David Low

David Low '76 writes about arts and culture for the Wesleyan magazine and Wesleyan Connection. He is associate director of publications in the Office of University Communications. He is also a published fiction writer. E-mail: dlow@wesleyan.edu

Newell ’81 Receives Theater Award

Charles Newell '81

Charles Newell ’81

Charles Newell ’81 was recently awarded the prestigious Zelda Fichandler Award, which recognizes an outstanding director who is transforming the regional arts landscape through singular creativity and artistry in theater. He received the prize, an unrestricted grant of $5,000, from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF).

Over the years, Newell has become one of the nation’s foremost theater directors. He is currently in his 19th year as artistic director of the Court Theatre, the renowned professional theater in residence at University of Chicago, where he had directed more than 40 productions.

Newell comments: “To receive The Zelda Fichandler Award from SDCF means the world to me. My very first theatre-going memories are of my mother taking me to Zelda’s Arena Stage. The daring theatre she created and produced, the singular artists she championed, the impact her art made on her community: these all have been a beacon of inspiration to me.  For twenty years, I have been fortunate to build a life in the theatre here in Chicago, seeking to follow Zelda’s example. I am very proud to be a member of this most vibrant theatre community, and am constantly inspired by our artists and patrons.”

Newell has been critically acclaimed for his intimate stagings of great American musicals, and his visionary work as a director has led to a notable professional relationship with playwright Tony Kushner (with whom Newell is currently working on an undisclosed commission for a new play). Under his artistic leadership, the Court Theatre has become the national “Center for Classic Theater,” and as such has produced several world premiere adaptations of classic novels, including The Invisible Man and the upcoming, highly-anticipated stage adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son in collaboration with American Blues Theater.

In May through June for the Court, Newell will be directing David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly. He made his Chicago directorial debut in 1993 with The Triumph of Love, which won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Production. His productions of Man of La Mancha and Caroline, Or Change have also won Best Production Jeffs. His other directorial highlights at the Court include Angels In America, An Iliad, Porgy and Bess, Three Tall Woman, The Year of Magical Thinking, The Wild Duck, Arcadia, Uncle Vanya, Raisin, The Glass Menagerie, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Invention of Love, and Hamlet. He has also directed at Goodman Theatre (Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘N Roll), Guthrie Theater (resident director: The History Cycle, Cymbeline), Arena Stage, John Houseman’s The Acting Company (staff repertory director), the California and Alabama Shakespeare Festivals, Juilliard, and New York University.

Newell is married to actress Kate Collins (All My Children) and they live in Chicago with their two sons. While at Wesleyan, he was roommates with classmate Bradley Whitford ’81 (The West Wing; Trophy Wife) and the two are still good friends. He was also classmates with Pamela Tatge ‘84, director of of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts.

Cardozo ’08 Produces CD with Show of Cards Band

Mike Cardozo '08

Mike Cardozo ’08

Mike Cardozo ’08 has produced a new CD titled Something Better, performed by the band Show of Cards (showofcards.com), of which he is a member. The band was originally formed as a trio of Cardozo siblings: singer-songwriter Karen (of Chattering Magpies), bassist Joe (of Cold Duck Complex) and lead guitarist Mike. With drummer Makaya McCraven and engineer Justin Pizzoferrato, they released their debut Leap Year in 2009.

Something Better CD produced by Mike Cardozo '08

Something Better CD produced by Mike Cardozo ’08

With Something Better, Mike puts on his production hat to showcase his sister Karen’s thoughtful songwriting in the textures, rhythms, and arrangements of musical languages from jazz to West African to classical. Karen and Mike are joined by bassist/engineer Garrett Sawyer, drummer Sturgis Cunningham, and notable guest collaborators including cellist Eric Remschneider  (of many acts including Smashing Pumpkins), Jeff D’Antona (keyboards), Zoe Darrow (fiddle) and Tim Eriksen (backing vocals). Live shows may also feature Dave Chalfant of The Nields on bass and Joe Fitzpatrick of Trailer Park on drums.

Mike currently works as a high school biology, chemistry, and math teacher at The Academy at Charlemont in Massachusetts. He recently shared his thoughts on how his Wesleyan education has inspired his musical career:

“Although I majored in biology at Wesleyan, I have been continuously and simultaneously immersed in my work as a musician from my college years until today.  I am grateful to have gained a well-rounded musical education at Wesleyan and to have learned from several deeply knowledgeable and inspirational professors, as well as to have been stimulated by working with numerous talented peers.

“I spent several semesters working with Jay Hoggard ’76 in the Jazz Orchestra. Besides deepening my appreciation for this particular language of music, Jay served as a model for true professionalism as he guided us through all the intangibles involved in preparation to bring our best performance to every opportunity we had. I bring the focused attitude he helped me develop to every performance and studio session, and I apply the specifics of arrangement and harmonic structures that I learned.

“Anthony Braxton just loved music in a very pure way and showed me how deeply one can delve into music. I took his course  The Music of Coltrane, Mingus, and Tristano  and always remember to look deeper into anything I listen to, no matter how many times I’ve heard it, to find new principles that I can examine and build upon.

“After studying jazz for many years, West African Drumming with Abraham Adzenyah was a transformative experience. Gaining comfort with a variety of complex Ghanaian rhythms really expanded my vocabulary, and that rhythmic mindset has a huge influence on my arrangement choices.

“Being part of several senior thesis musical performances (Marlon Bishop ’07, Nate Kaufman ’08, Miles Turner ’08, Nate Ash-Morgan ’08) was inspirational as I appreciated the unique qualities of each composer and bandleader. Playing in some reggae and Afro-beat bands with my classmates also directly influenced my arrangement and production style. I am honored to have worked with so many incredible peers and teachers, and every experience played a role in what I brought to the studio as a producer for Something Better.

Eisner Authors 2 New Books on Economics, Politics

EisnerAmericanbookcropMarc Eisner, the Henry Merritt Wriston Chair in Public Policy, professor of government, professor of environmental studies, is the author of The American Political Economy: Institutional Evolution of Market and State, published by Routledge in 2014. Policy debates are often grounded within the conceptual confines of a state-market dichotomy, as though the two existed in complete isolation. In this innovative text, Eisner portrays the state and the market as inextricably linked, exploring the variety of institutions subsumed by the market and the role that the state plays in creating the institutional foundations of economic activity. Through a historical approach, Eisner situates the study of American political economy within a larger evolutionary-institutional framework that integrates perspectives in American political development and economic sociology. This volume provides a rich understanding of the complexity of U.S. economic policy, explaining how public policies become embedded in bureaucracy and reinforced by organized beneficiaries and public expectations.


Eisner also is the co-author of Economics, Politics, and American Public Policy published by M. E. Sharpe in 2013. This text introduces students to the interrelationship of politics and economics in American public policymaking: how economic concerns have been legislated into law since Franklin Roosevelt’s time and how politics (e.g., Washington gridlock) affects the economy and the making of public policy. Students learn how to measure various indicators of economic performance, how the U.S. economy works (domestically and with international linkages), and how and why policymakers act to stabilize an economy in an economic downturn. Additionally, many social insurance programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) are explained and the current fiscal issues concerning current/future costs are treated in some detail. The book concludes with a full chapter case study on the Obama administration’s response to the Great Recession and its dealings with Congress; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is also discussed.

Connor Publishes 10th Poetry Collection

Tony Connor

Book by Tony Connor.

Tony Connor, professor of English, emeritus, is the author of The Empty Air, published by Anvil Press Poetry in 2013.

Connor’s 10th collection is framed by military encounters. In the first poem a young man grapples with a malfunctioning machine-gun, while the author grapples with the poem he is making from this event, memory or fantasy. In the surrealistic sequence that ends the book, a strange army invades a country collapsing into societal and semantic dissolution.

Connor’s abiding preoccupations continue into his eighties: his own life and the lives around him, passing time and its traps, poetry and its transfiguration of the commonplace. Yet all is not solemn as Connor extends his range into comic verse and dramatic dialogue. His new poems mix fantasy and reality in unexpected ways, always with the unobtrusive hand of a skilled craftsman.

Cooper ’82 Tells Story of Early Christian Women

Kate Cooper ’82 in Timgad, Algeria

Kate Cooper ’82 in Timgad, Algeria

Kate Cooper ’82 has written a new history of the early Christian movement, Band of Angels: The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women (Overlook Press), in which she provides a vibrant narrative of the triumphs and hardships of the first mothers of the infant church. As far as recorded history is concerned, women in the ancient world lived almost invisibly in a man’s world. Piecing together their story from the few contemporary accounts that have survived required painstaking research, and Cooper offers a fresh perspective on the triumphs and hardships encountered by these early women.

Book by Kate Cooper '82

Book by Kate Cooper ’82

The book tells the intriguing story of how a new way of understanding relationships took root in the ancient world. As Cooper demonstrates, women from all walks of life played an invaluable role in Christianity’s growth to become a world religion. Peasants, empresses, and independent businesswomen contributed what they could to an emotional revolution unlike anything the ancient world had ever seen.

Cooper is professor of ancient history at the University of Manchester. Born in Washington, D.C. and also educated at Princeton and Harvard universities, she is the author of The Virgin and the Bride and The Fall of the Roman Household. She is the recipient of the Rome Prize and a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome

Author web site: kateantiquity

Frank ’70 Receives New England Book Prize

Stuart Frank '70

Stuart Frank ’70 (Photo by Mary Malloy)

Stuart Frank ’70, has been awarded the Historic New England Book Prize for 2013, for Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved: Scrimshaw in the New Bedford Whaling Museum, published in Boston by David R. Godine. The award was formally presented on Nov. 3 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The book is also the recipient of the Boston Bookmakers Prize for the year’s best work in the pictorial category.

Book by Stuart Frank '70

Book by Stuart Frank ’70

Frank’s book brings his expert’s eye to the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s intriguing collection. By the middle of the 19th century, the New England port of New Bedford was among the five richest cities in America, and it derived its wealth from whale oil, the “fossil fuel” of the early Industrial Revolution. The New Bedford whaling fleet was the most numerous, adventurous, and far-ranging in the world, taking long voyages as far as the Antarctic and Siberia.

In their spare time, some whalemen carved materials harvested from the whales themselves: the teeth and bones of sperm whales, baleen from right and bowhead whales, and walrus tusks acquired by barter from Native people in the Arctic. These resulting practical and decorative objects made from ivory and bone were often intricately carved and carefully crafted and served as mementos and treasured souvenirs to take back home. The objects included not only decorated sperm whale teeth that the word “scrimshaw” ordinarily brings to mind, but also crimpers and canes, umbrellas, and swifts.

Stuart Frank '70 and photographer Richard Donnelly examine a whale bone banjo which was displayed earlier this year at the New Bedford Whaling Musuem.

Stuart Frank ’70 (right) and photographer Richard Donnelly examine a whale bone banjo which was displayed earlier this year at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
(Photo by Arthur Motta)

The collection at the New Bedford Whaling Museum is the largest, most varied, and most representative in the world. Frank, who is senior curator at the museum, covers every possible permutation of these whalemen’s fancies. The comprehensive survey has 700 detailed and dramatic photographs by Richard Donnelly with compelling stories behind the objects themselves.

Frank, who earned master’s degrees at Yale and Brown and a Ph.D. in American civilization at Brown, is director emeritus of the Kendall Whaling Museum, and founder/director of the Scrimshaw Forensics Laboratory®. His previous books include Herman Melville’s Picture Gallery (awarded the John Lyman Book Award of the North American Society for Oceanic History), Dictionary of Scrimshaw Artists (also received the John Lyman Book Award), More Scrimshaw Artists, The Book of Pirate Songs, Jolly Sailors Bold: Ballads and Songs of the American Sailor (expanded from his doctoral dissertation), The New Book of Pirate Songs, and Scrimshaw and Provenance (published this year by Mystic Seaport).

With his wife, Mary Malloy, he has performed concert tours on four continents, presenting traditional sailors’ songs and ballads excavated from shipboard manuscripts in the New Bedford Whaling Museum collection.

Buckley ’76 Writes New Poetry Collection

Poet B. J. Buckley '76

Poet B. J. Buckley ’76

B. J. Buckley ’76 has written a new collection of poems, Spaces Both Infinite and Eternal  (Limberlost Press) which considers the natural world, quiet, unspoken events—the accidental death of an owl, a porcupine gorging on apples, unobserved fragrant meadows, the roar of wind through cottonwoods. The presence of man is barely acknowledged in the rugged western landscapes of these poems. Buckley’s voice is a quiet guide through rural, mountainous territory.

Book by B. J. Buckley '76

Book by B. J. Buckley ’76

Her book is printed letterpress, using lead type on a old hand-fed platen press.

A native of Wyoming, Buckley lives on a ranch near Power, Montana. She has worked in Arts-in-the-Schools programs throughout the Rocky Mountain West for more than 30 years. She is the author of two previous books of poems, Artifacts (Willow Bee Press) and Moonhorses & The Red Bull, with artist Dawn Trask (Pronghorn Press). For her writing, she has received the Joy Harjo Prize from Cutbank: A Journal of the Arts, the Rita Dove Poetry Award from the center for Women Writers at Salem College, The Robert Penn Warren Narrative Poetry Prize, and the Comstock Review Poetry Prize. Her work also currently appears in About Place: The Future of Water.


Wet Spring

by B. J. Buckley

In the low bluffs, bones of buffalo lie exposed
by spring rains. So much meat, and the wind still hungry,
still cold at heart. Rain: a thousand hooves pounding dust.

Scattered out of the cattails the red-winged blackbirds,
evading for now, a hawk’s pursuit — falling, winged ash,
back into the green fire of the reeds, raining song over their enemies.

The horses are turned ass into the wind, rain saddling their flanks.
Clouds of breath rise from flared nostrils, manes knotted with damp,
the beautiful muscles rippling beneath their skins like rain-swollen rivers.

By late afternoon the sun’s corralled the thunderheads,
reined them in. Meadowlarks flash out of the coulees, yellow,
yellow — if only all wars could be so easily broken.

So many acres of stony ground, so many acres of clay —
It takes long hard rains to soak in, to crack the dessicated
seed — rainbows of wildflowers arching over the hills.

Fifty years might pass before another blossoming;
a lifetime between rains. The heart’s a mustang — it won’t be broken.
Look, how swallows thread the sky, weaving the blue cloth of darkness!

From Spaces Both Infinite and Eternal

Rich ’06 Covers Hollywood for Vanity Fair

Katey Rich '06

Katey Rich ’06

Katey Rich ’06 has a new position as digital Hollywood editor at Vanity Fair, where she is overseeing The Hollywood Blog.

Before Vanity Fair, Rich worked at the Cinema Blend website for six years, and her last job there was editor-in-chief. She was previously an editorial assistant at Film Journal International. As Wesleyan she major in film studies and English.

For those who have read Rich’s writing at Cinema Blend, they already know she has been a savvy chronicler of the film scene and an entertaining film critic for years.  At vanityfair.com, Wesleyan alumni can currently enjoy her thoughts on a possible film of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, the Gotham Independent Film Awards, the current state of silent films, and the new Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis.

Photography by McDonald ’88 in 2 Group Shows

Anne Arden McDonald '88

Anne Arden McDonald ’88

Photographer and sculptor Anne Arden McDonald ’88  has self portraits included in a group show, The Mind’s Eye: Sight and Insight, at the Hewitt Gallery of Art, Marymount Manhattan College (221 East 71st Street), in New York City. The show runs through December 5. The artists in this exhibition have a special relationship to their creative process both through the neurological (perception/sight) and the psychological (interpretation/insight).  Information on exhibition

Her work also appears in another group show, Mad Hatters to Pixel Pushers, at the Projective Eye Gallery of the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture, UNC Charlotte City Center, in Charlotte, NC, that runs through next week. The exhibit focuses on contemporary photographers from the southeast and beyond who use alternative processes, gelatin silver photography, digital imaging, and photo sculpture with the “constructed image. Information on exhibition

McDonald is one of the artists included in the Critical Mass top 50, a competition run by Photo Lucida.

Her work has appeared this year in the books Eyemazing: The New Collectible Art Photography (Thames and Hudson) and Jill Enfield’s Guide to Alternative Processes (Focal Press). She also was one of the 14 finalists for the Clarence John Laughlin Award, given by the New Orleans Photo Alliance.

McDonald’s web site

Untitled Self Portrait #25 by Anne McDonald

Untitled Self Portrait #25 by Anne McDonald

Cells by Anne Arden McDonald, 2007, 69 x 50 ins. silver gelatin print

Cells by Anne Arden McDonald, 2007, 69 x 50 ins. silver gelatin print

Pugh ’88 Publishes Third Book of Poetry

Christina Pugh ’88

Christina Pugh ’88

In her new poetry collection Grains of the Voice (Triquarterly Books/Northwestern University Press), Christina Pugh ’88 reveals a fascination with sound in all its manifestations, including the human voice, musical instruments, and the sounds produced by the natural and man-made worlds. All of these serve as both the framework of poems and the occa¬sion for their changes of direction, of tone, of point of reference. The poems contain echoes—and sometimes the words themselves—of other poets, but just as often of popular and obscure songs, of the noise of pop culture, and of philosophers’ writings. Beneath the surface of her work, Pugh explores the nature of and need for communication and celebrates the endless variety of its forms.

Poetry by Christina Pugh '88

Poetry by Christina Pugh ’88

Pugh comments: “The title of my book was taken from ‘The Grain of the Voice,’ an essay on opera that was written by the critic Roland Barthes. In it, Barthes discusses a form of articulation that is, in his words, ‘a dual posture, a dual production—of language and of music.’ In short poems that both recall and revise the traditional sonnet, I have explored such ‘grains’ by incorporating particular musical and poetic line—from pop and rock songs, hymns, and poets ranging from Milton to Louise Bogan—into my own lines of extended syntactical thought. I hope that these poems may incite both new thought and new music in the mind and ear of the reader.”

Pugh’s previous collections of poems are Restoration and Rotary. Her awards include the 2000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship and a 2005 Ucross Foundation Residency Fellowship, the Grolier Poetry Prize, and four nominations for the Pushcart Prize. She is an associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Wasson ’03 Writes Biography of Entertainment Icon Bob Fosse

Sam Wasson '03

Sam Wasson ’03

Best-selling author Sam Wasson ’03 has published Fosse (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), an authoritative and fascinating biography of the renowned dancer, choreographer, screenwriter, and director Bob Fosse. The only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year, Fosse was a masterful artist in every entertainment medium he touched, and forever marked Broadway and Hollywood with his iconic style that would influence generations of performing artists.

Biography by Sam Wasson '03

Biography by Sam Wasson ’03

Wasson reveals the man behind the swaggering sex appeal by exploring Fosse’s reinventions of himself over a career that would result in his work on The Pajama Game, Pippin, Sweet Charity, the film Cabaret, All That Jazz, and the original Broadway production of Chicago. The author researched a wealth of unpublished material and hundreds of sources including friends, enemies, lovers, and collaborators, many of whom have never spoken publicly about Fosse before. He touches on Fosse’s prodigious professional life and also on his close and conflicted relationships with everyone from Liza Minnelli to Ann Reinking to Jessica Lange and Dustin Hoffman.

Wasson captures a man who was never satisfied with his achievements and lived an offstage life full of turmoil. He uncovers the deep wounds that encouraged Fosse’s insatiable appetites for spotlights, women, and life itself.

In her review of Fosse in The New York Times, Janet Maslin writes: “Mr. Wasson is a smart and savvy reporter, and his book abounds with colorful firsthand tales. … Whoever Fosse was and whatever his work meant, Mr. Wasson’s book is required reading for anyone eager to understand his brand of — to use a term that appears here constantly, and can’t be outdone — razzle-dazzle. And to see through his darkness.”

Wasson is also the author of The New York Times best seller Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman and two books published by Wesleyan University Press, A Splurch in the Kisser: The Movies of Blake Edwards and Paul on Mazursky.

Hallstead MALS ’91 Studies Patriarchal Culture That Devalues Women

Tracy Hallstead MALS '91

Tracy Hallstead MALS ’91

In her recently published scholarly work, Pygmalion’s Chisel: For Women Who Are Never Good Enough (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), Tracy Hallstead MALS ’91 examines the enduring critical presence in contemporary Western culture that scrutinizes, critiques, and sizes women down in their daily lives, despite rights gained through the centuries. The book takes its title from Pygmalion, the ancient mythical sculptor who believed that all women were essentially flawed and endeavored to chisel a statue of the perfect woman, Galatea, for himself. Like the perpetually carved and refined Galatea, women labor under Western culture’s a priori assumption that they are flawed, yet they are often unable to account for the self-criticism and self-doubt that result from this premise.

Book by Tracy Hallstead MALS '91

Book by Tracy Hallstead MALS ’91

As Hallstead analyzes the culture’s requirements for the perfect woman, she traces how cultural forces permeate women’s personal lives. In calling for solutions, she considers the thinking of compelling 19th-century women who responded, rather than reacted, to the patriarchal culture that devalued them. As she studies these women of the past, whose struggles were similar to those of contemporary women, Hallstead encourages a responsive feminism that becomes a promising way outside Pygmalion’s chamber door.

Joan Hedrick, the Charles A. Dana Professor of History at Trinity College, praises the book: “Calling for a ‘responsive feminism’ that finds ‘pockets of instability’ within the system to push for transformation, Hallstead weaves practical suggestions into her analysis and provides institutional resources for change. Beautifully organized and accessibly written in a first-person voice, this book is bound to change the consciousness of readers.”

For her MALS from Wesleyan, Hallstead concentrated in humanities. She also holds an master of arts in writing, rhetoric, and media arts from Trinity College, where she received the Paul Smith Memorial Prize for Most Distinguished Thesis. She mentors first-year students and runs a peer support program at Quinnipiac University, where she teaches in the university’s Seminar Series.