Atlas Mag shows off Emerson’s talent

by Christina Jedra / Beacon Staff • April 5, 2012

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Ben Parinello’s dynamic sound garnered the judges’ prize.
Ben Parinello’s dynamic sound garnered the judges’ prize.

Samantha Penninipede sat stiffly and quietly in a row of chairs lined up for performers in the Piano Row Multipurpose Room. 

“I get total stage fright,” she said with her hands in her lap before singing “On My Own,” the opening number in Atlas Magazine’s Student Talent Showcase.

On Saturday, Atlas Magazine hosted the showcase to give students a free platform to perform — and to raise funds for their second issue.

Two winners were chosen: a judges’ choice and an audience pick, who was determined by the amount of money crowd members put in bags representing the performers. The judges selected musician Ben Parinello. The junior visual and media arts major’s quick fingers filled the room with the sound of powerful guitar strums while he belted original songs “Old Timers” and “Fay,” as well as the Lion King anthem “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King.”

Parinello’s musical merit and stage presence won him a $15 gift card for The Feeling of France (good to spend at four French restaurants), a prize that host Bryce Fallon joked was an actual trip to the country itself. 

“Any chance I get to perform, I jump at the opportunity,” Parinello said in an email. “I thought there was some tough competition so I didn’t really know how it was going to go.”

Audience pick Asta Tall recited a poem she wrote called “Earthquake Season” with musical accompaniment from flautist Beth Treffeisen, a Beacon correspondent. She received a $10 Thinking Cup gift card, plus $5 cash prize to even out the winners’ spoils.

The freshman journalism major said she decided to perform simply because she hadn’t done poetry in a while. But Tall took the stage with confidence and delivered her smooth, lyrical verse as if it were instinct. 

While Tall purposefully made her reading stand out by adding music, which she said was a last minute decision, she did not consider winning to be her main goal. She said she hadn’t even known there were prizes when she entered.

Between performances from musicians, artists, and comedians, Fallon, the night’s emcee, created a relaxed atmosphere with his comedic quips. After a particularly sweet ukulele performance of “Sea of Love” by musician and singer Kelsey Buckley, Fallon joked of his own inability to find love.

Atlas Editor-in-Chief Sarah Dwyer explained that Atlas wanted to physically present the kind of Emerson student talent that the magazine features in the student showcase in its campus section.

The diversity in the line-up speaks for itself. Sheldon Brown commanded attention with his sultry a capella performance of John Legend’s “So High.” Comedian Kailey Godoy admitted her rage-crying and ice cream-devouring tendencies in a self-deprecating standup routine. Musician Dan Hockstein professed his New Jersey pride in two original songs before giving a dynamic, dance-infused version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”

The reason for the event, however was was not only to showcase Emerson talent. Dwyer said that because the biannual magazine is not recognized by the Student Government Association, they have to handle the fundraising to print their Spring 2012 issue.

“We’re trying to raise $3,000, which would allow us to print 300 copies. Every little bit helps,” said Dwyer.  

To achieve their goal, the magazine is currently relying mostly on a Kickstarter account, on which they had $1,321 of their $2,000 goal at press time. At the showcase, they earned $57.40. They hope to raise the rest of the money through ad sales.

“This event was more about displaying different types of talent that Emerson students have to offer,” said Dwyer in a follow-up email, “but we figured we would use the opportunity to raise some money to help us get print issues on newsstands around campus.”

Corrections: Due to a reporting error, a previous version said that student talent is showcased in the arts section of the magazine. It is featured in the student showcase portion of the campus section. Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article said the name of the song Samantha Penninipede performed was "But I Wanted to Do it for Myself." The name of the song is "On My Own."