“You’re having conversations about movies and about the work and about questions and disagreements… there’s so much that grows out of that so when someone graduates you’re not through talking to them yet about it all.”
Basinger is here pictured in the Goldsmith Family Cinema. This picture was taken from a New York Times Article featuring her book The Star Machine, about the height of the studio system in the 30s through 50s [Source].
As a newly admitted film major, one can imagine the anx-citement surrounding this interview. Jeanine Basinger, who is on record as “one of the most important film scholars alive today” and who built Wesleyan’s world renowned film program from the bottom up, is a name I have learned to revere since day one as a prospective film student. At the scheduled time, I dialed Professor Basinger’s office to be greeted with enthusiasm and an eagerness to get right to business. She expressed her hope that her husband would bring her a cup of coffee amidst her busy workday and we jumped right into the questions. She made the interview very easy for me, answering with depth and segue-ing effortlessly into questions I hadn’t even asked yet. We discussed the establishment of the College of Film and the Moving Image, which was announced just over a year ago, the liberal arts approach to cinema, and her relations with past film majors. By the end of the half hour, I was feeling reenergized, inspired, and more excited than ever to begin my journey as a Wesleyan University film major with Professor Basinger as a guide.
The following is the transcript of our interview, edited for clarity.
Could you tell me about the College of Film and the Moving Image – why the initiative was taken on and what differences it brings to the department?
The interesting thing is that all of the components that make up the college are things that we have in fact been doing for years. The designation of making it into the college is less of a change and more of a recognition of what we are and what we do.
If you’ve never stayed for Reunion & Commencement weekend, the idea of a party in a tent might have raised an eyebrow; but those who are familiar with the event surely know better. The annual tent party was located in a ginormous tent on Andrus, which, to my terribly inaccurate estimation, felt even larger than a football field. The music was performed by a band featuring several Wes alums, Kinky Spigot and the Welders, known as “an unstoppable cosmic force of booty-crunching goodness” who certainly didn’t disappoint.
After a week of downtime, debauchery, and some wholesome activities, Wesleyan’s 181st Commencement Ceremony is finally here! More generally, after four years of friendships made, lost, hearts broken, lessons learned, and all that other stuff Pres Michael Rothwill probably mention in his opening speech, the Class of 2013 is graduating. The Commencement speaker is Joss Whedon ’87; Majora Carter ’88 and Jim Dresser ’63will receive honorary degrees. People will be wearing funny robes.For those of you who can’t make it, we (Samira, pyrotechnics, and BZOD) will be live-blogging the event with love, admiration, and support of those graduating (and not that much cheekiness). You can also see a live WesCast of the ceremony here. Read liveblog updates after the jump. Update: Pictures also after the jump. Better quality, more majestic photos from R&C weekend are on the Wesleyan Flickr.
I have a tendency to be able to go on and on about The Hero of Wesleyan, the man they call Joss Whedon ’87. Besides being the school’s 2013 commencement speaker, the Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel/Firefly/Dollhouse/Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long-Blog/Cabin in the Woods/The Avengers writer and director also put together his own, modern-day movie adaptation of the play Much Ado About Nothing, by that one famous old British writer.
The film, shot in October 2011 at Whedon’s own house over the course of less than two weeks, is set for a June 7 theater release, but we finally get a taste of what it will look like. It’s shot in mostly black and white, with the trailer set to an upbeat, jazzy tune, and we can see some of the promised all-star cast, many of whom Whedon has put in his other films and shows.
Representatives of the Whedon Army here include Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse, Cabin), Alexis Denisof (Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, The Avengers), Reed Diamond (Dollhouse), Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Buffy, Dr. Horrible’s), Clark Gregg (Avengers), and Fran Kranz (Dollhouse, Cabin), among many others. I’m guessing it’ll be better than the original.
Interested in nerdy stuff? Want to see that stuff come to Wesleyan in the form of a convention? Come to the first Cardinal Con (name is tentative) planning meeting at 9 pm on Wednesday (March 6th) in Wyllys room 114.
Students interested in any level of contribution are encouraged to attend. The convention is going to be a general nerd culture con including, but not limited to:
Fantasy and sci-fi
Film and TV
Especially the kind directed by Joss Whedon
RPGs (tabletop and LARP)
We will be discussing logistics and developing committees to deal with specifics such as locations, events, etc. smarmon(at)wes or btreto(at)wes with any questions or comments.
“Joss Whedon is our commencement speaker! Was so excited when I got the email that I had to stop using the elliptical for a few minutes.”
In a move strategically maneuvered to collapse Wesleyan’s entire Whedonite community in a salivating heap of shock, joy, and euphoric paralysis, President Roth has announced that screenwriter, filmmaker, Buffy creator, Avengers director, ironic Romney supporter, and Wesleyan alumnus Joss Whedon ’87 will deliver the commencement address for the Class of 2013. The news has delighted everyone from Argus Executive Editor Max Brivic ’13, who tweeted that he was “so excited when I got the email that I had to stop using the elliptical for a few minutes,” to Assistant Director of ResLife Stacey Phelps, who expressed something closely resembling excitement on Twitter and fittingly utilized used the hashtag “#yay.” Other reactions in the digital sphere ranged from “I’m going to die” to “#forgetobama” to my personal favorite, “Whatever, still pulling for Bill Nye.” Even members of the dearly departed Class of 2012 are seething with jealousy.
I’ve only been at Wesleyan since 2009, but I think it’s fair to call this the most unanimously excitement-inducing commencement speaker since Barack Obama was tapped to replace Ted Kennedy at Commencement 2008. (Then again, I’m not sure 69,498,516 popular votes can really compare with what I’ve seen of the salivating Cult of Whedonites.) According to President Roth’s email, honorary degrees will be additionally presented to environmental and social justice activist leader Majora Carter ’88and former Chair of the Board of Trustees Jim Dresser ’63 (yes, the guy that the diamond was named after). You will likely be too busy squealing to hear this take place.
BriTANick is Brian McElhaney and Nick Kocher, two NYU acting grads who write and make hilarious YouTube videos to entertain themselves, according to their YouTube page. The above video features them along with one of the Wesleyan Film Department’s most well-known filmmakers (and satirical Romney supporter), Joss Whedon ’87 (if you haven’t seen Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog, by the way, get on that.)
I was introduced to BriTANick during my freshman year by fellow Wesleying blogger Solomon, who showed me Monologue for Thee (past the jump), one of their first (and also quite famous) videos. The video begins with a monologue by Shakespeare, Nick gets called in when a line is forgotten, and things swiftly get out of hand.
Get ready for the Internet to not get sarcasm at all.
Still undecided for the election? After a week that included highly anticipated candidate endorsements from the New Yorker (Obama), the New York Times (Obama), and Brown’s Blog Daily Herald (Matt Romney), Buffy creator and official nerd-in-chief Joss Whedon ’87 is throwing his hat in the ring. He wants you to vote Romney. Sort of.
According to Whedon, the Massachusetts governor is the candidate “with the vision and determination to cut through business-as-usual politics and finally put this country back back on the path to the zombie apocalypse.” (Speaking of apocalyptic scenarios, Sandy seems to have beaten Romney to the punch. But I digress.)
In a recently published article in The New York Times, alum Joss Whedon ’87 weighs in on “the decadent state of contemporary Hollywood entertainment” while also promoting his “giant, tentpole, franchise, action, summer movie,” joking that the contradiction “doesn’t make me a hypocrite, it just gives me layers.”
The Avengers, described by the NYT article’s author as “comicdom’s equivalent of the Dream Team or the Wu-Tang Clan”, sounded like a “fun” writing project to Whedon, because they were “broken and tortured and strange”.
The article features Whedon and his colleagues reflecting on some of his past work; click through to have a read. For now, I’ll leave you with some wise Whedon words that you thesis-writers (congratz, seriously) might have found solace in, especially over the last few weeks: “You have to believe in your work to the point where you can get your heart broken,” he said, “or you wouldn’t have the energy to do these things.”
The Avengers [trailers here], the multimillion (where multi = > 220) and multi-superhero movie from Marvel Studios, is written and directed by Whedon and will be out in cinemas May 4 (the same day that our own fucking film series is screening The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Watch out, nerdz, we’re gonna have SO MANY FEELINGS).
It doesn’t always get easier after high school — not for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, anyway. The adventures of the heroine from the hit television show created by alum Joss Whedon ’87 continue to be chronicled in a series of comics from Dark Horse. In the latest issue of the current season, Buffy — living in San Francisco after having destroyed the “seed of all magic on earth” — will be forced to face one of the toughest decisions she will ever have had to make when she finds out she is pregnant, reports Entertainment Weekly. [explicit spoilers]
Details and executive producer Whedon’s wise words behind the cut.