SDSU held a panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con about the upcoming Major and Minor in Comic Studies here at SDSU. It was such an exciting thing to witness, not only as my first time at SDCC, but also as a student at SDSU to see so many faculty speaking about comics in such a passionate and educational way. The panel structured how the upcoming curriculum would lay out as well as all the various focuses that can be selected within the Comics Studies area.
The faculty talked about how the long history of great artists that have been creating comics for 100’s of years had inspired them to look into this possible future education path. But it wasn’t until they all noticed that so many professors were making small, one off classes focused on pop culture and comics that they realized how viable this curriculum could be.
During the pandemic, the staff spent months over Zoom putting together the curriculum to win SDSU’s Great Big Idea Program, a grant given to those projects that SDSU deems worth it. What they currently have created is 4 workshops open to the public (one a semester) with the aim of Fall 2024 to have one new Comic Studies Certificate. There are many different focuses revolving around comics such as censorship, global panic, and even the LGBTQ+ movement. The specific image below showcases the modern iterations of comics’ example of “Queer Coding”, which will be one of the focuses in an upcoming course.
If any of this is of interest, there is currently the Center for Comics Studies at San Diego State University which explores all types of comics through an analytical and research-oriented approach. Within SDSU’s library, you can have access to over 100,000 comics, learn about how comics can transform humanity, and even join an active student comics club.
There are many exciting new programs coming to San Diego State University, and pretty soon Comic Studies will be jumping off the page and into the classroom.
Tai Verdes performed on the main stage of San Diego’s House of Blues on 4/20
Tai Verdes got his start on Tik Tok with his song “Stuck In The Middle” which quickly became a viral hit. He has also debuted songs such as “A-O-K,” “Sheesh!,” and “DRUGS,” which have all seen success on Tik Tok and even made their way over to mainstream radio. With Tai’s newfound stardom, he has been able to turn his Tik Tok hobby into a music career and was able to quit his job at Verizon Wireless.
Tai Verdes had a fantastic set that had fans dancing and singing to every song. When looking into the crowd, it was very obvious that Tai has many dedicated fans. It is quite rare for an artist who starts on Tik Tok to have a big and dedicated fanbase outside of social media, but it appears that Tai Verdes was able to break that barrier.
His music style is very happy and positive. He even took time during his set to speak to the audience and encourage everyone to follow their dreams, just like he did. I have never felt so uplifted by an artist; it was like a concert and a motivational speech all in one.
Tai Verdes brought his own band with him which consisted of a bass player, guitar player, and drummer. They did a great job performing and interacting with each other. The energy between Tai and the band was contagious and just watching them have fun up on stage made me have an even better time in the audience. At one point during the set, Tai even jumped down into the audience and walked around while singing.
Tai Verdes has a song called “DRUGS” which is about doing drugs to “change his mind up,” as quoted from the lyrics. Since the show was on 4/20, obviously, this song was a big hit. It was such a crowd-pleaser during the main set that when the crowd was chanting for an encore, Tai and his band performed “DRUGS” again and it was just as big a hit. He even lit up a blunt and passed it around the stage with his band to celebrate.
Overall this concert was very good and entertaining. Tai Verdes’ ultra-positive personality and music paired with the crowd’s energy made for a very enjoyable night. I would highly recommend going to see Tai Verdes live. Whether you’re a superfan or just know a few songs, it will be a great time.
What better way to spend 4/20 than with the positive energy of Tai Verdes? His San Diego show took place at the House of Blues on April 20th, 2022 for his first-ever “HDTV” tour following the release of the debut album “TV.” To say that it was a lively crowd would be an understatement. Something about his music inspires bright colors, which was clearly present in the style among his mostly young fans. The opener was an 18-year-old from Toronto who went by “renforshort,” cooing her music in an airy voice that echoed the likes of Phoebe Bridgers. She was chatty and kept the crowd alive with quips between songs. A memorable one was before her song titled “Moshpit,” which she described as “being about a bad relationship and not at all about a real moshpit because I have crippling social anxiety and wouldn’t last a second in one.” The smooth, indie-pop sound of renforshort coupled with her relatable sense of humor perfectly set the stage for the main act everyone was waiting for, Tai Verdes.
Before the show, I did some research on Verdes and found his unique story of starting out as an unknown phone salesman dreaming of a career in music, releasing a song on Tiktok that went viral, and getting a jumpstart on his career from competing in (and winning) an MTV dating show. Through all of this, the main thing I learned about Verdes is that he never stops trying, a mantra he said himself at one point between songs— “One thing I’ma tell you guys,” he shouted. “Is never f**king give up!” This relentless spirit was apparent tonight in his performance.
Tai Verdes stepped on stage a little after 8:00 with a dramatic pause and immediately launched into “Happy Til it Hurts,” a track from his album “TV.” The lyrics described his experience starting at a low point and working his way up with big aspirations. This seemed a fitting start to his show both lyrically and musically as it was passionate and groovy. Verdes made sure to give every song a fun edge and as you might find listening to his discography, most of his music is perfect to sing along to. His recent album TV captures the catchiness and summery feel of poolside pop. He constantly encouraged the crowd to sing along and had an expressive way of delivering every lyric. Verdes also incorporated his talented band, giving them the spotlight to shine and bring the energy to his instrumentals. The bassist I remember especially for bouncing around behind Verdes and absolutely killing the backup vocals. You may have heard Verdes’ viral first single, “Stuck in the Middle,” which starts off with a bouncy riff and the catchy lyrics: “She said, you’re a player aren’t you, and I bet you got hoes.” The bass took on an important role then, leading the way for the song while the crowd screamed along.
Part of the reason that this show was so enjoyable was because of how fun his music is: every song had the crowd dancing while Verdes himself smiled the entire time. The colors flashed between electric blue, scarlet red, and shades of yellow and orange: vibrancy shone through the entire show. For his two most well-known songs, Tai Verdes went to the crowd and asked an audience member a question, the answer to which would segway into the music. For example, in “Stuck in the Middle,” he actually leaped down and weaved his way to the center of the crowd to ask a young fan, “Hey, do you know what she said to me?” The fan, bursting with excitement, replied “You’re a player aren’t you!” and the song started with a bang. His fresh take on participating with the audience kept everyone engaged and when he stepped off the stage, it didn’t take long before everyone was screaming for more. He returned for a final encore for a song that he had already played, but somehow managed to make it even more energetic, namely because the song was called “Drugs,” and because of the occasion, it makes sense why the audience got so into it.
Verdes left in a cloud of smoke, shining in sweat from the absolute effort he puts into every song and of course giving one last signature smile. When the show was truly over, I was surprised to find myself out of breath from all the singing and dancing that his music brought out of me. Tai Verdes brought the excitement to San Diego with his colorful and infectious joy during this explosive debut tour, an energy that I’m excited to see more of as his career continues.
Live, local music and great times to be had with KCR!
On Saturday, April 23, KCR College Radio is holding a music fest at the OB Rassle House from 2-5 p.m. Tickets are $10 if you use the QR code and $15 at the door. Come through for some great live music and to support KCR and local artists!
KCR College Radio: The Sound of State
KCR is an internet based radio station run by students at the San Diego State University that provides music, sports, and talk programs to the SDSU community.