Category Archives: Bay & Beyond

Fleetwood Mac delivers an unforgettable show at Oracle Arena

The view of the Fleetwood Mac concert from the upper level seating at Oakland's Oracle Area.
The view of the Fleetwood Mac concert from the upper level seating at Oakland’s Oracle Area.

Harmony and sentiment filled the Oracle Arena as the recently reunited Fleetwood Mac took the stage Wednesday night. With Christine McVie back behind the keyboard with her low,melodic voice, this On With The Show Tour marks the first time she has appeared on stage with the band since their 1998 The Dance Tour.

Kicking off with “The Chain,” Fleetwood Mac quickly brought the crowd—almost exclusively partiers of the ’70s and ’80s with a few younger generation fans sprinkled in—to a world separated from the storm and gloom outside, filled instead with collective nostalgia and free-spirited roars.

Doused in wicked-looking layers of black, Stevie Nicks began the ongoing theme of emotional, and at moments cheesy, commentary about the band’s history and excitement towards McVie’s return. All of the bandmates, also including Lindsey Buckingham on guitar, John McVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood on drums, took their turns throughout the night to commemorate the group’s ability to prevail through the good and the bad, Christine referring to her “long lost family.”

Nicks, who spent the most mic time talking about the past, at one point spoke about starting out in San Francisco, going to the Velvet Underground where huge names such as Janis Joplin got their stage outfits, knowing one day she would be able to shop there too, which segued into “Gypsy,” featuring lyrics about the shop. She also dedicated her song “Landslide” to her first boyfriend whom she dated while attending Atherton High School.

Fleetwood Mac at performs at Oracle Arena for their On With The Show Tour.
Fleetwood Mac at performs at Oracle Arena for their On With The Show Tour.

Each and every song was belted out by the audience, with a noticeably loud reaction to “Go Your Own Way,” with Buckingham’s and Nick’s beautiful harmonizing behind McVie’s lead. Even from the very last row in the arena fans got the experience they paid for, each part and band member sounding even better than on the recorded versions blasting in the car on the way there.

The choice of stage background had some room for curiosity, changing each song between moving images of raindrops, windmills and at one point of people stuck in a storm. It could be argued a psychedelic-esque feel was intended, but it ended up being more weird and distracting, especially since the majority of the crowd has long since ended their experimental days.

The band played a near two and a half hour set with little breaks in between. As anticipated the crowd barely had to cry out for a number of encores, the highlight of them featuring Fleetwood’s impressive drum solo complemented by his cackling laughs and indiscernible chants.

Fleetwood Mac’s songs are as good as they were when first produced, and without a doubt, will outlive everyone in attendance. Although the band has gone through a range of members, these five bring out the best of it all. The talent and bond between them will hopefully be gracing stages across the world for many years to come.

The Bay Area can look forward to another visit from the legendary band, scheduled again at the Oracle Arena on April 7th of next year, where audiences will hopefully hear songs from their newest album set to be released in 2015.

Greeks call to cancel how MTV sees “Growing up Greek”

Just when society thought that they had been freed from the grasp that was “Jersey Shore,” MTV has come up with its newest, and possibly more offensive, sequel “Growing up Greek.”

As someone who is half Greek, when I first saw the title of the new show, I would lie if I said I was not more than a little bit excited. My brother had sent the link to the video in a text message with an accompanying “Whyyyyyyy.”  Now, I did not think it could be THAT bad, but I clearly was not prepared for what was in store.

Here is the trailer:

 

..

Okay, so was anyone else a little bit embarrassed for the people in this video even watching them? Now, imagine that, just by your ancestry being associated with them.

Yeah.

Take that in.

Because MTV chose to name the show “Growing up Greek,” it is generalizing an entire culture/ethnicity, and as you can guess, I am not the only one offended by this trailer. A petition on Change.org is calling for MTV to either cancel the show, change the name, or accurately portray Greek culture.

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In less than a week, the petition has gained more than five thousand five hundred supporters. As soon as I saw that there was a petition, you know I signed it.

“Because if you’re going to do a show in Greeks, do it right. These are a bunch of idiots who are making up fake drama to be like the Jersey Shore crew. real Greek Americans don’t even remotely act like that… Who the hell throws plates???” Marietta Frangiskatos listed as her reason for signing the petition.

All I could think when I saw the trailer was where are their yiayias (grandmothers), and that I know mine would not approve of the implied playing multiple women, breaking plates for no reason, causing huge fights in public, getting kicked out of establishments, or getting arrested.

The Change.org petition has also filed a notice of discrimination to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that makes some fair points, including that if it were a show focusing in on any other ethnicity, it would not last.

“I am sure that MTV would never consider to air a show titled “Growing up Black” , “Growing up Jewish”, “Growing up Iraqi” , then how would “Growing up Greek” be considered? The outrage we have as a community, as an ethnic minority stems from our deep rooted notion of pride,” states the complaint.

It also mentions how even though Greeks were depicted in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” a lot of consideration was put into the making of the film and depicting the community accurately, and now, certain stereotypes created by the film stuck because it was done right.

A comment from someone with possibly the most Greek name of all time, Xristos Paparatamirtixotzidopoulakis, who says he is from Crete, Greece pretty much sums it up – “This show is disgraceful for the Hellenians, their civillication and their culture. MTV has NO right to show a fake image of our society.”

If you are looking to feel embarrassed for an entire culture, “Growing up Greek” is set to air tonight at 11 p.m. central time on MTV.

 

An open letter to Facebook Analysts, re: Ferguson

Wednesday, November 26, Bay area residents gather in Oakland to protest the decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a policeman who shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old black boy in Ferguson Missouri on August 9. Here, demonstrators march through the streets of Downtown Oakland, chanting "Hands up, don't shoot" in unison. (Helen Tinna/ Golden Gate Xpress)
Wednesday, November 26, Bay area residents gather in Oakland to protest the decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a policeman who shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old black boy in Ferguson Missouri on August 9. Here, demonstrators march through the streets of Downtown Oakland, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot” in unison. (Helen Tinna/ Golden Gate Xpress)

America the free, the beautiful, the progressive.

Unless you happen to be a young black man, then you are automatically a thief. Or a rapist. Or a murderer, and general delinquent who smokes weed, and therefore deserves to die.

Now, that is a strong statement. However, over the course of the past five years, America’s melting pot has reached the point of boiling over, as, time and time again, minorities are murdered in the streets, their killers going free by and large, and profiting as well.

Welcome to post-racial America, where guilty until proven innocent is the new normal, and minor crimes such as theft deserve an on-the-spot death sentence.

The same excuses are trotted out like show ponies, by media outlets and Facebook analysts with degrees in armchair investigation alike. “If this was a black cop shooting an unarmed white male, what do you think would happen then?”  Surely not the same level of media coverage, but this precise incident has happened, with the cop being acquitted of all charges. This cop did not get a fat deal offered to him by a news outlet for an exclusive interview. There are no kick-starters being funded in support of his acts. This particular murder is in equal parts a profiling issue and police state issue, in which cops are granted a level of nigh-immunity for their actions. This is definitely a problem, this also is not the most pressing incident at hand.

The problem at hand is the fact that these killings are happening in higher frequency in minority neighborhoods, and, in the case of Ferguson, the straw that broke the camel’s back. Mike Brown, whether or not he committed that robbery, did not deserve to be gunned down , nor did his body deserve to lie in the street for four hours, a half-assed attempt at blocking the crime scene erected around him.

Take into consideration one of the more recent incidents – the Tamir Rice shooting. Reports of a twelve-year-old playing with a pistol in a gazebo were phoned in to the Cleveland Police Department. The caller stated that he believed the gun was a fake one in the call to 911. That much can be agreed on by the general public. From there, facts deviate into “they said” versus video evidence. The gun in question was in fact a pellet gun, sans orange toy indicator cap.  Police reports versus surveillance video paint two different tales: testimony from the cop claims that he did not follow orders to put his hands up.

Two seconds. That is the approximate amount of time between the cop car coming to a stop and the police firing on him. Then there is the three minutes and forty-nine seconds between the call for help and first-aid being administered. Did those almost four minutes have that much of an impact on his survival? It may have. That is not stopping public reaction, however. How can you justify the murder of a twelve-year-old because his father has previous convictions for domestic abuse? You cannot, full-stop. Tell that to the news sites that are trotting out this story, however, dragging his name through the mud.

There is also Eric Garner and Oscar Grant, if you want to check out a couple of the more high-profile cases over the past few years. Michael Brown is not an isolated case, a one-off.

The trending hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter is another sticky topic and it has been hijacked to push a number of agendas. Looking at you, Matt Walsh and your incredibly shitty opinion piece on outlawing abortions to preserve black lives. This is not an opportunity to piggyback on a larger cause to push your own questionable agendas. We know that black-on-black crime is a problem, thanks for the reminder. It needs work, but what it does not need is commentary from the cheap seats. Abortion is a whole other ball game, but we will not even delve into pro-life versus pro-choice, with a healthy dose of bootstrapping and not wanting to help contribute to the upbringing and care of a child whose life you forced to happen by not allowing an abortion.

The counter-hashtag/trending topic “All Lives Matter” is another issue in which people attempt to hijack a conversation that needs to be held. Yes, all lives matter, and no one is disputing that, but now the issue at hand is that minority lives are being severely undervalued in comparison to non-minorities. The same people championing this counter-hashtag are undoubtedly the same ones who take offense to being told “Happy Holidays,” rather than “Merry Christmas.” No one is valuing one above another, this is the focus that needs to be addressed because it is most prevalent.

Stop trying to make everything directly relevant to yourself.

Fact of the matter is that the Michael Brown shooting was not one isolated event. This is one shooting in a long line of many, both law enforcement and otherwise. No case is ever black and white, or black versus white, in these cases. Some go punished, many more do not. Protests are being labelled as riots, because this is what the news outlets pick up on—not the quiet protests, but the disruptive, destructive elements that are a small part of a whole. No, not every protestor is out there breaking windows and looting stores. This level of protest creates an unsafe environment and an intense level of civil unrest, no one is lauding this. What the ultimate goal is to bring attention to these occurrences in a time where we have supposedly progressed past our bigotry and racism because there’s “equality” in the world.

If your Black Friday shopping is disrupted by BART being blocked, imagine how Thanksgiving must have felt for the Brown family—their whole lives have been disrupted while Darren Wilson walks away. These minor breaks in your routine are not hurting you, save for causing annoyances. What is hurting is the public sentiment of anti-protestors, the pro-Wilson supporters. The fact that Brown’s mother never married his father, and that his grandma raised him means that dysfunctional minority family units are the issue to these people. The lack of family values creates thieves. Because, you know, criminals are never spawned when born in wedlock.

You may not like how people are reacting to this incident, and the resulting court decision. However, by opening your mouth, and regurgitating quotes from off-brand “news” sites such as “Right News Daily,” or “Conservative Now,” you are not helping the issue. Nor are you helping with blanket statements such as calling protestors “uneducated, welfare-grubbing idiots” and scoffing that they need “real jobs.” Stop undervaluing the problems of others because they do not apply to you, nor do they fall in line with your own social/political agenda.

You are justified to your opinion and free to voice them, but you need to not freak out and throw out shitty infographics that boil down to a lot of stupid text over a photo as your “checkmate, protestors” offensive to being questioned. While you are at it, stop side-stepping around the valid questions posed to you, and patting yourself on the back when you manage to turn the debate inward, to black-on-black crime, or questioning why Obama is not promoting healthy family ideals in minority families. Pretty sure we all know what the reaction would be if Obama started a campaign to encourage family togetherness in minorities.

You may not be part of the “problem” as it is. You may say you are “color-blind” and claim that “facts are facts,” behind your phone screen, sharing articles you barely skimmed just to look as if you are aware of current events, but you definitely are not helping in moving toward resolution.

*This is an editorial piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the publication.

Caught in the crossfire of Ferguson Protests

On New Year’s Day in 2009, twenty-two-year-old Oscar Grant was shot and killed by a BART police officer at Fruitvale station. On February 26, 2012, just shy of his seventeenth birthday, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida. On Aug. 6, eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer.

These occurrences took place in different cities across the US, but they all shared one too many similarities. Those killed, were unarmed Black men and their shooters were White males.

In Grant’s case, BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two years in county jail. In Martin’s case, Neighborhood Watch George Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and shortly proved not guilty. After a grand jury hearing to determine whether a crime was committed in Brown’s shooting, the jury agreed not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

Following each case, both peaceful and violent protests erupted when the demonstrators demanded justice for those killed. The movement #BlackLivesMatter sparked after Zimmerman’s 2012 acquittal as a call to action against racism.

According to a study done by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, in 2012 at least three-hundred-thirteen African Americans were killed by police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes. The study highlighted the militarization and brutality coming from law enforcement against black people.

On Nov. 24, when the announcement of Ferguson’s twelve-member grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Wilson made headline news across media platforms, nationwide protests flared.

I happened to be stuck in the unexpected crossfire in two different cities last week, in Downtown Los Angeles, while I was visiting my family for Thanksgiving, and in Oakland, on my way home from the airport.

Last Tuesday, I took a trip downtown to my favorite museum, The California Science Center, which I always make an effort to visit on nearly every trip home. Little did I know that a short distance away in Leimert Park, protesters began marching down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in my direction shouting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

la protest

Later that evening, protestors would downpour on the 101-freeway, blocking traffic in both directions, and lead demonstrations in various areas across the city. That day, nearly two hundred people would be arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department, according to Chief Charlie Beck. Arrests were made on multiple violations of disturbing the peace, one assault on a police officer and a handful of curfew violations.

Peaceful protests, vandalism, looting, and rioting began within moments of the announcement to not indict Wilson and this ongoing series of protests show no signs of ending anytime soon even after his resignation from the force. Each day, an impactful protest is highlighted in lieu of justice for Brown.

On Friday Nov. 28 my plane landed in the Oakland International Airport at 10:40 a.m. I quickly picked up my bags from the baggage claim carousel and jetted to the new AirBart service that takes you from the airport to the Oakland Coliseum BART Station. I ran from the drop off point to a BART train headed to San Francisco. I did not run fast enough and missed it. As I waited at the station an announcement came through the speakers that said, “…delays system wide due to civil unrest at West Oakland Station.”

I along with the rest of the holiday travelers with confused looks on our faces boarded the next BART train, unknowing of what was actually going on. The train conductor made it clear that he didn’t know what was going on either and that we would have to get off at Lake Merritt Station.

In the meantime I opened up my Twitter feed and was shocked by what I found. At approximately 10:45 a.m., five minutes after I landed, demonstrators dressed in shirts that read #BlackLivesMatter chained themselves to BART trains at West Oakland Station. BART service was halted to and from San Francisco.

bart shut down

 

Their purpose was to interrupt black Friday commerce, specifically to say that Black lives matter in wake of the court decision in Ferguson, according to an interview with Protester Mollie Costello by NBC.

As I waited outside of Lake Merritt Station with an overstuffed suitcase in hand, sun baring down on my shoulders and my phone with eight percent battery life, I debated whether to pay for a $50 Lyft ride home. My other option was to try my luck at hopping on a bus, in a part of town I am unfamiliar with, and a phone that would die in the next fifteen minutes.

Partially because I am cheap, I decided to wait with the hundreds of stressed out commuters and give them a listening ear. Some complained of being late to work or meeting up with friends, others worried of missing Black Friday sales.

Two hours later the announcement was made that trains were resuming and the look of worry melted off of people’s faces. As the large mass of people stood waiting downstairs for the train to approach, fourteen people in handcuffs chanting, “Black lives matter,” being led by police made their way up the station stairs.

That is when it hit me. The week before while watching Jon Stewart’s film Rosewater that showed footage of the citizen’s revolt against the Iranian government, I thought to myself, “Why can’t anything like that ever happen here?” Where a group of people standing up together and fighting for something powerful and in turn creating awareness towards something meaningful. Right before my eyes, it was happening. A tear fell from my eyes as I witnessed fourteen individuals in handcuffs walk past me, chanting and still showing signs of hope. They were fighting for the justice of one man, a man they did not know, for the betterment of an entire race and nation.

lake merrit vid

good

In that moment, I remembered those from earlier in the day complaining of their ruined Black Friday plans and the negligent anger and stress they felt. That sense of anger, fear, and confusion was only a fraction compared to the families, friends, and community members who witnessed someone they loved be killed by someone whose job is to protect them.

ruined bf

haha ruined

Later that evening, demonstrators broke down police barricades to protest on San Francisco’s Union Square during Macy’s tree lighting ceremony. The protest quickly escalated into a violent one; police were verbally harassed, windows were broken, stores were looted and shoppers were locked inside stores. The San Francisco Police Department announced that there were seventy-nine arrests that night. A total of five cops were wounded during the protest when passersby threw rocks and bottles, according to police chief Greg Suhr.

After watching countless of videos of the protest that night, I noticed the hate that they had against the policemen. Protestors shouted in their faces, spit in their direction and went as far as throwing things at them. Putting all cops in one category and treating them like they are all the same. This beat down on law enforcement contradicts their message to end stereotypes and racial profiling.

Just like not every cop is the same and not every person is the same, not every protest is the same. Tuesday, hundreds of protesters around the county participated in a walk out in support of Ferguson. They walked out of jobs and schools at 12:01 p.m. central time, the same time Brown was shot last month.

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Will these righteous acts make a difference? Perhaps it is too early to tell, but the nationwide gatherings are inspiring and are bringing people from all walks of life together to fight for a purpose.

Lammily, the most prepubescent doll you’ve ever seen

The Lammily doll. Photo from Lammily.com courtesy of Nickolay Lamm.
The Lammily doll. Photo from Lammily.com courtesy of Nickolay Lamm.

Finally, there is a doll available to consumers that will display the exact proportions of a 19-year-old girl, according to CDC data. What a concept, having girls play with and look up to something realistic rather than something unattainable.

In just eight months, visual artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm has raised $501,384 to get the doll out to the public. The Barbie-look-alike called Lammily is now available online just in time for the holiday season.

The doll is shorter and thicker than the real Barbie, has a shorter neck, smaller breasts, and feet that are not constantly resting in invisible high heels. She has little to no makeup on and more mobile limbs to make her seem more like a real person.

Lamm’s hope is that this doll will “promote the beauty of reality.” He explained in his blog earlier this summer that we all have different bodies and that we should not aspire to an idealized standard. Having one doll does not accomplish that fully, but he intends to have dolls of various ethnic backgrounds and healthy body shapes.

Lammily is striving to take the good from its competitors and combine all those things into one doll. It will have the customization of an American girl doll, the pricing of a Barbie doll, and the empowerment of a GoldieBlox toy.

The Lammily doll comes with a variety of stickers that mimic things such as acne, bruises, cellulite, tattoos, stitches, freckles, and stretch marks. Photo from Lammily.com courtesy of Nickolay Lamm.
The Lammily doll comes with a variety of stickers: acne, bruises, cellulite, tattoos, stitches, freckles, and stretch marks. Photo from Lammily.com courtesy of Nickolay Lamm.

The Kickstarter for the doll raised well over its $95,000 goal. Lamm used the extra money on nicer packaging and even created stickers to accessorize and personalize the Lammily doll.

Lammily’s stickers are not your traditional Barbie accessories. There are no rainbows, money, jewelry, or anything fancy like that. Instead, the stickers mimic things such as acne, bruises, cellulite, tattoos, stitches, freckles, stretch marks, moles, and much more.

When the traditional Barbie was released, in 1959, the doll represented a woman that was not of that time. A woman who had her own house, her own car, her own belongings. Barbie revolutionized the ideals that young women could strive for. With Barbie by their side, they could be independent, bold, and beautiful. The only problem was that society took Barbie’s look and lifestyle so literally that the doll was constructed with impossible measurements.

This new “Barbie” is redefining beauty standards for many young girls. The hope is that they will no longer look into the mirror to see acne on their face and be ashamed. Instead, they may say, “Oh, Lammily has those bumps on her face so it must be normal!”

A second grade class in Pittsburgh, PA. was filmed while reacting to the new doll and asked questions about it. Overall, the students were in approval of the doll and tried to articulate the fact that it was more realistic than the Barbie doll they were also shown. The YouTube video was filmed and put together by Lammily creator so watch with a grain of salt but the students’ reactions seem genuine enough for me.

Lammily is available online only and priced at $25.00. The stickers will be available in January for $5.99. With the holidays coming up, Lammily will make a splash in consumerism.

Fatal shooting at Florida State University leaves 3 wounded

Update: The gunman has been identified as Myron May, who fired a semiautomatic .380 caliber handgun, which he reloaded at least once

At 12:30 a.m. a Florida State alumnus and attorney walked into the Florida State library, which was reportedly packed with three hundred students prepping for end-of-semester exams, and opened fire. The gunman left three people wounded before police shot and killed him.

Police were able to stop the gunman after he was confronted outside of the library and ordered him to drop his weapon. He refused and fired a shot at the officers, which led to police firing back, Tallahassee Police spokesman Dave Northway says.

The Washington Post reported that one wounded student could be seen crying out that he had been shot while clutching a bloody leg.

One person is in critical condition and another reported in good condition, while the other victim was released.

Police and FSU officials told the Associated Press that this was an “isolated incident” but have not released many details about the shooter or possible why the shooting happened and how he was able to get onto campus.

FSU sent out an alert after the shooting began, it read: “*FSU ALERT!* Dangerous Situation! Main Campus-Tallahassee, seek shelter immediately, away from doors and windows.”

At 4:15 a.m. an all-clear was given to the school, although classes were canceled for the remainder of Thursday while police continued to interview and investigate the situation.

Pictures and videos of the shooting now appear online, with students screaming, crying, and hiding in fear of the shooter.

Since the Sandy Hook shooting, there have been over seventy-four school shootings.

Bill Cosby Stays Silent About 15 Rape Allegations

Bill Cosby is being accused of multiple accounts of rape and has nothing to say to us about it. The man who has spent decades building up one of the nation’s most proper and morally sound celebrity reputations, is staying silent, leaving all of us to wonder how we could have missed this.

When I first read Bill Cosby’s name in the same sentence as “serial rapist,” I instantly doubted the article. I flashed back to being ten years old, waiting to hear what darling thing Rudy Huxtable would say next to her dad, Cliff. Doctor Huxtable just so happened to be the best dad in the world, right?

Falling asleep to Nick at Night’s reruns of The Cosby Show was not unusual when I was younger. Already so adored by my family from its original airing, just like the beloved Mr. Rogers, he was one of the staples of both my childhood and so many others. The values of family and being a respectable person travelled far past the ending of the show. For years, the following generations have latched on to the same love and upright feeling that emanated from Cosby.

Those dorky sweaters and that wide-eyed smirk portrayed a good man with a big heart, and Cosby sure as hell knew how to milk that. To hear now that allegations have been circulating for years makes my heart sink. Feelings of betrayal and disgust come up, but mostly regretted ignorance to this concern that has somehow coasted under the radar to most of us for so long.

As of Tuesday, when eighties’ supermodel Janet Dickinson joined in as yet another accuser, fifteen women have detailed stories of being sexually assaulted by America’s dad. Fifteen separate stories, all with the same theme of being given a drink and pills, coming to undressed, Cosby on top of them, confused, and in pain.

The only response from the comedian has come from his attorney, which stated that Cosby refused to dignify “decade-old, discredited claims.” Well Mr. Cosby, if you think this is just going to go away again, you are very wrong.

The seventy-seven year old just shook his head in silence when questioned about the allegations during an interview with National Public Radio and has not reached out to the public personally to make a statement. It has guilty written all over it.

To retrace our steps, Cosby’s first alleged assault took place all the way back in 1969. The most recent claim is said to have taken place in 2002, which is at least thirty years of dispersed, horrifying behavior.

In 2005, Andrea Constand filed a lawsuit claiming that Cosby assaulted her back in 2002 at his home in Pennsylvania. With this, eleven other women came forward as witnesses with similar accusations toward him. The comedian was able to settle with Constand out of court and none of the witnesses ever had to testify. It did, however, lead two of the women, Barbara Bowman and Beth Ferrier, to bring their stories to light.

With the accusations out there, Tamera Green, a California lawyer, decided to also speak up in 2005 about her claims that Cosby assaulted her back in the 1970s. And yet another accuser, Joan Tarshis, a music industry publicist and journalist, published her purported assault in explicit detail last Saturday in Hollywood Elsewhere.

Tuesday, Dickinson felt an obligation to go public with her story of assault as well, said to have taken place 1982 in Lake Tahoe. Maybe she felt a well-known face coming forward could help propel action against Cosby? Maybe she is lying, hoping for renewed attention from the media? The public has landed on both sides.

Twitter has served as a sample of the range of feelings surrounding the rape allegations. Understandably, many people refuse to accept that their sweet Cliff Huxtable could do any harm to anyone. Others have been quick to determine that his whole career is a lie and he is a terrible man who has had too much power.

And sadly, the situation has also prompted a plethora of “funny” memes and rape jokes, which inevitably downplay the seriousness of what actually is a horribly disturbing history of a celebrity able to get away with sexual assault because of his level of fame and power and the façade of who he really is.

It makes me sad to hear these women’s stories, like somehow it makes my childhood a lie. If the man who laughed with young children on Kids Say the Darndest Things was also the man who tricked and raped women, how am I supposed to believe anything? How could we all follow this man with admiring eyes, so unaware for so long – letting things like his standup routine about drugging his date go unnoticed after the first round of accusations?

Bill Cosby needs to say something, do something. There is no way the world can ever look at him the same way no matter what the results of this come to be.

Fifteen women.

It is unfortunate that these women did not say something sooner, and they were never able to get Cosby to court when they did. But at least it is out there, and people are actually taking these women seriously now. Why many like myself were blind to such accusations comes down to him being who he is and that persona never being questioned.

It would be nice to take these women’s allegations and throw them under the rug as heresy, but I just cannot do that. Maybe, just maybe if he came forward right away and did something about “false claims” I would still be weighing out the facts, but he did not do that. As much as I wish I could go home and watch The Cosby Show with nostalgia and happiness once more, that will not happen.

Bill Cosby is almost eighty years old, and at some point his depravity, if real, needs to be revealed. Now is that time, and now is when his walls are finally crumbling to the renewed confidence of women who for too long were silenced by fear and ignored by a lack of support against deceitful sweaters and smiles.

It was an impressive run, Mr. Cosby, but it looks like your ridicule of sagging pants and profanity have been dismembered by the claims of far worse crimes.

Attempts to Call Students to Climate Action Fall Short

Hundreds packed McKenna Theater earlier this month for the final day of Climate Action Week at SF State, drawn in by famed climate change activist Bill McKibben. However, many left after his speech when people were asked to join discussion groups, each led by a different environmental advocacy organization.

In his first appearance here, McKibben speaks about efforts to protect the environment globally and at SF State. He calls the university’s student-led move toward divestment, “one of the high points in this global campaign.” SF State is the first public school and the first university in the world to engage in fossil fuel divestment, in which entities refuse to invest in oil companies.

The understanding of climate change has grown over time. Twenty-five years ago, McKibben says, we knew about global warming, but we had no idea how bad it would get or how fast it would spread. We still have trouble comprehending what a profound impact an apparently small temperature increase can have. A one-degree change may not seem like much, “but measured in [certain] ways, it’s an immense amount,” McKibben says. The world may be headed for even greater temperature gains. “For me, the scary part is were just at the beginning of this process…” he explains, adding that scientists predict a four to five degree jump over the next century. With the devastating effects a one-degree rise in temperature has had, it is scary to imagine the sort of havoc four or five degree more could wreak.

Demonstrations are held worldwide to take a stand against what McKibben describes as “the first truly global problem we’ve faced.” He shows photos of people in a wide variety of locales such as Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Wheaton, Illinois, China, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Bhutan, Washington, D.C., the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, Somalia, Brazil, Vietnam, Italy, and San Francisco. McKibben reports that people from “every country in the world except North Korea” have demonstrated on behalf of 350.org, which encourages grassroots climate activism. In some of the photos, people stand together to write out “350.” In Yemen, the zero is composed of women in black burqas. These efforts to raise awareness about climate change bridge deep schisms. At the Dead Sea, Jordanians form the three, Palestinians, the five, and Israelis, the zero. Some pictures depict a humorous take on the potential consequences of climate change like the one that shows people sitting in a makeshift living room on a beach because of the rising sea levels that threaten to wipe out some low-lying coastal areas.

McKibben proclaims that current college students “will be in the prime of your lives” as the worst outcomes of climate change begin to be felt. He closes to lengthy applause before most of the crowd streams out of the exits.

After McKibben’s speech, representatives from the following five environmentally-minded organizations each describe his or her group’s mission: Fossil Free SFSU, the Green Initiative Fund, 350 Bay Area, Idle No More, and the Citizens Climate Lobby. The idea was to people have spend a session with one group of their choice and then join a second session with another, but only one session is held because so many had left.

Idle No More, an indigenous activism organization, believes in connecting with people and respecting the Earth. “Mother Earth does not negotiate,” declares group leader Pennie Opal Plant. “We can pray, we can ask, we can tell her how sorry we are, but her system is her system.”

The more people who join the movement against climate change, the better. “What we really need is billions of people in the streets,” insists Plant. Unfortunately, this event did not prompt much growth. Jason Schwartz, an environmental studies major and one of the leaders of Fossil Free SFSU, admits the weak response from students is “disappointing.” He indicates a small stack of clipboards clasping mostly empty sign-up sheets, saying he had anticipated recruiting many new members out of the hundreds in attendance. Instead, “we got three,” he groans. Still, he hopes to see more people becoming active on campus even if they are not focused on the environment. “I would really like to organize students around whatever they want to work on,” Schwartz says. “I would like to see students feel like they have a voice.”

Shuddle, an uber app for kids

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 1.17.34 PM
Screenshots of the Shuddle app.

Would you trust your child getting into a car with a stranger? One of the first things we learn when we are young, but finally able to exist more than ten feet away from mom or dad, is to not talk to strangers and most definitely to not go anywhere with them.

Shuddle is a new app being deemed the “Uber for kids.” The premise: to make life easier for busy parents who do not have the time or capability to drive their kids everywhere; or, as the website suggests, to allow parents to kick back after a long day.

From the looks of it, Shuddle looks like a pretty perfect idea. The drivers undergo “extensive” criminal and Department of Motor Vehicle background checks, have experience working with children, and attend an orientation and driving test. Drivers must also have a four-door car less than ten years old that passes a nineteen-point inspection.

You check out their website, download the app and see all of these happy and wonderful looking people. Mostly women and a few gentle looking men pop up on every page.

You know there is no way you can get your daughter to soccer practice and your son to piano lessons both at two o’clock; what better solution then calling Shuddle to send a random person to take one of them and pick them up?

Personally for me, someone with no children but many young kids in my life, I cringed when I first heard about Shuddle. Sure, it may sound great on the surface, but can sending your kid off with a stranger ever really be your best option?

Every day, parents trust teachers and nannies and caregivers and church leaders with their children. People who work with kids are automatically given full trust. While the majority of adults in these positions are probably good people, how many breaking news headlines have we had to see? How many amazing parents have been astonished to find out that their child has been harmed by someone they trusted completely?

The reality is that there are always people who slip through the cracks. There are people who are really good at hiding the bad things that they do, and those who decide to do a really bad thing for the first time on a whim.

Again, Shuddle takes the precautions and measures you would ask for: a safe word chosen by the family that the driver must say upon arrival, GPS tracker of the ride, and a message sent when your child has hit their destination. Shuddle also does not take any children who require a car seat and insist the children have cell phones.

Sounds great, sounds flawless, but are you going to risk that one day a bad seed may pick your child up and never bring him back? Do you trust that your child will not get in the car if they feel scared or uncomfortable? Do you trust that your kid, who is told to get in the car with a new stranger each week, is not going to understand when something might be wrong?

For you single mom or dads still in school, always running late to your part-time job, this may seem like a huge weight off your back. Just remember, you are entrusting your child to a stranger; someone who you may not ever even see or meet unless you are there upon every arrival and drop off, in which case you would probably not need this app anyway.

My advice: get a microchip or something in your child if you plan on using this a lot. I would never say that normally, but yes, I am now. A driver could easily send the arrival message, turn off their GPS and turn off your child’s phone, and then what? With children it is always better to be safe than sorry, right?

‘No Shave November’: put down the razors for charity

Illustration by Catherine Uy
Illustration by Catherine Uy

November is finally upon us, and for most people this means getting mentally and physically prepared to gain tons of weight during the holidays. But November is much more than just turkeys, elections, and veterans, the month has been re-named ‘Movember’ or ‘No shave November’, giving men and women (but mostly men) the justification to put down their razors and let their hair be wild and free.

Starting on November 1st, all partakers in this holiday agree to go for an entire month without shaving any hair on their body, resulting in some pretty epic beards by the end of the month. Many men look forward to this month, as it gives them an excuse to express their inner manly man with some next level facial hair.

What many people do not know about Movember is that the whole point of the event is to raise awareness of cancer. According to No-shave.org, the goal of Movember is to raise awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients loose.   The Movember Foundation, which started in 2003, runs official campaigns in over twenty-one countries committed to changing the face of men’s health. They have raised over five-hundred-and-fifty-nine million dollars that go towards improving the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health problems.

So to all of you folks who wish to partake in this year’s hair-growing festivities, remember the true meaning behind the event. And to all of the facial-hair-disapproving girlfriends, brace yourselves Movember is here!

The Best of November

With summer gone, the leaves have finally changed colors. (Catherine Uy/ Xpress Magazine)

It is almost that time of year – the leaves have fallen, San Francisco’s Indian summer is coming to an end and people are starting to wear winter appropriate outfits. As the ghosts and ghouls go back into the dark, turkeys and busy shoppers begin to appear.

Even though school is still in session, students across the Bay Area are looking forward to what November has in store for them. This November will be filled with an abundance of events to look forward to before the holiday season begins, such as devouring delicious stuffed turkey to enduring crazy Black Friday sales.

The following are five of the top things that I look forward to this November.

1.) Daylight Savings Time: Surely, overworked students everywhere are excited to fall back and get an extra hour of sleep.

On Sunday, November 2 at two o’clock in the morning, clocks around the nation will go back one hour to signify that daylight savings time has ended.

The purpose of this time change is “to make better use of daylight” and to save energy. However, people around the country look past this and instead enjoy getting more time to sleep.

As opposed to having to jump one hour ahead in the spring, people acknowledge this night because it gives them a chance to rest before another full day of chaotic activities that occur on a daily basis.

2.) The holiday red cups: The holidays have not truly started until the release of the red cups at Starbucks on Thursday, November 6. These cups are always looked forward to by customers to the point where there is a countdown online.

Peppermint mocha along with gingerbread latte are two drinks that are widely popular among Starbucks customers. This year, the well-known coffee company is introducing a new drink to their winter menu called the Chestnut Praline Latte. According to Grub Street, this new drink is “a latte with chestnut praline syrup, whipped cream and praline crumbles.”

The drinks that are presented in these holiday cups always keep Starbucks customers warm. Despite only being November, the red cups symbolize the coming of Christmas. It brings out an excitement that keeps people in the holiday spirit.

3.) Thanksgiving: Falling into a food coma after gobbling down stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes and corn bread is highly likely to occur on this day. Thursday, November 27 is a day where families spend time together, enjoy good food and give thanks for all their blessings.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City is a long-celebrated tradition within the United States. The three-hour event is televised nationwide which shows elaborate floats, large character balloons, talented marching bands and featured performers.

Along with grubbing down on good food and watching parades either in-person or on television, some families may also enjoy watching football. This year, the San Francisco 49ers are set to play against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

Aside from watching decorative floats travel down a street and men throwing a football, Thanksgiving is a day where people enjoy each other’s company. Being with family and friends is the ultimate goal on this holiday.

4.) Black Friday: On Friday, November 28, the shopping madness begins at midnight after Thanksgiving for citizens across the nation. Malls and major department stores open their doors early into the night to allow customers to begin their holiday shopping.

Doorbuster sales and early bird specials are what attract consumers to stand in line hours before opening. Electronics are the most popular bargains on this day. For example, brand name LED HDTVs can range between $1000 to $1600. The original pricing for these televisions would typically range between $1500 to $1800.

Black Friday marks the “official” day of shopping for the holiday season. Shoppers take advantage of the low pricing of products they cannot purchase on any other regular day.

5.) San Francisco Tree Lighting, Union Square: People from all over the Bay Area gather together in Union Square to watch the annual tree lighting.

According to the official website, this event which will take place on Friday, November 28 will happen “in Union Square Park between Sutter and Post and Geary and Stockton Streets, right across from the Macy’s.”

This merry ceremony features live performances, cheerful holiday music and more importantly – the eighty foot fir tree that is covered in 21,000 LED lights. When the tree is illuminated with the vast amount of twinkling lights, crowds are finally able to say, “The holidays have officially started.”

The San Francisco Tree Lighting is a great way to kick off the holiday season. It is a perfect celebration to enjoy a cup of peppermint hot chocolate with family and friends while you wait for the tree to light up the city.

This November is packed with many things to look forward to. There are many activities and events within the month that prepare individuals around the country for the holiday season. The spirit for the merry time is sparked up even though Christmas is not for another two months. With that being said, get ready for another fun-filled month packed with seasonal festivities to enjoy with your family and friends.

 

Major League Sexism

Chelena Goldman, who reports on the San Jose Sharks for the Bay Area Sports Guy, scans through her notes at the Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 1. (Annastashia Goolsby/ Xpress Magazine)
Chelena Goldman, who reports on the San Jose Sharks for the Bay Area Sports Guy, scans through her notes at the Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 1. (Annastashia Goolsby/ Xpress Magazine)

In the history of sports journalism, there has never been more women reporting on televised American sports then there are today, according to the Women’s Media Center. Erin Andrews hosts Fox College Football for Fox Sports and here in the Bay Area, Amy Gutierrez is a sideline reporter for Comcast Sports Network (CSN) Bay Area, reports on the San Francisco Giants, Chelena Goldman covers the San Jose Sharks for Bay Area Sports Guy, and Susan Slusser former As’ beat reporter for the Chronicle and former top ranking baseball writer as president of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

“I loved it every time I did it,” says Melissa Ludtke, former Sports Illustrated reporter and researcher, about her time reporting on baseball and being in the locker room. “In the tunnel I began to see beams of lights and green, and every time you came out it was like a mosaic, beautiful. It never seemed old.”

When it comes to sports and journalism, women are on it. From reporting on-the-field, to doing in-depth reporting, even being anchors, female reporters are more prevalent than ever. Look at Jeannie Morris, who was the first female winner of a Ring Lardner Award for excellence in sports journalism; however with every step forward, we have two steps back. Ludtke, who has been in the business for four decades, sued Major League Baseball (MLB) in 1977, when she was banned access to either locker room during the World Series, after MLB announced that no women reporters would be allowed to report from inside either team’s locker room. Ludtke won her case with the court ruling that women sports reporters are at a severe disadvantage.

But why are women still not taken seriously as sports journalists? Female sports journalists are winning awards, just like the men, and they are out on the field reporting, interviewing the players, and bringing the stories to their fans. Why are women not at the “roundtable of experts” giving their two cents about a professional game, but instead being bullied? In 2005, while covering the Saint Louis Cardinals, Paola Boivin was approached by a player and asked if she was there to cover sports or to stare at a bunch of naked penises. The bullying continued when a sweaty jock strap hurled into the air, hitting Boivin in the head. Stunned, she ran out of the locker room. That incident alone almost made her end her career in sports journalism.

Goldman says she would love to do a radio spot before a game or a pre-game talk on a television, using different outlets to report on the sports she loves but to also continue writing.

“The same thing happen to women in science and video games,” says Ludkte. “It’s invading a territory that belongs to a man. And when that happens, they turn women into sex objects, it’s an automatic reflex.”

In 2012, 90 percent of sports journalists were white males, according to the Women’s Media Center. One-hundred and fifty sports newspapers and websites received a failing grade for their hiring practices because did not hire enough women as editors, columnists, copy editors, or designers. Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) is one of the few news organizations increasing the number of women, and racial minorities, in their industry, according to the Women’s Media Center. Without their statistics, only 4.6 percent of the sports media industry would be made up of women.

“I actually haven’t had many instances where I was judged for being a woman in sports journalism,” says Maggie Pilloton, co-editor at Golden Gate Sports. “There was one time where I felt that my presence on a blog’s staff allowed the site to brag about having a female sports writer on staff. I generally find though that if you know what you’re talking about, you do your research, you work hard, and you’re confident and consistent, that people will give you the respect you deserve.”

Pilloton also adds that there are always going to be people criticizing you, but you cannot take it personally. She says that you have to believe in yourself, your talent, and your work ethic.

Sports journalist Amy Gutierrez, known on Twitter as @AmyGGiants, likes to report the “emotional, non-technical side of the game” to attract more viewership. Gutierrez has her own webcast on Comcast Sports Network (CSN) called Amy G.’s Giants Xclusive, where she interviews Giants players and produces short webcasts including Buster Knows Squat. The show features one of the Giants most popular players, Buster Posey, and incorporates the athlete’s funny side with the professional side of sports.

“A couple months ago, I did a story on a day in the life of Amy G.,” says Pilloton. “I was able to shadow her for a Giants game to see what a normal day was like for her.” “That was an unforgettable experience, and I feel so grateful that I got the opportunity to do that. I love being able to interview someone or attend an event, for example, and find the storyline. Writing human interest stories like that are so fun for me, especially since I got the chance to interview a role model of mine, Amy G.”

Pilloton went on to say that Guiterrez was an extremely hard working person, and humble and professional. It is clear that she loves her job and her family. Pilloton says that she learned so much from Guiterrez and loved being able to connect with her on a personal level, as they are both alumni from University of California, Davis.

“A normal day can be pretty busy and hectic for Amy, as she has to balance being a mom and wife with being the in-game reporter for the Giants,” says Pilloton.

“Her day is full of planning the hits she will deliver on the in-game broadcast, staying up to date on all Giants news, speaking with Giants players and coaches, interacting with fans, taking notes during the game, etc. She handles her busy schedule with incredible grace, humility, and patience.”

Amy Gutierrez is not as loved by the Giants fans on Twitter as one might think. Instead, Twitter is filled with hate and people tweeting that they want her off their television because they cannot stand her voice or the way she reports. Some fans have even adopted the hashtag #muteamy, while others call her names like “horseface.” Rene Godoy, @feenixgavredux on Twitter, a die-hard Giants fan, is one of the many people on Twitter who harasses Gutierrez and her work. Godoy says that in his eyes, her reports have no relevance to the teams’ progress and he would rather just listen to [Giants broadcasters] Kruk and Kuip talk.

A collection of mean-spirited tweets hashtagged #MuteAmyG, in response to Amy Gutierrez’s coverage of the Giants.
A collection of mean-spirited tweets hashtagged #MuteAmyG, in response to Amy Gutierrez’s coverage of the Giants.

Gutierrez takes her insults well though, replying to tweets saying “that’s nice! Thanks, lol!” or even joking that she needs to do a Jimmy Kimmel-like segment called “Amy G. reads mean tweets,” adding that she would crush it.

“It’s a little too much for the male comfort zone,” says Ludtke. “They turn it into hate. It doesn’t just happen in sports; it is challenging, difficult, and sad. It’s unbelievable that in four decades, this is still happening.”

In July, Erin Andrews was called a “gutless bitch” by Boston radio host Kirk Minihane, after asking Saint Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright if he was “throwing easy pitches” to Derek Jeter. Minihane apologized for his language but then bashed Andrews again, insulting her intelligence and saying “Fox only hired her because she was good looking; if she weighed fifteen more pounds she would be a waitress at Perkins.” Instead of Minihane apologizing and leaving it at that, he personally attacked Andrews again.

Chelena Goldman, who reports for Bay Area Sports Guy, describes herself as very girly for someone who likes sports; she has her own uniform for games — dresses and tights. Goldman says no one has personally attacked her because she is a woman. She has had a scout or two talk down to her, though. Goldman added that the Bay Area has a lot of women in sports journalism.

“I love what I do, it is my dream job,” says Goldman. “This is what I went to school to do and I am lucky and happy to be doing it. It is cool to sit and watch a game.”

Women still have a long way to go in the male-dominated field of sports journalism, but they are bridging the gender gap and it does not look like they will be stopping anytime soon. Although there are only about 5 percent of women covering sports in this country, they are still kicking ass doing it.