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Hand-clappin’, toe-stompin’ local bluegrass Story C4


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RENT PARTY Costume fundraiser continues Harlem Renaissance tradition

Leila Rodriguez STAFF WRITER

Madam C. J. Walker, the first black woman millionaire in America, took the stage Thursday night to introduce her dear friends Langston Hughes, Coco Chanel and F. Scott Fitzgerald. “President Franklin D. Roosevelt even made it out tonight,” she said, applauding his appearance as he sat in his wheelchair near the back of the party. The heroes of the early 20th century were all embodied by costumed revelers at the Office of Diversity’s sixth annual Rent Party at the Harlen Adams Theatre in celebration of Black History Month. With the illusion of lights and the twinkling sounds of Glenn Miller softly bumping out of a jukebox, the Harlen Adams Theatre stage was transformed into a Roaring ’20s bash. English professor and party coordinator Tracy Butts played Walker during an evening of food, music and history, and guests were encouraged to embody any Harlem Renaissance figure, identifying themselves with nametags. Guests were greeted by a long table of food, silhouetted skyscrapers projected on the wall above a flickering fireplace and theater arts major Hugo Fowler’s dazzling jazz piano. The mood was serene. “Mike Johnson always creates beautiful sets,” Butts said. “It’s never what the students expect.” Johnson, the production manager for the School of Arts, filled the room with antique props ranging from a full kitchen set to small details like a vintage typewriter on a table, cleverly arranging the stage as a Harlem apartment. “When you walk in it is really as though you step back in time,” Butts said. With the men in top hats and women in pearls, it felt like the 1920s. “At least in Chico we try,” said Jen Harris of the Chico State Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. “We’re a long way from Harlem, but it’s good to remember.” Harris, who was joined by her husband Todd Harris, loves the idea of a rent party, she said. “It’s so American and historical,” she said. “Everyone pulling together, we need to have more.” Neighbors in 1920s Harlem, a time and place defined as the Harlem Renaissance, would collectively throw large parties to pay the month’s rent. Furniture was pushed aside, making room for cutting contests and piano duels. Dancing stayed minimal for this year’s rent party, but everybody joined in for the costume contest. Costume contest winner and sociology major Gigi Blake came as her great grandmother, Miss Valere, sparkling in a purple sequined dress with feather trim, topped off with a black sequined hairpiece. “It just made sense I came as my grandmother,” Blake said. “She was from that era.” Friends Autumn Kleinert, a liberal studies major, and Megan Clark, an accounting major, both said they were excited to come out. “We always like to get dressed up,” Kleinert said. “This was just another excuse to get dressed up and get involved.” Fully clad as a flapper, Kleinert pieced together her costume with items from home, including gluing fringe to the bottom of her black velvet dress. Clark, who shuffled through her closest after researching the 1920s on the Internet, decided on attire taking after the famous Coco Chanel. “And people said she had no fashion sense,” Clark said. “What did they know?” Although Thursday night’s rent party did not exceed well into midnight, all funds collected from this event will go toward the Multicultural/Gender Studies Active Scholarship. As company retired home, full from dessert, Madam Walker made sure everyone paid up to the landlord. THE ORION • FRANK REBELO

RENAISSANCE MAN Diversity Coordinator Tray Robinson dons a beret and a clarinet for the Rent Party Thursday at Harlen Adams Theatre. The Office of Diversity office collaborated with the School of the Arts for the fundraising event, based on the tradition of throwing a house party and charging for rent money.

Leila Rodriguez can be reached at


Earl Parsons ARTS EDITOR

Pop Culture Shock Five Annoying Types of YouTube Comments The Internet has a way of bringing out the worst in all of us. The most polite, eloquent people can devolve into using rash judgments and emoticon hieroglyphics the second they feel threatened or disappointed by Web content. The privacy of anonymous commenting unleashes our inner douche bag, kept silent in our private lives by years of shame. The Web is a digital court jester, delivering us any form of entertainment our hearts desire. When the court jester’s entertainment isn’t up to par, the kings sentence him to the gallows. But boring and cliche comments beat out vitriol in the annoying department any day, and there’s no better place to find repetitive Web cliches than on the bottom of YouTube videos, the breeding ground for the most ignorant and sophomoric arguments in the history of human logic. The following are a few of the most irritating varieties of YouTube musings: The Spoiler “Hey, you know that link your friend e-mailed you because he thought it was funny? Well, we’re all going to ruin it by repeating the best line over and over again so that it’s the first thing you see before the video even starts … lolololololol.” The Thumbs-Down Acknowledgment “The 2,600 people who dislike this video must’ve finally given up on Rick Astley ... tee-hee, me speak funnies!” The Bitter Rocker “If The Beatles existed today, they wouldn’t even be famous, man. These new kids, they can’t play it from their hearts like we used to. It’s all a bunch of cheap, over-produced, commercial, digital, played-out identical trash sent down from the suits to keep the masses in line. Get with the program, guys!” The Political Non Sequitur “All these liberal demotards can take their Obama bumper stickers and their organic bongs and shove ’em up YOU KNOW WHERE because this ain’t even right that damn Obama is taxin’ the businessmen to pay for the death panels now none of that money ain’t gonna trickle down to little ole me and my pig sloppin’ business and O’Reilly told me Obama was in cahoots with the British fellas who done blew up that oil well in the Gulf you know he ain’t even got no birth certificate how a grown American man never seen his own birth certificate I heard his wife is a … <click here to finish reading rant>” The Dead-Horse Fighter Any comment that attempts to dispute or rationalize any of the above. Earl Parsons can be reached at

VIRAL VIDEOS >> speaking “You look like Cable Guy dunked off of your crown” Beastie Boys “Ch-Check It Out” 2004

“McDonald’s Custodial Training Video” YouTube “We call the custodian the McC because, well, there’s clean, and then there’s McDonald’s clean.”

“Hot Drinks”/“Cold Drinks” YouTube These ’90s hip-hop/R&B videos were made to train Wendy’s employees how to properly handle liquid.

The Orion  

Chico State's independent newspaper

The Orion  

Chico State's independent newspaper