White Lighters

Ethan Newmayer, a free-lance photographer working for Louis Vuitton, who hails from, Chula Vista, San Diego, three pieces of folklore for this collection.

The interview was run, in his bedroom, The interview was run, within his studio, at Orchard Avenue, on the outskirts of the University of Southern California

Folk Performance: White Lighters.

Folk Type: Folk Belief.

“I feel like there’s a ton of meaning imbued into everyday objects, particularly in the art world—the cigarette, the paintbrush…” – Stanley Kalu

STORY: It’s more of a widespread thing, but the white lighter myth, you know what I mean? It’s part of like the twenty-seven club, um, like famous musicians that died at age twenty-seven supposedly with a white lighter in their pockets. So, if you have a white light, especially if you’re 27, it’s just bad news. You might die. But white lighters in general are seen as bad luck.

Background information: The background of the white lighter curse was described within the story. The legend is primarily based on the deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain.

Context of performance: The Marijuana sub-culture adopted this legend as true and, as such, it is a widespread within the state of California.

Ethan learned about this from his peers in high school and likes it because it relates to musicians that he really respects.

Thoughts: This legend has been debunked several times. Kurt Cobain did not have a white lighter. The Bic Company didn’t even produce white lighters when Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison were alive. I suppose it persists, in part, due to cognitive dissonance and because it is lumped together with the true story of great musicians dying at 27.