Shelley Duvall: The Woman Every Working Artist Should Thank

by Matt McKinzie

Many people who know me know that I am a huge Shelley Duvall fan. Often times they furrow their brow in bewilderment when I gush about the actress. You mean the woman from The Shining who just cries all of the time? Yes, that woman. The woman from The Shining who cries all of the time, and who was perhaps one of the greatest actors of 1970s American cinema--and of cinema at large.

When people think of the “greats,” some names immediately come to mind: Brando, Hepburn, Streep, Davis, De Niro. And the list goes on. Rarely is the name “Shelley Duvall” uttered on that list. That’s because Shelley Duvall was, and is, exactly what the greats weren’t--and in spectacular and equal measure. She slipped in and out of polar opposite roles without having to change a single thing about her physical appearance. One moment she is the meek and unassuming daughter of a gas station attendant in Thieves Like Us, and the next minute she is a fast-talking New York journalist upstaging Woody Allen (ugh) in Annie Hall. On Monday, she is Millie Lammoreaux, the glamorous, delusional, and slowly-disillusioned rehab nurse in 3 Women, but by Friday she is the hysterical and markedly unglamorous wife of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. By Saturday, she is quite literally a cartoon character--transforming, before our eyes, into Popeye’s Olive Oyl, playing cheerful bride to none other than Robin Williams.

illustration by Elinor Bonifant

illustration by Elinor Bonifant

She achieves all of this--prolificity, tremendous versatility--practically without batting an eye. Sure, there were a few costume changes here and there (who can forget that iconic yellow dress from 3 Women? With the yellow wallpaper to match?). But the one thing that never--ever--changed was her face. In an industry overflowing with prosthetics and practical effects--enough to make Christian Bale quite literally become Dick Cheney--Shelley Duvall never abandoned a makeup-free, utterly natural state. This considered, it is also important to recognize that she did not fit into the movie star mold. She was never considered a “glamour girl” in the traditional sense. Her large eyes, superfluous smile, towering presence, and syrupy Southern drawl rarely matched the look and persona of her contemporaries. She scarcely fit a certain “type”--never playing the ingenue, the love interest, the “femme fatale.” But these qualities made her one-of-a-kind, and filled each performance she delivered with a charming and completely captivating sense of singularity. No one could be Shelley Duvall but Shelley Duvall. And no one other than Shelley Duvall could give a Shelley Duvall performance; a performance style where, much like Bale becoming Cheney, she became each distinct character she assumed, but never abandoned a sense of vulnerability, a tactile earthiness, and a complete naturalism that allowed her to stay utterly true to herself in a business built on a love affair with facades. Simply put, there was nothing standing between her and the camera. Everything about her was and is so...immediate.

It is these qualities that often finds Duvall at the mercy of some extreme vitriol. Her unwillingness to fit into a specific mold or industry norm bewilders those who place weight on such silliness. Furthermore, Stephen King blames his hatred for The Shining on Duvall’s performance, noting, “she’s basically just there to scream and be stupid.” Here, King is failing to realize three things: the strength, willpower, and ultimate sensitivity it takes a person to go to such extreme emotional lengths; the fact that Duvall was put through absolute hell on set by director Stanley Kubrick; and the fact that--amid all of this--she quite literally saves the film. Our ability to identify with Duvall’s poignant, palpable expression of terror turns what could have otherwise become a camp comedy (considering the often cartoonish nature of Nicholson’s performance) into what is now considered one of the greatest horror films ever made.

So who is Shelley Duvall? Yes, she is the screaming wife of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. But because of that, she is also a supreme torch-carrier for the role and importance of women in the horror genre. Beyond this, she is easily one of the most talented and underappreciated actors of the American New Wave--and American cinema in general. And ultimately, she is an artist who (as trite as it sounds) never abandoned her authentic self, in the face of forces that asked her to abandon (and too often attacked her for not abandoning) everything that made Shelley Duvall...well...Shelley Duvall.

In that way, let her be an inspiration to us all.

Deteriorating is a Becoming Event

Photos by Yuhan Cheng

Words by Carly McGoldrick


The last few weeks have felt particularly heavy. There’s a certain bleakness, now, as the city turns colder and old snow accumulates along the sidewalks. Puddles are getting cloudier, and I haven’t been able to go outside for more than ten minutes without freezing. Time is moving more slowly. I wish the sun didn’t set so early in the day.

I’ve been spending a lot of time swaying in the darkness of my room, blinds closed, half-comatose. I clutch my arms so tightly to my torso to contend with the cold, and also to avoid letting any important pieces of myself fall out.

There’s a nervousness and a fear, for whatever reason, that as the seasons change, and the snow freezes, and then melts and then falls again, that some piece of my identity is getting lost along the way.

It’s sort of indescribable, the feeling of deterioration. If nature is collapsing in on itself, why can’t I?

I exist in many forms.

It’s taken me awhile to believe that.

For years, I’ve suppressed my multitudes as a means of becoming

more digestible by other people.

It’s frightening to come to the realization

That I had been shaping myself so exhaustively

To satisfy the likes of others,

Rather than developing my own identity.

To instead become a shell of expectations, rather than a whole person.

I‘ve always liked to see myself reflected in my environment.

Now, instead of changing myself,

I change the things I see.

I go on walks.

I admire the water as it freezes and thaws,

Allowing its smooth form to run alongside its more jagged one,

Not fearful of the way in which its two versions are different.

Like that water,

I coexist with myself.

I am not fully one thing, but rather, I am many,

And I am transforming constantly.

I remember speaking to my mother on the phone in the airport terminal a month or two ago, before my flight home to Ohio. I had tears streaming down my face. At that time in my life, even the temporary change of a location, like the one from Massachusetts to Ohio, was disorienting. I didn’t want to go. I’m currently learning to adapt to that kind of infinitesimal change.

It was raining that day, and I remember how the raindrops framed the grime on the terminal windows, illuminating the planes and the runways and the workers and the luggage, all battling the storm outside. It’s funny how something so normal and so harmless, like water, can be such a nuisance.

When I got to Ohio that evening, it was snowing. I missed the rain in Massachusetts, but I would imagine I was glad to be see that Midwestern snow I had known and loved my whole life.

I’ve learned, or am currently learning, that there’s much to be learned from water, in all its forms. There’s power in deteriorating, in the ability to break oneself down, to then build oneself back up in another form. Like rain in one place, turning cold in another, I seek to become more comfortable with change. There lies much power in fluidity, and I’m learning to embrace that.

The Rise of Stick and Poke Tattooing

By Erin Christie and Mica Kendall

Personal anecdotes provided by Erin Christie

The stylistic trend of “Do it Yourself” art has extended its notoriety within millennial culture from not only basement DIY music to DIY pinterest craft making. In the same vein as DIY, the art of tattooing isn’t nearly a new concept, let alone one that’ll be stopping anytime soon. One thing that might be evolving, though, is the mass production of the practice, the “DIY-ness” of it, and how accessible it is for just about anyone with the means to sterilize a needle and a pot of ink to accomplish their own makeshift career. This subset of DIY, referred to as “stick and pokes tattooing” due to the nature in which they are crafted-- with a needle being used to repeatedly poke ink into the skin-- is, as Vogue describes, “the new septum piercings,” with stick and poke tattoos becoming increasingly preferred over the traditional tattoo gun in tattoo parlors.

When I first started getting tattoos, myself, I was extremely intimidated by the prospect of going into a tattoo parlor, and  the prices that were oftentimes attached to the service. Of course, you’re paying an artist to do their job, and that requires some sort of payout in exchange, but for a college student, the idea of wanting art on your body and being able to afford it is a whole different story. Despite this, I was determined to save up with the sole intention of ink.

When I got my second tattoo, I did so on an absolute whim of spontaneity. Hidden in a small alcove attached to a Brooklyn shop that sold anything from drug paraphernalia to sex toys laid “Fantasy Party Tattoo,” also known as two professional artists sitting at a countertop, tattoo guns in hand. Sat atop a teeny stool, I watched the tattoo artist (whose name I can’t even remember) drag the single needle-clad gun across my inner forearm and winced at the sting. The process, in entirety, was quick, easy, and unapologetic—simply an exchange of payment for a lifelong piece of artwork.

At least in my personal experience, getting stick and poke tattoos has been a practice that has a completely different energy.  

In a GQ article entitled “The Stylish Rise of Stick and Poke Tattoos,” writer Liza Corsillo says, “What were once known as ‘jail tattoos’ have become exceedingly popular among young creative types with a different view of tattooing.” Stick and poke has a strong emphasis on the intimacy behind the craft: as opposed to a tattoo gun, hand-poking is done by just that: by hand, with each “poke” of ink into the skin packed with meaning.  

From an artist and client perspective, it is important to note the financial benefits of stick and poking: not only are the materials much cheaper and accessible, but the work itself typically is, too. Not only are stick and pokes a cheaper alternative to the common $100 minimum at tattoo parlors, but the appeal in stick and pokes are centered around the intimate and more personalized experience between one and the stick and poke artist. Stick and poke tattoos are traditionally given in the artist’s own personal space, like their apartments or art studios. Thus, not only are you obtaining a personalized experience and getting a one of a kind, hand-drawn stick and poke design, but your experience is also much more laid back and personal considering the atmosphere (as opposed to the hectic, customer-ridden experience that comes with going to a tattoo parlor).

When I met Joo (jpcff on Instagram), I immediately felt an aura of warmth, despite how freezing it had been outside at the time. It was November, and I was visiting Joo with the intention of getting my first ever stick and poke, my third tattoo in total.  

Joo’s Somerville space was decorated with an assortment of flash sheets that I had seen on their Instagram, as well as other various sketches and tattoo designs. Apart from a traditional studio space, I felt at ease in Joo’s small bedroom-turned-tattoo parlor. During the session, we talked about everything from their plans to eventually branch out and start their own studio in New York City to the trials that I experience at my job at Urban Outfitters, all whilst Ariana Grande’s then newest, “Thank U, Next” played softly in the background.

As opposed to my personal past experiences, which felt much more business-like and formal, this was an entirely different experience, one that felt more like a meeting of two friends, each connected by art and the practice of inking homemade tattoos.

Aside from professional stick and poke artists, the art of stick and poke is very much a college milestone, in a way, especially within the Boston scene. Avery Kelly (@friendsround), a Northeastern Sophomore from Portland, Oregon recalls her stick and poke beginnings fondly, but not without cringing at her past self:

“So, I started because I was fifteen and wanted a tattoo for the 1975 (lol), but after realizing how accessible and expressive it is, started actually getting into it,” she said.  “I really love the community that comes with it; it’s probably why I started expanding my pokes to people other than my friends and started asking for payment.”

As she noted, a friend, Dylan (@violentwire), became a kind of mentor in terms of hand-poking when they met this past summer. They traded tattoos and he taught her a lot about technique and the community as a whole. “I love being able to trade art with people and decorate others as well as myself, and I see it as a sort of permanent jewelry,” Kelly said.

Throughout her time with the craft, she recalls her most memorable tattoo appointments:

“As for people I’ve poked, the most memorable is definitely Hinds!! The girls were on tour in the US, and their photographer posted on their story that they were looking for tour tats. I reached out, and we met up at the venue before the show and I gave Carlotta, Amber, their photog Neelam, and Emmett from Goodbye Honolulu lil tour mementos. They were super inviting and open and made me feel like my art was a valid form of tattooing!”

Though, the stick and poke tattoo process is more tedious and time consuming compared to the “one and done” technique of using a tattoo gun, the results are more individualized and meaningful. In essence, if you intend to support independent artists, stick and poke tattoos are a great alternative in terms of your ink needs, especially if you want to help artists get their start in the tattooing industry. What many people don’t realize is just how communal the art of stick and poking is: it’s not isolated to a specific area of the world, nor is it exclusive in any way, shape or form: it’s available to anyone who’s interested, and is loved by all who either poke themselves (like Avery and Joo) or enjoy receiving them (like myself).

A note for aspiring stick and poke artists: If you are an artist yourself, many companies offer stick and poke starter kits which are available to order online (i.e. at Prices range from $44 to $68 a kit, but the kit comes with everything essential to conducting your own stick and poke tattoo.

The Men That Lead

by Nada Alturki

illustration by Pixie Kolesa

illustration by Pixie Kolesa

The wind blew in
And the Mercedes-Benz dragged in creatures of conspicuous self-worth
Who reek of high-end cologne
Ringing laughter
Traced with beer
and the comfort of unlimited credit cards And daddy’s paychecks
Masked in pink slapped skin they call a tan Their eyes see in a one-dimensional thrill Because their surroundings have been Molded to adjust just that
They walk around
With feet that stomp
Limbs that grope
Eyes that choke
And dicks that throb
For anything that looks
Or not
It really doesn’t matter
As long as they fit into a size 6
And these are the same men
That teach our kids
And entertain our screens
And rule our countries

Illustration by Pixie Kolesa

Illustration by Pixie Kolesa

How Did We Get Here

by Leah Heath

They step up and close their eyes, pulling their entire selves into this moment. Complete and totally. Anticipating the final resurgence for the crowd. They begin by first moving their arms. Bones moving smoothly under their skin, shoulder blades moving…IN…OUT.

The crowd wonders what they’ve seen to get to this point. What memories flash through these women’s eyes to make them move the way they do. They create these images for the crowds as well though. One man thinks of his wife’s arm, sliding across the cream bedsheet. A woman sees her mom slam a stick near her feet in a heated act to prompt removal of one’s presence from the room.

Breathe in so loud, everyone can hear you. Hands skyrocket. Make sure not to point your toes. This is not ballet and life is not so graceful a dance as to be thought so. Snap into position, noting positions of yourself and those around the room, as well as a moment for the audience to think about that one movement, and continue.. Open lungs meet with open ribs. We make sure to put our entire selves into this dance. Giving ourselves to these strangers, who will then go home to sleep with these memories we make for them.

A man in the hall just outside finds a sharp piece of mirror. He picks it up and wraps it into his hand. Sliding the shard into his pocket but make sure to keep its grip. Slide into the crowd and experience this bewitchment first-hand. Crazy, right! You feel the rhythm. How is this not creating a chain reaction with the audience? The man with the mirror piece decides to be the first of the chain.

Stepping out of the audience and up to the edge of the stage. He stands up there with his fist raised, and within it a shard of the mirror. Everyone stops and stares. The dancers stand straight backed with hands at their sides waiting to see what he’ll do. He stands, still with all eyes on him, and slams the shard to the ground. Bursting ethereally across the dance floor. Oh no! They’ll cut their feet now, he thinks. He looks at the main dancer, inhales and steps onto the shattered mirror bits, creating a sheering sound against the ground. He starts his own dance to invoke them all. This…this is how it is supposed to be done.

Enticing the rest of the crowd, they get up and start in this flowing dance. Individually they figure out how to move their bodies in this chaotic way. Feeling the rhythm, one woman crouches low to the ground and picks up one of the mirror shards and laughs. Laughing, everyone continues, as the dancers watch. We’ve ruined this game for them, unable to dance; they could, of course, make a choice. Stay outside of what was once their box, or mar their feet forever to be a part of this one beautiful and unrelenting night full of the movement in their bones. The choice is yours.

Illustration by Queenn Mckend

Illustration by Queenn Mckend

Goth Glam on Instagram

You probably already know of Josephine Lee, model and artist of @princessgollum fame. Josephine is currently serving as a Dazed Beauty Player, representing the “future of beauty” on Dazed Magazine’s new beauty platform.

View this post on Instagram

motherfucker im i’ll

A post shared by J•E•THЯEE (@darkwebhorsegirl) on

“Not a girl but a horse girl” (They/Them)

Jay gives us CONSISTENT intricate goth makeup looks with spiders, barbed wire, centipedes and more. They have beautiful pet rats and frequently change the color of their mullet. They also share about their journey of recover and sobriety which is EXTREMELY bad ass and goth! Follow for vulnerability, honestly, inspiration, looks and RATS.

art by Enne Goldstein

art by Enne Goldstein

Jay told em, “My account isn’t a dedicated makeup page, or health food page, or any type of account that I could see people wanting to follow. It’s literally just my life, and I guess 18,000 people take interest in that. I feel like people recognize that I try to be honest about the fact that while social media only shows your audience what you want them to see, my life isn’t perfect. I work a minimum wage job and live paycheck to paycheck. I’m in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. I watch too much WWE and I’ve found that many people find that inspiring—that’s important to me. If I can use the slight following that I have (saying that makes me feel weird and icky but I guess it’s the case) to be a positive influence of some sort and of service to others, then I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing.”

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frizzy hair madness

A post shared by louis (@slaytrixx) on

Here at em Magazine we LOVE to see local Bostonians lighting up the Instagram feed with goth glamour. Louis of @slaytrixx frequently sports studs, chains and leather but isn’t limited to one look. His Instagram also frequently features art, with details from paintings, sculptures and photographs for a bit of macabre inspiration. Louis told em Mag, “I would describe my style as glamour mixed with gritty, raw punk and goth influences. Many of which include Lou reed, Nico from the Velvet Underground, Rozz Williams and the British punk rock movement. Androgyne is a huge aspect of my style, I like to alter my form and appearance every single day, I never leave the house looking the same as I did before, almost taking on the form of someone else, it’s very invigorating for me.”


by Maya Pontone

Illustration by Coco Luan

Illustration by Coco Luan

The first thing I noticed was his height.

Before I had left for school in August, I was used to resting my chin on top of my brother’s head whenever he gave me a hug. But when Carter greeted me at the front door with that awkward side-hug so many 13 year-olds give, I was startled when the scruff of his dirty blonde hair brushed up against my cheek and ears. It had only been three months since I’d last seen him, but in that short time frame, I had clearly missed a lot. Now he was nearly as tall as me.

I can distinctly remember, in the weeks leading up to my first year of school, dreading the changes in my relationship with my family. I knew that while leaving home would give me the freedom to be my own person, it also meant separation from the people I saw every day from my first days of preschool to my last days of high school. As the oldest of three younger siblings, I wasn’t fully aware of the impact their daily presence had on my growth until I realized what my absence during some of the most formative years of their lives meant.

It suddenly hit me that I wouldn’t be there to offer guidance during their awkward middle school years, or to comfort them during the frustrating chaos of high school. Family group chats and phone calls could never replace sitting next to them at the kitchen counter while they struggled with Algebra homework, or listening to them from the front seat of the car while complained about some text a stupid boy sent them, or teasing them in the bathroom when they drunkenly brushed their teeth after their first party. Visits home over breaks wouldn’t just be vacations, but desperate attempts to play catch-up on all that I had missed in my siblings’ lives in the months I had been gone.

I never understood the true extent of everyone’s temporary presence in each of our lives until I realized those closest to me were no longer with me. I always considered my family to be permanent. But in reality, no one is meant to last forever. Regardless of how intertwined our lives may be with others, we are all leading separate lives; this truth can be hard to remember sometimes when we become unconsciously reliant on others’ unwavering presence.

Illustration by Coco Luan

Illustration by Coco Luan

Growing up, there were times when I felt overwhelmed by my family’s close proximity. It did not matter if I fled upstairs to my bedroom or snuck downstairs into the basement—there was no corner of the house where I could escape the noise of my family’s incessant yelling, laughing, crying, bickering, whining, and barking. I didn’t know then how much I would eventually yearn for this chaos when faced with the loneliness of individual silence

The Pirate Ship

by Sam Bratkon

art by Nic Sugrue


She’s much taller than most kids her age. Her feet are actually bigger than mine. From a height standpoint she was big enough to go on every ride at the beachfront carnival, but intellectually she’s right where she should be, 6-years-old. Myself being 15 years her elder, I often felt more like a mom than a big sister. Regardless, I was naturally uneasy when during our vacation to the beachfront carnival she insisted on riding the pirate ship.

I’ll go on almost every ride but that was where I drew the line. Rides with big drops or anything with movements resembling the Tower of Terror are a no-go for me. I feared the sensation that makes my feet squirm, of my bladder in my throat, that makes me count the seconds until I’m back on solid ground.

But she insisted on riding, announcing that she had been on a pirate ship before and was not afraid. A friend of mine volunteered to ride with her. My sister beamed a gap-tooth smile with every swoop, flaunting her enjoyment in the midst of my doubt.   

In addition to the nights spent at the waterfront carnival, on the last day of our vacation I took her to an amusement park about ten minutes from the house we were staying at. We went with some of my friends after lunch that day. She had a ham and cheese sandwich for the third day in a row. The meal would become a staple of her diet in the coming weeks.

The day was filled with high pitched screams, winning stuffed pigs from carnival games, and the sun glistening off her round brown eyes.

As we made our way around the park, our group approached the park’s pirate ship. Much to the insistence of her and my friends, I strapped into the ride, right in the center row. My sister decided to sit all the way in the back. Once the ride began I found myself surprisingly enjoying it. With the fear faded, I kept turning my head back to watch her shriek with joy as she experienced the ride.  

We filled the following hours with snacks and screams and spins.

I promised her one last ride at the end of our adventure and of course she requested the pirate ship. Having previously in the day conquered my fear of riding it, I chose to sit one row closer to the back to heighten the sensation of each swoop. After our bar was secured the ride took off and began gaining momentum. This time, sitting beside me, my sister admitted she was afraid. She began begging to get off as the ship ascended towards the clouds. I couldn’t understand why she was so upset this time around, considering she had pleaded with me to ride a few nights before.

I wrapped my arms around her head, pulling her into my chest, and asked her to close her eyes. I sang to her gently, to no song, in particular, just making up words about how it would all be over soon and attempting to murmur her shouts that arose with each swing.

When the bars released she ran off and looked up at me with those big brown eyes, swollen from tears, as we walked out the exit. I again promised her one more ride. Followed by one more game. And maybe a snack later. Because I can’t stand to disappoint her.

Although I decided years ago that I never wish to bear children of my own, I can equate to no other the pride I felt when the cashier at TJ Maxx asked if she is my daughter the week before our vacation. The possibility that something so beautiful and pure could be brought forth from me is humbling.