Summer is here! Hopefully this means you will have a little more time to relax and enjoy San Francisco’s foggy climate (and maybe even a few sunny days). Whether you are escaping the chilly weather outside, or just need a bit of crafty inspiration, here are a few very simple “do it yourself” ideas to help you throw a fun dinner party. To remind me of summers back home, I chose to go with a floral theme. I started by making a flower tablecloth out of butcher paper and paints. This makes for easy clean up after your party and provides a touch of color to your table. If you are going with a simple theme, leaving the butcher paper white can look very classy, and is affordable.
For the hors d’oeuvres I chose to keep it simple and popped popcorn over the stove. I made simple sugar cookies and bought a few artichokes and berry candies. I also baked a simple yellow cake for dessert.
I had a few items lying around, like yellow and mint candle sticks, a huge paper crepe flower, polka dot balloons, fresh flowers and string lights. I set these on and around the party table. String lights and candles provide a romantic and cozy atmosphere once the sun goes down.
Mobiles add height and dimension and can be a conversation piece. I’m a huge fan of simple lines and geometric shapes, so I made this very easy mobile out of wooden dowels and small styrofoam balls. This is one of my favorite crafts because the designs and shapes are endless.
It’s always nice to be able to have your guests leave with something, even if it’s small. I decided to make flower headbands with inexpensive plastic headbands I found at Walgreens and artificial flowers I picked up at the craft store. I saw some really beautiful ribbon and decided to attach them to the headbands for extra embellishment. This is optional.
I finished by sprucing up the fiddle leaf fig and draping streamers around the picture frame. I then set up a few bottles of my favorite summer wines put on a nice record.
Happy crafting everyone!
Supplies: Plastic headband, artificial flowers, decorative ribbons, a hot glue gun, and wire cutters
Step 1: cut the flower stems to the same width as your headband. Step 2: hot glue the stem to the top of the headband. Step 3: continue cutting the stems and glueing them to the headband.
Optional: tie the ribbons in a knot around the headband and hot glue them in place.
DIY Floral Tablecloth
Supplies: Butcher paper, paints, and paintbrushes
Step 1: Mix your background colors together (I used forest green, tan, pineapple yellow, and white to make a pretty sage green). Step 2: Use a feathery brush and long brush strokes to fill in the background. Step 3: Paint yellow and pink dots on your paper in random order to make the flowers. Step 4: Paint leaves in a bolder green than your background between you flowers and let it dry.
DIY Geometric Mobile
Supplies: Wooden dowels, styrofoam balls, and hot glue
Step 1: Poke a hole in your first styrofoam ball with the wooden dowel. Step 2: Put hot glue in the hole and replace the wooden dowel, making sure it holds. Continue this step while you create your wonderful geometric shapes!
Girls testing their strength at Musée Mécanique Fisherman's Wharf on Friday, May 2.
Skee Ball lanes at Players Sports Grill at Pier 39 photographed on Friday, May 2.
Boys playing a Terminator arcade game at Musée Mécanique at Fisherman's Wharf on Friday, May 2.
Batman driving game at the Players Sport Arcade in Pier 39, photographed on Friday, May 2.
The different arcade games at Players Sports Grill at Pier 29, Friday May 2.
Written by Justice Boles
Photos by Jenny Sokolova
You walk into the bottom of Cesar Chavez. You’re hungry, the smell of Ike’s and Nizario’s wafts through the room, but that’s not the hunger. The real hunger you feel is the hunger… FOR GAMES! There’s a selection of a few arcade cabinets down there, some Dance Dance Revolution, some Marvel vs. Capcom. Things you’ve seen a million times. You have spent enough time down there, and the air has grown stale. They offer brief respite from your smart phone, the games it contains and the very app store bolstering your false satiation, like how chewing gum tricks the brain into thinking it is eating. You need something more thrilling, something more physical. You need cold metal pinballing around. You need joysticks and button mashing. You need… an arcade.
Unfortunately, there aren’t too many of those left in the city.
Fortunately, I’ve got a list of places for you to check out.
Located on Pier 45, Museé Méchanic is like the Island of Misfit Toys, but instead of toys, it is old entertainment machines. Arcade machines young and old inhabit this arena, mostly old though. Like, almost a century old. Like older than television. Older than radio. It even houses Laughing Sal and other historic remnants of San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach. Inside, the air is absent of any real ambient music, it’s mostly the sounds of a turn-of-the-century fair bouncing off the walls, like a carousel past its prime. Don’t let that deter you, it is a haven for arcade hipsters. Wanna play games before pixels were cool? There’s things to do in there that don’t even involve electricity. Museé Méchanic has it all, from nudey nickelodeons to self-playing pianos to old school atari games no one has ever heard of. From marionettes to Metal Slug, Museé Méchanic is the place to be.
Highlight: Vapor TRX. It is an old Atari game. It is a racing game that seems like an F-Zero rip-off, but flying a racing plane/jet/hovercar through ice canyons and futuristic cities with the ability to shoot missiles at the racer in front of you makes it so much better. I’ve never found another one like it.
Players Sports Grill and Arcade. Need a place to watch sports, see Alcatraz out the window and play in an arcade? Players is the place for you. Located on Pier 39, this place has all the classics. It’s Chuck-E-Cheese for parents that don’t hate themselves. It’s got shooters like like Area 51 and Terminator Salvation, as well as go to standards like Whac-A-Mole and air hockey. In addition, it has what any good kid-friendly arcade has, a ticket exchange booth. That is right, Players offers tons of really shoddy toys for way more ticket-to-dollars than they are worth You are not having a good time unless its 25 tickets for a Tootsie Roll and 5000 for a basketball, but hey, that’s part of the experience..
Highlight: Batman. It’s a racing game where you get to drive a Batmobile. Not THE Batmobile, A Batmobile. As in one of Batman’s numerous whips he’s driven through Gotham City throughout the years. From that old Batman ‘66 convertible to that new Dark Knight Rises hovercraft thing. Become… The Batman. Or at least drive his car.
Buckshot, located on Geary and 3rd Ave. stands out above the rest for being a legitimate bar. Players is nice, but that’s just Dave and Busters-lite. Buckshot is a Bar and Gameroom. The games are pretty lacking though. It is classified as an arcade on Yelp, but that’s a pretty loose definition. There is a billiards table and shuffleboard. They have a Tron game as well as a pretty standard deer hunter game with the shotgun plugged into the arcade cabinet. However, they do have booze, so you can get smashed while you play skeeball. They’ve also got a little virtual gambling machine in the corner, so you can get smashed while you play video poker.
Highlight: Gauntlet. Not Gauntlet Legends. Not Gauntlet Dark Legacy. Just straight up Gauntlet. That’s pretty cool. Get smashed while you play Gauntlet.
Located in the Japantown mall west, it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a Japantown arcade. It’s small and cramped. All the games have Japanese kanji written on and in them. Maybe half the machines involve winning some sort of plush toy, like a Domo or a My Little Pony. There’s a giant Pikachu adorned with flowers in the window. Seriously, it’s a really big Pikachu, the sign said no one over the age of 7 allowed into the Pikachu, so it’s at least larger than the average 7-year-old. Other than that, it’s a nice respite from the loud clunks and beeps of the more American arcades. There are games to win Japanese treats and candies like Hello Panda and Hi Chew. It’s a novel little Arcade that’s simply fun to check out. I got a can of Dragonball Z Cola (Krillin was on my can, sadly. No one cool like Gohan or Vegeta) for the low low price of 4 dollars (or 408 yen) in there, I can’t think of anything more novel.
Highlight: Umm… I don’t know. There was one game where you’re like a sushi maker or something, and another one where you beat these really big drums. I didn’t understand a lot of what was going on in there. I don’t speak Japanese. That Pikachu was pretty sweet though.
Free Gold Watch is located a block up from Haight Street, right across from Kezar Stadium. Free Gold Watch started out as a printing shop, screen printing and t-shirt making, but has since implemented 2 dozen or so pinball machines. They have come under some fire for it lately, city ordinances and what not, but let it be said the employees will remind you it’s a printing shop with pinball machines, not the other way around. But oh man do they pinball. It’s quite a sight to behold, as well as the sound of a dozen different pinballs rocketing against bumpers and bells. They’ve got pinball machines of every variety and from the furthest reaches of your imagination. Terminator, X-men, Mario, Jurassic Park, Playboy, ACDC, they’ve got them all. It’s all you could want or need in a pinball palace.
Highlight: There’s a Street Fighter II arcade machine in there. The arcade cabinet that crafted champions and birthed tournaments. Granted, it’s a Champion Edition, but that’s probably as close to pure Street Fighter II you’re going to find. Quarter-circle that stick and mash some buttons. Fire off a Hadouken and you can almost feel a moment in gaming history. It’s excellent.
Beaming down from the sky with blistering heat, sun rays cover the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California. This isolated desert area, about a dozen miles away from Palm Springs, is normally a quiet and simple town. However, every year around the month of April, it transforms into a unique place where a crossbreed of individuals from all over the United States gather together to appreciate the beauty of music.
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a three-day music and arts festival that draws more than eighty thousand people to Indio’s scorching desert every year for what many consider to be an unforgettable weekend of music, dancing, and partying.
It is not even mid-day on Friday, April 18th, and sweat has begun to accumulate on the crowd of people at weekend two of Coachella. The fiery desert weather is just another factor that makes this festival what it is.
This was my third year attending the festival, and as expected, it was as special as the first two. The magic of the festival is hard to put into words–it is like paradise in the desert and I will never forget the experiences I’ve had here.
This year, the festival grounds were covered with 5 massive outdoor stages and one indoor stage. Different visual arts and installation art also appeared throughout the festival, such as a giant nomadic astronaut, and a tall red robot that roamed the grounds throughout the three days.
About two hundred different musicians played at the festival, with surprise guests who were not on the line up such as Jay-Z and Usher. With so many musicians playing, and many of them playing at the same times, choosing who you want to see can be one of the more difficult and conflicting aspects of the festival.
Once the intense sun sets over the distant mountains and the desert haze begins to fill the valley, the five stages become illuminated with bright flashing lights that radiate on the passionate crowd.
Cody LaBoy,a SF State student is a Coachella veteran. Attending the festival for the fourth time this year, he talks about what Coachella means to him. “I have been to Coachella in ‘07, which was the first time they did all three days and it was a lot of fun. I also went in ’09 and ‘13. It is always nice to be out here in the desert, it’s very special.”
To the thousands of people that gather annually to celebrate in the festivities of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio Valley goes from being a small,desolate town to becoming a paradise in the desert.
Written by Katrina Andaya
Photo & Video by Tony Santos
She looks up just for a brief moment as her green and yellow hula-hoop spins effortlessly around her slim body. Her movement graceful and elegant, a testament of her background in ballet. She tosses the plastic hoop into the bright, overcast Oakland sky and catches it nonchalantly continuing where she left off, the hoop still spinning.
“It’s not just a toy. It’s my dance partner,” says thirty-two-year-old Hoop Artist Tiia Maaret, referring to the hula hoop she personally crafted.
She is not only swinging the hula hoop around her waist, but the hoop swings around her entire body as she implements various techniques, dancing with the hoop.
“I think it really allows for a lot of personal expression and a lot of how you want to represent yourself and who you want to be,” Maaret says. “Its not so defined. There are no rules. The possibilities are endless, just like the hoop itself is infinite.”
Hooping, made popular in the 1950s, has made its way back into mainstream culture, especially in fitness where larger, heavier hoops are used, but more recently has popularized itself in the dance and flow arts as well.
While hoopers can be found all over the world, the Bay Area is known to be the Mecca for hoopers and flow artists.
Maaret has tried many different types of dance including ballet, folk dance, belly dance and hip-hop, and has been hooping for three and a half years now. She also teaches hoop classes and workshops as well as makes her own hoops.
She explains that when people think of hula hooping they think of the plastic children’s toy that they swing around their waist, but it’s more than just that.
The spirituality of hooping is subjective and every hooper has their own inherent beliefs, but many share the concept that the hoop is a circle and is spinning connecting the dancer with everything else in the universe which is also spinning.
“So I am adding another dimension to it by adding an object that is spinning and creating flow,” says Maaret. “So being able to tap into that and to tap into the idea that everything is spinning and not even just the physical part of the world we live in, but seasons, cycles, the life cycle, the death cycle. Everything is connected. So it’s a dance that connects all of it.”
Antonio Gomez, a forty-six-year-old hooper and SF State graduate, is a member of Bay Area Hoopers in San Francisco and explains that Native Americans use hula hoops in a lot of their ceremony dances and that the circle is an important part of our world.
“There is something about when you’re inside the hoop or the flow as they call it,” he says. “There is an existential expression of your physical self and your mental self with the actual ring and the hoop.”
Hula hooping has not only physical, but mental benefits as well. Many hoopers talk about feeling an energy or high when they hoop.
Twenty-one-year-old SF State student Amelia Depue has only been hooping for six months, since she moved to San Francisco discovered the art, but has already reaped many benefits from it.
“I can push myself and challenge myself and also have a good time,” she says. “It is very stress relieving. So whenever I am hooping, if I am having a kind of down day, if I am having too much going on with my life, I can pick up the hoop and turn on some jams and just kind of forget about things and just jam out. It is pretty sweet. It is a great feeling.”
Sporting a brown, suede pirate hat with a pink feather, forty-six-year-old Jim Hendrickson of Bay Area Hoopers has been hooping for four and a half years. He wears his pirate hat whenever he hoops and it has become his persona as a hooper.
He says that before he started hooping he held a negative stereotype of hoopers, but that quickly changed when he joined Bay Area Hoopers, a group that meets at Inner Mission on Sunday and just hoops.
“I thought it was going to be all these flighty people, one type of people, but you come out here and realize there’s people of all ages and different walks of life,” he says. “It is just that nice blend that really makes the group something special because you can not just define it by one individual.”
Hooping is continuing to grow in the community and San Francisco is in the center of it all. There is so much more to the plastic children’s play toy that goes far beyond what an outsider may see.
“I guess with hooping it has kind of made me realize that everything is centered and you really get that flow with the hoop,” Depue says. “It is a pretty cool moment when you can just be in a flow and just forget about everything else and just be in that moment. You are having a good time. You are hooping and you are expressing yourself. It is kind of a beautiful thing when you can do that. You see other people and other people watching witness it as well.”
I was naked in the darkest space I have ever been in. I willingly shut the door but my fingers refused to let go of the handle. Instead they only gripped tighter. My mind filled the seemingly silent space with an intensely loud, body-shuddering noise. As the first couple seconds passed the sound of my breath grew loud, competing with the rhythm of my racing heartbeat. I voluntarily decided that I was going to stay in this pitch-black, salt-water filled tank, also known as a sensory deprivation chamber, for an entire sixty minutes. It was a decision I started to regret.
After what felt like ten minutes, my mind progressed from a state of panic to reason. I was only naked in a soundproof tank where I couldn’t see anything. I thought, “How bad could it be?” My fingers finally released the death-grip I had around door handle and I began to sink back into the salt water. As I surrendered, my entire body was instantly lifted by the insane amount of Epsom salt mixed into the water. I was experiencing my first “float” and it felt really weird.
The story of sensory deprivation chambers begins in the 1950s with Dr. Jonathan Cunningham Lilly. He was sort of a fringe science jack-of-all-trades. He was a physician, biophysicist, neuroscientist, inventor and author. Many call him a pioneer in the counter-culture of modern science, while others would simply call him batshit crazy. Besides being the inventor of sensory deprivation chambers, Lilly is more famously known for his research done on communicating with dolphins and doing a lot of LSD in the name of science. His so-called eccentricity went on to inspire films like Ken Russell’s film Altered States and Mike Nichols’ film The Day of the Dolphin.
While Lilly’s research produced somewhat of a cult following, he was aiming to learn more about the human state of consciousness and its limits. Lilly’s research began in 1953 when he took at job with the National Institute of Mental Health. There he began studying how our brains work, what keeps it functioning and how it reacts to our environment. Lilly began toying around with sensory deprivation tanks to study the effects on the brain when all stimuli are removed. Stimuli in this case refers to vision and hearing. Lilly hoped that isolating these senses would prove that even without external stimuli, the brain and consciousness would continue to function.
Since research like this had never been done before, Lilly and his colleagues acted as the test subjects. Early designs of the tanks required them to be fully submerged in a water-filled tank wearing only a tight mask with a pipe for oxygen. Because of the uncomfortable state of having their heads wrapped in a tight neoprene fabric, the design evolved into the coffin-like tank design common today. Once the design proved more logical, Lilly began promoting the use of these tanks by sharing his experiences. Perhaps the most intriguing experience he shared with people he titled “First Conference of Three Beings” which is currently published on his website. Lilly recalls leaving behind his body in the tank and having a conference with three unknown entities “in a dimensionless space, the spaceless set of dimensions somewhere near the third planet of a small solar system dominated by a type-G star.” Was Lilly tripping or was this a legitimate experience? Who knows? However the act of floating in what feels like a zero-gravity tank caught on and is growing in popularity today. Today people “float” for different reasons. Most people float to reap the mental and physical benefits, though there are some who float as a shortcut to meditation and out of body experiences.
To gain a better understanding of how sensory deprivation tanks work, I decided I would need to get into the tank. I contacted Allison Walton, the owner of the Bay Area’s oldest float center called FLOAT located in Oakland. Allison opened FLOAT, which also acts as a constantly changing art space, in 2005 after she experienced a life-changing float twenty-five years ago. There are actually a couple spots in San Francisco that have float tanks, but none of the ones I found focused only on floating. I didn’t want to go to a spa that happened to have a tank. I wanted to talk to someone who actually knew what she was doing.
When I entered the space Allison greeted me with a glass of water and talked me through what I was going to do and what I could expect. She explained the types of tanks she had, which are manufactured by a San Diego company called Oasis. “Our tanks are the largest in the Bay Area. Everyone can fit in them,” says Allison. The white rectangular box is made of fiberglass with a vinyl inner liner. Allison explained that the solution, or water, used to float contains a high concentration of Epsom salt which increases the density of the solution causing a body to naturally float. “Average tanks require about 800 pounds of salt, but we use 1000 pounds,” Allison told me as she pointed to a stack of what looked like giant rice bags. “These tanks are also the most sound and light proof,” says Allison. “These don’t depend on the room it is in for a lightproof or soundproof float.”
She continued to explain what my brain might experience when it is disconnected from all stimuli. Though first-time floaters rarely completely “let go” and experience out of body experiences, it was likely that my brainwaves would slow down and enter the state of theta. Our brains experience five states of being; alpha, beta, theta, delta and gamma. In the beta state, our brain waves reflect a waking state and entirely conscious state. In the alpha state, our brain waves reflect a relaxed state. This usually happens when our eyes are closed. And theta, the state our brains are likely to enter while in the tank, is when our brain waves slow down and allow dreaming. We generally experience theta when we’re falling into a deep sleep or are awakening from a deep sleep. The theta state is also when lucid dreaming occurs. Some people even recall experiencing vivid visualizations comparable to visualizations caused by hallucinogenic drugs. “Some people go straight into the theta state, even during their first float. But the rest of us are mortal,” says Allison.
I finished drinking my water and headed upstairs to the second floor loft where I would enter a tank and “unplug” from the world. An hour later, I was not sure about what I had experienced. What I had just done was weird and I could not tell if removing myself from external stimuli affected me in any way. I only remember waking a couple times from a light sleep and before I knew it the hour was up. “It’s is a really weird thing,” says Allison. “Not everyone gets used to it and just fights the experience the whole time. I once had a friend that refused to let go of the handle and she exerted herself so much to prevent herself from floating that she eventually fell asleep.” Because our reactions to the tanks all differ in experience, the types of floats experienced differ as well. No two floats are ever the same. “Everyone’s brain is completely different,” says Allison. “Some people see crazy light shows or budding paisleys the second they close their eyes. Some people don’t fall asleep but just think.”
When I asked about the type of people that float, the answer I got surprised me. I honestly that it would be a small niche of people into odd alternative medicine. “When I opened, I thought there’d be a type of client,” says Allison. “But our clients are really busy people, business people or people with families. There really is no profile because we get all ages and all ethnicities.” Allison did mention that her clients do tend to be of the more creative type if anything. “Lots of people float to clear a mind block, whether it be doctors or artists or writers,” says Allison. “And every time someone comes to float because they need a new idea, the second they step out of the tank, they got it.”
The benefits of floating truly seem to be all over the grid. The benefits range from mental relaxation and rejuvenation, similar to the effects of a deep meditation, to physical relaxation, like entering a state of savasana. “We’re constantly reacting to stimuli in our environment, in particular to technology,” explains Allison. “Our bodies are doing things [like using technology] that humans aren’t designed for. We’re designed to be creative, thinking beings.” Floating is a way to unplug from it all. Today, floating promotes the entire and complete relaxation of our most complex organ, our brains. “For almost everyone, floating will be the only time we’re completely alone with ourselves since the womb,” says Allison.
It seems like Lilly’s isolation tanks are all grown up. Even the language is evolving from sensory deprivation chambers to isolation tanks to float tanks. “It’ll probably be another ten years before they’re actually called float tanks,” says Allison. Though the change in views on floatation therapy will take some time, Allison believes that we will soon be seeing float tanks, or “unplugging stations,” everywhere. We are continuously online and the growth of technology doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. So in order to keep our heads screwed on while constantly receiving new information and the stress that follows, we need to find a way to disconnect. As crazy as paying to be shut into a dark, soundless water tank sounds, it may be one of the few ways to keep us sane.
SF State’s campus is dotted with emergency call buttons, marked by the blue lights atop of the poles.
Written by Jourdon Ahn
Photographed by Gavin McIntyre
This year President Obama composed a memorandum for immediate release, addressing the harrowing prevalence of rape and sexual assault in our Nation’s institutions of higher education. He reiterated studies that highlighted the staggering number of sexual victims (men and women) and stated, “more needs to be done to ensure safe, secure environments for students of higher education.”
The Obama Administration is not only targeting universities, but all institutions of higher education that participate in Federal student financial assistance programs, like colleges, community colleges, graduate and professional schools, for-profit schools, trade schools, and career and technical schools. They are pressing for an increased presence of sexual violence prevention organizations on school campuses. He wrote that the above schools must:
-provide students with information on programs aimed at preventing rape and sexual assault, and on procedures for students to reporting rape and sexual assault
-adopt and publish grievance procedures that provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of rape and sexual assault complaints
-investigate reports and take swift action to prevent their recurrence
-survivors must also be provided with information on how to access the support and services they need
“Reports show that, however, that institutions’ compliance with these Federal laws is uneven and, in too many cases, inadequate. Building on existing enforcement efforts, we must strengthen and address compliance issues and provide institutions with additional tools to respond to and address rape and sexual assault.”
At SFSU there are multiple resources that can help with the issues you may be dealing with, whether it be in the form of counseling, therapy, or physically escorting—our university strives to assist its students to the best of its ability. Specifically concerning sexual assault and violence, we spoke with Laurene Dominguez, the SAFE Place Coordinator. Watch for an exclusive interview packed with important information on how to keep yourself safe for the benefit of our campus community.
You have seen the trailer for Disney’s Maleficent by now. Starring Angelina Jolie. Has the badass CGI and the creepy song. You know the one… er… three. Anyways, for those of you that don’t know, Maleficent is the villainess from Sleeping Beauty. She’s the one that turns into a dragon that Generic Prince — Wikipedia says his name is Phillip — slays and thus, wins the Princess’ hand in marriage. Happily ever after, right?
Anyways, it’s happened. Disney has gone full circle. For decades, Disney has been drinking in cultural stories from just about anywhere and transforming them into big screen adaptations. However, Maleficent might mark the first time Disney is cannibalizing its own cinematic mythology, its very own stories. This is not like 101 Dalmatians, which was pretty literally a live-action telling of the story that was already animated.
Dr. Mark Calkins, a lecturer of World Literature at San Francisco State University teaches a class titled Fables and Tales where Disney interpretations of these stories are a frequent topics of discussion in his class.
“Taking this cultural material and individual authors or talents putting their own spin on it or reinterpreting is nothing new.” Calkins says. “Now certainly, what’s happened with the case of Disney, it becomes the version of the fairy tale for a very large audience.”
“I certainly don’t think Walt Disney did not do so primarily to monetize the stories,” Calkins says. “I don’t think that was primarily motivating Disney. I don’t think that was the case. I think Walt Disney was a storyteller, a storyteller in cinema and was interested in telling these stories his way.”
Without Walt Disney, animation might not exist as we know it. Disney pioneered animation techniques that revolutionized the medium, and continue to find new and unique forms of storytelling. But in every artist, there exists a dichotomy. One side that seeks to create, to unleash their artistic potential. The other side is the entrepreneur, the side that wants to express their creation upon the world and its inhabitants, a lot of times by any means necessary. Walt Disney showed what side he most embodied early on. He pioneered animation quickly and cost-effectively, and it’s a model that his namesake corporation has abided by ever since, cheap and efficient.
While it’s true that Disney doesn’t just make movies about ghosts and goblins, it seems like all of their stories have that sort of ‘happily ever after’ vibe.
“Disney identified so closely with the fairy tales he appropriated that it is no wonder his name virtually became synonymous with the genre of the fairy tale itself,” says Professor Jack Zipes in his essay Breaking Disney’s Spell. “If children or adults think of the great classical fairy tales today, they will think Walt Disney.” Whether it’s Mark Wahlberg playing football or Jon Hamm recruiting pitchers, that Disney flavor still saturates the story. Mary Poppins is not quite a fairy, but there is something quite whimsical and magical about her. Disney’s name is synonymous with fairy tales, even if the ducklings turn out mighty instead of ugly.
Disney is good at what it does. Really good. United States copyright law has literally changed because of Disney’s lobbying. It buys up properties and uses them like a dairy cow until the property can’t make anymore money, and when that’s done, Disney throws it in the Disney vault until a time when said property will be able to drum up a few more bucks. The big issue is that these stories were folk tales, they belonged to the masses, they belonged to the people. Now, they belong to Disney. It is concerning for the same reasons people are concerned about Rupert Murdoch owning all of the news outlets, or Comcast owning all the communication channels to the outside world.
Disney’s iron grip over these properties gives it incredible power over how people see and interact with the world. Disney sells moralities and goodness the same way Coca Cola sells a healthy drink like Vitamin Water. Morals just like because he is a Beast on the outside doesn’t mean he is one on the inside. Or just because a girl is a princess does not mean she has to be girly or cannot kick ass, despite Disney’s merchandise showing differently.
“Disney never liked to give credit to the animators who worked with him,” says Zipes, “they had to fight for acknowledgement.”
A few years ago, Disney purchased Marvel comics, probably because Disney realized it needed a male counterpart to all the girls that buy dresses and dolls. So naturally, all the little boys now buy Captain America costumes and Iron Man action figures. Since the purchase in 2008, Disney has churned out Marvel related media such as movies, cartoons, costumes, books, comic books on a level that is unprecedented. It’s a pace which Marvel never would have accomplished on its own. Recently, Disney purchased Star Wars and all of its related properties, and while George Lucas is also the poster boy for artist turned entrepreneur, and is already a billionaire from the properties he created with his 1977 hit movie/cultural phenomena, it seems unimaginable that Disney would be able to push Star Wars paraphernalia better than Lucas himself, but I wouldn’t put it past them. These two are different from the folk tales and fairy tales mentioned above. Marvel Comics and Star Wars were never publicly owned stories, and both have thrived in merchandising in ways not dissimilar to Disney’s. But like the fairy tales, they are some of the biggest and best-known tales of morality and are probably just as influential as Cinderella or Snow White. Now, they too are great modern mythologies that exist under Disney’s pen and paper.
“I don’t think the current Disney executives are interested in telling Star Wars their way, or telling Indiana Jones in their way,” Calkins says “They just want to appropriate the pre-existing and make money off of it.”
Disney is not really that different than any other media giant their size. Except for two things. One, They literally control the “Happiest Place on Earth”, and two, they’ve grow bigger than other media giants their size. Disney owns, in addition to everything already mentioned, television networks like ABC, ESPN, Lifetime, and The History Channel, and odds are they probably own a controlling interest in your very own childhood. They’re tapped right into our children, our values, and our culture, so all that can be offered is caution.
“I wouldn’t call it cultural pilfering,” Calkins says. “I think it’s part of Disney’s, I don’t know if it’s a conscious kind of purpose, but to be the owner so to speak of these kind of pop cultural stories.”
Disney doesn’t follow trends, it sets them. It owns stakes in these cultural stories and modern mythologies like no other. It hangs onto them and uses them to draw huge profit. After that, it just becomes a problem of saturation. Everything blends together and looks the same. Disney stories especially generally end all the same, happily, with the underdog triumphant over the giant antagonist. Everyone knows the end of Maleficent before they even step foot into a movie theatre. Disheveled nobility. Silly sidekicks. Sappy songs. Defeated villain, usually their own fault in a manner that isn’t too gruesome on screen, most often times by falling to their own death. Happily ever after. Scar no longer disrupts the circle of life. Mother Gothel no longer exploits Rapunzel’s magical hair. Ursula no longer controls people with Ariel’s voice. But those are just fairy tales.
Written by Matthew Reyes Photos by Ryan Leibrich
Not a welcoming mist rolling over the Bay Area on a calm winter’s day, but a mean one that slaps the flesh in a nonstop syncopated cadence, creating a hollowed-out sound that sets bodies trembling.
It’s raining that hard.
The heavens just had to pour down with such fury on the only day possible for this photoshoot of a yikin group whose bodies create their own syncopated cadences on their home turf in West Oakland. The roster includes Priceless Da Roc, a Bay Area rapper and dancer; India Haynes, who goes by Ms. #GetItIndy on her YouTube channel (which has over 170,000 subscribers and 1.2 million views); in-house dancers KP and C2Saucy; 99% (a duo that consists of rappers Camoflage and JB); and resident DJ, J12.
But by the look of their faces, the weather torment doesn’t phase them. They turn the event in their favor, posting on Instagram about the photoshoot in order to augment the recognition they already have. They dance, they joke, and they go for it, all in the rain. Trying out new moves and combinations in this dance style, yikin, that started off as a YouTube sensation and skyrocketed in popularity in 2012.
Bay Area dancer Chonkie F Tutz, of the Turf Feinz crew, originated the style when he combined twerking with grinding. The dance is simple: A girl bends over and moves her body in a snake-like motion while another person, usually a man, right behind follows her hips with his.
However, the refined twists and turns of yikin, sensual and provocative, captured the public’s attention in large part due to Prince Adenola, a SF State student, who goes by the pseudonym Prince of the Yike. The videos he posted on YouTube of himself yikin made the style visible worldwide.
“No one knew who I was,” Prince recalls. But since then, hip-hop artists have reached out and hired him to tour with them as a backup dancer. “It’s crazy what a dance can do and what its impact can be. It’s basically extreme twerking,” he explains.
“It’s twerking, but evolved,” Priceless adds. Evolved, yet really an extension of the twerking seen in most hip-hop music videos; the twerking Miley Cyrus did on Robin Thicke at the VMAs; yes, that same twerking that’s banned from high school dances. That twerking.
Yikin has also been leading to a melding of the dance and rap scenes. “It’s really not too often that rappers are dancers,” Priceless says, who was primarily a rapper before the yikin movement. Featured as a contestant on BET’s 106 and Park on its Freestyle Friday, he now incorporates yikin into his music.
Since its inception in 2012, video tutorials, such as “How To Yike,” have helped the movement gain momentum among teenagers and even a seventy-year-old grandma. “Red Nose,” by Sage the Gemini, hit the fifty-second spot on the Billboard Hot 100, glamorizing the dance in its music video. No wonder others, like Prince, are now posting videos to make a name for themselves.
“Everyone knows that I dance,” Prince says. “I just want to show people I can do something different,” which is also why he released “1 Time,” a track that features SF State producer and rapper Cloud and #GetItIndy.
Yikin promotes a Jack-of-all-trades mentality. “You can’t just do one thing,” Priceless says. “You need to be a man of many hats.” He likes it that way, because it promotes hard work for future generations who want to get into the entertainment business.
“It’s a serious art form,” says Mzz. Bone, manager for The Yike Fest Tour that gathers and showcases stars of the new style. “Your knees have to be strong to get low. It’s really hard.” She compares it to salsa or tango, where enthusiasts practice at home, taking time and energy to perfect their moves. “We had the first Yike Fest in April 2013,” she continues. “Then we did another one in Oakland, and we turned away around three hundred people. Everyone wanted to party.”
From there, Mzz. Bone and Priceless knew that the demand was high. They took the Yike Fest Tour to cities, big and small. “We just came from Bend, Oregon, which is a very, very, very small town,” Priceless says. “But people still asked for us there and wanted the experience. So we found a way to make it happen.”
“You cannot not have fun at a Yike Fest,” Mzz. Bone adds. “I don’t care if there’s five people in the room, they’re going to have the time of their lives with us.”
With the surge in pop-culture popularity has come a cacophony of internet criticism of yikin’s sexual intensity and assertions that the dance objectifies women. However, according to Priceless, Prince, and other yikin enthusiasts, there’s more depth to this new dance craze then what is seen and said on the internet.
“Early Bay Area music, was mob music,” explains Priceless. “Slapping a bitch and getting money out of the bitch. But now, because yikin is getting big, you hear a lot of party music. You hear a lot of turnt up music. You hear more dance, booty-shaking music opposed to the hoe music where you pimping a hoe.”
He feels yikin has helped move Bay Area music move away from a negative place, unlike the Hyphy movement, which started out in the region as well. In September of 2013, Thizz Entertainment, which helped solidify the Hyphy movement, was associated with drug-trafficking when Michael Lott, self-proclaimed CEO of the record label, was pulled over for trying to sell heroin to an undercover agent, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. “The Hyphy movement was the biggest thing that came from The Bay,” Priceless says. “Even though it was great for the culture, the message was still negative.”
Yikin is sometimes viewed as too sensual. Youth have embraced this dance, and critics feel that’s a recipe for disaster. In October of 2013, Aliso Niguel High School, located in Orange County California, banned twerking or any other sexual dances and no longer allows it on campus or at school functions.
However, Priceless and Mzz. Bones feel like the young will do it anyway, so why not provide a safe environment for them to do so? Some people feel like its positive for the youth and distracting them from doing unlawful activities. Sage the Gemini said on “Sway in the Morning” last August, that “there is a positive movement going in the Bay Area now where the kids are dancing rather than shooting, and people just need to take notice.”
Yikin’s popularity is rising at a rocket’s pace, and it’s not stopping anytime soon. Priceless’ wants to continue growing and developing as an artist while contributing to positivity. He and Mzz. Bones are currently working on the next California Yike Fest Tour, and Prince of the Yike is coming out soon with music that allows him to embody the role of dancer, rapper, and entertainer.
As for the movement’s future, no one knows, not even Priceless and Mzz. Bones. But what they do know is that yikin will continue to celebrate life, be positive, and encourage good times. When it rains, it pours.
Written By Chantel Genest
Photographed by Lorisa Salvatin
You are acutely aware of a bang and a roar, a drum cymbal between a ticking beat traveling from your left to your right. A toad croaks amidst the mire beneath you, a deep hooting owl hidden in the trees above you. Chirps and a buzzing of a busy forest evade your surroundings. Silence. Water trickles off of the walls, a child’s utterance coming towards you from the distance. Ascending high and low, far and near, a makeshift symphony heightens your auditory senses as you sink into the pitch-black world consuming the remains of your sightless perception. You are experiencing the Audium
“I gradually fell into a trance state where I was somewhat awake and somewhat asleep,” says Ben Slater, twenty-five. “The fragment of noises brought memories in and out of my mind and made me more aware of time.”
As you pass the ticket booth and make your way into the foyer, you at once cannot help but to look all around you. Moving images of waterfalls stream across the walls and the echo of dripping liquid takes hold of your auditory senses. From the moment you enter the Audium building the experience has begun.
Once eight-thirty strikes you will assemble into a faintly lit room and choose from the forty-nine plastic folding chairs set up in a sphere around the dome-like theater. The lights begin to dim little by little until you find yourself in complete darkness. For the next ninety minutes, if you can handle it, you will be entrapped by a series of noises. Not quite together, yet not far apart, from children laughing to puddles splashing a chain of sounds bring you into a new perceptual awareness.
In the 1950’s, space was still an unexplored element of music composition due to the lack of audio technology available. Composer Stan Shaff and equipment designer Doug McEachern shared an idea that space was capable of revealing a new musical language.
Together the SF State alumni took their idea and made it reality. In 1967 the first Audium location opened up, the only space of its kind constructed specifically for sound movement and utilizing the entire environment as a compositional tool. At that time the performance was created through only forty-four speakers.
By the time the present location opened up on Bush Street in 1975, the space was installed with a floating floor and 136 speakers hanging above the audience and embedded into the walls and floors.
“What you are hearing in there is me at a board, changing and altering where the sound is coming from, the intensities, the speed in which it’s traveling,” says Shaff. “The board is an instrument of space. I am literally composing my work, which is on a hard disc in a separate part of the building that comes into the board and I then distribute it into the different speakers around the room.”
Today, with 176 speakers placed specifically around the custom made structure with slanted and protruding walls, the audience is carried into pitch-blackness, allowing no visual awareness, to hear a sequence of noises travel over and under and everywhere in between.
After nearly a half century, Shaff continues to show up every Friday and Saturday at eight o’clock to compose the performance for audiences young and old, both newcomers and returners looking for something new to expand their minds and views.
“With technology has come this world of sound,” said Shaff’s son and employee Dave. “The world used to be a lot quieter than it is now.”
Surround sound, Imax movie theatres, and the boundaries of music being broken down constantly have changed the way we think. Technology has pushed younger generations to crave new ways of thinking and to explore the unknown.
“People nowadays are searching out and looking for that experience with a kick and this is definitely that,” says Dave.
The performance at Audium is unique, no doubt. You are forced to see with your ears and accept the both harsh and delicate reverberations moving through you, transforming from distant clatter to in-your-face bangs.
“You can’t follow one thought for too long because the audio will take you somewhere else,” says Aaron Strick, twenty-four. “It was a nice blend of internal feelings that someone else is guiding and affecting. Its just a rare experience to have.”
Halfway through the performance the lights turn up just enough for your visual senses to return and for five minutes you and the strangers around you sit staring around at the dark images of each other’s bodies and the hanging speakers above you. For those that aren’t grasping or enjoying the composition, this is the time to exit.
“Initially we weren’t sure, and early on more people were uncomfortable with the darkness and the atmosphere,” Says Stan.
For now, Audium continues to use a recorded audio sequence in which Shaff changes every year to year and a half. But Shaff, his son, and McEachern have bigger plans for the future with more elements to add to the mix. Live performers and greater three-dimensional sounds are a hope for the staff.
Learning to use the soundboard is a daunting task, but one Stan plans to teach his son very soon. Dave, who has been around Audium his entire life and even lends to the performance with audio recordings of him as a child as part of the piece, plans to continue and expand further what his father has started.
“I look at Audium as being only a seedling, like a start up of the idea of space, immersion, sound movement and the control of that motion,” says Shaff. “I imagine it only getting more evolved and seeing more places like the Audium popping up eventually.”
You can experience Audium for yourself, every Friday and Saturday night beginning promptly at eight-thirty.
The name Barry Bonds immediately evokes memories of steroids and legal indiscretions. He’s known as the man who took the home-run king title away from Hank Aaron while parading around as the villain of baseball.
But let’s forget all of Barry Bonds’ woes. Move on. But it seems a lot easier writing in words than to actual move on from the scrutiny like Bonds experience towards the end of his career. But it must be harder to make come back from being under surveillance from the media. Bonds was back in the spotlight this year and it wasn’t about his legal issues or whether he should be in the Hall of Fame. In March, Bonds went to Spring Training and offering a week as hitting instructor for the Giants. Bonds back in the orange and black.
Let’s remember Bonds hasn’t been in a Giants uniform and hasn’t played baseball in years. So the question is why now? Maybe it’s to reconcile with Bonds after letting him go after he broke the home-run record. The answer is Bonds loves the game. Baseball is his first love. It’s only the lasting longest relationship that Bonds have ever been in. However, it’s another way to erase the past and start over again with a new generation of players.
“He is trying to rehabilitate his image” says Henry Schulman, a SF Chronicle sports writer.
Bonds asked the Giants to come back to Spring Training, but the Giants had to think about bringing back the former face of the franchise back into the game.
“ The Giants’ brass thought about his request to come to spring training and decided they couldn’t really keep him away while they invite all their other greats from the past to come.” say Schulman about the Giants decision to bring Bonds back.
The Giants brought Bonds as a special hitting instructor for the players for one week. It must have been a sign from the baseball Gods that the Giants were getting the help they need for their offensive.
Let’s face it: the Giants could use all the help they can get when it comes to scoring, by not leaving any stranded on the bases. When Bonds arrived to Scottsdale, Arizona where the Giants Spring training is located, the media circles was there as well.
The more important question is how where the players were going to react with Bonds or how was Bonds was going to interact with the players?
According to Jim Moorehead, San Francisco Giants Head Senior Director of Media Relations. seem to be nervous on the players were going to react when they get on the field.
“He was kind of nervous how he is perspective from the players.” says Moorehead.
The Giants welcome Bonds with open arms and some were star struck by Bonds presence. According to Moorehead, right outfielder Hunter Pence had a poster of Bonds from his childhood.
It seem no one cared about the whole “steroids issue” which has plagued over Bonds. They treated him like a rock star who wanted to learn from one of the greatest hitters in the game.
Every player went to Bonds and seek for his advice on their hitting techniques.
“He sat down with all the hitters behind closed doors for forty-five minutes” said Moorehead about Bonds and his relationship with the players. Bonds worked with all of the players.
Bonds talked to the players about their hitting techniques including shortstop Brandon Crawford.
“Crawford talk about keeping his shoulders in.” says Moorehead about Crawford when it is his turn to bat. “Look at his numbers against left-handers pitchers.”
According to ESPN.com, Crawford’s stats has gone up when it comes to hitting against left handers. Crawford is averaging .400 compare to last year when he was at .199 average. That is a huge difference. After Bonds one-week training ended, there is no doubt he made an impact on the players. Giants fans have seen a difference in the offensive and notice Bonds influence over the Giants.
Antonio Solano, an art major at SF State and long-time Giants fan couldn’t be any happier to have Bonds back as a hitting instructor.
“They can definitely use someone like him and his skills to help with the offensive.” says Solano.
Solano goes on and says “You see players like Crawford and Belt are getting balls into plays instead of popping up. You can tell Bonds made impact in their hitting.”
But let’s pretend for a moment and the Giants did decide to bring Bonds as a hitting instructor. Great news to Giants fans like Solano and it is not because it will help the offensive. The reason is fans will love to see Bonds back in the black and orange uniform. But the whole “steroid issue” will resurface again. People will question either or not he did take steroids.
“I grew up watching Bonds as a kid and I remember the player who was before this whole steroids.” Solano goes on “People do not know anything about how he was as a hitter and they were not paying attention until he was breaking the record.”
Is it fair to justify Bonds as the poster child for steroids man who broke the home-run record instead of the man, the baseball player who never was afraid to hit anything.
No matter what Bonds will be that idol as one of the greatest hitters of all time. Maybe it is a good idea to bring Bonds back so the public outside of the Giants fan base and they can see Bonds before the steroids.
If it can work for McGwire, the hitting coach for the Dodgers and steroids user, why not bring Bonds back?
It’s time to move on…now.
“Aren’t you going to eat the meat I put in there for you?”
The dreaded and familiar question had been lobbed at me before I could turn away and hide the remaining contents of my bowl. As I poked at the mysterious hunk of tough, grayish-brown meat with my spoon and attempted to delay the inevitable, I recalled the excitement that had been caused by this meat a few hours earlier. “Is that what I think it is? Oooo boy! That’s right, that’s right,” the excited shouts tumbled out of the kitchen and I had started to wonder exactly what was going to be served up.
With my poking getting me nowhere closer to tasting this intimidating meat chunk that had been so cleverly disguised in my favorite creamy peanut sauce, my boyfriend grabbed my bowl and deftly sliced the chunk in half.
Oh, the swells of gratitude that crashed over me — thanks honey. Drowning the meaty half in as much sauce as I could fit onto the suddenly tiny spoon, the moment of no return had finally arrived. With my mouth wide open, and boyfriend staring, my taste buds were assaulted with these salty-smoky, weird and unrecognizable flavors that I dreamed of washing down with the glass of red wine sitting within arm’s reach.
As I chewed the meat, I could feel my impending doom as it expanded in my mouth— the same way steak did when you tried it for the first time as a child and you ended up spitting it out into your parent’s napkin. With one more mental kick in the pants, the deed was done, the meat swallowed, and my mouth was being cleansed by the familiar sweet-tart taste of wine. I looked up to see not just my boyfriend watching me, but his cousin and two friends as well, all grinning widely.
“We’ll make you into an African yet, girl,” they gleefully jeered at me. I’d just had my first taste of goat meat.
In cosmopolitan San Francisco, the concept of interracial relationships is often taken for granted. It is a metropolis of mixed races, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities, the concept of interracial relationships seems rather tame to the modern city dweller. As an insider of the interracial relationship club, I can tell you that the joys and pains of dating a person of another race are as real now as they were forty years ago— they’ve simply evolved and look different.
The novelty and hesitation that interracial relationships are met with are unsurprising when one examines the low numbers of them in the country. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, interracial marriages make up only ten percent of marriages in the country. The number rises when looking at unmarried couples, though not by much: eighteen percent of opposite-sex unmarried couples are interracial, and twenty-one percent of same-sex unmarried couples are.
For Ayuchi Haga, thirty-four, the reality that her relationship as a Japanese woman with a Jewish-American man was still a novelty, came when her nephews first met her husband.
“I’ve always been really close with my nephews— from the time they were born to this day, they look up to me, and I’m always helping take care of them,” says Haga. “So I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry on the day they met my husband. He kneeled down in front of them to say hi, and they started crying because his face and his features were not familiar to them.”
It’s true— the modern day interracial couple is still faced with judgment and disapproval by family and friends. One of my closest friends once shocked me by saying that she wished I would “just date white guys” because it would be easier for her to understand and relate to. This remark came after I had told her the story of my first trip to a barbershop for black men.
I sat waiting while the barber asked my boyfriend how he wanted his hair styled. He suddenly turned to me for my opinion. Should he line his hair? How far should the barber take it down? All I could do was stutter— what was lining? Take what down? I had never heard of these terms. Was there a menu of choices I could look at and point to?
Bridgette Marshall, a twenty-two-year-old white woman who has been dating a Filipino man for two years, says that for her, these humorous moments make up for the harder ones. She recalls the hardest moment in her relationship: when her boyfriend’s mother asked them to pretend they weren’t dating for the day so a close family friend wouldn’t be offended during her visit.
“I was speechless,” said Marshall. “I couldn’t believe that after all our time together, his family wasn’t willing to proudly stand beside us. How could we offend someone with our love? What about love is offensive?”
The funny moments that happen when new foods are tasted, new languages are learned, and new customs are introduced— these help interracial couples get through the snarky comment here, a raised eyebrow there, when people do just enough to remind them that they’re still discriminated against.
“We, as a couple, still get weird looks when we’re out in public. No verbal comments, just facial expressions,” says Marshall. “I believe that diversity has played a large role in the workplace, educational systems, and society is more knowledgeable of other cultures. But those little looks that people give us, they start to add up and make you wonder sometimes if we’ve really come that far from Loving v. Virginia.”
Loving v. Virginia is the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision that put an end to a Virginia statute that barred whites from marrying non-whites, while simultaneously overturning similar bans in fifteen other states. However, anti-miscegenation laws were still on the books as of 2000, when Alabama became the last state in the country to remove the anti-mixed marriage law from its constitution. The change almost didn’t happen, as the revision only passed by a narrow twenty percent.
In the end, people are going to love whomever they are going to love, no matter what color their skin is or what language they speak. While racism still exists and there is still some discomfort about interracial dating, we have to remember that not everything is about race— unless we continue to make it so. Love, after all, is a universal language.
In the summer of 2005 SF State established the Guardian Scholars Program (GSP), which would prove to be life-changing for a number of students.
The program, created to cater the needs of students who were or still are in the foster system trying to pursue an undergraduate degree, serves ten new students every fall and also accepts transfer students.
Erica Sheppard McMath, a transfer student and a part of the GSP, was first put into foster care at the age of sixteen following an altercation between her and her mother. After living in two group homes McMath turned eighteen and was on her own.
She moved from San Francisco to New Orleans in order to experience college in a new environment with a roof over her head. “Dillard University in New Orleans accepted me and they were giving me housing. That was my primary purpose for leaving. I didn’t have an interest for education at all I just wanted a place to live,” says McMath.
Although housing was provided, McMath says that the school did not offer much support for the situation she was coming from.
It was not until McMath transferred to SF State that she began to take school seriously, “My attitude completely shifted. Before I had no interest in school, I was really angry with life in general, and I did not come from any type of educational background.”
Since the program’s establishment, the number of graduates has significantly increased. Director and cofounder of the GSP, Xochitl Sanchez-Zarama, says it’s very motivating for the younger students. “There are definitely several resources for students that need them, and the program encourages the students to be self-supporting, role models, who have an equal opportunity to be successful professionals.”
The GSP offers numerous services to students including priority access to on-campus housing, priority registration dates, internship opportunities, and access to counseling and psychological services.
The programs continued success is largely due to its partnership with the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the SF State School of Social Work, and off-campus social service groups.
Oscar Gardea, Director for the Educational Opportunity Program says, “EOP plays a very important role in assisting the GSP with their admissions process, and providing students with academic advising via an assigned advisor.”
There are weekly check-ins with the students from advisors, and constant updates regarding scholarships, and resources regarding holiday activities. As McMath says the program is very supportive and involved with what is going on which each of its students.
The Guardian Scholars Program is truly an outlet for students to pursue a successful life post foster living. Many students who have been in foster care have not been given the proper foundation and support needed to succeed.
From being an inactive student McMath has vastly changed and says, “I pulled a 3.4 GPA last semester and for me that is like a 5.0.”
The GSP is striving to prove that progress and support go a long way.