Capturing Firefly: A Jar of Photographs

Capturing Firefly: A Jar of Photographs

Photographer Ben Fraternale's visual journey through the Firefly Music Festival and what lurks beneath.

Faint echos of an early-morning opener permeated the grass-fed air. Fairy dust still drifting from Woodstock '69 seemed to drizzle over an army of virgin festival goers. A giant concrete structure welcomed us down his mysterious pathway to nirvana: the inaugural Firefly Music Festival.

The festival, now 5 years running, operates adjacent to the Dover International Speedway. That concrete structure is Miles the Monster, who "destroys racecars" and in turn brutally kills or badly mangles the human beings inside them. It's all very special stuff.

Once past the homicidal beast and his savage barbarity, the inaugural festival lived up to its "Premier East Coast Experience." Armed with headliners The Killers, Jack White, and The Black Keys, bursting with unbelievable bands on four stages simultaneously, it was a dazzling experience. The festival kept me coming back, bit by the urge to speak with Miles The Monster and his merry band of musicians, but this year I brought my camera along for the ride. The following are from the final day of the 2016 Firefly Festival:

Miles the Monster, who took $6 million to construct, became sentient, and has since destroyed the lives of countless NASCAR drivers.

Crowd-surfing. Classic festival bit. Problematic. Rife with ethical questions. Where should we be touching this person? What would Miles the Monster do?



Going up and down in a balloon only yards away from where Miles the Monster claimed 18 cars in a pileup only a month earlier? Irresistible!


Signage is a true staple of festival culture and so is digging into the tough politic questions of our time. Like, shouldn't we do something about Miles the Monster?


Only those behind the fence are safe. They have surely watched this Dover International Speedway crash compilation video.



When Miles comes knocking at your door, ready for your bones, you better hope your phone or tablet is juiced up!


If only they knew.



Will a sip of this nectar help us remember the truth?


Parks & Recreation is a great show, please watch it on Netflix.


But has she seen Dover's 10 Most Monstrous Moments on Nascar.com?


#FIREFLY2016 #MilesHasTheInsatiableLustForYourBoneMarrow



If we can win, though I don't believe it to be possible, we'll need these hammocks to gather valuable rest between the scores of violence.



According to Joe Heller, head of PR for the racetrack, Miles was built on the "theme of concrete," and "You could hit him with a sledgehammer, and you know what? You'd probably suffer more damage than he would." I believe you, Joe.



Maybe they could host the festival somewhere else? Parking near him only makes him hungrier.


Blink-182 was amazing!


Look at all that confetti!

Cover Image Credit: Ben Fraternale

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9 Seasons, 8 Boxes of Tissues & 7 Lessons 'One Tree Hill' Taught Me

These blunt quotes really hit me hard during the 9 seasons of OTH

Life lessons can be found from your job, family, and even strangers. A handful of mine came from the hit TV show "One Tree Hill." The famous "Scott" brothers rivalry taught me how to give chances to those you never thought you would. Brooke and Peyton's friendship taught me that through the hardships that life brings, the right people will stay with you. Watching these characters turn into successful human beings while staying connected has taught me so many lessons that I apply in my everyday life. The quotes in this article are the ones that stuck with me the most. For this, I thank you, Mark Schwahn, for 9 seasons of pure bliss.


1. "It's not about what you say, it's about what you do. You don't like the person you've become then do something about it, because no one's gonna do it for you." — Peyton Sawyer

Everyone gets caught up in life; experiences change people, but you are human. You are your own person, so make sure you are happy with being that person. If not? Change your routine up a bit. This can be waking up an hour earlier to make a full breakfast, or skip watching the newest series on TV after work and go for a walk around the neighborhood. It really is the littlest things that can help shape you as a person.


2. "When your heart breaks, you got to fight like hell to make sure you're still alive. Because you are. And that pain you feel? That's life. The confusion and fear? That's there to remind you, that somewhere out there is something better, and that something is worth fighting for." — Nathan Scott

Everyone experiences a heartbreak or tragedy at some point in their life. If I've learned anything about it, it's that life goes on and it will get better. How you handle these events in your life will define your character and make you stronger for whatever comes next. Life is terrifying, but the beautiful thing about it is how you choose to respond to it. You only get one life, so make it worth living!



3. "Love means giving chances when there are no more chances left to give." — Haley Scott

This can feel extremely painful. If they are worth fighting for, do it. Every relationship/friendship has its rough patches and the outcome will be amazing if it's fixable. But if it's unbearable and it's damaging you as a person, leave. Love isn't always enough sometimes.



4. "Sometimes it seems like you are the only one in the world who's struggling, who's frustrated, unsatisfied, barely getting by. But that feeling's a lie. And if you just hold on, just find the courage to face it all for another day, someone or something will find you and make it all okay." — Lucas Scott

Everyone is at a different point in their life. Don't compare your success to others because you never know the work they put in to get there. Be happy for those ahead of you and use it as a motivator, not a competition. Everyone lives a different life; be happy with where you are and continue to challenge yourself. Your time will come; patience is key.


5. "If you had a friend you knew you'd never see again, what would you say? If you could do one last thing for someone you love, what would it be? Say it, do it, don't wait. Nothing lasts forever." — Brooke Davis

Tomorrow is never promised. Whether this be a small compliment to a stranger at a grocery store or telling someone you love them. You are a bigger part in someone's life than you think you are.

6. "Until you let someone in, you'll always be alone." — Chase AKA Bar Manager

To all of the introverts out there: it's easy to shut people out, but set a goal for yourself each day, like starting a 30-second conversation in the elevator instead of listening to your earbuds. For me, this helps me get over my fear of "small talk." Day by day, you'll see subtle changes in your personality and engagement in your behavior.



7. "I've come to the conclusion that if having things turn out the way you wanted them to is a measure of a successful life, then some would say I'm a failure. The important thing is not to be bitter over life's disappointments. Learn to let go of the past. And recognize that every day won't be sunny, and when you find yourself lost in the darkness and despair; remember it's only in the black of night you see the stars. And those stars will lead you back home. So don't be afraid to make mistakes, to stumble and fall, cause most of the time, the greatest awards come from doing the things that scare you the most. Maybe you'll get everything you wish for. Maybe you'll get more than you ever could have imagined. Who knows where life will take you. The road is long and in the end, the journey is the destination." — Whitey Durham

Take pride in all of your accomplishments, ignore the people who belittle your mistakes, be thankful for your milestones, and find the courage in your fear. This is what makes life so fascinating.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Why Cool Girl Isn't So Cool

The implications of Cool Girl aren't as cool as she is.

Cool Girl--you've definitely heard of her. She's everywhere. She first became known after Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl made the term popular, but she has subtly and dangerously crept into our social consciousness for years now. In basic terms,

Cool Girl is the manifestation of the male fantasy (that is, the heteronormative male fantasy that it spoon fed to males daily), a girl who is both naturally hot and sexy and seemingly into all things sports, video games, etc. She does not ever complain, she loves to hang with the "bros," and she always wants to have sex. Boy, what a woman!

But Cool Girl isn't all fun and games. Yes, many women do love the aforementioned things, and there is no judgment surrounding women that love what our still very binary culture deems as "masculine," but what is problematic is the woman who is solely an extension of the male desire, which is what Cool Girl really is.

A woman who feels afraid to express how she is truly feeling in fear of losing her partner. A woman who is constantly performing. The insidious thing about Cool Girl is that she doesn't actually have a mind of her own--instead, she is a formula meant to be devoid of real human emotion and flaws. Cool Girl may exist, but she shouldn't.

Women no longer should feel the pressure to conform to the ideals that Cool Girl has laid out. The idea of her must no longer be fed by us. Why should we have to be her anyway? She is impossibly constricting, sucking out one's ability to think autonomously. So I say F*CK COOL GIRL.

I am not Cool Girl--instead, I am a woman who believes that her inherent worth is not reliant on the ability to please a man. Instead, I am a woman who has her own wants and desires, who refuses to be another cog in the misogynistic machine.

And yes, I can do this whilst eating a hot dog and watching football and loving sex, but no, I will not be doing this for the sake of any man. I will be eating and watching and fuc*ing because I want to.

The work of eliminating Cool Girl does not rely solely on women. Men are equally responsible for perpetuating this performative model, and this needs to come to a stop as well. If everyone is aware of her dangerous presence and what she actually signifies, then maybe we can start putting an end to her for good.

Eventually, the woman of "Gone Girl" cracks at the pressure of having to constantly be the perfect wife, the perfect cool girl. May we learn from her breakdown that Cool Girl is, in reality, not even that cool.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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