Sam Farzin, KUCI radio DJ and music director, was in danger of putting on his last show, but has since resolved the crises with the school administration.
Farzin has been bringing artists to UC Irvine with the help of his campus club and non-profit booking agency Acrobatics Everyday, but the possibility of newly enforced university guidelines for scheduling venues could have made it financially impossible to continue staging musicians.
Farzin started Acrobatics Everyday in December of last year with friend and UCI fourth year information and computer sciences major Jeff Kile. Since then, they have booked hundreds of shows for touring bands and local talent ranging from underground indie rock to Mongolian throat singers.
“We usually schedule a touring artist as the main act with supporting local bands,” Farzin said. “I run the Acrobatics Everyday website, book most of the acts, and help set stuff up at the shows.”
Advertising for the shows was distributed partly through the campus culture magazine Forest Fires, copies of which were also passed around at Acrobatics Everyday’s shows.
“We at Forest Fire really liked what they were doing on campus and they thought the same of us so we decided to help each other out,” said Forest Fire editor and third-year literary journalism major Abe Ahn.
When Farzin booked a show, he would first contact the artists and their agents to negotiate a time and place and a fair price. Then he would contact either the Phoenix Grille to book a gig or UCI’s Scheduling and Conference Services to arrange a specific room.
University policy dictated that if Acrobatics Everyday were to hold a show, only lecture halls could be used to house artists and audiences – some of these facilities in the student center would have cost hundreds of dollars to reconfigure into one big chair-less stage.
“The student center is expensive since labor fees for university personell is $18 an hour,” Farzin said.
His blog post in early-December on the Acrobatics Everyday Web site urged letters and comments to the administration in support of Acrobatics Everyday. It drew positive responses from talent agents, local publications such as the OC Weekly and KUCI radio.
Farzin was afraid that he would not be able to get free classroom space, a more appropriate venue for his smaller shows since it offers more personal interaction between the artist and audiences of 50 to 100 people.
“We don’t want a barrier between the artist and the audience,” Farzin said.
Had the rule been enforced, Farzin would have had to shut down Acrobatics Everyday or relocate off-campus.
“Before the recent staffing change at Scheduling and Conferece Services, the staff knew our financial situation and was more lenient with the rules,” Farzin said. “However, once I spoke with the administration and showed them the 12 pages of support we got from the local community they were more accommodating.”
The Scheduling and Conferencing staff decided that Acrobatics Everyday can still use the classrooms but will now have to schedule shows so that discussion sessions will not be disturbed by the noise. The decision does not affect Farzin’s gigs with the Phoenix Grille, an independent business.
According to Farzin, the ideal scenario would be to give Acrobatics Everyday a trailer for its shows.
“The administration definitely did the best it could,” said Farzin, who reasons that his booking agency might not have been around long enough yet to warrant such a decision. “It’s hard to put on shows, but definitely worth it.”