There’s a phrase that likes to circulate in our little scene called “passing the torch.” It’s one of those collections of words that gets uttered whenever a band member from an older generation collaborates with a band from a younger one. That’s what happened 16 years ago today, when Bob Weir joined Phish at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA.Interestingly, a similar situation occurred just one year prior, when the Grateful Dead’s own Phil Lesh joined Phish for a handful of songs (including some trampoline-inspired “You Enjoy Myself” jams) at Shoreline. Fast forward a year and a few weeks, and the band got the chance to perform with another member of the Grateful Dead.Bob Weir, a Bay Area native, emerged for a three song encore, including two Grateful Dead classics and a Phish original. They started the extended encore with a cover of Marty Robbins’ “El Paso,” sung by Weir of course, before high-tailing it into “Chalk Dust Torture.” Finally, the show ended with a powerful rendition of “West L.A. Fadeaway,” with Weir taking the vocals on the classic Jerry Garcia song.The full show can be streamed below, courtesy of nognuisagoodgnu.Your Phish.net setlist can be seen below.Setlist: Phish at Shoreline Amphitheatre Mountain View, CA – 10/6/00Set 1: Carini, Stash, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Mellow Mood, Maze, The Moma Dance, Run Like an AntelopeSet 2: Heavy Things > Down with Disease -> Spock’s Brain, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Rift, Cities > Sand > Golgi Apparatus, Brian and Robert, Bold As LoveEncore: El Paso, Chalk Dust Torture > West L.A. Fadeaway Unfinished. Phish debut; Bob Weir guest appearance. Bob Weir guest appearance.Glide was teased before the Carini opener and Jibboo was teased before Heavy Things. Disease was unfinished. The encore, which included the Phish debuts of El Paso and West L.A. Fadeaway, featured a Bob Weir guest appearance. Trey teased Chalk Dust after West. L.A. Fadeaway.
This energy has been with Cornell from the start. Cornell came to USC after a career in Hollywood, serving as vice president of casting and talent development for Columbia Pictures Television and Sony Pictures Television and working on shows such as “Cheers” and “Who’s the Boss.” He said he just meant to take off one year and teach, but that was in 1991.“I thought I’ll sort of clear my head, take a break and go back into the television industry,” Cornell said with a chuckle. “And I never went back.”After serving as the managing director of the School of Dramatic Arts his second through fourth year at USC, he was appointed executive director of University Events. He got to know Nikias when the Viterbi School of Engineering received its naming donation and Cornell planned events for it. A few years later, when Nikias became provost, Cornell helped set up Visions and Voices. And the day he was named president, Nikias called Cornell to ask if he wanted to be chief of staff.“I’m a believer in my own life about saying ‘yes’ to things,” Cornell said. “If a door opens, you walk through it.”And now that he’s walked through that door, Cornell doesn’t do much but work, and enthusiastically. He often starts answering emails at 5 a.m. and usually is at his office in Bovard by 8 a.m. If he goes home in the early evening, he said he’ll usually answer emails until 11 p.m., but he’s often working until 9 or 10 at night after events, when he staffs the president.“The good news is I do get some time on the weekend,” he said, “but it’s not every weekend.”His week starts on Monday, where he goes over everything Nikias is doing twice: Once with the staff in the president’s office and once with media relations, to go over what will happen at the university for the next few weeks, covering everything from the schedule to speech writing.“We run a huge organization, a $3.4 billion-a-year operation, which is larger than most cities and some states probably,” Cornell said. “It’s a big place, and a lot can happen here.”Part of Cornell’s job (and why he spends so much time answering emails) is that chiefs of staff serve as gatekeepers to the president.“But gatekeeper has a negative connotation, because the point is to keep people out,” Cornell said. “I look at it in a very positive way, which is to let people come to your door, see if you can find a way to solve that problem before it ever has to elevate to a presidential level.”He said he ensures everyone gets a response, even if the response is just that the letter has been received. Additionally, all correspondence to the president’s office is electronically catalogued, so that a letter sent three years ago could be pulled up with a search for the sender’s name or the subject of the letter. At the same time, USC does have a hierarchy that goes up to the top.“What’s amazed me about this job, which I didn’t realize when I came on board here before we actually started, is how everything flows right up to the president,” Cornell said. “The buck stops there with him.”Cornell is also the university’s director of protocol, which means he ensures visitors and guests of the university are treated well and with respect.“We have a lot of visiting dignitaries,” Cornell said. “Every one of them walks in here and brings a gift — a book or a token from their country — and we reciprocate, and that’s just one part of it.”Cornell stressed that protocol is especially important when representing USC in foreign nations. His knowledge of this and of Nikias’ vision for the university allows him to occasionally serve as an emissary of the president, most recently to South Korea. And Cornell said the travel, which is usually with Nikias, is one of the best parts of his job.“I’ve always been someone who’s loved getting on a plane anyway,” Cornell said. “But I really love getting to travel with people and meet people. We really meet the most fascinating people. … The average Joe on the street doesn’t get to do this.”And the bottomless well of energy from which Cornell draws upon to work has been directed at a variety of causes. Before serving as chief of staff, Cornell also produced seven benefit dinners for the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy and lobbying group that promotes the social welfare of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.“I’m a gay person. And I feel that it’s really important now to make sure that people understand that and know that and know who you are, to take away any fear about being gay,” Cornell said. “Not so much in California or L.A., and certainly not at USC, but there is a world of people out there who are afraid.”Cornell said he doesn’t have time to organize events for HRC anymore but still supports its mission. And he’s given up other things, such as bowling on Monday nights. He does have a French bulldog (“Napoleon, and he is!”), but the focus of his life is his job.“I have no time to date really or anything, but I have a beautiful life,” Cornell said. “USC, like every organization, has its quirks and its problems. But when you get down to it, the opportunity here and the people here are incredible.”And being chief of staff is more than just a job. Cornell said Nikias and his wife, First Lady Niki Nikias, have made him a part of their family.“Niki calls me her brother because we needle each other like a brother and sister would,” Cornell said. “We’re all around the same age, and we have a simpatico.”At the end of the day, Cornell said he’s proud to contribute his energy to the university.“I love USC and it’s taken care of me,” Cornell said, “and I work really hard for it.” He’s got a firm handshake, a quick answer to every question and an impressive memory. But the most noticeable thing about Dennis Cornell, chief of staff to President C. L. Max Nikias, is his energy.Quick chat · Dennis Cornell, chief of staff to President C. L. Max Nikias, answers a phone call in his office in Bovard Auditorium. – Rachel Bracker | Daily Trojan
The trio of D’Souza, Lin and Tanabe will likely lead USC in Waikoloa. But if the Trojans hope to improve their national standing at the invitational, they will need stellar play from the rest of the lineup as well. D’Souza sounded optimistic about the team’s chances heading into the Invitational. “We can take a lot of positives from [this finish] knowing that if we do play our best we’re definitely going to be at the top or near the top,” D’Souza said. The upcoming Amer Ari Invitational comes on the heels of an impressive third place finish at the Southwestern Invitational last week. The Trojans’ effort was led by performances from freshman Yuxin Lin, juniors Leon D’Souza and Issei Tanabe and senior Kyle Suppa. With the exception of Lin, each finished at or under par. Junior Leon D’Souza recently led USC to its best showing of the season. (Photo Courtesy of USC Athletics) The Amer Ari Invitational tournament begins Wednesday and concludes Saturday. D’Souza nearly finished the tournament with the best individual scorecard, but a costly bogey on the 17th hole in his final round resulted in a second place finish for the talented junior. However, it appears that the Trojans may be trending upward at precisely the right time. “I’ve been doing this for a while, and, by the looks of our team, I think we have a chance to be pretty good,” USC head coach Chris Zambri said. “We just didn’t show it in the fall.” Zambri confirmed Tuesday that Lin, D’Souza, Tanabe and Onishi will be in the starting lineup at the invitational. Zambri said he is still deciding whether to give the last spot on the lineup to Suppa or Guo. The pair will be notified of his decision on Wednesday. Onishi was given All-American honors last season after being named the 2018 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and a 2019 All-Pac-12 first teamer and Guo is full of potential as he continues his first Division I collegiate campaign. “I think our goals should be high even though the fall was kind of mediocre,” Zambri said. “With [who] we have in our lineup and what each guy has shown when they’re at their best, I don’t see a reason why we can’t contend to win a national championship this year.” Outside of the trio, USC will rely on junior Kaito Onishi, who’s returning from a neck injury, and freshman Tyler Guo to perform at their highest level in Waikoloa. If previous results are any indicator, they are certainly capable of taking on the challenge. “Leon did a great job all week,” Zambri said. “He had just about a perfect week. He’s already shown that he knows how to win golf tournaments.” The USC men’s golf team will depart for Waikoloa, Hawaii, to compete Thursday in the Amer Ari Invitational at Waikoloa King’s Course. The Trojans will face off against No. 3 Georgia Tech, No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 21 Auburn and No. 25 Texas, among a host of other opponents. USC entered the season with high expectations but has struggled to live up to them so far, having slipped to No. 43 nationally after a preseason No. 11 ranking. The descent in the rankings comes after several disappointing fall performances in a number of tournaments and head-to-head competitions.