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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Entertainment Council strives for bigger acts

Under ASUCD Entertainment Council’s new leadership, more mainstream entertainers may step onto the UC Davis campus next year.

Outgoing EC Director Thongxy Phansopha selected his successor: Perry Sanesanong, a junior textiles and clothing major and promotions intern for the past year. Sanesanong is conducting interviews this week to select the rest of the EC staff.

“Next year I want to bring more moderate sized shows with artists that people know, but that people don’t know too well,” Sanesanong said. “With our budget we just can’t afford the big names.”

Sanesanong is looking to bring musicians like M.I.A, N.E.R.D and Justin Nozuka to Davis next year – affordable artists that college students will enjoy.

“We’re always trying to get bigger shows, but we need to work on getting a bigger budget first,” said Jennifer Dao, outgoing EC assistant director and senior design major.

The next EC staff will need to prove to ASUCD senators that EC uses their money wisely in order to receive the budget necessary for bigger shows, Dao said.

ASUCD increased next year’s EC budget from $80,387 to $105,130. Movie screenings received a $1,200 increase, midsized shows got a $3,000 boost and the budget for larger shows was increased by $21,493. Cuts were made to the Buzz and other services.

ASUCD senators want EC to put on larger shows and be more involved in the selection process for performers, said Alison Tanner, senator and junior women’s and gender studies major.

This involvement has already started, as Tanner and Senator Don Ho were involved in bringing The Expendables to Freeborn Hall on June 1. Senators also want EC to expand to new, bigger venues, like the ARC Pavilion and Aggie Stadium.

While Freeborn Hall sells out at 1,500 tickets, the Pavilion and Aggie Stadium would be able to seat approximately 8,000 and 10,000 concertgoers, respectively.

In addition to bigger shows, EC will continue to put on Quad shows and hopes to have smaller events at the ASUCD Coffee House.

“Having little shows is still wasting money that could go towards a moderate sized show,” Sanesanong said. “But I think people still like the aspect of small, intimate shows where people can just hang out.”

Bigger, blockbuster movies may also be more frequently pre-screened. More distributors are coming to EC with offers for pre-screening, Dao said.

EC has also been putting on more cosponsored film screenings over the past two years with various student organizations – a trend that will hopefully continue, Tanner said. For instance, the Gender and Sexuality Commission co-sponsored the movie screening of Precious.

Dao thinks that EC should work to have a more consistent number of shows per quarter, particularly in the winter.

“The weather really discourages people from coming to events,” she said. “I want to promote that the events will still be fun if people still come out despite the weather.”

Megan Nguyen, a first-year art studio major, thinks EC does a good job at bringing entertainment to Davis given budget constraints. However, EC could bring performers of more varied genres.

“I feel bad for people who don’t listen to indie music,” she said.

Sanesanong expressed similar sentiments and hopes to look for different genres to bring each quarter.

Nguyen is one of over 50 vying for nine open positions at EC – two assistant directors, two co-productions coordinators, two co-promotions coordinators, two co-cinema coordinators and a day-of-show productions coordinator.

In the past, sectors of EC had a coordinator and an intern. Next year, each sector will be made up of two equals to give staff members a more distinct job title and area of expertise.

EC will likely lose money from tomorrow night’s Band of Horses show – something that could possibly be avoided if EC brought bands that pulled fans from different genres. Someone like Kid Cudi could bring in people who listen to rap music and indie music alike, Nguyen said.

The goal from every EC show is to break even.

“We don’t try to profit off of these things,” Sanesanong said. “We just do it for the students.”

JANELLE BITKER can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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