallet, shot on a grainy 16mm, conveys Autumn’s loneliness and isolation without being too obvious. The film’s tactility is felt in the most cringe-inducing moments, including one early on in which Autumn pierces her own nose, shown from beginning to end, as well as in the most touching ones. A pivotal scene, filmed in one static, unbroken closeup, takes a relatably mundane interaction and turns it into a heart-breaking confession entirely through implication and facial expressions.

Flanigan’s talents, however, are not shared by all of the supporting cast. Talia Ryder, though not bad in her own right, has limited chemistry with Flanigan, undermining the effects of a few touching scenes. Autumn’s surroundings, as well as her past and future, are vague and thinly drawn to leave room for her internal strife. While this is deliberate, it did leave me wanting more.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always is, and will probably continue to be, a topical film. Yet it’s not concerned with its own political relevance. Instead, America’s oppressive societal norms are shown as one girl’s personal struggle. 

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Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 9

Quarantine Relationships: Helped or Harmed?

by Ally Hoogs

Graphic by Ava Mobli

Student relationships with the members of their household are now under more strain as they are forced to spend all their time stuffed in their homes. This for some students, has stretched some of their connections with their families. 

Alma Snortum-Phelps, Las Lomas Freshman, mentioned light-heartedly, “I am getting a little sick of them [her parents],” but has “been able to bond more with [her] parents simply because we are spending so much time together.”

Freshman Maddie Granskog shared, “Our bonds are staying the same since we aren’t arguing they aren’t getting weaker.” However, she also noted that although they are not getting weaker, their relationships aren’t getting stronger. Maddie said, “since my dad still has work and my siblings and I do school work, it’s not like they are getting much stronger either.” 

Andrea Negrete, another Las Lomas Freshman commented, “My family members can get on my nerves every once in a while, but having more family time [and] doing things with my family that I would usually never have time for,” is strengthening their bonds. 

The amount of time offered by self-isolating is one of the main factors for Las Lomas students in bonding with their families and/or members of their household. The amount of time spent together versus apart has the power to either tear away at bonds or help them become stronger. 

Certain activities can also have an impact on whether bonds are strengthened within the household or left to deteriorate. Negrete mentioned that instead of going into her room away from her family, she is out of her room and “doing fun activities” with her family which she described as something she really enjoys. 

Some activities families can do together could be playing board games, eating together, sitting with one another, and understanding the situation can sometimes lead to arguments, which is completely normal. 

Multitudes of stress within households may be another factor in household relationships. However, home isolation does not necessarily mean being isolated from the people you are quarantined with.

The statewide lockdown is extended through the rest of May, according to California’s Governor Gavin Newsom. This leaves a lot of time for families to make a choice on whether they stay apart, or come together, in order to make the most out of the shelter-in-place. 

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Entertainment Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 9

Hollywood Review

by Joshua Silva

Graphic by Lexy Martinucci

“If we change the way movies are made…you can change the world,” said one character in Ryan Murphy’s new miniseries. Taken out of context, his statement harbors some truth. There are numerous examples of film altering history, but almost always for the worse. There were no films that culturally counteracted the horrific racism and xenophobia ignited by such hit propaganda pieces as Triumph of the Will and Birth of a Nation. Hollywood aims not to provide a counter-example to these atrocities, but to invent a history in which one existed.

Set in the immediate aftermath of World War II, Hollywood begins with Jack, a down-on-his-luck aspiring film extra roped into prostitution to provide for him and his wife. While servicing wealthy clients at a gas station cum brothel, he meets Archie, a young, gay, black aspiring screenwriter. He joins the hustling enterprise and they bond over their dreams of making it big. Archie submits his screenplay, Peg, a biopic of fallen starlet Peg Entwistle, to Ace Studios. Raymond Ainsley, an anachronistically woke director, eagerly sets out to greenlight the picture. Amid an endlessly convoluted web of fornication and melodrama, all the protagonists’ paths cross to bring Peg, later renamed Meg, to the screen.

Raymond is not the only out of place character in Hollywood. By the end of the season, every character behaves as though they’d been transported from a present day focus group meeting. Never before have I seen such a willfully anachronistic, historically ignorant, and emotionally simplistic period piece. Hollywood’s knowledge of its subject matter is thoughtlessly cursory. Its dialogue feels as though an algorithm analyzed every prestige soap opera of the streaming era to write it, and is absent of any vernacular, save for the occasional placing of phrases no human being in 1946 would utter like “creative type” and “people of color” The garish digital cinematography undermines the period detail as much as possible, while most of the real locations have no architectural resemblance to the 40s. Some of this is attributable to laziness, but it also services Hollywood’s main purpose: historical revisionism.

Ryan Murphy has stated his intention was to give a Hollywood ending to unsung trailblazers like Hattie McDaniel, Anna May Wong, and Rock Hudson. It’s a well intentioned concept, but this fantasy’s self-awareness does not absolve its irresponsibility. In Ryan Murphy’s fantasy, every prejudice is a minor inconvenience easily overcome by good faith, passionate speeches, or sheer luck. The most egregious example involves none other than Eleanor Roosevelt convincing the studio executives of the progressive magic of cinema, pushing them to finally make a film that single-handedly extinguishes racism, sexism, and homophobia, while also permanently altering film distribution. This extravagant payoff relies on the premise that film representation is the ultimate tool of progress, rather than a result of it. Representation is far from frivolous, and the show’s endless speeches about seeing oneself on the screen ring true, but to suggest it is the be all end all of progress neglects the obstacles that prevented Murphy’s fantasy from becoming reality. Though he tries to honor them, Murphy strips the aforementioned trailblazers of their agencies by having their lives and careers effortlessly saved by his paper thin creations. In reality, those who pushed for progress in the industry could not reshape or escape the system that governed their work. But Murphy’s Tinseltown is a hierarchy that can be swiftly bypassed, condescendingly suggesting that if Hudson and Wong had merely changed their own careers, they could have changed the world.

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Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 9

Trump Administration Plan to End Protections for LGBTQ Patients Sparks Activism at Las Lomas

Graphic by Marco Pérez-Lorente

In April 2020, the Trump Administration moved to end regulations, passed during the Obama Administration, that bans healthcare discrimination based on sex and gender identity, a decision that “ddvocates fear… would allow hospitals and health workers to more easily discriminate against patients based on their gender or sexual orientation,” according to Politico. The decision particularly affects transgender patients, which the regulation covered under nondiscrimination protections for the first time, though a Bush-appointed judge issued a partial injunction against the rule in December 2018. The Trump Administration states that these rules were to some extent simply “abiding by the court order,” according to a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson in an interview with Politico, although regulator Roger Severino notably criticized the Obama-era nondiscrimination protections. The Trump Administration also proposed regulations which would roll back other, similar protections for LGBTQ patients in other regulations.

However, despite the global pandemic which dominates news coverage, this issue has received significant attention, both from the national, political media and national LGBTQ rights groups, and from members of the Las Lomas community.

Notably, Jillian Stuart, a sophomore at Las Lomas, circulated a petition which denounced the decision and called on various Democratic politicians to “Join us to protect and advocate for the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.” Stuart states that she came up with the idea when she “was on a FaceTime call with some friends and… talking about [and being frustrated with] the Trump Administration’s decision,” ultimately “[coming] “up with the idea to start a petition to not only raise awareness, but also start a public response large enough to catch politicians’ attention.” At the time of writing, 322 individuals have signed this petition and Stuart and her friends believe that “if it gains enough traction[,] it can start a conversation about LGBTQ+ protections and the lines between personal beliefs and basic human rights.”

However, Stuart stated that “it’s been hard to take other action besides the petition,” thanks to the state’s shelter-in-place order, so she believes that the best actions she can take are to circulate the petition and “spread awareness,” such as “repost[ing] articles or other information about the issue on my Instagram stories and [encouraging] others to spread and sign the petition.” Stuart also plans to “[reach] out to… Kamala Harris and Mark DeSaulnier,” amongst others, “to ask for their support for our cause.”

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Magazine News Sport Volume 69, Issue 9

Staying In Shape This Summer

Introduction

Exercising is something that everyone should be taking a part in due to the numerous health benefits that it gives. Ms. Herring, one of the weight training teachers at Las Lomas, spoke in depth about exactly why one should dedicate a certain amount of time during the week to fitness. When speaking about why someone should workout, especially now, Ms. Herring said, “Physical movement has been directly linked to better mental health in studies for years. With this shelter in place many people are starting to feel the effects on their mental health and a ridiculously easy and free way to help with that is by getting their bodies moving.” So not only is working out great for being healthy physically but also mentally. Because when you look healthy, which means looking good, then you feel good which in turn means also being healthy mentally.

What working out looks like

If it is your personal goal to push yourself into becoming healthier and happier through exercising then there’s no better time to start than now. Many times people will make excuses to themselves about why they can’t workout. This is either because they say they don’t have weights at home or the time to exercise, but in reality, you can greatly benefit from just a daily 30-45 minute workout instead of watching television, or while you’re watching television. The other common excuse is a lack of weights, and because someone might believe that weights are crucial to a workout, they cheat themselves and decide they have no way of exercising. “There is a big misconception in many people’s mind that working out has to include weights.” says Ms. Herring,  “It doesn’t! Do you have a brick or big rock in your backyard? Great, squat with it. Do you have a chair somewhere in your house? Great do tricep dips on it. Weights don’t have to be traditional and working out doesn’t even need to include them!” So no matter what equipment you have, or lack thereof, you can still find a way to exercise effectively.  

How to start working out

If you’re just beginning to workout, you don’t need to push yourself to your limits on the first go. You just need to push yourself to having a certain amount of time dedicated to working out and commiting to a workout routine. “Before a workout getting your heart rate up and your blood flowing should be the first thing you do” says Ms. Herring. This is called a warm-up you can do this with a very short jog, several jumping jacks, push-ups, running in place, or whatever gets you “warmed-up.” This only has to take 5 mins or much longer depending on how much time you have. Once the warm-up is complete, it should then be followed by 5-6 minutes of dynamic stretching so that you can loosen up muscles. Ms. Herring explains that “This makes them more pliable and easier to gain full range of motion during your workout.” 

Nutrition

One of the most important things you can do to ensure muscle growth and health is to focus on nutrition. Ms. Herring spoke about the importance of a healthy diet and said, “A focus on your nutrition is the most important part of ‘getting in shape’ and ‘being healthy’ in my opinion. I believe the ratio is about 15% exercise and 85% nutrition. Your muscles can’t grow if you aren’t eating the right food. You will never see results until you change the way you eat.” For these reasons it is crucial that you have well balanced meals to ensure the best muscle growth as well as fat loss.

Conclusion

As online school comes to an end and summer approaches, exercising is one of the most important things you should do to maintain health both physically and mentally. Do everything you can to have a consistent routine, this can mean changing up your workouts so that you don’t get bored of them and pushing yourself to improve. The truth is with the pandemic we don’t know for sure when things will fully get back to normal and time is something we’ll have a lot of during summer, so why not use it to improve your health.

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Entertainment Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 9

Little Fires Everywhere Review

by Stella Chapital

Graphic by Madison Laxamana

The Hulu original Little Fires Everywhere, an American drama series starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, is named accordingly. Through the eight-episode limited series, “little fires” or rather small issues erupt everywhere, all the time, challenging the character’s relationships with one another and triggering all of the ugly sides of human nature. 

The show, based on the book written by Celeste Ng, follows the journey of two families and their quests to get over their pasts and find themselves. Along the way, a feud is created by loss, ignorance, racism, and all sorts of disagreements.

Sophomore Aya Banaja said, “Little fires Everywhere is a very interesting concept where the writer twists the story in many different unexpected directions. I love how it’s set in an older time frame and has a central idea based around race and privilege. I think the author made it clear of other’s privilege and the effect race has on situations. The story wasn’t full of good endings which I enjoyed and it also was unpredictable which made me want to watch more. Overall I really loved Little Fires Everywhere!” It also touches on homophobia, compromised mother-daughter relationships, and poverty.

The show portrays race and privilege in a very mature way, through courtrooms and blind and blatant ignorance. It also strongly points out the fact that a white privileged family, that has only been surrounded by other white privileged families their whole life, doesn’t realize the extent of their privilege, and how much internal racial profiling they partake in.

Sophomore Layla Nixon said, “It was very interesting and wasn’t predictable, all the characters were really well written and had depth, and it took everything for me not to finish it in a day.” The cliffhangers at the end of each episode and the odd, engrossing mannerisms of the characters and their offbeat decisions keep you coming back.
And although the characters in this series are not quite pleasing and far from perfect, there is something in the enthralling writing style and the unique acting that draws you to them. As for the reality of the piece, in the day and age we live in, we are not far off from the life they are living. Although it is an exaggerated, dramatized version of life in the 90s, it does take place to a certain degree, and realisticness is one of the keys to a good piece.      

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Features Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 9

How Are Students Making Money During Quarantine?

Graphic by Lashall Richards

On May 14th, the New York Times reported that the number of unemployment claims filed in the past 2 months has reached over 36 million. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many adults are unemployed, and if adults are losing their jobs, students don’t stand a chance. Some students have been making money through doing chores or getting birthday money, but for the majority of students, that’s not the case.

Before coronavirus, many students were holding part-time jobs for many reasons,  saving up for college tuition, saving up for a car, or to help out their family, but now all those supplemental funds families were getting from their kids is gone, which is just pouring salt on the wound of quarantine. So who is still making money and how are they getting it?

One of the common tropes we have seen due to the stay at home orders is people having to celebrate their birthday alone. Some students have gotten some cash in the form of birthday presents from relatives. Ashton Viramontes, a freshman at De La Salle Highschool said, “I made money from my birthday cause that’s all I ask for.” He is also one of the luckier students who has been able to make some money from doing chores for his grandparents. In this pandemic, few students are making money, but the ones who are recognize how lucky they are and are grateful for it.

Many students are not making any money at all now, students like Diego Ramirez, a freshman at Las Lomas who said, “I am not making money at the moment due to me not being allowed to leave the house.” Students in all grades might have had jobs or did chores for a neighbor or for their family, but now those opportunities are no longer available.

Various ideas have been suggested to help with low teenage wages. One idea would be to offer student discounts to high schoolers as well as college students. Another possibility would be a non-profit organization that tries to support students affected by COVID-19.