Open forums, movies also on Carolina Productions agenda
Carolina Productions, the student-run organization that organizes entertainment and educational acts for USC students, has a spring 2011 lineup complete with big names, big expenses, new student events and opportunities for student feedback.
“We have some definitely visible names that should stir up excitement across campus,” said CP President Lee McKagen.
Perhaps most visible is comedian, actor, rapper and media personality Nick Cannon, who will perform in the Russell Ballroom at 8 p.m. tonight. CP — which is funded by the student activity fee and allotted more than $400,000 a year — is paying Cannon $1,250 for the performance.
McKagen said Cannon is using USC as a warm-up for a hour-long Comedy Central special on March 5, allowing CP to attract him at a steep discount from his normal asking fee of $30,000.
Most expensive for the spring semester is Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu at $28,000. He’ll perform here in late April.
His cost is followed by Frank Warren, founder of PostSecret, a popular website devoted to innovative art and anonymous secrets. His Feb. 7 visit to the Koger Center will cost students $18,150.
Students must have tickets for the Warren event, and they’ll become available Jan. 18 at the Russell House Information Desk. Tickets are free with a CarolinaCard.
“You will be able to get tickets at the Koger Center, but in case we run out, the quicker you get yours, the better,” said McKagen. McKagen said student interest prompted CP to bring Warren back after four years.
Controversial philosopher, civil rights activist, member of the Democratic Socialists of America and Princeton professor Cornel West will also come to USC on March 31.
The event is a collaboration among CP, the African American Studies Department and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The three combined will pay $16,000 for West. Specifics of CP’s share of the cost weren’t yet available.
Other upcoming artists include comedian Ralphie May at $15,000 and comedian and actor Dave Coulier from “Full House” at $7,150.
Total costs for the semester won’t be finalized until May, McKagen said.
Also on CP’s agenda is more transparency and communication with students. CP will now hold an open forum each month; the first will be Jan. 31 at 5 p.m.
“We will be there to answer questions, take suggestions and encourage people to get involved,” said McKagen.
After undergoing criticism from students, alumni and parents for paying Jenny Sanford $15,000 to speak on campus, CP held a similar open forum. Fewer than 10 students attended, and critics said the event was not advertised.
McKagen said he believes this time will be different.
“We’re hoping by it being on our calendar, people will be aware of it,” he said. “It will be on our website, it will be on our calendar and there will be posters.”
Popular movies are also coming to USC this semester, including “The Social Network” from Jan. 27 to 30 and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in March.
CP typically runs two films at two showing times in the RH Theater from Thursday to Sunday each week. Many students are often turned away from popular movies due to capacity.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is double-billed during its week, but “The Social Network,” a popular film nominated for Best Picture, will not, sharing its week with “Jackass 3D.”
McKagen said CP decides how to bill movies based on expected student draw. He said the decision to double-bill “Harry Potter” was based on the fact that “our age group came up reading those books as they were released.”
An event that already occurred this month was Acrodunk, a performance combining dunking and trampolines that took place at Wednesday’s men’s basketball game versus Arkansas. Campus Movie Fest started last week and runs through Jan. 28..
“They give you all the equipment and information that you need, and you enter as a team, and you record a short movie,” said McKagen. ”We’ll show all the movies in the Russell House Ballroom, and one will be chosen as the winner.”
McKagen estimated that by the time registration closed, 71 teams of two students or more had signed up. Prizes include iPod Touches and Nanos, Final Cut Studio software and invitations to the international Campus MovieFest competition and the Distinguished Filmmakers Network.