Tag Archive for alumni

NYT Features Stephens ’07 Among China-Bound Grads

A recent New York Times story noting that Shanghai and Beijing are “new lands of opportunity for recent American college graduates” featured Joshua Arjuna Stephens ’07, who took a temporary job with China Prep, an educational travel company.

Stephens told the Times that he new little about China and didn’t speak the language, but he wanted to “do something off the beaten track.”

Now, two years after leaving for China, his is fluent in Mandarin and works as a manager for XPD Media, a social media company based in Beijing that makes online games.

Young Americans are attracted by the entrepreneurial boom in China, according to the Times. Part of the draw is that they often find that they can climb the career ladder much faster in China than they would in the United States, and that starting a business can be very inexpensive.

Miller ’99: A Top 20 Canadian Film Maker

Garfield Lindsay Miller '99 is the writer/producer of <em>The Last New Year</em>, which debuted at the Victoria Film Fest as the Canadian Gala Film. (Photo by Kerry Haynes/North Shore Outlook)

Garfield Lindsay Miller '99 is the writer/producer of The Last New Year, which debuted at the Victoria Film Fest as the Canadian Gala Film. (Photo by Kerry Haynes/North Shore Outlook)

Garfield Lindsay Miller ’99 is featured in a July 29 article titled “Dramatic Choices,” published by the BC Local News North Shore Outlook section.

Miller’s filmmaking resume includes co-writing and producing the award-winning and Gemini-nominated documentary The Fires that Burn about Sister Elaine MacInnes and co-writing Stone’s Throw, an award-winning dramatic feature film set in Nova Scotia – among many other film credits. Most recently, Miller, who is back living in British Columbia, was voted one of the top 20 Top Canadian Film Makers by a jury of his peers.

Miller’s new feature film, The Last New Year, which recently debuted at the Victoria Film Fest as the Canadian Gala Film, has already garnered rave reviews. The film explores the relationships between a group of friends who made a pact in high school to get together each New Year’s Eve.

The online article mentions how Miller transferred to Wesleyan to study English and play baseball. He signed up for the History of World Cinema and worked as a TA in Wesleyan’s Film Studies Department.

“I realized film had the potential to be an art form – I’d never realized that before, I always just though of it as entertainment,” he says in the article. “It was there that I (really) discovered film. I took more film (classes) than English (classes).”

After graduation, he returned to B.C. and got a job on a local tech TV show and wrote a screenplay, according to the article.

Gajewski ’02 Named Office of Sustainability Director

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter named Katherine Gajewski ’02 as the new director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

According to a July 18 article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mayor Nutter interviewed several candidates as he searched for someone with political savvy and operational experience who was also a team player. Ultimately, the mayor said, “we found that person and she was just across the hall.” Gajewski was a current staff member in the office.

As an aide to the chief of staff, Gajewski oversaw two citywide “spring cleanups” and advised Nutter on appointments to city boards and commissions. Before joining the administration, she developed a sustainability policy paper as a Nutter campaign volunteer and worked for Breathe Free Philadelphia Alliance, which helped push legislation making the city smoke-free, according to the Inquirer.

Book by Moezzi ’01 a Required Reading at University of Dayton

Book by Melody Moezzi '01

Book by Melody Moezzi ’01

More than 1,700 incoming University of Dayton (UD) students are required to read Melody Moezzi’s ’01 book, War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims, before they arrive on campus Aug. 22 for first-year orientation, according to a July 26 Dayton Daily News article.

The book is an award-winning collection of essays about young American Muslims, Moezzi is an American Muslim of Iranian descent.

UD is a Marianist Catholic university.

Moezzi’s book will serve as the basis for a series of student dialogues on the issue of diversity and differences.

“I hope that they’ll be able to see a human side of Islam and not a politicized version of it, which obviously we all get too much of,” Moezzi said in the article.

“War on Error” was one of 48 books nominated for the first-year read in a UD campus poll. It was selected in part because of Moezzi’s Dayton roots and its timely subject matter.

Tintori ’06 to Direct “Light Boxes”

According to Variety, Ray Tintori ’06 is slated to direct Shane Jones’ debut novel “Light Boxes.” Spike Jonze has acquired feature rights.

“Light Boxes,” published earlier this year by Genius Press, is centered on a mysterious town that endures a deadly 1,000-day winter.

Tintori’s directed numerous music videos plus short films “Jettison Your Loved Ones” and “Death to the Tinman,” the later of which was completed while he was a student at Wesleyan and later featured at the Sundance Film Festival.

Transformers Sequel Directed by Bay ’86 is a Huge International Hit

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Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. (Paramount Pictures)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen directed by Michael Bay ’86 with a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman ’95, opened in late June to mixed reviews, but the film, a sequel to Transformers (2007), sold some $201.2 million in tickets at North American theaters over its first five days as the number one film at the box office.

In his review of the film in The New York Times, A. O. Scott wrote:
“Mr. Bay is an auteur. His signature adorns every image in his movies … and every single one is inscribed with a specific worldview and moral sensibility.”

In the latest film based on Hasbro toys, the young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is on his way to college but is compelled to join the Autobots robots in an intergalactic feud against their sworn enemies, the Decepticons.

The weekend of July 10-12, Transformers 2 remained very popular at the domestic box office, grossing $24.2 million from more than 4,200 screens for a total of $339.2 million in its third weekend. Overseas during the same weekend, the film continued to attract large audiences, grossing $32.5 million from 63 territories for a total of $364.5 million. The picture has done particularly well in Asia, and had a strong debut in India.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has made $703.7 million worldwide.

Art Work by Harrison ’89 at Bard College

Artwork by Rachel Harrison '89 is on display in New York City.

Large-scale installations by Rachel Harrison '89 are on exhibit at Bard College.

Now through Dec. 20, the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. presents Consider the Lobster, the first major survey of New York-based artist Rachel Harrison ’89. Named after an essay by the late David Foster Wallace, this exhibition encompasses more than 10 years of large-scale installations by Harrison, all of which will be reconfigured for the CCS Bard galleries, as well as a number of the autonomous sculptural and photographic works for which she is best known.

In addition to Rachel Harrison’s work in the CCS Bard Galleries, six artists, including Nayland Blake, Tom Burr, Harry Dodge, Alix Lambert, Allen Ruppersberg and Andrea Zittel, have collaborated with Harrison to re-install works from the Marieluise Hessel Collection.

In a recent review of the exhibition in The New York Times, Holland Cotter wrote: “Ms. Harrison … is often called a sculptor, which is accurate. But she is also, and simultaneously, a painter, photographer, video maker, collagist and installation artist. She has the databank brain of a historian, the magpie instincts of a collector and a curator’s exacting eye. Her work is figurative and abstract, casually piled on and highly deliberated, zany and chilly. ”

Consider the Lobster is a collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery in London, where the exhibition will be on view from April 27 through June 20, 2010.
For more information, visit http://www.bard.edu/ccs/ or call 845-758-7598.

Schafer ’85 Translates Mexican Poet David Huerta

Book by Mark Schafer '85.

Book by Mark Schafer '85.

Mark Schafer ’85 is the translator for Before Saying Any of the Great Words: Selected Poems of David Huerta (Copper Canyon Press, 2009), a bilingual anthology of one of Mexico’s foremost living poets, David Huerta. The collection contains translations of 84 of Huerta’s poems selected from 12 of his 19 collections along with the original Spanish-language poems. The book is a powerful antidote to recent news coverage of Mexico that depicts the country as often violent and drug-ridden.

Huerta has been a central figure in two of the most influential poetic movements in late-20th-century Latin America—the neobaroque movement and that of postmodern language poetry. His imagery, intertextuality, and dense lyricism remain unparalleled in Mexican letters. In 2005 he was awarded the prestigious Xavier Villaurrutia Prize for his lifelong contributions to Mexican literature.

A graduate of Wesleyan’s College of Letters, Schafer has worked as a literary translator for 25 years. His career started with his senior year thesis, which he expanded and later published.

He edited and translated Before Saying Any of the Great Words with the support of a NEA translation fellowship. He also has received a variety of honors for his translations including grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Fund for Culture Mexico-USA, an NEA translation fellowship, and the Robert Fitzgerald Translations Prize. Translations in the Huerta anthology previously appeared in more than 15 literary journals, including American Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, BOMB Magazine, Massachusetts Review, Salamander, and Review: Latin American Literature and Arts.

Rau ’05 Directs Comedy at Two Summer Play Festivals in NYC

Michael Rau ’05 is the director of the play Evanston: A Rare Comedy by Michael Yates Crowley at the Undergroundzero Festival at P.S. 122 (150 First Ave.) July 14–17 and at the Summer Sublet Series at HERE! Arts Center 145 Sixth Ave., between Spring and Broome Streets, enter on Dominick Street) Aug.  3–5 in New York City.

Presented by Wolf 359, Evanston: A Rare Comedy begins with the disappearance of a teenage girl in deepest suburbia and ends when a meeting of The Evanston Women’s Book Club goes horribly awry. In between, a transgender student dreams of death, a housewife dreams of Mexico, an economics professor has an affair with a Whole Foods check-out clerk, and the financial crisis rages on. The latest show from the Wolf 359 team is inspired by the words of Psalm 137 and the streets of Evanston, Ill.

Wolf 359, founded in 2007 by playwright Crowley and director Rau, is dedicated to radical new theater. Its last show, The Ted Haggard Monologues, was a New York Magazine Critic’s Pick and was filmed by HBO and presented in Germany as part of a festival of new American plays. Crowley and Rau are currently artists-in-residence at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City, where their adaptation of Gilgamesh, titled Rag Fur Blood Bone, was performed in March 2009.

Performances of Evanston: A Rare Comedy at P.S. 122:
July 14, 15, 16 at 9:30 p.m.
July 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Call 212-352-3101 or visit http://www.ps122.org

Performances at HERE! Arts Center:
August 3, 4, 5 at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: Call 212-352-3101 or visit www.here.org

Writer/Director Whedon ’87 Shasha Seminar Keynote

How Movies and TV Get Made."

Joss Whedon '87, Academy Award-nominated and Hugo Award-winning writer, a director, an executive producer, was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns. The three-day seminar focused on "Defining American Culture: How Movies and TV Get Made."

Whedon spoke to members of the audience following his talk May 30. He was the writer, director, and executive producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. His latest creative project is the new TV series Dollhouse.

Whedon spoke to members of the audience following his talk May 30. He was the writer, director, and executive producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. His latest creative project is the new TV series Dollhouse.

Pictured in center, Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, curator of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives, chair of the Film Studies Department, was the Shasha Seminar's facilitator.

Pictured in center, Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, curator of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives, chair of the Film Studies Department, was the Shasha Seminar's facilitator.

Wheadon and Basinger spoke to Shasha Seminar attendees and Wesleyan students at a pre-address dinner May 30. (Photos by Bill Burkhart, university photographer)

Whedon and Basinger spoke to Shasha Seminar attendees and Wesleyan students at a pre-address dinner May 30. (Photos by Bill Burkhart, university photographer)

Other presenters at the Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns included author Mark Harris; Mark I. Bomback ’93, screenwriter, whose credits include Race to Witch Mountain, Live Free or Die Hard, and Deception; Miguel Arteta, film and television director of Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl, Six Feet Under and Youth in Revolt.

Also Liz Garcia ’99, producer, editor and writer of Cold Case; Evan Katz ’83, screenwriter and the executive producer of the television series 24; David Kendall ’79, director of several television series, including Jonas, Hannah Montana and Growing Pains; Dan Shotz ’99, producer, editor and writer, Jericho, and the new show Harper’s Island; Matthew Greenfield ’90, vice president of production, Fox Searchlight Pictures; Dylan Leiner ’93, executive vice president, acquisitions and production, Sony Pictures Classics; Jason Zolov ’94, market researcher at Home Box Office and Jeffrey S. Lane ’76, five-time Emmy Award-winner and television writer of Mad About You and Cagney and Lacy.

Hinton ’85 Co-Edits Book on Genocide

book by Alexander Laban Hinton ’85.

Book edited by Alexander Laban Hinton ’85.

Alexander Laban Hinton ’85 and Kevin Lewis O’Neill have co-edited Genocide: Truth, Memory, and Representation (Duke University Press), a book of essays in which leading anthropologists consider questions about the relationship of genocide, truth, memory and representation in the Balkans, East Timor, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan and other locales.

These specialists draw on ethnographic research to provide analyses of communities in the wake of mass brutality. They examine how mass violence is described or remembered, and how those representations are altered by the attempts of others, from NGOs to governments, to assert “the truth” about outbreaks of violence.

One contributor questions the neutrality of an international group monitoring violence in Sudan. Another investigates the consequences of how events, victims, and perpetrators are portrayed by the Rwandan government during the annual commemoration of that country’s 1994 genocide. Other writers consider issues of political identity and legitimacy, coping, the media, and ethnic cleansing.

Contributors include Pamela Ballinger, Jennie E. Burnet, Conerly Casey, Elizabeth Drexler, Leslie Dwyer, Alexander Laban Hinton, Sharon E. Hutchinson, Uli Linke, Kevin Lewis O’Neill, Antonius C. G. M. Robben, Debra Rodman, and Victoria Sanford.

Hinton is director of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights and associate professor of anthropology and global affairs at Rutgers University, Newark. He also is the author of Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide and editor of Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide.

Shankar ’94 Studies Young South Asian Americans in Silicon Valley

Book by Shalini Shankar '94.

Book by Shalini Shankar '94.

In her ethnographic account, Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class, and Success in Silicon Valley (Duke University Press), Shalini Shankar ’94 focuses on South Asian American teenagers (“Desis”) during the Silicon Valley dot-com boom.

The diverse students whose stories are told are Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs, from South Asia and other locations, including first- to fourth-generation immigrants whose parents’ careers vary from assembly-line workers to engineers and CEOs.

Shankar analyzes how Desi teens’ conceptions and realizations of success are influenced by community values, cultural practices, language use, and material culture, and she provides a compassionate portrait of a vibrant culture in a changing urban environment.

Whether she is considering instant messaging, arranged marriages, or the pressures of the model minority myth, the author keeps the teens’ voices, perspectives and stories front and center. She looks at how Desi teens interact with dialogue and songs from Bollywood films as well as how they use their heritage language in ways that inform local meanings of ethnicity while they also connect to a broader South Asian diasporic consciousness.

Shankar is assistant professor of anthropology and Asian American studies at Northwestern University.