Bringing legends to life in the Cabaret

Campus cultural organizations host annual ball

by Kendall Stark / Beacon Correspondent • October 30, 2013

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A group of students party on the dance floor in the Cabaret.
A group of students party on the dance floor in the Cabaret.

From ninjas, to luchadores, to Che Guevara, Emerson’s Legends Ball was an intercultural rendezvous of many characters. The four multicultural groups  on campus and guests gathered in the Cabaret on Friday, Oct. 25 to celebrate icons of all backgrounds.

Disco lights, hors d’oeuvres, and thumping music greeted attendees eager to dance the night away. The event was hosted by Emerson’s Alliance for Gays, Lesbians, and Everyone, Asian Students for Intercultural Awareness, Amigos, and Emerson’s Black Organization with Natural Interests.

EAGLE president Dana Nurse explained that the objective of the ball was to bring Emerson students together to celebrate the influential people who have impacted today’s culture.

“The ball is essentially a party for all the cultural leadership clubs on campus,” said Nurse, a senior writing, literature, and publishing major. “Everyone is encouraged to dress up as whatever cultural legend they aspire to be like or admire, whether it’s Britney Spears, Madonna, or Michael Jackson.” 

Although not everyone chose to embody a “legend,” many attendees not in costume were outfitted in formal attire ranging from tuxedos to dresses. Some of this year’s legends included Salem the cat from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, revolutionary Che Guevara, and a character from the film Rosemary’s Baby

Kaylan Scott, a junior writing, literature, and publishing major, dressed up as the famed character Rosemary of the 1968 horror film Rosemary’s Baby

“It was actually a simple costume to assemble,” said Scott. “I rolled up a blanket and used it as my stomach, made a fake knife with aluminum foil, and it was serendipity that Rosemary and I have the same haircut.”

Ernesto Bustillos, a senior political communications major and member of Amigos, explained the significance of his Che Guevara costume, which included a military jacket, dog tags, and even the signature facial hair.

 “I decided to dress as Guevara after watching Steven Soderbergh’s film, Che,” said Bustillos. “He’s definitely a cultural legend, although I don’t entirely agree with his ideals.”

 Junior writing, literature, and publishing major Danny LeMar dressed as Salem, the talking cat from the hit ‘90s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch. LeMar’s portrayal of the feline consisted of plain black attire and a simple cat mask. 

 “I chose to dress up as Salem because he’s the only talking cat on TV,” said LeMar, who is president of the ASIA organization, a group that aims to provide awareness of Asian culture at Emerson. “I’d always look to him for moral advice.”

LeMar said the event means a lot to him because it is essentially a costume party mixed with all the values Emerson’s multicultural organizations stand for.

Similarly, senior marketing communication major Ashley Bailey, who is on the EBONI board, voiced her appreciation for the event. EBONI is an organization dedicated to the political and cultural reawakening of students of African descent at Emerson, which she said was one of the many components of the ball. 

 “I love supporting cultural diversity and events that include everyone at Emerson,” said Bailey. “Although I chose not to dress up this year, in past years I’ve attended as a Black Panther from the ‘70s and ‘Gangnam Style’ singer PSY.”

 Even students who are not involved in Emerson’s multicultural organizations partook in the event. Justin Byrd, a freshman performing arts major, said his decision to attend the ball was spontaneous. 

 “I decided to come out of curiosity,” said Byrd. “I think it’s a really interesting event.”

Throughout the night, guests danced to the music of DJ Nomadik while enjoying mocktails and appetizers. One of the highlights of the evening was the costume contest, which awarded first- and second-place winners cash prizes. Ana Karina Vivas, a junior journalism major, won the first place cash prize of $60 for her portrayal of “Jenny from the Block.” Vivas’ costume involved a beanie beret hat, a tank top, and cargo pants resembling Jennifer Lopez’s outfit in the famous music video. The second place cash prize of $40 was awarded to junior performing arts major Naomi Ibasitas, who dressed as the Nyan Cat, a Japanese cartoon character with a Pop-Tart torso and a rainbow tail.

Sapphira Cristal, a performer active in Boston’s gay club scene, hosted the event at the request of longtime friend and faculty organizer Tikesha Morgan. Cristal has hosted Emerson’s Dragtoberfest for the past four years, and the Legends Ball for the past two years. Cristal took the stage in a blue bedazzled gown and encouraged attendees to take to the dance floor. 

“The coolest thing about the Legends ball is mingling with people and finding out which legend everyone is,” said Cristal. “To me, the Ball is a way of giving back to those wonderful people who made what we have now the way it is.”