Rockin’ and Wrestlin’ at UMB

Caught in a sleeper hold during RWF´s wrestling routine.

Caught in a sleeper hold during RWF´s wrestling routine.

MiMi Yeh

The second annual UMass Boston Talent Show drew huge crowds as their fellow students strutted their stuff in activities that ranged from wrestling to rock’n’roll on April 1. Chuck Zeogas, the president of the UMB Talent Club and organizer of the event, opened the evening with an Aerosmith impersonation. As he lip synched to “Moving Out,” Zeogas leaped around onstage in a series of impressive gyrations that had audience members howling and cheering.

Several UMB bands played for the audience. September Twilight had a formidable task following Zeogas’ opener and in fulfilling the promises to the excited, anticipatory mood of the crowd. Their brand of new metal, while appealing, unfortunately overpowered the vocals of the lead singer.

Savin Ill, however, particularly caught the eyes and ears of audience members. Putting hip-hop to an almost improvisational jazz-like background seems improbable, yet this group managed to do just that. However, even the front and center members of the audience could not make out the words easily because, again, the instruments overpowered the vocals; still the oddly-textured, spoken-word and scat mixture enticed listeners.

The African Hut Club brought up a group of dancers who wound up the watchers further, asking them onstage to join the quartet in swaying to the Latin rhythms. They gladly took up the invitation and soon crowded the dancers out.

However, the must-see event was the RWF wrestling act. Masked and made-up, actors came out en force to battle in a throw-down, knockdown, allegory of good and evil playing with the intensity of kabuki actors. Zeogas’ co-host, Catherine Sauer, narrated the histories of the contenders, frequently making the audience laugh. The wrestling didn’t stay confined to the stage either. With fighters hopping down from the mats on the raised platform to body slam each other a foot from the audience, it was hard not to be drawn in.

Jo Ann Gora was at the head of the crowd as well, although when I asked her if she would be willing to step into the ring as “The Chancellor,” she declined and instead summed up the feeling of the evening perfectly by saying, “I’ve never seen so many UMB students having fun.”

The UMB Talent Show was just one of the many events that helped to introduce the student body to the Campus Center during Gala Week. The evening found students, faculty, and administrators mixing and exploring the open doors and open hallways of the Campus Center and marveling at the dazzling array of personalities that reside in this student body.