He Buys White Albums (Nov. 2)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks to Rutherford Chang ’02, who will be in residence in Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery for the free “We Buy White Albums” event on Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 2pm to 6pm.

Visitors to Zilkha Gallery enjoy the "We Buy White Albums" installation by Rutherford Chang '02 during the Opening Reception for "The Alumni Show II" on September 10, 2013. Photo by Sandy Aldieri.
Visitors to Zilkha Gallery enjoy the “We Buy White Albums” installation by Rutherford Chang ’02 during the Opening Reception for “The Alumni Show II” on September 10, 2013. Photo by Sandy Aldieri.

Rutherford Chang ’02 purchased his first copy of The Beatles The White Album at a garage sale at age fifteen.  Since then he has acquired 856 more copies, all first pressings.  His collection of 857 White Albums is currently on display in Wesleyan’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery as part of The Alumni Show II.

The installation artwork, We Buy White Albums, displays 100 of them on a wall and the rest in bins, à la record store, that visitors can browse, admire, and even listen to on a record player. Mr. Chang also presents a new version of the album, which he created by layering and overlapping the 100 copies displayed on the wall.

When The Beatles released The White Album in 1968 over three million original copies flooded record stores.  Except for the band’s name embossed in small black font and a serial number in the bottom right-hand corner, the albums appeared in identical stark white sleeves.  Now, no two White Albums are the same, each having aged in its own unique way over the past forty-five years.  Some have yellowed more than others, most are scratched or water-stained, and many have been treated like blank canvases for doodles and personal notes.

Mr. Chang’s installation pays homage to the iconic album as a cultural artifact, an ever-changing relic from the past, an opportunity for reinvention, and an artwork in and of itself.  “They have all become these unique historic items,” says Mr. Chang.  “They all sound slightly different because of the age.”

Working with found objects has always interested Mr. Chang.  At Wesleyan he incorporated news publications and collage into his senior thesis, and he has continued to play with reinventing existing materials in his art.  In this way, We Buy White Albums is conceptually linked to much of his previous work, although the installation is far from a two-dimensional collage.  “It’s related in that it’s working with this already existing cultural material, and putting it together or rearranging it so you can see something new in it,” he explains.

The installation also signifies a departure from his previous work, which never before incorporated music or sound to this degree.  For his recent exhibition of We Buy White Albums at Recess in New York City, he created this new version of the album from layering the 100 copies displayed on the wall.  All 100 albums begin to play at the same time but then diverge and drift apart due to how they’ve warped and aged over the years.  Although most of the tracks are not drastically different from one another, some are as much as a minute off from others.

Just as each White Album continues to change and evolve, so does the installation as Mr. Chang adds more copies to his collection. Of over three million first pressings in existence, he has 857 but never stops looking for more.  “I suppose it [We Buy White Albums] could be ongoing until I get all of them, so I have a long way to go,” he jokes.

Initially purchased primarily from record stores, he now receives more and more donations.  “A lot of people came to me with their albums,” he says of his recent exhibit at Recess.  “They traveled really far to give me their White Albums, and I met a lot of people then who had had their album for forty-five years.”

This Saturday, November 2 from 2pm to 6pm, Mr. Chang will be at the Zilkha Gallery for an exciting performance event as part of this year’s Homecoming/Family Weekend.  We encourage you to bring your own White Album (if you have one!), or perhaps dig through the dusty boxes in your parents’ closets to unearth one.  Either way, we encourage you to bring yours to the gallery this Saturday and contribute it to this truly one-of-a-kind installation.

“We Buy White Albums” Event by Rutherford Chang ’02
Saturday, November 2 from 2pm to 6pm
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery

Browse and listen to a collection of over 850 first-pressings of The Beatles’ 1968 album known as “The White Album,” and sell your copy to Rutherford Chang ’02. Mr. Chang will offer up to $20 for albums brought to Zilkha Gallery, and happily accepts donations as well.

Center for the Arts Stories: Allison Hurd ’11

Allison Hurd '11. Photo by Yannick Bindert.
Allison Hurd ’11. Photo by Yannick Bindert.

Center for the Arts Story: Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts was, undoubtedly, one of the most integral aspects of my college experience. I always thought of it as a kind of vibratory sanctuary where an incredible amount of creativity and exploration was happening. The activity that took place in so many of its spaces helped me realize a charged, yet meditative relationship to artistic experience. Gamelan concerts in the World Music Hall, Studio Art theses in the Zilkha Gallery, Theater productions like Big Love, Film thesis screenings in the Goldsmith Family Cinema, Pedro Alejandro’s site-specific dance No Eggshells/Outside — these are just a few of the resonating experiences afforded to me by the CFA. Furthermore, because of the CFA’s Creative Campus Fellowship, I was offered a remarkable internship with the Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group of Brooklyn, New York. Without the efforts of the CFA to foster relationships between students and artists working in the professional field, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity, which greatly influenced my development as an artistic thinker and doer.

Favorite Course: “Pathological Citizens: The Politics and Poetics of Disease in Latin American Literature,” taught by Lina Meruane of the Spanish department; and “Dance and Technology,” taught by Rachel Boggia of the Dance department, were two of the most illuminating courses I took at Wesleyan. Both introduced me to a world of knowledge and progressive thinking that continue to inform my scholarly pursuits. Through discussion as well as written and creative projects, Professors Meruane and Boggia allowed each student to access his or her individual strengths in relation to the course material, which, ultimately, led to profound internal discovery and realization.

Favorite Professor: While I was deeply impacted by the teaching of many professors, Henry Abelove has always stood out in my memory. My experience in his course on British literature revealed his unique ability to inspire the attentiveness and accountability of his students. Accordingly, the close reading skills that Professor Abelove helped cultivate in his classroom have enhanced my approach to learning beyond measure. The grace, good humor, and egalitarian spirit with which he engaged his students have, jointly, served as a daily model for how I hope to shape my own interactions with others.

Thesis Title: “Enlightened Visions of the Imaginative Form: A Comparative Analysis of Modern Dance and the Independent Cinema of Maya Deren”

New Trees at the CFA

Pamela Tatge, Director of the Center for the Arts, discusses the four new trees planted in honor of the CFA’s 40th anniversary, to be dedicated at the concert by Amy Crawford + STORM and mamarazzi on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall.

If you’ve ever taken a stroll through the Center for the Arts courtyard before a performance, or sat out on the lawn for an outdoor concert, you know how important the trees are to the architecture of the CFA. Architect Kevin Roche designed the buildings around the trees back in the early seventies, making sure that the building equipment would have as little impact on them as possible.  Over the past forty years, many of the trees have died from extreme weather conditions and disease.  In honor of the CFA’s 40th anniversary, the University has planted four new trees including one right outside the window of my office on the second floor of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. Here’s a picture of them planting it earlier this month.

DSC_6030[2]This beautiful red maple replaces a willow tree we lost during Hurricane Irene.  It’s wonderful to come into work every day and see that little tree blowing in the breeze, knowing that one day it will grow to be every bit as majestic as its older brothers and sisters in the complex.

There is also a new paper bark maple between Art Studio South and the Music Studios, a beech tree near the World Music Hall’s north stairwell, and another paper bark maple between the Skull and Serpent building and Music Studios.

Please join us for the 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert of music alumni this Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm when the trees will be dedicated, or just come by and take a stroll and welcome them to the CFA!

CFA 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert:
Amy Crawford + STORM and mamarazzi

Featuring Music Alumni of the Past Decade
Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm
Crowell Concert Hall
$20 general public; $18 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, non-Wesleyan students; $15 Wesleyan alumni; $6 Wesleyan students

Center for the Arts Stories: Yelena Sayko ’10

Yelena Sayko '10
Yelena Sayko ’10

Center for the Arts Story: As is typical for many who wish to pursue a career in the arts – in my case, theater – the most obvious path was a career in design, acting, or directing. However, once I began working in the administration office of the Center for the Arts as the Marketing Assistant, a whole new world opened up to me. I was creatively challenged and fulfilled in a way that I never thought possible. Furthermore, experience in a professional office environment prepared me for internships and jobs in “the real world.” It’s not facetious to say that the Center for the Arts is responsible for my decision to pursue a career in arts marketing, which I have been doing in New York City since graduating in 2010.

Favorite Course: I took an improvisation class with David Jaffe my sophomore year that was actually life-altering. It really helped me come out of my shell and be more assertive. For better or worse!

Favorite Professor: I was never a History major, but if I had taken a class with Magda Teter before my Senior year, I might very well have ended up as one.

Liz Magic Laser ‘03: Exposing the Absurdities We Take for Granted (Oct. 17)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks to Professor of Art Jeffrey Schiff about Liz Magic Laser ’03, whose films will be shown during a free screening on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 7pm in the Powell Family Cinema at the Center for Film Studies.

Liz Magic Laser, “Distressed,” 2009, single-channel video.

We invite you to get to know the world of Liz Magic Laser ’03 (and yes, that is her given name).  She’s a performance-based artist living in Brooklyn, New York with an eye for the unexpected. Merging live theater, film, and video, her work often appears when you least expect it — in a bank vestibule, movie theater, or newsroom, or on the sidewalk one Saturday afternoon. Ms. Laser uses these public spaces as platforms for deconstructing the mechanisms of political melodrama.  By appropriating performance techniques and psychological strategies employed by the media and politicians, she calls attention to the ways in which public opinion can be influenced and shaped.

This Thursday at 7pm, there will be a screening of three short films by Ms. Laser in the Powell Family Cinema at the Center for Film Studies.  A graduate of Wesleyan’s class of 2003, her work is presented in conjunction with The Alumni Show II which is on display in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery through Sunday, December 8, 2013.

The first film in the series, Distressed, features five professional modern dancers working hard to distress their new blue jeans on a bustling sidewalk.  In the second film, Mine, a medical robot performs a series of surgical maneuvers on Ms. Laser’s handbag, removing and piling her ID cards, spare coins, and lipsticks into something resembling an abstract expressionist assemblage.  The third film, Flight, presents a series of fast-paced chase scenes that blur the line between the chaser and the chased.  This eclectic trio of films reflects Ms. Laser’s interdisciplinary inclinations, which she says stem from the interdisciplinary approach emphasized at Wesleyan.

One of her former professors at Wesleyan, Professor of Art Jeffrey Schiff, remembers her as a curious, avid, and experimental student. He recalls a series of large color photographs that she made of caviar while in one of his classes, commenting on her creativity and versatility as a young artist. She had a knack for photography, but consistently expressed interest in other mediums, and later turned to performance art in her graduate studies at Columbia University in New York.

Recently, Ms. Laser has gained a lot of exciting visibility, and just this year she served as the commissioned artist for the 2013 Armory Show, one of the largest international contemporary art fairs. Also this year, she has had solo exhibitions at the Westfälischer Kunstverein in Münster, Germany, for which she received the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation Grant, and at DiverseWorks in Houston, Texas.

Given the potency of her work it is no surprise that she’s gaining international acclaim as an artist interested in contemporary concerns. “Liz has found a way of investigating relations between artist and audience, and the mediated political theater that we are all subjected to by mass media, that is unsettling, disturbing and amusing,” said Professor Schiff.  “Her work has been very good at exposing the absurdities we take for granted.”

Films by Liz Magic Laser ’03
“Distressed” (2009), “Mine” (2009), and “Flight” (2011)
Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 7pm
Powell Family Cinema, Center for Film Studies, 301 Washington Terrace, Middletown

Center for the Arts Stories: Alexandra Provo ’10

Alexandra Provo '10
Alexandra Provo ’10

Center for the Arts Story: I found the Center for the Arts through an unexpected route: my extracurricular activities in the Environmental Organizers Network (EON). As an Art History person, I’d always been involved in what was happening on the other side of the CFA green, but it wasn’t until I by chance attended a meeting about the first Feet to the Fire Festival that I really got to know the CFA. I kept going to planning meetings, and before long I found myself co-leading a student forum on environmental art and helping with logistics for the festival. As part of the student forum, I co-created an animation about the carbon cycle, but the best part about the actual day of the festival definitely wasn’t seeing my own work: it was getting to see the work of so many artists and thinkers (dancers, musicians, biologists, sculptors, and more) and the Middletown community (professors, students, and citizens) come together. That was really when the value of interdisciplinary work became clear to me.

The Feet to the Fire Festival in May 2008 allowed me to deepen interests I already had, while simultaneously discovering things totally new to me. At the same time that my two major passions serendipitously came together, I was introduced to the related (but new for me) field of performing arts. That became another passion, and as a senior I returned to the CFA as the Arts Administration Intern.

Interdisciplinary work and cultural planning became dominant threads in the rest of my Wesleyan experience. Even though I spent most of my time in the same corner of campus (between the CFA and the Davison Art Center), I found a lot of boundary-breaking activity there, and that broadness defined my time at Wesleyan. Actually, it’s still defining me: I found my current path (library and information science) through a studio art class about information theory I took with Jeffrey Schiff.

Favorite Course: Topics in Studio Art

Favorite Professor: impossible to choose just one!

Thesis Title: “Notions of Method: Text and Photograph in Methods of Connoisseurship” (Art History)

37th annual Navaratri Festival features world famous flute virtuoso and acclaimed Bharatanatyam dancer (Oct. 10-13)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 discusses the 37th annual Navaratri Festival at Wesleyan, which takes place from Thursday, October 10 through Sunday, October 13, 2013.

The sound spirals from Shashank Subramanyam’s bamboo flute, lingering in the air, each note like a bird taking flight. The cadence flutters, falls, and rises again. He sits at ease before the mesmerized audience. He has done this a million times before and traveled all over the world to perform, from the President’s Palace in New Delhi to the Improvisation Festival in Switzerland to the World Flute Conference in Nashville. His next destination? Middletown, Connecticut for Wesleyan’s 37th annual Navaratri Festival.

One of India’s major festival traditions, Navaratri literally means “nine nights.” During this time, there are nine consecutive nights of music and dance performances all across India. 37 years ago, Wesleyan’s first ever visiting artist for World Music and his brother began the tradition of celebrating Navaratri at Wesleyan. The festival has become one of the University’s most cherished and unique traditions, and Wesleyan Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music B. Balasubrahmaniyan (Balu) says there are no other festivals of its nature or scale in the United States. This year’s festival brings two world famous artists to campus, one for the second time, and the other for the first.

Shashank Subramanyam
Shashank Subramanyam

Mr. Subramanyam performed at Wesleyan’s Navaratri Festival in September 2003 [during the 30th anniversary season of the Center for the Arts], and it is a great honor to welcome him back this year. Deemed a child prodigy, he has played a defining role in classical Indian music for the past three decades. In 1984, only six years old at the time, he played with a top-ranking accompanist in his debut performance. At age twelve, he became the youngest musician to ever perform the senior-most slot at the Music Academy, Chennai, a performance typically entrusted to legendary musicians.  Since then, he himself has become a legend of classical Indian music.

Balu describes Mr. Subramanyam as a “self-made musician” and speaks to his extraordinary talent and remarkable versatility.  According to Balu, “he can handle any type of composition with ease.” Mr. Subramanyam has collaborated with many other musicians, including jazz and folk musicians, and in 2009 he received a Grammy Award nomination for the album Floating Point with John McLaughlin.  At Wesleyan, Nishanth Chandran will join him on violin and Sai Giridhar on mridangam.  The performance will take place in Crowell Concert Hall on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 8pm. Earlier that day, at 3pm in Crowell Concert Hall, Mr. Subramanyam will give a free lecture/demonstration.

Aparna Ramaswamy
Aparna Ramaswamy

On Sunday, another world famous artist, dancer Aparna Ramaswamy, takes the stage in Crowell Concert Hall for the Connecticut premiere of Sannidhi (Sacred Space).  Ms. Ramaswamy has also performed all across the globe, but never before at Wesleyan [or in Connecticut]. She is a disciple of Alarmel Valli, one of the greatest Bharatanatyam dancers today, and like her legendary teacher, Ms. Ramaswamy infuses traditional Bharatanatyam dance with her own contemporary aesthetic. Wesleyan Assistant Professor of Dance Hari Krishnan explains, “Aparna uses the classical grammar of Bharatanatyam as a framework, a kind of empty canvas upon which she imprints hues, colors and tints of her personality.”

A new solo dance work, Sannidhi (Sacred Space) explores how the stage can be transformed into a spiritual site. The performance employs the rich tradition of Bharatanatyam dance as a means of posing timeless questions about space and spirituality. “Aparna has created an exciting, brand new repertoire of dances that take audiences on a journey of kinesthetic spectacle, emotional intensity, and gorgeous musicality,” Mr. Krishnan said. “She is always present on stage and engages with the audiences with every fiber of her being.”  Sannidhi (Sacred Space) will take place at 3pm on Sunday, October 13, 2013 and will include a post-performance question-and-answer session with Ms. Ramaswamy.

[Click here to read the October 8 article by Siobhan Burke in The New York Times, Pleasing Deities, and the Eyes, With Storytelling Steps From India, which includes a review of Sannidhi (Sacred Space).]

Navaratri is a celebration of music and dance, a time to rejoice, share food, and be with family and friends.  We hope you will join us in welcoming Mr. Subramanyam and Ms. Ramaswamy into our community.

37th annual Navaratri Festival

Henna and Chaat hosted by Shakti
Thursday, October 10, 2013 from 7pm to 9pm
Olin Library Lobby

B. Balasubrahmaniyan: Vocal Music of South India
Friday, October 11, 2013 at 8pm
Crowell Concert Hall
$12 general public; $10 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students

Talk by Assistant Professor of Dance Hari Krishnan:
“Celluloid Classicism–Intertwined Histories of the South Indian ‘Dance Revival’ and Early South Indian Cinema

Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 1pm
CFA Hall

Lecture/Demonstration by Shashank Subramanyam
Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 3pm
Crowell Concert Hall

Shashank Subramanyam
Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 8pm
Crowell Concert Hall
$15 general public; $12 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students

Saraswati Puja (Hindu Ceremony)
Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 11am
World Music Hall

Aparna Ramaswamy: Sannidhi (Sacred Space)
Connecticut Premiere
Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 3pm

Crowell Concert Hall
$15 general public; $12 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students

Made possible by the Music Department, the Center for the Arts, the Jon B. Higgins Memorial Fund, the Madhu Reddy Endowed Fund for Indian Music and Dance at Wesleyan University, the Raga Club of Connecticut, the New England Foundation for the Arts, Middlesex Community College, Haveli Indian Restaurant, and individual patrons.

Center for the Arts Stories: Grace Overbeke ’08

Grace Overbeke '08
Grace Overbeke ’08

Center for the Arts Story: Most productions of The Tempest do not feature a death scene in which the clown Trinculo delivers a dying soliloquy composed entirely of duck-quacks, as he is devoured by a Balinese dragon puppet. And I humbly believe that they are the poorer for it. In Wesleyan University’s 2005 production Caliban Remembers: A Balinese Tempest, Ron Jenkins and Nyoman Catra transformed the massive Center for the Arts Theater into a small, intimate venue, blocking off the regular seating section and bringing the audience onstage so that they could get a closer view of the masked actors and intricate shadow puppets used in this unique adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I was lucky enough to play Trinculo in this ensemble, whose rehearsal process  involved everything from master classes with Bill Irwin (who played Trinculo in the New York Theatre Festival production) to traditional Balinese dance training from Nyoman Catra, one of Bali’s most renowned performers. We worked intensely with masks, with musical instruments, with shadow puppets and with one another to create a piece that drew from myriad cultural traditions and theatrical movements. Not only did that production introduce me to a diverse array of theatrical techniques, it also showed me how an author like Shakespeare—who epitomizes the Western canon—can find new expression and vitality when combined with Eastern influences.

Favorite Course: Solo Performance

Favorite Professor: Ron Jenkins

Thesis Title: “America’s Madwomen: Jewish Female Comedians in the 20th Century”

Alumni Musicians Take the Stage (Nov. 2)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 discusses the Center for the Arts’ 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert 
featuring music alumni of the past decade Amy Crawford + STORM and mamarazzi, which will take place during Homecoming/Family Weekend on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall.

This year the Center for the Arts celebrates its 40th anniversary and a number of Wesleyan alumni artists are returning to campus to join in the festivities. These alumni are photographers, musicians, creative bloggers, installation artists, painters, performers, and more. Together they represent a microcosm of Wesleyan’s thriving and diverse art world. They majored in music, government, art history, neuroscience, and just about every other subject.  They work across disciplines and with mixed medias, constantly pushing the boundaries of creative expression.

The Alumni Show II is currently on view in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery; and on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm, Amy Crawford and Eric Herman, two graduates from the class of 2005, will perform in Crowell Concert Hall along with other alums during the CFA 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert. Featuring music alumni of the past decade, the concert promises to be as diverse as the Wesleyan arts community itself.

Amy Crawford '05
Amy Crawford ’05

Having performed her senior recital in Crowell Concert Hall, Amy Crawford returns to that same stage with jazz ensemble STORM featuring guitarist Jesse Lewis, drummer Jared Schonig, bassist Ike Sturm, and vibraphonist Chris Dingman ’02. Ms. Crawford and Mr. Dingman did not know each other at Wesleyan, but they connected soon after when she reached out to him for some alumni advice on surviving as a musician in the Big Apple. Although they’ve become good friends and worked together on a number of projects since then, this will be the first time Ms. Crawford performs with STORM.

Ms. Crawford describes STORM as a quartet with incredible chemistry, and says she’s been itching for an excuse to work with them.  Last year she wrote, recorded, and produced a number of original songs independently.  At Wesleyan, she and the members of STORM will play from this catalogue of original material, with a favorite cover or two thrown in for good measure. She is excited to see how the studio-produced songs come to life in a live performance with other musicians.


Eric Herman takes the stage with Brooklyn-based band mamarazzi and his bass guitar. The band, which Mr. Herman describes as a “Wesleyan expat project” that traces its beginnings to 2008, also includes guitarist Andrew Aprile ’06, keyboardist Rob Cohen ’06, percussionist Sam Bathrick ’04, tenor saxophonist Tacuma Bradley ’04, vocalist Tavi Fields ’02, and drummer Andrea Belfiore. Not easily categorized into one genre, mamarazzi fuses together funk, jazz, hip hop, salsa, and Afro-funk.

mamarazzi draws from a range of influences, including Thom Yorke, Maceo Parker, Frank Zappa, Fela Kuti, and Wesleyan’s own Adjunct Professor of Music Abraham Adzenyah, who teaches “West African Music & Culture.” Mr. Herman thinks everyone in the band took at least one class with Professor Adzenyah, and they continue to incorporate what they learned from him into their music. Professor Adzenyah’s class inspired many of mamarazzi’s members to travel to Ghana, not as a band but on their own, and Mr. Herman says these trips have informed their music.

Both Mr. Herman and Ms. Crawford attest to the influence that Wesleyan professors have had on their music, careers, and lives. Ms. Crawford found a mentor in jazz musician and Adjunct Professor of Music Jay Hoggard. “I never considered myself a singer,” she says. “He was the one who pushed me in that direction. He helped me build myself into a better musician.”  Both alumni give a shout out to John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Anthony Braxton for encouraging them to pursue music.  “He was a huge inspiration for me,” Mr. Herman says.

Shaped by their experiences at Wesleyan, Ms. Crawford and Mr. Herman will help shape this year’s music scene as they return to the CFA for the 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert. The concert presents an opportunity for current students to see what alumni artists are working on now and for our community to see how far our graduates have come.

CFA 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert:
Amy Crawford + STORM and mamarazzi

Featuring Music Alumni of the Past Decade
Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm
Crowell Concert Hall
$20 general public; $18 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students

Center for the Arts Stories: Mike James ’07

Mike James '07
Mike James ’07. Photo by Kristin Hoebermann.

Center for the Arts Story: Someone had to leave Yuri Kordonsky’s production of Peer Gynt my senior year, and I got the part. We had just a couple weeks left until opening. One of Yuri’s directorial choices was to have the actors visible on the edges of the stage at all times, watching. I remember sitting off to the side one day during rehearsal in the main theater at the CFA. I didn’t have any lines in the scene, so I sat on the floor, finishing my thesis or some other homework. Yuri came over to me and said something about trying to be present for everyone else. I pretended to understand. Mostly out of guilt, I put my notebook away. I watched for a little bit, and remembered getting in trouble with Cláudia Nascimento the previous year. She had given me a similar scolding. I spent the ends of rehearsals for her production of The Deceased Woman staring at my watch, and Cláudia suggested I might learn to be grateful for every second of rehearsal. I guess I had to learn it twice. I’m still learning it. But when I put my notebook away in Yuri’s rehearsal, I was bored, at first. But then I started to notice my castmates were coming up with brilliant storytelling ideas. My castmates were arguing about different translations of the play. My castmates were acting really, really well. Suddenly I saw why I was earning university credit hours. And, I got a taste of what presence and generosity felt like. (Just tastes. I’m sure I’m still a monster to some degree.) The classes and programs at Wesleyan’s CFA aren’t for hobbyists. They aren’t supplemental. The seriousness, rigor, and passion for education found in this mini-campus match or beat any other department.

Favorite Course: Modern Dance III

Thesis Title: “Over Lunch: Lord Halifax, Anthony Eden, and the Fictions of Appeasement”