The New York Times Magazine’s “The Lives They Lived” issue features a stirring tribute to Alex Okrent ’05, the Wesleyan alumnus who collapsed and died last July at the Obama headquarters, where he worked, in Chicago. The cause of death was later determined to be cardiac arrhythmia. Okrent, 29, was a College of Social Studies major at Wes, and his passing inspired expressions of condolences from both candidates that day in July:
A beloved member of our campaign family, Alex Okrent, passed away today. Our prayers are with his loved ones. We will miss you, Alex. -bo
As journalist Mark Leibovich tells it, Okrent was on board with the Obama cause well before the senator even announced his candidacy in 2007—he took off a semester off from Wesleyan in 2004 to work on Obama’s Senate campaign. Between organizing a campaign book club and dressing up as Tobias Fünke on Halloween in Iowa, Okrent was “demanding, fun and irreverent,” Leibovich writes. “And he was never shy about telling people that he loved them.”
It’s official: Wesleyan’s ownLe1fis da bomb diggity and he’s got ya moms feelin’ him.
New York’s pioneering queer-rap personality went byKhalif Diouf ’11at Wesleyan and drew heated acclaim last spring for hisDark York mixtape, which FADER called “one of the most provocative rap releases so far this year.” This week, Le1f dropped his debut video, and it’s probably the most outrageously booty-shaking YouTube spot this side of Big Freedia’s “Y’all Get Back Now.”
Highlights include shots of the bold rapper swinging from the ceiling like a bat, spitting speed rhymes from the lap of a Picachu-masked stranger, and shaking his scantily clad booty in many directions. (Not coincidentally, Le1f opened up for the Booty Queen herself in Eclectic last April.) Directed by Sam Jones ’10and produced by Josh Koenig ’09 (and featuring a few other alums along the way), the video has clear viral potential, but the track’s no slacker on its own, offering up an infectious horn-honk of a groove that stutters lightly over Le1f’s grimy drum claps and deep-voiced chant of a hook.
Earlier this semester we posted about New Space, a fantastic new indie-rock-meets-ambient recording by Duchampion alumnus and all-around genius emeritus Ben Seretan ’10, who skipped the Superbowl and hung out in his friend’s Greenpoint studio to record the five tracks. “The whole thing was recorded with nothing more than guitars, amps, and delay pedals,” I raved at the time, “which is especially a feat given how freaking full and textured it sounds, like a loving tribute to the sheer layers of sound the instrument can produce.” (Am I a fanboy or am I a fanboy?)
Today, Seretan sends word of a new video he completed for “What Would You Do If You Were Me?,” his whopping nine-minute opener. As you can see from the embed above, it’s green and hazy and fuzzy and blue in all the right places—a mostly perfect visual counterpart to Seretan’s textured, slow-burning guitar compositions. It’s an all around Wes party, too: the video was directed and produced by Angus McCullough ’10, with mad help from Sam Jones ’10 and Josh Koenig ’09. Check out their finished result here, or scroll on for a very brief explanatory interview with Seretan himself.