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Crystal Pulido Lugo

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Sasso’s Mood (Project)

By LifestyleNo Comments

Local photographer and videographer Kellie Sasso has been in a mood lately — compiling her newest video and audio project, Mood Project that is. The project, which officially launched on Instagram on April 15, is a collection of videos created by Sasso which focus on relaxing viewers through sounds and visuals —  and capturing the perfect mood.

The 22-year-old creative and graduating University of Nevada, Reno senior has always been attracted to the visual, starting nearly 12 years ago when she began creating videos on her computer’s webcam. She’s since strengthened her craft, working as a freelance photographer, videographer and Insight Magazine’s photography editor since her sophomore year of college. 

Since beginning her photography and videography journey, nothing has stopped the Arizona native from creating and working, including her impressive work with rock band, Whitesnake. “Call me Sasso — Coverdale does,” states Sasso’s Insight Magazine staff biography. And nothing continues to stop her — not even the coronavirus pandemic. If anything, having to social distance has benefitted Sasso’s work. 

“When I find it hard to be creative, it’s usually because something deeper is bothering me. So, quarantine has been great —in a way— because I have more time for myself, and I’ve been able to focus on what I need to sort out my emotions,” said Sasso. 

Quarantine has motivated Sasso to start painting, cooking healthier meals, learning french and dedicating her energy to Mood Project, an experimental ASMR art project.

The idea came to Sasso before the stay at home order started; she recorded footage during an Oregon trip in mid-February, which she intended to keep just for memories. However, after expressing her Mood Project idea to her friend and being encouraged, she attempted to use the Oregon footage for the project. The trip eventually became her second video, which was published on April 18.

“Mood Project was really just born in the midst of quarantine because I was able to make time to do it. I had no excuses at that point,” said Sasso. 

Feeling cooped up, frustrated and like a child at home, Sasso transferred all her frustrations into something productive; she filmed her first Mood Project video, which follows the photographer around her room as she paints, listens to music and watches the sunset on yet another day of social distancing. 

“I have always really enjoyed ASMR but felt kind of embarrassed about it,” shared Sasso. “I also loved seeing examples of it in movies like ‘Battle of the Sexes’ when Emma Stone gets a haircut. You just feel so enticed and relaxed watching it, and when it’s in a cinematic context, I think it’s easier to digest and less cringe.” 

However, aside from her current circumstance and admiration for ASMR projects, Mood Project has also been a personal and necessary creative outlet for her.  

“My counselor once told me the key to calming my anxiety is by staying in the present, and it’s easy to do if you just slow down in the moment and point out your five senses. This advice has helped me so much, and I thought it was a good tie in to why ASMR has always been so relaxing for me. So, the yin and yang kind of came together.” 

Sasso first came up with the project to help those dealing with anxiety, and to encourage people to focus on their experiences in a more sensory way. She also deemed the project as something fun to work on by capturing moments “we generally take for granted” by slowing them down and shining a “new light” on them.

To evoke her relaxing and therapeutic agenda, Sasso tries to be in the right headspace when capturing mundane sounds and sights, claiming them as a reflection of what’s most important to her at the moment of shooting. 

“I try to hone in on things we usually just walk past without giving a second look. Those things can be really beautiful if we take a second to look at them. For example, a flag on a pole is something we see every day, but it really does dance around gracefully and makes a soothing, crisp sound, as well. I also love finding noises I really love and giving them a chance to linger for a while,” said Sasso. 

To Sasso, this project is solely about staying creative and helping people; she isn’t focused on things like monetary gain and massive audience reach.

“I’ve had a really surprising amount of people send me sweet messages saying [my videos] have helped them with their anxiety tremendously, and that they can’t wait for the next videos. It’s really moved me; it sounds cliche but even just helping a few people makes it really worth it for me.” 

Sasso hopes to collaborate in the future with her many creative and talented friends. She’s currently working with her friend Hannah Knapp from Han Painted Designs on minimalistic graphics for Mood Project’s promotion on Instagram. She’s also collaborating with some musician friends to write chill tunes for upcoming content, which proves Mood Project is destined to grow and remain — even after social distancing rules are lifted.

“I’m hoping to continue Mood Project through my twenties, so I can look back on all of my experiences, revisit them and appreciate the little moments between the big ones.”

Visit Mood Project’s Instagram @moodproject_ and its new TikTok account @moodproject for Kellie Sasso’s latest chill moods and experiences, and follow @sasssophoto for updates on her latest photography and videography projects today. 


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Celebrating the 100-year Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

By UncategorizedNo Comments

On August 18, 1920, Congress ratified the 19th Amendment, giving women in America the right to vote. This year, the amendment will turn 100 years old, and as the date comes closer, we should discuss how to properly celebrate and remember this moment in history. As we commend this accomplishment, it is our duty to remember and uphold the reality of this time — the truth of the amendment’s ratification being that it was a show of progress — not of victory. 

The 19th Amendment is a fundamental part of our history, and one that should be given the privilege of being remembered correctly. The women’s suffrage movement has often been painted as a continuous triumph at the hands of middle-class white women. However, this idea is obviously not the truth. The campaign went on for more than 80 years and resulted in many women being publicly shamed, ridiculed and assaulted for their beliefs. 

The women’s suffrage movement was less of an “overnight triumph” and more of a “let’s regroup and try to come out stronger” type of ordeal. Regarding it as quick or easy in any way undermines the struggle it took to get to that place — let alone to where we are now. 

Once the 19th Amendment was passed, the states could no longer discriminate against voters on the basis of sex, but nothing stopped them from discriminating based on race. Much like the 15th Amendment, which was accepted into the Constitution in 1870, the 19th Amendment did very little to stop discriminatory practices. 

Even before the 19th was passed, African-American women were deterred from participating in the suffrage movement. Though often excluded from the white-led suffrage groups, African-American women did not let this discourage them from being notable forces in the movement. Once the 19th Amendment was passed, they were not welcomed with change, but instead saw more of the same discrimination as before. Any woman who wasn’t white was still deterred from voting.

It wasn’t until 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was passed, voting discrimination on the basis of race became openly prohibited. In the time between 1920 and 1965, many changes came in terms of who was allowed to vote. The main takeaway being that after the 19th Amendment was passed, most women in the U.S. were still not able to vote. It was not all women, it was some women — it was not total victory, but it was progress. 

When celebrating this monumental landmark in history, we would do well to remember the truth of the matter. Using the term “all women” in regards to the 19th Amendment is not an accurate representation of our history, and is simply an uneducated statement. By acknowledging our history, as ugly as it may be, we are showing our respect to the women who didn’t feel the change the 19th brought until years later. 

As women, standing together to remember the equal rights movement has not been one quick sweep, but a long, choppy battle is the best way to show our respect for the amazing women who came before us.

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An Ethereal Experience: Alina Baraz’s It Was Divine

By ReviewsNo Comments

Alina Baraz’s debut album, “It Was Divine,” hits the market a week earlier than expected. This is her first solo album since the 2018 full-length EP “The Color of You” that treated us with her dainty vocals and introspective lyrics. Baraz is no stranger to the music industry, but this time she’s ready for her close-up with “It Was Divine.”

“It Was Divine” tells the story of a painful breakup, self-awareness, healing and moving on. In other words, Baraz is not wallowing in self-pity. The album touches on Alina’s healing journey, letting go and finding everything she’s wanted and deserves. 

“I had to learn to trust myself, to let go, and to start over,” said Baraz in regards to creating “It Was Divine.”

Starting off high with “My Whole Life,” Baraz leans into a place of familiarity, highlighting her appreciation for love with a ballad. “My Whole Life” is a dreamy, laid-back and fluffy ballad that entices a newfound infatuation. With hyperbolic lyrics and its addicting chorus: “sunsets, sunsets never been so bright when you, when you look into my eyes,” Baraz envisions her whole life with her partner. 

“[My Whole Life is] very telling about me as a person. I genuinely saw my entire life, with them, flash before my eyes,” stated Baraz. 

“My Whole Life” smoothly transitions into her first feature song on the album, “Morocco,” featuring 6lack. The duo are sensual and complementary and the song is more than just another sex song — it’s poetic and full of hypnotic vocals and beats.

“We were all heavily inspired by Tame Impala,” Baraz said, which clearly shows in “Morocco’s” bass sound. Following “Morocco” is my personal favorite, “Frank.”

“Frank” and its mixture of distorted voices pays a tribute to her debut project “Urban Flora.” The track is  intimate and exemplifies the notion of getting lost in the affection of your partner. However, the lyrics “My divine energy (my divine)” suggest the idea that Baraz has finally rediscovered herself and her worth.

Baraz’s sultry voice and airy harmonies caress the song and the outro echoes “Urban Flora’s” sound. “’Frank” is arguably the best song off the album because it shows Baraz in what seems to be her most comfortable.  “This track is me looking back at myself,” stated the singer. 

Later down the album, listeners come across her lead singles,“Endlessly” and “To Me.” “Endlessly” is a song that makes love feel timeless. It captures how certain and endless a close partnership with someone can feel.

The song “To Me” is extremely entrancing. In this song, Baraz leaves a relationship that wasn’t good for her growth. There is a noticeable tone shift that includes bold lyrics:

“I’m not asking for too much, I’m asking the wrong motherf*cker. Just cause we’re in love doesn’t mean that we’re right for each other.” 

“It Was Divine” is nearly flawless. The comfortability and vulnerability showcased on the album makes the record a remarkable listen. Alina Baraz takes her listeners on a journey from honeymoon to the not-so-pretty parts of her relationship. She succeeds in telling her own story and in the process, mature as an artist. 


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Portrait of a Lady on Fire Film Review

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“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is best described as a visual love poem.

Recently released on Hulu in 2019, the French drama centers around a painter named Marianne who is tasked with secretly painting a wedding portrait of Heloise, a reluctant bride-to-be who just left the convent. Marianne pretends she is her companion for walks, and the two young women share lingering glances as they walk around the edges of cliffs, which eventually sparks a fiery romance within the isolated island they are stuck on. 

Set at the end of the eighteenth century in Brittany, France, director Celine Sciamma describes the film as a “manifesto about the female gaze.” This certainly rings true considering men are only given a few seconds of screentime; the majority of the film is dedicated to the women’s eyes. 

The cinematography is bare-boned and simplistic — its most grand setting is the vast, blue sea the women often teeter upon. But this is not a burden on the artful aspect of the film. It instead works in the film’s favor by emphasizing the intensity of the relationship depicted, one that doesn’t need extravagance or grand gestures to prove authenticity. 

The dialogue is fueled by intense silences that make room for the female gaze the film highlights, including having the musical score only occur in two of the film’s scenes. When they talk at length, it is with deep purpose, which creates layers of meaning upon its characters. In the most dialogue-heavy scene of the film, Heloise is reciting the tragic Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, two lovers whose time together comes to a bitter end. 

But above all of the silence and simplicity comes a slow burn that will inevitably leave you walking around with a melancholic ache in your chest for days after you’re done watching the film.

In this case, the ache isn’t a bad thing. Few stories in life are meant to be carried with you like this one; few films are created to pass on the weight of what it means to love and be loved — to feel the distance between the past turn to fleeting memory. This kind of ache is meant to be held close to the heart, and it’s certain that “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” will share this for generations to come.


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Jeremy Zucker’s Debut Album “love is not dying” Highlights the Melodramatics and Uncertainty of Modern Youth

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Graduate student Jeremy Zucker didn’t dream of pursuing a career in music. Creating music had always been something he loved doing as a hobby, but as he slowly began releasing music throughout his college years, he was quickly discovered and offered many record label deals. Now, the young talent has put out his very first debut album, “love is not dying.” 

Although Zucker has a massive fanbase, his newest album remains true to his roots, capitulating a powerful listening experience for his fans. “Love is not dying” is a concept album — a record that illustrates Jeremy navigating through life as he experiences hardships all while trying to conquer his hopes and dreams. The album is a poetic and honeyed story that captures Zucker’s life-altering decisions. 

“The album is a lot of introspection and it really outlines my whole life this past year and a half from the perspective of my mental health, my emotions, and my relationships.” Zucker stated in an interview with L’Officiel. 

“Love is not dying” captures the essence of melodramatics and the uncertainty of today’s youth. “Still,” the first track,  sets the tone for the rest of the album through its melodic daze.  Its serene and soothing sound features birds chirping and distant conversations that make you feel you’re outside with Zucker. 

Early into the record, Zucker displays his vulnerability to his listeners with the song “Orchid.” “Orchid” is a detailed and intimate love song. It’s a powerful modern ballad with soft vocals and  lyrics about regret. 

Following “Orchid,” “Julia” also displays an act of vulnerability. Based on a true story, “Julia” is a song about realization and closure; it holds a flair of sentimentality and a dark sense, resembling a love coming to an end.

“[Julia] encapsulates the most important emotions and feelings that come up in the album” Zucker shared. 

Ballads aren’t all Zucker has to offer on “love is dying,” though. More upbeat songs like “lakehouse” and “oh, mexico” create an electric feel. “Lakehouse” is a mixture of a happy and sad song with a pop-infused beat, whereas “oh, mexico” is a tune that starts off soft, but then picks up to a more upbeat sound with the arrangement of an electric piano. “love is not dying” is a euphoric dreamscape of ballads, pops and acoustics. 

In this album, Jeremy Zucker does an incredible job of transforming his inner feelings into a therapeutic journey. During this journey, Zucker makes room for acceptance and growth and expresses his emotions through music. For it being Zucker’s first album, “love is not dying” is an immaculate project — and I can’t wait to see what more Jeremy Zucker has to offer in the future.