As a trial balloon to increase student use of people's Park, the ASUC threw what they called a "PALOOZA" before the Arizona State vs. Cal. football game Saturday morning, but it came off as more of a bomb-a-looza.
For you etymologists: palooza may come from a 30's Three Stooges short. The stooges probably used the original form, lalapalooza.
There were no etymologists among the handful of students who showed and no one had a clue about the meaning of palooza. But the definition, "an exaggerated event," works like a charm.
The associated students who attended were hopeful that their palooza would start a healing of the bad feelings between students and the park, a hop skip and a jump from their dorms.
ASUC members who attended were not discouraged by drizzly weather and the marked absence of their fellow students.
To a soothing reggae beat from student performers, event sponsors handed out more than 200 Top Dogs. The buns were limp.
The mandatory inflated jumpaseum failed to get a tumble.
Politicians, Teley businessmen, a few university officials, and one reporter almost outnumbered students.
More time and effort may be needed to convince students to put People's Park on their schedules for football weekends. Another such event is scheduled for November.
Officials and kibitzers alike are hoping such events will change the park's image, if not use, and restore peace and profit to Telegraph Ave. merchants who have complained (in print) of increased violence outside their stores.
If the Teley businessmen had named the Saturday event, they might have called it, "Change the Vibe, Avoid the Crime."
Two U.C. policemen attended PALOOZA!, just to ensure town and gown made nice. And they did. Inclement weather and ennui among the usual provocateurs may have had much to do with the peaceful result of the event.
Or was it the tryptophan in the free Top Dogs? (One to a customer).
ASUC funding of the event was part of the university's alcohol abatement efforts, according to an ASUC representative. The event was billed as alcohol free. The Top Dogs were courtesy of the student dorms office.
Can a PALOOZA, three stooge-like or not, save South Side? It's too soon to tell.
Not to push the John Lennon angle, but the PALOOZA! may have been the beginning of a chance for peace, if not love, in the park.
Ted Friedman has lived a half-block from People's Park for thirty years. Top Dog is a hop-skip-and-a jump away.