Hey Joe

“So was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” Trump asked the crowd. “You know what, I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine, okay? But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy. But Sheriff Joe should feel good.” – Trump at an Arizona rally, August 23rd

It’s rare for the ‘controversies’ section of a person’s Wikipedia page to be longer than the entire rest of it combined. Enter Joe Arpaio: Maricopa County (76% of Arizona population) sheriff whose career history reads like an especially tasteless onion article. Sketchy presidential pardons are an American tradition, and Trump’s managed to make the most questionable executive power even more unethical.

You might know “America’s Toughest Sheriff” from his force’s infamous targeting of Latinos, proudly inhumane jail conditions, Arpaio’s immigration ‘posse’ made up of stars like Steven Seagal, or even the assassination attempt his team faked to drum up election-time support. You can’t make this stuff up.

Arpaio tours one of his infamous outdoor jail facilities, where prisoners pay for meals, wear pink underwear, and endure Arizona heat. These conditions were ruled unconstitutional in 2008 and again in 2010. Arpaio testified saying that “even if he had a billion dollars he wouldn’t change the way he runs his jails.” It’s worth noting this video is from 2012, after some changes were already made.

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Why You’re Sick Right Now

Since college began, I’ve been sick a minimum of 65% of the time. It’s like there isn’t even a point in recent memory when I didn’t have some level of symptom. At this point, I don’t know if I’m more confused or concerned. I sleep and eat decently, relegate drug use to the weekends and even take vitamins. For someone my age, my habits are gold-standard. The worst part is, I’m beginning to realize my influenza-ridden experience isn’t even unique – everyone seems to be sick. I’m writing this article today not only to ask god why I have an awful immune system, but to run down the reasons that you might, too.

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  1. College Campuses are Death Traps

Enrollment at UIC is just short of 30,000 people. Even without faculty, that is an insane number of people to cram into a couple square blocks. As much as I love urban living, I have no problem admitting that humans were just not intended for this level of density. You might say that UIC isn’t as bad because it’s a commuter school, but I would say that there’s just a bigger variety of germs people bring in from their backwood suburbs. I was in a lecture hall the other day and could barely hear the professor because someone different was coughing every couple minutes. It’s pretty obvious that most of us are immunization non-compliant.

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You Should Probably Just Vote Republican

This past weekend, it was warmer in Chicago than San Diego. In February. That’s right, February – the month that everyone told me I would to need to be sleeping under a sun lamp and snorting vitamin D pills to fight suicidal urges.

Though, rather than sulking indoors, it seems that half the city has been drinking outdoors for two days straight. The Quad at UIC which generally sounds like whistling wind was scored by laughter. People were actually smiling and stopping to talk to each other, it was like the amount of beautiful people walking around suddenly tripled. Hell, the lunch lady who I exchange grimaces with as part of my daily routine even told me a joke.

That’s when I knew something was really wrong.

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Why Can’t I Stop Listening to Russian Hip-Hop? Or Why The New Cold War Will Be Fought With Diss Tracks

It was a couple nights ago and I was browsing through the Youtube music related bar, as is my natural stasis when I’m avoiding obligations. Once I saw a song named after the popular Russian streetwear brand, Gosha Rubchinskiy (Гоша Рубчинский), you know I had to click it. I figured I would find some funny, corny rap by dudes who were dressed by the internet. Truth is, I was just not prepared for what I was about to see.

My roommates are so sick of this song

Tracksuits, a ton of dudes crammed into a soviet-style apartment block (could have been filmed at UIC), haircuts that are almost fashionable. The music video looked like the living hyperbolization of every eastern European meme I’ve ever seen. All of this was set to bassy cloud beats and the rapper, FACE, speaking about his love of Gosha. The song was reminiscent of the type of internet trap Lil B popularized: most of the song consisted of FACE repeating Gosha’s name over and over to compare himself to the designer.

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Dark Songs For Dark Days

Recently, we’ve been having the kind of weather that will make most of us take a nap at three in the afternoon, turn down plans to go out, or start drinking for no good reason. It’s not unbearably cold, there’s not an insane amount of rain, but there is something all compassionately gloomy about these foggy, rainy days.

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People love to complain about this kind weather, but the vibe it creates is so unique that I try to appreciate it. There’s just something I can’t place about looking to the skyline and seeing light just barely penetrating the fog. Specifically in Chicago, the style of the architecture combined with the blanket of dim orange light just creates the ominous air of an old noir film.

Plus, certain music just feels like it was meant for times like these. Below I’ve included my favorite tracks for the kind of days you’d rather chill and listen to the rain hit your window than go to class.

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Observations From an Outsider

Being a liberal arts student from California at UIC gets me a lot of questions: the most common of them being, “what?” I guess I didn’t realize when applying that this isn’t a school that generally brings in students from out of state (save for Indiana) or who aren’t pre-med. That being said, I’ve loved my time at the school and in Chicago thus far. I’ve learned a lot from the cultural shift, and being at a school primarily made up of kids that are local has really contributed to that. I never really feel like an outsider here, but it seems that every time I get a little too comfortable, I’ll hear the word ‘merch’ or people talking about Wisconsin Dells, and I remember how weird this place is compared to where I grew up.12456044634_b4883fc739_b.jpgCheck out the corniest picture I could find on Google Images

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Criminally Underrated: Juicy J & Three 6 Mafia

Today, in honor of Halloween, I’d like to speak about an artist who has done more to embrace the dark side of life in his music than just about anyone else.

That person is Jordan Michael Houston; 41 Year old rapper, actor, academy award winner, and innovator.

You might know him as Juicy J.

While known for his modern club bangers like Bandz a Make Her Dance or his work with Wiz Khalifa (different rant for a different day), I’m here today to tell you why Juicy J is one of the most underrated rappers in the history of Hip-Hop. Yes, really.

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Stumbling Into Fashion Week

I don’t think I’ve ever seen more pairs of Stan Smiths in one place. I’d just walked into the backstage area of the 3rd annual Chicago Street Style Fashion Week show put on by PROjectUS, and was greeted by pounding music and a flurry of frantic preparation. I would guess there were around 100 designers, models and makeup artists from 16 brands scurrying around the repurposed Bridgeport warehouse. Tonight was the culmination of a lot of young artists work: there were an expected 400 guests in attendance, and all involved wanted to make sure things went perfectly. It was about 4:30 PM, an hour and a half until showtime, and most designers I talked to seemed to be in a head space of equal parts anxiety and excitement.

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I’d ended up here after doing some visual work for a a friends brand, Aqraba. Technically, I was here to model, but more than anything I just wanted to see how the show would go down. I quickly realized that my story of essentially stumbling into the event wasn’t typical. Everyone in the room seemed to go way back in one way or another, most conversations I heard started with clarification on where they had seen each other’s face before. Generally, people knew each other from a prior event, program, or just through mutual friends. I felt as though I’d stepped into a very defined subculture that was unique from anything else I’d seen so far in this city. I’d always heard that in Chicago, everyone’s grandma knows each other, but that never really made sense till I’d seen the dynamic in that fifth floor warehouse.

Something else I couldn’t help but notice in the backstage area was the duality of the calculated, sophisticated vibe you would expect from a runway show, and the kind of raw energy that’s more characteristic of a concert or house party. There were immaculately dressed designers calmly fitting their models 50 feet away from shirtless dudes doing push-ups and chugging Hennessy. The merging of these two typically separate environments created a lively and unique atmosphere that really reflected the diversity of designers and styles represented.

30 minutes to showtime. It was like a switch went off in the heads of all of the people backstage. All of the sudden it felt like Everyone was running in circles, trying to track down models, and making last minute outfit adjustments. Hell, even the guys who had been drinking since 3 were getting their stuff together. This pace continued for the next two hours of the show, which absolutely flew by. I wasn’t able to watch the majority of the lines walk because I was either helping prep backstage or walking myself. Though, if the constant applause from the audience was any indicator, just about every line killed it. There was something immensely satisfying about watching the models and designers walk out of the curtain looking nervous, and come back smiling and cheering like they’d won the lottery. The energy was great: as the show winded down bottles were getting popped, the music was getting louder, and everyone was celebrating in a way they only could if they were really proud of what they’d done.

Photos by Juan Anthony and Brody Ford.

To read more about PROjectUS and style bias, check out their website here.