27 February 2003

By Stentor Danielson
Scarlet Staff

Clark returned to 1969 last weekend as the 93rd annual Variety Show drew an appreciative audience to Atwood Hall. Eighteen different acts from around the Clark community performed on one or both nights.

The show, called "Clarkstock," was sponsored by the Gryphon & Pleiades Honor Society. Proceeds benefitted the Astolfi Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a member of the sophomore class.

Dance Society opened both nights gyrating to the beat of "This Time." They returned to close both shows with a performance set to the alternative rock of Live's "Dolphin's Cry" -- a slightly unorthodox choice which they carried off admirably. Not to be outdone, Variant Dance treated the audience to two numbers of their own: "You Can Leave Your Hat On" and "Start The Commotion."

The show featured a series of solo or duo musicians. Becca Herskovitz brought one of the show's largest personal cheering sections, but the original song she sang and accompanied on guitar impressed even strangers.

Brisalis Polanco repeated her performance from Black Arts Explosion, singing "Hero" with David Sampson on piano. Robb Spensley rounded out Friday’s small-group musicians. Chloe Mandel, Pat White and Pete Leyasey, Greg Tomao, and Lexy Goldberger were on the program for Saturday. Jared Moore and Claire Lebowitz brought their guitar and voice duet to both nights.

The recently renamed Traffic Jam (formerly the Raffi Der Simonian Band) set a high standard for the acts in the second half of both shows. Drummer Ryan Pratt started things off with a call-and-response between beat boxing and his own drumming. Then the rest of the band joined him for an energetic one-song performance.

Clark's a capella community was well represented at Clarkstock. Kol la Shalom and the Clark Bars (in full 1960s regalia) performed at Friday’s show, while the Counterpoints and the Chicago Seven sang for the Saturday crowd.

Laurel Polumbaum did a solo tap dance to the pop hit "Dirrty" (I'll admit I was skeptical when I saw it on the program, but it worked). Emma Klein improvised a dance routine to the Latin anthem "Eva."

Emcees Patrick Morris and Sean Gardner kept the audience laughing between acts with a series of jokes about 1969 (though they were a bit less successful in getting the crowd fired up with their pre-show screaming and whooping). Friday night they interviewed one of the audience’s more mature members about his memories from 1969. Upon hearing the man had brought his young son to the show, Morris asked "so, ixnay on the bad-words-ay?"

Morris and Gardner raffled off a series of prizes, incuding gift certificates to Annie's Clark Brunch and a set of drinking glasses. A backstage pass to Saturday's show went to a visitor from WPI who identified himself as "Vinnie."

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