Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 207: SoCal PSA Culture Show 2011

Sun., April 24, 2011

Hundreds of screaming college students, humorous skits on "Uncle Pervaiz the Angrez" and such, speeches and videos on helping Pakistan, the ever-necessary (kyun?!) lime-light video fraught with inside jokes that no one understands or cares for,  and of course dances to Pakistani and Bollywood (and M.J.) songs: welcome to the annual SoCal Pakistani Students Association Culture Show!!!

It's a tradition that's gone on for years and years now in L.A., and each year the number of schools involved with the PSA Culture Show grows. It is a means for the Pakistani college student network through SoCal to connect, to donate to good causes for Pakistan, to make friends, to get face time; it is a chance for one-upmanship (in good faith and for fun, of course...), for aunties and uncles to be proud of their betas and betis, for the balcony to start chanting "Pakistan...Zindabad!", for random members of the audience to shout "I LOVE YOU [so and so]!!!", a time for local sponsors to get their name out and to support their future Pakistani-American community, for the younger generation to show the ways in which it retains some of the eccentricities of desi culture (particularly in terms of "timeliness"), to dance dance dance! It's an opportunity for Pakistani students in L.A. to display their notion of their culture and how they reconcile it in America, and this year to show it in refreshingly appropriate ways through authentic music videos and slideshows from Pakistan.

Each year's PSA Culture Show is a slice of the L.A. young desi "vibe" as it is at the time, and to see how it evolves through the years is quite interesting: live musical and vocal performances this time, yes! In ways it does not evolve, I khav especial reqwest: SoCal PSAs PLEASE pick a different venue and format next year (come on yaar, honestly), it's been at the Bovard Auditorium at USC in Skit/Dance/Speech format for 5 years!!! I know it's a bit of a tradition, but expand your horizons and encourage creativity mere bacho!

Through it all, for students from a whopping seven SoCal colleges to come together and put together a show like this is quite a feat; I applaud their effort and look forward to coming years' shows!


  1. should have a pakistan mela or something next year - where we can have food stalls, mehndi stalls and people wearing shalwar qameez ..... pakistani music in the background - even a fashion show . a dhol wala maybe and if can get a truck or a rikshaw that'll be awesome ... so that others non-pakistanis can also get to see how vibrant and awesome our culture is

  2. @Anonymous - that's a great idea and sounds like fun! Only problem for the PSAs is that it would be the exact same thing as the Pakistan Indep. Day celebration in August at USC that happens every year, which would probably affect turn-out rates.

  3. Kiran, I completely agree!! Bovard was a great venue once upon a time because everything just fell together so well that year (especially the hype generated from Shaadi Pyaar Achar). Unfortunately, I've noticed that the same problems come up again and again each year (microphones, lighting, funding, promotion, sponsors, storyline). I wish I bound the things I learned into some kind of PSA Manual with wisdoms collected from Presidents Past for future generations to use.

    The entire event is a fantastic networking opportunity and for the young Pakistani Americans to strut their creativity and talents. However despite all those unifying benefits, I also know about the finances that go into putting that show on and having to deal with sponsors, funding etc. and as a charity show, I don't think PSA has really been maximizing the potential of this now cherished annual event. I didn't go this year but I was heavily involved the first 4 years and finally saw the show as an audience member last year. Regretfully I have to admit that the evening is much more satisfying as a participant and PSA should change venues and format to fill out a hall for approx 400-500 attendees filled with peers and family members and SELL OUT vs. trying to fill an amphitheater for 1,000+. It's simple math and while Bovard is a gorgeous venue with incredibly talented audio, lighting and stage techs.; it is really under-utilized and costly to PSA.

    Dear PSA, you all rock, but to the general community it's just one spring evening BUT for you its something you look forward to all year and spend3-4 months training for-Make the most of it!
    Organize a show by college students for college students. Just leave some room for Abu, Ammi, and choti Sanya to root for you…and maybe Sheila and/or Munni ;)