Author Archives: ryan

Dancer As Insurgent: Vogue and Its Implications for Radical Social Change

Benjamin Hunter Hart ’11 invites you to view performances of his senior thesis:

  • Title: Dancer As Insurgent: Vogue and Its Implications for Radical Social Change
  • Description: This short, one-person performance piece combines movement and spoken word to examine vogue–a form of Black and Latina queer street dance–as a radical tradition, one which does not require any explanation from the academy, and which has the ability to transform disempowerment into the tools of social reinvention.
  • Date: April 8th and 9th
  • Time: 7:30 PM
  • Place: The ’92 Theater
  • Tickets are free at the box office on the day of the performance.
  • Sponsored by Second Stage and the African-American Studies Program.

Big Tree at BuHo

The following comes from Eliana Theodorou ’12:

  • Big Tree, Oberlin’s Givers of Sweet Love, and Wesleyan’s own Almonds and Elephants will be playing a show tonight at BuHo, at 10:30
  • “you know those times in your life when you take a step back and look at your surroundings and suddenly realize how SWEET everything is and you just want to climb to the top of a mountain and shout it out to the world? well, Big Tree does.”
  • …You will too if you let yourself be wooed by Big Tree’s harmonies. Sweet and catchy but not uncomplicated, you’ll find folk, blues and jazz amongst poetic lyrics. Coming from the Bay Area in a bio-diesel fueled van, Big Tree will be playing a show this Saturday at Buddhist House.
  • Opening the show is  Givers of Sweet Love, jazz inspired rock band. Be sure to come in time to dance to soon to be campus classics like Elephant Phuk and Hanging Ballsack.
  • Also opening is Wesleyan’s own Almonds and Elephants. “Owen Callahan is real good at saxophone plus they’ve got a cool band. Rock on dudes” – Eli Hetko ’11 “I’m not involved. I’m spacing out on this couch.” – Jenny Huang ’11

The show’s listed on facebook, and you can scope some fine musical offerings from Big Tree, Givers of Sweet Love, and Almonds and Elephants here, here, and here, respectively.

  • Date: Tonight, April 2
  • Time: 10:00 PM – 2:00 AM
  • Place: Buddhist House
  • Cost: Free

Second Stage Presents Black Comedy

Perhaps you consider yourself a bit of a Peter Shaffer aficionado. Did you get down with Equus, and not just because of those crazy Daniel Radcliffe scenes on Broadway? Are you trying to scope some meticulously produced student-run theater?

Samby Melvold ‘12.5 says:

Come see Black Comedy, presented by Second Stage!

  • Performances on March 31, April 1, April 2
  • 8pm WestCo Cafe
  • FIRST COME FIRST SEATED
  • DOORS OPEN AT 7:30!
More information can be found on facebook.  Thanks to Stephen Nangeroni ’12 for the dope trailer above.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

To those of you who are still on your feet, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! God help you if you are anywhere in Manhattan…and if you are not, heed Shane McGowan’s advice and get to where streams of whiskey are flowin’:

All you need to know about the holiday

It is on this day that we pay commemorative tribute to the saint who imported Christianity to the Emerald Isle. Legend has it that St. Patrick was inspired to become a priest after divine Providence effected his escape from the hands of Irish raiders as a boy. Interpreting his fortuitous repatriation to Britain as a sign from God, Patrick took to the cloth and eventually returned to Ireland to spread the Catholic faith, despite the traumatic encounters of his youth. Real talk.

In any case, St. Patrick’s Day is an officially recognized public holiday in the Republic Ireland and its Northern counterpart, Newfoundland and Labrador, and this one’s the kicker…the Caribbean island of Montserrat!

Chew on these other fun facts:

Cunningham Takes Off the Kid Gloves; Remains Charming, Avuncular

Like a boss

In the introduction to his New Yorker fiction podcast reading of Denis Johnson’s “Emergency,” famed “dirty realist” Toby Wolff remarked that the story is one known by “every person who fancies herself literate that I’m acquainted with”. I’d submit that any Wesleyan student who considers hirself literate was surely aware of, if not greatly enthused by, the presence of Pulitzer-winning author Michael Cunningham on campus last week. At a reading in Memorial Chapel last Wednesday, Cunningham rattled off a charmingly hurried analysis of the development of the English novel (one could not help but notice the particular attention to his modernist forebears) and proceeded to preview an excerpt from “Sleepless”, a yet unfinished novel ostensibly centered around the peregrinations of two drug-addled youths and their quest for greater self-location.

Notwithstanding an interruption caused by the absence of a page from his manuscript, Cunningham read splendidly.

The Argus published a wonderful account of Cunningham’s chapel evening, but touched only briefly on his master class talks. I was lucky enough to attend one hosted in the Shapiro Center last Friday morning, and happened to record some of his more flavorful remarks.

I’ve culled a few for y’allz enjoyment:

Unferth is Your New Che

This past Saturday’s edition of the New York Times Book Review contains a fascinating treatment of English professor Deb Olin Unferth‘s latest work, a memoir entitled Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War (Henry Holt).  Unferth is perhaps best known for her fiction, which has graced the renowned pages of Harper’s, NOON, Agni, and The Boston Review, among others. Her limpid, glowing sentences and beautifully unmoored narration have attracted such followers as Diane Williams, Aimee Bender, Sam Lipsyte, and Gary Shteyngart, all of whom lauded her debut novel Vacation as a remarkable work.

If such high esteem was insufficient, Unferth was also a 2011 Pushcart Prize recipient. Her story “Pet”, which she debuted at a Russell House reading in the fall semester of ’09, was published in NOON and then anthologized in the Pushcart Press’s latest installment of the series (it can be purchased here).

A Cappella Benefit Concert for Pakistan

Remedy your Sunday evening lassitude by supporting a fantastic cause and listening to some wonderful a capella from Wes’ most talented groups.

  • Date: Sunday November 21st
  • Time: 7-8 PM
  • Place: Crowell Concert Hall

The following comes from Pakistan Flood Relief Initiative Coordinator Jeff Breau ’11:

Saturday is the last chance to buy tickets!

A Cappella Benefit Concert for Pakistan, with performances from:

  • The Spirits
  • Quasimodal
  • Cardinal Sinners
  • Mixolydians
  • Vocal Debauchery

$4 Tickets at Box Office, all proceeds go to Pakistan Flood Victims!

Box Office open from 10-4:30 Friday and Saturday!

Your contributions will support the relief efforts of Oxfam, Islamic Relief, and the Red Cross in Pakistan.

Spoken Phor — “Half Way There” Mixtape

The brainchild of rapper Spoken Phor (Patrick Salazar ’13) and producer Maestro (Anthony G. Edwards ’11, of We Are the HEROES), “Half Way There” is a refreshing addition to Wesleyan’s ever-expanding catalogue of student creativity—it’s bold, triumphant, and best bumped loud. The mixtape was dropped on Dat Piff on October 26th, and is currently available for free download. Acquiring it is certainly worth the effort: echoing the efforts of such fresh, bombastic gangsta revivalists like Freddie Gibbs, Spoken Phor delivers well-constructed verses with unflappable confidence. Maestro’s immaculately polished production and vocal stylings from Melanie Brady ’12 perfectly complement Salazar’s flow.

Half Way There - Spoken Phor

Though he occasionally employs tropes typically associated with mainstream hip hop, Spoken Phor is far too intelligent to treat swagger as anything but a reference point; in the gripping final track (produced by J. Paul ’11) after which mixtape is titled, Salazar waxes introspective, baring the frustrated pain that motivates him to press on with his craft. Contextualized by the poignantly raw ruminations of its last verses, “Half Way There” verily comes full circle, and the result is moving.

What’s also remarkable is the confluence of talent present in “Half Way There”. Collaboration is a beautiful thing, and with any luck, we’ll see more of it from these gifted individuals. Salazar recently performed at Amherst and is in the process of booking a show at UPenn; here’s hoping we’ll catch a Spoken Phor performance at Wes in the near future.

In the meantime, scope this video:

Omar Offendum and Bones Complex at Eclectic!

Brought to you by the Pakistani Flood Relief Initiative: Syrian-American emcee Omar Offendum will be tearing up Eclectic tonight with Wesleyan’s Bones Complex. All proceeds go to Oxfam, Islamic Relief and the Red Cross to assist victims of flooding in Pakistan! You know you want it!

  • What: Omar Offendum and Bones Complex!
  • Where: Eclectic Society
  • When: Tonight, 10:30pm-1:00am
  • Cost: $3 at Usdan/$4 at the door
  • Recreational Hazard

    Four Your Sorrows: NYT on Alcoholic Energy Drinks

    The Four Loko craze has captured federal attention, according to a recent New York Times article. The malt beverage, which boasts a robust alcohol content of 12% by volume and as much caffeine as a strong cup of coffee, has come under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration at the request of 18 attorneys general, including Connecticut’s own Dick Blumenthal.

    Four Loko has become the subject of polarizing debate; legislators have accused its creators of dubiously capitalizing on the vulnerability of underage drinkers, whose preference for cheap, sweet, and highly intoxicating beverages is easily satisfied by a can of the souped up malt liquor. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that Four Loko isn’t clearly marketed as an inebriant. Others contend that the dangers associated with the consumption of Four Loko are not clearly articulated by the companies or understood by consumers. Said Washington attorney general Rob McKenna, “You have a product where people don’t appreciate how much alcohol they’re consuming.”

    And yet, that seems to be a huge part of the beverage’s appeal. Naive and victimized as they may seem, Four Loko consumers often acknowledge and embrace the risk of suffering from blackout episodes. There is a dangerous appeal, it seems, to getting your drank on for such little money.

    Still others have forsworn the Four Loko entirely, repulsed by its fad appeal. The gastronomic criticism, “This tastes like death,” has also been leveled against the drink.

    Four Loko has all the hallmarks of a love-or-hate phenomenon, and will probably continue to spur contentious debate even after the FDA has concluded its investigation. Until then, however, its judgment remains in the court of public opinion. Believe the hype, or don’t. Whatever you choose, abide by a precept that even the most unscrupulous of marketing companies strongly suggest: drink responsibly.

    Recreational Hazard

    Unable to tolerate the dynamic synergy of caffeine and alcohol, this Four Loko consumer enters a vegetative state.