HARRIS CENTER– Last Saturday, the anxiously awaited 2022 season of Harris parties kicked off, the first since the pandemic began. Following the success of 90’s Harris, proposals for future events have been “streaming in at the speed of a drunken Cupid Shuffle,” said campus events coordinator Liam Ortega. “I’m thrilled to see the number and diversity of proposals,” he said. 

Students have a variety of events to look forward to in the coming weeks. Out on the party beat, we caught up with one upcoming host to learn more about the upcoming festivities. “Historians can have a reputation of being fairly bookish,” said history SEPC member Alma Wheeler. “In the past, our events have tended towards the academic, so we are super excited to host French Revolution Harris this Saturday night. Everyone loved 90’s Harris—and I hope that a 1790s Harris can bring some of that same energy.”

Wheeler and her co-hosts have been hard at work coordinating décor for the event over the past weeks, collaborating with students and groups across campus. “Huge shoutout to the Theatre and Dance department for loaning us their ‘anti-monarchist insurrection’ bins from last year’s production of Les Mis,” said Wheeler. “I feel such a sense of fraternité with my colleagues over in THD.” The hosts have also taken advantage of the open workshop hours at the Maker Space to build their own set pieces. “We were so excited to go to the workshops on 3D printing and to get trained in using the bandsaws and woodworking materials. We’ve been walking downtown and using the space to build a number of life-size, fully-functional guillotines that will really set the tone for the event.” 

Campus events still face limitations, given the ongoing pandemic. As such, food and drinks may not be allowed in the event space. “At first we were like, ‘oh it’s such a shame that we can’t serve refreshments because of COVID restrictions,” said Wheeler. “But actually, it might be even better that we can’t, because food shortages laid the foundation for the Revolution itself. So really, it’s trés authentique.” Given these restrictions, the SEPC is recommending that students “bring petit fours to the pregame.” 

The SEPC has also provided several Pinterest boards of outfit ideas for people planning their costumes. These include examples of a classic “Marie Antoinette look,” along with instructions on how to style one’s hair into her signature pouf. Students seeking this aesthetic might choose to accessorize with lace, pearls, feathers, ribbons, and the like. “This is a big night for the Sofia Coppola girlies,” said Wheeler. “I’ve been looking all over for a vegan whalebone for my corset, but I haven’t had much luck so far.” While the SEPC will be asking for a “reasonable” entrance fee from dance attendants, Wheeler assures the B&S that those with extravagant enough outfits will be exempt: “It’ll be a great way to increase class resentment.” 

Alternatively, students can emulate the more republican stylings of the sans culottes. For those taking this route, a pitchfork is sure to be a great conversation starter, and a handy tool for a peasant uprising (or for pushing gaggles of drunk partygoers out of one’s way in the Harris Center bathroom.) That’s not to say that students need to strive for total authenticity, however. “A bunch of my friends are going as ‘sexy sans culottes,’ because the name does, after all, refer to ‘those without knee breeches,’” said Wheeler. When asked if students dressing as members of the aristocracy should fear ostracization or even beheading from their more proletarian peers, Wheeler simply shrugged. “What’s a party without a little tension?”

The dance playlist is still being formulated, and the SEPC has sent out a call for song suggestions. “Our current plan is to play La Marseillaise, the French national anthem that was number one on the charts in 1793, interspersed with periodic blasts of cannon fire. I cannot wait to get down to ‘tremble, tyrants and traitors/the shame of all good men/ tremble!’  on the dance floor. I think it’s going to be an amazing night,” said Wheeler. “We hope to see you there, Citizen!”