Author Archives: beccahope

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The maple kind?

Making Wesleyan’s Music Scene More Inclusive: An Interview with Molly Balsam ’14

“I want to be a rock star, straight-up.”

molly-rocketandthecrooks

Discussion has escalated recently about the gender imbalance in Wesleyan’s music scene. Although some female-powered bands have established a presence on campus, male-led bands still dominate the concerts here.  Ally Bernstein ’13’s guest post in April about the lack of women in the Spring Fling lineup tackled the issue head on, sparking lots of conversation and argument in the comments section. One student who chimed in was Molly Balsam ’14, lead vocalist of Molly Rocket and the Crooks, who noted that she plans to start a women’s music co-op this fall in an effort to make the scene more inclusive.

You might have been to one of her band’s shows this semester (of which there have been many) or heard about her plans for this co-op—either way, Balsam has been making a name for herself on campus lately. Wesleying caught up with her for an interview about female empowerment in music, which is what the co-op (and her band) is all about.

How do you see this music co-op working?
I already have a bunch of female musicians I’m friendly with who are interested in helping me start this. What I want to do is get a rehearsal space, book it once or twice a week for three hours, have anyone come in that wants to. The first couple of sessions will be getting to know each other, getting to figure out who likes to play what, who does what, who’s interested in what, and jamming together.  And just starting a conversation, too, about how people feel about the music scene, why they might not be in it, why they might be in it, why they might be interested in being in it but not having the ability to be in it… you know, getting all that out there. Because I know how I feel, I don’t know how everyone else feels. I’m going to need to know that before I go too much further. But the ultimate goal would be to have female musicians be more of a presence on this campus. This is my somewhat solution. It’s not going to be a full solution—it’s just going to be a way to start attacking a solution.

So hopefully smaller projects will come out of this one collective?
Exactly. Ultimately, boys will, of course, be included. It’s not going to be, like, eight all-female bands emerging from here. My band is me and five boys and another girl. And that, obviously, is working for me, so I think it can work for other people, too. I just think that for starters it needs to come from this female unity.

#Ethnomusicology: An Adventure into Olin’s Scores and Recordings

scores and recordings

I have the good fortune of working at Scores and Recordings, the music section of Olin Library. I can objectively say that it’s one of the coolest academic hubs on campus.  S&R has a massive CD and vinyl collection, a pretty strange assortment of cassettes, shelves of musical scores, a bunch of turntables and other media players for student use, audio and video recorders on loan, and a whole room devoted to Wesleyan’s renowned World Music Archives.  It is the home of Notations 21, a collection of creative visual scores that is possibly my favorite book in the whole library.

Scores and Recordings is kind of a metaphor for liberal arts in general— it’s a huge assortment of stuff that you can’t imagine you’d ever be able to string together in a way that makes any sense, but that doesn’t matter because it’s all awesome and interesting and the perfect vehicle for discovering new things.  Especially when you choose items off the shelves at random (which is what we all do when navigating WesMaps, amirite?).

It’s always interesting to see what people check out at the circulation desk — everything from recordings of Tuvan throat singing to John Cage scores to Eminem CDs — but my sense from working at S&R is that not nearly enough people know about what’s available here.  In an effort to mine some of the treasures that are tucked away in this section of the library, I summoned fellow Wesleyinger Gabe to join me in my adventures, AKA pulling random stuff off the shelves and writing about what we found. For this first installment of a continuing series of S&R adventures, we explored the vinyl collection and made some, er, unusual discoveries. Read about our findings after the jump.

Klezmer Concert Today at the Bayit

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Matthew Stein ’16 and the rest of the Wesleyan Klezmer Band want you to stop kvetching and start dancing:

Come to the Bayit at 3 PM to enjoy an afternoon of lively klezmer tunes performed by the recently formed/restarted Wesleyan Klezmer Band. Dancing encouraged! It is free!

Date: April 28 (today)
Time: 3 PM – 4:30 PM
Place: The Bayit (157 Church Street)
Face: book

Surgery Screening Tomorrow

surgery

Nope, it’s not a horror movie on the Film Series calendar. Alex Pogosky ’13 writes in to tell you why you should come to Exley tomorrow night:

If you’re interested in medicine, like watching medical TV shows, or maybe just enjoy seeing people get cut open, come check out a live surgery recording hosted by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). The video lasts about an hour and includes commentary by the surgeons. Snacks will be provided!

Date: April 15, 2013
Time: 9 PM – 10 PM
Place: Exley 058
Cost: An organ. (Just kidding, probably.)

Realizing the Fundamental Point: Meditation and a Talk on Zen Practice

meditation-6

Noah Rush ’14 writes in about a meditation at BuHo tomorrow, led by a Wes alum:

This is a silent meditation event conducted in the formal Zen tradition. We will chant, sit two periods of meditation, and hear a talk by the teacher. Mark Mininberg ’81, Sensei, is a dharma successor of Roshi Bernie Glassman, founder of the Zen Peacemaker Order. Sensei trained for more than twenty years at Zen Mountain Monastery under the late Abbott John Daido Loori, Roshi.

Date: April 15 (tomorrow)
Time: 6PM – 8PM
Place: Buddhist House (356 Washington Street)

Filmmaker Sun-Higginson ’10 Tackles Sexism in the Gaming Industry

From Shannon Sun-Higginson ’10, a message to all the sexist gamers out there: GTFO.

Sun-Higginson, a filmmaker living in NYC, is currently producing a documentary by that very name.  Featuring interviews with gamers, bloggers, scholars, developers, and others involved in the field, “GTFO” aims to expose the harassment of women involved in the gaming industry. To raise money and support for the film’s production, Sun-Higginson has launched a Kickstarter page that will be up through May 10.

Sexual harassment is a rampant problem in the gaming world – one that’s been gaining attention in the news lately.  There has been some pretty impressive backlash online against this sexism, but Sun-Higginson hopes her film will call even more attention to the problem and ultimately spark some change.

Watch the trailer after the jump:

Make the World Your Workplace: Discussion Tomorrow

travel the world

Alexandra De la Cruz ’16 has a message for all potential world-travelers, resume-builders, and snack-eaters:

Interested in traveling, working, or doing an internship anywhere in the world? Learn how to Make the World your Workplace in this discussion hosted by the Wesleyan Career Center and the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) Student Advisory Group. Plus, there will be light refreshments!

Date: Wednesday,  3/27/13 (tomorrow)
Time: 5-6 PM
Place: Olson Commons, Wesleyan Career Center, 41 Wyllys

Kaffee und Kuchen at German Haus

opossum
Eliza Loomis ’15
brings you this message from Heidi the cross-eyed opossum, a nationally revered figure in Germany:

Think you might want to live in German Haus?

Do you have an undying affection for words with upwards of 60 letters? (Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, am I right?!)

Do you have a tortured relationship with Sigmund Freud (not to mention your mother)?

Do you think wurst is actually…the best?

Then come to Kaffee und Kuchen this Friday from 5-6 PM at German Haus and check us out! We’ll talk about the application process, what it’s like to live in the house, and answer any questions.

Date: Friday, February 22
Time: 5-6 PM
Place: German Haus (65 Lawn Ave.)

All We Know: English Professor’s Triple-Biography Continues to be a Pretty Big Deal

Lisa CohenSince its release this past July, English professor Lisa Cohen’s All We Know: Three Lives has continued to make waves in the literary world.  A biography of three queer women who were deeply embedded in early 20th century culture, Cohen’s book was listed by Publishers Weekly as one of the top 10 “Best Books of 2012,” in addition to being among the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2012.” Most recently, Cohen’s book was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. You can find the interview here.

The book traces the lives of Esther Murphy, Mercedes de Acosta, and Madge Garland, women who were active in prominent intellectual and cultural spheres of the early 20th century, but who still remained largely under the radar.  Their backgrounds and lifestyles are radically different from one another, but their stories intersect in meaningful ways.

From the Argives: A Friendly Reminder to Get Over Yourself

In a misguided attempt to avoid cope with the prospect of finals, I found myself flipping through decades of old December Argus issues.  While I didn’t find any especially enlightening advice from past Wes generations on how to deal with the stress of Reading Week, I did find this gem of a column from December 6, 1977:

The writer begins by making an observation that is just as accurate today as it was 35 years ago—that conversations between acquaintances here always center on the same questions.  “How was your summer?” “What classes are you taking?” And so on and so forth.

The column quickly evolves into a rant on the “destructively self-indulgent” nature of one particular conversation-starter, one that always comes up around this time of the year: “How’s your work going?”

The conversation generated by this question has a certain quality of desperation about it which only serves to reinforce the already desperate atmosphere which characterizes Wesleyan in December…Furthermore, as with the other automatic questions that get asked here, reading week questions are boring! Do you actually remember even one out of the ten workloads you hear described? Do you remember who has it rough and who hasn’t? Do you care?

Well, do you? The next time you have an urge to complain about your workload, or to ask someone else about theirs, instead think about exchanging accounts of how many hours you’ve spent procrastinating. Or just lock yourself in Olin for a few hours, away from the rest of humanity, and waste time looking through old Argus issues.

Read the full column after the jump.