Future of A.S. programming emphasis lies in music, concerts

One of the most highly scrutinized jobs on the A.S. Council would have to be A.S. commissioner of programming. Besides coordinating and planning all major on-campus events, the programmer has to constantly meet with a variety of media agents to ensure quality events.

This year’s A.S. programmer, Eisha Christian, is looking to improve the selection of events. An interview with Christian shed some light to how entertainment is brought to UCSD:

What is your job as A.S. programmer?

I oversee all the entertainment events that come out and are put on by the A.S. I oversee the festivals, the TGIF, the club shows at the Pub, which we started last year, and the nooner shows. Specifically, it’s more of an overseeing position.

Besides the major music concerts and clubs, are there any arts or entertainment events that are put on by Associated Students?

Usually, we have speakers as well. Last year we did “”Loveline.”” The turnout was a little bit low so this year I’m not so sure if we want to have a lecture or turn that money around and put it into Sun God. Right now, the feedback from the campus is that they’d rather see music entertainment than speaker entertainment. Right now, it’s on hold. But if people want to see bigger acts, that’s definitely my No. 1 priority.

You put Club Ritmo at Porter’s Pub. What is it and what goes on there?

Last year we were asked to find something that we could possibly work with at The Stage at the Pub and use that venue. We were debating at first to have more of just a chill, rock-type atmosphere, but then we finally decided on a club-dance atmosphere on campus. The way things worked out, we had a lot of old-school hip-hop artists because of the costs and the venue.

What is the future of the club shows?

This quarter we’re on a break because the Pub is being renovated with new dance lighting and carpets. Our first show will be winter quarter and it will be more of like a grand unveiling. So, I’m hoping it will be more of a club-type, dance-type atmosphere that should actually be branching out into DJs and stuff like that. Right now it will stay with live acts rather than DJs, so we’ll se where it goes in winter.

Some say that there are better uses of money, noting the small attendance at Club Ritmo. What do you say to that?

I honestly say that we max out our capacity every time. As far as turnout, I think the turnout is pretty good, especially for the venue. And what we’ve done with it is to make it bigger than it has been in the past.

As far as money, you will find that you can’t get into a club here with a live act for less than $20. And the fact that we did put on shows for less than $8 — people were really surprised, and that’s why we also got off-campus crowds as well. You can’t go anywhere else and get that cheap of a cost.

There’s a lot of apathy toward on-campus events. How are you trying to change that?

I know for our Welcome Week dance we had the biggest turnout we ever had. I’ve never seen so many people show up. People kept on coming and I think that’s a good sign — this year we are really getting into stuff.

Our FallFest lineup is also going to bring huge crowds as well. A focus of this office during the summer was making sure that FallFest opened up with a band and everything else would fall in place from there. I want students to come out and say, “”You know what? This is great. This is cool. This is fun and I’m having a good time,”” and not come and complain about it. We do want students to have fun and that’s our No. 1 aim. If students don’t want to come to our events, then why even bother to do it?

Of the three major quarterly festivals, historically, WinterFest is the least attended. Some people are saying we should drop WinterFest and use that money toward better bands during Sun God and FallFest. Do you think that is a viable option?

Not this year. WinterFest is our charity show of the year. And I think if we do get rid of it, it’s a sign that our student body is really apathetic about the world in general. So for us to get rid of the only charity show that we do is just a wrong move. Sure we’re here to entertain people, but we need to make sure we balance that with a more positive aim. This year, I do want to see more of it. I do think this year’s WinterFest will be strong. To be honest, I think programming is 50 percent hard work and 50 percent luck. You need both, and it’s not that people haven’t put in, it’s just a hard time of year to program for.

What type of music do you want to focus on?

Honestly, it’s what the campus wants. We don’t have a “”focus on”” type of music. We kind of do follow with mainstream. Every now and then we want to get underground hip-hop out here, more Face to Face — stuff like that. Just from the past, UCSD does not come out to shows that they haven’t heard the names of the artist, no matter how good they are. Definitely, we’re going with what’s doing well in the market at that time.

How do you plan to reach out to the student body?

I hope to have a Web site started up soon. My hope is that students would have some place they can check every weekend and it would be updated weekly with what’s going on. Eventually, recaps of the events and artists interviews and possibly, in the far future, maybe more stuff with the local San Diego music scene. It’s at http://as.ucsd.edu/programming.

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