April 4, 2012

Come on Over Knox

On a few serendipitous weekend evenings, Yellows Apartment 9 is not simply Yellows Apartment 9. Instead, it becomes Over Knox, a performance venue dedicated to the performer, regardless of their kind.
The event has a free form, beginning at 10 p.m. on select Saturdays. Those in attendance include friends of seniors Alex Lindgren, Ben Lee, Jack Dryden and Spencer Graham, as well as residents of the Yellows who are within earshot. After about two hours of performance time, the event devolves into socializing.
Over Knox began as a collaborative idea among Lindgren, Dryden and Lee. Lindgren and Dryden, who live in the apartment along with Graham, had recently become ambitious with their home improvement projects.
“Our initial idea was to build a stage,” Lindgren said. “It really didn’t turn out to be very realistic, but our desire to see this performance venue come to life was still, nevertheless, intact.”
The group’s vision for this venue is very much in the spirit of the people.
“It is an event where Knox entertainers will have a longer and more focused amount of time to perform what it is they have, as opposed to a normal open mic where you have five minutes, you have to play a song, you have to be diplomatic about sharing the space,” Dryden said. “What Over Knox wants to be, I think, is a place where artists can have more, where it can have what it wants.”
Over Knox seeks to give more to artists particularly in terms of showcasing their skills.
“We have so many talented performers at Knox,” Lindgren said. “We have places where people can go and perform, but they don’t really have that many opportunities to perform.” Over Knox, according to Lindgren, works to “remedy the problem of the lack of performance.”
In its beginnings, which took place about halfway through winter term, the performance art that was given much attention was stand up comedy, for which Lee proved to be an important contributor. After participating in a program in Chicago that allowed him to do stand up comedy nearly every night, Lee had difficulties finding as many opportunities in Galesburg. Over Knox gave him the chance to practice more often.
“It’s not like you can write an hour of stand up material, practice by yourself and consider that actual stand up material,” Lee said. “It needs to be workshopped in front of people.”
Any performer is welcome to showcase their skills at this event. While Lee consistently contributes his comedy to Over Knox, it also features music by individual and groups of Knox students. This coming term, more headliners can be expected.
The relaxed atmosphere and open mic spirit of Over Knox may not be just a one-year phenomenon. Although its founders are all graduating seniors, Lindgren plans to stay in Galesburg next year and preserve this newly established tradition.
It might be a lofty ambition, but the venue is right, since it takes place on the third floor of the Yellows — literally, over Knox.
Editor’s Note: Ben Lee is a columnist for The Knox Student.

Chelsea Embree
Chelsea Embree is a senior majoring in creative writing and minoring in art history. She previously served as co-mosaic editor and as an arts and features reporter for TKS. During the summer of 2013, she served as a content intern at The St. Louis Beacon. Chelsea has studied under former Random House copy chief Sean Mills and taught writing as a teaching assistant for First-Year Preceptorial. An avid blogger, she has written extensively about youth in St. Louis and maintains a lively poetry and nonfiction blog on Tumblr. She is also the director of communications for Mortar Board and co-president of Terpsichore Dance Collective.

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