Students’ music and readings rule the Rat

There were no baked goods at The Rathskellar on Saturday, Nov. 12, but there was The Goods, the once-a-semester student art festival sponsored by ‘ink.’

With no cover charge, students, faculty and even strange drunk men could come and go as they pleased, to enjoy or not enjoy the music, poetry and fiction delivered by the student performers.

Starting off the day was The Embassy, a four-piece punk band of College juniors and seniors. Their 45-minute set included several original songs and a cover of The Cars’ “Just What I Needed.”

The band has played many times on campus, and said The Goods was a great event for them. Andrew Ferencevych, junior history major and bass player for The Embassy, said, “It’s a good venue, and people can come out and chill.”

And indeed, people chilled. Through the course of the day, audience members ate, drank and were merry. During a jazz improvisation segment from sophomore guitarists Keith Petrillo and Michael Bywra, a few students were doing homework. The College’s rigorous course load led students to continue with their homework throughout the day as the performances raged on.

As an introduction to her fiction reading, Michelle McGuinness, freshman English major, said, “This is the single most intimidating moment of my life.” But 15 minutes later, she was reassured from the cheers in the audience.

Perhaps the biggest crowd-pleaser of the day was Musical Ridiculousness with senior biology majors, Jordan Kaplan and Jason Morgan. The duo played three original works and five covers, including “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” “How Can We Be Lovers” and a heartfelt rendition of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge.”

But the song the audience loved most was an original, titled “Take My Breath Away.” Kaplan sang-rapped such lyrics as “You give me emphysema because you take my breath away” and “Studying your jeans, that’s what I call genetics.” Kaplan spoke of how grateful he was for being allowed to play at The Goods.

“I am glad to have brought the bads and the uglies,” he said.

Next up was Sean MacPhee, who read an original short story called “Gardener.” A poignant look at Internet porn, the tale garnered tremendous applause.

David Byrne, senior math major, played a half-hour set of original music, armed only with a guitar, amp and some effects pedals. His unique sound was self-described as “experimental minimalism.” With such song titles as “What Would Dave Do” and lyrics like “Snug as a bug in a rut with an appetite for chloroform,” Byrne’s music was definitely something different. Byrne also happily lent his amp to all the day’s musical performers.

Near the end of the day was Nicole Grieco, senior English major, who read three poems, two being about the lives of Barbie, Ken and the other dolls in the Mattel franchise. The audience consistently laughed at Grieco’s work, and she was easily a favorite of the day.

Grieco said she was very satisfied with the event. “The audience was really responsive, and it was good hearing what things they laughed at and what had no effect,” she said.

Next was The Steamboat Project, the name of senior English major Anthony Milici’s solo act. Using an acoustic guitar, keyboard and a flute, Milici’s haunting music and storytelling lyrics struck a nerve with the audience. Guest Byrne played trumpet on the last song of the Steamboat set.

And then came the feature presentation: slam poetry. The three poets, Post Midnight, J. Simone and Chad Anderson, performed a total of 13 poems. The audience thoroughly enjoyed Post’s first poem, “Bacon,” with lines like “Bacon helped me redefine my spirituality.”

Chad Anderson’s first poem was an anti-drinking poem about various people from his past. Before his next poem, he realized that “doing an anti-drinking poem at a college is a fucking stupid thing to do.”

Post’s last poem, “Cunning Linguist,” included the great line, “Forgive me sister for when I read your scripture, all I pictured was coed naked Twister.” And at the end of the poem, he chanted, “Do you want some head? Say yeah if you want some head.”

After six hours of music, fiction and poetry, The Goods was over. Sarah Maloney, senior math major and president of ‘ink,’ who emceed and coordinated the event, said, “I think the quality of this year’s Goods is the best it’s been so far. We want to keep getting better and better.”

Anderson’s final line of the final poem of the day summed up the spirit of The Goods. Dedicated to all writers, Anderson’s voice resonated as he said, “You are read to me, and I can’t stop reading.”