By Victoria Weaver
The University of Tampa has a new Friday night hangout spot including food, friends, and live entertainment. The Blind Tiger Speakeasy is a recurring student run event that showcases the talents of UT students while also providing a safe social opportunity on campus.
The first social event was on Friday, Jan. 22 and is recurring every other Friday at 8 p.m. in the music room of Plant Hall, at least until it potentially outgrows the performance space.
This event is open to everyone. There are few restrictions, outside of basic COVID-19 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, to enter the event. It costs $5 for students and $10 for faculty to get through the door, but once in, all food and entertainment is free.
Blind Tiger vice president and sophomore music performance major Dallis Williams says that this event is a way to expose students to the often overlooked skill in the music department as well as other performing arts majors. But it can also be a way for non-majors to get their feet through the door.
“To me, talent is just a word,” said Williams. “You can have talent and just not know it yet.”
There is a level of quality required for toperform, as audition tapes are reviewed by the entire board before they can be accepted to perform. The acts can range from singing, to spoken word performance, to even showcasing physical art.
President of the organization Janlyn Christopher says that after attending a modern day speakeasy and seeing all the unique talent people were able to bring, she was inspired to organize her own. She says she thought it would be an important experience to bring to students of the university.
“This experience has been great so far,” said Christopher. “I believe in a year or so this will be one of the best organizations on campus.”
However, forming a new organization from scratch isn’t always easy. The event was originally supposed to debut in December 2020 but was pushed back to January 2021 due to time management and scheduling issues.
“Getting approval in time for our event is a hassle,” said Christopher. “I know it will get better with time.”
Although it is a social event, CDC guidelines are still being followed with the requirement of masks for performers and attendees. Social distancing is still maintained even in the seating. It’s a way to hang out and develop new friendships while staying six feet apart.
Along with health protocols the event also has a dress code that not only maintains the atmosphere of a speakeasy but also keeps patrons looking classy. To be inclusive the club is also family friendly.
Speakeasies were once for secret meetings, illegal drinks, and bonding over live music. Now they can be held legally, while still providing the same mysterious atmosphere. Blind Tiger was used as another word for a speakeasy during the time of prohibition so the name is a call back to the origins of the affair.