A guide to arts & entertainment at USC

There are many concerts, publications and showcases on campus for A&E lovers.

KXSC organizes various concerts during the school year, letting students get a taste of their peers’ music in an intimate setting. Local band Rain on Fridays performed at KXSC’s Welcome Back Show this past spring. (Alia Yee Noll / Daily Trojan file photo)

For all you freshmen preparing for your first year at USC, the hard part is over … right? You pushed through the daunting task of applying to schools and waited with bated breath for the decisions that would seal your fate. You were accepted into USC (congrats!) and decided to enroll. What could be more difficult than getting to USC? Unfortunately, the challenge is only beginning, as now you must face the most harrowing task of all: finding ways to engage on campus.

It’s extremely easy to shut yourself in as a freshman — not knowing who to talk to, where to go or what to do in your free time. USC is home to countless clubs, and the sheer number of campus events can be incredibly daunting without guidance.

If you’re interested in arts & entertainment, you’ve come to the right place to be on track for a lively, fruitful first semester. Campus is studded with events and clubs to engage with, highlighting different facets of A&E like music, dance, theater and writing.

Let’s begin with the basics: There’s no shortage of live music on campus. Luckily, USC has quite a few concerts and festivals that take place throughout the year. The Welcome Back Concert is the fall semester’s biggest music event, taking place Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. Organized by the USC Concerts Committee, this year’s event features Pi’erre Bourne among other artists.

Visions and Voices, a collective focusing on arts and humanities, will hold SPARK! Annual Kickoff and Arts Fest with live music, drag performances and a dance party on Aug. 17. If you’re looking for a more intimate event, KXSC, USC’s student-run radio station, holds many shows throughout the year featuring student musicians and club members. These events almost always have vendors and activities that make for a fun night out.

If classical music is more your speed, attend the USC Thornton Symphony. The Symphony’s first show of the year takes place Sept. 8. Additionally, Thornton holds numerous other performances during the year featuring jazz and popular music. Be sure to visit the Thornton website to see its schedule of events. If you are looking to get involved in an ensemble but aren’t a music student, the Student Symphony Orchestra accepts performers from any major. The SSO has concerts throughout the semester as well, so if you’re not interested in joining, attend one of their performances for a night of classical brilliance.

Whether you enjoy acting or watching plays, there are certainly organizations to satiate your appetite for theater at USC. Those looking to get involved may be interested in organizations such as the Aeneid Theatre Company, Impulse Theatre Company and Modern Minority Theatre Company, who each put on their own student-produced shows throughout the semester. The School of Dramatic Arts also produces a number of shows that primarily feature SDA students. A few shows to look forward to this fall semester are “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” “Pippin” and “Hit the Wall.”

The Fourth Quarter All-Stars hosts Sketchella every spring, where students can find delight in sketch comedy from universities across the country. (Alia Yee Noll / Daily Trojan file photo)

As of 2018, USC is also home to the West Coast’s largest college comedy festival: Sketchella. Founded by the sketch comedy organization Fourth Quarter All-Stars, the festival brings together college comedy groups from across the country for two nights of innovative, raunchy fun. If you want to participate in Sketchella or comedy at USC in general, organizations like 4QAS, Spoiler Alert, The Suspenders and Commedus Interruptus will be right up your alley. Their student-produced shows never disappoint and certainly deserve students’ attention.

There’s a myriad of dance groups at USC, so if dance is your passion, you’re in luck. Do not feel limited if the Kaufman school’s performances primarily showcase dance majors — many of the student dance companies accept students of any major and demonstrate immense talent and professionalism.

If you like K-pop, join K-pop dance cover group Spade A Dance. For contemporary and jazz dancers, there’s Xpressions Dance Company. NSQK offers a number of workshops each semester alongside its performances. For those interested in a cultural dance club, there’s USC Traditional Chinese Dance and Grupo Folklórico de USC among others. If you’ve got two left feet, you can always attend one of these group’s performances or a Kaufman performance. The Kaufman event schedule is currently on its website.

Those with a love for writing will be thrilled to know that there are several student publications on campus to join and read. Let’s get the obvious out of the way: The Daily Trojan has been publishing since 1912, featuring an impressive arts & entertainment print section and podcast… Applications are currently open.

There are other phenomenal publications to check out as well. Descent Magazine highlights Asian, Pacific Islander and South Asian arts and literature. Haute Magazine explores art, fashion and culture with an editorial flair. SCene Magazine discusses campus culture and experience.

If you’re more interested in an unorthodox approach to writing, The Sack of Troy is USC’s squirrel-loving student parody paper.

Though this guide only scratches the surface of what’s to discover in arts & entertainment at USC, you should now be equipped with the necessary knowledge of what to check out. The transition from high school to college is a challenging one, so be sure to engage with the things you enjoy. By doing so, you might find like-minded people and a solid community to navigate the next four years. Fight on!

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