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Students Throw Emerson Cabaret a Psychedelic Farewell Party

How do you pay tribute to a beloved campus space that’s about to be gutted and rebuilt as part of a series of renovations?

According to the Emerson Mane Events staff, “wreck it.”

Emerson Mane Events and the Cabaret joined forces to organize a paint party and the fifth and final CabaRave to celebrate the Cabaret’s extensive history on campus before it’s closed for construction. The remodel is part of the ongoing project to improve student housing and resources in the Little Building, in conjunction with construction of a new residence hall on Boylston Place.

“It’s a nice, intimate space to have events,” said Autumn Myers ’18, membership coordinator of Emerson Mane Events. “I think this was a nice way to say goodbye to that space in a fun way that stays true to it.”

The Cabaret’s functions will be held in leased space at 52 Summer Street for the next two and a half years, along with the Fitness Center, which also must relocate while Little Building construction is underway.

Students and faculty gathered in the Cabaret in the basement of the Little Building on Monday, December 19, to say farewell to a favorite student activity hub. Equipped with dozens of bottles of acrylic paint, tubes of neon body paint, psychedelic glasses, and lots of snacks, visitors to the Cabaret could live out every Facilities employee’s worst nightmare. The space was lit with black lights and decorated with blank canvases that were soon transformed into sentimental works of splatter art.

According to Josh Hamlin, director of the Max Mutchnick Campus Center, the canvases will be kept as souvenirs of the Cabaret’s legacy. Hamlin will also choose a section of the painted wall to save and display as a focal art display in the new space.

Hamlin’s coworker Jason Meier, director of student activities, said the idea for a paint party in the Cabaret started as a joke with Hamlin, but the more they thought about it, the more appealing the idea became.

“We thought it would be fun to combine art therapy and loud music and lots of food with saying goodbye to a space that so many groups have used over the years,” he said. “I hope students used this as stress relief, as a chance to take a break from finals and final projects, and just have a good time.”

Dozens of students visited the Cabaret during the day to paint the walls, floors, and each other, and nearly a hundred more attended the evening CabaRave to bid the room farewell. Meier said it’s the functionality of the Cabaret that made it such an important campus resource for so many students.

“So many students have held events that have been important to them,” he said. “Whether it was co-curricular through a student organization, or through a department, so many people have had experiences in the Cabaret that have been formative in their time at Emerson.”

Julian Baeza Hochmuth ’17 founded the CabaRave his freshman year and has been the DJ at all five events. After the conclusion of the final Rave and the closing of the old Cabaret, Hochmuth reflected on the opportunities the space offered him as a student and an artist.

“It had given me an opportunity to be creative and do what I love and invite people to be a part of my world,” he said. “I have always valued the opportunity that I have gotten to use the space for something that means a lot to me.”

Hamlin said the new space on Summer Street is larger and has more amenities, so although it is farther from campus, he is hopeful for the Cabaret’s future as he and the staff continue to support student events and organizations on campus.

“We have definitely done what we have been able to over the years to support the myriad events that take place here,” he said. “There were theatrical performances, concerts, fashion shows, to comedy shows. We’ve been really happy to support our community.”

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