Photos by Hannah Mougel
By Maddy Moloney
I didn’t believe it either, with my face pressed against the car window as I rode shotgun past the Granada. The sign read “Extreme Midget Wrestling” Thursday, Sept. 11. I didn’t realize midgets could be extreme… or that they wrestled. Or that you are allowed to call them midgets. To the best of knowledge, I thought the term “midget” was derogatory, but I suppose “Extreme Little People Wrestling” doesn’t have quite the same effect.
My curiosity got the best of me, and I dragged along my partner in crime, Erica, to witness the spectacle.
We arrived at 7:15 p.m. to a short line in front of the Granada and paid a hefty $14 for general admission because the $20 ringside tickets were sold out. We wandered in and found a spot close to the stage, directly in front of the pint-sized wrestling ring.
The crowd seemed to hold a wide variety of patrons made up of herds of drunk fratstars all dressed in U.S.A. apparel, some drunk unimpressed hipsters and a couple sets of dads with their kids – because what better way to bond?
Eventually, 8 p.m. rolled around. This was the time the show was supposed to start, but the midget divas kept us all waiting until about 8:30. Naturally.
When the wrestlers finally did come out on stage, the crowd went wild. I can’t put my finger on it, but something about midgets wrestling really gets a drunk crowd going.
The first fight was between Mike Hawk, a feisty little guy with a mohawk, and The Rookie, who had hair down past his shoulders, with the referee being called the Little Pecker Head who donned a Nacho Libre-style mask.
Once the fight started, all the doubts I had vanished. The wrestlers were good – and cheesy. You could clearly tell the moves were choreographed, but between that and the metal music, it only helped to hype up the crowd.
The first thing you should know is that midgets fight dirty. They weren’t even ten minutes in before Mike Hawk started bringing out weapons. There were metal chains, shopping carts and a small step latter that the wrestlers used to help beat the shit out of each other.
The second thing you should know is that midget wrestlers love to talk about their penises. There were plenty of obscene hand gestures, and at one point, the crowd started chanting “Little Penis.”
The next round starred Fabio, who looked like a cross between Fabio and Tim Riggins, and the Little Pecker Head. The fight was close, but Fabio ended up coming out on top.
The final round involved a two-versus-one match, with the winners of the past two rounds fighting the previous champ, Canada. To say the fight was intense would be an understatement. About halfway through, all the other previous wrestlers joined the stage to start wailing on one another.
After about half an hour of fighting, one by one the wrestlers bowed out until The Rookie defeated Canada to win the title belt.
After the round, the wrestlers came out on stage to thank everyone for coming and then promptly brought the night full circle by closing the show yelling, “Now let’s get drunk!”
Edited and photographed by Hannah Swank
By Evan Shinn
If you’re a male who considers himself down with the fashunz, buying your first pair of raw denim jeans was probably baptismal to everything you know about #menswear today. Whether purchased from a brand like A.P.C., Nudie or Baldwin, you remember how sacred that moment was when you coughed over a couple hundred dollars for a single pair of jawns. But more importantly, you remember jonesing for the day you’d finally wash them.
Because raw denim culture insists you refer to denim’s lifespan in terms of “months, washes and soaks,” dudes go months and years without washing their jeans in order to individualize the denim’s fades, tears and rips. So, wash day is a big fucking deal, as it commemorates the time and effort spent “going hard” in a single pair of jeans.
If the term isn’t cringe-worthy enough, explaining the phenomenon is. Most dudes won’t even mention it as to avoid conversations that end with, “But won’t they, like, start to smell?” However, not washing jeans is just a response to the way raw denim is produced.
During the color treatment stage of raw denim’s manufacturing process, the indigo dye in which the denim is dipped isn’t 100 percent absorbed by the fabric. Because of this, the denim loses a bit of its color and rigidness with every wash thereafter. So, in order to sharpen and personalize their denim’s fades, dudes go six months to a year without washing their jeans, performing any and every activity that will emphasize the denim’s natural folds.
I remember when I first copped some raw denim. I was so hype about the whole not washing shtick that after a night of heavy boozing and throwing up all over myself, I tossed my jeans into the freezer and scraped off the frozen chunks the next morning. Everything worked out OK, aside from the fact that my jeans were walking biohazards; the denim wasn’t ruined, but I probably should have just washed them the next day.
Some denim makers refute a lot of what raw denim culture preaches, like Self-Edge founder Kiya Babzani and 3sixteen founder Andrew Chen do in a video for the Crosby Press, “Denim Mythbusters.” They explain why not washing your jeans and other methods of cleaning, such as freezing and ocean-soaking, are “moronic,” and recommend washing jeans every two months, at the least.
Unlike the actual show “Mythbusters,” Babzani and Chen don’t disprove techniques with experiments and results; you kind of just have to take their word for it. In all honesty, I take their advice with a grain of salt, as I’ve seen some successfully faded jeans using the methods denim heads have created for themselves, but I’m very behind the line of thinking, “If your jeans start to smell, wash them.” Airing out, freezing and spraying denim with Febreeze will only go so far.
I understand the fear of putting $250 jeans into a washing machine. However, there are other ways of making sure your jeans get cleaned on which I think both denim heads and the “Denim Mythbuster” dudes could agree.
Like many Kansas City-natives, I copped a pair of Baldweezys, and fortunately for you, a wash was due. As much as I’d like to have washed them in the Chi-O fountain in SOTH-like fashion to mock ocean-soaking denim nerds, it wouldn’t have been environmentally safe or effective. Instead, I washed them my usual way and provided a guide for all you noobs.
Video by Andrew Shepherd with music by Emilio Quezada
Edited by Hannah Swank
By Emma McElhaney
It’s a common trope — the clueless guy who doesn’t take any of the hints an interested girl is sending him, even when they’re in capital neon letters. Before she made it clear she was into him, Emily Pinkston struggled to snag her current boyfriend’s attention.
“I sat behind him in class, and after I decided I was interested in him, I tried multiple times to walk with him after class,” said Pinkston, a University of Kansas senior.
He would either leave the room immediately, giving her no chance to show interest, or he would be engrossed in a conversation with someone else and she “would have looked dumb waiting for him,” she said.
“I would also try to talk to him before class about homework or other stuff, but it rarely extended beyond homework chat,” Pinkston said. “Finally, one day he turned to me and started talking to me after class to ask about my plans.”
For many guys, reading into a situation is risky — what if she’s just being friendly? But missing an opportunity could be equally as disappointing.
Doug Lawson*, a KU sophomore, said body language, such as a girl touching your shoulder or hands or giving you playful pushes, are good indicators of interest.
“If she feels comfortable enough with you to touch you, that’s a pretty good sign,” Lawson said. “If she hangs around — spends a longer amount of time with you specifically — or goes out of her way to continue a conversation with you, then she’s probably into you.”
It may be tempting to overanalyze all the signs, like body language or text messages, searching for a clear and obvious green light. However, Daniel Packard, professional love coach and touring speaker, said this isn’t a useful strategy.
“Nobody’s smart enough to think their way to love,” Packard said. “It’s too complicated; people are crazy.”
Sometimes life is uncomfortable, Packard said. You may be waiting around forever for an explicit, “Yes, I’m interested.”
“Things take courage, and people try to avoid courage, to try to skip that step and think their way through,” Packard said. “Even if you know what to say or not to say, if you walk up to her with the approach of, ‘I have to get this right,’ you’ve already lost the battle.”
Packard suggests focusing less on the outcome. Don’t be so caught up in whether they give you a yes or a no.
“Make your measurement of success be how you showed up. Were you courageous? Did you take a risk? Did you own what you want? These things make you proud of you. Then, no matter what they say, you walk away from the interaction feeling better about yourself,” Packard said.
Putting yourself out there can be scary, but through trial and error, Lawson said, you eventually figure it out. And sometimes it just takes courage.
“If you’re interested, ask her out,” Packard said. “People say no for a million reasons and none of them have anything to do with your worth. Just go for it.”
Edited by Hannah Swank
By Hayley Jozwiak
Ombre was one of the most popular trends of 2013, but it’s not finished yet. It isn’t just for your hair anymore, either.
It’s a simple gradation of color, making one end darker than the other. It can be having dark brunette roots that gradually change to light blonde tips or nails painted a light pink ending in a deep red at the tip.
The ombre look became popular for hair because it’s very low maintenance. Elena Diaz, a hair stylist at Lou & Co Hair Studio in Lawrence,says its roots lie, well, in roots. “Ombre actually started when people got lazy and let their roots grow out without touching them up,” Diaz says. “They thought, ‘Hey, this actually doesn’t look too bad.’”
Ombre hair is making a comeback, but in a subtler way according to Leslie Stauffer, a hair stylist at Lawrence salon La Bella Vita Hair Studio. “Beauty blogs are saying that ombre is on its way ‘out’ and that sombre is coming in. Sombre is just a more subtle version of ombre,” Stauffer says.
Hannah Carey, a senior at the University of Kansas who recently dyed her brown hair with blonde tips, describes ombre as the “modern day tie-dye.” Her hair is light brown that gradually changes so that her tips are a darker blonde color. Her sombre look is so subtle, she says few people have noticed the difference.
Carey is excited about her refreshing look for summer and thought it was the perfect way to make a change to her hair without going overboard.“In a way, it’s non-committal,” Carey says. “If I decide I’m tired of it, I just cut my ends off. No harm done.”
Apart from her hair, Carey has painted her nails ombre a few times as well. She said it was easy to do because she already had a few shades of the same color.
Carey’s favorite part of the ombre trend is the opportunity to personalize it. “[Ombre] gives you a chance to add your own touch to it,” Carey says. “That’s what I love about it. It’s unique and individual, but still trendy.”
Or not, depending on whom you ask. Maddie Schultz, a KU junior, is tired of the trend because it’s overused. “I never understood the ombre hair trend, but at least it’s better than splashlights. Hopefully those never catch on,” Schultz says of the hairstyle that features a splash of color stretching from ear to ear to create a halo effect.
Another popular version of ombre has emerged through makeup. Stauffer says ombre has always been a big trend in makeup; it’s just never been called ombre before. Smoky eye makeup is a perfect example of this. It’s just a transition from a darker color to a lighter color found at the brow bone, Stauffer says.
Between the usual requests for smoky eyes, Stauffer has had a few clients ask for ombre lips. An ombre lip is a lighter shade toward the inner lip moving to a darker shade toward the outline of the lips.
Stauffer suggests to not overdo the ombre look: “If you’re going to do a smoky eye, tone down the lips and have them be a soft pink that is close to your natural lip color. If you’re going to do an ombre lip, then stick with a classic eye.”
Whether you try out the new sombre look, a smoky eye or even an ombre lip, it looks like this trend is sticking around, whether you’re into it or not.
Edited by Hannah Swank
By Emma McElhaney
Becca Campbell says she’s been the victim of the fade on more than one occasion.
“I’ve mostly had it happen when things were going more quickly than they were ready for. I think that’s kind of the trigger, and it’s just time for them to go,” she says.
It can happen after the first date. It can happen after you’ve taken the next physical step. It can happen before you even meet.
The fade – that kiss of death in any budding relationship – is what goes down when one person isn’t interested in another and slowly backs out without being direct about his or her feelings or intentions.
“It’s a very sly and inconsiderate way of tapping out of a potential, or real, relationship,” says Campbell, a recent University of Kansas graduate.
There’s a speed and simplicity to fading, says Suzanna Mathews, a dating coach and matchmaker in Wichita. Ending something via text is much easier than sitting down and having a heavy conversation.
“I find that a lot of people in their 20s are fairly fluid about dating. They hang out, they text, they maybe hook up, but they aren’t necessarily aiming towards a relationship,” Mathews says. “They don’t seem to need to pin down what it is. And that also kind of keeps it freer and more loose for when it’s time to drift away or do the fade.”
Dragging out something that’s going nowhere is a waste of time for both parties, Campbell says. If she’s not feeling it, she just tells the guy. “No one is really used to that kind of honesty, but I’ve wasted weeks and months on dudes who, if they had just said, ‘Hey, I’m not feeling it,’ we both could have walked away and saved face.”
People fade for a variety of reasons, including, obviously, just not being interested. Campbell suggests people may fade when things progress too quickly. Mathews says perhaps some people think the timing is off but would consider revisiting a relationship further down the road.
If you’ve been dating for months or years, Mathews says the fade isn’t an acceptable way to end a more serious relationship. You owe someone an explicit, clean break. “If you’ve only gone out a couple times or you’ve only made out at some parties, you don’t really owe them that same sense of completion.”
Mathews and Campbell agree that it’s not too hard to determine the difference between getting faded on and just playing hard-to-get.
“If someone’s really into me, they’re going to text me back within an hour,” Mathews says. “Anything over 24 hours’ lag time on responding to a text, you pretty much know they’re just not that into me.”
KU junior Will Putzier says he’s pulled a fade before.
“Initially I thought it had the potential to go somewhere, and then I changed my mind,” Putzier says. “I feel bad, because it had happened to me where someone just straight up told me ‘no’ and I thought that was a bad way to do it. I thought that being nice and not ever doing anything was better, which it probably wasn’t.”
Someone could flake out on you once for any reason, Campbell says. “I’ve learned that any person – girl or guy – when they want something, they will get it. So if they’re doing anything to keep it from happening, then they just don’t want it.”
Most people eventually realize they’re being faded on. They may want to avoid conflict and not ever bring it up.
“I think it became obvious pretty quickly, but it still took a couple of awkward conversations,” Putzier says. “It’s kind of like finding the balance between crushing them and being nice.”
Fading takes a lot of the pressure off the person who isn’t interested, but leaves the jilted party hanging. Campbell says that fading is too easy of an out, and she wishes people would just be more direct about where a relationship is heading.
“I don’t want people to just be able to walk away without addressing it. So I always bring it up, and I would recommend that to other people too, just for the sake of your sanity.”
Edited by Hannah Swank
Photo illustration by Emma McElhaney
By Erin Orrick
Nine out of the 10 people I talked with as I stood outside Wescoe Beach admitted to it. Four of those 10 people did so sheepishly while the other five practically bragged about it.
I was skeptical of Jeff, a University of Kansas sophomore and the lone individual who didn’t cop to feverishly binge-watching a television show on at least one occasion. And I continued to hold on to my skepticism even when he told me it was because he didn’t own a TV.
Like the others, I asked him if he watches Netflix. “Well, yeah. Who doesn’t?” he said.
I joked that he was a rare breed, someone who watches Netflix, but has yet to binge-watch anything. “I’m sure it’ll happen someday,” he said. “It just hasn’t yet.”
Jeff is an unusual specimen, indeed. According to a 2013 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, a world-leading market research firm, 62 percent of nearly 2,500 online TV streamers interviewed binge-watch on a regular basis.
The word “binge-watch” isn’t new. According to oxforddictionaries.com, the term has been around in circles of television fans since the 1990s, but did not become mainstream until 2013. Coincidentally, this was the same year both of Netflix’s original series, “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” debuted.
The same Harris Interactive survey also revealed that 73 percent of those viewers polled defined binge-watching as consuming two to six episodes of a television show in one sitting, or roughly two to six hours of straight viewing.
This begs the question: Why do we spend countless unproductive hours on a couch staring intently at a TV show?
“I think what makes it so appealing is that people love to set their own timetables,” said Mandy Treccia, a writer for TV Source magazine and Examiner.com. “Everyone is busy, so instead of making sure that you’re on the couch in front of the TV at an exact time, you can just boot up your computer and pick a time and show that fits your schedule. I think people love having that extra sense of control.”
In response to Harris Interactive’s survey, Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, said Netflix’s viewing data reveals that the majority of viewers prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace, a concept that Netflix has pioneered. Differing from Hulu or Amazon Prime, who also stream original series, Netflix’s own original programming is created for multi-episodic viewing, providing content with new norms of viewer control for the first time.
Whether it’s control or an intense lack of patience, Netflix’s new model of releasing episodes of original programming like, “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” all on one day has turned binge-watching into a national fad. It’s not necessarily an attractive one on some occasions, but a fad nonetheless.
“Oh, it gets ugly really quickly,” said Whitney, a KU junior, who was too embarrassed to reveal her last name. “I’m usually in a sweatshirt, yoga pants and my hair is a mess. It’s also really hard to binge-watch without consuming large amounts of food. I mean, you’re sitting in front of your TV, engaged, and at some point between hours four and five of non-stop watching, you don’t realize you’ve plowed through two bags of chips and a two-liter of pop already. It’s so addicting.”
Though Netflix’s model appeals to many of its nearly 34 million U.S. subscribers, the all-in-one release format has a few notable downsides.
For the binge-watcher extraordinaire, a typical network or cable 13-episode season lasts three and a half months. Netflix allows such a fan to cram 13 episodes all into one day, two at the most. Speaking from personal experience, this makes the next new season seem like an eternity away.
As a not-so-quick consumer, and in an age of rapid technology, you have to be wary of spoilers and essentially disconnect yourself from the Internet while you watch.
“I don’t think anyone has gotten it quite right yet,” Treccia said. “Netflix releasing 13 episodes of ‘House of Cards’ in one sitting is great, but either you sit and watch them right away or you try to avoid the Internet to make sure that you don’t get spoiled. The network models of 22 episodes are nice because you get more episodes than Netflix or cable, but because they stretch seasons from fall to spring, there are always a lot of breaks.”
Whichever model proves to cater to your personal preference, Netflix has re-invented the way TV shows are watched.
“I love Netflix,” Nate, a KU senior, said. “I love being able to decide what I watch, when I watch it and how much of it I watch. I binge-watch way more than I probably should, and I’m pretty sure it has adversely affected my grades at some point. Some shows just pull you in, and you can’t stop. It’s an addiction.”
I thanked Nate for his comments. He smiled, turned to walk away and then stopped. He looked over his shoulder and jokingly called back at me, “Do they have rehab for Netflix addicts?”
Edited by Hannah Swank
By Kathleen Smith
They are long, pointy and look more like a weapon of mass destruction than a fashion accessory – something more suitable for Catwoman than every woman. Yet despite the possible risk to humanity, they have become the newest trend in fashion.
When you turn the pages of InStyle magazine, you will spot them adorning the runway models during Fashion Week. They have many names from stiletto to almond to pointed to claw, but regardless, these nails have pierced the hearts of fashionistas everywhere and are quickly becoming a fashion staple.
Pointed nails are a trend many try through do-it-yourself projects. Gillian Walsh at Sally Beauty Supply in Shawnee, Kan., says the girls wearing them are about 22 to 30 years old and turn to Pinterest and how-to videos for pointed nail ideas. They then come to Sally’s to buy the acrylic nails, polish and clippers to make the sharp look.
Most of the girls are edgy or into fashion and want to wear a daring manicure. Despite having a nose bridge piercing, a nose ring and a large tattoo on her forearm, Walsh said she would never wear the look.
“I think they are to hard to work in. I might be edgy, but I also have a 3 year old at home,” Walsh said. “My friend Wendy wears them but she models and she’s more into fashion. She doesn’t have to get her hands dirty like me.”
You don’t have to do the nails yourself, since salons in Lawrence can achieve the pointed look for you. Tonya Wynn, a nail technician at Nail Citi, says you can get the look starting at $35. Its price is determined by how long your nails are and what polishes or appliques you may want.
Many customers go to nail salons but really don’t know the difference in the nail styles, so Tracy Meisenheimer, owner of Nails by Tracy and CND certified master nail tech, says she requests that her clients send pictures of what they want before appointments. She has been doing nails for more than 20 years and was the first artist in Kansas to do Mink, a heat-activated type of applique that has 100-plus design possibilities. She was Mink trained by Naja Rickett, the nail artist who stars on the WeTV show L.A. Hair.
Meisenheimer offers stiletto nails that are very long and narrow with a sharp point, oval almond-shaped nails that have a slight point and a kitten nail that is short, claw-like and really pointed. Most of her clients prefer the almond shape, though she often wears her nails in the long stiletto style so she can showcase the look. The stiletto costs $75 and it takes two hours to do. She must fully sculpt the nails on a nail form, place the metallic fringe on the natural nail and shape it into a point, and then add acrylic. The almond shape costs $40 for a normal length and $60 for a long length. It is made from nail tips and then shaped before acrylic.
“This type of nail can be for everyone,” Meisenheimer said. “Most of my clients wear the shorter almond or kitten nail style. You just have to figure out what length you are comfortable in and be a little daring.”
Edited by Hannah Swank
Photo by David Sims for Vogue magazine
By Duncan McHenry
As he settled into a wrinkled leather couch, KU graduate Kyle Gardner cracked the tab of a Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat. The dark, milky-sweet stout beer from Tallgrass Brewing Co. in Manhattan is Gardner’s favorite brew — and it only comes in a can.
“I actually like both [canned and bottled beer], but I can tell cans are definitely becoming more prevalent,” Gardner said. “Tallgrass beers actually only come in cans, and I’ve seen New Belgium and beers like that in a can, so I’m sure it will keep growing.”
For Gardner, canned beer is a gameday tradition no matter the season. When he’s in the mood for something less-than-top-shelf he’ll buy a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys to share with friends during basketball games. And during football season, he tailgates with canned beers to avoid broken glass.
“You’re not hauling around a load of bottles. I’d much rather crumple up a can,” he says.
Gardner is not alone in his preference for drinking the planetary favorite liquid from a can. According to a 2012 Brewer’s Almanac Report, cans held 53.2 percent of the beer market share, and bottles held just 36.5 percent.
The rising popularity of canned beer has paralleled the growth of the craft beer industry. Many popular microbreweries such as Blue Moon, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium are producing canned beer, and a few, like Tallgrass, are getting rid of bottles completely.
Many glass fans object to a metallic taste when they drink canned beer, which Cork & Barrel General Manager Brendan Dowdle says is all in their heads.
“Generally, I don’t get that metal taste some people are tasting. Maybe they’re just tasting the outside of the can,” he said.
With beer being such a light-sensitive drink, cans are actually a more effective storage vessel than bottles. A recent New Jersey Business Journal article, “Getting Canned: Why Beer Tastes Better, Sells Better in Cans,” said cans are more airtight than bottles and offer full protection against UV light. This is crucial to flavor because hops — the flowers that give beer its bitterness — can spoil easily with too much light.
With just five Ripple Glass recycling locations in the Lawrence area, ease of disposal is another factor in Gardner’s — and likely the nation’s — affinity for aluminum. Right now, the jury is mostly out on whether glass or aluminum is more eco-friendly.
In a 2011 article from Oregon Public Broadcasting, proponents of cans argue that aluminum is lighter and has a naturally lower carbon footprint from a packaging standpoint, whereas glass supporters say mining silica to produce glass is much less energy-intensive than bauxite used to make aluminum. To leave the smallest carbon footprint possible, the article concludes, the best option is a mug of beer from a local bar tap.
After Gardner and his friends had drained his six-pack of Buffalo Sweat cans, they threw the crushed empties in a grocery sack. But at least there’d be no urgent need for a trip to the recycling center, he said.
“It’s easier to dispose of and transport cans, I hate the clanking of bottles when I throw them into the glass recycling. It’s very jarring — especially when you’re hungover.”
Edited by Hannah Swank
Photo by Duncan McHenry
By Erin Orrick
Matt Easton, a senior at the University of Kansas, kick-started his career as a writer, rapper and producer in 2010. He released his first self-produced mixtape, “Intro into Public Speaking,” as a freshman and has become a common face around the Lawrence music scene. In December 2013, Easton released his sixth mixtape, “Grey Area.” I chatted with Matt, who described his musical adventure and what graduating and leaving KU means for him and his future.
You bring a lot of energy and showmanship to your concerts. Any crazy fan encounters during your sets?
ME: Honestly, the craziest fan encounters come from online, through my social media sites. On Facebook, I sometimes have kids from all over the world sending me inbox messages, saying how they are fans of my music. To me, that is a crazy experience: seeing firsthand how far my music is reaching.
Every artist seems to have that one moment on stage they remember for the rest of their life. Have you had that moment?
ME: Yes, during one of my first out-of-state shows, at a fraternity house at the University of Miami. It was one of the first times playing my song “Live Life” in front of a new crowd, and all 300 kids in the fraternity basement knew all the lyrics and were singing them out loud. Then, towards the end of the song the speaker system cut out, but the kids continued to sing, “That’s the way we live life.” I remember standing on that stage with the microphone down at my side, completely in awe. It was the first time I had witnessed kids who were familiar with something I had created.
You actually don’t read music, but play by ear. Has this ever been a hindrance for you?
ME: When I work with trained musicians like Wes Powell, the guitar player I work with, sometimes it can be difficult for me to communicate. I have been able to learn which notes are which, but I have no education in music theory. Playing piano by ear is something I think I learned from my father, but I didn’t really take interest until my freshman year at KU. I started messing around with producing in the dorms, and began learning covers of songs using YouTube. It came very easy for me, to the degree that it has convinced me it was something I was meant to be doing.
If you could collaborate with three artists, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
ME: Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Bill Withers. These are three of my favorite musicians of all time. Jimi Hendrix morphed sounds of blues into a new sound of rock, Miles Davis put swagger into jazz and Bill Withers put soul into his music that I feel every time I listen to one of his songs. I mainly listen to music from before the 80s. I really feel the passion that went into the song writing and production in music from the 30s through the 70s. I think this had a lot to do with the social movements going on in America at the time. There was so much passion and emotion going into these songs, something that I think lacks a little in what is considered mainstream today.
What are your plans after graduation?
ME: I plan on making the transition from Lawrence to Chicago. I like the idea of building on the network we have established in the area. The first step was attempting to establish a solid network in Lawrence, and the next step is to build on our Chicago network. Because of the way the industry has been evolving with technology, shifting most of the focus to social media, I think we will still be able to reach the markets we want to reach. I honestly think a strong social media game can allow someone to make it in the music industry, without having to move to LA or NYC.
May 2 will be your last concert in Lawrence before you graduate and head off into your future. Where is your head at right now?
ME: I cannot wait for the show. It will be my first time headlining at the Granada, and I also get to share the stage with some good friends of mine who are talented Lawrence artists as well. The Granada has played such a huge role in shaping me as a performing artist, and I am very thankful to have received the opportunities I have had. Lawrence has been such an influential environment for me beginning my career as a musician. KU is a family I plan on staying a part of for the rest of my life, and I hope to become successful enough to be able to give back to this incredible university. Rock chalk.
Matt Easton’s free farewell concert is Friday, May 2 at the Granada
9:00 p.m. Doors open at 8:00 p.m.
Headlining with Chase Compton and Brian Lockwood
The concert is free, but you need a ticket to get in. Pick them up at Minsky’s on Mass or DM @theofficialCME on Twitter.
Edited by Hannah Swank
Photo by John Reynolds and Tristan Gramling
By Kathleen Smith
I am an African American woman and the writer of this story. The story was written to open eyes to the difficulties which are still present for African American women joining the corporate workforce. I hoped there would not be bias and discrimination in the workplace, but after much research found that it still exists by some employers. The story is not to influence African American women to change their style or cultural attributes. Every woman, of every color, should embrace their own individuality, style and uniqueness. This is the power of our femininity. We must represent.
My example of Lupita Nyong’o shows this power. She is currently gracing the cover of People Magazine as its Most Beautiful Person for 2014. She has a short fro and is very successful, but she is in the entertainment industry. It is often more difficult for African American men and women with Afrocentric hair to find jobs. It depends on the occupation. This was showcased by the man who was denied employment by Sprint for an IT position. He was eventually hired after cutting his dreads.
Please take this article as food for thought as you enter the workforce yourself. Encourage others to look past people’s outward appearance and features such as hair, piercings or tattoos. We should instead look at each applicant’s knowledge, experience and competency.
By Kathleen Smith
A sly smile appears across Claudijah Lever’s face as she shifts forward in her chair, as if she’s about to tell a secret. She radiates confidence as she talks about her crowning glory: her African American natural hair.
Until the early 1900s, and the invention and patent of the first hot comb for straightening by Annie Turnbo, African American women could not straighten their curly locks. Today, women wear their hair relaxed or straightened while others prefer a more Afrocentric look, such as braids, cornrows, dreadlocks or afros. Lupita Nyong’o recently accepted the best supporting actress Oscar while wearing her hair in a short, natural fro accessorized with a headband. Vogue Daily then crowned her best dressed from head to toe. Each hairstyle a black woman wears represents the image she wants to portray, but can that style ultimately cost her a job in the workforce?
It could, says the President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, Gwendolyn Grant. Companies have an established culture, and if your style doesn’t fit with that culture, then a company may not want to hire you. Young applicants and graduates are encouraged to find out what is acceptable in their potential industry and to present themselves in that way. And when in doubt, go toward conservative.
Company cultures vary widely. What is acceptable to a company like Hallmark may not be acceptable to Commerce Bank. Grant suggests basic hairstyles for all African American women, such as straightened hair, weaves, extensions or even wearing a wig. Styles like cornrows will take the focus off you, she says. Despite antidiscrimination laws, interviewers have their own biases.
“While the country and society may be progressing in areas of race and sexual preferences, the corporate sector is not,” Grant said. “The important thing is that a young person of color must assimilate into the culture of that company.”
Lever agrees. The University of Kansas junior said while growing up in a black and Hispanic neighborhood on the north side of Milwaukee, she learned the importance of hair from an early age. She reminisces about how she got her first kiddie perm at age 8 so she would fit in more with the Latino girls in her class. Now she wears her hair natural, but says she will straighten it or wear it up for job interviews because she feels it will affect her chance of getting a job as a nurse after graduation.
“A lot of companies do not embrace Afrocentric styles,” Lever said. “I always get a lot of people of other races asking me about my hair. I don’t want it to be a factor of whether I get a job or not.”
Black men are not off the hook with their hair either, says Nichole Hines, the owner of Niki’s Niche salon in Leawood, Kan. The college-educated son of one of Hines’ clients could not get a job because he wore dreadlocks. He finally cut off his dreads and Sprint immediately hired him. He works in the IT industry and was not in front of the public, but still couldn’t get hired until he cut off his dreads. People think dreads are dirty because you have to go months without washing your hair to get it to lock together.
“Dreads are virtually an employment blocker,” Hines said. “One can try pulling them back and creating a conservative look for interviews, but this hairstyle choice is really not accepted by most businesses.”
Hines says that 90 percent of her clients are professional, white collar, African American women who mostly wear their hair naturally but get it straightened. Her clients abandon the chemicals for a plethora of reasons, mostly safety and health. She believes natural textured styles can be acceptable in the workforce but they must be tame. Her clients prefer twist outs and braid outs that are formed when the hair is wet and then dried. This allows the hair to form waves and ringlet curls. If a black woman just washes her hair and lets it dry naturally, she’ll wind up with a fro and that’s a no-no in conservative industries.
“I think potential employees need to research every company they are interviewing with to learn the acceptable culture. If it is a company with few minorities, this is not the time to make a statement with a fro,” Hines said. “It’s not selling out, it is survival.”
Edited and photographed by Hannah Swank
Model: Clarisa Warfield
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