Tag Archives: alums

Boychicks Episode Four

Josh Margolin ’11 and Julian Silver ’12 (alias: The Boychicks) are back with their fourth installment.  Julian’s got a new haircut and a new girlfriend, and I wish he’d date me instead couldn’t be happier for him!

Here’s the Poem by Amanda Palmer ’98 that Everyone on the Internet Is Yelling About

Palmer: “It is always very interesting when people misinterpret art, and then get angry about it.”

Wesleying's own Gabe took this ridiculously excellent shot of Amanda Palmer at last weekend's "Humanity Festival." Click for the full gallery.

Wesleying’s own Gabe took this ridiculously excellent shot of Amanda Palmer at last weekend’s “Humanity Festival.” Click for the full gallery.

Amanda Palmer ’98 (whom we haven’t blogged about in a whole week-and-a-half, it’s true, we swear) is not much of a stranger to controversy, so the Internet probably shouldn’t have been surprised or outraged when she responded to the Boston bombing by writing a poem for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (titled, fittingly, “A Poem for Dzhokhar“) and posting it on her blog on Sunday.

But that’s not really the way things worked out.

As Palmer herself noted in a follow-up post a few days after posting the poem, “there are 1,947 comments on a poem that took me—no exaggeration—about 9 minutes to write. many of the comments have been confused, many of them understanding, many of them angry.” Indeed, dozens upon dozens of readers have called Palmer out for what they perceive as her self-interest and arrogance in the wake of a tragedy. One particularly popular comment, signed “A fan,” argues that “this isn’t a poem for Dzjokhar, it’s a poem for yourself because you imagine you know how he feels.” The comment currently has 770 up-votes and 12 down-votes, if that gives you an indication of what the reaction has been like.

Interview: Peter Frank ’12, Former Owner of CollegeACB, Launches New Textbook Venture

“If a campus as tight-knit and progressive as Wesleyan can’t come together to defeat yesterday’s monopolist and incumbent powers, then maybe it just can’t be done.”

Peter Frank ’12, the famed Internet entrepreneur who ran the CollegeACB empire from his Fauver dorm room and made his way into the pages of TIME Magazine before selling the site in 2011 for an undisclosed six-figure sum, is back in the game with a new start-up. Not quite as juicy as the ACB (but probably far more useful), Frank’s latest venture is Texts.com, a “lean, green, student-first platform” for students to buy and sell textbooks to and from each other online. The start-up made its Wesleyan debut on Foss Hill around 4:20 p.m. yesterday; you’d be forgiven for assuming it’s a service that provides free pizza to stoned Wesleyan students at all hours of the day (that’s my new start-up idea, don’t tell anyone):

With help from Lisa Sy ’13 and Benjamin Halpern (a student at Mount Allison University in Canada), Frank aims to build a “commission-free, zero-fee, student-to-student textbook exchange” that eliminates the middleman.

Amanda Palmer ’98 to Host “Concert and Conversation” During R&C

Because bringing Joss Whedon ’87 to campus apparently wasn’t enough, Wesleyan’s capital campaign website reports that everyone’s favorite Dresden Doll, Amanda Palmer ’98, will also be making an appearance for a “concert and conversation” during Reunion & Commencement weekend. Fittingly, this May marks the 15th reunion of Palmer’s glory days living in the Eclectic basement and schmoozing it up with Momus. Curiously, however, Palmer has made no secret of how much she disliked being a student at Wesleyan. In fact, she once wrote a fantastic song about burning Wesleyan to ash. But everyone knows fundraising is boring without a little conflict, right?

Palmer has been in the public eye constantly this past year, mostly raising conversation and controversy regarding her radical business model and crowd-sourcing tactics, which was the topic of her recent TEDTalk. Last time she was at Wesleyan, in 2011, she gave a surprise “ninja gig” in the Eclectic dining room, performing everything from Dresden classics “Coin-Operated Boy” and “Leeds United” to a radical reimagining of  Rebecca Black’s “Friday” from the point of view of a truck stop hooker. Here’s video of that performance, via Will Feinstein ’13 at Aural Wes. Hope she includes it in her Reunion & Commencement set!

Nussenbaum ’12 Urges You To “Move Where You Can Matter,” Including Maybe Detroit

Move over, “Michael S. Roth ’78”—the Huffington Post has a new Wesleyan representative in town, and it’s Max Nussenbaum ’12. Sometimes known for his “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” cameo (phenomenal audition video included) and his desperate attempts to get Sylvie Stein ’12 to go to prom with him, Nussenbaum has spent the last eight months or so in Detroit, working for Are You a Human as part of Venture for America’s inaugural class. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to tell your Wesleyan friends and Wesleyan friends’ parents that you’re moving to Detroit after graduation, Nussenbaum’s compelling recent Huff Post piece, “Move Where You Can Matter,” is worth a look—as it is for anyone who’s ever felt the urge to resist the gravitational pull of the Wesleyan-Brooklyn Alumni Industrial Complex:

I talk to a guy who’s spending his next year volunteering in a Nigerian slum, and he asks me why I’d ever move somewhere as downtrodden as Detroit. Everyone makes the same dismayed face, asks the same incredulous question: “Why would you go… there?”

And “there” wasn’t just Detroit. At Wesleyan, my alma matter — like at most elite schools — “there” was anywhere that wasn’t a select handful of high-profile cities: the Bostons and New Yorks, the D.C.’s and L.A.’s. We were a cohort raised with tunnel vision, a graduating class who couldn’t find Ohio on a map and who thought “Oklahoma City” was an oxymoron. Don’t get me wrong, I was more than guilty of this myself: I heard Venture for America talk about underserved parts of the country and my first thought was Queens — you know, since everyone was moving to Brooklyn.

Amanda Palmer ’98 on “The Art of Asking”

A lot has happened to Amanda Palmer ’98 in the past few years: she formed a new band, told a major label company to fuck off, raised $1.2 million with a crowdfunding campaign, and released a new album (which, if you haven’t listened to, is available for free/with donations on her website).

Most recently, she gave a speech to TED on her crowdfunding campaign, titled “The Art of Asking”:

The speech itself is both informative and inspirational. It’s  idealistic, yet it has also proven itself to be pragmatic. It is the true spirit of the arts that we would like to see replicated by all. How many times have we passed on an exhibition because we didn’t want to pay $25 dollars for an admission ticket? How many concerts have we missed because the tickets were too expensive? How many of us has felt guilty for downloading music instead of buying it?

Wes Alums Concoct Music Video Extravaganza: “Peonies” by Sarah Dooley

Full of pop culture references, science experiments, and an upbeat indie-pop sound, the music video for Sarah Dooley’s first single, “Peonies,” definitely has Wesleyan written all over it.

Wes alums Conor Byrne ’11, Tyler Byrne ’09, and Robert Alvarez ’11 joined forces with the New York-based singer-songstress to create a “musical short film” that would both encompass the energy of Dooley’s music and tell a musical story. To accrue the funds for the project, the group started a kickstarter campaign, which met and exceeded their $5,000 goal—undoubtedly due to Sarah’s palpable charisma and sense of humor, as seen in the video she posted on the fundraising site.

After weeks of fleshing out the details, filming took place in the summer of 2012 in New York City with the help of even more Wesleyan alumni, including Aude Cuenod ’09, Andrew Gladstone ’11, Mat Larkin ’11, and senior Augustin Vita ’13. The video was inspired by a combination of studio-era Hollywood musicals, “weird science,” and the elusive concept of true love, culminating in a visually appealing and compelling end result, which was posted on Vimeo approximately a week ago.

For more about the video, Sarah Dooley, and the Byrne Brothers, read after the jump.

‘Gangster Squad,’ ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild,’ and the Wesleyan Mafia

Last month, while you were chillaxing in your break cocoon, the New York Times devoted an article to lesser-talked-about Wesleyan filmmaker and Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer ’97, whose latest release, Gangster Squad, stars Sean Penn in the story “of the struggle between good and evil on the streets of Los Angeles, in a post-World War II era that was known for shady compromise between the two.”

Unlike his Cardinal peers, Fleischer wasn’t a film major at Wesleyan. He got involved in the industry by way of coding Web sites during the dot-com boom, which led him to Los Angeles, which led him to Mike White ’92 (who co-produced and wrote Dawson’s Creek and Freaks & Geeks, but whom you might more readily recognize from his classic role in School of Rock, which he also wrote). Then, Fleischer moved up the ranks. About halfway through the Times article comes a classic, tried-and-true glimpse into the innerworkings of what has come to be termed the “Wesleyan Mafia” in Hollywood, which is apparently the real engine behind Fleischer’s early career:

Before long he was building sites for big companies like Microsoft.

That led to a Web-related job in Los Angeles, where he met Mike White [’92], a filmmaker and television producer who had also attended Wesleyan and who got Mr. Fleischer hired as a production assistant on the TV series “Dawson’s Creek.”

It was a short step to a job as assistant to the director Miguel Arteta [’89], another member of Wesleyan’s movie mafia, on the film “Chuck & Buck,” starring and written by Mr. White.

Adina Hoffman ’89 @ Russell House

Who has a cooler name, Maxwell Bevilacqua ’12 or the writer he wants you to go hear, Adina Hoffman ’89?

Come to Russell House this Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 to see author, Adina Hoffman.

Adina Hoffman ‘89 writes often of the Middle East, approaching it from unusual angles. She is the author of House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood and the acclaimed biography My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet’s Life in the Palestinian Century. She is the co-author, with Peter Cole, of Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza (the American Library Association’s outstanding Jewish Book of 2011). A 2011 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, she is currently a visiting writer in Wesleyan’s English Department.

Date: Wednesday, February 6
Time: 8 p.m.
Place: Russell House (350 High Street)
Cost: Free

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 TV Show Debuts Tonight

In other news, he never stops killin’ it.

LMM Do no harm

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, rapper-slash-playwright-slash-romantic-slash-flash-mob-connoisseur…turned-actor, is debuting tonight in a recurring role on NBC’s Do No Harm, a modern take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  No word yet on whether Wishbone will be making a guest appearance in the show.  The show will air on NBC at 10pm.

Miranda, whose returns to campus have been widely documented, is a guest star on the new NBC show after guest appearances on House and Modern Family.  Miranda has been unusually inactive about his return to television on Twitter, but did drop this tidbit for “Twitterico:”

I can only assume that he’s relying on his faithful following at his alma mater’s blog to promote the event.  Don’t worry, LMM, I got yo back.