The band SLUGish Ensemble performs at SF State’s Creative Arts building for the Jazz & Tacos event for SF State students and faculty on Feb. 1, 2023. (Tâm Vũ / Golden Gate Xpress) (Tam Vu)
The band SLUGish Ensemble performs at SF State’s Creative Arts building for the Jazz & Tacos event for SF State students and faculty on Feb. 1, 2023. (Tâm Vũ / Golden Gate Xpress)

Tam Vu

The College of Liberal and Creative Arts kicks off spring semester with jazz and tacos, honors late professor

“Jazz & Tacos,” the first event of the new LCA Live performance series, also served as a tribute to late lecturer of music Andrew Speight.

February 2, 2023

Jazz and tacos might seem like an unexpected duo, but they are about to become a regular part of the Creative Arts building culture.

On Wednesday afternoon, LCA Live kicked off the semester with a “Jazz & Tacos” event featuring a performance from Steven Lugerner’s SLUGish Ensemble and tacos from Taqueria Girasol at the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

According to organizer Aaron Benn, LCA Live is a brand new multidisciplinary series that will feature spoken word, dance, music and theater performances. “Jazz & Tacos” marks the very first event for the series. 

“Each ‘Jazz & Tacos’ will feature a different ensemble,” Benn said. “Some will be alums, or students, or different jazz musicians in the Bay.”

Roughly 40 attendees sat at round tables scattered throughout room 153 of Creative Arts as they watched the SLUGish Ensemble in silent reverence. Between songs and after solos, the otherwise quiet crowd offered appreciative applause. The room was adorned with pink lights and the stage highlighted by a neon sign, which aptly read “Jazz & Tacos.”

Saxophonist Steven Lugerner was surprised by the focused nature of the audience.

“Playing here was really refreshing,” Lugerner said. “I was just kind of shocked by how attentive everybody was. I never know what to expect.”

When people did move around the room though, they were most likely on their way to get some tacos. Several attendees got up during the performance and made their way over to the taco table positioned at the side of the room.

The live performance also served as a tribute to Lecturer of Music Andrew Speight who passed away last December. The SLUGish Ensemble dedicated a composition titled “Summer Night” to Speight, with Lugerner citing him as a mentor.

Interim Dean of the College of Liberal & Creative Arts Sophie Clavier spoke about Speight’s impact on those he interacted with.

“What I heard from students and colleagues is about an amazing person,” Clavier told the crowd. “He sparked joy with his music, he impacted his students, he was an amazing musician.” 

Although the audience mostly sat in silence during the performance, their appreciation of the music was apparent nonetheless.

“It was high-caliber musicians playing their hearts out for a really stoked crowd,” attendee Abraham Finkelstein said. “Oftentimes, I’ll just be walking through the hall here and I’ll hear something through an open door and I’ll pop in and it’ll be a really great performance.”

“Jazz & Tacos” will take place on the first Wednesday of every month. The event is free to attend for students and faculty.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Aiden Brady
Aiden Brady, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Aiden Brady (he/him) is the arts & entertainment for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in English literature. He was born in San Diego, California and currently lives in San Francisco. During his free time, he enjoys finding new music, attending concerts and watching sports.
Photo of Tam Vu
Tam Vu, Photo Editor
Tâm Vũ (she/her) is a Vietnamese-American photographer for Golden Gate Xpress and Xpress Magazine. She is a fourth-year photojournalism major with a minor in Asian American studies. She originally entered SF State as a print and online journalism major, but switched to photojournalism in her second year after finding her passion for visual storytelling. Her special interests include Asian American identity and music journalism. In the near future, she hopes to make a video documentary on her parents' immigration story to highlight the generational impact that the Vietnam War has on many families. Outside of school, she loves to attend live music shows, find new music, and crochet.

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