Lions' Digest Winter Issue 2021
You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles
YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.
DECEMBER 23, 2021
THE FEATURE MAGAZINE
Winter Mag 2021.indd 1
12/23/2021 4:15:35 PM
MEET THE TEAM
EDITOR IN CHIEF - ADRITA TALUKDER
BUSINESS MANAGER - CLARISSA THEISS
MANAGING EDITOR - ELISA EDGAR
NEWS EDITOR - SOPHIA BILLS
FEATURES EDITOR - RIJA SABEEH
OPINION EDITOR - CHLOE POINDEXTER
SPORTS EDITOR - CORA BAINBRIDGE
GRAPHICS EDITOR - MARISSA XU
PUBLICATION ADVISORS - SARAH RITO &
STAFF WRITER - RACHEL FOSTER
STAFF WRITER - ACE MOORE
STUDENT CONTRIBUTOR - ANN FATHI
STUDENT CONTRIBUTOR - JADELYN
Lions’ Digest is a product of the Journalism classes of the Publications Deparment at
State College Area High School. Lions’ Digest aims to produce accurate and complete
content for its readership. Every effort is made to correct and clarify erroneous
or misleading material. Corrections, comments, questions, and all other communication
with Lions’ Digest should be directed to the Lions’ Digest newsroom. We
encourage all readers to send us feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEND US YOUR WORK
Lions’ Digest encourages all readers to submit cartoons, guest columns, and letters/
emails to the editor. Writers must provide their full name, grade (if applicable), date,
and email address. Letters are limited to 250 words, and guest columns 600 words.
Upon submitting your work, it is subject to approval and editing for space and journalistic
style. Lions’ Digest reserves the right to reject letters.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 2
12/23/2021 4:15:36 PM
04 | SCASD CONFRONTS THE QUESTION OF DIVERSITY
06 | THE END OF AN ERA: SENIORS REFLECT ON THEIR TIME
WITH THE NUTRCRACKER
09 |THE REVITALIZATION OF THE 2000s
10 |BUILDING COMMUNITY THROUGH ART: 3 DOTS
12 | HOLIDAY RECIPES
Ann Fathi & Jadelyn Ding
14 | 12 DAYS OF BOOKMAS
17 | SHOPPING SMALL IN A SMALL TOWN THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
18 | A Q&A WITH MA’AM
20 | A Q&A WITH WNHL
22 | TEAM JOURN’S TOP HOLIDAY MUSIC PICKS
Winter Mag 2021.indd 3
12/23/2021 4:15:36 PM
04 | WINTER 2021
SCASD CONFRONTS THE QUESTION
The majority of teachers in America are white women.
Walking into any average public school in the US,
including State High, is enough to make this clear. In
2020, 76.5% of educators were female, and nearly 80%
were white. Pennsylvania public schools in particular are
home to some of the least racially diverse staff in the nation.
When Dr. Seria Chatters, Director
of Equity and Inclusivity
at SCASD, first entered
the district in 2018, there were
eight employees of color. Eight
employees of color within the
entire district, including those
outside of teaching roles who
never stepped foot in classrooms.
As of the 2021 school
year, that number is now 24.
While a three-fold increase is
certainly a step in the right
direction, it seems hard to
fathom that such a small percentage
should exist in such
a vast district. Although State
College, and Centre County
especially, is a predominantly white area, the percentage
of students of color far outweighs the teachers they see
every day at school. This begs the question: Why? Why
are there so few of them?
One commonly repeated argument for why so many
schools lack POC teachers is that they simply don’t want
to live and teach here, something out of anyone’s control.
“That is an actual common myth,” Chatters said.
“When we think about it, we have an actual large percentage
of our teachers in SCASD that attended State
High. They graduate from here and go on to Penn State
and then they come back and they work here. So in
reality, if we held those same expectations for our students
of color as well, we should see a good reflection of
students who want to go into education going to Penn
State and then coming back.”
BY ELISA EDGAR
The reason why this theory fails to reflect the reality of
staff makeup can be attributed to many different factors,
some of which are impossible to measure with a
number or eradicate with a policy. For example, if the
high school experience for students of color in their
hometown was not a good one, they are much less
likely to return and teach. Some students graduating
from State High may not ever
see themselves coming back.
“If we make high school a better
place for all students to be,
and in particular students of
color, students with disabilities,
then we have a higher
likelihood of being able to
hire them back,” Chatters said.
Part of her job description
is doing just that; providing
to produce equal outcomes.
Equal outcomes means closing
the racial gap in graduation
rates, equal participation
diversifying AP classes, and more. Essentially, the
hiring process starts long before it’s time to apply.
Besides hiring new faces from the outside, another
key way that schools can increase staff diversity is
hiring from within. In SCASD, as within many other
school districts, there is a far higher percentage of
POC paraprofessionals working on support teams
than teachers. Better pathways must be provided
for paraprofessionals who are interested in becoming
teachers to be able to get into the teaching field
in order to hire from within. Since those individuals
have demonstrated that they like working in SCASD
and already live in State College, they create promising
prospects for filling a new role. Often, lack of easy
and accessible pathways into becoming a teacher is
one of the main barriers that potential applicants face.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 4
12/23/2021 4:15:36 PM
05 | WINTER 2021
“We have a number of people that live in the community,
but sometimes navigating the Pennsylvania teacher certification
process is difficult, and if you’re by yourself doing
it, it could be even more difficult,” Chatters said.
State High is currently working to partner with outside
groups, as well as the Race and Marginalized Populations
workgroup within the district. A subcommittee of parents
at the Easterly Parkway PTSO are also looking to form a
group to mentor individuals of color or individuals with
disabilities who need a mentor to help them navigate the
However, the hiring process itself has become one of the
main focuses for improvement for State High in the past
few years. Streamlining the process to be the same across
schools in the district is an important step to eliminating
interview bias, including “group-think,” which Chatters
believes must be removed from the process. After an interview
takes place, two interviewers often discuss their
opinions of the candidate together, and then record their
observations afterward. The problem with this practice is
that one person may think one way about a candidate,
but by the time their partner talks to them, they’re able
to convince them to change their opinions. By shifting
to individual, anonymous evaluations of applicants, everyone’s
perspective can be heard without bias spreading
The work doesn’t stop once a teacher is through the door,
though. With only 24 faculty members of color in a district
with close to 650 teachers, how often are those faculty
even going to see each other? How often will they have
a peer? Even after the district puts in substantial work to
hire more and more people, if they don’t feel accepted or
connected here, they stay for a year and then leave. Both
Chatters and the former principal of State High, Curtis
Johnson, have both been working to combat this issue by
establishing a mentoring program for diverse employees
so that they can connect them with each other. The group
will be meeting once a month and supporting staff while
they’re at State High.
The efforts being put into changing these problems are for
good reason; the detriments of not having POC representation
in school staff come in many forms.
“All students lose out when we don’t have a diverse teacher
workforce. And I wanna be really key on the fact that
white students lose out as well. When they are not seeing
diverse representations of people that they can learn from,
connect with, and are able to form these great relationships
with, they miss out,” Chatters said. “But, the reason
why Black students, Latinx students, Asian students,
and students with disabilities miss out most is because
they are not getting to see themselves reflected back in
these wonderful individuals. We know every human being
can probably think back to a teacher that they connected
with, that was special to them, that made them
feel special. And sometimes, there were some parts of that
teacher that you may have felt you can connect with. So,
for our students from many diverse backgrounds, when
they never ever get those experiences, it causes a significant
gap in their life to not see themselves reflected.”
Students who have never seen anyone similar to them in
a teaching role will have a harder time picturing themselves
sitting behind that desk. These gaps that are created
only stretch wider and wider as kids get older,
and feel more and more as if it’s too late, and being a
teacher is just something that wouldn’t make sense.
It’s also important to recognize that POC teachers in
school shouldn’t be confined to their identity. While
a Latina woman teaching Spanish or a Middle Eastern
man teaching Arabic is not a bad thing, people of color
have skills beyond teaching their language or culture.
To respect that people of color and individuals
with disabilities hold value across the education system
allows for students to be able to be excited and have an
opportunity to connect with teachers of all backgrounds.
With all of this in mind, keeping the status
quo in high schools everywhere, including
State High, is simply no longer an option.
“You’re going to get back exactly the amount of effort
you’ve been putting in. Doctor Bob O’Donnell, our superintendent,
he’s laser-focused on this issue because he’s
always laser-focused on doing what’s best for kids and we
recognize what research says. More diverse teachers really
do help with overall student outcomes,” Chatters said.
This year, Chatters is tremendously proud of the district
for putting in a great amount of effort to bring in
a more diverse staff which has helped identify the changes
that must be made within the educational system.
With the responsibility for the wellbeing of almost a
thousand students in their hands, it is imperative to her
that the small victories SCASD has made in past years
continue to grow and create a snowball effect of change.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 5
12/23/2021 4:15:36 PM
THE END OF AN ERA: SENIORS
REFLECT ON THEIR TIME WITH THE
BY ADRITA TALUKDER
Every year come December, theaters across the globe
put on productions of The Nutcracker, drawing the
attention of millions young and old. The ballet, which
began as a children’s story, has since become a quintessential
staple of the holidays, and has been a part of State
College’s winter festivities for years. Nittany Ballet, the
Central PA dance studio nestled among the buildings of
Research Drive, puts on a yearly production of the ballet,
delighting viewers in what can only be described as a magical
The story follows young Clara (also known as Marie in
certain renditions of the story), who is gifted a nutcracker
doll from her Godfather, Herr Drossleymeyer, on Christmas
Eve. Before heading to bed, Clara places the nutcracker
under her family’s Christmas tree. What awaits Clara
in the night is the story of The Nutcracker, a wondrous tale
of thrilling battles, captivating dances, and the magic of
Senior Clara Pollock, who played Clara when she was in
6th grade, reflected on the role. For Pollock, the character
of Clara was her first lead role, and her experience of being
the main character in The Nutcracker was enchanting.
“It was one of my first ‘older kid’ roles, so I felt like I
was sort of growing up in that way. I wasn’t really dancing
with the younger kids anymore,” Pollock said. “It was all
just very magical, because being the main character of the
story, you get to experience the story instead of actually
having to dance so much. [...] It was pretty surreal. I
mean, looking back on it now, it wasn’t really the greatest
achievement, but I think as a little kid, [you] kind of
aspire to be her.”
As a senior, Pollock played the Sugar Plum Fairy. It was
Winter Mag 2021.indd 6
12/23/2021 4:15:39 PM
07 | WINTER 2021
Senior Clara Pollock, who plays the Sugar
Plum Fairy, rehearses her solo in Act 2 of The
Nutcracker on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Photo
by Adrita Talukder.
her last Nutcracker with Nittany Ballet,
and she came full-circle, performing
the role she once looked up to as a
“My first role, I was an angel in
The Nutcracker, which is kind of like
a full-circle moment for me, because
in the Sugar Plum Fairy there’s one
scene where she comes out and gets
to dance with other angels, so I [now]
get to see the little kids dancing,”
Pollock isn’t alone in this feeling.
For many of the senior dancers, their
final Nutcracker with Nittany Ballet
has given them the opportunity to
fulfill their childhood dreams.
“It feels kind of weird sometimes
to think that you never thought you
would have [these] parts, and now
you’re in rehearsal, [and] the little
kids that you [once were are] watching
you in rehearsal, and it’s sort of a full
circle moment,” said senior Gabby
Showalter, who played Dewdrop.
While there’s a sense of gratitude
among the senior dancers for their
studio, their current roles, and each
other, with their final Nutcracker upon
them, they couldn’t help but feel a
little emotional. When thinking about
her experiences with The Nutcracker,
Pollock recalled her favorite scenes
from the show.
“I definitely like the final scene
when you get to see [Clara] hold up
the nutcracker,” Pollock shared. “But
also the end of Waltz of the Flowers,
because that’s traditionally a dance
with all of the older dancers, and I
feel like we just sort of find a good
community within it. I don’t know,
every time I hear the end of the music
and we’re just all on stage together,
I just feel like crying. Like no matter
what year I’ve done it. [...] I feel like
everything is just a lot more emotional
[this year] because in the back of
my mind I know it’s the last time I’ll
be doing it here with the same people.
I guess I’m just a lot more appreciative
[of] the time that I have.”
As Pollock’s time with Nittany
Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker
came to a close this year, she found
herself more aware of the time she has
left. For Showalter, on the other hand,
the finality of the upcoming performances
hadn’t quite hit her yet.
“It’s weird, I don’t think it’s hit me
yet,” said Showalter, reflecting prior
to the performances. “It’ll be the last
show and it’ll hit me on stage, but I
think it’s a little bittersweet, because
obviously it’s sad that I won’t be a
part of it anymore, but I guess it’s sort
of—we’ve worked towards this point,
so it’s literally and figuratively a graduating
Showalter has been dancing in The
Nutcracker since she was in Kindergarten.
For her, The Nutcracker has been a
yearly tradition that she’s taken part
in for over a decade.
“It’s almost become tradition at this
point, just because I’ve participated
every year for a while,” Showalter
said. “And also, [I’ve gotten] to be
part of that tradition for the people
that come and watch it every year. [...]
For me, I’ve just gotten so used to it
that it’s just a part of what I do at the
For many dancers, this is the case.
But for senior Anneliese Welsh, who
played the Snow Queen, The Nutcracker
has been a relatively new experience.
“My first full Nutcracker, doing the
actual thing, was in my sophomore
year, when I [moved to State College],”
Welsh said. “I haven’t done
Senior Gabby Showalter, who played Dewdrop in The Nutcracker, rehearses at the Nittany
Ballet studio on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Photo by Adrita Talukder.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 7
12/23/2021 4:15:44 PM
08 | WINTER 2021
Senior Anneliese Welsh, who played the Snow Queen, rehearses in the Nittany Ballet
studio on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.
too [many] Nutcracker things, [and]
most people are like ‘oh yeah, it’s just
Nutcracker again,’ but I still feel really
excited—I have this childlike kind of
excitement about it because it’s this
tradition I feel very connected to as
a dancer, but also like I haven’t been
able to engage fully with for so long.”
While Welsh hasn’t been able to
dance in The Nutcracker for as long as
her peers, it’s still a show she’s grown
up with, and she has a connection
with it as deep as any other dancer.
For her, The Nutcracker isn’t only a
coming of age story, but a rite of
passage for dancers.
“The symbolism of the story itself
is very much about this coming age
story, which I think is just really interesting
from that perspective—that this
story about a young girl growing up is
the story that’s being told, because I
think especially in the time that it was
created, that wasn’t a story that was
super valued. To [now] see that story
being really valued is really interesting
[to] me,” Welsh reflected. “As a dancer,
[The Nutcracker] feels almost like a
rite of passage to be doing the roles
and learning the pieces.”
With performances on Dec. 10,
11, and 12, the lives of the dancers
became ever more hectic in the week
leading up to performances. Students
rehearsed for The Nutcracker for
months, and as opening night creeped
near, they spent long nights in the
studio, working to perfect their technique
for their performances. In the
midst of intensive rehearsals, it can
be difficult to step back and find joy
in what you’re doing, something that
Welsh worked hard to prioritize.
“I know in my brain [ballet] is
something that I love, and I do enjoy
it, but a lot of the time, especially
in the show week, which I get really
excited about, it’s easy to lose track
of remembering to enjoy what it is
that you’re doing,” Welsh said. “And
I remember the first year that I was
there, Connor would always say ‘it’s
the joyful pursuit of excellence’—
[which] is the motto of Nittany
Ballet—and he’d be like ‘what word
are we underlining?’ and it was always
‘joyful.’ And it was kind of silly, he’d
always say it, and we’d always end up
laughing, but I really do believe that
that is the approach that we have here
and it’s really important to remember
that and that’s something, especially
during Nutcracker, when it’s during
the holiday season, joy is this very big
thing to focus on.”
The teachers at Nittany Ballet emphasize
the idea of “the joyful pursuit
of excellence” to their students, along
with another key message: “taking it
all in.” For Pollock, the idea of stepping
back and taking in everything—
how far she’s come, and how the show
has come together—has been one of
the biggest things she’s learned during
her time at Nittany Ballet. Like Welsh,
Pollock is taking the time to enjoy the
process, especially with this being her
“I think mainly I’ve learned about—
what my one teacher likes to say is,
‘taking it all in,’” Pollock said. “I
think it’s really easy, when there’s sort
of that pressure to perform well, to
sort of just like, have the performance
go by in a blur and not really recognize
your accomplishments and at
the end of the day, when you get on
the stage, you have to trust that your
technique is strong and just kind of
live in the moment.”
Nittany Ballet unveiled The Nutcracker
at The Mishler Theatre on
Dec. 10 and 11 at 7:00 pm and Dec.
12 at 2:00 pm. Students interested in
supporting Nittany Ballet and the
Performing Arts School of Central
Pennsylvania can donate by going to
Seniors Emily Maciejczyk (left) and Molly
Yoder (right) rehearse Coffee, on Wednesday,
Dec. 1, 2021.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 8
12/23/2021 4:15:48 PM
rediscover other nostalgic media. Nearly everyone,
teenagers and adults alike, went crazy when Twilight
was added to Netflix this summer, cementing our
society’s obsession with nostalgia and past decades.
As a society, we consistently cycle through fashion
and trends, often bringing back a singular decade
at a time. Throughout the past year, the Y2K era
of fashion has noticeably made a return with the
influence of Generation Z. You may have noticed
more and more people wearing these iconic staples
recently: low rise jeans(unfortunately), matching
velour tracksuits, cardigans, blinged-out baby tees,
Uggs, and denim on denim. Much of this style has
been repopularized with a spin due to influencers
such as Emma Chamberlain, in addition to the
collective admiration for movies that were popular
at the time, such as Mean Girls and Legally Blonde.
There’s an added benefit to the return of 2000s
fashion, too. It’s easily available in secondhand
shops, making it less environmentally taxing.
THE RESURGENCE OF
BY RACHEL FOSTER
Every few years, the world seems to find itself stuck in a
“time period” vortex. During this time, the present finds
itself obsessing over and captivated by the culture of the past.
For example, the 80s and 90s came back strong in the late
2010s. This past year, the world has been living for the iconic
Y2K style, which dominated the 2000s. The 2000s have seen
a comeback in all facets of our lives, most predominantly in
fashion and on social media.
The entertainment industry loves to exploit and capitalize
on the culture of nostalgia. One of the easiest ways to relive
the 2000s is to take a single moment to scroll through social
media apps such as TikTok or Instagram. Here, you will find
nostalgia-fueled videos aiming to “unlock hidden memories.”’
A classic example of this is point-of-view style videos, such
as “POV: watching The Polar Express on the last day of school before
break.” Creators of videos like these aim to remind viewers
of moments from their childhood. Additionally, creativity runs
rampant on social media, allowing users to recreate looks, indulge
in 2000s music (Duvet by Bôa is trending right now), and
In case you haven’t noticed, the revival of the
2000s is directly related to celebrity culture right
now. The recent rebirth of 2000s culture has been
cemented as a trend due to the reappearances of
celebrities from that decade. Britney Spears, a pop
icon of the 2000s, has been in the spotlight for the
past few months as she and the rest of the world
fought for the end of her conservatorship, which
had gone on since 2008. Additionally, Lindsay
Lohan is returning to the big screen to star in a
new Christmas movie on Netflix and Katy Perry
has dyed her hair black once again, returning to
her look from the past. Megan Fox is back in the
public eye after finding love with rapper Machine
Gun Kelly. With the resurgence of 2000s celebrities
in mainstream media, much of the general public
have found themselves romanticizing the 2000s.
Trends come and go, as they typically rotate within
the short-lived trend cycle. It’s smart to take advantage
of and admire this Y2K resurgence right now,
because it will inevitably end. But hopefully, this
doesn’t mean that 2010s fashion will come back,
because those were the darkest of days.
09 | WINTER 2021
Winter Mag 2021.indd 9
12/23/2021 4:15:48 PM
10 | WINTER 2021
THROUGH ART: 3 DOTS
The main sign in the 3 Dots lobby, located in downtown State College, PA, on Tuesday, Dec 7.
Photo by Adrita Talukder.
Music, along with the enticing
smells of a halal food truck,
fills the air of downtown State College
every Tuesday outside of 3 Dots.
Located at 137 East Beaver Avenue,
this arts innovation organization
has been ranked “Best Community
Space” in town for three consecutive
years. From the outside, 3 Dots is
recognizable as the building with a
lone piano sitting on the corner of
the street, inviting passersby to try
it out. Inside, a lounge area and loft
space provide a welcoming gathering
area to the public where local artists
are promoted through their gallery,
window space, and entry area. Its
vision, mission, and values are simple;
to shape State College into a vibrant
cultural destination elevated by the
humanities, local art, and change that
BY ELISA EDGAR
3 Dots is open Tuesday-Saturday
from 12-5 pm to the public, and
holds “Makers Days,” workshops led
by local artists, every Wednesday and
Friday. Most nights after five, they
hold a wide range of evening events
such as Tuesdays on the Terrace and
First Friday. Tuesdays on the Terrace
occur weekly from 5-8 pm, where
community members are invited to
an open mic, socializing with live music
on the patio, and enjoying an indoor
gallery space. On First Friday, a
downtown-wide event that takes place
on the first Friday of every month, 3
Dots hosts live performances catered
with an array of various mocktails to
enjoy. The space can also be rented
out as a venue for events throughout
Tuesdays on the Terrace were created
as a natural result of the quarantine
that began in 2020. With indoor
spaces posing such a threat when it
comes to the spread of Covid, like
many others, 3 Dots looked for outside
alternatives to host events. Since
more people felt comfortable gathering
outside, the patio space outside of
their entrance became an easy answer.
3 Dots sets itself apart from almost
all other businesses and hubs downtown
by requiring all guests to be
fully vaccinated, as well as any gathering
of 25+ people to be fully masked.
This doesn’t come as a surprise,
though, to those familiar with the
work they do.
On Dec. 7, a Holiday Finale was
held at 3 Dots featuring volunteers
who catered the event with different
food, drinks, and wines. Described
as a thank you for all of the people
that have come out for the last six or
Winter Mag 2021.indd 10
12/23/2021 4:15:51 PM
11 | WINTER 2021
so odd months of Tuesdays on the
Terrace, it celebrated all of the music
and creative endeavors that had taken
place there over time. Christmas jazz
music floated through the lounge,
brought to life by a grassroots jazz
band group. For most of the fall, they
were playing out on the patio before
taking a slight hiatus due to colder
weather. Keiffer Quandel on the bass
and Anton Fatula on the piano expressed
similar attitudes about Three
“It’s just a good time,” Fatula said.
“We’re super thankful that we get to
come here and play our music and
just see people happy, it always makes
our day better.”
One glance around the lounge is
enough to make clear that the organization
is built both by and for volunteers
from the community. Jay Q,
a volunteer who poured wine at the
celebration, comes to help out often.
“I come to most of the Tuesdays, or
at least once a week,” Q said. “I think
it’s just a really special space and lets
me interact with the community in a
An installation by Sanh Brian Tran at 3 Dots on
Tuesday, Dec. 7. Photo by Adrita Talukder.
3 Dots hosts a Community Jazz Jam at its last Tuesdays on the Terrace of 2021. Photo by Adrita
way I don’t generally get to. It’s just
kind of like a hangout.”
Events such as live music, social
dance, improv, local fundraisers, art
classes, seminars, and more are held
not just to bring people together, but
to make a change. Executive Director
Erica Quinn is not just an artist, but
an advocate and educator.
There have been over 30 grants
given to local creatives by 3 Dots,
which awards $1,000 grants funded
by trustees to fund creative projects
across the community. Trustees, like
Dan Trew, donate $100 per month to
go towards these grants.
“That money goes into a granting
program, and those grants go out
into the community for people who
want $1000 to creatively change the
community in some way,” Quinn
“Really, the limit is only what the
community wants to see happen,”
In 2021, activists and filmmakers
Pablo Lopez and Tierra Williams
produced “Black Tea,” a multi-part
video series furthering race-based
dialogue and addressing the racism
still present in Centre County every
day. In 2020, artists Julie Verdon
and Kieran Holland built an ‘Art-
To-Go’ machine that dispensed local
artwork from a repurposed cigarette
machine placed on 3 Dots’ sidewalk.
That same year, nursing home worker
Cindy Way placed bird feeders outside
nursing home windows during
the pandemic, which were filled and
visited by community members. If
you’ve walked past the wild geese mural
downtown, you’ve seen a direct
result of a 3 Dots’ grant.
Since its establishment in June of
2019, the organization has accomplished
considerable success such as
$500,000 in downtown economic
development generated this past year,
as well as 20,000+ people that have
passed through the space in 2021
to visit and attend events. When
Tuesdays on the Terrace were first
created, Quinn intended for them to
be “a place to experience joy.” Next
year, Quinn, along with everyone else
involved, hopes to see 3 Dots expand
their scope of impact on State
College with more grants for years to
come. The past few years, along with
a summer of patios and pianos, has
shown to everyone in town that 3
Dots is a place for people to find joy.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 11
12/23/2021 4:15:55 PM
RECIPE COURTESY OF ANN FATHI
ILLUSTRATION BY MARISSA XU
“I am so happy to share one of the very common winter
recipes used in Egpyt and all over the Middle East.
Sahlab is a hot, milky drink that is usually made during
the winter in order to keep people warm. This drink is
super easy to make as it is basically a powder—that can be
bought from the international market here in Downtown
State College—mixed with milk. You can also make it
from scratch. This drink reminds me of the cozy winter
days back home, [when] I would wake up and find my
dad making Sahlab for us as a family. This drink is easy
to make yet so delicious and keeps everyone warm. I love
how this drink can also be eaten with a spoon depending
on the number of nuts you add to it, [and] I add way too
much to the sahlab mixture!”
- Milk or Vegan Milk
- Corn or Potato Starch
- Sugar or Honey (For Sweetening)
- Vanilla Extract
- Rose Water
- Chopped dried fruits
- Shredded coconuts
1. Get a medium-sized pot and add 1 cup of water, two tablespoons
of sugar, and one tablespoon of Sahlab powder.
2. Place the pot on a medium stove and mix until the
mixture thickens. If desired, at this stage add optional
flavorings such as vanilla extrace or rose water.
3. After that, pour the drink into little cups and then add
any dry fruits and/or nuts on the mixture.
4. Drink or eat the sahlab with a spoon, depending on
how thick you make the mixture. Drink while warm.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 12
12/23/2021 4:15:56 PM
腌 笃 鲜 (YĀN DU XIĀN)
RECIPE COURTESY OF JADELYN DING
ILLUSTRATION BY MARISSA XU
“ 腌 笃 鲜 is a warm soup made by simmering salted
and fresh pork together. The soup typically also includes
bean curd knots and fresh winter bamboo shoots. The
character“ 腌 ”translates to “cured”or“marinated,”which
refers to the salted pork. The character“ 笃 ”is
onomatopoeia for the sound of the water boiling with the
ingredients. The character“ 鲜 ”translates to“fresh,”
which refers to the fresh pork.“ 鲜 ”also connotes a delicious,
savory flavor. 腌 笃 鲜 is popularly eaten during
the winter and spring due to the abundance of bamboo.
Whenever I visit China, I often stay in Shanghai, my
father’s hometown. 腌 笃 鲜 originates from the 江 浙 沪
(jiāng zhè hù) area, so it is a dish that I have eaten
many times at Shanghainese restaurants.
1. Stir fry pork belly, salted pork, and cured ham in a pot
on high heat until lightly browned.
Add ginger root and Shaoxing wine.
2. Add 4-5 cups of boiled water, then lower the heat to
medium-low. Simmer for 2 hours or
until the meat is tender and the soup develops a white,
milky color. Add more hot water
3. Add bamboo shoots and stew for another 30 minutes.
4. Add bean curd knots and stew for a final 5-10 minutes.
5. Add chopped green onion to the soup. Season with
white pepper powder.
80g salted pork (cured pork belly), cut
into 1-inch chunks
100g fresh pork belly, cut into 1-inch
100g bean curd knots ( 百 ⻚ 结 , bǎi
150g fresh winter bamboo shoots ( 冬
笋 , dōng sǔn), cut into 1-inch long
1 green onion, chopped
5 thin slices ginger root
1/2 cup Shaoxing cooking wine ( 绍 兴
料 酒 , shào xīng liào jiǔ)
White pepper powder ( 白 胡 椒 粉 , bái
hú jiāo fěn), to taste
Winter Mag 2021.indd 13
12/23/2021 4:15:57 PM
12 DAYS OF BOOKMAS
‘Tis the season…to finally pick up a book, check off your 2021 New Year’s Resolution to “read more,” or simply explore new
worlds. Below are the 12 Days of Bookmas. The titles span time periods, genres, and topics. Browse at your pleasure. Article by
01. THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO, BY TAYLOR
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is old-Hollywood reincarnated. The story follows a Marilyn Monroe-esque actress
who is willing to do anything to gain fame and success. As she rapidly climbs her way to the upper crust of society, she
is torn between her career, her love, and her own morals. As the novel progresses, her life secrets are revealed through
an inexplicable interview with little known journalist Monique Grant. The plot toggles between Evelyn’s past and the
present. The imagery—especially of the red carpet gowns—firmly situates the book into its intended era of glitz and glam.
Having an imperfect protagonist with no true shining star made the narrative much more accessible, although her mistakes
are frequently rage inducing. The story balances the dark secrets of Hollywood with more broad themes of identity
and personal choice. With an ending that needs to be read twice, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is an enticing and
02. SIX OF CROWS DUOLOGY, BY LEIGH BARDUGO
Imagine Ocean’s 11, except instead of George Clooney in a tuxedo, it’s a gang of teenagers who scraped together a crime
ring with knives, brutality, and a little bit of magic. Now add in brewing international (and romantic!) tensions, acrobats,
and a prison break. This is the first few chapters of Six of Crows. This fast-paced young adult novel is set in Leigh
Bardugo’s fantasy Grishaverse, which includes the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the King of Scars duology. However, Six
of Crows is by far her most enjoyable work. Perhaps it is the characters who, despite knowing twenty eight ways to rob a
man blind, seem all too relatable. Or, the representation for plus sized women, those who struggle with PTSD and touch
aversion, and sexual abuse victims. And, for enjoyers of this work, Netflix created an adaption of its’ partner trilogy
entitled Shadow and Bone. Characters from both collections of work appear in the show.
03. THE SONG OF ACHILLES, BY MADELINE MILLER
A perfect read for those who had an intense Greek Mythology phase in middle school, The Song of Achilles retells a
famous Greek myth of Achilles, a hero hailed for his speed and beauty, and Patroclus, a disowned prince. Miller replicates
the dispassionate vessel that myths are commonly told through with ease, while still stirring up vibrant and aching
emotions for the readers. The book hinges on the Battle of Troy, and the tragedy that follows. As with all Greek stories,
one can expect meddling gods, cruel twists of fate, and a love that rattles the stars. This book does a fantastic job of historical
accuracy, both to the time the plot occurred in, and to the reference text of The Iliad. Even though readers have
already been told the ending to the tale, Miller retells the myth in a way that feels as authentic as its origin source.
04. THE VANISHING HALF, BY BRIT BENNETT
This novel follows the story of twin sisters, born in the same southern Black town before they were cleaved apart by
life. However, years later, their daughters are thrust together, and the sisters are forced to confront the past they spent so
long ignoring. Spanning half a century and two coastlines, The Vanishing Half ambitiously explores both personal battles
with race and sense of self, but also the cultural connotations of American history. All readers will connect with some
contemplation of this book. In fact, this read is guaranteed to spark self-realization, or at least some long looks inside.
Prepare for interweaving timelines and storylines so poignant it feels like a punch to the gut. The Vanishing Half balances
aspects of romance, familial connections, and tragedy with ease.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 14
12/23/2021 4:15:57 PM
05. THE BROWN SISTERS ROMANCES, BY TALIA HIBBERT
These books are for the romance readers who despise Hallmark movies. The Brown Sisters is a trilogy series that follows
three sisters on their own journeys to love. Hibbert has dedicated her authorial career to writing the characters often
left out from mainstream media. For instance, Get a Life Chole Brown, the first of the set, introduces a chronically ill
Black woman, and Act Your Age Eve Brown revolves around two autistic love interests. Beyond her tasteful representation,
Hibbert is a master of writing love stories with imperfect characters and realistic relationships. It is a refreshing change
of pace from traditional narratives, without feeling intentionally different or quirky. The suggested order for reading The
Brown Sisters is: Get a Life Chloe Brown, Take a Hint Dani Brown, and Act Your Age Eve Brown.
06. AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, BY SABAA TAHIR
There is such a thing as a portal to another world, and it’s called An Ember in the Ashes. The novel, set in a loose adaptation
of Ancient Rome, follows a young girl living under the thumb of the empire. When her brother is captured for
treason, she desperately turns to rebel aide. This path leads her to no other than the empire’s most dangerous soldier.
However, he is not as loyal as he may seem. Be warned: the book is not a rose-colored fantasy novel. There are potentially
triggering topics including torture, threats of r*pe, and child abuse. Also be warned: the characters in this book
are not superheroes immune to fear. Despite being set in a fictitious world, An Ember in the Ashes is home to extremely
realistic characters. This book does not invoke warm and fuzzy feelings. But it will foster extreme fury, fear, sorrow, and
above all, empathy.
07. CRYING IN H MART, BY MICHELLE ZAUNER
Michelle Zauner is most commonly known for her rock band, Japanese Breakfast, for which she plays the guitar and
leads vocals. However, with Crying in H Mart, Zauner proves herself as a formidable author. The memoir revolves around
her identity as a Korean American, and spans her humble beginnings in Oregon to her mother’s battle with terminal
cancer. Zauner contemplates her heritage, and how distant she begins to feel from it, especially as she moves to the East
Coast, far away from her family. The memoir is made extremely accessible by Zauner’s simplistic writing style, allowing
readers to focus solely on the story she is telling. Crying in H Mart is a reminder of how quickly lives can change. It is
also a widely relatable story of a woman struggling to balance parental expectations with her desires and goals.
08. PUNCH ME UP TO THE GODS, BY BRIAN BOOME
With the best authors, the story they’re telling doesn’t even need to be remarkable; their stylistic techniques and unique
voice are enough to keep even the most distracted reader enthralled. Brian Broome is one of these authors, except his
story is remarkable. Born in Ohio, Broome recounts his childhood, riddled with hidden crushes on other boys, racial
discrimination due to his dark skin, and a constant feeling of “otherness” hanging about him. As he grows up, he turns
to drug use to cope, a fact that Broome retells with unflinching honesty. Punch Me Up to the Gods is an authentic look
into the struggles Black men face in America. It is a timely and necessary read for anyone hoping to understand the
cultural complexities at play in our country.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 15
12/23/2021 4:15:58 PM
book or media
out the Arts &
section on the
09. THE PUSH, BY AUDREY AUDRAIN
This isn’t a thriller in the traditional sense. There aren’t heart-pounding chase scenes or gory deaths. Rather, The Push
provides the darkest twist on motherhood, family dynamics, and the age-old question of nature versus nurture. When
Blythe, a woman haunted by her dark family life, gives birth to her first daughter, Violet, she tries everything to create a
bond with her. However, Blythe quickly comes to believe that there is something wholly twisted about her child, despite
her husband and mother-in-law insisting she must be doing something wrong. Blythe has another child, a son, and the
already strained family turns even darker. From inexplicable hatred to insanity, The Push is unbelievably unnerving.
This read is not comfortable, nor heartwarming. However, it is guaranteed to incite sweaty palms, racing hearts, and a
deep rethinking of what motherhood truly is.
10. UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR, BY T.J. KLUNE
The concept of a journey to the afterlife has been around for as long as literature has; the River Styx and pharaohs buried
with gold to buy their way to the next life are two of the earliest allusions to passing over. It is safe to say humans
have a fascination with what comes next. Under the Whispering Door is a fresh take on this classic trope. When a man
named Wallace is collected by the Reaper and taken to a small village, he meets the Ferryman who ushers souls over
the afterlife. But Wallace isn’t ready to go. Given a measly seven days, Wallace sets out to live a lifetime alongside the
enthralling Ferryman. With a story that already ended before it began, an author unafraid to mix humor with tragedy,
and a contemporary fantastical world, Under the Whispering Door is a complete contemplation of how we live our lives,
and what truly matters.
11.A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW, BY AMOR TOWLES
Haven’t heard the words “isolation,” “distancing,” and “loneliness” enough these past two years? Then, A Gentleman in
Moscow is the book for you! It’s 1922, and Count Alexander Rostov has just been sentenced to house arrest. He is ordered
to stay in a hotel right in the heart of Moscow. As political powers shift, rebels take the street, and Russian culture
is forever changed, Rostov sees nothing but the view from outside his hotel window. This unique narrative perspective
lays the foundation for the personal revelations Rostov experiences throughout his decades of solitude. Outlandish and
entertaining characters paired with meticulous attention to historical detail make A Gentleman in Moscow the perfect
read for any historical buff looking for a more personalized story. Even those who don’t typically dabble in historical
fiction can find enjoyment in Towles’ descriptive and lavish writing style. Regardless of the reader, this novel will drum
up a wide variety of emotions.
12. CLOUD ATLAS, BY DAVID MITCHELL
Cloud Atlas is whiplash in book form. A seemingly disconnected cast of characters strewn across time and space leave
one wondering if there was a printing error. However, as the work develops, Mitchell reveals the strings of fate that tie
them all together. This book is not traditional in any sense. Aspects of science fiction, philosophy, and historical fiction
are all present. It consists of six parts, each of which is dedicated to a new narrator and a new world. Mitchell is able to
completely change his authorial voice for each story, a feat rarely attempted. The overarching theme of this work will
hit some like a punch to a gut, and for others, they will donate the book to Goodwill and never think of it again. Cloud
Atlas is a very divisive read for this reason.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 16
12/23/2021 4:15:59 PM
SHOPPING SMALL IN A SMALL TOWN
THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
17 | WINTER 2021
Pictured is the Nittany Quill, a locally owned business located in downtown State College that specializes in stationery and other gifts. Photo by Ace
This holiday season, consider shopping small, and
getting your holiday gifts from local businesses. Not
only are gifts from small shops homemade, but by shopping
small, you can support the local businesses that give
State College its charm. So, let this article be a guide to
the best stores to shop small (in a small town) this holiday
For your friends who are interested in art, there are
several different types of stores that contain great gifts for
you to shop from. For example, Uncle Eli’s Artist Marketplace
(located on 129 E Beaver Ave) is a great place to shop
for painting and sketching materials, including notebooks,
paints, paintbrushes, and pencils. And along with art
supplies, Uncle Eli’s carries a number of eccentric gifts
that may not be readily available in big-box stores. For the
music lover in your life, check out Chronic Town (located
at 224 W College Ave), a cozy record store and cafe that
carries all the vinyls you could possibly imagine.
Next up on the list is Love It boutique (1356 E College
Ave), Connections (130 S Allen St), and Plato’s Closet
(1526 N Atherton St). These are all great places to shop for
clothing if you have a friend or relative who likes fashion.
Both Love It and Plato’s Closet are resale stores, so they
would be helping the environment by reusing as well.
Connections is also a remarkable store because it includes
the newest fashions, and everything there is unique and
Stores like Kitchen Kaboodle (104 W Beaver Ave), The
BY ACE MOORE
Makery (123 S Fraser St), Tigers Eye (133 E Beaver Ave),
Ethereal (216 E College Ave), and Nittany Quill (111 S Fraser
St) are great places to buy little knick knacks. Kitchen
Kaboodle sells homemade trinkets for both you and your
home—such as decorations, pillows, and others. Ethereal
sells comfortable, older fashion clothes, accessories, and
crystals. Tigers Eye, located in Webster’s Bookstore Cafe, is
a great place that has vintage finds, with the selection ranging
from retro clothes to vintage home accessories that are
great grabs to spruce up your home.
Have a food lover in your family? Tait Farms (179 Tait
Rd) and Cake Shop by Tati (113 E College Ave) are great
places to shop. They have gift cards, jams/jellies, sweets,
and more. Webster’s (133 E Beaver Ave) and Bees Knees
Coffee (114 E College Ave) are great places to shop for
someone who loves tea or coffee (I personally recommend
Mulled Wine at Websters).
Last, but certainly not least, for the board game lovers in
your family/friend group, there is Master Goblin Games
(234 E College Ave Suite D) and Comic Swap (110 S
Fraser St). Both are great for D&D (Dungeons & Dragons)
But above where you shop, the most important part of
gift-giving is the thought you put into the gift. Though it’s
better to shop from locally owned stores and provide business
to small business owners, it doesn’t matter what gift
you give or where it’s from—what matters is the thought
put into the gift.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 17
12/23/2021 4:16:00 PM
Sitting down for an interview with Araelia Lopatic
and Tiger Cabus of Ma’aM, an up and coming
band from State College. Article by Adrita Talukder.
To get started, could you both introduce
T: My name’s Tiger, I’m 25, I play guitar, and I sing
A: My name’s Araelia, I’m 24, and I play guitar and
sing in Ma’am. *holds up cat* And this is Tornado.
Pictured are Ma’aM members Araelia Lopatic and Tiger Cabus, the founding
members of the band. Photos by Cara Pentoney.
How would you say, over the years—like
what have you taken away and how have
you grown and changed over time?
A: Um, it’s funny because I was—so I was just listening
to some old music of mine that I had on my
phone that I forgot I did, because I just got a new
car and it starts playing music randomly when I get
in, um, but I just sat in the driveway because I was
waiting for [Tiger] to get home, and I was sitting in
the driveway just listening to my old music. I think
… the content has changed a lot for me. Maybe
trying to say, like more with fewer words, I guess is
something that I have learned, in a way. I used to
just try to cram as many words as I possibly could
into one verse to get my point across, I think now
I’m trying to like—yeah, say more with fewer words,
make things catchier, I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t
know. Lyrically, I think, I’ve changed a lot. Also,
just content-wise. Like I used to be like, it all used
to be super emotionally driven, like “my heart is
broken about something” now I feel like I’m more
heartbroken about the world itself rather than just
me and some dumb boy. So I think content-wise
that’s how I’ve grown. Which is kind of more sad.
What about you?
T: I think I’ve gotten more comfortable with
myself—I actually really, I never really sang before
starting Ma’aM, I was in a really punk-rock or
loud guitar music band, and I was always part of
the songwriting of the band but I never really sang
most of the lyrics, and now I’m doing that.
A: We were the first band you ever sang in, right?
Winter Mag 2021.indd 18
12/23/2021 4:16:01 PM
19 | WINTER 2021
Are all of you from State College?
A: Tiger’s from Georgia, actually.
T: I actually grew up in Georgia, and I went to college,
well—I lived in Georgia until I was 21, 22, until Araelia
and our friend [...] went to California, and that’s when
we kind of started the band, and I left Georgia and then
we moved to State College and we officially started up
Ma’aM. So ever since then—2, 3, years ago.
A: The origin story is I bought a van, which I just took
to the shop yesterday, it’s covered in mold and it’s
dying. Um, I bought like an old Vandura and me and
my friend Cara, who takes all the photos of us—she
lives with us too—we were like ‘we’re going to California,’
and Tiger was like ‘I’m coming too,’ and we got
out there and the fires were happening up where we
were so we got stuck in this house in [...] California for
like three months, and Tiger and I started writing songs
together. And I was like “I know some people in Pennsylvania
who wanna be in a band,’ ‘cause I left a band
before that. Came back, Ma’aM.
T: And we’ve been doing it ever since.
A: We’ve been doing it ever since.
And speaking of your name, could I ask about
the origin story of your band’s name? Why
A: It’s funny, we were sitting out in California—‘cause
Tiger and I started this band because [of] our love of
country music. Like, I grew up listening to country
music, like kind of before Elliott Smith, I listened to
country music. And I kind of got into more things
when I was a teenager, but I just went back to it. And
[Tiger] also just loved country music. Anyway, we were
playing around with names and Cara, our photographer,
was like—we just always [go] ‘ma’am,’—so then we
were playing around with names and she was like, as a
joke, ‘what if you just named it Ma’aM?’ And we were
like, ‘that’s actually the best idea in the entire world.’
We almost named it ‘Dog Band,’ because we thought
that was hilarious. Because like, every single band has
‘Dog.’ It was just a joke, and then we were like ‘actually,
that’s a great band name.’
The bandmates are all obviously really close
to one another—how does that strong sense of
closeness influence your songwriting, the creative
process as a whole, and performances?
A: So we always say [...] ‘We’re a band, and we’re
friends. Isn’t that crazy?’ Uh, ‘cause we don’t—I gotta
knock on wood or something—but we don’t have band
Pictured are Ma’aM members Tiger Cabus, Jeremy Mertz, Spencer
McKee, Daniel Thomas and Araelia Lopatic. Photo by Cara Pentoney.
issues, we never fight.
T: We don’t. And we always hang out even if we’re not
practicing. There’s bands I’ve been in, where everyone
always sees each other on Thursday whenever we
have practice or something, and that’s about it. With
Ma’aM, I think it’s how much we’ve traveled and we
committed to doing the band that people are totally on
A: Songwriting-wise, Tiger and I definitely—so we write,
we write songs separately, and then sometimes we’ll
come together. We’ve written a few songs with Jeremy. I
think it’s because we’re such good friends, we’re really
open with each other. And just accepting of ideas and
whatnot. I don’t know. I could say we’re good at writing
songs together because we like each other, and it really
helps to like each other.
T: And we’re totally lucky I think where a lot of the
members of our band are songwriters—Jeremy writes his
own songs, Nate writes his own songs.
A: Because we’re all such good friends we help each
other with other bands. Jeremy has a band called Ghost
Music, that Tiger played drums for and I played bass
for the other day. Nate and I sing songs together—it’s
like, every single one of the band members has also
played in somebody else’s [band].
T: We’re all friends, we all wanna play with each other,
so whatever it is—that’s like the whole point of music, is
that we’re all—
A: I gotta go yell at a cat.
*Araelia goes to yell at a cat*
T: But yeah, I really think we’re very lucky where a lot
of the members of Ma’aM care about songs and care
about the friendship that we create from music.
*Araelia comes back with a cat*
A: This one’s Texas.
Head to lionsdigest1.com to read the full interview.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 19
12/23/2021 4:16:02 PM
THE WOMEN’S NATIONAL
An interview with WNHL, a band formed by a group of friends who met at
Penn State. Photo courtesy of WNHL. Article by Adrita Talukder.
To get started, could you all introduce yourselves?
Kristen Nodell (KN): I’m Kristen, I am the singer and
rhythm guitar in the band.
James Russin (JR): I’m James, I play guitar.
Julie Larsen (JL): I’m Julie, I play bass.
Liam Nee (LN): And I’m Liam, and I am the drummer.
Kristen—I heard from my friends and Mr.
Merritt, who actually played WNHL’s music in
class once, that you went to State High. Could
you tell me about your time there? Were you
involved in music at State High?
KN: My time at State High. Ooh. Yes, I was involved in
music, I did Jazz Band, and one of my favorite things was
Rock Ensemble, which was a class where [...] you and
everyone in the class would learn some rock-n’-roll songs
and put on a show at the end. So that, I really loved to
Can I ask about the origin story of your band’s
name? What’s the significance of The Women’s
National Hockey League?
KN: Yes. What is the significance? James?
JR: So, well, in the article that was written about Kristen,
she specifically stated that she wanted to start a girl band.
And I said, ‘if you have trouble finding girl musicians, I’ll
play with you.’ So, the band’s foundation was it being a
KN: Intent, yeah.
JR: Yeah. That was the original concept, so that’s where
the name came from. And I’m Canadian. I thought it
would be a funny name.
JL: And to be fair, I call everyone a “girl-ina” anyways, so
in some ways, it’s still true.
KN: And the real Women’s National Hockey League—
this is important—they just changed their name a couple
of months ago.
JR: Yeah, there’s no—there’s still a women’s national
hockey league, that plays the sport hockey, but that’s not
what they’re called anymore.
KN: No, they changed their name, so it’s all—so everything’s
JR: That cease and desist might not be fine. We’ll see.
KN: Yeah, but if any—if there’s any lawyers out there that
can help us solidify that for free...
JL: My uncle has definitely said that he would help us.
If it came down to it. Put that in the article. We have the
law on our side.
Your first EP is titled “We’re Young, We’re Hot,
We’re Best Friends.” How do your close friend-
Winter Mag 2021.indd 20
12/23/2021 4:16:05 PM
ships shape the dynamic of the band?
KN: How does our friendship shape our dynamic?
JL: I would say it just makes us way more comfortable
with each other and honest and we play a lot better when
we can have a laugh every once in a while. ‘Cause it’s hard
when things get too serious or too businessy, but if we’re
able to have a friendship, it means that we have a level of
respect for each other already and that makes us bond and
KN: That’s a good answer.
JL: Thank you, I just came up with that on the spot, but I
think it’s true.
To go off that, how does your closeness impact
the creative process and your performances?
KN: Yeah, our process often involves—I do the lyrics, I’m
into that. I often will do the lyrics and like a melody, kind
of on my own, and James will also write musical demos on
his own, and then we will kind of combine those and see
where we can go from that. Or I’ll bring a simple melody
and a phrase or something to James, and then he’ll build
off that. And what’s really nice about that process is that
then we can bring it to our talented musicians, Julie and
Liam, right after. Like we kind of have that base, and then
they add their own thing to that. And then on stage, because
we’re friends, it’s just so fun and silly, which I really
value, just having a good time.
JR: Kind of like Tetris, all the pieces fall into place.
JL: I call the Tetris piece that’s like six down, like it’s that
one. I wanna be that one.
KN: Ooh, that’s cool. I’d probably be the all four in a
JL: Should our next album have something to do with
Tetris? I’m just thinking out loud here.
JR: If it’s not gonna be baseball city, it could be Tetris
In “Give Up The Ship” you sing “And just like
a movie you jumped overboard/You said ‘this
shall be my new home.’” In the song there’s this
idea of finding your own place in the world and
coming to love yourself, leaving behind what was
familiar to you. [...] What are all of your personal
experiences with/connections to the ideas in
KN: …Yeah, I’d say in that yeah, like I recently moved to
New York, and finding my place. I grew up in State College,
went to school in State College, this was my first big
jump into totally unfamiliar territory, and just, discovering
how I fit or how I wanna fit in my own world.
JL: And like for me, bringing it back to the band, it’s
like, I feel like that can be really applicable to playing in a
band, where it’s like ‘where are we gonna fit in with each
other,’ and saying ‘yes’ to a band is one thing, and then
once you actually start playing together, like what does
that mean and what does it end up looking like, and how
has it shaped itself. So it’s like, in our ig lives, it’s relatable,
and within our band, I think it’s also relatable. Boys, any
LN: Me personally, it kind of—that whole idea of jumping
into the unknown, I think is a part that a lot of people
can speak to. Because I mean, I’m from a semi-small town
I guess, and every step I took in the past four, five years,
has been this I’ve never, have no realm of experience for
this or whatever, so I think it is a good song, especially
what we talked about with sort of young adulthood.
JR: I recently made the big decision to finish my physics
degree. And leaving the film world, I don’t know where it’s
gonna take me, but I’m excited about it.
What’s in the works and coming up for you
guys? Do you have any upcoming shows or new
music on the way?
KN: Yeah, the stuff coming up is that we’re doing a really
cool live-to-vinyl session in January, so if you had preordered
a song, you could pick what song you wanted, and
we’d be like ‘hey, la la la, thank you for ordering this, this
is for you,’ and it’s the only one of that kind. And we’ll
make a couple extras if you come to the shows, and you
can buy them there. But we have so many—well, not so
many—but we have a new EP that we’re sitting on, and
we’re working with a really great producer, which is really
exciting, to have someone else come in and add their style
as well. So we’re hoping to record that closer to maybe—I
think [...] May? And we’re super super excited for that.
And we’re hoping to come to State College and play some
shows, because we haven’t been there in a while, and that’d
JR: Probably January, right?
KN: Yeah, I’m working on something.
Do you guys have a message you’d like to share with
your fans or anybody who’s checking out this interview?
JR: Thanks so much for listening. It really means a lot that
you take the time.
KN: It truly means so much. [...] I love seeing people send
me their Spotify Wrappeds and were on it, and I was like,
‘that is actually so absolutely insane. Any amount of listeners
is so cool to me. One to a million. So thank you much,
it truly does mean so, so much.
Head to lionsdigest1.com to read the full interview.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 21
12/23/2021 4:16:05 PM
22 | WINTER 2021
TEAM JOURN’S TOP TEN
HOLIDAY MUSIC PICKS
Through extensive research and deliberation (re: through a Google Form), the State High Publications
team, aka “Team Journ,” determined its top ten holiday music picks. We hope you enjoy.
01. All I Want for Christmas
Is You by Mariah Carey
Coming in at the top of our
list is the holiday classic, All
I Want for Christmas Is You.
You’ve likely heard it on the
radio, in a number of commercials,
or in the background of
every holiday party you’ve ever
attented—simply put, this song
is everywhere come the holiday
season. The uptempo love song
features bell chimes, jingle
bells, and piano.
02. Santa Tell Me by Ariana
Up next is another Christmas
love song. Nearly 20 years after
Carey’s All I Want for Christmas
Is You, Santa Tell Me by Ariana
Grande has found its place
among the top played Christmas
pop songs. Released in
2014, the song opens with an
entrancing violin, accompanied
with bells, before leading into
Grande’s beloved vocals.
Winter Mag 2021.indd 22
12/23/2021 4:16:06 PM
23 | WINTER 2021
03. A Charlie Brown Christmas
by the Vince Guaraldi
Trio: This album, released in
1965, is the soundtrack to the
movie of the same name. For
jazz enjoyers, this is the perfect
album to listen to this season.
04. Last Christmas by Wham!
Unlike any other song on this
list, this synthpop song will
have you singing your heart out
to the lyrics.
05. It’s Beginning to Look a
Lot like Christmas by Michael
Buble: Need a break from commercial
pop? Check out Buble’s
cover of this Bill Crosby song,
which has become a Christmas
06. Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Grinch’
Soundtrack: This album features
the likes of Tyler, The Creator
and Pentatonix, making it
the perfect modern album to
listen to this season.
07. A Christmas Together by
The Muppets: The soundtrack
for the movie of the same
name, this album creates an
entirely new genre, what with
Muppets being the main vocalists.
08. Christmas Tree Farm
by Taylor Swift: For all the
Swifties out there, don’t fear—
there’s a Taylor holiday song
just for you. It’s upbeat, and a
song you just won’t be able to
get enough of.
09. Santa Baby by Ariana
Grande: The second Grande
song on this list—while this
one’s a bit slower, it still has all
the character you’d expect from
a Grande song.
10. Christmas Song by Phoebe
Bridgers: Last, but certainly
not least, is the song made for
those feeling the holiday melancholy
Winter Mag 2021.indd 23
12/23/2021 4:16:07 PM
ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT
Winter Mag 2021.indd 24
12/23/2021 4:16:08 PM