Tag Archives: wesleyan alumni

Queer Past, Queer Future

Alumni Jennifer Boylan ’80 and Alexander Chee ’89 read recent work, discuss queer lives and storytelling, and share their own experiences as LGBT writers at Wesleyan.

Jennifer Boylan, a professor at Barnard College, is the author of 15 books, including She’s Not There, the first bestselling work by a transgender American, and I’m Looking Through You, which contains a chapter on Wesleyan. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and currently serves as the national co-chair of GLAAD, the media advocacy nonprofit for LGBTQ people. Her new novel, Long Black Veil, is forthcoming in April 2017.

Alexander Chee teaches fiction writing and the essay at Dartmouth College. He is the author of the novels Edinburgh (Welcome Rain, 2001; Picador, 2002) and The Queen of the Night (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016). Edinburgh, which partly takes place at Wesleyan, won the Iowa Writers’ Workshop’s Michener Copernicus Prize in Fiction, the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Editor’s Choice Prize, and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop Literary Award.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Wesleyan Library with support from Academic Affairs.

Date: Friday, March 3rd
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Smith Reading Room, 1st floor Olin Library

Careers for the Common Good

EngagebannerFrom ENGAGE:

A Careers for the Common Good panel: Fundraising, Communications, and Leadership for Nonprofits

Co-sponsored by the Wesleyan Alumni Network

Panelists: Gerald Richards ’90 (CEO, 826 National) and Syed Ali ’13 (Communications Coordinator, FoodCorps) and Sharon Greenberger ’88 (President and CEO, YMCA of Greater New York)

Location: Allbritton 311

Wesleyan prides itself in educating practical idealists who work for social change. The goal is not just to do well but to do good and to build careers around the causes they care about. During this panel, three alumni will talk about their lives after Wesleyan and reflect on the non-profit sector overall.

Dinner will be served for those who register.

GERALD RICHARDS is the Chief Executive Officer of 826 National, a network of seven urban writing and tutoring centers based on the belief that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. With more than twenty years of management and development experience at national nonprofit organizations, Gerald is a thought leader on topics of youth and education access. His nonprofit career includes positions with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE); UNCF; University of California, San Francisco; the J. David Gladstone Institutes; Chicago Panel on Social Policy; and The Cradle Foundation. He is a graduate of the Executive Education programs of Harvard Business School and Babson College; member of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Ed Steps Curiosity and Creativity workgroup; an inaugural fellow in the California Leaders of Color Fellowship Program; and a graduate of Leadership San Francisco. He currently serves on the boards of Newbury College, the International Development Exchange (IDEX), and My Path SF, and previously served on the boards of the Woodland School, Juma Ventures and KIPP SF Bay Academy. Gerald has a BA in Film Studies from Wesleyan and an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sharon Greenberger is the 10th President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York, a leading New York City non-profit organization serving over 500,000 children, adults and seniors annually through programs and services focused on nurturing potential, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. With 20 years of experience in urban planning, development and education, Sharon has dedicated her career to executing initiatives that seek to improve lives and strengthen communities. Prior to joining the YMCA in July 2015, Sharon served as the Senior Vice President, Facilities and Real Estate at New York-Presbyterian Hospital where she oversaw $2 billion of active projects geared towards expanding and improving facilities to better serve the needs of patients and their families. Sharon received her bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and holds a master’s degree in City Planning, with a focus in Housing and Community Development and Environmental Design, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a member of the Prospect Park YMCA and lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jonathan, with whom she has two daughters, Madelyn and Josie.

Syed is Commuications Coordinator at FoodCorps, a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. He helps amplify the organization’s influence through digital tools, reaching larger and more diverse audiences. Syed got hooked on spreading healthy, affordable, sustainable food while supporting the NYC Department of Health’s Green Carts initiative, which does just that in disadvantaged city communities. At Wesleyan, Syed led the student government committees on information technology and community outreach, wrote for student life blog Wesleying, and was a member of campus sustainability group Wesleyan Eco-Tools. Syed graduated from Wesleyan in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and English.

More information can be found here.

Date: Thursday, April 28
Time: 6-8 PM
Place: Allbritton 311
Register Here

Interview with Brian McKenna ’04: Dear Mama Earth

 Dear Mama Earth musically raises awareness of critical issues such as global warming and wasteful habits, in a way that is not only educational, but entertaining. 

In light of Wes EON GreenScene coming back, the rally against the Keystone XL Tarsands Pipeline, and the alumni created plan to solve climate change, I’d say Wesleyan is all about keepin’ it green these days. Brian McKenna’s ‘04 newest project, Dear Mama Earth (DME) is certainly no exception.

Dear Mama Earth, created in Brian’s studio, Btoven Music, is a very unique and powerful album based on an original body of Reggae/Soul music that he co-created along with international vocal sensation, Toussaint Liberator, and featuring samples from Galt Macdermot who is best known for his work in the musical HAIR and who granted personal permission to use samples from his works in DME.

It’s not everyday you come across good reggae music with lyrics like “wonder why we’ll never see a high speed rail/the gas dollars won’t touch the pail/these politicians said they all for sale”. As the up and coming champions of environmental awareness, Brian and Toussaint are currently working on a live music and educational awareness event to be presented in communities and schools nationwide. Just last April they headlined NYC’s 43rd Annual Earth Day at Earth Day NY’s  public festival in Union Square.

This project certainly represents a culmination of Wesleyan’s timeless values by using creative expression to address real world issues and advocating for change. Click past the jump to check out the interview and find out more about Dear Mama Earth.

On-Campus Social Media Internship

Can’t keep your mouse-clicking fingers off of Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr this weekend? Time to put those urges to good monetary use, courtesy of soon-to-be-graduating social media intern Lizzie Manning ’13:

Job Title: Social Media Intern
Employer: University Relations, Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement & Events
Address: Horgan House, 77 Pearl Street
Job Description:

The Office of Alumni & Parent Engagement & Events is seeking a Social Media Intern to communicate with alumni on numerous online platforms daily and to engage alumni with each other and with Wesleyan at every opportunity. The Intern will be responsible for posting all alumni news and events to the Wesconnect Facebook, @wesconnected Twitter, and Wesleyan Alumni Association LinkedIn Group; interacting with constituents who make content via these sites; searching the internet for useful content related to Wesleyan alumni; live-posting from important alumni events; and periodically launching special social media projects or initiatives (Storify streams, photo collections, Twitter groups, etc.). He/she will be the “voice” of the University for many alumni who get their Wesleyan content from social media as opposed to more traditional communication methods, and he/she will advise staff on the best ways to connect with alumni online. 

New Heems “Soup Boys (Pretty Drones)” [Video]

Heems ’07 just came out with a music video for his politically poignant drone song that is also about picking up hot girls. Spoiler alert: There are two Himanshu Suris, one maybe more blazed than the other, kind of dancing in front of a montage of NYC and South Asia scenery and news clips about drones. Obama is in there somewhere; so are some drone pilots who are quiet suburbanites by day, but stealthy killers by night. There is probably an important metaphor in this song about the word “drone” replacing “girl/lady.” Keep in mind that the whole video was filmed in front of a green screen, which makes Heems’s dancing goofier than it already is. Here is a bonus track.

BandCampWes: Point Reyes’ Golden is Gold

“We all grew up listening to everything from Harry Partch to Radiohead to avant garde jazz to medieval music and I studied composition, played in weird rock bands, and also played with Anthony Braxton.”

Wes alum Asa Horvitz ’10, notably of Duchampion fame, is delivering musical tastiness in the form of recent project Point Reyes, a Brooklyn-based outfit that you may remember from a spring semester Eclectic set opening for Nat Baldwin. Earlier this semester Point Reyes  just released Goldena fun and quirky album that feels like it’s reminiscent of Duchampion but is much much more—on Big School Records.

This band is hard for me to describe. Not in the “we don’t really like to classify ourselves in a genre” kind, but in the way where I have to put in actual work to think of the words to describe it. They’re a complex indie rock band that isn’t afraid to dive into more complicated musical forms, and they experiment with things like vocal timbres. Plus, the interesting instrumentation of vocals, guitar, cello, percussion, drums, and vibraphone makes for beautiful and unexpected sound combinations. As TVD Cleveland wrote, “This band is an entity unto itself, enveloping its listeners in orchestrations comprising expansive vibraphone, thick bass, luscious cello, guitar, and eerie vocals that weave stories filled with whimsy.

Check out more, including my favorite track “Redesert,” after the break.

Le1f Releases “Liquid” EP, New Video for “Soda”

Le1f (Khalif Diouf ’11) just released a music video for “Soda,” a track off his new EP Liquid. After garnering high praise last spring for his Dark York mixtape and releasing his booty-shaking debut video for “Wut,” Le1f made some music with NYC-based long time collaborator Boody. BNR describes the new EP as “a story of the natural becoming unnatural – of purity assimilating into baseness– a story of the submerged rising up, just to sink again into something new,” whatever that means (it’s moisture-themed).

The “Soda” video was directed by Sam Jones ’10 (who also directed “Wut”) and Ben Bernstein ’10 produced it. Highlights include slow-mos of Le1f’s soda being poured into people’s mouths and the crazy early-aughts outfits including these plastic and denim crop tops: 

Listen to previews of the tracks on Liquid after the jump:

Oneohtrix Point Never and Ben Seretan ’10 @ Eclectic

Zach submitted an event to be posted? wtf? Zach, please don’t edit this post. It’s already impeccably formatted (thx2u). From Zach Schonfeld ’13:

Oneohtrix Point Never is the stage name of experimental electronic wizard Daniel Lopatin, who’s also known for his work with the duo Ford & Lopatin. Using vintage synthesizers, television samples, and found sounds, OPN crafts distant, weightless tapestries of woozily layered ambient sound. His 2011 masterpiece, Replica, was listed as Pitchfork’s sixth best album of 2011 and described by Consequence of Sound as “like a series of FM radio transmissions from some far-off, twin parallel universe of ours, not peculiar to the point of total alien-ness, but certainly too strange and outlandish to be of Earthly origin.” Listen here.

Ben Seretan ’10 is a Wes alum, guitar genius, songwriter, California native, and member of Duchampion. He described his 2012 release, New Space, as an attempt “to have the sensation of swimming in or being embraced by the sound of my guitar and voice, to feel its physical presence pushing up against my sides, the walls, and furniture.” You can read about his work on Wesleying and listen to it on BandCamp.

O-Zi (Rob Rusli ’10) Releases Debut EP

Brooklyn based indie rapper/producer O-Zi (Rob Rusli ’10) has just released his debut EP, titled Rus Li. O-Zi is a “neoromantic/minimalist composer,” and founder of the indie hip hop collective Blue Belt. This 8-track album is dope, and I’m waiting on a video or two to go along with it—perhaps akin to YOYOYO’s Bigfoot on the beach or E.Y.B.’s jumping through Box Mountain Sculpture.

Free album download; listen here:

Matt Narks ’11 Releases “80 Proof”

Matthew Narkaus ’11, a.k.a Matt Narks, writes in to share his new single “80 Proof:”

The song is about a female who seems to have it all put together in life and is focused on advancing her life and achieving financial success, however at the end of the day she doesn’t have that one person to complete her. Consequently she drinks by herself every night to numb the pain of her single life. The upbeat and dance/club type of production offset the depressing theme.