CESIUM

magazine
Issue 6: Fashion
Editor-in-Chief
Adam Moore

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Assistant Editor
Emily Berregaard

Print issues are available for purchase on www.cesium-online.com through Lulu.com. Back issues of Issues 2 and 3 are also available; please send an email to cesiummagazine@gmail.com to inquire. Please visit and make a purchase – you can help support independent publishing.

Contributing Editor
Brian Tambascio

Sales/Advertising

Art Directors
Andy Evans Wesley High

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Submissions are always welcomed, but must fit the Cesium style. Please read previous issues of Cesium at www.cesium-online.com before submitting. Submit as a .DOC attachment to cesiummagazine@gmail.com Cesium Magazine is published quarterly, or as often as we find time. ISSN 1933-4281 We would like to thank the University of Northern Iowa Department of English and Department of Art for their support. Copyright 2007 by Cesium Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Print issues are produced in the United States and Spain. Please support independent publishing.

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Website

(table of elements)
from the editor mixtape cinema audibles contributors nightlife 4 21 23 25 35 36

Stall 3

fiction by Chuck Dooley. careful where you sit.

5 8 13 27 29 34

The Beauty of 3 Sinful Fashion

photography by Michael Roach.

memories from the 2007 UNI fashioin show.

Fashionably Loud

fashions to clothe your ears in.

Fashion, Revolution and Apathy Conservative Fashion

essay by Emily Schultz. but who cares?

learn to act like you’re better than everyone else.

(from the editor)
Despite what you might observe on newsstands or the E! network, fashion isn’t all about looks. It’s about being comfortable in what you’ve got on and being confident about what you’re showing to the world. What fashions we choose say a substantial amount of how we view ourselves. For example, I can choose to be an indie slacker one day (faded jeans, retro sneakers and a snarky t-shirt) and a confident media mogul the next (Hugo Boss suit). I can morph into countless personalities simply by changing my outfit. And while you can argue that clothes don’t make the person, fashion provides us with a cultural shortcut to easily define who we are, or more importantly, who we want to be. Of course, fashion is much more than an individual decision – it is a societal institution reflecting an era’s prevailing thoughts and values. Good fashion is like art, in that it says something. It can be an elegant message or take a revolutionary stance. It can be subtle or downright obvious (anyone remember the George Michael “Choose Life” t-shirts?). Fashion can quite literally change how we think. With that introduction, what better than for Cesium to celebrate all things fashion. We take a bit of time to check out some young artists working in fabric, define fashion for audio geeks and explore the fashion of modern Neoconservatism. There’s another fashionable short story from Chuck Dooley and even something about Zoolander (you had to have seen it coming). Throw on those spats and celebrate with us.

Adam Moore
Editor-in-Chief
four

by Chuck Dooley

Stall

The deep voice should have been a sign. A clue that something about the situation wasn’t quite kosher. But now the switchblade against my throat definitely threw the red flag. “Where is it? It’s not in your back pocket!” she growled in a low baritone, hands fumbling across my designer jeans. The large hand groped around crazily, but I was in no position to protest. My friends had always said that my habit of hooking up with any female I met at the club would be the end of me, but I had never taken it that seriously. It was anonymous sex, empty and devoid. There were no strings. The worst situation I could envision was crossing some obsessive woman who would fill up the memory on my answering machine with sound bites, pleading for me to call her back. And while it was likely that my friends didn’t mean what they said literally, I was quickly realizing the irony of the
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statement. A dirty club district bathroom was going to be the site of my exit from this world. The blade pressed closer to my skin. I swallowed and felt my Adam’s apple barely squeeze past the knife’s edge. “Where’s your fucking cash?” she said again. “I told you already! It’s in my coat pocket.” Her hands finally located the leather billfold, plucking it out violently and upending it, letting the twenty-dollar bills float to the bathroom tile. Andrew Jackson looked up at me, stone faced. He said nothing reassuring. I listened to my pulse bounce off the steel partitions of that third stall. She had seemed somewhat mysterious sitting at the bar alone,

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a Manhattan in hand, practically begging me to go talk to her. Maybe it was the dimmed lights, punctuated by the manic dance floor strobes, or the rum and cokes running through my veins, but she looked hot. Model hot. Huge tits to complement the dark hair cropped around her face, framing those strong cheekbones. Her ass was a bit flat, but I could live with it. She said her name was Rosalind. Who knew it was long for Ross? The knife at my throat began wobbling something horrible as Rosalind bent down and snatched the bills off the floor. She smelled like a blanket of cigarette haze and jasmine. There was a hint of Gucci, the

same thing my old girlfriend Amber used to wear. It was strangely comforting, considering I was being robbed by a middle-aged drag queen. “This is it?” she said, throwing the empty billfold against the door. Her face was screaming, violent and angry. “Is this all you have?” “That’s it, Rosalind,” I replied hesitantly, wincing and waiting for what I figured was inevitable. As I stood there, listening to the bills crinkling as she stuffed them into an already stuffed bra, I thought about something Amber once told me, before the apartment door slammed behind her for the last time. “Karma’s a bitch, Joe.” She

was nice, a great catch, now that I thought about it. She would have been a great girlfriend, if she hadn’t left when I accidentally cheated on her. And maybe, just maybe, this was a wake up call. What all my friends and countless other women had warned me about. A drag queen with a switchblade picking up my drinking money off the floor. And groping me once or twice for good measure. Finished stuffing her loot away, Rosalind threw me down and forward with one swift motion, slamming my forehead into the cold stall door with a clang. I hit the floor, hands over my face, trying to stop the radiating pain in my skull. The stall door flew open, and

she stepped over my pathetic body, careful to not mess her shoes. Six inch heels echoed across the tile to the bathroom door. Throbbing house music made its way in through the walls. “Joe,” the baritone said from across the room. It rang past the porcelain, hung in my ears. “What?” I moaned, still clutching my face. “You’re one hell of a kisser.” The door slammed shut, and I was suddenly alone. The warm feeling of blood filled my palms. I hoped no one had to piss. cs

Photography by

Hanz Engelbrecht mistahanz184@hotmail.com for more short fiction visit www.cesium-online.com
seven

(The Beauty of 3)
photography by Michael Roach

(sinful fashion)
Cesium takes a trip to “Unforgiven” and comes back empty-handed. . .

. . . Sort of.
We had the chance to attend the 15th annual student-run fashion show at the University of Northern Iowa – thematically and unapologetically focusing around the seven deadly sins – and needless to say, it was an amazing compilation of swagger and style. But here’s the problem. Once we got to the show, fired up our cameras and watched 72 of Iowa’s finest models strut convincingly down the squarehorseshoe runway, we realized we knew nothing about textiles and apparel design. Besides the fact that we wear clothing on a daily basis (usually), we ended the show with a ton of hot photography and doodles in a reporter’s notebook. The great fashion writing of the New York Times and Vogue continually eluded
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us, and we were left with a bunch of cheesy oneliners about thongs. Har har. But then a distinct realization set in: we may not know anything about textiles or clothing or design, but we sure as hell know art when we see it. The show, entitled “Unforgiven” and taking place in front of a packed Lang Auditorium house, showcased some of the finest wearable art today, produced solely by students – with many designers submitting multiple outfits for consideration in the show. If you don’t find that impressive, consider the fact that we can barely dress ourselves in the morning. “Unforgiven” was definitely not for the faint of heart. Once the house lights dimmed, there was

little respite from throbbing deep bass and the visual over-stimulation. Models representing collections based around the seven deadly sins – envy, sloth, lust, greed, gluttony, vanity and wrath – emerged from stage right and left on perfect cue, all twirling textures and shapes. 400 photos, gobs of applause and two hours later, the curtain dropped and we were left feeling incredibly underdressed. But that’s enough from us. We could try and describe the lackadaisical comfort of Sloth, the unmitigated sex appeal of Lust or the lush overindulgence of Gluttony, but then we’d just be poseurs. And that’s downright unfashionable. Instead, for your enjoyment, our favorite shots from the show. cs

Belle Jensen

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fifteen

Leigh Jensen

Megan Sullivan

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seventeen

Christina Cerruti

Alyssa Stokesbary

eighteen

nineteen

Ashley Duroe

Leah Feltz

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(mixtape)
1. Thievery Corporation – A Gentle Dissolve. Perhaps the smoothest sound we’ve ever heard; Thievery Corporation has quickly become our kryptonite, bringing everything to a screeching halt whenever it comes on. Perfect for a night of star exploration, wear a pair of good headphones if you really want to discover the cosmos. 2. Girl Talk – Pure Magic. What do you think it would be like to have a conversation with this guy? Loops and samples show up randomly and leave before you even have time to identify where they’ve

Summer’s here. Presenting are a few tunes to throw on that hastily burned CD before you haul the boom box outside. come from. It’s the ultimate sound for today’s attentiondeprived culture. 3. Modest Mouse – Dashboard. MM has returned, and it’s nothing less than we’d expect from Isaac Brock and his compatriots. Driving rhythms, horns and half-singing, half-screaming vocals all coalesce into a throbbing mess of indie angst. Which sounds great, by the way. 4. The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost. The Magic Numbers manifest an energetic, sunshiny return to meaningful pop, and this song has enough harmonies and handclaps to cheer up the dreariest of summer days. Listen. Smile. Repeat.

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(side 2)
1. People Under the Stairs – San Francisco Knights. The perfect compliment to a long summer night of drinking on a front porch, Double K and Thes One provide chilled out, deep hip-hop beats that lend themselves to sailing into the ether. “Drinkin, smokin, more drinkin, more smoking.” Yes, please. 2. The Band – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been cultivating a big Wilco crush, but to really understand modern alt-country, you’ve got to go back to the beginning. Check out this ode to ol’ Virgil Kane, preferably from the soundtrack of The Last Waltz. 3. El-P – Smithereens (Stop Cryin’). This track from Definitive Swim – the Adult Swim/Definitive Jux free compilation – opens with a voice heartily demanding, “Bring me the dramatic intro machine!” before dropping a low-frequency aural bomb directly between your ears. Seek immediate shelter. 4. Goldfrapp – Strict Machine. We spent some time trying to figure out how to describe this track, and realized that we already used the term post-astrofuck in a previous issue, so we’ll just call it damn sexy. You might remember this from a Nip/Tuck promo, but don’t hold that against us.

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(cinema)
E D L O Z O A N
i Th s M on t R h, eb c ec a Ha y ru st ts do w n th e ru nw

R
ay in

y st

le

.

If you consider yourself media savy, you might remember this: before being a dodgeball-playing freak/fitness guru or a night guard at the Museum of Natural History, Ben Stiller was actually funny. Yes, it was a short and tenuous time, but some complete gems did emerge from Stiller and gang. I would consider Zoolander to be one of them.

In some respects, Zoolander is a really historic movie – it marks the first time that a somewhat young group of guys known as the “Frat Pack” really made their presence known, and it would help set the tone for following Frat Pack movies like Anchorman and Old School. For me, it also marks one of Ben’s only movies that I find consistently funny over a long stretch of time.

Zoolander will have you believe that behind the glitz and glamour of the runway, behind all of the vacuous vessels of beauty, and behind the flamboyant personalities known as designers, the fashion industry harbors a dark secret. They alone have been behind every major assassination in history. To be a bit more specific, male models have acted as the hired guns behind history’s most notorious offings – from Lincoln to JFK – all in the name of cheap labor.

But odds are you knew all that already. At this point in our cultural media awareness, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone between the ages of 18 and 30 who hasn’t seen the movie. It’s not a cheap coincidence that The Derek Zoolander School for Kids Who Can’t Read Good is one of the most popular groups on Facebook. But what accounts for the movie’s ongoing popularity?

Well, quoteability is something. It’s a factor that has given such tragic popularity to movies like Napoleon Dynamite. For your consideration: • That Hansel is so hot. • Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking? • I think I’m getting the black lung, Pop. • Did you think I was too stupid to know what a eugoogooly was? • What is this? A center for ants?? • They’re the same face! Doesn’t anybody notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills! • I guess you can dere-lick my balls. Okay, okay, that might not be all of it, but what about celebrity cameos? In our current societal state of comedy, the more random the cameo, the better. Zoolander doesn’t disappoint: • • • • • • • • Billy Zane David Bowie Wynona Rider Fred Durst Lil’ Kim Garry Shandling Paris Hilton Lenny Kravitz

[ed. note: Wikipedia has a complete list if you really care.]

Of course, I would propose the real reason Zoolander succeeds in being infinitely rewatchable – as opposed to something like Wedding Crashers – is because it doesn’t try too hard to shoehorn random cameos and quotes in every scene. The movie came about six years ago when there wasn’t a certain expectation of what a Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson/Will Ferrell movie should be. And therefore it wasn’t busy trying to be that movie. Zoolander succeeds because it is satirical and – gasp! – somewhat original, in a silly sort of way. It’s a sharp satire of the fashion industry without laying out every joke in overly obvious Scary Movie mode. And lest we forget, male models are hilarious – Fabio has taken it upon himself to prove that time and again (goose-in-the-face incident, anyone?). Leave it to male models to die in a “freak gasoline fight accident.” One of the first comedies to be released after 9/11, Zoolander did decently in theaters (coming in second to the extremely forgettable Don’t Say a Word), but seemed destined to become one of those movies that doesn’t pick up steam until after their home release. At less than $8 for the DVD, this is one of the most fashionable purchases you can make.

(audibles)
This month, we take a look at three great albums for summer. Or whatever season you read this in.

Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
2.5 / 4 In today’s culture of indie rock, bands obsessed with retaining their cred often follow up amazing albums with artful shit – so you can imagine it’s nice to see Modest Mouse not retreating from their mainstream success by heading back underground. Even though this album may not have all the hooks or introspective intelligence of Good News, the group still manages to deliver an enjoyable album, full of angular pop layers. “Dashboard” is the bouncy first single and the catchiest song on the album, but overall MM seems to be revisiting their Northwest roots, with many of the songs conveying a nautical, “old sailor” vibe. Don’t let that oblique description throw you – the band does a great job with ballads like “Little Motel” and “Missed the Boat,” which surprisingly opens with a tropical drum machine and leads into a delicate summer night’s groove. Unfortunately, the album is split between catchy singles and the more mundane, and loses that feeling of wholeness that made past MM albums such a treat. Tracks like “Education” and “People as Places as People” just seem downright boring when compared to the rest, but in the end, if you’re a true blue Modest Mouser or fan of unfolding indie music, you’ll want give this one a spin.

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El-P – I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead
3.5 / 4 If a tour bus driving Aesop Rock was careening down a dark road and collided into another bus transporting Nine Inch Nails and Daft Punk, El-P would emerge from the burning, firey carnage. Since his 2002 solo debut, Fantastic Damage, El-P has been widely acclaimed as an intelligent, albeit extremely angry, producer and rapper who won’t shy away from getting in your face. The album’s title really says it all, using everything from metaphors about the world being a desolate downward spiral in “Drive” to the hard-driving sound of a thousand soldiers marching in “Tasmanian Pain Coaster.” Every track on this album brings an intense energy to the proceedings, even bringing in Trent Reznor, the Mars Volta and Cat Power at times to add more punch. There’s plenty of surprises here, like “Smithereens (Stop Cryin),” which toys with an addictive siren backbeat, and “EMG,” which begins with a humorous car commercial ad and quickly turns into a head-pounding bell groove. The only disclaimer we’d offer is the fact that this album is packed full of heavy bass and instrumental breaks that can go on for a while, so if you’re not busy tearing up the dance floor this album may drag in a few spots. That minor point aside, if you’re jonesing for some industrial rap chaos, I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead will be your new gold standard.

Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
3.5 / 4 Wilco’s experimental streak is a well-documented one – beginning with Summerteeth, moving through the landmark Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and into A ghost is born, the band’s creative aesthetic has gradually shifted from their fairly non-descript alt-country beginnings into more adventurous waters. And while there’s been plenty of good music along the way, early Wilco fans have inevitably been waiting for the roots return. Sky Blue Sky finds the band as close as they’ll likely ever be to revisiting Being There, playing with more ‘70s soft rock sounds and Neil Young-isms than ever before. There’s still all the angularity and extended guitar heroics that have marked recent Wilco releases – check out the Harrison-flavored riff in the middle of “Hate It Here” – but there’s also a distinct feeling of flow surrounding it all. Jeff Tweedy’s voice feels more intimate and detailed, and tracks like “Either Way” and “Impossible Germany” present the band in quite possibly the tightest arrangement yet. Songs that seem simple at the surface frequently explode into complex grooves and soulful solos – “Walken” closes with one of the most intense, raucous endings we’ve heard from the band in some time. With only a few minor pockets of uncomfortable musical exploration, Sky Blue Sky undoubtedly delivers one of the best listens you can have this summer.
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(fashionably loud)
If you’re anything like us, music isn’t just an afterthought – it’s an integral part of your day. We’ll take a look at three pairs of ear cannons that will keep your head bobbing in high style until your tinnitus returns.

1a.

2a.

3a.

1a.
Jabra BT620s Bluetooth Stereo Headset

Wires: they’re so yesterday. Technology promises to remove the cables that keep us tied to our music, and with the onslaught of Bluetooth-compatible devices – most notably cell phones and newer laptops – you now have the ability to beam Fergie directly into your ear canal. The Jabra BT620s headset pairs easily with your Bluetooth devices and provides over eight hours of high-quality sound from a single charge. The only complaint is that the low end gets attenuated slightly, and the top volume level might be a little low for those used to in-ear buds, but you need to take care of your ears anyway. The design fits well around the back of your head, making it great for those long walks, wherever the hell you’re going. It also has a built-in microphone, so you can answer phone calls and be that person. Embrace your inner tech nerd and slip into a pair. www.jabra.com

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2a.
Bose Tri-Port Around Ear Headphones

When it comes down to it, life’s entirely too short for the shitty earbuds that come with your audio player. There are a variety of high-end earbuds you can slip deep into your head, but the only models worth their salt are prohibitively expensive, not to mention slightly dangerous if turned up too loud. If you require full sound while you’re strolling to class or through the supermarket, you’ll want to give a pair of these cans a try. Simultaneously one of the best sounding and most lightweight mid-level pairs of headphones we’ve slipped on, the Bose will keep a bounce in your step long after your playlist is over. There’s plenty of low end, but it is balanced well with a respectable soundstage. The sound is detailed and robust, and the earcups do a great job of sealing out sounds and delivering that thump that you deserve. Perfect for traveling or otherwise being on the move. www.bose.com

3a.
Icon HP-280 Headphones

Audiophiles, regardless of income range, continue the search for great sound fidelity, no matter how well you feel you’ve got it locked down. Enter Icon – a company assembling reference-grade studio equipment at friendly hipster pricing – to save the day. Plug into your typical digital audio source running compressed formats (mp3, Ogg Vorbis, etc.) and you’re treated to full sound and a spacious soundstage. Plug some lossless format files (WAV, FLAC, etc.) into a dedicated headphone amp and you’re in a whole new world. We’re not kidding here. Listen to your favorite live album and pretend you’re there (we recommend Kicking Television by Wilco). Icon obviously put some thought into these; soft earcups make the 280s the most comfortable thing you’ll wear all day, and the headband is stout and quickly adjustable. The sound is extremely balanced and even (as reference grade should be), without too much from the low end or overpowering, harsh highs. If you live in headphones, live in these. www.icon-global.com
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(fashion, revolution and apathy)
Fashion has long pushed societies. But have hipsters given up on it?
essay by Emily Schultz On a mild summer afternoon, you find yourself walking on an idle city street. A bit down the road, you might notice another pedestrian with a simple red stocking cap adorning his head. You may briefly posit to yourself, why the hat, in this mild June heat? At this point, you may continue your speculation and in turn create conjectures regarding the man who wears it. But what can really be said of a person, based solely upon their apparel? If, like myself, you are a resident of New York City and also, like myself, a baseball aficionado, you may consider the fact that the hat could be emblematic of the Boston Red Sox. And aside from a muted anger felt towards a representation of the direct adversary of your beloved Yankees, you project relatively little else onto the owner of the cap. You may consider for a moment the vague possibility of their Boston heritage as well as perhaps a kernel of kinship forming over a (probably imagined) common interest in America’s favorite past time. But the gentleman passes and you continue, probably giving little additional thought to the sighting of a red stocking cap in June. If, however, you are a royal supporter walking not the streets of New York City, 2007 but of Paris, France, 1792, the sighting of red headwear vaguely resembling a stocking cap would be cause for much alarm. If you are Louis XVI or Marie Antoinette in the Tuileries Palace on June 20, 1792, the brandishing of a red cap similar to the one in question could entail the beginning of the end of your royal authority. France, 1792 During the French Revolution, clothing and vestimentary adornment were rudimentary to a citizen’s social and
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political identity, redefining the idea of projecting personal beliefs through one’s own image. James Laver, author of Costume and Fashion: a Concise History suggests that through drastic social upheaval, profound changes will take place regarding the dress of both men and women. This is particularly true of the French Revolution, as the emblems on a person’s clothing were considered substantial representation of personal, social and political ideologies. However, in the case of the French Revolution, fashions seemed to predicate the social upheaval rather than developing from it. When a group of citizens known thereafter as les sans-culottes (“without knee britches”) stormed the Tuileries Palace on June 20, 1792, it was the first time that a group formed from political ideology was defined solely by their choice of clothing. It was also, notably, a time when the power to change political policy was shifted from the aristocracy to the common people.

credence to the movement, and in the end, their attempts at controlling the meaning of the headwear would fail and the revolutionaries would overthrow the monarchy. These powerful symbols of the revolt were one of the first stepping-stones in the degradation of the legitimacy of the monarchy, serving as a powerful example of the incredibly subversive power given to objects of vestimentary iconography. Likewise, objects of apparel and adornment served as dangerous symbols for the people of the revolution as well. Donning colors, badges or emblems in dress that were deemed subversive to either the crown or the revolution (depending on the timeframe) was a punishable offense, in some cases by death, according to primary sources of the time. In fact, during the terror of Robespierre, wearing any clothing deemed fashionable at the time could lead oneself to the guillotine.

Indeed, some have argued that Marie On that fateful Antoinette’s fashion day, as the sanschoices as queen, in culottes stormed past part, aided in her own ideologically-opposed beheading. Caroline French royalists, fashion An aristocratic family on the eve of the Reign of Terror that followed the French Revolution. Weber (author of The would change the world. Queen of Fashion) insists The revolutionaries presented that the queen’s radically different ideas of dress, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette with “liberty caps” (the red the redingote which would become, after her death, a headwear discussed above), as well as brandishing signs form of patriotic attire, gave validity to anti-royalist rumors reading “Long live the sans-culottes.” They demanded and scandals that led Marie Antoinette to her execution. royal adornment with the rouge bonnets and support Although a fashion icon in the likes of Princess Diana and of the republic. The royal family defended themselves Jackie Onasis, Marie Antoinette’s life diverged from her against public ridicule and the subversion of authority contemporary counterparts in that she lived in an era of by insisting that it was in fact the choice of the King and such drastic social upheaval, in which image literally meant Queen to adorn themselves with the revolutionary icons everything and the “crime” of costume could, and in her – by adorning themselves with the bonnets, they were case did, result in death. attempting to change the meaning of the iconography. But in wearing the revolutionary icons, the royals leant
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The 20th Century Like the French Revolution, rebelling countercultures in society have had distinct identification through fashion. Swing kids in 1930s Germany were unified by dress and music in their peaceful resistance of Nazi Germany. Their rebellion could be identified through long hair, hats, umbrellas and jazz music. The Beat Generation of the ‘50s, rebelling through anti-materialism and desegregation, could be found with goatees and berets for men and black leotards and straight hair for women, bongos and selfrolled cigarettes (See: marijuana). The hippies in the ‘60s and ‘70s, in all their anti-Vietnam virility, could be easily identified through their clothing: bright colors, flower power, long hair, peace symbols, mini-skirts, fringe vests, etc. The punk movement of the ‘70s and ‘80s began primarily in London and New York with disenfranchised youth revolting against economic regression and cultural oppression of expression; women also used the movement to rebel against patriarchal ideals and began what some would call the third-wave feminist movement. The punk movement was characterized by clothing made to look shocking: appearing worn or tattered with deliberate cuts and tears and adorned with safety pins, zippers and metal studs. In our current era, where image remains one of the most powerful tenets of our society, we have a very identifiable vestimentary counterculture – yet it has much less to do with political ideology and social reform. Are we, too, projecting images of ourselves to enable contemporary discussion on reformative or radical thought? Or, in an era where image is everything, have the fashions of our countercultures ceased to declare any social and political ideologies? Are we expressing our discontent, rebellion, radical or reformative thought through other means? Is our current methodology of costume one of diverging acceptance and tolerance or simply a merging of apathy and ambivalence? A child of the punk rock movement and a cultural critic of our times, Alexander Billet, postulates that during the punk movement, clothing simply “reflected an inner state of mind – one of perpetual rebellion, of rejection of the status quo and proving to everyone that it was possible to be something else than what the authority said I had to be. For me, punk rock was my introduction to being a
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radical.” But, he suggests, the times have sadly changed. No longer is clothing an effective outlet for emotion, rebellion, rejection of the status quo and affirmation of self – in our ubiquitously corporate culture, chain stores like Hot Topic have sprouted up in nearly every mall to cover the late wave punk rebellious types and Urban Outfitters have surfaced nearly as frequently as Starbucks to cover the hipster rejection of the mainstream – which has thus, become mainstream. Billet declares, “It [the hipster subculture] is the most willfully apathetic subculture I have ever encountered. I have hung with a lot of different crowds in my time. Dig deep enough and you can find thriving scenes of Rastas and rude boys, punks and skins, mods and street-cornerMCs. And for the longest time I was convinced that there had to be more to this hipster craze. Unfortunately, no … the beatniks figured it out. So did the ‘60s counterculture. Beboppers and swing-kids in the ‘30s knew it, and the punks had it in spades.” And in reading this shocking diatribe, it is difficult in many ways to disagree. While there are some political and social movements emerging from this modern subculture, the numbers are relatively few. While we don shirts that support Stephen Colbert for president, few of us are actually marching on Capitol Hill, demanding change. While we tend to believe the war in Iraq is unfounded, and wear t-shirts comparing Bush the second to Hitler, few of us are using these symbols of rebellion to actively participate in any sort of movement to advocate change. The bottom line, as it seems, is that we are indeed in a state of apathy. Yes, while we show signs of dissatisfaction with the status quo, despair in our current society and embarrassment over our chosen leader, we tend to take very little action. Or, in our current subculture of hipsterdom, do we use our personal images to approach rebellion and radical thought in a completely different way than our historical counterparts? Perhaps this generation doesn’t believe in the power of the people to bring change the way generations have before us. Because after all the rebellion that has come before us, here the world remains, bleak in many ways.

Perhaps our current social and political apathy could be a direct result of the blurring of lines of the very institutions of “society” and “national politics.” Perhaps we no longer need vestimentary adornment to show our solidarity with those next to us, because we portray digital images and iconography of ourselves at a global level. Perhaps the French looked to their neighbors in order to construct some sort of national identity through shared social and political ideologies, in the very time when the concept of national identity was being born. Perhaps as technological advances are creating a global community so very interconnected and so very small, we no longer identify with a particular nation, and are currently living in a period in which the concept of political identity is reaching its conclusion. Perhaps fashion no longer reflects the changing aesthetic of our social reform. Perhaps our outward manifestations of radical thought will remain apathetic until the world changes, from inside out. Perhaps in what may be construed as apathy, this counterculture is simply demanding more than those who’ve come before.

But perhaps not.

cs

thirty-two

(Fashions of Conservatism)
A quick guide to the most fashionable conservative styles from a bunch of liberal assholes.
In this age of excess and materialism, what could be more stylish than being a Republican? How can you expect to achieve any modicum of fashion lobbying for minimum wage increases and universal health care? The money, the power and the fame all exist exclusively on the right side of the political spectrum. Thus, for those who want to get on the fast track to success but aren’t sure where to start, we present our quick and dirty guide to conservatism. Feel free to mix and match to find the style of conservatism that best fits you. Fiscal conservative Hate government freeloaders and supporting poor people? Do you believe that businesses and corporations should be able to do whatever they damn well please? Welcome to the world of fiscal conservatism. Supporting laissez-faire economics and minimal taxes, you also get to argue for the elimination of most government welfare programs, such as Medicare and food stamps – handouts are antithetical to American morality, after all. Smug bonus: you get to say things like, “In America, we pull ourselves up by the bootstraps!” Religious/Social conservative Hate “progress?” Do you believe God cries every time a gay couple is married? Dreaming of a powerful, centralized government that has the power to override “activist judges” and preserve the last bit of morality in America? You might be a social conservative. Spend your time proving the importance of the nuclear family and the evils of liberals (abortion rights, gay marriage, drug policy). Piety bonus: you get to tell everyone about the War on Christmas!

Paleoconservative Do you find yourself praying for a less-prominent Federal government? Do you consider multicultural societies where everyone is equal to be inherently unstable? Paleoconservatism may be for you! Stressing the importance of Christianity, a decentralized government and owning private property, paleoconservatives spend their time condemning anything that isn’t white and Protestant. Xenophobic bonus: while they generally shy away from U.S. intervention in foreign affairs, you do get to condemn the effects of immigration! Cultural conservative Do you own a suit made out of the U.S. flag? Do you endlessly praise the concept of “shared sacrifice,” even though you’ve never set foot in a recruiter’s office and drive a Hummer? If the back of your car is covered in magnetic ribbons (SUPPORT THE TROOPS!), then cultural conservatism is for you. Spend time praising capitalism and the importance of law, all while calling dissenters “traitors.” Red, white and blue bonus: enjoy throttling anyone who says America isn’t the best country in the world.

Neoconservative If you find yourself constantly lamenting the death of traditional American values, decrying the absence of Christ in our public courts and schools and dreaming about occupying another country to help “spread democracy,” this is for you! Combining the best parts of religious/ social conservatism with balls-to-the-wall imperialism, neoconservatism is the shit. Fear bonus: you get to bomb innocent people into submission, while claiming both God and the Constitution told you to do it.
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(contributors)
The people who got their work in fashionably late.
Chuck Dooley
wrote “Stall 3” for Cesium, and is a freelance writer/ burnout hailing from British Columbia, Canada. He is a frequent contributor to the pages of Cesium, and reminds us constantly that, “his writing is the shit, but he don’t give it out for free.” His novel, The Secret Life of Hot Dogs, is still in limbo, and someone needs to pay his rent.

Emily Schultz
wrote the essay regarding sociopolitical views manifested through clothing and the fashion apathy of the hipster. She is currently pursuing a degree in Independent Study at New York University. She enjoys laughing, saying things she doesn’t mean, picking fights with strangers and she likes Matt and Kim because they refuse to do shows that cost more than $10.

Rebecca Hay
is Assistant Editor (aka intern) at Premier Guitar magazine, where she has spent the last six months sharing an office with (and being a bitch to) Cesium editor Adam. She is also well on her way to becoming a crazy cat lady with four felines at home.

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We were lucky enough to be in Iowa City the last week of March, for the 2nd Annual Mission Creek Midwest Festival. A huge celebration of independent music, art and literature, the festival was three action-packed days of small clubs, spilled beer and perpetually ringing eardrums. So, it was pretty cool. And now, a look at a small fraction of the bands that rocked us silly.

Golden Birds @ The Mill
Friday, March 30, 2007

They loaded on stage, and then gave it all they had. A lot of fun and sounding vaguely reminiscent of Modest Mouse, “Sugarbear” floated through the crowd. We sipped Beam and water and realized they are what summer nights are made of.

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Tilly and the Wall @ The Mill
Friday, March 30, 2007
A frentic, original take on folk-pop that had the entire room bouncing (or maybe that was just the vodka/Red Bull). The crowd frequently pitched in on vocal duties, and then the hipster crowd surfing broke out – watch out for those ceiling fans!

Brighton, MA . The Picador
Saturday, March 31, 2007

Solid alt-country sounds coupled with a roots rock aesthetic. We slowly swayed back and forth to vocalist Matt Kerstein’s Cure-esque delivery and dreamt of better days. Fans of Wilco and the like would be wise to check Brighton, MA out.

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Envy Corps @ The Picador
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Tight, cascading layers of guitars were sent crashing down on the audience, in what was arguably one of the best shows at the festival. We polished off our joint and sang along with “Story Problems” in a sublime moment of musical nirvana.

Mucca Pazza @ The Yacht Club
Saturday, March 31, 2007

A 28-piece punk marching band, in a club that only holds 40? Fucking brilliant, that’s what it is. The room was electric, with trumpeters and trombonists dancing next to the bar staff, and the #6 bass drum situated right next to us, shifting flawlessly between marching band rigor and badass big beat swagger. Yes!

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