He done done it again. That crazy gifted dude E. Oks (Evan Okun ’13) headlined his first show at the famous Bowery Poetry Club, with the help of some super talented Weskids. He describes his performance, “Unlearn a Chair,” as “a fus[ion] of spoken word poetry, Hip Hop (written and freestyle), and jazz (improvisational piano, harmonica, cello, and singing). The subject matter explores the way the elite label certain people ‘crazy’ so as to normalize suffering and self-obsession. This collision of media yielded something truly interdisciplinary, elucidating and effectively subverting the binary of sanity and insanity through the tensions and convergences of artistic forms.
This is worth your watch; between Okun’s flexibility between forms and alarming degree of skill in all of them (he recites a poem about addiction using each letter of the word “addiction” to begin the poem’s next word, cycling this about twenty times), the musical dynamism of Mel Hsu ’13, Sam Friedman ’13, Nate Mondschein ’12 and Jess Best ’14, the poetic range showcased between Lily Myers ’15, Alok Vaid-Menon and Chekira Lashley ’15, the powerful belt of Tanaya Srini ’15 and all the Weskid cameos in between, the cohesiveness of artistic forms to comprise a larger, charged product was not only entertaining, but also inspiring.
“So play your favorite cover song, especially if the words are wrong
‘Cause even if your grades are bad, it doesn’t mean you’re failing”
After a mysterious week or so of trying to guess exactly what this Humanity Festival was all about— between the unexplained promotions, the flyers, and the recruitment — the one constant was the promised presence of Amanda Palmer ’98. And, combined with the excellent organizing efforts of Raechel Rosen ’15, that was more than enough to draw a huge crowd onto Foss Hill this past Saturday afternoon for the “one-day musical celebration in solidarity against bigotry, racism, and social divisions within a community.”
After performances by Don Minott, a group comprised of Jess Best ’14, Mel Hsu ’13, and Sam Friedman ’13, Siren, and Oz Rhys Langston & Izzy, Palmer finally arrived, unaccompanied except for her ukulele. After releasing Theatre is Evil this past year, Palmer booked herself for a large slew of international shows with her new backing band, The Grand Theft Orchestra. Here, though, was more like a large scale, heavily-planned ninja gig. Like her impromptu performance in 2011 at Eclectic, her appearance at the Humanity Festival was an intimate affair, despite the large crowd. Her stage was just a few carpets on the grass, a monitor, some speakers, and a stool. Her orchestra was that beaten-up ukulele.
Some commentary, some more photographs, and a high-quality recording of the entire performance (!) after the jump.
Wes Alum Myles Potters ’12 just released a fresh-to-death EP using works from his senior thesis called Apertures. Potters writes:
This release is many months in the making, and is the recorded, modified version of my Senior Thesis Recital at Wesleyan University. The Thesis revolved around the question: What can we consider to be ‘live’ music in the 21st Century? The music in this album, though recorded, continues to ask similar questions by highlighting contrasts between instrumental improvisation, sampled beats, and notated music.
I could spend a solid amount of time writing about what I like about it, not to mention the dank group of musicians that he had on the album: Wes Alum Owen Callahan ’12 on sax, Nate Campagne ’15 on drums, Sam Friedman ’13 ticklin’ the ivories, and Dylan Bostick ’13 (see: DreamHost) working the electronics. Instead, I asked Mr. Potters a couple questions, and I feel like that does a lot more justice explaining the album than what I could do by myself. That’s all past the jump.
Evan Okun ’13— slam poet, musician, and generally all-around awesome person—wants you to know about a new single released today as part of Music & Public Life. His description below:
Click here to play and download (for free): “Billionaire (remix)“—composed, written, recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely by Wesleyan students/graduates: Evan Okun ’13 (Rapper & Lyricist), Mel Hsu ’13 (Cellist and Vocalist), Sam Friedman ’13 (Harmonica player and Pianist ), Greg Shaheen ’13 (Percussionist), Garth Taylor ’12 (Vocalist), and Jared Paul ’11 (Engineer). Even the photograph used for the Album Art was shot and edited by a Wesleyan student!
The song is being released to promote the year-long campus-wide exploration of Music & Public Life, which began this past Friday with THE MASH. After listening, please find a room, an instrument, a friend, and make music!
This song simultaneously examines (1) the human tendency to self indulge (focusing on liberal-elites recent tendency to place all blame on the 1% without addressing the unsustainable standard of living that we, the top 10%, have grown accustom to) and (2) the Buddhist theory that all craving ultimately leads to dissatisfaction, since it implicitly frames life without the desired object/body as empty or devoid of substantial value. Bang Bang.
Yeah you know you wanna rawk out with yo cawk out like banjo-kermit there. But only if by rawk you mean be mad chill and settle down at a cafe with some great lounge-esque music smothering your face and by cawk you mean your cawk.
Cheryl Tan ’11 and Sam Friedman ’13 will be performing bossa nova and jazz with a banjo on Thursday night in the Allbritton Cafe. Bring your own instruments if there’s something you want to perform, or just come chill on a study break with good music and free drip coffee.
Date: Feb. 24
Time: 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Place: Espwesso – Allbritton Cafe
Go get intimate, friends.