Where ears and eyes met


The abandoned catwalk from last Saturday’s Festival of the Arts (FOTA) fashion show became the site of Wednesday night’s FOTA Open Mic. Gone were the bright lights, special effects, and bumping bass of the opening party, as the festival tent in Hutchinson Courtyard also housed the release of photography RSO Glass Eyeball’s Iris magazine.

Sawgrass (also known as James Moore, ’07) kicked off the open mic with a half-hour set on electric guitar, playing a mix of original tunes and classic covers, including Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and Jackson Browne’s “These Days.” After stopping mid-song during his “Yellow Trees” because he “knocked the guitar out of tune,” Moore shook his head at the speaker, saying, “I need acoustic. I don’t like using electric—this is kind of a departure for me.”

Multiple guitarists took the stage, as well as a sax- and keyboard-duo—Tommy Gonzalez and Thomas Manganaro, both ’09—who decided to “try some jazz,” playing Duke Ellington’s "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and Luiz Bonfa’s "Black Orpheus.” As a change of pace, Erik Born, ’07, read original stories and Jonathan Cowperthwait, ’07, tried his hand at stand-up, asking if it was “too soon to make dead Jerry Falwell jokes.” Between acts, students circled the tent looking at photography and munching on Chinese buns provided by Glass Eyeball.

A ten-day annual event begun in 1963, FOTA transforms the campus into an art gallery and performance space, showcasing paintings, plays, films, dance, and other works created by University students, faculty, and staff. Run entirely by students, the festival was spearheaded this year by Kristine Khouri and Hannah Kushnick, both ’07.

Ruthie Kott

Photos: Photographs on display by Chris Salata, '09, (top) and Marco Mambelli, research scientist at the Fermi Institute (bottom); James Moore performs for fans as Sawgrass.

May 18, 2007