Eyes were turned from textbooks and laptops as the Student Union Board of Governors (SUBOG) transformed the warm-lighted North Lobby of the Student Union into the ambiance of a quaint coffee shop for their first open mic night of the semester. Behind a mural of the UConn campus, 18 performers went on stage to be greeted by a singular stool where a mix of comedy, lip syncing, dancing, poetry, guitar playing and singing were going to be showcased. Tuesday night’s performers featured a wide variety of performances that would keep anyone entertained– and they were up against a difficult crowd of studiers.
The second performer of the night, Kunal Kataria, a seventh-semester management entrepreneurship major, dazzled the audience with a hilarious stand-up routine followed by a surprise free styling act later on in the night. His relaxed stage presence was paired with confident, yet expressive movements on stage. His stand-up, which addressed male pedicures, the perks of divorced parents and a previous unfortunate incident in which he got hit by a car was equally as engaging as his Harry Potter freestyling.
“Fun. It was very fun tonight, I was very nervous for the four hours before,” Kataris said describing the event while sporting turquoise-painted toenails. “The crowd’s just so nice. Really engaging–such a beautiful crowd. I would definitely do it again.”
As the night went on there were additional stand-up routines, poetry readings, singing, guitar playing and appearances by some of UConn’s acapella groups. Co-ed group A Minor and all female groups Drop the Base and Rubyfruit took the stage flashing their respective t-shirts. Each group had their own distinct sound which illustrated their harmonic talent. If you were lucky to catch them, you witnessed their mix of popular artists and obscure songs, which made for a change of pace for the evening.
If the night didn’t feature enough variety, there was an original song performed and directed at the recent parking controversy. Will Hunt, a seventh-semester biomedical engineering student, took aim at the lack of parking on the UConn campus with his amusing song titled “Ode to Parking.”
With lyrics like: “Everything you touch changes, but you don’t change” and the final delivery of his repeated chorus, “Parking services, parking services, parking services I hope one day you get ticketed, too” were crowd-pleasers. After the completion of the song, there was an eruption of triumphant yells and even a raised fist here and there.
As the night seemed to wind down, with larger gaps between performances and infrequent volunteers to perform, an icon appeared. The stand out performance of the night was fifth-semester economic major, Nickolas Forknot, who delivered a sensational performance of Ariana Grande’s new song, “God is a Woman.” His production of Grande’s song included pitch-perfect singing, interactions with the audience and a draw dropping final act in which Forknot choreographed a series of leg stretches while sprawled out on a table. His impressive performance brought in a massive wall of onlookers from the Student Union hallway and anybody that was attempting to study dropped all pencils and reverted their attention towards the performance. By the end of the performance there were 12 audience members recording the act.
That was just the beginning, as Forknot returned for a second act with Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda.” This act started in the back of the room and progressed as Forknot weaved his way through the crowds seductively dancing and reenacting the popular music video. Once he reached the stage he ended the song with a mix of twerking and hand aerobics, bringing the crowd to clamoring cheers and claps. It was a blow-out showcasing.
On a rainy Tuesday night, SUBOG’s Open Mic Night cheered up all audience members and exceeded expectations by holding a decent sized crowd throughout the evening. Even in the quieter moments SUBOG maintained the comforting, intimate crowd that attracts most performers.
“I hope that students can find an opportunity to express themselves and their diversity in a welcoming space,” said SUBOG Special Events Chairman TJ Fauci. “Events such as this help open doors to future co-partnerships between SUBOG and other student organizations, and also serve as an outlet for student creativity.”
Lucas Knight-Vezina is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.