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Photos: Awesomefest Holds Contest for Worst Band, Everybody Wins

Future employers, meet Master of Ceremonies J**e W****y.


Awesomefest seems to finally have a unified purpose behind its name, and it’s not what the non-ironically-minded might expect. The event at Eclectic, the various incarnations of which I’ve attended at many junctures during my time at Wesleyan, always seemed torn between genuinely debuting new bands and the joke acts of usually talented music majors and other prominent musicians. This year, though, the jokier bands truly got my attention, and perhaps exhibited greater creativity by breaking out of the confines of good music — if it could even be called music at all.

There was Zak Malik ’14 attempting to play drums while singing “Levels” by AVICII at the same time. The vocals got the short end of the stick, coming out more like “DA-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN, DUN-DUN-DUN-DUNH-DA-DA-DUNH-DUNH” than anything tuneful. There was Malik’s Lion King song cover band with Henry Molofsky ’13 (who just did a Music thesis that I’m sure was wonderful and had a lot of serious value) that butchered the songs and couldn’t remember half of the lyrics. About halfway through “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” there appeared to be smoke streaming from Malik’s keyboard in my pictures; I showed the pictures to the kid next to me, and after a big misunderstanding he ended up asking the sound guy if there was anything wrong – but it only turned out to be the sound guy’s cigarette.

Stephan Stansfield ’13 and Rachel Connor ’13 (now ’14) — returning, happily, to the Wesleyan music scene after a long absence — played a surf rock song about being “back in the UAE” that devolved into a paean to the pleasures of boofing. A band called “Bryan J. ft. Travis Porter,” which included Molofsky, Aaron Khandros ’13, Bennett Kirschner ’13, and Connor, delivered what one fellow audience member opined was “the worst music [he] had ever heard,” with Kirschner screaming at the top of his lungs.  There was a strip show that ended with mashed bananas all over the floor and A-Batte somewhere under the stage, along with the microphone.

Career Outlook — Summer in LA

The Career Center’s Rachel Berman wants to help you join the Wesleyan Mafia:

Going to be in LA this summer? Check out these opportunities!

Our Winter Break Career Outlook now has a summer partner! For the first time, the Career Center is offering Career Outlook – Summer in LA. This job shadow program provides undergraduates an opportunity to explore careers by shadowing a Wesleyan alumna/us or parent in a particular field or industry during summer break.

This initial summer program will feature ten shadow opportunities from various industries, such as film, television, law, medicine, fashion and art. For summer 2013, most opportunities are day-long and may include observing a professional, sitting in on meetings, or participating in a specific project within the organization. Visit MyCC to learn more and to submit an application (Career Outlook is the employer).

The application deadline is 11:59pm on Tuesday, 5/7. Resume approval is required.

Questions? Email Jen Healey at jhealey(at)wes.

Photos: Static Stamina Returns for One Last Show

“I had a son from a one-night stand but it turned out that I really liked him.”


Once upon a time, on a Wesleyan orientation week long ago, an enormous and very silly rap-rock group called Static Stamina was formed, consisting mostly of then-Butts residents, including Will Feinstein ’13, Stefan Skripak ’13, Nicole Lepre ’13, Adrien DeFontaine ’13, Jacob Eichengreen ’13, Nate Jacobs ’13, Danny Sullivan ’13, and Claire Dougherty ’13 (who I mostly remember shouting “STATIC MOTHA-FUCKIN STAMINA!” at shows).  For a couple of practice sessions, our great leader Zach was even present. Like the illustrious Beatles, Static Stamina demonstrated their power by growing in size every month of the year. Their high-octane act and somewhat obnoxious sense of humor created many memorable nights in my underclassman years.

There often comes a time when one must put away childish things, however, and when Static Stamina took the stage at the WestCo Cafe on Thursday, joined by Dink 583 and Tonsil Hockey, they had not played together under that name in probably two years. The present lineup of the band was uncertain, as many of the coeterie had gone on to play with Feinstein in bands like Chants, which won Awesomefest two years ago. Sam Ebb ’13, Jason Katzenstein ’13 (who is standing behind me and adding effusive copy about himself), and Danny Sullivan ’13 were also present. Feinstein told (warned?) the audience that Chants would appear at some indefinite point during the set; Chants is Spencer Burnham ’14, Ethan Young ’13, Defontaine, and Feinstein. They are a bit more punk-oriented, but many of the differences collapse in the face of Feinstein’s charisma, whether he is throwing kleenex and ripped-up pieces of Argus at audience members and shouting “You got an issue/tissue? Here’s a tissue/issue!” or suffering from an intentional short-term memory loss that causes him and the band to play a very short song called “My Son” eight times over the course of a set. Feinstein stood on top of various equipment and appeared to tower over the crowd, leading to gestures of devotion from them. A surprising number of current underclassmen were present; may they be inspired by this show to continue Wesleyan’s musical creative streak.

Toneburst Laptop Ensemble – Live on WESU

The disembodied telepresence of Tobias Butler ’13 (aka tobobo from the hub) rises again:

This friday at 5 Eastern, a subset of Wesleyan’s Toneburst Laptop Ensemble will be taking over (some of) the airwaves on WESU 88.1 Middletown’s Wild Wild Live hosted by Mickey Capper and Rachie Weisberg. We will be using the very same computers most of us use to write essays and browse Facebook to create evocative, evolving musical works.

This will be no ordinary radio broadcast—a little over halfway through, you’ll be invited to visit using Google Chrome on your own computer to participate in a composition that will involve your personal machine as one voice in a potentially worldwide laptop choir. There will be a few guerrilla performances around the Wesleyan campus and in Middletown where many computers will be participating simultaneously—so grab your friends and laptops and go to a public place where you can sit and listen for a bit.

American Balungan: A Senior Recital

Madi Holland ’13 wants to take you to GAMELAND!:

It’s that time! Come to my senior recital for a night of gamelan.

Four manipulations of traditional central Javanese gamelan pieces will be performed. Two will feature instrumental reassignments in the traditional framework, and the second two will be regular balungans with bonang barung (played by Madi) and guitar improvisations (played by Henry Robertson) over them.

It would mean the world to me if you could attend. Really.

A Brazilian Psychedelic Experience: Sessa and The Trip, DJ Joel Stones, and O Presidente

Andrew Zingg ’13 has that tropical zingggggg:

Take a trip back to 1960s Brazil with the psychedelic funk/soul/garage of Sessa and The Trip and the dusty vinyl of Joel Stones, the man with the deepest Tropicalia record collection in NYC.

The Bands:

The new project of Sergio “Sessa” Sayeg, the former guitarist of São Paulo Tropicalia enthusiasts Garotas Suecas. Carry Brownstein of Sleater Kinney/Portlandia said of Sessa’s former band: “It has literally been a decade since I went up to a stage, closed my eyes, danced like a fool and never wanted the moment to end.”

Sergio Sayeg – Guitars and Vocals
Jorge Chafey – Bass
Robin Macmillan – Drums
Joel Stones – Spiritual Guidance

The proprietor of the recently defunct Tropicalia in Furs, an East Village record store of entirely psychedelic Brazilian music from 1960s and 1970s. He has DJ’ed parties for the Beastie Boys and curated a compilation of Tropicalia rare cuts called Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas.

Zonker Harris: A Belated Photo Celebration

The Babies

As savvy Wesleying readers and residents of the Foss Hill area will know, a bevy of bands played in the WestCo courtyard on a beautiful day last weekend, including The Babies, Happy Jawbone Family Band, O Presidente, Grand Cousin, Molly Rocket and the Crooks, Siren, Laundrette, Donfroot, and Jacob and the Masters. Happy Jawbone Family Band, who are from Brattleboro, Vermont, packed the perfect stage banter for the day, continually asking the crowd about Wesleyan’s reputation for “carnal experimentation” and whether everyone in the audience had done it. “Yes, sterilely,” responded someone in the crowd. The Babies introduced energetic pop-punk that kept the crowd energized through late-afternoon nodding.

In a parallel world on Foss Hill, baked goods were sold for Stethoscope Press and a sharp-minded and well-organized group of individuals engaged in political protests. However, this post is all about the music. Specifically, it’s about how I only caught The Babies, Happy Jawbone Family Band and Molly and the Rockets and spent the rest of the time wandering around, socializing, eating and jumping in a large bouncy tent outside of Usdan. There are, however, a bevy of photos resulting from these explorations. Lose yourself, find yourself, be proud of your participation in this politically important day. (If you’re not proud, feel free to contact me and I will remove any occurrences of your slack-jawed likeness. I won’t be offended.)

Sign Up for the ENGAGE Newsletter

From Civic Engagement Fellow Dana Pellegrino ’12 wants to engage you:

Have you heard of the new ENGAGE newsletter? The ENGAGE newsletter culls ENGAGE blog posts into an easily digestible weekly email.

Currently the ENGAGE blog offers up a daily selection of links that pertain to civic engagement. For those who may be unfamiliar with civic engagement, we like to casually define it as positively interacting with and changing your community, whether it be close by or worldwide. At Wesleyan, two offices work primarily with civic engagement concepts: The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Office of Community Service, which operates under the Center for Community Partnerships.

Settler Colonialism in Hawai’i: A Panel Event

From Professor J. Kehaulani Kauanui:

The American Studies Department at Wesleyan University presents

Settler Colonialism in Hawai’i: A Panel Event

Introduction and moderation by J. Kehaulani Kauanui


“Staking Claim: Race and Indigeneity in Hawai’i,”Judy Rohrer

“Why Asian Settler Colonialism Matters: Thoughts on Critiques and
Debates,” Dean Itsuji Saranillio

Free Bikram Yoga in an Hour

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From Renee Dunn ’14:

Hi Yogis,
We have partnered with Bikram Yoga Middletown to bring you free yoga this Monday.  Please arrive 15 minutes beforehand to sign a waiver and acclimate to the heat.  The class will be followed by an optional q&a with local Bikram teachers.

Who: WesBAM! and Bikram
What: Free Yoga
When: Monday 4/22 6:30pm
Questions? shoot an email to Leigh (WesBAM! Yoga instructor) (lestewart(at)wes)