For the past three years, a star has called St. Thomas his home. He made students laugh, and he made them cringe, but most of all he gave them what many college students crave: a familiar face to look at every day. This summer, that star was taken from the St. Thomas community, well, sort of.
The star in question isn’t necessarily real. It’s more like a 2-foot tall cutout of actor Paul Giamatti’s head that used to reside in St. Thomas’ KUST radio station studio.
“Everyone was kind of like … ‘Where did this come from?’” said Matt Lichtfuss, original owner of the Giamatti poster. “It’s one of those things where you just wonder [who’d take it].”
Giamatti is probably most famous for his roles in the films “Sideways,” “Cinderella Man” and “Lady In the Water.”
Lichtfuss brought the poster to St. Thomas his freshman year after a friend who worked at Blockbuster gave it to him. Giamatti’s face was exactly what Lichtfuss and eccentric freshman roommate A.C. Clouthier needed to turn their dorm room into a home.
“It didn’t mean a whole lot to me in the beginning,” Clouthier said. “But as the school year went on, we met so many people just because of it.”
While some loathed the poster and others loved it, the cutout of Giamatti’s head helped turn Litchfuss’ and Clouthier’s room into a social hub. Located on the first floor of Brady Hall near Koch Commons, it was nearly impossible for people not to notice the room with “that creepy guy” in it.
A New Home
When Lichtfuss and Clouthier moved out of the dorm, the poster wound up at KUST, where Litchfuss deejays.
Taking up most of the wall in one of the DJ booths, the Giamatti head became a staple of KUST. People would post messages on the cut-out, it was often the topic of conversations and most people in the studio felt that despite its initial creepiness, the Giamatti poster had become as much a part of KUST as the music.
Here today, gone tomorrow
It was early this summer when Lichtfuss realized that Giamatti was gone.
“It’s just upsetting that we had to lose him like that,” he said.
Lichtfuss was so taken aback by the loss that he started a blog in honor of the Giamatti head. Clouthier wasn’t necessarily shocked by the news that the head had gone missing.
“First of all I don’t blame them for stealing [it],” Clouthier said. “I’m not upset with them, but that’s ridiculous; you put that back where it came from.”
Lichtfuss said he isn’t one to point fingers but he suspects foul play. He noted that only a handful of people knew the whereabouts of Giamatti’s head and fewer had access to KUST’s studio this summer. In other words, he thinks it was an inside job.
Is anyone out there?
Lichtfuss and Clouthier realize that in all likelihood they will never again see the figure that helped them gain notoriety. But that doesn’t deter them from trying to relay their own messages to the Giamatti head and its captor.
“You had your time with it,” Clouthier said. “Just return that if you can.”
Litchfuss hoped his words could someday reach the Giamatti head, and maybe help it find its way back to campus.
“I just hope that you’re not having a better time with these culprits,” he said. “Just know that you have a loving home in the studio.”
Ben Katzner can be reached at email@example.com