Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Big Man on Campus

The American Samoa Community College Seeds Club (the environmental club at ASCC) sponsored "The Big Man on Campus" pageant. My friend Cynthia advises the Seeds Club, so Sharon and I went to support her, as well as her husband, Ryan, but I think that is a requirement of the marriage contract. In theory, it was modeled after a Miss America Pageant and the posters promised a night of entertainments and foods (no typo - entertainments and foods). I had highish expectations especially when local celebrities were in attendance including MCs for the evening, John and Lupe from the 93 KHJ Samoan Sunrise morning radio show, Miss American Samoa 2006-07 as one of the judges and Representative Jennings from the Swain Islands in the audience. Pictured is John (left) and Lupe (center) from the Samoan Sunrise show.

The event in true Samoan tradition was completely random and thoroughly enjoyable. Sadly, I think it was one of those "you had to be there" events, but I will attempt to provide a sense of the evening. The production value was around a Junior High School Cabaret show - the microphone system gave a lot of feedback, regular delays between acts and of course the curtain got stuck on a number of occasions. However, it did keep the wild dogs entertained. I keep telling you, dogs are EVERYWHERE on this island.
The program had five different categories in which the six contestants were judged by the panel. In between, local singers and dancers would perform - some were really good. Sharon and I talked about starting an American Samoa Idol. The first category was "weightlifting" - it was not a judgment on the most buff body, but one who could do the best poses. The contestants had oiled their bodies soooo much that you could smell it - even during the car ride home.
Because the environmental club sponsored the event, one competition was recycled clothing. Everything the contestants wore had to be of recycled material.
Following the recycling section, it was time for the talent competition. One guy drew a portrait - while a good artist, it was not the most entertaining for the audience. Anthony played a traditional Samoan instrument - hollowed out wooden drums. That kid had talent. Another, along with his backup dancers, performed a traditional Samoan dance routine - I think the most entertaining talent of the night. During the performance, members of the audience went up to the stage and threw money at the dancers. I assumed the group was the Samoan equivalent of the Chippendales. Sharon explained that his was Samoan custom to throw money at performers during shows. interesting. Shane lip-synced a traditional Samoa folk song with a twist. It was completely in Samoan, so I did not understand a bit of it, but the Samoan audience was in stitches during his performance.After talent was the improv competition. The contestants were give a skit and had to act it out. No photos cause this part was a little above a train wreck. Not sure if they will keep it next year.
The final competition was traditional Samoan outfits and questions. The Samoan clothing was very impressive. Great hats. The questions mainly focused on how the contestants would pick up women. My favorite answer was first, show respect to the woman, then ask her if she needs a ride home then ask for her phone number. I wonder if that works.
The winner was finally announced - they had a little trouble counting up the final tally. I don't think they employed a local accounting firm to verify the results. Shane won it all including the other awards of "Crowd Favorite" "Most Buff" and "Mr. Funny." We all agreed that Shane deserved the honors - the guy was hilarious and the best constant all around. So congratulations Shane, you are the Big Man on Campus.

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