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Gateway presents music, movies and comedy for its back-to-school celebration

The South Campus Gateway was brimming with students and local artists Tuesday night for what was hailed “The Ohio State Welcome Fest,” or “Arts in the Alley.”

Many local talents gathered to represent the arts for OSU students’ first night back at school. Activities included live music, art galleries, free movies and popcorn, a sketch-comedy performance and a multitude of kiosks selling T-shirts and jewelry.

Several bands, including The Little Professors, Karate Coyote and The Wet Darlings, performed in the alley where the Landmark Gateway Theater, Ugly Tuna Saloona and several other businesses are located.

Karate Coyote, a six-member independent Columbus rock-pop group that formed in 2007, gathered quite a few people passing to and from the parking garage behind the small stage where they performed. The group played original songs from its newest album, “Inner Animals,” and did a cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” an indie classic by Joy Division.

An unnamed jam trio, which consisted of an electric violinist, keyboardist and drummer, also played. The noises the musicians produced gathered about 100 people who gawked at their ability to improvise combinations of jazz, classical and modern sounds. They asked the audience for song suggestions, and one fan yelled the cliched response, “Free Bird!” The idea was quickly shot down. Instead, they jammed to the tune of “Happy Birthday.”

Ohio Wesleyan University graduates and Columbus residents Nick Stull and Spencer Mustine were present in the Arts Initiative at OSU for their gallery exhibit “HumanScapes: a Sense of Place.”

“It’s been pretty chill. The (exhibit) opening was mostly family and people we knew, so today has been mostly random people, OSU students. Definitely have had a pretty good response,” Mustine said.

The Gateway Theater had its seats full, closing the theater to the public and handing out free tickets to students. By the 9:30 p.m. showing, almost all the movies were at capacity. Students received free soda and popcorn and lined the sidewalk from the Gateway, around the corner and halfway to East 11th Avenue.

At 10 p.m., the Sketch By Number group performed a free sketch-comedy show for a packed house at The Green Room. The group’s sketches were aimed at college students, Facebook users and homosexual dinosaurs. “Queen of the Dinosaurs II” was a scene from the Little Mermaid played by a gay tyrannosaurus rex and his overbearing father with a tiny trident.

Sketch by Number will be doing special Halloween performances along with live Columbus bands at The Green Room at 9 p.m. on Oct. 22 and 23 and at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Oct. 29.

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