Girl Talk packs ’em in at 10k show

BY KATIE HANSON | APRIL 14, 2009 7:40 AM

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In contrast to the awkward/cute high-school proms that will take place next month, the IMU hosted a markedly different kind of show Monday night: the best dance party ever.

To celebrate its sixth year, the 10,000 Hours Show snagged mashup artist Girl Talk, also known as Gregg Gillis, to perform — a slight departure from past headliners, including Ben Folds, OK Go, and Jack’s Mannequin.

Picking Girl Talk was a widely popular decision, said UI senior Matt Menietti, the show’s executive marketing and public-relations director.

“It got the greatest response we’ve ever had,” he said, noting the 1,000 new volunteers registered on the 10,000 Hours website after the group announced Gillis as this year’s performer.

Along with Girl Talk hype, Menietti said more students in general are turning toward volunteer service.

“On the whole, the focus nationwide is more on serving the community,” he said. “More students are getting involved.”

This year garnered a record number of hours for the organization.

Right before Gillis got on stage, 10,000 Hours administrators announced the participants had racked up 19,394 hours over the past year — up from 15,289 last year.

Based on Executive Director Larry Hau’s estimate — each hour of service is worth $18 — the roughly 2,000 volunteers registered with 10K donated nearly $350,000 worth of service.

Last night’s focus wasn’t centered on volunteerism, but squarely on Gillis’s performance. People started strolling in at 7 p.m., more than an hour before Gillis took the stage.

“The first time [I saw Girl Talk] people were crowd surfing,” said Coe College senior Amanda Havel. “It was hot, sweaty, and there were lots of glow sticks. It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.”

Students from the UI, area high schools, and even AmeriCorps milled in the lobby before the show, decked out in a mixture of bar clothes, sweatshirts, neon hats, various UI Student Government party shirts, and many sweat bands.

UI freshmen Tara Jarvinen and Margaret Lozier donned red and blue framed sunglasses outside the State Farm Insurance-sponsored photo booth.

“I saw [Girl Talk] before in Des Moines,” said Lozier, who put in her volunteer hours at the Iowa Children’s Museum. “It was really fun and really high energy. I already had my hours before I knew Girl Talk was playing, so it’s an added bonus.”

After flashing wrist bands and sticking glow wands in their hair, volunteers flowed into the dimly lit IMU ballroom, where they chanted “Girl Talk, Girl Talk” and renditions of “In heaven there is no beer,” right before Gillis appeared.

When the music began, it only took a minute before students flooded the stage and danced around a wildly convulsing Gillis, who walked onstage in a hoodie but didn’t stay fully clothed for long.

“Girl Talk is the music of our youth,” said City High senior Ralph Washington, who went to the show with three of his friends. “It’s going to define us.”

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