BY: Kamran Rouzpay
I may just be a part-time, post-grad student, but I still pay tuition at UAA; and I still pay a student activities fee; and I still think my opinion should matter to where that money goes. When it comes to music and entertainment at UAA this semester, the quality and diversity has been an utter and complete disappointment.
As a paying student, I would like a say in how my money is being spent, but being that it is unrealistic for every student’s voice to be heard (although with a little effort, it is entirely feasible) is it too much to expect that the money contributed through student fees is diversified in a way so that the largest amount of students can feel satisfied that their money is not being hijacked by a small few in power. However, that isn’t the case and yes, I’m endorsing Obama politics for my personal entertainment. Thank you stimulus!
Every student who takes more than three credits pays Concert Board and Activities Board fees. The Concert Board fee is a flat $10 per student, and the Activities Board is three dollars per credit with a maximum charge of $240 per student. I’m only taking three credits this term, which equates to a total charge of $19 between the two boards. But let us assume the typical student takes neither the maximum nor the minimum amount of credits, and for the sake of this argument let us say the typical student takes roughly 13 credits per term, which would equate to a $49 charge per person between the two boards. With approximately 20,000 students at UAA, can the strictly student funded total really be near $1 million per term? Holy shit. And the best we can use that money on is Seth Meyers and Stephen Lynch?
Normally, none of this is surprising nor outwardly discouraging in a bureaucracy, but when student entertainment is so grossly underwhelming, as it has been this term, student life funding need to be addressed. This term alone, the Concert Board and the Student Activities Board have dispersed student fees to host four comedy acts and only two music acts, one of which is hometown heroes The Builders and the Butchers (they will be at the Student Union Café on November 13) and the other being the Dirty Brass Band. And don’t even try to convince me that the A Cappella Festival counts. Conversely, the two boards have or will have hosted comedic acts Lynch, Meyers, Mikey Angel, and Ryan Reiss – not exactly the heavy hitters of comedy.
Now, I love the Builders and the Butchers, and I regret missing the Dirty Brass Band, but don’t we deserve more from our Concert and Activities Boards than two reasonable bands and four marginal comedians? Am I the only one who wants to dance? Am I the only one seeing the irony of not getting hip, underground artists while they’re cheap and fresh? And by the way, why is our Concert Board bringing up two comedic acts to only one musical act? Maybe I’m fuzzy on what the definition of a concert is, but maybe the confusion could be avoided by renaming it the Arguably Humorous and Dated Music Board.
Meanwhile, our university counterparts in Fairbanks brought up Tobacco and Nappy Roots this term among other, musical acts, lecturers, and comedians. Tobacco, for those who are unfamiliar, performed this Halloween’s eve at UAF and is the instrumental hip-hop side-project of Chicago’s psychedelic group Black Moth Super Rainbow. It’s arrogant not admitting that sounds pretentious and obscure, but the fact remains that not hosting Tobacco in Anchorage was an opportunity missed in exposing the community to refreshing, creative, and diverse music in a city where that is geographically formidable.
My UAA buddies and I made the six-hour, round-trip, car crash included, and let me tell you, Tobacco was absolutely killer. We danced, we rocked, and we laughed our collective asses off thanks to a wonderfully taboo highlight reel. Fewer than 100 people attended the five-dollar show, but that was still 100 more who were at least given the opportunity to feel satisfied, ecstatic (primarily us), or mildly curious in seeing something new and interesting with their concert and activities fees.