Category Archives: Alumni

“The Funniest Prank Ever”: The Middletown Mummy Mystery, 22 Years Later

 “I looked at my bed and there were all these skin chips and little chips in it. It was pretty disgusting.”

Twenty-two years ago next month, a good-humored, mullet-haired Wesleyan student returned to his Nics dorm room late on a Saturday night and found his bed already occupied by a rotting, fleshy stranger. The student was Tim Abel ’93, a freshman from Wilmington, Delaware. The uninvited guest in question was a 2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy. And the bizarre incident, which Abel has happily proclaimed “the funniest prank ever,” has since solidified its place in the lore of early ’90s Wesleyan history, providing some semblance of levity during a turbulent academic year characterized by generally unprecedented campus unrest, including a firebombing, a week-long hunger strike, racist graffiti in Malcolm X House, and the fatal shooting of Nicholas Haddad ’92.

It’s also just a damn good story, with or without its retroactive Keep Wes Weird significance. It’s a story about President Chace and P-Safe and loyalty among campus pranksters, about MoCon and O’Rourke’s and frosh life and pretty much every Wesleyan institution of the ’90s, about how campus news spread before cell phones and Twitter and this here blog, about how some kid transformed literally overnight from a random freshman into a minor celebrity of sorts. The mummy incident received local press coverage in 1990 (much to Abel’s delight), and it remains a subject of conversation and folklore among his friends and strangers two decades later.

I tracked down Abel over break (he’s now a facial plastic surgeon in Delaware) and ended up speaking to him at length about the mummy, the unnamed perpetrators, and just what made Wesleyan so batshit nuts in the early ’90s (and an alumnus perspective on how it has changed since). Scroll on for the full interview; click here for original 1990 news coverage of the so-called Middletown Mummy.

Jared Paul ’11 Wants To Record You

Wesleying has received an exclusive plea from Jared Paul ’11, Wesleyan’s own recording engineer alumni extraordinaire. Today Paul spends his days recording err’one from Mad Wow to Lioness (who??) in Brooklyn and his nights floating through clouds with a boombox and Gibson SG.

You may remember Paul from his debut LP Ubeatquitous, which esteemed colleague A-Batte likened to “Obama-sipping-whiskey-with-dinosaurs.” If that descriptor grabs your fancy, consider signing up to be his next recording victim; details appear below:

I’m a Class of ’11 grad working as a freelance audio engineer and producer. Although I’ve done the whole graduate-and-move-to-Brooklyn thing, I am trying to keep recording Wes people as often as possible! Among the Wes artists I’ve recorded and mixed projects for in the past year are Mel Hsu ’13, Mad Wow, Josh Smith ’11, Fly Machine,The New Group, Grand Father, Lioness, and The Rooks.  Some samples are here.  If you like what you hear, consider having me record your next project!

30 Rock Still <3s Wesleyan

As usual, prime time TV can’t get enough of Wes. According to an anonymous tip, last night’s 30 Rock gave a particularly memorable shout-out:

Liz’s new hot-dog-truck-owning boyfriend went to Wesleyan. Anyone know why NBC likes us so much?

The dialogue in question, from a bit of internet sleuthing, seems to be:

  • I didn’t want him to make fun of you because you went to Wesleyan.
  • Wesleyan is the Harvard of central Connecticut.
  • No, Yale is the Harvard of central Connecticut.

Back in 2009, the show revealed that Dot Com is a Wesleyan alumnus—and honed his acting skills on “Wesleyan Arts Base Main Stage,” whatever that is. Anyone have a video clip of yesterday’s shout-out? [HERE’S THE LINK, SEE 1:50.]

[In other random Wes-media news, Bill Belichick totally notices your Wesleyan sweatshirt, and he likes it. Go Patriots Wes.]

Editorial addition [11.13 AM]:

Good god, Lemon!

– frostedmoose

Lin-Manuel Miranda Raps About Alexander Hamilton (Again)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, whose rap on Alexander Hamilton received a standing ovation from POTUS and FLOTUS at the White House’s evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word in May 2009 (video link), has been taking his act further. He performed recently to rave reviews at the Lincoln Center’s new season of the American Songbook series dedicated to “the celebration of popular American song.”

The show, directed by fellow Wes alum and In the Heights director Thomas Kail ’99 and performed on Hamilton’s 255th birthday, included “a primer on some of the Hip-Hop songs that left an indelible imprint on [Miranda’s] sound, soul and psyche” (starting off with Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind mashed up with Billy Joel and Sondheim, whoa) and 12 songs from work-in-progress “The Alexander Hamilton Mixtape,” according to an enthusiastic report from the Uptown Collective.

Broadway star Gavin Creel played King George, in a Burger King-esque crown. Awesome.

Check out Miranda’s interview with Forbes for more on how he became interested in Alexander Hamilton and this recent interview with The New York Times for news on what he’s currently working on (a musical adaptation of Chaim Potok’s 1972 Novel My Name is Asher Lev) and his dream project, “a musical about the 24-hour news channel NY1” that would feature Next to Normal star Aaron Tveit as newspaper-reading news anchor Pat Kiernan.

[LINK.]

Blake Nelson ’84 Releases New YA Book, “Dream School”

Wes counts Daniel “Lemony Snicket” Handler ’92 and the late Robert Ludlum ’51 among its alumni who have left their mark on the writing world, but somehow Blake Nelson ’84 seems to have slipped a little under the radar so far — at least here on Wesleying.

"I still meet people who have never seen my picture and think that “Blake Nelson” is a girl."Nelson’s new young adult novel Dream School, released last month, is a follow-up to his first novel, Girl, which gained something of a cult following from the moment it was serialized in the classic early ’90s girl-power magazine Sassy.

Dream School sees Girl’s protagonist Andrea Marr leave behind her grungy lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest to attend an elite liberal arts college on the East Coast. It’s not surprising, then, that Nelson has been asked in recent interviews whether parts of his latest novel are based on his own college experiences.

Click through for Nelson on Wes and lots of loving linkage (no awful alliteration though, promise):

Heems ’07 Drops Dank Mixtape, Spreads Awareness of Queens Political Districting

What do a Queens gourmet fire-flame chef, a comedy writer-turned-Community star, a 30-year-old Detroit MC with a penchant for Adderall, a Mishka-wearing, wing-eating Crown Heights wild boy, and Victor Vazquez ’06 have in common? They’re all booked for Zonker Harris D—

Well, no. That’s just a smattering of the guests you’ll find on Nerhu Jackets, the brand new Mike Finito-produced mixtape by Heems, aka Himanshu Suri ’07, of Bard Art College-based rap outfit Das Racist. (He’s the one with slightly less hair, sort of.) (Edit: just kidding, Victor shaved his head.) As Pitchfork reports, Heems recently released the tape in partnership with SEVA NY, a Queens community organization, in an effort to publicize the remapping of local political districts in the borough.  Whoah. There’s also music involved.

Fans of Danny Brown’s delirious, cartoon-voice flow could do worse than stream “You Have To Ride The Wave,” which also features Wesleyan-bound Brooklyn weirdo Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire and the ingenious rhyme “Up late at night on Twitter/ I talk to Salmon Rushdie/ Like, it’s just me and him/ I got dirt on you doggie like She & Him.” My faves, though, are “Womyn” and “Womyn 2,” Heems’ bizarrely catchy (or possibly just bizarre) two-part feminist anthem, boasting highlights like “Womyn, I respect you/ Womyn, I wish more people respected you/ Men are scum/ Usually men are dumb”and “Yo, I know, like, seven womyn/ They like to go swimming/ They like to drink tea/ They like to think in the cool breeze from the east on the beach.” Eventually Childish Gambino shows up, because, like, why not?

(Super) Late Holiday Gift? Here In Red Hook by Andy Vernon Jones

“Thanks for teaching me with your camera that an image is a mutual measurement of safety. that such images pass between photographer and subjects is simply empirical proof of hope—your lack of judgment of a facade allows its beauty—you listen with a camera…”

If you have found yourself well into winterbreak without giving a gift to your loved ones (and I mean, well after christmahanakwanza) then you my friend are in need of Here in Red Hook  by Studio Art Major Wes Alum Andy Vernon Jones ’05. Andy has taken beautifullll portraits of the Brooklyn neighborhood over the past 5 years after graduating from Wes.

“Apartment Seven Press is proud to announce the arrival of Here in Red Hook, a collection of 64 photographs by Andy Vernon-Jones.

9.5 in. x 8.5 in.
Softbound with jacket and a hand-stamped paper slipcase.
96 pages, 64 four-color plates.
Edition of 500, numbered and signed by the artist.
$30.00
With an introduction by Brian Zimbler and a hand-drawn map of Red Hook by Adam Thompson.”

Wanna check out more? Click here to buy! 

Iowa Viewed From The Right: Holt ’10 Discusses Caucus on Canadian Television

No matter how many horcruxes you destroy, famed conservative firebrand and parttime troll Mytheos Holt ’10 still keeps popping up. Since graduating in 2010, Holt has been making a name for himself in DC as a former speechwriter for U.S. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, a contributor to FrumForum.com, and occasional writer for National Review online. The polemicist has made headlines on this blog on a number of occasions: dissecting Unspeakable Acts for Accuracy for Academia, lending support to last year’s Affirmative Action Bake Sale in National Review Online, and, um, fronting for Lady Gaga on YouTube.

This week, Holt appears on Canada’s Sun News TV network as a DC “political expert,” casting judgment on the Iowa Caucus and beyond:

  • On Rick Santorum: “Until recently, he wasn’t even a candidate; he was an obscene Google search result.”
  • On the Iowa Caucuse: “There’s at least a 66% chance they’ll be irrelevant this election cycle.”
  • On Florida: “If there’s gonna be negative advertising in Florida, it’s probably gonna be on entitlement reform.”

Ultimately, Holt concludes, “The race stays in play for the next God-knows-how-many primaries.” So it goes. Click here for full linkage, get psyched for New Hampshire, and viva la Slytherin!

Applehands and the Beardaughters take New Haven!

OH!  WHAT A FANTASTIC THING!

Tomorrow night (Wednesday, 12/14), our very own Appledaughters (featuring Gabe Greenberg ’14, Jon Saalfield ’12, Howe Pearson ’12, and Sam Long ’12) will open for our very own Bear Hands (featuring Wes alums Ted Feldman ’09 and Dylan Rau ’07) at BAR in New Haven!

The show is FREE and 21+, so come to BAR to celebrate friendship and eat some pizza with your bear hands!  The Appledaughters will start at 10pm and they’ve got a butt’s load of new music to de-poo!

Look, a website!  And another website!

Conference Board Information Session with Russell Morris ’87

Rachel Berman of the CRC sends in this event. Come for the free pizza, stay for the real management and marketplace business summer employment opportunity:

Russell Morris ’87 will hold an information session on Thursday, December 8th from 5:45-6:45 in Usdan 110 to talk about the Conference Board’s Summer Fellowship Opportunity. Pizza will be provided! Jonathan Spector ’78 (and former Trustee) is the President and CEO of the Conference Board.

The Conference Board’s 2012 Summer Fellows program targets college students entering their senior year. Summer Fellows will have the opportunity to lead one or more summer projects addressing real business issues, recommend solutions, and present their results to senior executives. They will also learn about the broad management and economics research agendas of The Conference Board, and will participate in Conference Board events.