Table of Contents
Erin Kim - Senior Art Director
Jennifer Woo - Staff Writer
Cas Kesig - Managing Editor
Emilia Angotti - Editor-in-Chief
Lana Valdez - Staff Writer
Cas Kesig - Managing Editor
Anica Sherry - Staff Writer
Juliette Boland - Staff Writer
Monica Johnson - Staff Writer
Anya Ernst - Writing Editor, Arts Editor, & Marketing Director
Emilia Angotti - Editor-in-Chief, Jacob Aguilar - Staff Photographer
Vivi Velasco - Staff Writer & Illustrator, Anna Iyer - Staff Illustrator
Corey LoDuca - Staff Writer
Louis Tonkovich - Satire Editor
Chelsea Schack - Multimedia Editor
Louis Tonkovich - Satire Editor
Sydney Coleman - Staff Writer
Maddy Ernst - Online Co-Editor
Erin Kim - Senior Art Director
He’s the man manning the streets and the man behind the OCSA scene, establishing order throughout campus through the strict authority in his voice, the boldness of his suits, and the power of his megaphones. Evolution decided to sit down and have a conversation with the man himself.
From getting scolded for crossing the street with only three seconds left to moshing at school dances, students are familiar with the disciplined persona Michael Ciecek, the dean of facilities and supervision, embodies. Which leaves some of us wondering: who really is Mr. Ciecek? Ciecek has a reputation for being the “big man on campus,” but do students know him as the person he truly is when separated from his work life?
Like the majority of us, Ciecek grew up in Orange County. He had his humble OCSA beginnings as an APUSH teacher and Leadership Advisor in the early 2000’s, yet he still involved himself in some administrative work. Talking with students came differently to him when acting as a teacher as opposed to doing so as an administrator. When it came to more “disciplinary talks” Ciecek felt that he “had to make a deliberate shift.”
“[When talking with students] I’d say [to myself] ‘I’m taking off my teacher hat and putting on my administrator hat.’”
His metaphor for his two different personas highlights the Ciecek students usually see. To the students, it feels like his administration hat is glued to his head.
Ciecek always values safety for OCSA above anything else. His reasoning for installing new rules such as not having access to your car until 2 p.m. is solely based on ensuring safety for students. But with installing new rules, there always seems to be lots of backlash from the students who don’t agree with them. An interesting statement came up during the interview, Ciecek said “Our OCSA students are very good at advocating for themselves, but along with that some students think ‘if I advocate, I must get my way.’ And that’s not always the case, just because you advocate doesn’t mean it’s always going to be a yes.”
Continuing with the interview, Ciecek spoke with us on what his after-school day looks like. As many of us have rehearsals and long commutes that delay our free-time and home arrivals, after school Mr. Ciecek starts what he and his wife call the “second shift”. Picking up his kids from school and dropping them back off at practices and extracurriculars, Ciecek doesn’t meet his free time until 9 p.m., when he typically crashes on the couch for his evening nap. But before he gets his beauty sleep for the night, Mr. Ciecek must do the dishes.
“I love to do dishes, like, dishes are solely cathartic for me... I’ll just set up my phone on Hulu, as I’m cleaning [and] drying…”
Ciecek also stated that music and the arts have been a part of his life before his time at OCSA. When asked about the best concert he’s ever been to Mr. Ciecek said he drove all the way out to Paso Robles for the Midstate Fair to see the one, the only, Keith Urban.
“Seeing Keith Urban perform was pretty cool… it was legit.”
Minoring in theater at UCSD, Ciecek has experience in production and design: running the behind the scenes of shows, he has worked in lighting and sound. Ciecek also has a teaching credential to teach drama in his back pocket. All this to say, don’t be surprised when Mr. Ciecek shows up to conservatory and leads your class in some improv games and movement exercises (while of course, still maintaining the order that the classroom needs).
In meeting with Ciecek, we learned a lot about his life outside of school, But we also learned how his outside life affects the way he acts at OCSA. Ciecek values order and precision, and this is seen in the cleaning routine he performs nightly. He is conversational but he saves it for the times when he’s wearing the right hat. In an alternate universe, Ciecek is a dish cleaning, country loving, family guy who would have Nicolas Cage or Pitbull play him on the silver screen if there was a movie of his life. Is it possible that this “other Ciecek” coexists with the Ciecek we know and see?
Through the course of this interview, we discovered that OCSA truly rules his world. Valuing order and cleanliness in his home life translates to how he runs the school, and sheds light on why he structures OCSA the way he does. You can take the boy out of OCSA but you can’t take OCSA out of the boy.
Parking: Policies, Problems, and Profits
Jennifer Woo - Staff Writer
“Students may not go to their car during the school day.” This is the statement that has angered students since they were handed their parking permits.
Dean of Facilities and Supervision, Michael Ciecek, has stated that the policy exists “because of two things: safety and logistics.” There was no specific event or incident that led to the creation of this policy.
However, it is important to note that students are allowed to go to their car from 2:00-2:10 p.m. Many students were not aware of this 10-minute window, as it was added to the policy after the release of the student handbook.
The biggest complaint from students regarding not being able to go to their cars is that they can no longer keep their textbooks and other class supplies in their car. Students are now obligated to buy a locker as well as a parking permit in order to store their things.
Madeline Abiera (MT ‘20) said, “It seems like an extra unnecessary fee which may not be feasible for some, and we were also notified about this rule after registration where most people couldn’t get a locker in a convenient location.” It seems that the new inaccessibility to cars would cause an increase in locker sales for the year, but Ciecek stated that locker sales have actually gone down.
Ciecek also said that this year, OCSA sold “13-14 hundred [lockers] and we have a total of almost 19 hundred on this campus.” OCSA also sold about 250 student parking permits this year. Based on this statistic, OCSA received somewhere between 78 to 84 thousand dollars off of lockers in this year alone and about 15 thousand dollars off of parking permits. The money helps to fund school police as well as the security on campus.
Juniors and seniors gave their input for this story by answering the question, “What is the most problematic aspect of OCSA parking?” The most popular response―by a landslide―was: parents in student parking lots.
OCSA admin appears to be aware of this issue and has released notices to parents asking them not use student lots for drop-off/pickup. Additional cars in the parking lots create more traffic both in the lots and the surrounding school campus.
Catia Brechter (IA ‘21) recalls, “it took me 30 min just to get out of the parking lot, which is as long as it takes me to get home.”
The idea of assigning students (and staff) specific parking spaces has been brought up, but “unless we had enough parking to give every single student who bought a permit and every staff member [a parking space], that’s not a reality,” says Ciecek. He says that because academic teachers usually only work until 2:15, conservatory teachers begin working at 2:15, and some students do not drive every day of the week, assigning spaces is not logistical.
In addition to the lack of spaces in parking lots, one anonymous OCSA parent noted that “there are not enough spots for everyone on Sycamore and there are too many people hopping into cars on 10th street which is not safe for students.”
Students, parents, and administration all have their set of concerns and priorities when it comes to OCSA parking. Between lack of accessibility, limited parking, and safety, there is no clear solution for the three parties. For now, we will all be sitting in our cars, gridlocked, and waiting for a policy that will make our commute out of the parking lots faster than our commutes home.
Cas Kesig - Managing Editor
Around one percent of OCSA students are African American. In fact, OCSA demographics aren’t really representative of Santa Ana and Central Orange County at all, with a staggeringly low 21 percent Hispanic and Latinx population compared to SAUSD’s 93 percent. We are clearly disparate from the community that houses us.
This is problematic for obvious reasons, but the Black Student Union is making the most of their one percent. Co-presidents Semilore Ola (CW ‘20), Mariah Williams (MT ‘20), and Christina Miles (CW ‘21) plan on enhancing the club’s presence on campus this year.
BSU was created out of the necessities of visibility and community. “There’s a degree of isolation that comes with being a Black student. Even in your conservatory, you’re usually the token kid,” Miles said. “There’s always the expectation for me to write about the Black experience because I am the ‘single representative’ of my entire race. And then there’s the expectation of me to write what others think the Black experience is. Like, the sad black person is such a common trope in literature. I’m tired of reading about the sad Black person.”
“At OCSA, people aren’t outright hostile. But there’s a feeling of people overlooking your input, or using your culture to be cool,” Williams said.
Being tokenized or having their experience co-opted is among many, more subtle challenges that Black students encounter. Some fail to realize what many of us think is obvious: every Black person experiences their Blackness differently, just as every person of color experiences their ethnicity differently. Miles continued, “We’re supposed to be a monolithic being. People like to typefit us and say ‘the black experience at OCSA feels like this,’ when it’s very diverse.”
“If we fit into any box, it’s a very very large box, but there’s no box. The box doesn’t exist,” Williams said.
When asked what other purposes BSU serves for OCSA’s black community, Williams responded, “Students should be able to learn about Black history and culture and be surrounded by people with whom they can have these conversations. A lot of things aren’t talked about, and so they aren’t known. Lack of education shouldn’t be putting people at a disadvantage. But it’s also a space for Black students who have questions and don’t know how to approach them. There’s not much of a Black community in Orange County, so, yeah, sometimes we just want to sit around and talk about our hair. What products do you use? Does that edge control work for you?”
“We talk about things in the news,” said Miles. “It’s not always about the struggle of being a Black person. There are other things in our lives besides being constantly oppressed.”
Misconceptions regarding BSU and OCSA’s black community at large are frequent. Yes, BSU is a gathering place for Black students, but also a touchstone of education and community service for all. They are many things, but not exclusionary.
“BSU is more of a social club right now. One of the initiatives I want to work on is adding a bit more service to what we’re doing,” said Williams. “Volunteer opportunities that are more cultural-specific.”
Miles, Ola, and Williams are already beginning to plan for February: Black History Month. You can expect a kickoff celebration and a closing celebration, with possible panels and guest speakers between. Above all, they want it to be educational and inclusive.
BSU has two major sentiments to relay to the student body. One: club will now take place on the second floor! Don’t let the distance deter you from attending! And two, which they were most adamant about: everyone can come! It’s not just for Black people!
“It’s getting to see someone else’s point of view. It makes you a well-rounded individual,” said Miles, and Williams picked up immediately.
“Especially nowadays, it’s really important to take a step out of your comfort zone. So I encourage everyone to come to BSU, and bring your experiences, so we can experience life together.”
Emilia Angotti - Editor-in-Chief
Hello fellow students. This is Emilia Angotti, the current editor-in-chief of Evolution. I wanted to take the time in this friendly corner to remind students of the beauty in life.
At OCSA, I think it’s very easy to be swept up in an ocean of responsibilities. Homework, tests, rehearsals,projects,college apps, gossip, friendships, family; whatever it may be that induces stress. Take a minute to breathe.
I invite everyone who’s reading to take a moment out of their day and appreciate the things around them. If you're in the Tower, gaze out the window and look at the clouds. Notice how free their movements are. Watch the birds, how they soar in harmony. Watch the trees on 10th Street bloom into pink lusciousness. How dainty flowers look when the sun hits their petals. Appreciate the insects, no matter how much you don’t like them; we share the earth with them. The iridescence of the beatles blindly buzzing around the school, yellow coated wasps, how gracefully they fly.
Taking small moments to appreciate natural beauty always brightens my day, and I hope it makes yours shine a bit more.
Bow Down to The Grinns
Lana Valdez - Staff Writer
To celebrate the release of their new album, Let the Daze Go, self-described “60s British Invasion-esque surf rock” band The Grinns threw an album release show at the Santa Ana Observatory. Naturally, they were joined by a few friends, and the hype leading up to their performance at the end of the night was tangible on the floor (and in the pit).
Makeout Reef opened the show, having mastered the perfect mix of a throaty yet vivacious sound; the kind of punk that makes crowd-goers dance around like uncontrollable children. People swayed (and bounced and shoved) and awed over the band members’ engagement with the audience (lead guitarist Josh Renner crowd-surfed multiple times throughout the night) until the next act was up, twin sisters Rio and Zoe of Strawberry Army, who rocked all the individual worlds in the crowd, and could’ve rocked an entire planet under the soles of their high-heeled platform boots.
By the time the next act came on, the pit was in full swing, and 3lh, known for their “moshable” songs, was definitely music to their ears. Rafa Heredia, the lead singer and dual vocalist for the OC Hurricanes, greeted a few fans after their performance, still sweaty and pumping with adrenaline, with a huge smile stuck on his face. Psychic Barber came out next in full mellifluous glory, and hypnotized the crowd for a full thirty minutes of mellow harmonies and beach-happy lyrics, the perfect bridge to the last opening band, the newcomer indie-rock gods known as Carpool Tunnel, who finished out with some of the most emotional performances of the night, all songs yet to be released.
After three hours of watching their fellow bands tear up the stage and probably counting down the minutes until ten PM, The (legendary) Grinns finally entered the stage, basking in all the glory and the knowledge that everyone, including the bands and the crowd were beyond excited to see them perform- that they came for them. Let the Daze Go was released that morning, and they were undoubtedly reeling in the success of that, too, and their single, “Mona Lisa Lamborghini.” With nothing but smiles the entire set, they played a mix of old and new songs, from the new album and their prior album, Golden Hour.
It was easy to see that one of their biggest inspirations was The Beatles, something the band claimed in an interview last year. Their disposition was sunny and heartfelt, but allowed room for roughhousing in different parts of their songs, like their inspiration, but a step more punk. Joey Kolk, the lead singer, sang with his entire heart, his vocal talent shining through all of the songs, especially in “Golden Hour” and “Don’t Look Back.” The band as a whole completely rocked out, sounding just like they did on the tracks- maybe even better, with the performance energy and life they gave to their songs.
The release show and their album are just the beginning of their successes, as their growing talent definitely won’t go unnoticed.
Season Premiere: Welcome to Motown
Cas Kesig - Managing Editor
The harbor-front Balboa Bay Resort served as an elegant stomping grounds for OCSA’s administration, donors, and parents September 7. Second only to Gala in terms of ostentation, Season Premiere was as eventful as advertised: aperitifs and a three-course meal, guests in cocktail dresses and sportcoats and elaborate performances by Montage, an ensemble from the Garn Family Jazz Studies program and students from Popular Music accompanied by OCSA alumnus Terron Brooks. Above all, Season Premiere was a forum for members of the OCSA community and Orange Countians to socialize. 10 people to a table; approximately 30 tables; phrases such as “Your honor, it’s so good to see you!” and “One glass of Chardonnay won’t hurt,” were oft overheard.
The show itself was a well-coordinated effort across conservatories, and several students from Production and Design (our unsung heroes) took on 14 hour work days for the occasion. They ran audio from a suite OCSA had rented that overlooked the green, and from a suite on the second level, lighting.
“Working these events gives us experience. It’s great to see your work come to fruition,” said Sierra Cruz (PD 21). “24 hours ago, this was a patch of grass on the beach.” Indeed, they had assembled a stage outfitted with the equipment as if done by professionals.
Popular music students confirmed how much they enjoy participating. Jacob Burkett (PM 21), a guitarist, said, “They’re easy songs. I just like playing on the beach.” He and his band had been preparing for months, and now he was in a tux for his performance. Guests from all generations were roused to their feet by the after-dinner Motown set, with lively renditions of “Respect” by Aretha Franklin and “My Girl” by the Temptations.
Donor events like these are mostly inaccessible to the student body and their families. They seem to serve a singular purpose: entertain the altruistic and by extension, accrue money for the arts. And that's showbiz, baby!
But I don't have to tell you all about showbusiness.
Bottles and Cans and Paper, Oh My!
Anica Sherry - Staff Writer
You may have noticed that in classrooms throughout campus, students are encouraged to recycle their plastic bottles and Mr. Flav cans in the brilliant blue bins by the doors of the rooms, while paper is to be thrown in the same gray garbage bins as other non-recyclable waste. What’s the reasoning behind this disposal location?
At the beginning of every school year, Leadership provides teachers with said recycling bins for their classrooms. Once a week, groups of Leadership students visit these classrooms to collect the contents of the bins, which are then taken to the janitor’s shed on campus, near the ceramics room.
In recent months, local residents of Santa Ana have been stopping by the school to collect our cans and bottles from the maintenance staff at OCSA once a week. Whatever they pick up can be turned in to recycling centers for cash, which they keep. If the number of bottles and cans are taken into account, it can add up to be a sizable cash sum.
The way we process paper is a little different than how other recyclables are handled. There is a waste management company that picks up our garbage, and the law requires a portion of what they pick up to be recycled. “Recycling materials can get a little tricky,” says Christopher Chong, biology and environmental science teacher. “What is it they can recycle? Aluminum, paper, the density of bottle caps matter. The caps are often different than the bottle.” This is partially the reason Waste Management doesn’t collect our bottles and cans. After collecting the trash, the company sorts the paper waste from the garbage before recycling it.
Before Leadership took it into its hands years ago, recycling responsibilities were managed by a non-OCSA student who conducted his own recycling business in Santa Ana as a high schooler. Unfortunately his name and graduation year are not accessible, due to that information being held by one of the late co-directors of Maintenance and Operations at OCSA.
The student’s business was prosperous and had a positive impact on the community, as he would collect recyclables from OCSA’s campus, bring them to recycling centers and donate the money to charity. However, when he graduated roughly ten years ago, he closed his business and left OCSA short of a practical recycling method. Soon after that, the storage area OCSA was given was taken away and that left only enough room to store for a week. This added to the list of recycling-related inconveniences granted to the school.
Originally, OCSA was not going to make a tremendous effort to recycle. Eventually, Leadership stepped in. For the past decade they’ve been responsible for collecting and organizing recyclables. When paper recyclables and garbage are thrown in the bins devoted to bottles and cans due to a lack of concern, it costs Leadership their time to sort through the materials. “I feel like people should be more self aware with what they are throwing away in each bin. It only takes a split second to determine that the blue bin is for bottles and cans, and the black bin is for all other trash,” says Leadership beautification coordinator Jaquelyn Borcea (BR ‘20). Utilizing the blue bins correctly is just one easy step we could take to make their jobs easier.
During the first few years of their recycling takeover, there was an attempt to establish a procedure to donate recyclables in exchange for money, which then would be given to OCSA to help fund events. “The overhead cost for dances had increased and we wanted to be able to use the school’s recyclables to help pay for the cost of the dances,” Leadership supervisor Chris Dion explained. This plan required volunteers from the Leadership team to transport collected recyclables to centers during out-of-school hours. According to Dion, OCSA students’ busy schedules and transportation problems left the parties in charge of this feeble task. The idea fizzled out after almost a year of effort. It was shortly after that, that Leadership stepped in and began participating in recycling activities.
What is the next step?
Borcea thinks that OCSA could do a better job of promoting recycling around campus and recycling more than just bottles and cans. “Paper is by far more utilized and wasted in a classroom setting than bottles and cans… E-waste is also something OCSA should consider to have recycled. The idea has come up for us coordinators to run an E-Waste Drive event, but we're still working on it,” Borcea said. Hopefully this is a possibility for the future.
The Leadership beautification coordinators and other students hope administration will consider their proposal to start recycling paper and e-waste. Until then, let’s continue being mindful of where we place our cafeteria water bottles, Mr. Flav cans, paper, and such.
UNIFIEDs, MOONIFIEDs, and the College Audition Process
Juliette Boland - Staff Writer
It’s that time of year, seniors! ‘Tis the daunting season of college applications. Seniors from around the world are scrambling for their college essays, SAT/ACT scores, and letters of recommendation, in hopes of being accepted to their dream schools. This is an especially busy time for students looking to audition for arts schools, since they are required to go through a rigorous, competitive audition process for BFA programs at some of the country's most prestigious universities.
For Musical Theatre students, there is an audition process called "UNIFIEDS", where students from around the world travel to New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles to audition in person for a select number of art schools. However, there is an alternative route of gaining exposure to these schools, via college prep organizations such as "MOONIFIEDS". (Yes, UNIFIEDS and MOONIFIEDS sound very similar, but they are different.) Programs like MOONIFIEDS cost an immense amount of money to simply get one’s foot in the door. Although these have helped many applicants, there has been a considerable number of students who have not been able to take advantage of this opportunity because of the financial burden.
I asked some students from the Class of 2020 as well as 2019 whether or not these programs are worthwhile.
Some students from the Class of 2020 explained their reasoning for not looking into programs like MOONIFIEDs. Mariah Williams (MT, ‘20) says, “If the people behind an organization are meaning to help students reach their dreams, then it needs to be available to everyone. But if they are about making money, more likely, then it will be for the elite.” In a capitalist society, we oftentimes are doomed to the great, almighty power that is money.
These programs seem to appeal to an elite group of students, but what about those without the means? Another senior I spoke with, who shall remain anonymous, is also not attending an audition prep program. They said, “I’m not going to because it is way too expensive, and I feel that is not always necessary. I think these programs can exist, but they definitely should be cheaper and provide easier access to increase fair chances. It’s not fair to only cater to those who can afford unreasonably high prices.”
I also discussed this topic with students who had already gone through the college audition process and believed programs like MOONIFIEDs to be worthwhile. A student who graduated from another noted performing arts magnet, who shall also remain anonymous, sang the praises of programs like MOONIFIEDs, saying, “I honestly believe I wouldn’t have gotten into the school of my choice without the guidance of these programs. They provide exceptional training, workshops, and exposure you wouldn’t typically get.”
Emily Baggarly (MT, ‘19), on the other hand, had a different experience. Although she did not look into college prep programs, she participated in a summer program called Mpulse prior to the start of her senior year that prepared her for audition season. She says, “I think that the college process is 100% doable without a college coach/program. However, I will say that most of these programs will set you up with kids from all over the nation going through the same thing as you, and that is pretty cool.” It is completely valid that students have gained from programs like MOONIFIED, a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, Baggarly is currently attending a great school, Otterbein University, for a degree in theatre and is proof that one does not need these programs to be successful.
At the end of the day, it is all about personal preference and utilizing the resources available to you. One person may believe it is your talent that will make you shine. Another may say that a program like MOONIFIEDs is the end all be all. As we picture Sutton Foster standing on stage, Tony in hand, it begs the question, “Did Sutton go through MOONIFIEDs, UNIFIEDs, or any other FIEDs?” The answer is… no. And I believe she turned out fine.
Class Privilege on Driving Earlier
Monica Johnson - Staff Writer
Driving is a huge part of the high school experience and the transition into adulthood. A driver's license gives students the freedom and independence to determine where, when, and what they can do. However, obtaining access to drivers’ education can be difficult for some.
Budget cuts to California schools, including the removal of funding for driver’s ed classes in 1990, has made it increasingly difficult for select students to meet requirements and get their permits. After all, a 30-hour drivers course and six hours of behind-the-wheel training can be expensive.
Jess Perez (ACT ‘21) says “It delayed my family a little bit as we wanted to save up some money before doing drivers lessons.” An anonymous student also shares their experience, saying “I’ve wanted to start my drivers ed and get permitted for months now. I need [to drive] to work and help my mom, but for some people, the down payment has made it nearly impossible. In my opinion, it’s unnecessary. I just wish we were born in a decade of drivers ed being a necessary class provided by our local high school.”
When a teenager’s financial responsibility is taken into account, it’s no wonder they don’t have the time or resources to drive. With access to more affordable alternatives, getting on the road could become attainable for students.
Still, prices are not the only thing that can get in the way of getting a license. Martin Azernikov (IA ‘21) had difficulties obtaining his drivers permit because of his status as a green card holder. He says “[The DMV employees] told me that I could start the testing but my green card would run out before it would be completed, therefore rendering it useless. Now I can’t even start the testing until I get my naturalization. It took my parents around a bit more than a year to get their citizenship, so I’m not very hopeful that I’ll get my license by the end of the year.” Another anonymous student mentioned how their mental health impacted the process, saying “The reason why it took me forever to get my permit was because I was super scared of failing. I deal with a lot of really bad anxiety and that played a lot into it, which made it even more difficult.” As depicted, students often are not in complete control of the problems they face while acquiring driver’s ed.
Hunter Laws (MT ‘21) however, describes a simpler driving experience: “Compared to most people, I know it was very similar. But I feel like if somebody had an issue signing up they wouldn’t talk about it,” he says. Perhaps if more light was shed on the challenges students face in trying to get their licenses, we would realize how many endure the same complications, and more accommodations could be made to eliminate privilege on driving.
Leadership and Club Exclusivity
Anya Ernst - Writing Editor, Arts Editor, & Marketing Director
It’s one of the images synonymous with OCSA: energetic and ambitious students roaming the halls, giving out directions and hanging posters. Leadership kids at OCSA have created a strong reputation that new students become familiar with within their first week of school. Leadership kids are loud and peppy but also welcoming and compassionate, they care for the well-being of the school and the students that occupy it. One cannot argue that OCSA would be what it is without the help of the Leadership students and their advisors. Leadership helps make OCSA the school we know and love.
But with the persona that Leadership has adapted comes, to some, a sense of superiority toward the rest of the student body. Something about the stampede of spirited students parading through the halls in matching polo shirts makes many OCSA students feel left out. Plenty of other elite clubs and honor societies around campus also feel too exclusive to join. Organizations like the California Scholarship Federation, or CSF, with impossible sign-ups for required volunteer events or Thespians Honor Society congested with students from seemingly only one conservatory all bring a restrictive element to becoming an active member of the OCSA community.
After sitting down with leadership co-teachers Whitney Coates and Chris Dion, we discussed the feelings of some OCSA students regarding the entity that is Leadership.
“We have done a lot in the past year, actually, in response to [OCSA’s Invisible Population] article from last year. We had a huge class discussion” Coates said. The Leadership students wanted to brainstorm what they could do as school leaders to make every student feel represented and accounted for. After deliberation, the Leadership students created a new position, “The Student Inclusivity Coordinator”. This year, the spot is filled by Aleena Anand (VA ‘20). “Their job is to work with clubs to create cultural diversity events like Hispanic Heritage Month. The Student Inclusivity Coordinator will act as a liaison between the LatinX Club and Leadership.” Coates added, “Their job is to also make sure every event is inclusive to all students no matter race, gender, sexuality, disability or conservatory so everything we put on as Leadership is as inclusive to every student on campus.”
This is a positive step in the right direction for Leadership, in order to move towards a more accurately represented student body. Coates also noted her motivation as a Leadership teacher to, along with the rest of the class, “call [acts of exclusivity and discrimnation] out when we see them.” By being vocal and active with issues the student body faces Coates and Dion as well as the Leadership students hope to create an accepted ad represented environment for the entire OCSA community. This is one aspect that is vital to creating the comprehensive campus many students feel we are lacking.
When asked if Coates and Dion believe if the Leadership class of 2020 is diverse both teachers said yes.
“We spoke to many teachers and asked them to recommend kids...because a lot of kids don’t think leadership is something they can do,” Coates noted, “We got an amazing pool of applicants that represents the school as a whole with different leadership styles and conservatories,” Coates said that herself and Dion weren’t seeking out diversity but that because of the diversity of applicants they were able to create a class that represents the students.
One misconception that was noted was that all Leadership kids are loud and outgoing and that being animated is a prerequisite. In fact, Coates and Dion noted that they are always looking for “quiet leaders.”
“Before [the application process was changed], we were getting students who could simply put something good on paper, mostly extroverted applicants,” Dion said, “It wasn’t until 2012 when we created the ‘Group Problem Solving’ part of the application, we were able to truly see how students can work together to solve a problem and most importantly see the different leadership styles applicants have to offer. By doing this, it really helped us find a diverse group of leaders”.
Coates also said that they are trying to “fight the stereotype” of what Leadership is and what it is limited to accomplishing. This stereotype, according to Coates, is what she thinks leads to this stigma of Leadership only accepting a certain type of student. When in fact, Dion said that there are many “quiet leaders” working behind the scenes on club organization or funding management that hardly get recognized by the majority.
Coates advises students not affiliated with Leadership to get involved and stay in the know with everything happening on campus in order to get the most of what Leadership has to offer. Whether that’s joining a club or simply following OCSA Instagrams, there is so much to do in order to be active within the school community. So hopefully this year we are going to see some positive changes within Leadership to create a more diverse and inclusive class that properly represents the entire OCSA community.
Fashion: Heroin Chic
Emilia Angotti - Editor-in-Chief & Jacob Aguilar - Staff Photographer
Heroin Chic, popular in the 1990s and characterized by skinny bodies and dark circles was the new beauty trend of the era. Models like Kate Moss, Jamie King, and Jodie Kidd were the founders of this style. This new form was embodied by the majority of women in the fashion industry but there where a small amount of male models that were dubbed “kate moss’s little brother.” Designers like Raf Simons and Tom Ford’s (Gucci) utilized both male and female models. The idea surrounding Heroin Chic was romanticizing drug addicts, for their gaunt figures. Photographers like Juergen Teller and Davide Sorrenti captured this new wave of beauty, highlighting their lives behind the camera. Fast forward to 2019; the term “heroin chic” has reinvented itself, it’s no longer characterized by physical attributes but through style, through the use of tight fitting clothing that accentuates collarbones, black and white color combos and boyish poses. This is Evolution’s take on Heroin Chic.
Mario Oviedo (IM-G ‘20)
Stylish, minimal, and fitted are all words to describe Mario Oviedo’s style, almost always draped in black or grey he knows exactly how to blend in and stand out at the same time. He is consistent, classical and always chic.
Jacob Aguilar (FTV ‘20) has a way of presenting himself around campus. Hardly ever wearing color, he uses black and white to express a minimalist yet punk look. Pulling inspiration from Helmut Lang and Rick Owens, Aguilar is constantly emitting chic energy with his neatly slicked-back hair, baggy clothing and industrial boots, always looking fresh off the runway.
Emma Milani is the embodiment of Heroin Chic. Wearing low rise bottoms and abstract cut tops, Milani is always layering up on clothing and jewelry to better express herself as an individual. Her style evolves every day, experimenting with her androgyny and occa-sionally wearing asymmetrical dresses.
Emilia Angotti (FTV ‘20) is not one to shy away from bright and vibrant colors her ever-changing style, is and will forever be enchanting. Her clothing tells a story and conveys emotion, one day she might be wearing a colorful crochet top and the next day she will be wearing a grey pencil skirt with a cropped tank top. This duality is the epitome of chic.
Vivi Velasco - Staff Writer & Illustrator & Anna Iyer - Staff Illustrator
Who's Afraid of Barbara Kruger?
Corey LoDuca - Staff Writer
Though now a renowned writer, author Virginia Woolf’s work was often overlooked in favor of her male contemporaries. Time and time again female creators are undervalued and denied the spotlight. Hardly anyone knows who a woman named Barbara Kruger is.
A prominent figure within second-wave feminism and the pop art movement, Kruger’s work takes on adversaries such as consumerist culture and the patriarchy. Her most recognizable collages feature phrases like “Our prices are insane!” and queries including “How come only the unborn have the right to life?”. Kruger’s messages always appear as white text in a red box, but most associate the white Futura Heavy Oblique font with something entirely different: Supreme. The streetwear brand is worth one billion dollars, and they appropriated the aesthetic of Kruger’s work from the ‘80s.
Here at OCSA there are both self-proclaimed hypebeasts and art history enthusiasts. I wanted to find out whether these “hypebeasts” or streetwear-wearers knew of Kruger; I did not have high hopes. I presented students with pictures of her art and asked them to attribute the images to an artist. “Oh it’s that dude’s art,'' offered one student. Immediately their friend jumped in with, “No, she’s a woman. Her art inspired the Supreme logo”.
The word “inspired” stuck out, because from the way I see it the company stole Kruger’s art. The topic of plagiarism within the art world came up in my conversations with the hypebeasts, and those I interviewed lamented the fact that art “just isn’t original anymore”. There could be some truth to that as mainstream art typically synthesizes a few borrowed ideas. As students at an art school it is easy to agree with that somewhat pessimistic sentiment. But shouldn’t the context of Kruger’s art matter?
In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, it is worth mentioning that most people I spoke with seemed to recognize that the art they viewed did not belong to Supreme. But none could name Barbara Kruger and her name will never become as well known as Supreme’s.
It is puzzling that a company which gives off a very “Boys’ Club” vibe and has storefronts in four different countries would use the art of someone like Kruger. But as another OCSA student pointed out, it is highly unlikely that the founder admired Kruger’s work in a museum and was deeply moved by it. The company does not have any reason to recognize the messages behind Kruger’s work when the priority is sales. If they can profit off of expensive shirts that appeal to the male gaze, why does Kruger’s pro-feminism and anti-consumerism rhetoric matter, especially if the public is none the wiser?
The brand is full of contradictions and irony. Their website claims they came to embody the “young counter culture at large,” but Supreme is decidedly mainstream and markets their status symbols to male teenage skaters. For consumers investing in this image of peak masculine swagger, the true origins of the Box Logo is irrelevant. But when other male artists of Kruger’s era—Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring, and Robert Rauschenberg—receive notoriety and credit, it is worth looking beyond Supreme’s huge cultural influence. It seems Kruger, and many other female creators, are overlooked because they are women. For Kruger especially, it is easy to pigeonhole her as a feminist artist and likewise dismiss her. The artists who are consistently given the largest platforms tend to all look alike. Changing this starts with giving attention to the Virginia Woolfs and Barbara Krugers earlier on, but there is also the responsibility to ensure that we listen to the ideas of the underappreciated artists around us, making sure the next generation of renowned creators is a more diverse one.
Satire: OCSA's Human Testing Facility Celebrates Ten Years
Louis Tonkovich - Satire Editor
It seems like only yesterday that the men in hazmat suits arrived and unmarked vans began filling up the parking lot outside the Webb Theatre.
Yes, it’s hard to believe that it's been nearly a decade since OCSA’s Human Testing Facility opened its doors to the public. Well, not exactly the public, since you need stacks and stacks of paperwork, as well as high level government clearance to get into the place. Nevertheless, every OCSA student has some special memories of the institution — some encounters will stick with them as long as they live.
For instance, we all remember the student tours we took our first year of OCSA. True, we were blindfolded and pushed roughly through the facility while white noise played loudly into our ears, but who could forget that singular smell of cinnamon and burning rubber which seemed to permeate the whole establishment?
One of the most notable changes OCSA has seen since the adoption of the Human Testing Facility onto its campus is the drastic increase in lockdowns and drills. Along with the usual Fire, Earthquake, and Armed Shooter drills, we have had to perform ESCAPED PATIENT drills, ROGUE VIRUS drills, and of course, the tedious and time consuming AIRBORNE PARASITE drills.
Something that goes hand in hand with hosting a scientifically and morally questionable institution on your school campus is learning to deal with criticism. Over the years, OCSA has been attacked by virtually every human rights organization that has any sway in the United States. In fact, when the ACLU tried to take OCSA to court for the fourth time last year, several distinguished scientists including Jane Goodall and Neil DeGrasse Tyson put their full support behind the action.
Beloved children’s television host Bill Nye has vocally disavowed what he calls the “hideous and downright disgusting crimes” of the OCSA Human Testing Facility. It should be noted however, that Bill Nye is not a degree holding scientist, and has not received an education in any of the scientific fields. Just because he claims to be some sort of “Science Guy” does not make his opinion any more credible.
When the will of the late great Stephen Hawking was read, it was found that the famous physicist left nearly $200,000 for the express purpose of “dealing out swift justice to the deplorable souls who created the Human Testing Facility that exists at the Orange County School of the Arts.”
OCSA administration has said that until they manage to recreate a specimen as talented as Matthew Morrison, the facility will stay open.
OP/ED: Dear Fellow Artists
Chelsea Schack - Multimedia Editor
As a poet, my work is a slave to marketability. Not my talent, or my skill, or anything of that sort, but rather, if one editor can sell my work to another editor. Money comes first, art comes second, and this is disheartening to know. Despite the bashfulness that I often project for the sake of not sounding like a complete tool, I am proud of a lot of the work I do, and the knowledge that someone else’s paycheck supersedes my artistic talent gets me really down sometimes. Surprisingly, there is political science linking this feeling of inadequacy to the structure of our society, and by that I mean Karl Marx. He says the problem is capitalism.
Hold on! Keep reading! I know what you’re thinking, ‘Communism killed a gazillion people, we shouldn't do that again!’ I tentatively agree. Communism, historically, has totally blown chunks. All I’m really saying is that, removed from that historical context, Marx wasn’t such a bad guy. He’s a political scientist just the same as any Noam Chomsky or Daniel Deudney. And in his book “Estranged Labour,” he writes directly to schmucks like me who feel dissatisfied with selling themselves through what they produce.
In “Estranged Labour”, Marx theorizes that workers experience what he calls alienation-- a psychological removal from the labor they put into their job. Basically, imagine you are a steelworker, sweating away in a foundry. You spend all day making car chassis (or something — I am not a steelworker), and at the end of the day, you get a paycheck, but you never see those car chassis again. Marx asserts that that feeling of never seeing, interacting, or directly benefiting from your labor takes a big toll on you mentally, and that toll is alienation.
Now take that very cool, very fresh, very working-class and adult example, and then apply it to something we are all familiar with. If any one of us is interested in going into the arts full time, we will have to come to terms with the fact that we have to sell our art to someone else. Editors, curators, directors, producers, etc. The names may be different but the roles are the same. In this way, Marx’s theory of alienation definitely applies to us. It’s no secret that our quality of life has changed drastically since 1929, when Marx published “Estranged Labour.” But, according to Raoul Vaneigem, another political scientist, this doesn’t matter. In his collection of essays “Basic Banalities,” he says that,
“In a word, bureaucratic capitalism contains the palpable reality of alienation; it has brought it home to everybody far more successfully than Marx could ever have hoped to do, it has banalized it as the diminishing of material poverty has been accompanied by a spreading mediocrity of existence.”
We are definitely not all poor proletariats living in Eastern Europe in the late 1920s. But while our collective quality of life has gotten significantly better, it has come at the price of our artistic autonomy. Life is boring because we have to sell the things that make us happy, or that make life worth living. Everything has a price tag, and it's overwhelming us, and that totally blows. When we try to create art simply for our own benefit, we suddenly have to affix an economic value to it, even if the only value that matters to us is the emotional kind.
So… what now? I’ve established that life sucks because of capitalism, and that it’s difficult to be happy about making art for fun, but is there a way to fix that? Do you have to just go on with your life, knowing that the free market is a garbage fire? That isn’t a very comfortable or satisfying way to live. It negates all the progress our society has made.
I won’t sugarcoat what our benevolent bearded book buddy thought. Marx straight up said that we need to kill the bourgeoisie, but I wouldn’t dare go that far. What I think we should do, specifically in the art world, is take out the middleman. Why does some guy with some economic interest, completely removed from our processes of art making, dictate what other people can and cannot see of ours? Instead of just accepting that we have to sell our art like a Slap-Chop on Shark Tank, instead, we can just make it. Money be damned! We can support each other if something needs to be budgeted. We can self publish. We can create public art centers and art classes and outreach programs. We can play music in the streets, we can project our movies for a general audience, and we can do all of this without capitalism’s help. It's a very punk rock idea, but I think it works pretty well.
So, to end this letter, I would like to dare you. I’m daring you, double-dog triple-dog daring you to think about your art and your career in a different light. Forget selling it to anyone, at any time, anywhere. Instead, communize it. Make it available for everyone to enjoy. If you need funding, or help, or even just emotional support as you slave over a poem in your 18th-century draped chambers, look to the people around you. There is power in community, and any art that springs from that (dare I say it) comradery would serve to light our way through to the end of the tunnel.
Evolution Photography Team
Flirting with White Nationalism in the OC
Louis Tonkovich - Satire Editor
Yet another group of young people in Orange County have been caught experimenting with Nazi aesthetics, this time at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove.
In late August, videos surfaced of members of the Pacifica High School water polo team giving Hitler salutes and singing a World War II German song used by the Third Reich. The videos, taken at an awards ceremony sometime last school year, are only becoming available now.
The similarities between this incident and the Newport Harbor swastika Solo cup scandal have not gone unnoticed by the media. Both occurred within the same time period, both involved young white kids imitating Nazi salutes and imagery, and both happened within insular Orange County communities.
Francisco Marmolejo, Board Member on the Orange County Human Relations Council, said that these events are indicative of the much larger problem of anti-immigrant and white nationalist rhetoric making its way into the mainstream discussion.
“There is a sense of permission” Marmolejo said, “and the inability to understand any experience outside of your own.” This, he said, is part of what makes it possible for someone to use hate symbols thoughtlessly, but also what is spurring broader xenophobic sentiments.
In 2018, at a football game between Santa Ana High School and Aliso Niguel High School, the Santa Ana team was greeted with chants of “Build that Wall” and posters saying “We Love White.”
According to Marmolejo, the anti-immigrant sentiments expressed at that football game and a fascination with Nazi symbols are very much connected. The so called “Replacement Theory,” an ethno-nationalist conspiracy theory that has motivated several mass shootings in the past year is popular among white nationalists and neo-nazis, but also subtly present in many mainstream right wing talking points.
An acceptance of this theory, that America is being invaded by immigrants who will damage and deteriorate American cultural values, can start someone on the road to white nationalism, said Marmolejo.
A common defense of these kids is that no one could seriously compare them to actual white nationalists and Nazis, and that symbols like the swastika and the Hitler salute are far removed from their admittedly terrible histories.
Marmolejo challenged this line of reasoning. “The records indicate that their recruitment relies dramatically on those images and those symbols,” said Marmolejo about the Rise Above Movement, a white supremacist organization in Southern California. Someone could start out not believing in the ideas behind the swastika, but eventually buy into white power ideologies because of it.
In regards to the Pacifica incident, Marmolejo doubts that many of the students were consciously promoting a white nationalist cause, but admits that it could be possible.
If some of the students in the case were, in fact, aware of their actions’ subtext and are committed to the white nationalist movement, which is “altogether possible,” than those images and rhetoric are acting as political barriers against the perceived threats of “multiculturalism” and immigrants.
“If there are a few who are committed, that’s clearly the case,” Marmolejo said.
“It's not happenstance that these developments are taking place in communities with siginifacant affluence,” Marmolejo said. That demographic is more isolated from people different from themselves, and more likely to subscribe to easy stereotypes of immigrants.
“How often do they see someone who they sense as having a life experience different than their own?” Marmolejo said. This disassociation makes it easier to accept xenophobic ideas because the immigrants they hear about seem so different from them, and almost less than human.
Marmolejo pointed out the irony of being alienated from hate symbols, and experimenting with them at parties. “You’re playing these social games, part of social interaction, but they’re surrounded by mechanisms that are associated with hatred,” he said.
Giving these symbols an audience has consequence. It would be dishonest not to point to OCSA’s own Blaze Bernstein, who tragically lost his life because of hateful ideals that stemmed from racism and white nationalism.
OCSA is not immune to irresponsible behavior that leads to dangerous beliefs. Last year, students were seen on campus toting Iron Cross symbols, including an Iron Cross flag identical to one flown in Charlottesville, VA during the Unite the Right rally of 2017.
While the Iron Cross is not associated with Nazism quite as strongly as the swastika, it remains a symbol with a strong connection to white supremacy — recognizable to anyone who chooses to display it or symbols like it.
The Anti-Defamation League says on their website that the Iron Cross has been a “commonly used hate symbol” since it was discontinued by the Nazis after World War II.
Nothing as sinister as the events at Newport and Pacifica have happened here at OCSA, but its status as a progressive arts high school doesn’t excuse it from harboring hatred, now or in the future.
Cowrie Shell Chokers (and Other Stolen Things)
Sydney Coleman - Staff Writer
Part of the beauty of going to an arts school, many would say, is the amount of creative liberty that we are allowed, especially compared to students in different environments. However, in several contexts, the expression of individuality tends to be conflated with appropriation and, though it may be difficult for some to comprehend, appropriation is not a viable form of artistic or creative expression.
Cultural appropriation (the inappropriate adoption of cultural practices or customs by a socially advantaged group) is likely not a foreign concept to many, as the topic comes in and out of discussion frequently, remaining a relevant cause for debate on the internet and social media platforms. Despite this, there remains a significant amount of confusion and misinterpretation of the term, and this misunderstanding is not exclusive of artists, including OCSA students.
In my years as a student at OCSA, I’ve encountered countless students wearing traditional and culturally significant garments, accessories, and styles. This would be something to applaud if it weren’t for the fact that the majority of these students whom I have noticed wearing these items tend to be white.
Non-Black students wearing dreadlocks or other protective styles, non-Asian students wearing garments such as the cheongsam or “oriental prints”, white students masquerading Korean and East Asian fashion under the guise of personal style, and the rising trend of cowrie shell chokers and accessories. As explained by student Semi Ola (CW 20), “OCSA students often come from privileged backgrounds and are often more interested in an apparent trend than any of the culture behind it, and often mistake tokenism for respect. On top of the normalization of this, the students of such appropriated cultures are often underrepresented.” Additionally, Ola points out that this pattern of appropriation is not limited to clothing and hair styles, but also can be seen in the use of AAVE (African American Vernacular English) and styles of dance originating from the Black community.
As this pattern of appropriation has become normalized within OCSA, it is imperative to address not only the social impact that this has on marginalized communities but, additionally, the environmental and economic implications.
First, we should address the root of this problem. Cultural appropriation, in the majority of its contexts, arises from the continuous and generational objectification of the groups of people that are being stolen from. It may be difficult to see on the surface level, however, this fascination with what is deemed “exotic” or “brand new” to the mainstream is deeply rooted in the fetishization of non-white people. It is important to note, here, that visibility in the form of fetishization is in no way beneficial to marginalized groups as it is, essentially, representation deprived of humanity and respect for those being represented.
This fascination with the “exotic” has its roots in colonialist ideology; it seeks to commodify and extract resources from socially disadvantaged people, while benefiting those with a higher social standing. A current example of this can be seen in the endangerment of the white sage plant due to its appropriation by large corporations such as Urban Outfitters, Whole Foods and more. The white sage plant has a deep cultural and religious significance to many indigenous peoples, yet, according to the Medicinal Plant Conservation, it is inching closer to extinction as it is being illegally harvested and marketed to a non-indigenous market.
The appropriation of clothing and hair styles is no different in this aspect. Although the harmful effects of these forms of appropriation may appear less concrete, they are extremely significant. When a hair or clothing style is inappropriately adopted, the advantaged group (in this case, white students), is benefiting socially from things that students of color have been and continue to be scrutinized for.
If OCSA is to move away from this pattern of appropriation, there must be a collective effort to confront cultural insensitivity both within the student body and within administration. Being conscious of the significance that something carries and respecting a culture’s ownership of said things is necessary to establishing a truly inclusive and safe environment.
Senioritis: recurring issue
Anya Ernst - Writing Editor, Arts Editor, & Marketing Director
Ahhh, the privileges and joys of being an upperclassman! The best parking spots, exclusive activities and all the perks of being the coolest and oldest kids on campus. Being a senior is pretty cool, right?
While my first month of being a senior has felt surprisingly similar to my previous years of high school, one noticeable difference seems to be that teachers and parents talk even more about college (and trust me, dear sophomores and juniors, it is possible for adults to talk even more often about your distant, or not-so-distant future, than they already are).
Senior year has felt a bit like a birthday: you spend months anticipating it, but the event itself is always a bit disappointing and everyone is asking if you feel older, wiser, more mature. But really, you feel the exact same as you did the day before. As the days have gone on, the only thing that makes the reality of being a senior more apparent is the sheer amount of “Senioritis Talks” with teachers and the battlecries of those in my grade as they claim their spots on the oh-so-sacred Senior Wall.
I’ll be real with you, dear readers: I have been subject to the plague of procrastination and lack of motivation known as “senioritis” since probably my second semester of eighth grade. However, the 20 minute sections of each syllabus presentation from all of my academic and conservatory teachers on senioritis and attendance has convinced me that this senioritis thing will develop into even more of a problem.
Unfortunately, senior festivities started off a bit rocky. First activity on the list: senior sunrise. It’s nice to get some free coffee and baked goods before class, but frankly it just made me take a nap after school and stay up even later doing homework. Then, at the beginning of September we had our annual beginning of the year Naviance and Growth Mindset session. However this year, what normally is a relaxing block in the computer lab to mess around on Microsoft Paint instead of Lit. and Comp. turned into a stressful frenzy of suddenly anxious seniors. “How do I link my Common App account? When is the absolute latest I can apply to UCs?? Ms. McCann, PLEASE schedule a meeting with my mom!” This meeting and other FAFSA workshops to come are sure to put us seniors into the stressful blur of college application season recognizable to all those who have graduated before us.
Now that our much too short summer is officially over, I hope to see you all on the other side as I dive head first into the beast that is my senior year of high school. Can it just be second semester already?
September 2019 Horoscopes
Aries (March 21 - April 19)
Aries, you’re on top of it right now! Energy is flowing through your sixth house, and lately you’ve found yourself setting your natural spontaneity aside for a little bit of order. With Mars, your ruling planet, in Virgo, this is the sign you’ve been looking for to make a change. Go to the gym, clean out your closet, line up your shoes– get organized!
Taurus (April 20 - May 20)
Channel your inner Lizzo, Taurus, and soak up those last few moments of summer. Jupiter square Neptune is bringing you decisions to make regarding secrets. Figure out what you should be sharing with others and what should really stay locked away. Try to remember that respecting others’ boundaries doesn’t mean you should ignore your own.
Gemini (May 21 - June 20)
Gemini, after this hectic summer full of eclipses, it’s time for a break. Remember to ask yourself what you need instead of rushing around doing what others want, so put yourself first, and spend some quality time with your favorite sidekicks. When the sun lands in Libra and settles in your fourth house, it’s time for a heavy dose of fun and passion.
Cancer (June 21 - July 22)
Teamwork is this month’s theme, dear Cancer, so be on the lookout for your perfect partner. Mars is giving you a surge of charisma and conversation, so working with others will help you get the job done. Your motto should be “go with the flow” right now, or else you’ll find yourself stuck thinking about how green the grass is on the other side.
Leo (July 23 - August 22) Leo, it’s time to settle back into the drudge of daily life. After being the shining face of “hot girl summer”, you need a little bit of practicality. Luckily, Mars in Virgo is here to bring you some hard logic. Keep watch on your wallet, because you might have a little trouble with cash flow, but use that to form some new financial habits.
Virgo (August 23 - September 22)
Virgo: Lucky Virgo, you get the Sun and Mars in your sign this month! Personal projects are at their most efficient, so dream big! At the same time, a lot of people will be trying to get your attention right now, but don’t let needy people take over your life. Check your saviour complex at the door, and stop feeling like you’re obligated to help everyone.
Libra (September 23 - October 22)
The stars are telling you to take a nap, Libra. You don’t quite have the same back-to-school energy as everyone else, and that’s okay! The sun in your 12th house is encouraging rest and closure before it moves into your sign. But, the 12th house also might bring up some old wounds that haven’t quite healed. Try to take it easy!
Scorpio (October 23 - November 22)
Scorpio, get ready to make some decisions. Jupiter square Neptune’s third dance this year is bringing you more party invites than you can handle, and more opportunities to expand your personal ambitions. But, as practical Virgo reminds us, you have to find balance between wants and needs, so be wary of drama queen Neptune sneaking up.
Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21)
Sagittarius, to quote Mulan, “Let’s get down to business!” With Virgo Mars spicing up your professional aspirations, it’s time to stop saying yes to every bonfire and pool party. Suck up your FOMO and put your fiery focus on what you want in life: whether it be working on college apps, studying for your SAT, or applying for a new job.
Capricorn (December 22 - January 19)
Alright Capricorn, it’s time to take some risks! The sun is sailing into your fifth house, so you’re primed for a new adventure. Jupiter square Neptune is the literal imagining of the left-brain/right-brain battle in your head, so taking some time off from, well, everything would be good for you. When was the last time you went to a museum?
Aquarius (January 20 - February 18)
Pumpkin spice isn’t the only thing in the air, Aquarius. Finding love will come naturally to you this month, and it’s likely your best match will be someone you’ve never thought of before. While you’re poised to be one half of a supercouple, Virgo is granting you the passion you need to be “super” in anything you set your mind to.
Pisces (February 19 - March 20)
Pisces, your inner circle is your top priority this month. Whether you’re a Heather Chandler or a Gretchen Weiners, put your loyalty in the people you surround yourself with. Influence from your sister sign Virgo is pushing you into a more stubborn mindset, but remember the importance of the compromise as you enjoy your social life.