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Davis, California

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Where do I go and what do I do?

Students new and old need to spice up their lives, and a new year brings new types of fun, so leave it to MUSE to keep you in the know about live entertainment on and off campus. Carry around this brief guide to venues and regular events while you get acquainted with your new town.


The Entertainment Council: The EC is an ASUCD unit comprised of a student staff responsible for coordinating entertainment events on campus such as movie screenings and concerts. Last year, EC brought everything from Saul Williams and Lyrics Born to Jimmy Eat World and Tegan and Sara.

The EC also utilizes the ASUCD Coffee House, where Seattle-based The Cave Singers, who opened for Death Cab for Cutie last spring, and Sacramento’s Silver Darling will kick off the concert season Oct. 1. If you’re itching to know what to expect from them in the next couple of weeks, such as three soon quad shows and film sneak previews, join their facebook.com group.

Old Firehouse: KDVS 90.3 FM is a community-based radio station located in the basement of Freeborn Hall, which also hosts live concerts. Most are located at their on-campus show space, the Old Firehouse, next to the Music Building on the southeast tip of campus. Ranging from rock, hip-hop, experimental and beyond, KDVS strives to give an educational approach to music and has brought acts from near and far – far being Europe (Jennifer Gentle, SubPop Records).

Oct. 11 KDVS will host their annual music festival, Operation: Restore Maximum Freedom at Plainfield Station in Woodland. This year they’ve invited 10 bands including H E X L O V E, Religious Girls, and LSD and the search for God. More information about the station and its events can be found at kdvs.org.


Bistro 33 / The English Department: Live music isn’t your thing? No problem, prose and poetry are abundant in this college town, thanks especially to the English department at UC Davis. Professor Andy Jones hosts various events in downtown Davis at Bistro 33 – from trivia night every Tuesday and poetry performances on Wednesday nights. On campus, student literary publications such as Nameless Magazine and even the English department itself puts on readings from graduate students, faculty and visiting writers. The best way to keep tabs on such events is to visit the english.ucdavis.edu and to join Jones’ Poetry in Davis Facebook group.


The Memorial Union: It’s not a far trip to the Memorial Union, where a range of entertainment-related events from Campus Unions takes place every week. The Griffin Lounge is a study room by day, performance space by night – comedy troupe Birdstrike Theatre gives free laughs, Sick Spits busts out their slam poetry and Super Smash Brothers Brawl tournaments take place. Visit their “things to do” page at campusunions.ucdavis.edu.


The Art Building: Some students find themselves in the Art Building by chance – for an economics class, for instance. When that’s the case, showing up to class a few minutes early to explore the many facets of the building could provide ideas.

The Nelson Gallery is a faculty-run art gallery and invaluable resource for students, as its fine arts collection consists of over 4,000 pieces. Last spring, the gallery received a gift from the Andy Warhol Foundation of concealed photographs of Debby Harry and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wedding, which will be exhibited this school year.

Students can descend the stairs to the Basement Gallery, a student-curated space known to have well-attended receptions equipped with refreshments and live music. For upcoming arts events, check the events board in the lobby of the art building or visit art.ucdavis.edu.


Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts: Though the most mature of entertainment outlets on campus, Mondavi boasts world-renowned acts for both students and community members. Last year ticketholders witnessed Jane Goodall speak, watched orchestrated performances from Itztak Perlman and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and were awed by Cirque de Soleil performers.

The upcoming season will include Yo-Yo Ma, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and other artists. Lucky for students, tickets are half-price and often more heavily discounted if a professor requires students attend an event for a class. The full season schedule and ticket information can be found at mondaviarts.org.


Wyatt Pavilion & Main Theatre: Some were meant for the stage, and at UC Davis both students and community members awe audiences with musicals, comedies and dance performances. The department of theatre and dance holds lectures, performances and workshops for even non-majors, and more information can be found at theatredance.ucdavis.edu.


The Varsity Theatre: Every town must have an independent theatre, where the not-so-average and occasionally most enlightening films may be enjoyed. The Varsity Theatre on Second and C showed last year’s gems like Persepolis, The Darjeeling Limited and The Kite Runner, and no doubt will show more Sundance-worthy flicks, as well as film festivals such as the Davis Film Festival and preview screenings from the ASUCD Entertainment Council.


For an up-to-date arts and entertainment events calendar, see Artsweek on page __ every Thursday.


NICOLE L. BROWNER can be reached at arts@californiaaggie.com.


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