Rather than halfheartedly trying to quote lyrics from “In the Heights” or some other thing written by this year’s commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, we’ll just skip ahead to: “Hey y’all, good morning!” It’s the 183rd Commencement at Wesleyan University, and we’re outdoors at Denison Terrace/Andrus Field/Foss Hill live-blogging all the speeches, processions, and every single name read (okay, none of the names) at today’s graduation ceremony.
Along with Miranda, Spellman College president Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75 and Goodspeed Musicals executive director Michael P. Price are receiving honorary degrees. Things should be getting started around 11 a.m.
Congratulations to the Class of 2015, and even more congratulations to all the many Wesleying editors and contributors who are graduating as well! You can watch a livestream of the ceremony here.
Update: You read all the speeches and watch Miranda’s address below. And here’s the official Wesleyan newsletter article on the event.
BJ Lillis ’12 says this is his break-up album. The break-up is between him and Wesleyan.
Fans of the Argus’ tragically defunct comics section (guys, remember “Feet People”?) and surreal Brian Wilson-obsessed psych-pop alike should be thrilled to learn that Orkinpods, the formerly anonymous bedroom pop project of comics editor emeritus B. J. Lillis ’12, has a new album online for the new year. It’s called The Loudest Sound, and it’s also Orkinpod’s finest, most confident work yet, which is definitely saying something, considering I loved 2011’s Boardwalking, Katy Perry cover and all. While Lillis’s previous work channeled the damaged surrealism of Smiley Smile-era Beach Boys, this one reminds me more of Sunflower or Surf’s Up. Gone are the synths and drum samples from the last record; in their place, Lillis employs rich arrangements involving upright piano, violins, ukelele, “harmonicas; audion electric chord organ; pots, pans, glasses; packing-tape drums; jar-of-pennies; laundry basket; maracas and shakers; backgammon pieces; pencils; [and] effects.” The songs are also longer and more fully fledged.
From the first notes of “The Scientists Say,” The Loudest Sound is lush, richly arranged pop music, with some of Lillis’s most gorgeous harmonies and intimate lyrics yet. Listen to it alone and try not to cry. Seriously, listen to the opening track:
My other favorite is probably “What We Bury At Night,” which finds Lillis crooning in a lower register over an almost a cappella backdrop of swirling harmonies, maracas, steel guitar whines, and god knows what else.
“I think the secret to our success is that we don’t think too much about the future.”
If, like me, you’re graduating in less than a year and, like me, you’re not entirely thrilled about the subsequent “growing up” trajectory, feast your cursor upon a new kingdom: “Fortress Astoria.”
Last week, the New York Times’ Hilary Howard devoted a fascinating and (I hate this word) charming feature piece to four best friends who are also roommates: Danaher Dempsey, Luke Crane, Rick Brown and Shyaporn Theerakulstit. They met as students at NYU. Through a role-playing group. (Not the same group that always steals my table at Think Coffee, I hope.) In 1991. Which means they’re all pushing 40.
Which means they’ve been living together, as bachelors—or “roommates,” if you will—for over 18 years. And while their story doesn’t pertain to Wesleyan in any direct way, it is a fascinating portrait that certainly pertains to college life in general, the transition into the Great Beyond, and why sociologists now say post-college life no longer has to suck. Read on if you care.