Freestyle and floetry: Center of the Universe Party returns for Halloween

Live freestyling and rap, independent local artists, lots of dancing and the first few days of cold Florida weather all came together this Halloween Palm Court Party (PCP). The major challenge? An unexpected and torrential downpour that reorganized the structure of the event in the last few hours before it was held.

 

The rain was inconvenient, but to tell the truth it probably made the Palm Court scenario a lot better,” thesis-year student and PCP co-sponsor Miles Iton said. “We kept the stage setup under the roof of Ham to keep dry, which was different and spacious enough to keep the party going and have all the locations a little more equidistant (except for the Bike Shop). We were delayed about 30 minutes overall though because we couldn’t set up until the rain died out.”

 

(Photo courtesy of Alexis Pujol)
Thesis students Eugenia Quintanilla, Maria Simmerling, Alexis Pujol and second-year Elizabeth Ramsamooj arrived in a coordinated cat costume.

 

Freestyle/Floetry/Fuckery COUP(CP), sponsored by thesis-year students Paul Loriston and Miles Iton, won the vote with 172 votes or 48.5 percent of the total vote. The theme focused on live rap, led by n.e.Bodied Entertainment, a music and entertainment imprint started by Iton and Nathan Burnaman and born out of New College’s freestyle and floetry tutorial led by Professor Carl Shaw. Locally focused, the goal of n.e.Bodied Entertainment is to eventually attract enough revenue to manage student artists.  

 

One of the biggest challenges to PCP was the rain, which started earlier that afternoon and lasted well into the evening, subsiding to a light drizzle just before the event was to start. Palm Court remained empty, while dancing and music were set up on the Pei tiles under the overhang in front of the mail room and New College Student Association (NCSA) office in Hamilton Center. Instead of using the Black Box Theatre (BBT), the band room was converted into an indoor dance space, complete with handmade artwork and lights. The Old Mail Room remained a music and dance space as usual, and additional live music–complete with lights and an enthusiastic audience–lit up Z amphitheatre and the Bike Shoppe.  

 

YC Collective, comprised of Florida West Coast rappers Swerv the Hooligan, Pseudo Ra and Tre Goodfella, headlined the event, accompanied by numerous student sets and members of n.e.Bodied Entertainment.

 

(photo courtesy of Caitlin Zarseczny)
Caitlin Zarseczny paid homage to Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting.

 

A lone stripper pole–an elusive party element occasionally seen around campus–popped up on the tiles in front of Ham, drawing curious crowds and eventually a drag show performed by Kiki Butter Mischief and Wanda Fistya. Other PCP go-ers occasionally attempted feats of strength, grace and flexibility, with mixed results and a variety of styles.

 

Other attractions of the night included snacks, powder paint ball and the chill out room, ran by Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). A regular feature of PCP, the chill out room, located in the old X study room between X and Y dorms, included soft lighting, pillows and blankets. Members of SSDP staffed the room throughout the night, offering a calming presence and safe space to anyone who needed it. Although SSDP neither condemns nor condones drug use, they facilitate conversations about drug usage, encouraging a culture of knowledge and openness rather than stigma.

 

“We have created a grounding setting where people can take a break from their partying, drink some water and relax. If people are having any difficult times on substances or not, SSDP wants this room to be a place to find comfort and peace,” SSDP member and thesis-year student Mei-Jing Bernard said in an email interview. For further education, she recommends www.erowid.com, www.rollsafe.com, the Zendo project and Dance Safe.

 

Drink lots of water, ask questions if you are unsure about something and remember on the other end of PCP to do a lot of self care,” Bernard added.

 

(photo courtesy of Jennyfer Gonzalez)
Thesis students Kailah Santos and Jennyfer Gonzalez in rave gear.

 

For the most part, students spent the nights running around, complimenting each other’s costumes and dancing to sick beats. At times, improvised pole dancing competitions broke out, students displaying unique mixtures of grace, athleticism and humor.  

 

At approximately 3:20 a.m., an ambulance, fire truck and several cop cars pulled up onto Z Green, headed towards the Pei Courts. Currently, details have yet to be made public as to the nature of the emergency.

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