by Aaron Samuels | photos by Julianne Popa
After the Funeral
by Aaron Samuels | photos by Julianne Popa
by Jené Gutierrez
As I observe the interactions and documented mundanity of my family’s surviving home videos, I search for signs that this life I see, this grainy and familial life, is mine. Representing my childhood from around two to five years of age, these videos document the brief and vaguely recalled time in my life when my parents were still married and we all – mother, father, sister, brother – lived together. Although my parents were unhappily married, these videos don’t indicate that – there are moments of tenderness between them that, if you know them separately like I do, are nearly unfathomable. I know this perceived restoration of wholeness is a myth, but maybe I regard it this way because I almost can’t believe that this was my life, that for a few years I lived with this family, and that everything appears so astonishingly normal.
by Susan Cohen | illustration by Sarah Schmidt
I can’t remember the name of the first boy I ever had a crush on, but I do remember the trauma of witnessing him projectile vomit all over our kindergarten homework assignments. After that, I didn’t like him anymore. I was much more superficial back then.
by Patrick Pryor | illustration by Erin Baird
by William Fatzinger Jr.
Picture the famous wrestling high school. Great glutted trophy cabinet. Tidy gradient of photographed wrestling teams gone by. Photos degrade, go black and white, get ancient, get ugly.
by Emily May | image by Shay Spaniola
My next-door neighbor, over for dinner with his wife at my parents’ house a week before I leave for the other side of the world: “Have you thought about certain things? It’s 120 degrees every day. You might want to cut your hair before leaving.”
produced by Feliks Garcia and Nick Carpenter | sound design by Soundnoodle
Remember those days you just didn’t want to go to school? How did you get out of it? What did you do? In this first episode of The Sound, we share three stories about cutting, told with wisdom found only in hindsight.
Featuring stories by Feliks Garcia, Liz Moskowitz, Nick and Kevin Carpenter.
by Phill Pappas | illustration by Chad Higgenbotham
During the summer of 2004, I had an eighty-nine day contract with Ford Motor Corp. My commute from Ann Arbor to The Rouge in Dearborn, Michigan began at 5:30 am. The effects of whatever I had been drinking and smoking the night before lingered as lightly as the Russian occupation of Berlin. I would speed down I-94 to the Schaffer road exit in my red, two-door Ford Escort off of two hours of sleep. My only thoughts during the drive were to stay awake and, at all costs, get to my station on the line by 6:00 am.
by Feliks Garcia
You may have heard that Austin is booming. The city ranks just fifth in the United States for number of tech start-ups, and second in the nation for jobs in those start-ups. The crime rate’s low, houses are cheap—just fifteen percent below the national average— property values are on the rise (so buy now!), and just about 160 people are moving here daily. And therein lies the problem: As capital pours into the city through the new residents and new companies and new developers, many of Austin’s neighborhoods—especially historically African-American and Latino neighborhoods— face the risk of cultural and historical erasure. And right now, everyone has their sights set on East Austin.
30 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Sony’s Betamax, deciding that it was legal to record television programs from the comfort of one’s living room couch.
But let’s fast-forward to a mere 25 years ago: An episode of Gilligan’s Island—the episode where the Professor builds a radio, or maybe the one where the island natives are lurking behind palm trees—is playing in the basement. The episodes are interrupted by the ongoing updates of fund drive success for the local Cleveland PBS station and commercials for stuffed animals, whose noses would fill with whirling plastic beads when depressed, or those plush dogs that littered puppies on demand. All you had to do was pull the pups from the mother’s gut and stuff them back in (just like real life) when you wanted to settle down to recreate scenes from The Miracle of Life—another film my family owned on Beta.
by Conor O’Rourke | photo by Sean David Bradley
I had planted the cilantro on a whim a few weeks before and been surprised at how quickly it had grown. Barely three weeks had passed since I had pressed the seeds into the damp earth of the pot on my windowsill; for me, a new haircut, for this plant, a whole lifetime. Harvesting it was harder than I thought it would be. You have to be careful when you touch the silky green leaves, so tiny and impossibly soft, for fear of marring their perfectly mint-colored surfaces with dark, blackish bruises. I have never been so gentle with a plant before.
If you’re looking for an escape, you’ve come to the right place. Let yourself be whisked away to the whimsical 1990s, where times were simpler. The United States wasn’t involved in (many) (overt) wars, and most of us weren’t old enough to pay rent yet. I have faith that most of us pay rent now. Life felt hard, but was manageable for the lucky among our readers.