INTERVIEW: A Conversation with Helena Deland



by Mackenzie Werner

Helena Deland is an electrifying chanteuse from Montreal who released 4 EPs this year as four chapters of a series "Altogether Unaccompanied". 

I first became aware of Helena's music when seeing her perform as a solo singer-songwriter in Calgary, Alberta in the summer of 2017. I was struck by her elliptical narratives and bright, clear voice and brought her debut EP "Drawing Room" (2016) into my heavy rotation. 

In the time since she has added a full band, lush, new sounds, and high concepts to her work. Hooligan was thrilled to sit down with her before a recent show, where Gia Margaret opened. Here is our conversation: 


Helena: I had an interview the other day that I had forgotten about, a call, a phoner, and the guy …. I was in the bath, and he just called me up, I wasn’t sure who it was at first and he kind of was more of the “let’s have a conversation” style, so it took the longest time before I realized what was going on. He was like “Hey! Helena! Helena Boxing! Like that Lynch’s daughter’s movie…

Mack: (laughing) and you were like, “Okay, we’re doing this!)”

I wanna start with a question about you calling your music “sincere pop”, I know that a lot of people ask you about that, but I was just wondering because I really like that name that you gave it and I feel like there’s been this cultural shift away from apathy, where people are really craving sincerity and earnestness, and I was wondering how that shift has felt for you and informed your music (if it has), and how that’s felt for you as a creator.

Helena: I’m really afraid of it being misinterpreted. It is something that I liked the sound of; I guess it implies that pop isn’t always sincere, which isn’t what I want to do.

M: Especially because there’s a stigma against pop a lot of the time, and women who make pop especially.

H: Exactly, and I did feel like kind of disdain towards pop growing up, just because I grew up in the early ‘90s, and my mom was kind of like “you shouldn’t support Britney Spears’ message” and I feel like I was really impressed by that, like it’s not feminist to support…. Pop legends are probably not feminists, and that was a huge thing for me growing up, and I only really recently started enjoying pop in my twenties  probably and it’s been such a revelation.

I feel like your question was more about the shift in resenting apathy…

M: Yeah, I feel like maybe five to ten years ago the main cultural idea was to be apathetic

H: Yeah, and ironic.

M: Yeah, ironic, and there’s been a big push back against that recently.

H: Well, I’m happy to hear you say that, because I haven’t really noticed that honestly. But yeah, I guess it’s true.  It’s such a part of how you want to present yourself as not wanting to take yourself too seriously, but yeah, it’s a tough thing to deal with. It was such a thing in all of culture, to have that distance, which I’ve never been able to really have with my music. I was so scared at first, I’ve been validated since, and I’ve changed my perspective on it, being sincere, but I was so scared at first of making myself vulnerable. Because it’s raw. But, you know, now [I know] that’s actually what I want to do -- the thing that will be the most true, and be as sincere as possible. [I want to] embrace that.

M: Well, good job doing that, because that’s hard to do.

H: Yeah, it’s easier at first, but then for it to become public, that’s the scary part.

M: Totally. With you being from Montreal, and being bilingual, French and English, I was wondering if your music being in English, and your life in Montreal being more in French, if that gives you some sort of distance between your personal life and your performer life.

H: It did at first, for sure, it felt like such a venue to express stuff. There are so many reasons why I write in English, but that was I think one of them, at least thinking about playing those first shows in front of like 30 friends, and being like, “oh these can’t be in French…. They know.” I mean, they know anyway. There is something about, saying some things that aren’t easy to say in conversation, or face-to-face, in a language that’s not the one you use when you’re together. But I also wonder, because French is a language I’m more comfortable with, that I navigate a little bit better than English, I wonder what if English were my first language, if it would be different. Hard to tell what it would change but, I wonder if it would be easier to write in it. But maybe it also gives me a distance that’s playful, or freer in a way.

M: When you’re writing do you ever think of your lyrics first in French and then…

H: No, but sometimes I’ll hear a song.  Like, I’ve been listening to Adrianne Lenker’s album (we both make sounds of warm recognition and laugh), and oh my god, it just feels like she has nothing stopping her from writing such beautiful lyrics. It came to mind, is it kind of a detour to be French first and then writing in English?

M: And talk about someone who’s raw and vulnerable in their lyrics…

H: And seems to have no problem with that! It’s so impressive how close to her her lyrics seem, and apparently she’s so prolific and just has so many songs.

M: Yeah, I think she produces more than her record label can keep up with.

H: It’s really exciting.

M: We’re all blessed.

H: Exactly.

M: You mention Adrianne, and I want to ask you what other releases have come out this year that you’ve been really excited about.

H: Mmm, okay, Tirzah! She’s got such an angle on music that’s so refreshing, I find. She was introduced to me by my booker, it’s his favorite album this year, and I was really excited.  It really moves me. I find it so alive that it grew really addictive. It’s a specific feeling that I can’t find, when I want to listen to Tirzah it’s just automatically, that’s the only thing that’s gonna do that. Apart from that … I found Yves Tumor’s album really interesting. They are this really multi-dimensional project that, this album, I’ve been enjoying getting really familiar with it. It doesn’t feel accessible to me, but it does feel magnetic in a way. I also liked Jenny Hval’s (we toss a few guesses at pronunciation back and forth and laugh) EP that she put out.

M: And she put out a novel this year too.

H: I know! I can’t wait, I’m very curious. Did you read it?

M: Not yet, but I can’t wait to. People that I know who’ve read it have devoured it.

H: Yeah, that shift is so interesting, I find. And it’s interesting that it doesn’t happen more, that singer-songwriters don’t write more fiction or prose, but it’s something that I’m really interested in for sure.

M: Yeah, I just heard that Japanese Breakfast is writing a memoir, and just gave a lecture.

H: Wow! That’s crazy, that’s amazing.

M: I feel like those boundaries are being crossed more.

H: Maybe since Bob Dylan won (laughing) the Nobel Prize for literature

M: Yeah, and I think there’s less of an idea of boxing yourself in to one discipline.

H: Totally.

M: Besides music do make any other types of art?

H: Not really, I write a lot. I write pretty continuously, but I don’t have a project. I hope I will someday. That is something that I’m really drawn to, but it seems like such a tedious practice, and you really have to have a lot of time to do it. I read as much as I can, because that’s what I most love doing. I’ve noticed that in phases when I forget about reading I just feel like crap, it’s my favorite hobby.

M: Was there anything you were reading while you were writing the songs for Altogether Unaccompanied that really informed that process?

H: Yes, there were a couple, there’s this French word that means, “to take a shape and move it from one area to another.’ I don’t know what it would be in English, but there were some that made their way like that into the songs. There’s Carson McCullers’ poems, she wrote a song about, the way I interpreted it, the way I used it.  She has a line that’s, “no longer is a stone a stone”, which is one of my song titles. Also I read this novel Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, it’s so beautiful! It hadn’t happened for me in a while that I’ve transcribed so much, it’s an amazing way of seeing things.

M: That’s a magical feeling.

H: It really is, when you’re like “finally, this makes so much sense!” and the, I guess, just her characters feel really familiar, which is a nice feeling as well. The sentence “Altogether Unaccompanied” was taken from that. She describes this old man, the protagonist’s grandfather, how every spring he becomes a man of his own and will be outside all the time collecting small bones, and rocks, and plants, and it’s not a negative thing, but how he was unreachable during that period of time, how he was “altogether unaccompanied” (she scrunches up her face), oh, it’s just so sweet. I guess it’s about the idea of being scared of that, but trying to embrace it as well. You can hope for proximity, but it’s often impossible. In choosing partners and friends you’re choosing who you’re going to be …. No I was going to say “alone with”, but that’s too tacky. Somebody’s actual core is always kept secret, we’re all kind of “altogether unaccompanied” in these beautiful relationships. Does that make sense?

M: It does, and it reminds me of your line from “There Are A Thousand”, when you’re saying…

H: “There are a thousand of each of us here, how will we recognize each other dear?”

M: Yeah, exactly.

H: Totally, there’s this really nice Rilke idea that every person has their own secret garden, and that you have to accept the fact that you’re never going to walk in past a certain point to someone else’s way of seeing the world and existing. Basically, how you choose the people who surround you, who are able to stand guard from where things only step out dressed in fancy outfits. It’s a really beautiful idea.

M: Definitely. I was really curious, the way this release is broken up into four different chapters, or volumes, what the thought behind the way you paired different songs was.

H: It was mostly instinctive. I usually say color-based. Thematically or sonically how they seemed to pair well, but it was really easy to do. It felt way more natural to do it that way than to release them all together. I’m glad I did that too, because it feels like a debut album is such a big thing to me. I’m really happy that it’s going to be all songs that were all written around the same time, rather than bunched together.

M: I like that you did it half in spring and half in fall, because I don’t know if you do this but I think of media very seasonally. Like I’ll think “oh, I really want to read that but I’m going to wait until the winter.” Or, “I really love this song and it reminds me of summer.”

H: Totally.

M: Or like some things just feel warm, or feel cold. So, I really loved the way it was split into chapters and released so far apart. It was like returning to something familiar, but that felt more appropriate in the fall.

H: Totally, I wasn’t really thinking of it seasonally, but I agree that that’s totally a thing. But I was thinking times of day. The first two volumes for me were day and night, well they were midnight and noon. And volume three and four were dusk and dawn. You hear something and it’s like “this sounds like 4 p.m., or this sounds like April.”

M: It’s funny how those feelings can come through so distinctly.

H: It’s like slight synesthesia I guess.

M: With “Claudion” specifically, that song just sounded like October to me for some reason, I feel like it hit at the perfect moment.

H: I’m really happy to hear that!

M: Yeah, of course. I want to know if you have a particular song from this collection that you call your favorite, or one that particularly challenged you, that you’re proud of getting out there.

H: I guess the one that’s most mysterious to me in a way is “There Are a Thousand”, it’s one of the first songs I wrote, and it was so detached from any relationship I was going through.  It was much more about how I felt as a 21-year-old girl, at that time. I don’t know how to explain it, it feels like because it’s so vague, yet I find it does describe well what I was going through, I’m proud of it in a kind of puzzled way. I feel like it’s going to exist independently from me for a while somehow, because it’s just hard to describe how it happened, how I wrote it. It was a very impulsive song, it took no time which never happens to me. Songs always take much longer than that, but I sat down and by the time I stood up it was just done.

M: Do you write poetry as well?

H: No, I don’t really write poetry. I write more ideas and citations. When I write in a more continuous manner it’s more prose, diaries.

M: The last time I saw you it was just you and your guitar. You were playing more sparse, folk, singer-songwriter stuff, and now you’ve got a full band, you’re doing this lush, atmospheric, electronic stuff. I was wondering, in that transition, what were your expectations, or your hopes going into it? And now that you’ve done it, how have they been fulfilled? Or not fulfilled?

H: It’s a very, very exciting transition. I think the solo version of the project for me has always been a kind of compromise for financial, or time reasons. It’s been the easiest thing to bring forth, the solo project. It was easier to travel alone at that point, I was always aspiring to having a full band. I don’t see the solo act as less than the full band, I need to just see it as different. It’s still something that I want to do and explore, but I feel like our final form is full band.

M: Do you have full band arrangements for that first EP as well?

H: I do.

M: So you’ve brought those into this era.

H: Exactly.

M: I’ve got a couple of quick questions to end: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

H: Oh god I don’t know, I don’t have an answer to this question, and it’s a question that used to drive me crazy.

M: It doesn’t have to be practical, just anything that you’d like to be doing.

H: Hmmmm, just something that would have me reading and writing. So practically I was thinking of translation, music is so good for this, but something that would allow me to travel as well. Touring is such an odd little context to travel in, but it quells that need.

M: Can I ask you what your sign is and if you read into astrology at all?

H: That’s a fun question, my sign is Sagittarius.

M: Happy Sag season!

H: Thank you! I do, but I consider it as fun. The more I get into it the less I associate with it, but I guess it has to do with all of your planets, your chart. I guess the thing about Sag that I relate with in a bit of a masochistic way, is how fast you move from one thing to another, and get sick of things. That’s something I try not to do but definitely recognize in myself. There are other signs that pop up on the instagram accounts I follow that seem to be more accurate, but… My grandfather was a Sagittarius and he was always a party person until he was 95 and I always thought that was so cool.

(we talk about our grandpas for a while)

M: My last question is just a fun one, what’s on your rider?

H: If we can get anything we want…. I like tequila. But I’m trying to not drink at shows. Alexandre has beef jerky, that’s like his thing. There are two vegetarians and two heavy-duty meat eaters in the band, so it’s a funny mix. Nothing fun, we thought about asking the staff to bring their dogs, but we can’t hang out with it that much so it seemed irrational. But, that’s pretty much it.

(I tell her a story about a venue dog barking during a Daughter show)

M: Venue dogs are a bad idea but a green room dog is brilliant

H: As long as they get to run around!


Listen to Claudion by Helena Deland on Spotify below


Beach Bunny and the Passage of Time


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by Meggie Gates

Beach Bunny takes the stage in a hue of pink. Lili Trifilio, the lead singer, adjusts her mic and turns to the audience with an aura of cool, brandishing a one of a kind crème colored electric guitar with a light blue patterned pickguard. As she adjusts her mic, the rest of the band fills in behind her, Jon Alvarado on drums, Matt Henkels on guitar, and Aidan Cada on bass, all of them new additions following a Battle of the Bands show in Elgin, Illinois the summer of 2017. Vocals pour out of Lili like waves on Lake Michigan and the crowd roars, gathered at the feet of their surf rock princess.

I fell in love with Beach Bunny faster than my last boyfriend. Having my heart crushed in January, my friend insisted I go to their concert. It had been a month of crying and the need to move on was apparent. I bring this up the minute I meet Lili, hoping she doesn’t remember how much I rambled about my breakup seven months prior. “Oh yeah, I remember you guys.” I reiterate how much the lyrics, “Sometimes I wonder how life would be, if you had stayed for February,” ripped my soul apart. “Oh no! I’m so sorry!” She laughs.

“More people relate to February than I did. A lot of people told me that fit their timeline,” Lili tells me. Putting a timeline on the breakup process is a specialty of Beach Bunny’s. Their music hones in on specificities you may not have noticed before, concentrating on seasonal feelings. With this, the sadness becomes more visceral. No longer a cloud hanging out of reach, but more a snowflake you catch on your fingertips. Her earliest EP, Pool Party, categorizes the vulnerable safety net of summer. Lili explores the track July with such intensity, it’s as if you can feel the world melting through the sky. The authenticity of new feelings, the excitement of blossoming relationships, all of it uniquely explored only to be shattered with the reality of Crybaby.

You reach February and nothing is simple anymore.  

“I didn’t know how to express my feelings and that was Animalism. I did solo music for two and a half years and then around Crybaby I was really in my emo girl phase.”

As Lili’s music grows, so does she. There’s an understood maturity she carries herself that is envious. She makes art for catharsis, not spite. Unlike most indie pop breakup songs, where the object of desire is typically villainized, her care and compassion for the subject of her songs is incredibly apparent. “We were still good friends through the breakup. There was a time when we didn’t talk and then we became friends and now we’re in a relationship again.” Breakups are hard on both ends, and she has a deep understanding of this. “With Crybaby I was stressed because I knew the person I was no longer with would hear the songs and it was such a direct message. Even today, I’m like oh, I’m sorry about that.”

The days of Crybaby have certainly shaped Lili. Songs about crushes ghosting her are relatively in the past now that she understands relationships are not a longwinded game of hide and seek. “All the people I went for before were a challenge and the person I ended up dating, and am still dating, was someone that it was very mutual with. After that I was like, oh, this is what a relationship should be. It shouldn’t be like ‘I have to fight for this person’, it should just be easy.” This stark contrast in understanding the complexity of relationships, positioned against the hardships of her music, is soothing. “There are some people who are so incompatible realistically, but sometimes you just don’t care.”  I tell my friends this constantly, but the practice of putting it in to action is hard. Confidence is hard.

The feeling to prove yourself to someone who’s not worth it sometimes feels like the only thing that’s worth it.

Prom Queen, off Beach Bunny’s new EP, digs deep in to these feelings of insecurity. Screaming around to it in my bedroom, I couldn’t help but laugh at how much the line, “I never looked good in mom jeans/Wish I, was like you, blue-eyed blondie, perfect body” reminded me of days spent comparing myself to my ex boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, a roundabout carousel ride I bring Lili on regardless of talking about my breakup too many times now (three). It constantly feels like no matter what you do, there’s always someone better out there; the ideal woman now more accessible than ever with Photoshop. “With social media, there’s so much pressure to be perfect. The person online isn’t even real. How are you supposed to look up to this model that’s airbrushed?” I ask Lili how the internet might affect young women today and what they can do to avoid this hell trap. “If you’re going to do any comparison, compare your present self to your past self. Don’t compare yourself to other people.”  


Maneuvering the complexity of relationships is ground Lili often covers. It is a well-established mold she has laid out in tracks prior, which makes the release of Prom Queen so enticing. Exploring breakups is still there but now, the corners are sharper. Instead of asking, “if you love me why can’t we be together?” like Lili does on Jenny, the question is now, “are we something that’s worth saving?” Her confident voice is strong and passionate. Gone are days of Animalism where Lili nurtured the listener with her soft, vulnerable voice. The contrast can be mapped by her significant remastering of 6 Weeks. “I’m not constrained to this box of sad girl anthems. I can write other songs and people will like them. I got more confidence in my writing abilities and it’s been cool with the higher production and bringing the boys on.”  

Beach Bunny’s new EP further explores other themes peppered throughout the band’s history. Shoegazer, a song off Pool Party, first introduces Lili’s fear of growing old, “You’ve been feeling alone since you turned 21/ and the older you grow the more you come undone/ your life has just begun.” This adolescent feeling of loneliness finds a more mature friend in Adulting, a track off Prom Queen. Now on the cusp of graduation, Lili admits to me she has no idea what she wants to do with her life. This sentiment is mirrored back when she sings “the older I get, seems like the less that I know/Trying to be more than, ever before/It’s hard adulting.”

Existentialism has always been something Lili has grappled with. “I have an extreme fear of dying. I think about it very frequently. Turning 22 and having friends with birthdays coming up, I’m kind of freaking out. It’s my last year of college, what am I going to do with my life?” For being so young, the fear of growing older is obvious when Lili talks about her future and her family. “2017 was hard because my grandpa passed away and my brother ended up in the hospital. It was the hardest year of my life.”

Though time feels like an enemy, Lili understands that healing begins as the clock ticks. It’s a part of growing up and moving on from people and pain. “I look back and I know why it (2017) was sad but I can’t even put myself in that mindset anymore.” Despite Beach Bunny’s success, Lili has an acute understanding of what she expects from herself in the future. She is at a place artistically where she can grant herself liberty to relax. Beach Bunny’s listeners will continue to support her. It’s evident in the fact, at 22, she is touring with one of her favorite bands and about to play Riot Fest. As opposed to an interview she gave last January, where she talks about big goals she has, she’s now giving herself the luxury of enjoying life instead of burning out. “I still want to make a ton of time for friends, family, and a relationship. Even though music is my life and my dream, I don’t want it to become the only thing I do. Imagine becoming so successful that you lose everyone on the way up.”

She looks around the colorful back porch and picks a bench to sit on for pictures. I don’t ask her about touring with Remo Drive because the energy she carries herself with says it all. Excited. Nervous. Proud. As a plane flies overhead, I decide this is one of my favorite days of summer. Hanging with a woman so young and powerful, with everything before her and so much behind. “Focus on gratitude.” She tells me as we wrap up our interview. I fight the urge to ask her advice on my past relationship, again (four). “When you get existential and think about the loss of time and childhood, you lose focus on appreciating everything you have. Living in the moment is so important.”

The passage of time can hold the greatest treasures and the worst heartbreak. It can be the start of a magical journey or a terrible end. It’s never stopping, and neither is Lili.

Her life has just begun.


Stream Prom Queen below


Finsta Culture: What Having a Finsta Has Taught Me About Myself

By Genevieve Kane

Ever since Instagram has released the option that allows you to be logged in to multiple accounts at once, the number of “Finstagram” accounts have been on the rise. If you are not familiar with the term “Finstagram” allow me to explain: A Finstagram (Finsta) is supposed to be like a “fake Instagram” account where you can post almost anything you’d like. The rules of Instagram no longer apply in the realm of the Finsta. Anything goes.

I have seen Finstas take on many forms. Some Finsta accounts are completely unfiltered and are mainly composed of unedited selfies taken from some of the most unfortunate angles, meant for comical shock and amusement. Others use their Finstas as a way to showcase their art, or a more colorful take on the world around them, in a more casual and intimate fashion. Most Finstas I see, however, act as a virtual diary of sorts. As I said earlier, anything goes when it comes to your Finsta.

 

So, on February 15th, in an airport in Ireland, I decided to take the plunge and make a Finsta. Since then, my Finsta has become an oddly large part of my life. I have always been very dedicated when it came to writing nightly journal entries, however I stopped journaling because I couldn’t find the time for it anymore. This is why I was attracted to the idea of making a Finsta. I wanted an easily accessible outlet to chronicle my thoughts and feelings throughout the day.

My first order of business was to decide who to follow, and who I would allow to follow me. I wanted to make my Finsta an unfiltered look at my life, which wasn’t something that I felt anybody should be able to see. The whole point of a Finsta, at least in my opinion, is to make it something you share with a very small amount of people. So I followed about 20 of my closest friends, and then followed about 10 friends who I was kind of close with, or knew that I could trust. And that is where it all began.

So you have a Finsta account. Now what?

I was at a loss as to what I wanted to post in the beginning. I had my friends following me, I picked out my quirky username, I just didn’t really know where to begin. I ended up posting a screenshot of a funny conversation I had over text, with a pretty dumb caption. I think I just needed to get the first post out of the way in order to carry on and really post what I wanted.     

The posts on my Finsta account have really evolved since that day in February. My posts started off as bad pictures of myself, or weird out of context videos, with small quips for captions. I had to become more comfortable with the idea of feeling exposed. Everything I had known about social media up until this point was completely contradicted what I was trying to accomplish with my Fisnta. Social media is a place where you showcase the best version of yourself, where posts should be driven by the goal of acquiring likes and comments, where an account is only relevant based on the number of followers it has, and a place for self promotion. I had not realized how the nuances of social media have been ingrained in me until I made my Finsta.

I found myself having an internal struggle whenever someone would request to follow me. It felt as though there was a little voice at the back of my mind saying, “Accept the follow! Accept the follow!” because of the inherent validation that comes with my number of followers rising. I even had friends who would text me telling me to allow their friends to follow my account; their friends whom I hardly know. I started to become very lenient with allowing people I didn’t know to follow my finsta, and my number of followers slowly rose and is now at a whopping 76 followers. What is the likelihood that I can say for certain that I know 76 people on a level where I feel comfortable divulging very intimate, and often embarrassing, things about myself? Not very likely.  

Social media by nature is a flawed outlet for self expression of this kind. I am at constant odds with myself because I want to use my finsta to post 100% uncensored things about me; however, in doing that I am still cultivating an online persona. I feel as though no matter what I do, my posts cannot be raw because everything is being broadcasted to an audience. Even if I take a picture of myself on the spot, and caption it with something that has been plaguing my thoughts, the second I hit post I feel as though all of those thoughts and emotions lose authenticity. Once an audience is put into play, it’s hard for me not to view everything I post as synthetic.

Despite all of these qualms, I avidly use my Finsta account. I love not worrying about trying to look cool, or glamorous. It feels nice to have a platform where there is no pressure to try and display my life in a certain light. I don’t really think twice about the content of my posts when publishing them. I don’t worry about the number of likes I get or accumulating followers. At the end of the day, my Finsta is going to be whatever I want it to be, and if anyone has a problem with it then they can unfollow me. I have even contemplated deleting my actual Instagram account, because I don’t feel like I am getting anything out of it anymore.


I highly encourage making your own Finsta account. It has allowed me to unlearn everything I knew about social media, and has become a massive source of empowerment, and a place which fosters self-love.

Home: A Listography

By Annie Zidek

Home is something you know too well. It’s good and bad, abusive and loving. Home is snippets of life scattered nonlinear in blank spaces and in falling blossoms and in mom’s shadow. Home is everywhere for me, so here is a list of things I found too familiar:

  • Your lineage dates before the Babylonians, before the mapping of the stars and man’s discrepancies. South Carolina bitterness laps at your tongue, and cicada shells pile up in your closet. These are southern formalities. You knocked over red candles in my sister’s room. It was carpet. It stained. Everytime I walk past I see the first bloodshed, our own civil war. Dig up the bones of our carcassa gossamer of unforetold signs and interlaced stars. She did not rot; she waxed and waned, waiting for you and for her resurrection.

  • They all leave in misty Saturday mornings. They rip out bottom jaws, clean cuts without blood or hesitation. Half my lips are gone, and They are just ghosts with warm shoulders and fiery arms. My mom said they all leave, and I will tell my daughter to expect nothing but broken backs and coffee rings. They all leave.
  • It rained bohemian crystal for four days, and no one could step outside with bleeding feet. But we walk through cobblestone streetsunsteadyand dance with Saint Wenceslaus and banter with over half a bottle of riesling. We see our breathes join everyone else’s. Dad climbs astronomical clocks in hopes of better futures, which tarot readers could not see.
  • Tumbling in parking lots with Spanish lullabies brings forth no conclusions. All I know is there are three dots on your neck: an equilateral triangle. Symmetry is comfortable. It’s all worth the spilt coffee and burning hands because when I hear jangling keys and reserved footsteps, I look up. Jesus, don’t cry.
  • Your tattoos are a balancing act, and you whisper in German. Ignore brain research: the results are inconclusive. Focus on the knots in your back instead, the mounds of glory and deceit you’ve studied and know too well. We sit in between two mirrors; is this a ritual or a mind game? It doesn’t matter as long you don’t stop singing about Russian composers, and tell us about your faint past.
  • These things I saw: drinks coffee black, crooked teeth, a freckle behind your left ear, pigeon toed, bitten fingernails, ribs. These things I missed: Picasso and lovers lost and everything in between. All I know is "Ok wait now I’ve gotten too angry to talk right now I don’t want to say something I’ll regret. Can we talk about this later when I’ve calmed down." The only grounds for divorce were irreconcilable differences.
  • Planets aligncalculated but unplanned. The sun and the moon and Mars and Venus grace us with their love and plunge into our hearts, pulling the tide up to the point where it teases our feet. Lake Michigan screams, “It’s a shame we can’t count the stars!” Instead we count all of the emanating buildings polluting the night air (341). But it really doesn't matter because these towers are the closest I’ve ever come to love.

Most of these homes are in the past, places and people and times I considered a part of me, but all my homes are nonstructural and impermanent: they are flesh and blurred memories and roaring feelings. They cannot be counted or measured, and that’s what makes them home.

"Compact" by Liz Barr

Photos by Elizabeth Barr

by Mikey Jakubowski

In this two-piece series, "Compact", Liz Barr uses her minimalist and electric style to explore the idea of identity and how it is reflected by a mirror. Barr asks the questions, "What is a mirror with no reflection? What does it look like?" and explains that her photos hint at the idea of our identities being second-hand simulations of our surroundings and, often times, "projected onto us by others."

The series was taken with a scanner, which Barr says she was beginning to explore with. "I was excited to find all the ways I could manipulate an image using very rigid technical restrictions. I found the photos I made with the scanner were eery and slightly unsettling because of the bizarre lighting and the extremely short depth-of-field." Eery and unsettling indeed, but hard to look away from.

Thought-provoking, original, and aesthetically pleasing, "Compact" acts as a mirror of her own, speaking for the kind of adventurous art she is eager to share with the world.

Make sure to keep up with Barr's generous and expanding portfolio, with a varied array of social and personal themes, on her website and tumblr!