As the electronic duo Overcoats, Hana Elion ’15 and JJ Mitchell ’15 are quickly making a name for themselves in the indie music world. Yesterday they performed on NPR as part of All Songs Considered‘s Tiny Desk Concert series, which is a pretty big deal given who else has been featured. They also performed at this year’s South By Southwest festival earlier this month.
In their Wesleyan days, Overcoats played everywhere from Earth House’s intimate living room to the Spring Fling stage. Even as undergrads, their combination of sparse electronics and warm vocal harmonies allowed them to occupy a unique space in the campus music scene. Now, they’re looking forward to their debut album, Young, which comes out April 21.
You can watch Overcoats’ full Tiny Desk concert after the jump:
Our favorite Broadway composer/performer, Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02–who wrote his debut In the Heights during his sophomore year at Wesleyan–has created another hit. Hamilton, a musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, played almost entirely by actors of color and with a score composed not of “typical” show tunes but of rap, hip hop, and pop ballads, opened on Broadway in August. Next Friday, October 2nd, a special Wesleyan-only benefit performance will take place.Those of us who can’t make it to the show are in luck, though; the sung-through musical is fully represented on the cast recording, which comes out Friday, September 25th. If you’re not interested in paying $20 for an album, or if you’re not sold on musicals, or rap musicals, or American history, the entire album is available to stream for free on NPR until Friday. Check it out!
As finals begin, you’re probably (if you’re like me, at any rate) wishing you’d been a bit more productive during reading week. When you are taking those necessary breaks, though, why not procrastinate with something intellectual?
At the very least, you’ll sound smart at holiday parties, and you might even learn something academically useful. (I’ve cited TED Talks in papers before.) Also, all of these procrastination destinations happen to be audio- or video-based, meaning that you can listen to them while you do other things, like eat, clean or tear your hair out in frustration.
Real talk though: do this. It’s going to be awesome, and Becca Seidel ’15 knows what’s up:
If you love This American Life, Radiolab, or any other programs that tell incredible stories through sound, then listen up: the trolls are emerging once again. And by that, I’m not referring to the mythological cave-dwellers, those creepy dolls with the fuzzy hair, or the ACB.
Tomorrow (Friday) at 5PM will be this year’s first meeting of the Documentary Trolls, a radio storytelling collective that began taking shape at Wesleyan last year. The purpose of the group will be to provide a collaborative space in which to create and share audio stories. We will be listening to excerpts from memorable/weird/generally cool radio stories and podcast episodes that have come out in the past few years, and we’ll use those as a starting point to discuss techniques for interviews, narration, sound design, and the use of music in radio storytelling.
Last year, the Trolls came out with a pretty sweet final product: a set of stories that aired on WESU towards the beginning of the summer. We might try to do that again, but we also might just listen to a lot of great radio stories and talk about them. Either way, it’s gonna be super low-key. No experience necessary!
Date: Friday, November 15th, 2013
Time: 5 PM
Place: WESU (above Broad Street Books – contact Becca if you’re not a WESU staff member so she can let you in.)
It’s a tough thing to make an 8:30 am class happy, even the cheery subject of International Politics. But the other day, one of my classmates brought in this little composition book and passed it around. And you know what? It cheered me up, and the rest of the class too.
That classmate was Samara Prywes ’17, and the composition book was her “Happy Book”— which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Each line of the books is filled – or almost filled – with a simple statement or item that a person said made them happy. And a person maybe contributed a page, or only had a few points to add, then passed it on to the next person in class, and so on and so forth. By the end, it’s pretty much just a crowdsourced list of what improves people’s mood, or makes them smile, or makes their day, or fills them with that sense of fuzzy warmth. Just the little things, you know?
I asked Samara about the book, how she came up with the idea, and also some of her favorite inclusions:
I got the idea for it 2 summers ago at sleep-away camp. It was a camp fad. I ask pretty much all my friends to write in it, as well as anyone else who wants to. I don’t even know how many people have written in it so far, but it’s in the 6000s. [Writer’s note: I’m pretty sure my entries started round #6600.]
I think it’s great because people don’t think about what makes them happy enough. I’m talking about the simple things. Like:
1898: “when my dog falls asleep feet up”
2174: “waffle fries”
3146: “80s rock n’ roll music”
4519: “drake and josh”
4650: “when my house smells like brownies”
Since its release this past July, English professor Lisa Cohen’s All We Know: Three Lives has continued to make waves in the literary world. A biography of three queer women who were deeply embedded in early 20th century culture, Cohen’s book was listed by Publishers Weekly as one of the top 10 “Best Books of 2012,” in addition to being among the New York Times’ “100 Notable Books of 2012.” Most recently, Cohen’s book was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. You can find the interview here.
The book traces the lives of Esther Murphy, Mercedes de Acosta, and Madge Garland, women who were active in prominent intellectual and cultural spheres of the early 20th century, but who still remained largely under the radar. Their backgrounds and lifestyles are radically different from one another, but their stories intersect in meaningful ways.
For those of you with a deep golden voice and a desire to be intellectual stimulating, this just in from Aria Danaparamita ’13:
Think you have ‘All Things Considered’? Like ‘Talk of the Nation’? Eat your breakfast to ‘Morning Edition’?
ARGUS NEWS RADIO on WESU 88.1FM invites you to the world of radio journalism. We broadcast every 2 weeks, exposing news and features stories that affect the Wesleyan and Middletown communities.
Breaking news, fun features, in-depth investigation, interviews. Learn to report, produce, write, or edit for radio news.
Robert Siegel – that could be you. Kind of. Come to our info sesh and see what you can bring to ANR!
Date: Sunday, January 27th.
Time: 2:30-3:30 pm
Place: Usdan 114
Cost: Nope. Gotta love public radio.
Holy shit! Avery “Honey Tru Tru Child” Trufelman ’13 drops the details on what promises to be the best lecture of November so far:
Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! and Car Talk creator and producer Doug Berman ’84 is coming to Wesleyan this Thursday for the third installment of the WESU Lecture Series!
Berman is a Peabody Award winner, whose career has spanned not just the world of public radio but also into newspapers, with Car Talk’s syndicated column, and beyond.
What’s he going to talk about? How to produce a show. How to make it big. Whatever you want him to talk about.
This event is FREE and open to the public. Join us at the CFA Hall for a casual Q+A with one of radio’s heaviest hitters!
Date: Thursday, November 1
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: CFA Hall (directions here if you’re not from around these parts)
FB Event Page?: Aw, yeah
Professor Jeanine Basinger talked to Tom Ashbrook on NPR’s On Point last week about the moments in Paul Newman‘s career which made her weak in the knees, way back when, and how Newman kept it real when dealing with the Star Machine.
Listen here to the full broadcast, cut to 7:10, 18:00, 27:40, 32:30, and 42:40 for Basinger’s commentary.
Rayna Edwards ’10 was quoted on NPR, commenting on Kate Perry’s song “I Kissed a Girl,” which starts with the following lyrics:
This was never the way I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, drink in hand
Lost my discretion
It’s not what, I’m used to
Just wanna try you on
I’m curious for you
Caught my attention
I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it
A July 9 All Things Considered show (which can be listened to here) included a comment from a rising junior.
One of our listeners, Rayna Edwards, who attends Wesleyan University in Connecticut, wrote in saying, “As both a gay woman and a youth, I was excited to hear music that breaks the pattern of the otherwise heteronormative pop music scene. Though I’m thrilled by the apparent proliferation of homoeroticism in contemporary music, Kate Perry’s song does not seem to take seriously the lifestyle that I and many others live.”
Well said, Rayna!
[Edit: typos were fixed. I’d accidentally typed “eroticism” instead of “homoeroticism”]