Hollywood, Heartbreak & Horsepower

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Alone in the mountains, a van sits idly as the sun rises. From the west comes a slight breeze, and were there any grass it would’ve rustled in the wind. As it is, there’s only the subtle sounds of the shifting sands to act as a soundtrack for this lonely scene.

Inside the van, a young man wakes up. He uses a worn French press to make a cup of coffee and then steps outside briefly to survey the landscape. Back indoors, he sits down at the folding kitchen table (it doubles as a bed and sleeps three, in a pinch) and inserts a tape into the video camera perched precariously on a makeshift tripod of books, tupperware and vinyl records. He holds up a sign that reads Day 155, P.B. (Post Bridgette) and begins to speak directly into the camera.

Fuck Hollywood, he says. And while we’re at it, fuck Bruce Springsteen too.

He doesn’t mean that last bit, of course. He loves Bruce Springsteen; he’s America’s most treasured songwriter. Speaks for the people, you know? But he was angry and felt betrayed by The Boss, and if you couldn’t trust Bruce Springsteen you couldn’t trust anyone.. All those stories on Born to Run, the ones about the good times with the fast cars and beautiful girls, they’d been a lie. There was no peace to be found on the open road, or perhaps there was no peace to be found in him. Either way, he could see now that you could never walk in the sun, and there was no gorgeous brunette putting the sunset to shame as you stare at her and press down on the gas pedal, just a little harder. 2,567 miles from New York to Nevada, and he didn’t feel any better than when he had left. He blamed Hollywood for the heartbreak, and Springsteen too; decades of bizarre and damaging genre clichés, of sitcom reruns and pop song replays had  codified romance as nothing more than a means to an end, a search for a simulated intimacy that taught people all the wrongs ways to find each other, to be together. People hate on Hallmark, but their cards are just the falsities of romance given physical form; it’s the movie studios who are to blame, and the music makers too, for the idea of romance, for that poisonous ideology which has become inescapable in our day to day lives. And he finally understood romance, or at least he thought he did. Standing alone in the desert, he knew what it meant to have been in love.*

word by Josh Elyea

“I’ve always been particularly susceptible to the allure of the open road, due in no small part to early exposure to Kerouac and a strong affinity for the Springsteen works mentioned in this piece. While I think these narratives are important for the ways in which they offer an escape from the mundane, it’s also important to look at the inconsistencies in these narratives; for example, while guys like Springsteen and Kerouac were the strongest proponents of the restorative powers of the open road, they rarely deal with what happens when you reach the end of your road. What happens after you drive off into the sunset? That’s what I wanted to look at with this piece.”

colour by Hey Studio

“Hey is a graphic design studio based in Barcelona, Spain.
We specialise in brand identity, editorial design and illustration.
We love geometry, color and direct typography.
This is the essence of who we are.
We take care of every single step of the design process and we always work closely with our clients, big or small, in one-to-one relationships.

We also undertake side projects. These activities aim to play with new ideas, push our creative boundaries and develop a passion that is then injected into client’s work.

In 2014, we opened an online shop, a place to share our passion for typography, illustration and bold graphics.

Hey was founded in 2007 with the idea of transforming ideas into communicative graphics.
Here is a selected list of projects crafted for our clients.
We would love to hear from you. Say hi here.”

On Family: “No applause for a hero”

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“Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,

And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,

So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.”

“Teach Your Children,” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young

 

‘What a fucking spread!’

‘Who woulda thought?’  Frances agreed.

‘Bagels, lox, whitefish, coffee, salami, bologna, provolone, macaroni—”

‘Chicken salad!’

Several parents crowded the cream cheese station at the back of the auditorium.  Henry admired his wife’s breasts as she crouched to pick up a tomato.  37.5% of the couples there were gay.  Mr. Hall, the middle school coordinator, wore a pesto green suit.  The hunchback look worked for him.  Everyone there paid $2.75 to ride the train to P.S. 463 if they didn’t hop the turnstile.  But by the looks of it, there were a few who might’ve jumped.

‘Hey!’  Caleb, 4’6”, rushed over and hugged his parents.  ‘Thanks for coming!’

‘Our pleasure!’

The chatter inconspicuously petered out when Mr. Hall tapped the microphone.  ‘Family, friends, distinguished guests: thank you for coming to P.S. 463’s annual Role Model Day!  In humanities this year, the students considered adolescence.  In lieu of their studies, they reflected on their role model’s unique qualities that they hope to emulate as rising middle schoolers.  Today, you will hear some of their thoughts.’

A little girl climbed on stage.  Mr. Hall adjusted the microphone stand appropriately. She looked down at her notecard: ‘Hi.’

After a pause, the audience realized it was being invited to exchange greetings.  ‘Hi!’

She continued, ‘My name is June Langley and my role model is Hermione.  Most of all, Hermione is a genius.  One day, I want to be a genius.  Hermione also helps Harry beat Voldemort again and again and again.  I want to defeat evil, too!’  June bowed, and the crowd cheered.  An ‘I love you sweetie!’ and, ‘You are a genius, babe!’ were made out from the clamor.  Surely it was June’s parents.

Another girl stepped on stage.  Her name was Anne Carney.  She had no index card.  Her role model was Serena Williams.  Serena, she informed the crowd, always wins and hates to lose.  Anne does, too, she tells the full house.  When she grows up she wants to be successful, like Serena!  The sound level meter for June’s speech reached a higher altitude.

Now Caleb hurried up the steps.  He took a piece of crumbled paper out of his pocket and unwrinkled it.  This had BOY written all over it.  Not once did he lift his eyes.  ‘My name is Caleb Monroe and my role models are my mom and dad.  Mom wakes up everyday at 5:00 and packs my lunch.  She fills the fridge with my favorite snacks.  Dad fought in court for my autistic brother Fred to go to a good school.  He drops me at basketball practice after school and always wants to play.  They are exhausted from work and then come home and cook.  If there is no food, they go shopping.  And tomorrow they’ll do it all again. They do not get paid for this job, and never ask for anyone to clap for their demanding work.  Being a parent is so heroic.  There’s no applause for a hero.’

The audience has no idea how to respond.

 

word by Jacob Goldberg

“After I learned that “La Practique Du Calcul” roughly translated to “basic calculus,” I wanted to write about how difficult calculus was for me but easy for others.  With that in mind, I hoped to sketch a story about something that I feel is at once important, simple, and uniquely hard: showing appreciation and love for those that really matter to us.”

colour by Julien Coquentin

The View From Gym

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Content warning: suicide

There is a big fire in the sky. A plane hit a building across the river and I am looking out at it through the window next to my school’s gym. I press my forehead against it. Black things fall out of the building.  

I am five.

I don’t hear the fire alarm. Maybe it went off outside. Maybe that’s why firemen put out fires. They told me in school I should stop drop and roll if I was on fire. My gym teacher says a word my brother says when he loses Tetris. I say “Fuck” too. Hey Mr. Gym Teacher are we losing? The people down there on the street look confused. Maybe they want hugs. Hi there do you want hugs? If I hug you maybe the fire in the sky will go out. 

I’ve never been on a plane that flied that bad. This building has a lot of black things in it. “Fuck.” I wonder if the building I’m in now has a lot of black things too and whether they would fall out if a plane hit. My classmate says that the black things look like people. I trust her because she is wearing glasses. How can you tell? Because there are those two people right there you see and they are holding hands falling together turning together in the sky.  

I am scared of heights. I wonder if these falling things are scared too. Hey people are you scared? Hey do you think that they are falling together because they are in love? Hey people are you in love? I want to catch the falling things. I am good at catching things with my baseball glove. The falling things might be scared of heights too.  

My friend’s mom is going to take us home. I don’t know how far we are from home because I don’t know how to tell how far you are from something. I take my Doritos out of my backpack and give some to my sister. Besides I don’t think that they make rulers that long. Like from my house to my school.  Paper is just floating around. I wonder whether someone lost their paper.  Dad would be mad if he lost his. Papers. Maybe we should give them back to whoever lost them.

I like Doritos.  

Sometime after, I learned that the black things were people and that they jumped out of the buildings. Maybe they were afraid of the flames because maybe they were too hot. Fire does seem really hot and it probably hurts to be in fire. But I don’t want to jump out of a building because I’m scared of heights. Also what would happen if I hit the ground. I think about whether the jumpers had to cook dinner later that night for their families’ and who might cook dinner now that they weren’t around. I am scared about who might cook dinner for me if my parents weren’t around anymore either.

word by Jacob Goldberg

colour by Fiona Tang

From the author: “White sheets of paper have the unique quality of all opaque things: they disguise what is behind them.  Only in tearing the paper do we meet this surprise.  This notion of the unknown, coupled with the fierceness of the artist’s rendering of the tiger, largely contributed to the inspiration for the above story.  September 11th, 2001 was just that: initially, an azure sky; then, one stained with smoke and black things.

It is shaking events like 9/11 that should exhort us to become more compassionate; to take refuge in exploring the deep, soulful questions that many find difficult to broach.  In so doing, we can learn the enduring power of relationships and that fate might be tempered by unrelenting love.  Even more vital would be our newfound cognizance of time, and the fact that we simply cannot know how long we have.  To find solace in living with that uncertainty, but to have also developed an absolute commitment to living: that will be our catharsis.”

Personal Response for Ms. Mitchell for Art Class by Julia Harris

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#14- Blue, red, blue. Sometimes what’s important is just what’s right in front of your face.

#37- This sculpture was huge on the bottom but small on the top and it made me think of my dad’s girlfriend, Shelley. That’s what I have to call her, Shelley, like we’re friends or something.

#42- Vaginas. Art is full of vaginas.

#71- Egg all over a black wall, yolk and white and shell and everything. Like someone just couldn’t stand just looking at nothing anymore.

#89- Supermarket aisles. I got lost in a supermarket once. I didn’t know I was lost until someone found me.

#91- It looks like a building we used to see all the time that was covered in shapes and colours. My mom would say, “It’s too much like a Kandinsky,” and my dad would say, “You never like anything.” I thought it looked like an elephant, but I was just a little kid. My sister told me it was a picture of the most beautiful music in the world. She always saw things I didn’t.

#101- Rain.

#104- Ballerinas.

#111- The inside of a really big room.

#112- Two triangles fighting, one is upside down. This one was very red.

#118- This one looks like a lake. I remember thinking lots of pictures were of the ocean. When I was a kid, we used to take trips to the beach, but I found out a little while ago that we were swimming in a lake, not an ocean, so now I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen the ocean in art at all.

#154- Myself. But the art was just a big broken mirror. I could also see the other people looking at it.

word by Leah Mol

colour by Carlos Garci 

From the author: “One of the things that intrigues me most about art is how it can invoke such specific and personal memories, feelings, and ideas for so many different people. I also find it interesting that what a person sees in a piece of art often says much more about that person than the art itself. 

When I first looked at the art that goes along with these words, I was excited by the number of possibilities. I see certain specific things in the piece, but you will see something else entirely. In these words, I’ve tried to show the reader a character through what she sees in various art pieces. What she sees is part of who she is, where she’s been, and what she will become.”