Arts & Culture

Basinger Reflects on Star Wars Sequel Success

Though movie sequels had been successful in the past, it was a huge surprise when The Empire Strikes Back turned out to be as popular as the original Star Wars film, Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, told the website Boing Boing for a story reflecting on Empire 35 years after it arrived in cinemas.

“When you have set a level that you set with Star Wars in terms of financial success, critical success, audience success, quality of production, greatness of storytelling, you don’t really think even if the second one is going to be good that it can hit that same level twice because Star Wars was a real landmark film,” Basinger said. “It was a real big impact film and so you don’t expect the next one in that sequence to also be a landmark. It just doesn’t seem possible the way storytelling works but Empire was a movie that did not let down the standards set by Star Wars and that was great. Everybody was thrilled.”

She added that Empire opened up in a new way the possibility of sequential storytelling on a giant scale.

Basinger also is curator of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives.

Art by Graphic Design Class on Display in Usdan

Now on view at Usdan: A is for Ampersand, the final project of Professor of Art David Schorr’s Advanced Graphic Design Tutorial. Students in the class conceived and realized the project with inspiration from a non-curricular project on which some of the students had worked as members of The Type Club. All decisions regarding font, format and other particulars were made as a group, with most of the letters developing or being entirely redone over a four-week period.

Now on view at Usdan: A is for Ampersand, the final project of Professor of Art David Schorr’s Advanced Graphic Design Tutorial. Students in the class conceived and realized the project with inspiration from a non-curricular project on which some of the students had worked as members of The Type Club. All decisions regarding font, format and other particulars were made as a group, with most of the letters developing or being entirely redone over a four-week period. (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

West African Rhythms Fill CFA Courtyard

On May 8, members of the Wesleyan community gathered in the CFA Courtyard for an invigorating performance filled with the rhythms of West Africa. Performing were choreographer Iddi Saaka, artist in residence in the dance department, and master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, together with their students in three levels of West African dance courses, plus guest artists. After almost five decades at Wesleyan, Adzenyah will retire in May 2016. To honor his cultural contributions and to recognize his rich professorial and performing legacy, alumni, students, colleagues, and friends are hoping to “drum up” enough support to raise $300,000 for an endowed scholarship in his name. (Photos by Laurie Kenney.)

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Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah (center, with hat) and choreographer Iddi Saaka (directly behind Adzenyah) led their students in a West African drumming and dance performance in the CFA Courtyard on May 8.

Students Spread Dance across Campus

On May 4, students from the Improvisational Forms dance class performed at various locations around campus, including inside and outside Schonberg Dance Studio, Exley Science Center and Olin Memorial Library.

Students in the movement-based class study improvisation from a number of perspectives. Improvising in so many different environments challenges the dancers’ ability to focus while exploring the “score” (prompts/rules) they have pre-set for each specific site, continuously relating to each other and to the unique architecture and nature of each space. The class is taught by Susan Lourie, adjunct professor of dance. (Photos by Laurie Kenney)

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Big Draw Unleashes the Artists Within

On April 25, the Friends of the Davison Art Center presented The Big Draw: Middletown, a community celebration of drawing and workshops for all skill levels, from beginning drawers to accomplished artists, at locations across Wesleyan. Facilitated by Wesleyan art professors and students, and sponsored by the Middletown Commission on the Arts and nine local businesses, the fourth annual free event attracted more than 300 participants from almost 40 towns. (Photos by Mariah Reisner ’04 MA ’07 and Tessa Houstoun ’17)

The Big Draw

Face painting was one of many activities offered at The Big Draw.

Longley ’82 Speaks at Friends of Wesleyan Library Event

Adobe Photoshop PDFOn April 21, Dione Longley ’82 spoke about her new book, Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Civil War Soldiers Tell Their Stories, co-authored by Buck Zaidel (Wesleyan University Press), in the Davison Rare Book Room at Olin Memorial Library as part of the 2015 Friends of the Wesleyan Library Annual Meeting Talk. The book uses soldiers’ letters and diaries, and written accounts by nurses, doctors, soldiers’ families, and volunteers on the home front to vividly portray the war. Hundreds of period photographs (most, previously unpublished) add to the narrative.

Longley was director of the Middlesex County Historical Society in Middletown for 20 years.  Now a public historian and writer, she lives in Higganum.

Dione Longley '82 spoke about "Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Civil War Soldiers Tell Their Stories," co-authored by Buck Zaidel,  on April 21 (Photo by Dat Vu '15.)

Dione Longley ’82 spoke about “Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Civil War Soldiers Tell Their Stories,” co-authored by Buck Zaidel, on April 21. (Photo by Dat Vu ’15.)

 

Winston Speaks at Retrospective for Günter Grass

Krishna Winston with Breon Mitchell, another translator of Günter Grass, at a retrospective for the writer at CUNY Graduate Center on April 28. (Photo by Iris Bork-Goldfield).

Krishna Winston with Breon Mitchell, another translator of Günter Grass, at a retrospective for the writer at CUNY Graduate Center on April 28. (Photo by Iris Bork-Goldfield).

On April 28, Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, spoke on a panel at the CUNY Graduate Center on Nobel Prize–winner Günter Grass, one of Germany’s best-known contemporary writers, who died earlier this month.

Winston, Grass’s translator, is also professor of German Studies, professor of environmental studies, and coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. She spoke alongside Professor Friedrich Ulfers of New York University and Breon Mitchell, professor emeritus at Indiana University, Bloomington. The event, which was standing-room only, was moderated by Ralph Bunche Institute Director John Torpey, a professor at the CUNY Graduate Center.

 

McIntyre ’17 Brings “Before I Die” Public Art Project to Wes

Laura McIntyre '17 brought the "Before I Die" public art project to Wesleyan the week of April 20. Members of the Wesleyan community were asked to fill in their fears, ambitions and thoughts on a blackboard cube installed outside Usdan University Center.

Laura McIntyre ’17 brought the “Before I Die” public art project to Wesleyan the week of April 20. Members of the Wesleyan community were asked to fill in their fears, ambitions and thoughts on a blackboard cube installed outside Usdan University Center.

#THISISWHY

In this issue of News @ Wes, we speak to Laura McIntyre from the Class of 2017.

Q: Laura, please tell us where you’re from and what you’re majoring in.

A: I’m a sophomore here at Wes. I’m majoring in sociology and am thinking about the film minor. I’m from New York City.

Q: I understand the “Before I Die” public art project has been installed in locations all over the world. When and how did this project come to be?

A: The project was started by an artist named Candy Chang as a personal project after someone close to her died. She used the side of an abandoned building in her neighborhood in New Orleans, and covered it with the statement that’s now been used on all the walls following: “Before I die I want to _______.” To her surprise, people really jumped on the idea and started writing on it. That original wall was made in 2011 and, since then, there have been over 550 renditions.

Q: How did you first learn about the project? Why did you decide to bring it to Wesleyan?

Krishnan Receives Choreomundus Scholars in Residence Award

Professor Hari Krishnan recently received a prestigious award and residency at  the University of Roehampton.

Professor Hari Krishnan recently received a prestigious award and residency at the University of Roehampton.
(photo c/o Stephen De Las Heras)

Hari Krishnan, assistant professor of dance, recently received the Choreomundus Scholars in Residence Award, which will support a three-week residence at the University of Roehampton in London, beginning May 18. During his residency, Krishnan will teach and mentor Choreomundus students who are working on their final project.

(photo c/o Michael Slobodian)

(photo c/o Michael Slobodian)

Krishnan expressed excitement over his award: “I am delighted and honored to be one of two recipients of the prestigious Erasmus Mundus grant for visiting scholars to the “Choreomundus International Masters in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage” at the University of Roehampton’s Department of Dance in London.”