Music, art, condoms and community: All present at WAM-O-RAMA

The Weisman Art Museum’s annual WAM-O-RAMA drew a big crowd, as well as a surplus of freshmen lanyards and high-waisted denim.

Local rap artist, Dwynell Roland, performs during WAM-O-Rama on Friday Sept. 8 at the Weisman Art Museum.

Courtney Deutz

Local rap artist, Dwynell Roland, performs during WAM-O-Rama on Friday Sept. 8 at the Weisman Art Museum.

Kate Drakulic

Nothing brings broke college kids together like free art, music and pizza, and the Weisman Art Museum hit these marks Friday. 

Considered the Weisman’s kick off to the school year, WAM-O-RAMA is an event curated by a collaboration of student groups, including the WAM Collective, Student Unions and Activities and Whole Music Club. It has been running for more than 20 years. 

“It’s nice to combine art and music in one space, and the Weisman is an awesome venue for that,” said Lexi Herman, a B.F.A. student and education assistant at the Weisman, who has been part of the WAM Collective for four years. 

“We want the Weisman to be considered part of people’s school experience.” 

Consider it, they did — anxious from waiting in line, students flooded through the Weisman doors Friday at 6:30 p.m. sharp. Whether it was the screen printed Bohemian Press t-shirts, the all-night line-up including DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip (Tiiiiiiiiiip / tip w/ 10 i’s), Dwynell Roland, headliner Early Eyes or the free Mesa Pizza that brought them, we may never know.

The museum vibrated with energy and DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip’s playlist. Students relaxed in the coloring corner and doodled in hand-drawn books designed by artists from WAM Collective. They stood in long lines for free Bohemian Press screen-printed t-shirts, scarfed down hot slices of pizza and were extremely careful to keep a safe distance from the “Bucket-O-Condoms,” that the Student Health Awareness Disease Association (SHADE) tried to hand out.

DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip kept the energy alive, but it wasn’t until Dwynell Roland’s set began that people broke out of their small cliques and crowded the stage. The North Minneapolis rapper had the previously apprehensive crowd waving their arms, jumping up and down and screaming, “Stop, drop and ROLAND!”

By the time battle of the band finalists Early Eyes hit the stage, more people crammed into the performance room than had all night. 

“I think we lucked out a lot on being on a college campus,” John O’Brien said, Early Eyes’ guitarist. “Just like the fact that we’re based out of the University of Minnesota kind of wedges us inside a community that we may not have had access to otherwise.”

In addition to working on new music, collaborations and “a couple things,” that they, “can’t talk about,” over the summer, Early Eyes toured around the Midwest. 

“The furthest we made it out was Ohio and back,” Jake Berglove said, the band’s lead singer. “We drove east until we were like, ‘Oh, we might as well stop.’ Like that scene in Forrest Gump where he’s like, ‘I think I might go home.’”

Early Eyes is quickly coming up on their one year anniversary of becoming a band.

“We never sat in a room and said ‘we’re gonna go for this,’ Berglove said. “We just played music together and never tried to be any sort of pretentious or petty and just let music come forth.” 

The band, which now includes five members, invited a friend and local vocalist, Sophia Cruz, to join them on stage for the night.

WAM-O-RAMA didn’t just put on a good show — they also managed to break some stereotypes about museum culture. 

“I’m from California and just going to art museums is not a popular thing at all to do, and it’s just like not considered cool I guess,” Sydney Kanter said, freshman and Sociology of Law, Crime and Deviance major. “People here are really into everything and I think that’s really amazing.”