USC’s Program Board kicked off the spring semester Wednesday night with Variety Hour, a night of music, comedy and dancing.
Program Board’s Concerts, Special Events and Performing Arts Committees welcomed students back to the university with a variety of live performances in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center Ballroom.
“We throw together a variety of acts to keep people entertained, interested and excited to come back to school,” Andrew Clark of the Special Events Committee said. “This is Program Board’s first big event of the year, and we like to make it big.”
Variety Hour has become an annual tradition for Program Board.
“This is our third annual Variety Hour,” Clark said. “We’re happy to keep it going. Last year we had Pentatonix and that was huge. We knew this year that we wanted to do it a third time, so we started to look at who we wanted to bring in.”
Headlining this year’s performance was YouTube sensation Alex Goot, a 25-year-old singer-songwriter from New York. Goot performed a popular rendition of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” and also some of his original songs.
Special Events Director Kim Chu discussed how Goot came to be hired.
“We were brainstorming acts to bring in, and we thought, ‘why not invite a YouTube star?’” Chu said. “So we went ahead and contacted him, and thankfully he accepted.”
Other acts included a magic show and a hip-hop performance from USC’s Break Through dance crew. Brittany Kuhne, a sophomore majoring in human biology was among the dance crew’s fans.
“We came to watch one of our friends in Break Through, but we stayed for the hypnosis,” Kuhne said.
The comedic hypnosis show by James Kellogg Jr. was a crowd favorite.
“This is the man who hypnotized famous tattoo artist Kat Von D to quit smoking,” said Derek Hughes, the magician and emcee of the show.
Kellogg’s show was a bonding experience for students who volunteered to be hypnotized. They found themselves snuggling, dancing and even stripping in front of the audience.
“My favorite part had to be the finale [of the hypnosis show]. A kid started taking off his clothes. I couldn’t believe it,” said Andrew Menard, a junior majoring in business administration. “I came tonight because I’d never been before, but I was not expecting to see ten people fall asleep on each other on stage.”
Attendance was down from last year, when ushers had to turn dozens of students away after the ballroom was filled to capacity.
“Last year, we had a lot more time to publicize so we had a full house,” Chu said. “This year, the contracts got signed a little bit later, which kept us from being able to publicize until after the school year had already started back up.”
Still, as in previous years, the event was a hit among student attendees.
“The show was really awesome,” said Laura Morine, a freshman majoring in geology. “The magician was great. It was some of the best magic I had ever seen. Break Through was fantastic. Overall, I thought it was an awesome show.”
Program Board encourages students to be on the lookout for the events they have planned for the rest of the year.
“We have a lot coming up for the spring semester,” Chu said. “There’s going to be Springfest from Program Board’s Concerts Committee, Special Events has Taste of Downtown L.A. coming up in February and Performing Arts is putting on Dueling Pianos at the end of January. It’s going to be a great year.”
Updated to show that the event took place Wednesday night, not Tuesday. The article quoted Daniel Clark when in fact his name is Andrew Clark.