Arts & Culture

Tang Authors Book on Asian American Literature after Multiculturalism

Amy TangAmy Tang, assistant professor of English, assistant professor of American studies, is the author of Repetition and Race: Asian American Literature After Multiculturalism published by Oxford University Press, May 2016,

Repetition and Race explores the literary forms and critical frameworks occasioned by the widespread institutionalization of liberal multiculturalism by turning to the exemplary case of Asian American literature. Tang reinterprets the political grammar of four forms of repetition central to minority discourse: trauma, pastiche, intertextuality and self-reflexivity.

She shows how texts by Theresa Cha, Susan Choi, Karen Tei Yamashita, Chang-rae Lee, and Maxine Hong Kingston use structures of repetition to foreground moments of social and aesthetic impasse, suspension, or hesitation rather than instances of reversal or resolution.

Wesleyan Staff Perform in Beatles Benefit Concert

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 9.00.58 PM

Wesleyan’s Andy Chatfield and Shona Kerr performed along with 21 other singers and musicians at the second annual “Blackbird” Benefit Concert for the Stephanie Nelson Scholarship Fund on June 18.

On June 18, a 23-piece all-star band performed the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in its entirety at Chapman Hall at Middlesex Community College at a benefit concert in memory former Wesleyan Center for the Arts intern Stephanie Nelson, of Middletown, who passed away last year at the age of 25. This was the second annual benefit concert held in Nelson’s name. The first, held last summer, featured the Beatles’ White Album and raised almost $5,000 to establish the Stephanie Nelson Scholarship at Middlesex Community College (MCC), Nelson’s alma mater.

This year’s concert was organized by Andy Chatfield, press and marketing director for Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts. Nelson was Chatfield’s intern at the CFA. “This year, we played all of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which is one of my favorite Beatles albums. Stephanie’s dad requested that we hold the event on the Saturday before Father’s Day, and clarinet player Catherine Rousseau, one of the musicians returning to perform with us this year, told me that June 18 also happened to be Paul McCartney’s birthday. So we played ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ the day that Sir Paul turned 74.”

Hamilton Wins 11 Tony Awards

(Photo by Joan Marcus/The Public Theater)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15, center. (Photo by Joan Marcus/The Public Theater)

Hamilton, written by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 and directed by Thomas Kail ’99, won 11 Tony Awards, including the award for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Kail), Best Actor in a Musical, Best Book (Miranda), Best Original Score (Miranda), Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Costume Design of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, and Best Orchestrations, at the 70th Annual Tony Awards ceremony held at the Beacon Theater in New York on June 12.

The award-winning musical, which tells the story of the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton, received a record-breaking 16 total nominations.

Feldstein ’15 Dubbed ‘Breakout’ for Neighbors 2

With Yahoo's Kevin Polowy, Beanie Feldstein ’15 dishes about behind the scenes in Neighbors 2 versus her real-life college experience.

With Yahoo’s Kevin Polowy, Beanie Feldstein ’15 dishes about behind the scenes in Neighbors 2, versus her real-life college experience.

“There is an entire neighborhood full of funny people in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” wrote Kevin Polowy, senior editor at Yahoo! Movies. “But some of the film’s biggest laughs belong to newcomer Beanie Feldstein, who makes her major-studio movie debut as the party-hearty sorority pledge Nora.”

Feldstein ’15, a Los Angeles, Calif. native and sociology major at Wesleyan has been acting on stage since she was 5, with “three to six musicals a year every singer year from 5 to 22,” ending last year with graduation.

She tells Yahoo that Neighbors 2 was not a typecasting situation: “My college experience was nothing like Nora’s. I was such a lame person. I had never done drugs. They had to teach me how to use a lighter, and how to inhale. That scene where I smoke weed in the movie was actually my first time smoking anything.”

Also invited to appear on the Conan O’Brien Show, Feldstein recalls more of her college career: four years as a tour guide. “My friends like to call me TGB—Tour Guide Beanie—and it’s an entirely different person than me. I’m already pretty peppy, but she’s on a whole other level. I could sell anything at that point—I mean Wesleyan’s really easy to sell; it’s a great place.”

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, by Roach ’81 Excerpted in NYT

Grunt_Cover-crop-animate2Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, the new book by Mary Roach (W.W. Norton & Company; June 2016), was excerpted in the New York Times’ Science section on May 30. Describing her visit to the Aberdeen Proving Ground (“a spread of high-security acreage set aside for testing weapons and the vehicles meant to withstand them”), Roach’s first-person account offers her characteristic lively narrative and wry humor. She allows her guide, Mark Roman, to be ours as well.

“’By and large, an army shows up to a war with the gear it has on hand from the last one. In 2003, the Marines arrived in Iraq with Humvees. ‘Some of the older ones had canvas doors,’ says Mr. Roman, who was one of those Marines. They were no match for the R.P.G.s trained upon them. So the Army tried plating vehicles with armor panels, which work well against heavy machine-gun fire. You might as well have armored your vehicle with road signs.

“’We were like, ‘Crap, this does not stop an R.P.G.,’ Mr. Roman told me.”

Following the successful creation of a device to stop an RPG—with what Roach describes as “a hoopskirt [for the armored combat vehicles] of heavy-duty steel grating called slat armor” in which they “would lumber back to base like up-armored hedgehogs…” —Roman notes that the insurgents then switched to making bombs.

It is through this process of the escalation of danger and that resultant need for greater protection that Roach proves a friendly guide, rendering jargon accessible and never losing sight of what is truly at stake: that while the WIAMan — the Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin—may answer questions posed in the proving grounds, a human will bear the cost of any false or incomplete answers. “The long-term quality of a soldier or Marine’s life is a relatively new consideration/ In the past, military decision makers concerned themselves more with go/no-go: Do the injuries keep a soldier from completing the mission?…The answers may or may not affect the decisions that are made in the preparations for war, but at least they’ll be part of the equation for those inclined to do the math.”

In an interview with John Bonazzo for the Observer, Roach highlighted her respect for those working behind the scenes on saving lives and lowering the risks of combat: “There’s a tremendous amount of dedication and work that doesn’t get covered very much,” she said. “I want people to come away with respect for and recognition of that work.”

 

 

Rudensky’s (’01) Photographs Exhibited in New York City Gallery

Sasha RudenskyPhotography by Sasha Rudensky ’01, assistant professor of art, is featured in an exhibition titled “Tinsel and Blue” from June 8 to July 16 at the Sasha Wolf Gallery, 70 Orchard Street, New York, N.Y.

Rudensky is a Russian-born artist whose work has been exhibited widely including at the Musee de l’Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland; Fries Museum in Leewarden, Netherlands; Macro Testaccio Museum in Rome, Italy; ArtScience Museum in Singapore; and Danziger Projects in New York. In 2010, Rudensky’s work was included in “reGeneration 2: Photographers of Tomorrow Today,” an international survey of emerging photographers. Her work is held in a number of public collections including Musee de l’Elysee, Yale Art Gallery, and Center of Creative Photography in Tuscon, among others.

Rudensky received her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2008 and BA from Wesleyan in 2001. She was the recipient of the Ward Cheney Memorial Award from Yale University, Mortimer-Hays Brandeis Traveling Fellowship, Leica/Jim Marshall Award, and Jessup Prize from Wesleyan. In 2013, Rudensky was awarded the Aaron Siskind Individual Fellowship grant. Her work has appeared in New York Times Magazine, Der Spiegel, Cicero Magazine, American Photo, PDN and others. She is currently head of the photography program at Wesleyan.

Sasha Rudensky

Sasha Rudensky at “Tinsel and Blue,” June 8. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell)

Register for Wesleyan’s Mystery Novel Conference

mysterium
Readers and writers are invited to a day of mystery, workshops and intrigue during Wesleyan’s inaugural Mysterium: The Mystery Novel Conference on Oct. 8.

The conference is hosted by Amy Bloom, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing, and taught by New York publishers, publicists and nationally-known agents, and well-known writers. New York Times best-selling author Laura Lippman headlines, followed by Master Classes in writing with best-selling authors Stephen Carter and Barbara Ross. Learn more about the Mysterium speakers here.

“One of the great pleasures of mysteries—of all wonderful fiction—is that it allows the reader to slip into another life, another time, a different being,” says Bloom. “There’s that, and then there’s the particular pleasure of the mystery and thriller genre: it’s not only darkly pleasurable but also comforting. The catastrophe is fictional, not our own. What could be better than comfort, entertainment, and the act of being transported?”

Space is limited and registration is accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost is $100 per person and includes all sessions and lunch. Book signings, a vendor show and a cocktail party conclude the day-long conference.

This conference is sponsored by Writing at Wesleyan: the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing, the English Department, and the Writing Certificate Program.

Register for the Mystery Novel Conference online. For more information, e-mail jennifer@amybloom.com.

Master Drummer Adzenyah Celebrated at Ceremony, Hall Dedication

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, at right, congratulates Abraham Adzenyah for teaching at Wesleyan 46 years and for the naming of the Abraham Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall (formerly the Center for the Arts Rehearsal Hall). A ribbon cutting ceremony took place May 7.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, at right, congratulates Abraham Adzenyah for teaching at Wesleyan 46 years and for the naming of the Abraham Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall (formerly the Center for the Arts Rehearsal Hall). A ribbon cutting ceremony took place May 7.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, was honored with a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students (View photo set here). Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

Abraham Adzenyah speaks to the audience.

Abraham Adzenyah speaks to the audience.

During the event, Adzenyah was honored with the naming of the Abraham Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall (formerly the Center for the Arts Rehearsal Hall). This is the first time that a leading U.S. university has named a building after a traditional African musician. In addition, grateful students, alumni and friends have raised more than $225,000 to establish the Abraham Adzenyah Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship.

“West African drumming has been one of the most important parts of our Music Department since the beginning of our World Music Program in the 1960s,” said Professor of Music Eric Charry. “Abraham Adzenyah has been the pillar of the World Music Program, being here for so many decades and training so many of our students. He has been such a valued colleague within our Music Department. He has such breadth and depth of experience, and it’s just a pleasure to have had him around and for him to have offered the kinds of expertise that he does.”

Early in his career, Abraham Adzenyah studied, performed, and taught drumming in his native Ghana, including five years of formal study in music, dance, and drama at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana. He was one of the first artists to be named Master Drummer in the Ghana National Dance Ensemble. On arriving at Wesleyan in 1969, he began to offer courses in West African music, dance, and culture. He received a BA in liberal arts from Goddard College in 1976, and an MA in music from Wesleyan in 1979.

Throughout his years at Wesleyan, Adzenyah was a visiting artist and teacher at dozens of workshops, colleges and conservatories, and has performed all over the world, alone and with eminent musicians such as the late Wesleyan Artist in Residence Ed Blackwell, Wesleyan’s John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Emeritus Anthony Braxton, Hugh Masekela, Steve Gadd, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Ornette Coleman and Rufus Reid. He has also influenced and inspired students and professional musicians through his recordings. While at Wesleyan, Adzenyah received the Afro-Caribbean World Music Symposium Achievement Award and the Percussive Arts Society Award.

Adzenyah was featured in the May 7 Hartford Courant in an article titled “A Unique Honor for Retiring Master Drummer at Wesleyan.”

The celebration was co-sponsored by the Center for the Arts, the Music Department, the Office of the Dean of Arts and Humanities, and University Relations.

Several past and present students, faculty and friends attended the celebration.

Several past and present students and faculty attended the celebration.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts,

Adzenyah was honored with a farewell concert.

The afternoon concert featured Wesleyan's  West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble, Tufts University's Kiniwe Ensemble with the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Kekeli African Music and Dance Ensemble, Berklee College of Music's West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Montclair State University's West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble with the Rhythm Monsters, and Ayanda Clarke '99.

The afternoon concert featured Wesleyan’s  West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble, Tufts University’s Kiniwe Ensemble with the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Kekeli African Music and Dance Ensemble, Berklee College of Music’s West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Montclair State University’s West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble with the Rhythm Monsters, and Ayanda Clarke ’99. (Photos by Caroline Kravitz ’19)

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

On May 7, Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, emeritus, returned to campus for a ceremony, farewell concerts, and reunion featuring past and present students. Adzenyah taught West African music, dance and culture at Wesleyan for 46 years and retired in May.

Hamilton Breaks Tony Award Nomination Record

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 and Thomas Kail ’99. (Photo by Robert Adam Mayer

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 and Thomas Kail ’99. (Photo by Robert Adam Mayer)

Hamilton, written by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 and directed by Thomas Kail ’99, received a record-breaking 16 Tony Award nominations on May 3, including nods for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Kail) Best Actor in a Musical (Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr.), Best Book (Miranda), Best Original Score (Miranda), Best Featured Actor in a Musical (three nominations), Best Actress in a Musical, Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Costume Design of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, and Best Orchestrations. The 16 total nominations broke the previous record of 15, shared by Billy Elliot (2009) and The Producers (2001). The Producers holds the current record for most Tony Award wins for a musical, with a total of 12.

The 70th Annual Tony Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, June 12, 2016, at the Beacon Theater in New York. The event will be televised live on CBS from 8 to 11 p.m. ET.

Last month, Miranda won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Hamilton. 

Wesleyan Students Partner with City Water, Sewer Workers for Unique Show

Juliana Castro '19, Michael Edwards '16, and Melissa Leung '16 are among the students who have been working with the city's Water and Sewer Department to create a performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 9. (Photo courtesy of The Middletown Press).

Juliana Castro ’19, Michael Edwards ’16, and Melissa Leung ’16 are among the students who have been working with the city’s Water and Sewer Department to create a performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 7. (Photo courtesy of The Middletown Press).

This spring, Allison Orr, the Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment, is leading a group of Wesleyan students in partnering with the city of Middletown’s Water and Sewer Department to develop a unique performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 7. The performance starts at noon at Harbor Park.

Allison Orr

Allison Orr

According to this story in The Middletown Press, Orr has long used “her choreography talent to expose the work of those who would otherwise go unnoticed.” She is the artistic director of Forklift Danceworks, and is known for “Trash Dance,” a 2012 documentary film that explored the work of the Austin, Texas Sanitation Department.

“What I do is I embed myself within these groups of employees over a period of time,” Orr said. “I convince them to come along with me and we create together performances that educate people about the work.”

Under her direction, eight Wesleyan students “joined” the city’s water department. Since February, they have been collecting interviews, shadowing employees and studying their movements to create a performance based on the workers’ daily lives, and raise awareness about how they keep Middletown’s waterfront clean.

For Gretchen LaMotte ’18, this performance is not only a way to bridge a gap between the Wesleyan community and Middletown, but is also an opportunity for her to bring the Water and Sewer Department’s work to the forefront.

“All of this is invisible work that is supporting the infrastructure of our daily lives. I’m excited about this performance because hopefully it will make that work more visible,” LaMotte said.

In March, Orr also taught movement classes to students at the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center.

“Wes Out-Loud” Theater Performance Takes Audience on Site-Specific Auditory Journey

During the "Wes Out-Loud" performance, audience members wore wireless headsets to listen to recorded stories of place created for various sites on campus.

During the “Wes Out-Loud” performance, audience members wore wireless headsets to listen to recorded stories of place created for various sites on campus.

The Theater Department presented “Wes Out-Loud: Stories of Place” April 28 on campus.

“Wes Out-Loud: Stories of Place” is a site-specific auditory journey conceived and created for the Wesleyan campus through a collaboration between theater students and Assistant Professor of Theater Marcela Oteíza. “Wes Out-Loud” invited the audience to experience Wesleyan as a scenographic space by inserting new narratives into everyday sites.

The juxtaposition of place and stories presented the richness and diversity of the students on campus and promoted inclusiveness.

Audience members wore wireless headsets to listen to the recorded stories of place created for each site. The performance, led by Wesleyan students, covered a one-and-a-half mile loop through campus.

The journey includes stories of current students who wrote a piece specific to Wesleyan and the space that Wesleyan occupies.

“Wesleyan is an intensely personal space to me. It is the place where I have experienced the most growth and had the most memorable experiences of my life thus far. Given its significance, the memories of Wesleyan are positive, negative, and everywhere in between,” said collaborator Jess Cummings ’17. “I wanted to focus on disparities between positive and negative, especially those which I often hide. I also wanted to emphasize the way that these memories take on a spatiality and transform the spaces which the original events occurred in. I hope that listening to my story, as well as everyone else’s, will allow members of our Wesleyan community and beyond to question their relationships to the spaces they inhabit everyday and recognize the lasting effects that memory and space leave on their lives.”

“Wes Out-Loud” was recorded with a binaural, 3D-surround-sound system — a method that emulates the workings of human auditory perception, explained Marcela Oteíza. “Utilizing an actual scale model of left and right ears, the recording system works with the premise that it is the architecture of our anatomy that dictates how we understand the sounds we hear,” she said.

Additional performances will take place on April 29, April 30 and May 1.

Quigley ’08 is Knight Cities Challenge Winner

Caitlin Quigley ’08 received a Knight Cities Fellowship for her project, "20 Book Clubs, 20 Cooperative Businesses."

Caitlin Quigley ’08 won a Knight Cities Challenge for her project in Philadelphia: “20 Book Clubs, 20 Cooperative Businesses.”

 

(By Margaret Curtis ’16)

Philadelphia-based Caitlin Quigley ’08 was selected as a winner of the Knight Cities Challenge for her project “20 Book Clubs, 20 Cooperative Businesses.” The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded 37 winners out of a pool of more than 4,500 applicants with a share of $5 million to support one of the 26 communities in which the foundation invests.

Quigley and her organization, the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA), were awarded $146,000 to implement her project, which will support neighborhood businesses. Quigley’s project will form 20 community-based book clubs of six to 12 people who will choose readings, films, and field trips that pertain to cooperatives. In six months, each book club will identify a business need in their neighborhood—such as a lack of grocery stores, credit unions, childcare centers, hardware stores, or artist studios—and form a business cooperative to meet that need.

PACA is a cooperative and a 501(c)3 nonprofit that aims to support the local economy by promoting local cooperatives.

The mission of the Knight Cities Challenge is to support initiatives that aid growing communities through what the Knight Foundation calls the “three drivers of city success:” attracting and keeping talented people, expanding economic opportunities, and creating a culture of civic engagement.

“This project will bring together residents to learn and work collaboratively in order to build long-lasting community-owned businesses,” Quigley said.

At Wesleyan, she double majored in Spanish and film studies.