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The Nimoy’s “A Love Story Event” left audience with new ideas about love

The Nimoy is pictured. The theater hosted “Crushing at the Nimoy: A Love Story Event,” a series of performances presented by the Student Committee for the Arts at UCLA and Sexperts on Sunday. (Julia Zhou/Assistant Photo editor)

By Gavin Meichelbock

Feb. 12, 2024 5:02 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 13 at 7:46 p.m.

The Nimoy’s most recent event lived up to the motto above its door: “Live long and prosper.”

The Westwood theater hosted “Crushing at The Nimoy: A Love Story Event” this past Sunday night. Hosted by the Student Committee for the Arts at UCLA and UCLA Sexperts, students put on an unforgettable experience filled with dating advice, poetry reading, musical entertainment and a vibrator giveaway. With Valentine’s Day approaching, every performance provided a distinct exploration of sexuality, lust, what it means to have a crush and what love means to students.

The doors to sexual enlightenment opened at 6 p.m. On the first floor, audience members were invited to take their fill of condoms and lollipops from the gift table. People were then encouraged to head upstairs to partake in the “Letters to Your Crush” workshop. Students sat around mingling and laughing, writing letters to their special someone, sealing them with kiss- and heart-shaped stickers. About half an hour later, the audience took their seats in the theater. At a prompt 6:49 p.m., the show began.

[Related: Sriha Srinivasan works to promote sex education one TikTok at a time]

First, Sexperts co-director, fourth-year gender studies and public affairs student Chloe Morris, and chief of staff Vanessa Nguyen, a fourth-year psychobiology student, arrived on stage and explained the mission statement of their club. Morris said the focus of the Sexperts organization is to “promote sexual health, consent, communication and pleasure.” The evening’s self-proclaimed “Love Experts” outlined the layout of the night’s performances, which would be intercut with answers to the audience’s love- and relationship-based questions, and concluded with the highly anticipated vibrator giveaway. With that, the first performer took to the stage.

The first act of the night was an original song titled “I Left You Room,” performed by Shannae Bernales. The song was an acoustic guitar pop ballad about leaving room for someone in your heart. Up next was Sexperts member and third-year African American studies and sociology student Jovana Tankou, who read a poem she wrote called “From the Bottom of the Pedestal.” This poem was about the complexities of expectations contrasting reality when having a crush on someone.

“Have you guys ever had a crush on somebody, and who that person is in your mind and who they are in real life is two completely different things?” Tankou said. “This poem is about being on the opposite side of that.”

Another written work was shared, this one about the emotions that come with having a crush, written by second-year business economics student Jasmine Speights. Speights’ poem, “Cycles,” about the good, bad and ugly of the never-ending cycle of having a crush, drew an audible gasp from the audience when she uttered the line, “Because you’re still in love with her.” Following this, Morris and Nguyen returned to the stage to answer the first round of relationship questions. Questions that were asked included, “How do I not be ghosted on Hinge?” and “Is ghosting unethical?”

“I’m of the belief that if that person was right for you, they wouldn’t have ghosted – so it’s better you run now,” Morris said. “Instead of being desperate, you should never get to that phase.”

The third poem of the night was a synthwave exploration of the self, read by Cerulean Long. During the reading, Long threw away page after page of her poem only to move on to the next, as if creating a heartbreaking visual metaphor of her continuous cycle of toxic crushing. Two more stories of love and regret escaped the hearts of their readers before the second round of questions began.

After a vulnerable, explicit question, the audience erupted in laughter. Morris and Nguyen agreed that embarrassing moments are expected in relationships, and partners should be accepting of each other. Afterward, the next performer strutted on stage, dropping not only his jacket but also some serious lyrics. Jay Satten took audiences on a musical journey with his songs “Code Red,” “Love Like Yours” and “Knockout.” “Code Red” was about letting the one you love find themselves without you. “Love Like Yours” and “Knockout” were both about how it feels to find the one.

Stories of first love, first dates and more relationship questions followed this performance. Comedy trio Angel More, Sam Rafter and Bella Garcia then approached the mic stand and delivered a skit about the “top 10 don’ts” for first dates. While some were obvious, such as to not vape in their face or flex unnecessarily, unexpected ones such as to not order gluten-free food or reference Vines, received notable laughs from the audience.

[Related: Student-hosted drag showcase shines spotlight on self-expression, LGBTQ+ advocacy]

The final question-and-answer portion of the night asked the Sexperts what to do when the person they are interested in thinks the moon landing was fake. Morris said this would not faze her, since she thinks it’s not the first thing the United States government has lied about. Nguyen said it is best to move on from the topic and discuss what else they believe in. A contemporary dance and a comedic song about boba wrapped up the night’s entertainment. After the anticipated giveaway left one lucky audience member with a new prize, the performers and audience entered the lobby with a new sense of what it means to love. Reemerging at the end of the show after spilling her heart out on stage was performer Speights. Before leaving The Nimoy, she wanted to make sure people didn’t waste their time chasing someone who didn’t feel the same way.

“You shouldn’t spend your time chasing somebody that doesn’t really love you for you,” Speights said. “It’s important to know your worth because I feel like a lot of us don’t know our worth, … which causes us to settle. So make sure you know your worth, and you’re not settling for something less.”

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Gavin Meichelbock
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